04/09/2003. Contributed by Jessica Martin
Fan activism helps resurrect the dead SF television series Firefly as a truly epic movie.
Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and owner of the production company Mutant Enemy, is shoving a couple of fingers up at the critics of his quickly cancelled science fiction 'western-in-space' TV series Firefly.
How? Apparently he's done a deal with Universal Pictures to turn the Firefly concept into a mega-budget $70 million science fiction film (there was a lot of anger and campaigning from fans to get this).
Firefly was never really given a chance to prosper, and was killed after only its first season. Despite a lot of good feedback from fans, its scheduling & promotion never gave it a shot at gaining a wider audience other than hardcore SFF types (hardly respected by the television suits).
Firefly had a kind of post civil-war Western riff going, and focused on the crew of the Firefly, trying to scratch a living 500 years in the future. The idea for the movie is to inflate the whole affair into a film with the scale and feel of a Rio Lobo or How the West Was Won. None of the original cast has officially confirmed their return yet, but Whedon has opened the door for them ... if willing.
There's a kind of irony in that with Buffy, Whedon took a movie and made it into one of TV's hottest fantasy properties; while with Firefly, he might just succeed in doing exactly the opposite.
What are his chances of success? Well, Whedon's not a complete movie virgin, as he helped scribble the screenplay for the blockbuster cartoon Toystory, as well as the underrated toon Titan A.E. He was also responsible for Alien Resurrection, which while not setting the world on fire in the same way as Aliens, was a small return to form after the dismal penal gloom of Aliens III.
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