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March 03 2004

Variety: Universal has greenlit "Serenity" - budgeted in the mid-eight figures, is skedded for a June start and should be ready for a 2005 release.

Whedon said the pic will be released under the title "Serenity" to give it some distance from the TV version. "It was important that people understand that the movie isn't the series," he said. "The movie is bigger, more epic than anything you can do in a series."

Forthcoming pic is set about six months after the TV show left off, and centers on two passengers on board the ship who attract trouble to the crew.

The studio has closed a deal with Nathan Fillion to return as Capt. Malcolm Reynolds. Other original cast members Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher and Summer Glau are also in place.

Barry Mendel is producing the pic. Chris Buchanan of Mutant Enemy, Whedon's shingle, and Mendel exec Alissa Tager are exec producing. Overseeing the project for U is vice chair Mary Parent.

Finally ... some SUPER GOOD Whedon-verse news. Yay!

Interesting thought:

Is this the reason why, perhaps, Joss appears to not be fighting to save Angel, at least not as much as he did both Buffy and, ironically, Firefly?
YES!! This makes Angel's cancellation a lot easier to take... Here's hoping that the movie does so well we'll have Firefly back on TV in 2006!
Good news! Only just finished the DVD box and it's really, really good stuff. Almost all tv shows need about a season to really find their identity but this one nailed it pretty early on. All eps are good, but the ones after 5 or so are SF classics.

Also? Most tv shows that follow a crew on a spaceship/station still follow many standard 'Trek' formulas. This had so many aspects that were original. No 'beaming' no laser guns (well not really) no weapons on the ship itself....and of course, like Buffy and Angel it was this weird blend of genres that on paper can't be blended. Leave it to Joss & co. Good stuff.

As for Joss not fighting as hard for Angel, I don't think that's true. I just think that in the current climates, there are far fewer options than there were back then. And let's not forget we don't really know what he's doing or not.

I really REALLY hope this movie hits it off with the masses. It would open a lot of doors. But let's face it, the masses are generally stupid and tasteless and don't understand anything that doesn't have a clear cheap concept / gimmick. Please cut a good trailer from this! Make it work!
Wow, this is really cool. :-)
Also, let's hope the studio doesn't edit the movie together in the wrong order, like putting the beginning at the end, a revised and confusing beginning at the beginning, and just basically jumbling up the second Act until it is virtually incomprehensible - oh and of course, leaving out a few vital scenes (but saving them for the DVD release!). Oh, this is Universal, not FOX. Should I still be scared?
I am so excited for this film.

Oh, and I didn't sign up for Variety so, just to clarify, "mid eight figures" means like $85 million. . .right?
I think when they say 'eight figures' they mean numerals. 10,000,000 would be the lowest eight figure number. So mid could be around 50 million.

This is fantastic news!! Everyone keeps mentioning the possibility of this creating a return for the series, but what about movie sequels? If done correctly, which I have no doubt Joss and Co can do, it would be perfect.
This is great news. 2005 can't come quick enough. And using my powers of prediction, I foresee the following headlines at Whedonesque.

"The Chronicles of Mal" - Serenity box office receipts overtake that of the first film in Vin Diesel's Riddick trilogy.

"Serenity Wars"- Critics praise Whedon's flick, say it has more excitement and emotion than the final Star Wars film.

"Get Lost!!" - Whedon turns down offers from Fox and the WB to show second series, says it will air on Sci Fi channel.
I'd hate to take away Christmas, but can the film return this kind of investment in the box office?
And while I'd love for some of those predictions to come true, I have as much faith in Sci-fi as I do in Fox or the WB, what with them cancelling Farscape and all.
Just daydream for a bit - Fall 2005 TV: "Serenity the series" launched by the outstanding success of the movie and pre-orders for the DVD. They could re-use the sets & props from the movie which would save a fortune on the budget.

I wonder how much they will re-use from the FireFly sets for the Serenity movie, if anything? I remember they had to rebuild everything when doing the "Star Trek Next Generation" movies because of the extra detail that film displays over TV.
You can see the Variety article for free at Yahoo! News
My colleague ran up¨to me this morning with the TV guide in his hand. Dutch TV station Yorin start airing Firefly on March 6, and there's an article about it in the guide. It says Yorin will air won't air the series in the right order which probably means they will, as stations here tend to not have a clue when it comes to the order of series.

The writer´s verdict: "well made, easy to digest, adventure series. The first episode (the second, counting the pilot) is a bit cliche, but two episodes on the caustic humour is well dosed, the story exciting and the characters are starting to develop. That Firefly was cancelled so soon does seem unfortunate."

Yorin (unfortunate name though...) are quickly becoming my favourite channel as they're airing Buffy, Angel, Enterprise, Voyager, etc.
What about Alan Tudyk and Ron Glass?
This is great news, twice, once for the movie and another time because Firefly will be shown in the Netherlands. Prolific what TV-guide was that?
It's been mentioned before, but good god is Variety's use of the English language the most annoying thing EVER. And I'm one of those unlucky few that have yet to see any Firefly episodes until I can save up enough for the DVDs, but good news nonetheless! :)
What about Alan Tudyk and Ron Glass?

I don't know about Wash, but I remember reading in someone's W&H party musings that she talked with Ron Glass in person, and while he couldn't say anything officially, he gave her a big, knowing smile regarding Serenity and his participation therein. Maybe contract negotiations aren't 100% finalized yet for those 2.

Here's hoping that's all it is...
and P.S.

woo-hoo!! Very happy news!
Y'all broke my link when you changed it, there is a typo, also use the print version for less ads:
Variety newstory via Yahoo
TotalNirvana: It's been mentioned before, but good god is Variety's use of the English language the most annoying thing EVER.

LoL, right on! I had to Google a bit to find out what the heck an "Oater" was - what's up with that? You think they are trying to be cute or just persnickety :)

[ edited by TaraLivesOn on 2004-03-03 14:28 ]
Well since Whedon has been very vocal about scrapping the film unless the whole cast returns, I think Andy and Ron may have been onboard but Variety like most other news organizations seem to fail to mention the entire cast opting to start from the lead to the last signed and back.

I kinda agree with the person who ask if this is the reason Joss is not fighting to save Angel like he did Firefly, he didn't really fight to save Buffy other than to tell the WB where to get off when UPN picked it up. Firefly was, however, a new show that was cut down way to early in the processes compared to Angel which has had a 5 year run. Also you had to know that when Firefly or Serenity started to fly Joss's priority would shift back to that which he loved more and Angel would once again take a back seat.

I can only hope he has hiring rights for the crew and can at least put the Angel crew (not the actors as much but the other bts crew - hair, makeup, wardrobe types) to work for the remainder of the year. I'm guessing at least Ben Edlund may have some work over the summer. I wonder if he would concider casting any of the Angel actors in the movie as well - since they will be looking for work and he knows their abilities. I would love to see Andy H, James M, or any of them really in the film in some supporting role.

Also someone mentioned about sci-fi at the box office - of the top 20 films of all times - over 90% are sci-fi or fantasy based. So I think if it's done right (ala not like the X-Files or Trek) I think it will do very well.

Side note anyone in LA goto Creations Grand Slam this month if you can not only to show support for the Angel cast but also Firefly since Gina Torres will be there.

[ edited by RavenU on 2004-03-03 15:01 ]

I find myself disagreeing with Joss, though, about how "Serenity" will be so much more epic than Firefly the Series because it's a movie. I think Joss's great strength has been developing incredibly complex, epic narratives that span years of telling and hundreds of hours of interlocking filmed work. Buffy's 144 episodes is equivalent to 50 feature films. A two hour movie in the Firefly 'verse, as happy as I am about that, doesn't compare.

But oh boy how happy I am about it. May it do extraordinarily well and may sequels abound!

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2004-03-03 15:16 ]
Celebithil: VPRO-gids.
Good id that I can't wait for. People behind this making me happy. Angel news not so hard to take now. Writing like this making me dumber by min.
Am i in too much of a hurry if I say that I already imagine myself buying tickets for it?
Oh my god! Yay, yay, yay! And I wasn't even going to stop by today because it's my birthday and I didn't want any depressing news. I'm sooo glad I did. Best bday news!
Happy birthday, Stakeholder! And it's great news, indeed. I always felt that "Firefly" wanted to be something bigger than it was, and am happy for Joss that he's getting his shot at making that Bigger Picture.
I will buy tickets for this the way that Dallas church bought tickets for Mel Gibson's movie.

I mean it.
Wonderful that Joss is getting a Firefly to the big screen but I am a Buffyverse addict and still need a fix. Word on anything, a series or a movie, in that world would be better.
Wow!! This is the best news I've heard in a long, long time. Almost makes me feel better about the Angel thing. A big screen movie written and directed by Joss? Can my heart take such a thing? We have to make this movie a huge hit, no matter what it takes.
Oh, and what the heck is a "space oater" anyway? It makes me think of a show about horses in space. I hate Variety.
This is fantastic news! OMG, Joss finally gets to direct his own script for the big screen. This is a huge step in the right direction *kaff*world domination*kaff* for Joss. Once he's got this under his belt, Joss'll be unstoppable! Yay!! Happy Dance!!
Do you think when they do the movie poster for Serenity they will put a blurb on it saying "From the creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer"?
Oh my goodness, I hadn't even thought about the movie poster. And merchandising! Oh my, must start saving my money now. I also think I'm going to save up $50-$100 and buy however many movie tickets that will get me on the opening weekend. Unfortunately the movie business is all about that first weekend, and I think we all need to do whatever we can to make it huge. Even if you have to buy tickets for your 7 invisible friends.
Happy Birthday Stakeholder! Although with news like this I feel it's everybody in the Whedonverse's birthday!! I am so super happy about this news. The cancellation of Firefly was the most depressing thing to me. I love Angel but I at least got five years of that show and although I'm sad to see it go at least it had a chance. Firefly was so cruelly handled and so quickly yanked from the airwaves that it really never had a chance to establish an audience. Just the fact that it has found such an enormous audience after it's cancellation shows how wonderfully written this show was. I really think it will do well at the theaters. Joss Whedon has complete creative control over everything and it will finally be a chance for him to shine as the writer and creator of a movie without having someone tell him to do stupid rewrites.

I agree with Phlebotinin though about I would've been happier if Firefly had stayed a series because Joss Whedon is a master of building the long story arcs and the joy I've gotten out of eight years of Buffy and Angel will most likely never be duplicated by any television series or movie. Now, if Joss has a sequel or series of movies already in mind with Firefly, I will happily stand corrected on that statement.


"Also, let's hope the studio doesn't edit the movie together in the wrong order, like putting the beginning at the end, a revised and confusing beginning at the beginning, and just basically jumbling up the second Act until it is virtually incomprehensible - oh and of course, leaving out a few vital scenes (but saving them for the DVD release!). Oh, this is Universal, not FOX. Should I still be scared?
I am so excited for this film."

That was just too funny! Cracked me up!
"Oater" means "Western," as in the Western movie/tv genre. It derives from the apparent fact that horses like oats and horses abound in Westerns. Why Variety can't just use "Western" is beyond me. Pompous idiots.

Happy birthday, Stakeholder! My birthday is March 5th and so I count this news as an early birthday present.

Hah hah hah I've been gloating all day today about how SOME people at stupid Fox TV are probably eating humble pie. I hope heads roll. I hope abject apologies are offered. A public execution or two in the Fox tv square would be nice as well.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2004-03-03 18:56 ]
I think the universe just handed us our first break.
Numfar! Do the Dance of Joy!
Is mid 8 figures enough to do the movie well? I have no idea about these things.
What about Alan Tudyk and Ron Glass?

No worries about Alan -- you need a pilot to fly a spaceship.

(Unless... not the cute robot pilot!!!!????)

Phew, sorry -- Glen Larson flashback.
Wash and Zoe get a divorce, replaced by a quirky robot pilot and the Blue Sun Man-Doll(TM)...a sad possibility indeed...

This is great, great news.

But come on folks, lay off Variety. Their code talk is a venerable Hollywood tradition and it's kind of like cracking a fun code. It can be fun. You've got the sort of archetypal headlines "Autrey Pix Clix in Stix". You got great words like "Prexy" for "President." Myself, I'd rather be a Prexy than a President. Sounds sort of elfin and magical!

And wouldn't you rather "ankle" your job than simply quit it? Just imagine walking into your big corporate boss and saying, "Hey, Mr. Prexy-man. I'm ankling. I'm off to helm my very own space oater."

And I love the way the list the grosses: "Dracula" sucked up $X at X crypts, nationwide; "The Passion of the Christ" celebrates mass receipts....etc....

[ edited by bobster on 2004-03-03 21:27 ]
Hehe sorry but it just comes off as SO incredibly pretentious. 'U', 'skein', 'auds', 'oater', etc. I just makes me laugh. Especially 'auds'. That's not 'jargon' that's just 'look at us being hip and with the in-crowd'. If you're too lazy to type 'audience' then say so.

And 'Prexy'?? Oy, it's almost like saying 'ah, sorry but this is not for YOU! it is only for people like US. And if you don't understand, you're not one of us.' or something.

phlebotin:Hah hah hah I've been gloating all day today about how SOME people at stupid Fox TV are probably eating humble pie.

Well not yet. But if the movie is a hit, then maybe some 'nyah nyah's' are in order here haahaha. And maybe some people there will get the 'get to the president's office asap!' call, where they shalleth be cheweth outeth.

Oh sorry I meant the 'prexy's office of course;-)
I'm going to hold my breath a bit until I know that Tudyk and Glass are officially on board, but this is great, great news. Hooray!
So I'm wondering who these "two passengers" are that are going to come aboard Serenity and cause trouble for the crew in the movie? Is it possible that we're going to watch the whole Simon and River coming aboard Serenity thing again? I can't see yet another two passengers whom we've never met coming aboard with the original nine characters already in place. With that many characters, each would have time to get ten lines out, max.

So, the two passengers who will cause ripples are probably Simon and River. Hmm. I'm not knocking this because I've got faith in Joss. But darn, what I really want is another five seasons of the show as a tv series. Then we could get into some serious depth. The kind of depth that Joss and Mutant Enemy folks are so good at.

Oh I should shut up. Who am I to complain for one millisecond on this glorious day of great Firefly news?! Joss and Tim and everyone who worked on Firefly and all the fans who campaigned so very hard to get it back must be on cloud 9. Speaking of Tim, I wonder if he's going to be at all involved. I hope so.
Not S&R as this pic takes place abt 6 mo. after the series left off, i.e., after Objects in Space.

(And yes, I AM too lazy to type out whole words just now. Sorry.)
Oops, that was a big "duh" from me. Not enough coffee today, I'm afraid. The brain cells, they are a-languishing. Hmmm, then what the hell? Eleven main characters? Interesting.

I'm not normally one for spoilers, but I have to admit that if somehow the script for this movie begins circulating, I'm all over it. Is that bad? Am I a bad person? I just don't think I can wait until 2005.
Here's another version of the same article, translated into proper English & w/ the proper editorializing (e.g., "hurrah and huzzah", "unfairly cancelled", etc.) added.
I don't think anyone called "phlebotinin" can really be a bad person. But that's just me.
Hee hee, melsta.

Thanks also for the plain English link of the same story.
"...and centers on two passengers on board the ship who attract trouble to the crew."

I'm assuming these two passengers are Simon and River- it says nothing about these being new passengers.

ETA- Just read the Empire Online version. That one does say that the ship 'picks up' two new passengers, but that could just as well be a mistake on the part of the writer.

[ edited by forcorreo on 2004-03-04 01:37 ]
Hmmm. One could argue that the doctor is officially "crew" now and not a passenger anymore, but one couldn't actually hold a Variety wrixy to any such standard of Firefly knowledge. And Joss did say (a long time ago - probably even before the first version of the script was completed) that it would be a River story...

Y'all may have a point there!
I think the movie may do flashback scenes with the Simon and River arriving in the way they did for the show and then pick six months later. That wouldn't take up too much time to show that scene where she is revealed to be in that container.
According to the official press release from Universal Pictures, there will be new characters made especially for the movie, but also:

"When Mal takes on two new passengers -- a young doctor and his unstable, telepathic sister -- he gets much more than he bargained for. The pair are fugitives from the coalition dominating the universe, who will stop at nothing to reclaim the girl."

So the "two passengers" part will most likely mean Simon and River. I highly doubt that Joss would bring in two new characters to revolve the story around. There are plenty of stories for our original nine.

[ edited by witless on 2004-03-04 02:22 ]
There's an official press release? Is this old news or new news?
It's a news release, I'm not sure if there's a difference between that and a press release.

I can't find a link to the whole thing on the Internet, but it's just about everything that has up, plus another paragraph about Joss's other creative achievements.
Cool! Thanks for the link! I think I am officially proven wrong.

(But can I get bonus points for "wrixy" anyway?)
Since when were BtVS and AtS "global hit mainstream territory" (
Thanks for the link witless. The way I read it isn't so much the plot of the film but the basic foundation of the story. I mean, that was how the story as we know it began and now we see where it has taken them six months down the road.

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