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June 05 2006

On the Set Gossip from Serenity. Some very suspect "insider information" about why Joss created a certain event in Serenity.

Also some more likely fact about Summer's fight scene with the Reavers.

What are they talking about 'skip the movie'. Like anyone could watch Firefly and then not want to see it.

I'm pretty sure Joss said in the visual companion that all of the characters would be any sequals that came up.
'very suspect' is right...
....and then the "insider" didn't even spell Reavers correctly. Oy!
I can't tell if he means, "Watch all of Firefly before seeing Serenity" or "Don't bother with Serenity at all." I hope it's the former, but he seems kinda negative on it.

Also, I have a very hard time imagining Alan Tudyk refusing to do sequels. Everything I've ever read or seen talks about how tight-knit and dedicated the cast was. The commentary for "Out of Gas" says that Tudyk gave Joss the call-back button to use when he found a new home for Firefly. He doesn't seem like the type to demand being killed off.
Hmm. Given the story of Alan and the Big Red Button this doesn't really ring true. Who knows though, I suppose. Also, reading between the lines of a couple of interviews (especially the Milton Keynes one) it would seem that AT was actually kidding around on the day the scene was filmed and took it in his stride which doesn't really sound like "he thought maybe he had made a mistake".

I'm happy with Joss' explanation that people sort of expected one to go and sort of expected that one to be Book. When Wash dies we're in shock then when Jayne, Kaylee and Simon get hit in short order afterwards I was actually thinking (even before I heard JW use the same reference) 'Jeez, he's gone Peckinpah, they're all gonna die'. The emotional stakes were raised (and important questions were asked about the price of freedom).
Didn't we already know that Alan didn't want to do a sequel? And I've removed the spoiler tag btw.
I heard that same rumor at the time I saw the movie. Same rumor about Book--that Ron Glass did not want to be locked into doing more movies.

I have no trouble believing it--why shouldn't they want to keep their options open? Alan Tudyk would have had a hard time doing Spamalot if he had to turn around and go make another Serenity.

I'm not saying it's fact; I'm saying it doesn't boggle my belief system to think that these talented actors would want to be able to commit to something besides more Firefly.

I asked Christopher Buchanan about the rumor at one of the advance screenings I saw. He hesitated, then said, "Joss writes the story he wants to write." He did not address whether any individual actors had refused to sign for potential sequels at all, yea or nay.

As for the article saying to "skip Serenity," he seems to be saying to pass it altogether, which is a shame, but I do think that in general people should watch Firefly first if they expect to enjoy Serenity. I've had friends boggled by Serenity who I think would like Firefly if they gave it a chance, and I had my doubts when I first saw it that Serenity by itself would be enough to win over a lot of non-Firefly fans.
Skip Serenity? Skip the crack dude. Seriously.
River should have been voted off? They are completely missing the point then. It's a shame that River is so misunderstood.
Honestly, I've heard this version of events bandied about town (when you work in or close to the biz, your ears are constantly filling with tidbits), and I actually believe it. I do not believe for a second that Joss would let go of the Wash and Zoe relationship so easily (especially after fighting so hard to get it in the show in the first place) if not painted into a corner. It's always hard to say whether all aspects of such information are true, but bits of it often are. We love Joss; we trust him implicitly, but we can't think for a minute that he won't withhold or misrepresent events to protect himself, his actors, and his contracts. That's the business he's in, and, for that reason, we may find out the truth about this issue in the future, and we might just never know. But, from a story and an industry standpoint, this makes some level of sense.

Which is the first time I've ever said that about anything printed in the National Review
So all the talk from Joss and Alan about him being in the sequel is just their way of not letting us know that Alan wanted out?
Alan was doing Spamalot when the movie came out. He's stopped that now. I don't understand how one would have any kind of impact on the other. It is true, he is a successful actor who never seems to lack for work but still, I think I will leave this rumour sitting where it is, with that large pile of salt next to it.
Not that I believe this rumor (wasn't there an interview somewhere where Joss talked about breaking the news to Alan? Maybe I'm imagining it) but just because someone may not want to sign for a sequel (BEFORE THE FIRST FILM IS EVEN MADE) doesn't mean they might not want to do it later, it just means they didn't want to commit to whatever contract was in front of them at the time.

It's very possible that Alan wanted to do the first movie, then see where things were at before deciding if he wanted to do any potential other movie.

Doesn't mean if the time ever comes he won't sign right back aboard if Joss wanted him.
I'm a longtime fan of National Review and its website, and I've come to learn to disregard John Derbyshire on a lot of things. He's written a witty line or two that I've really liked, but he epitomizes the cranky curmudgeon, and it seems to me that he thinks that, because political conservatism tends to be sober-minded, pessimism is itself an adequate substitute for an argument.

To put it succinctly, he is an old fart.

He thinks Morena Baccarin is pretty (who doesn't?), and he likes the character of Jayne (who doesn't?). Because the BDM doesn't have enough of either Inara or Jayne to meet his expectations, he don't like it. End of story.
I, on the other hand, find National Review horrid in the extreme and believe that in their general hatred of all things liberal (ofwhich Joss belongs, by virtue of his support for Kerry) they would find fault with what he does in principle. I do not believe this report one iota.

But Morena Baccarin? Pretty!
As I've said before, can we not comment on the National Review or indeed the writer. Play the ball, not the man.

And as for "an employee of a major movie studio", isn't that just another way of saying some guy that works in the mail room?
This sounds really, really gossipy. While it is certainly possible, given some of the arguments above (wanted to see how things came out, had other opportunities) but not entirely definite (the loyalty of the cast, Spamalot wasn't until much later), this particular post seems really speculative, as the "source" is unnamed (as Simon points out, could be a guy in the mail room just chatting or making stuff up), I don't think the person making the post has any true "inside" relationship to the BDHs or Joss or the Whedonverse (apart from stating his opinions about them, to which he is entitled), etc.

I would guess this is false because Joss doesn't seem to me the kind of writer who doesn't plan things far in advance. I mean, sure, he could easily change a script to fit new circumstances, but it really seems that Wash's death, shocking as it is, is so built into the final battle in Serenity -- I was really wondering if anyone would get out alive! (Of course, Jayne "might." ;-)) Plus, Mal and Zoe are on Serenity in the first place because everything they knew had been completely changed at best, and brutally wiped out at worst during the war. I mean, think of the pilot, especially the deleted scenes -- these people lost everything during the war; losing something or someone precious again (especially when up against the Alliance and the Reavers simultaneously, ffs!) is not out of the question. /rant
Doesn't Joss say on the commentary that they filmed the ending with Wash alive and that it didn't resonate? And then they filmed it again with Wash dying? True, maybe AT didn't want to commit, but this "tidbit" just sounds lame.
April, are you sure about something on the commentary? *disappears to watch Serenity with commentary on for a few hours*
We've frequently heard that Wash's death raised the stakes for the climax, and made us think that Joss would kill everyone. To me this makes more sense than this gossipy rumor.

I believe we have also heard from reliable sources that all 9 crew members were signed with options for a trilogy.
If memory serves Joss says on the Serenity Commentary that Wash's death wasn't in his original draft, but I find the idea that he created such a major plot twist on something as irrelevant as sequel contract signing/actor availability totally preposterous.
April, I think what Joss says on the commentary was that in the original draft of the script Wash didn't die but he realised that at least one character had to die to keep tension in the film.
Beaten to it

[ edited by derf on 2006-06-05 22:29 ]

[ edited by derf on 2006-06-05 22:30 ]
In Milton Keynes Alan said that both he and Ron would be back for a sequel. He also said that he was sure there would be one, but that was just optimism!
I received this email from a government employee today (I know because of his email adress):

"Denise, tomorrow you will be crowned queen of the USA."

Bitchen', huh? I believe it, cause I'm sure this is a highly credible, albeit somewhat nebulous, source.
Hmmm. Very suspect, imo.
Both AT and RG told me at the first 'Serenity' convention that they'd signed up for a trilogy. I have no reason to disbelieve either of them. But then, I don't work for a "major movie studio" so who am I to say?[/sarcasm]
At the World Premiere in Edinburgh Joss himself said that if there was a sequel both Ron and Alan would be in it. So yeah, Alan's obviously not signed up for any possible sequel.
Why wouldn't Alan want to do a sequel? Aside from the Browncoats the rest of the world only knows him as "Steve the Pirate" from Dodgeball.
Interesting, but it sounds false to me.
Not to go with the flow, but this really sounds fake to me. For one thing, Alan has been one of the most vocally supportive of Firefly and Serenity since day one. I just don't think I could lend it a great deal of credence.
Gotta love those hindsight rumors.

Re: Firefly: "The whole thing must have been carefully plotted out in advance...—not usual for a TV series above the sitcom level, I think."

Just like my own life!

*waves to Queen Denise*
I did absolutely no fact checking on this, so tell me if I am wrong, but I believe Nathan said he wasn’t signed up for any sequels. Perhaps he was just joking and I didn’t pick up on his intonation in the transcript of his interview. To me, it seemed completely understandable at the time. Of course, Nathan would come back. He would be the first one on the set. However, if the film did really well, Nathan might have been on Hollywood’s A-List and deserving of a much better deal than if he signed beforehand when the studio had greater bargaining power. I can also see an actor of Alan’s celebrity holding off to sign. However, that in no way translates into “kill the character off, I’m not coming back.”

Having said all of that, this “insider information” kind of seems like an urban legend: something completely unsubstantiated but somewhat plausible to remind actors to always sign up for sequels or their characters might die.
The point I most disagreed with was this: Give them time, the thing takes a while to really capture your attention.

Bah, I was hooked on Firefly by the time I saw the opening credits.
I wasn't. It wasn't until Disc Three that I really got into Firefly.
River is the reason for the season.

If Joss had wanted something different he would have written it that way.
Unfortunately, most of my friends are like Screwtape. Only less patient.
The people who showed me my first Firefly episode chose "Out of Gas." It worked really well.

Strange article all around.

Pliny, NF not being signed for a sequel was presented as a joke when I heard it.
I met Alan early on when he was doing Spamalot and we spoke one on one for about 5 minutes. I asked him about Wash's death and he told me what he has also said since then on convention panels...that Joss thought it was a needed scene to push the envelope to where he wanted the thrill to be (we all know Joss has a thing for killing fave characters). He honestly looked as sad as I was when we spoke about it and then reassurred me, even back then, that Joss had told him that if there were sequels, he would somehow be in them.

I have no reason not to believe him.
Aside from the Browncoats the rest of the world only knows him as "Steve the Pirate" from Dodgeball.


Actually, I identified Alan as Wat from "A Knight's Tale" the first time I saw him on "Firefly".
I recognized Alan from Strangers with Candy (he played a great part in it by the way) and also from the Wonder Boys when I first saw Firefly ads.
I have no comments on what is obviously gossip and stupid gossip at that, but I think I remember hearing somewhere that if the show had continued Wash would have been killed in the 2nd Season finale. I can't remember where I heard it and maybe my mind is making it up but I don't think so.
And I always feel bad for the people who don't give River the attention or understanding she deserves, because they're the ones who are missing out. I mean her make me a stone speech alone was worth the price of admission. And that superhero shot of her at the end with the two axes, come on, that's good soup.
Zhang Ziyi and Summer Glau would be awesome in a fight scene actually... They're both sort of classically trained dancers, but I forget how much that actually means in terms of their fight choreography.

...I actually like Serenity far more than the TV series though. Too many outright western elements didn't bode well to me and it seems like it took a long time for them to really mesh and figure out a balance. There were some amazing episodes but that doesn't really make up for some of the ones I didn't like as much.
Just to be clear, if you work at NBC Universal, you almost certainly have an NBC Universal email address. For example, there's a guy on the Browncoat site who works in the theme park area of the site who has a Universal email address. Is he an insider? No. Does he love Serenity? Yes.

Both Alan and Ron ARE signed on for sequels. This was done before the movie was even released. That said, Alan and Ron are also the actors who signed on last. That's commonly known fact, as at the time the fans found out. Original drafts had Alan and Ron's characters on board the ship, and very much alive. Why did that change? I've no idea. I don't really care, I care about the final product.

Alan is, of course, a character actor, who makes his money flipping about. But if Universal wanted to make another movie, he would be in it. There's even a sound clip from last month of Alan in the UK saying that on the Browncoat site frontpage.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-06-06 12:14 ]
Simon, I'm well aware that political comments are generally out of bounds, but I made my comment because in this case, I honestly think you have to consider the source. This is such an off-the-wall comment, one that no one here has any problem disbelieving, so one has to ask, why would they put that out there? Given Joss's past politics and his continually growing public popularity, I think that may be part of the reason. And having said that, I shall say no more. :-)
Dana5140 brings up an interesting point: considering if the source is valid, or if the source might have a reason or reputation for printing false information. It's like when we point out that, in the past, information printed by Kristin at E! has been unreliable -- she's been supportive of the 'Verse, I think, but just to remind people that not all of her "scoops" turn out to be accurate (I think, unintentionally -- I think she just may print stuff that has not been verified, IMO).

That said, while I could see that a conservative commentator might be politically opposed to Joss, I can't see what might be gained from saying Wash was killed because Alan didn't sign a contract promptly. There's no gain in it, from what I can see. Now, if the writer said Joss was smuggling beagles on the side, then I could see the gain -- getting Joss in trouble with PETA! (But, Joss is NOT smuggling beagles, he's very kind to pets in fact, this was just a fictional example!) ;-)
If it's the same writer I'm thinking of it, he's a huge fan of Joss Whedon and his material.
It's tempting though billz, they have such small droppings, I almost want to become a smuggler just so I can smuggle Beagles instead of cattle ;).

The source must be a consideration when you're trying to decide if something's true or not but if it's at all possible it seems more robust to attack the claims on their own merits (since apart from anything else even the worst source can be right and the most trustworthy one wrong on occasion).

Also the author's plainly crazy cos, Morena ? Homely gal. Very plain.

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