This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?"
11971 members | you are not logged in | 20 January 2021


February 23 2011

CNN covers fans supporting Nathan Fillion buying Firefly rights. CNN posted "Internet-savvy 'Firefly' fans fly back into the fight"about the response to Nathan's off-hand comment about buying the rights to Firefly and restarting the series on the Web if he won $300 million in the lottery ($300 million for the rights? Really? Holy smokes. Hopefully that includes some production costs).

The two creators of the site are remaining publicly anonymous for now.

How embarrassing that news sites are picking up this ridiculous story. *cringe*
@electricspacegirl, why is it embarrassing and ridiculous? It's known that Whedon fans tend to rally together for a Whedon cause....unity is encouraging, and maybe we can show Fox how ridiculous THEY were when they canceled Firefly.
I really hope this doesn't lead to Nathan regretting his comment. I doubt he would, but I just worry that all these stories popping up could lead to people badgering him for questions about it. "Would you really buy the rights to Firefly?" could quick become an interview staple...
This is a really bad idea.
It's known that Whedon fans tend to rally together for a Whedon cause....unity is encouraging,

It is encouraging but their campaign so far falls down on three major points.

1) No one knows who the organizers are. They are deliberately staying anonymous. That doesn't cut it. You have to be accountable. It builds trust for starters.

2) They've gathered a lot of enthusiastic supporters but the organizers aren't doing anything with them. Not even telling fans to write or email 20th Century Fox to say "we want more Firefly". It's all very well saying "we are mighty" all the time but at some stage you will want do to something otherwise you will walk away in boredom.

3) There's still many unanswered questions. What happens if Nathan and Joss don't comment on the campaign? Have the organizers factored in legal costs? Why aren't they regularly updating the website? Who will oversee the non-profit group? What happens if the money raised is not enough? How will Universal factor in their plans?
Here's author Patrick Rothfuss' contribution offer:
An open letter to Nathan Fillion
"have no credentials to speak of" in the TV/film industry or "Firefly" community

Or in the community. Really? Not that starting campaigns is restricted to BNFs but seriously. I want to know who they are, even if they're not asking me for money yet.
From the answers these ridiculously anonymous people gave CNN, it seems to me that there may have been a little bit of leaping before looking here. I think they decided to make a website and just see what happened. No real thought was put into any of it.

1)Make a website
2)Get some attention
3)Hope to all that is holy Joss or Nathan or Chris or Tim or someone else with some brains and connections quickly steps in to tell them what to do.

It's laughable at this point.

BTW, if anyone thinks 20th isn't fully aware of a missed opportunity and doesn't regret the cancellation of Firefly, you're completely wrong. Of course, 20th isn't who cancelled Firefly. FOX cancelled it. Two. Different. Companies. 20th would have preferred it to be on the air still.

The only possible good that could come from all this mess is simply 20th and Universal knowing that there is still an active fanbase (however tiny, but loud) out here. And maybe the noise will help us get that 2012 PaleyFest Firefly reunion bix is always on about. :)
Okay this is just silly. Nathan was obviously joking. This just make us as a fandom look kind of sad. Seriously.
I thought it was a bad idea at first, but this article has convinced me that the campaign could do some good. It keeps Firefly, Whedon and some of the actors in the press and demonstrates that the fan base remains strong and is possibly growing. I'm new as of the Ovation airing in January.

Firefly is getting shoutouts in shows that are instantly noted on twitter. It's also getting press for the rebroadcast on the Science Channel. It's like a multi-tiered press campaign. I‘d say any press is good press right now.

Whedon can't commit to anything now with Avengers on his to do list. But perhaps, he's planning ahead and will remember this campaign.

Maybe the website could put a note that all funds raised can also go to the CSTS causes if the rights can't be bought, unless the donor wants a refund. It could be the best fundraiser CSTS has to date.

* yeah, that Fillion tweet was a joke - but it could still be the start of something good.

[ edited by hann23 on 2011-02-23 19:26 ]
Well, another possible good is that a whole bunch of people out there will be wondering, "What is this Firefly thing of which you speak?" and then go and check it out. It's probably more publicity than the show had back in the day. Of course people could shy away from it completely because clearly only nut balls like it. :P I figure the Fillion FactorTM might mitigate that though. ; )
Is this sarcasm? Hard to tell with NF:

Nathan Fillion
Thank you,, for running the EW Firefly article. I love you, too.
11 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Seriously though, he doesn't appear to be terribly bothered by it all. As we know, the Buffy fandom is not all the same, and neither is the Firefly. I'm sort of neutral on this whole thing as it is not an all for one, one for all scenario, so why should I feel the least embarrassed or let down or anything about it.
And why would he be bothered by it? At a time when he and others involved in Castle are gently, but nonetheless publicly, kvetching about ABC's light promotion of their solid-in-the-ratings show, EW and CNN are posting multiple stories on the Firefly re-boot fantasies, all the while bringing up Fillion's current role on Castle. The CNN article even shows a publicity shot for the latest Castle episode. Not too bad a result from an offhand comment about a canceled series.
I think Nathan is well versed (no pun intended) that whenever anybody says anything positive about Firefly, it runs around the internet.

Ultimately, my only real concern with this campaign is that it doesn't involve some fan money going nowhere constructive. If they collect money, they should set up an escrow account, and if they can't buy the Firefly rights that money should get donated to Can't Stop The Serenity. If you really wanted to try this, you'd need to lawyer up and produce some kind of contract with every donation saying fans don't own the project themselves, that sort of thing. You'd also need to go into Fox at a high level and have a lot of money on the table, and know exactly what parts of the franchise you want to license, and for how long (they wouldn't sell it to you, you'd license elements). You're looking at 8ish figures for a few episodes. (for the rights, before actors, crew fees etc).

[ edited by gossi on 2011-02-23 20:21 ]
One of the things that has baffled me is what happens after the money is raised (not that I expect it to ever get to that point)? If you look at the people who were originally involved, some of them are quite busy now to drop everything and coming running back to Firefly. As mentioned above, Nathan is currently starring in 'Castle', Adam is on 'Chuck', Morena is on 'V'. Alan just got picked up for the new pilot 'Good Vibes'. Summer, Gina, Sean, Jewel, and Ron might be available since they don't have much on their plates right now... but we don't know their thoughts on the matter.

Then there is Joss. Joss, who has just been given the directing responsibility on possibly the biggest comic book movie of all time. After 'Avengers' comes out, and is the success we all expect it to be, Joss will have any number of big projects to work on. His plate is already too full to finish/start 'Dr. Horrible 2' or his often mentioned 'Goners'. What happens if he can't find the time to return to 'Firefly'? Will the others still want to return without him?

[ edited by NFA110 on 2011-02-23 20:41 ]
Now I'm just getting angry. Now we have a article pimping out the campaign of people who admit they have no credibility in either community, an article which spreads their line that, "We'd like to see him be willing to let fans become his pocket and revisit ['Firefly']."

As I've told the still-anonymous people behind this, who have no credibility, Joss et al, after Dr. Horrible, expressly examined and then rejected the notion of using fan funding for his work.

That's a fact thats should have been in any article such as this, and it isn't, because all the article does is push the anonymous crew's misshapen agenda, without any actual contextual reporting.
FWIW that Nathan tweet isn't about this article, which isn't an EW article. CNN had posted the earlier EW article about Nathan's original lottery comments.
This is getting out of hand. I'm so tired of hearing about it. I just saw a facebook ad about it.

How long until this silly thing blows over?
Like I said in the last thread - chance of getting Joss + all cast together at the same time given their prior commitments (many of them legally binding) is 0. You'd have to be pragmatic and say 'Look, we can only get Summer and Ron realistically. Let's do a series about the Alliance academy'. Half the people who donated would go nuts and demand money back and threaten to sue, but ya know.

I actually know, for a fact, there's people at 20th that would like to re-explore that universe. The best way to organise that really is to explicitly say to 20th "MAKE A SPIN OFF DVD IN THE SAME UNIVERSE. WE WOULD BUY IT". It's a tiny chance it would hang together - but it's better than owt else.
Well apparently they will be revealing their identities at some stage.

On another note, does anyone know if Universal owns the all rights to tell the adventures of Mal and co after the original series or if it's just the movie rights to the post-Firefly adventures? Because I remember vague talk of Universal making Serenity tv movies to put on the Syfy channel at some stage and no one shooting down the idea that they could actually do that.
Well (I don't know if this helps) everything Dark Horse has produced, for example, is under the Serenity license from Universal, not a Firefly license from 20th.
Yes, I think the only company that has Firefly and Serenity licenses is QMx.
And none of their 'verse products are stories.
Well you argue that some of their products tell a backstory, like the map of the 'Verse and so on.
Well apparently they will be revealing their identities at some stage.

Let's hope they don't turn out to be Nigerian princes.
Hmm, two people, with secret identities, not part of the Browncoat community, wanting to put on one of Joss' properties.

Has anyone seen the Kuzuis lately? ;)
My (very sketchy) understanding was that Universal had the rights to Serenity (and stuff based on Serenity) and any additional TV or theatrical movies based on Serenity. 20th kept all other rights to Firefly.
I am not laughing at redeem147's joke. By which I mean I totally am.

I've never heard anybody properly explain the rights between Fox and Universal. I know Fox sold the rights to one element of the franchise, then Universal complained they held the rights to the same thing, so that project didn't happen. If you haven't guessed, licensing something is like punching yourself in the head with a fist not made of fun.
But on the matter at hand, I might think HNBF is naive but they could at least be intellectually honest in their naivete. They make all this noise about wanting to hear from Nathan or Joss or whoever, and trumpet up cast members say they'd return for Firefly even though those remarks aren't specifically about fans raising money for it, but won't tell their supporters that Joss has a prior statement rejecting fan funding of his work.

At least have the balls and the honesty to admit this fact, even if their response would be "we're going to prove him wrong". That'd still be naive, but it'd be less disingenuous and less disinformational to their supporters.

(Of course, I'm still having Google fail finding the article in which Joss talks about funding models.)
I doubt they have any clue what Joss has said about funding models.
They do at least since the three times I've told them.
There's no link for them to reference though, right? And you are not CNN, asking for an interview. :)
Why is everyone so "disappointed" and "sad" about this? I would, of course, be extremely leery of anyone duping Browncoats out our hard-earned cashy money, but that's not what's happened here. These seem to be people interested in Firefly attempting to float the idea of a new business model and testing the waters for interest/possible commitment. Two people who would like to remain anonymous for now so that they're not flooded with WTF emails and the like. Two people who haven't taken a gorram cent from ANYBODY at this point, and have stated that they won't until Joss or Nathan contacts them.

THIS is fan enthusiasm.

THIS is how we got our Big Damn Movie.

THIS may be the future of popular media, produced for so-called niche audiences and funded by same, not reliant on generating lowest common denominator mass appeal.

Where's the harm here, again?
THIS is how we got our Big Damn Movie.

It's not actually. There was no campaign to get a movie. There was a campaign to get the Firefly DVD released.
This isn't how we got the movie.

And the harm is this is the 4th time this has happened in as many years. All of those previous 4 times, the websites are offline, and the owners aren't contactable. The last time, either Chris B or Tim M (can't remember which) had to contact them and ask for money to be returned.
"This is how we got the movie made" is in large part precisely the myth that leads to naive campaigns like this. There are many reasons this fandom is mighty, it's just that the movie myth isn't one of them. Fan passion can have more productive outlets than this. (Then again, my main pet peeve is these campaigns should at least be intellectually honest and historically aware.)
gossi, that's my concern here. I could care less what it makes fans as a whole look like. It's been done before, it's an old association. The idea that people may actually give this group money when the group has shown no logistical process or ethical consideration whatsoever to date is worrying.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2011-02-23 22:02 ]
For anybody wondering, here's an example of this in action before: That campaign was by two people, and got coverage in Entertainment Weekly and Wired.
Summer, Gina, Sean, Jewel, and Ron might be available since they don't have much on their plates right now... but we don't know their thoughts on the matter.

Is the pope catholic? RT: @Taxicr: Any comment on the group organized to get @NathanFillion the rights to Firefly? Would u be on board?


You'd have to be pragmatic and say 'Look, we can only get Summer and Ron realistically. Let's do a series about the Alliance academy'. Half the people who donated would go nuts and demand money back and threaten to sue, but ya know.

I'd pay to see that. I think most others in a position to care one way or the other would too. The idea of re-constituting the original series (accounting for character deaths and all) is obviously a delusion of grandier. For me, all it would take is a single originating character (because they were all that awesome) from the series in order to justify a spinoff - which is what any continuation would have to be, realistically speaking.
As I suggested on Twitter, Joss' fandom already has the scattered scary component of affronted entitlement. Why would any creator with a large fanbase want to risk infusing that occasional dynamic with the pitfalls of money?
Aye. I actually like the idea of a young-River at Alliance academy myself. Get Andrew Chambliss to get his crazy tech trials on. Or a post-Serenity show about the fall out from Mal's actions - bringing down a large government isn't without consequences.

The post is hashtagged #pipedreams.

[ edited by gossi on 2011-02-23 23:18 ]
Something to note about why websites run things - it has been pretty much proven that if a website runs an article that is essentially "Joss Whedon sneezed," so long as there was a legitimate sighting of Joss Whedon sneezing, they can put it up, the search engines will find the "Joss Whedon" bit and lots of people will click on the site, increasing the site's traffic. It is true that Nathan Fillion gave EW the lottery ticket quote and two people ran with that and put up a website. CNN doesn't need the website to actually *do* anything (like cause a movie to get made) - they've got a factual reason (as opposed to them speculating out of the blue) to put the phrases "Nathan Fillion" and "Firefly" in proximity, which gets them clicks. It's a news website - albeit a very prominent one - doing what websites do.
If we're going to talk pipe dreams, gossi, my undrawn Serenity comic would make a great web short that fits directly into the Serenity aftermath premise.
Oh, every single news website (to my knowledge) which covered Serenity said fans made it happen by campaigning for the movie. Fans never campaigned for the movie. Universal literally wrote that in the EPK and everybody copied it. On the interweb, you can control a publicity cycle (and so what everybody thinks). Which is both a great thing and a bad thing.
Not that I have any knowledge in how to run such an enterprise, but wouldn't it be possible to run a counter-revival rally piggybacking on the enthusiasm generated by this one, but with more foresight and understanding about the realities in Hollywood and the players involved? If a few of the better known folks around here were part of the charge, maybe it could gain some traction and help steer the latest effort. Tricky part would be doing it in the spirit of cooperation rather than just saying "oh no you're doing it wrong and are bad because of it."
My wondering about such a thing, archon, is that isn't the reality that if a revival were ever to happen in any form, would it not happen quietly, behind closed doors, between and amongst the various interested parties and powers that be? It's simply not going to happen, I wouldn't think, via a public campaign.
but wouldn't it be possible to run a counter-revival rally piggybacking on the enthusiasm generated by this one

My gut instinct says it will run out of steam within the next couple of weeks. I can't see Nathan or Joss endorsing it.
Nathan's had plenty of time to endorse it. I still suspect there might be some sort of addressing it to come in the Nerdist podcast he recorded this past weekend.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-02-23 23:58 ]
Next couple of weeks Simon, really? Wow you are definitely underestimating the internet's ADD. If the web site doesn't do 'something' soon it will be forgotten before you can say 'next news cycle'.
I suspect they can run with this for a while, actually - they have more fans on Facebook than, say, Whedonesque. And all the Firefly sites. Combined. When you're sticky on peoples existing websites, you're in their face.

[ edited by gossi on 2011-02-24 00:01 ]
MTV weighs in and miswrites it to look like Jane and Jose have expressed support for the fan campaign.

I am only getting angrier. Whatever happened to accuracy?
Yeah it's the first Whedonverse campaign to involve Facebook in a big way. So that alone interests me.
Yeah, given the speed in which these things tend to die out, I'd agree with Simon. Any counter-revival would have to address that it would be a marathon vs. a sprint. Bix also has a fair point. I just see nearly every day (even now) across the web someone randomly gushing over Firefly even when there's no revival campaign. The support is there, the infrastructure is not imo.

Just as a pie in the sky type picture, let's say somehow Firefly comes back as in all the actors, a good amount of the writers (or even just Joss)... nearest such a project could realistically happen is maybe 2+ years away? Wouldn't it be great if everyone could come together to bring it back (and the world would live as one)?
My wondering about such a thing, archon, is that isn't the reality that if a revival were ever to happen in any form, would it not happen quietly, behind closed doors, between and amongst the various interested parties and powers that be? It's simply not going to happen, I wouldn't think, via a public campaign.

Times change. Myself I suspect that if someone where to come up with a really good script pitch for a Firefly spinoff series with a more practical character lineup and present it to whomever (I've forgotten now) it is technically holds the rights to the franchise, things could actually end up going somewhere.
Not, I argue, by a public campaign. My point is that these sorts of deals happen on the inside, not the outside. It might be a pitch from a nominal outsider, but not by Internet petitioning.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-02-24 00:30 ]
Here's a Q&A exchange from Joss' panel at last year's Comic-Con.
QUESTION: I'm curious if you've ever considered doing like a subscription based web series so that you could get your work out there? I mean, wouldn't you guys pay a couple bucks for episodes so he could do what he wants?

JOSS: I absolutely have been thinking about it and thinking about it. All of that thinking about it led to not actually doing it, because I was working on so many different possible models about how something could be built and paid for.
That said, I still think there's an article out there which is more explicit on the issue, but I'm still Googling for it.
Has an internet petition ever been successful? Ever? I'm pretty sure if these things were as powerful as people believed them to be I'd be watching Dollhouse Season 4 right now. :P
Internet petitions, no, not that I am aware of. Once in a blue moon specific, well thoughtout campaigns that target investors and advertisers obivously have contributed in the past ie Firefly DVDs, Farscape, Chuck etc, but there are only a handful of examples and I don't think any after so long and with so many moved on to different projects and with so little idea of what they actually want.

This appears to be a great deal of wishful thinking and hoping that Joss and or Nathan will step in and crusade for a revival in the next few days, which obviously is not going to happen.

[ edited by Heavs on 2011-02-24 00:55 ]
I'm still baffled that anyone thinks Nathan is going to suddenly tweet, "Sure, give money to those anonymous HNBF people who have offered no details as to how it would work, what the legal structure would be, or what would happen to the money if it fails!"
I think Nathan is pointedly ignoring it. Good for him. He should.
I think the most frustrating thing about this issue for most people is that it stems from ignorance. It's not the easiest thing in the world to track events in a show's history or a fandom, but it's not impossible. For example, it's easy to look on the Internet and quickly learn that Browncoats have done many mighty things (look at the charity work and causes we've helped), but making "Serenity" was not one of them. And yet everyone keeps saying it. All the time.

It annoys me that no one is actually doing any reporting on this story that covers the across-the-board fan reactions as well as skepticism. Specifically the ones that are here. A few people have made arguments about how it doesn't matter that no BNFs are running the "campaign," and while that may be so, the facts of the matter are that a lot of the BNFs are known because they've been around since the beginning of the Whedon fandom... which means that they've seen shit like the Backup Bash as well as glories like CSTS.

The only successful campaign that I can think of was the one that led to Betty White hosting SNL. And this isn't something like that. Clicking "Vote Betty White to Endorse SNL" worked because it was an issue where interest could lead to the event happening. In this case, I really don't think that the number of Facebook fans will make a difference.

I'm a college blogger for the Huffington Post, but they gave me carte blanche as far as topics go after I broke a national story for them. I'm going to see if the entertainment or tech page would take a story about this that actually presents new information and covers both sides. My life motto is relatively simple: if I'm getting annoyed by coverage of story, cover it myself. If they want it, I may reach out for interviews to some of you.

[ edited by ellievhall on 2011-02-24 01:17 ]
It seems odd to me that fandom are pretty much united in not wanting a Buffy movie without Joss, but here's a fan campaign for Firefly with no hint of Joss' involvement.
To be fair, if we imagined some fantasy world where the campaign resulted in success, I don't think they, or Nathan, intend it to be Joss-free.
I suspect everybody just assumes joss would do it immediately.
Another thing to consider: Fox hasn't issued any kind of statement whatsoever on this whole thing. I think it's fair to say that they have no intention of selling the rights to Firefly and that the actions of a small group of people on the internet isn't going to change that.
20th is actually the last group who has any reason to say anything. It's all PR for one of their licensed properties, no matter what happens.
There was no campaign to get a movie. There was a campaign to get the Firefly DVD released. Simon | February 23, 21:55 CET

Jeremy and I beg to differ. There was indeed a large fan campaign to get the movie made at
Has an internet petition ever been successful?


I live in Toronto and there was a recent decision by the CRTC (our television/phone/internet regulators) that backed big telecom companies in their desire to limit ALL companies to a 25 gig download cap and to charge fees if you went over.

We went nuts.

More than 460,000 people signed an online petition to have the decision reversed. All the political party leaders were cc'd on it. Within weeks, the government threw out the decision and sent them back to the table. Was it easy? No.

Open Media asked supporters to raise $15,000 to help drive publicity in the interest of the public. They gave 48 hours to raise this with smaller companies agreeing to match raised funds. They got the money in under 24 hours.

Is this a pipe dream to bring back Firefly? Realistically, given all the pieces, probably. But it doesn't mean impossible. It might result in two or three episodes a year, British-model style. It doesn't have to be full length films or season-long arcs. There could be a new way of doing it.

Will they fail? Maybe. But there is NOTHING wrong with trying. NOTHING wrong with showing passion. I'd suggest a less cynical response and respect the effort. It WON'T happen if we all crap on it from the start.

I'm going to wait and see. If Joss or Nathan speak up, I'll be on board. As will all of you. They WON'T, however, if you're shooting it down ahead of time.

Sometimes it pays to be a bit unrealistic.
Brian, was registered after the movie was happening.
There's nothing wrong with passion. There is something wrong with intellectual dishonesty, anonymity, a lack of transparency, an unwillingness to discuss what's come before, and purposefully ignoring what the show's creator has said about fan funding.
PS. All of you on this site are leaders in this fan-driven community. We're here BECAUSE we're fans. How much more weight might this movement get if we get on board in THEORY at the very least? If we express an openness to the concept? What does it cost us?

Hell, Futurama came back. Family Guy came back. We got a movie. We've established PRECEDENT. That's not something to take lightly.
FWIW, gossi, their prior domain -- -- was around since June 2003. The earliest version I can find via Internet Archive is December 2003, although that already talks of Universal's involvement.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-02-24 01:53 ]
b!X, agreed. Not arguing that they need to be honest, upfront, and state intentions. Keep in mind, however, that it's been four or five days of action based on an off-hand, likely not serious comment. Again, wait and see.

I'm a hard-core realist. I also know that fandom will destroy these guys if they f*** with them. They may not be (and likely aren't) the solution, but they may be the catalyst for proper, driven action. That's what I support, not blind effort. Hope that makes sense.
I'll need to check my records, but I'm pretty sure the movie was in development already at Universal in June 2003. I think that's when Nathan posted saying it was happening on the old Prospero forum. I don't think it's been known before, but I was involved in the publicity at Universal's end before the movie was announced.

[ edited by gossi on 2011-02-24 01:56 ]
Again, wait and see.

Wait and see what? They've had ample time to explain who they are and why anyone should take their pitch seriously. They haven't. Instead, they've pimped out positive press, ignored realistic takes in the press, and pretended that cast/crew speaking positively about Nathan's flippant lottery remark is actually about the fan campaign.

I don't need to wait any longer to see this is naive and unrealistic. started out in life as, registered in 2003.
June 2003 is when Nathan et al mentioned the movie deal, gossi, you're correct. Presumably that it what triggered the registration of the domain in the same month.
For anybody interested, Nathan set cat bagless re movie here:

6/13/2003 4:05 pm
I certainly hope everyone has been having a great year and is looking forward to a great summer. i"m sure you all know by now that the next big thing for Firefly junkies will be the release of the DVD box set. Things to keep an eye out for: the three unaired episodes. the audio commentaries ( I did one with Joss for Serenity and with Alan for War Stories, I know the girls did one as well.) Adam Baldwin's rendition of The Hero of Canton (the man they call "me").
All looks great on the movie front. A recent dinner with cast members, Joss and the lovely Kai confirmed rumours that we will all be big damn movie stars. Thank you Joss.
Myself, I am still recovering from the heartbreak of Firefly being cancelled. I heard from somewhere something about a Fox industry promo showing what makes them so great inculded clips from Firefly. Interesting.
My dream? Every three years make a Firefly movie, like the Bond series- but they won't start to suck after a while. was registered the following day:

Created on..............: 2003-06-14 21:40:08 GMT

FWIW: June 2003, Nathan outs movie deal. December 2003, Firefly DVDs released. March 2004, Serenity officially announced by Universal.
Universal actually started making the behind the scenes stuff happen long before Serenity was 'announced'. The only time Universal actually received material from fans was from a small number of people who wrote to them to say they would be boycotting the movie (I'm not kidding) because they had heard Alan and Ron weren't signed to be in it. Chris B (I think it was) had to quietly email and ask fans stop writing to Universal, they were just waiting for deals to be locked.
Hence my use of the word "officially". ;)
I think lending support to every very vague "bring back Firefly" campaign does undermind credulity after a while. As has been shown every few months there is another effort that has no realistic goal in mind nor any idea of what to do with any money collected. It would be different if we learned that Joss himself was seriously trying different ideas for a live action expansion of the 'Verse, but that is so far from reality it is laughable.

Sadly I think the realistic time frame for a long term revival came and went in 2005 with "Serenity" and it's potential but never made triolgy.

Futurama and family Guy are way different, as I'm sure you know. Being animated they rely far less on actors and sets and on "Family Guy" at least half the "voice talent" is Seth McFarlane" meaning that schedule problems are easily resolved.

"Wait and see" for what? Joss is hardcore busy with the Avengers until at least 2012, after that he has several other projects in the works and those don't count what might happen as that movie/s draw closer. NF himself is renewed with Castle until 2012 at the earliest and likely beyond that since it is a popular show. Many other cast members are regulars elsewhere or might be after this pilot season.

Really, I can't believe how far this has gone based on an "If I won the lottery" coomment.
Also FWIW, not to go around in circles on old things, but here is the 2004- news page from
My take on how Serenity fans did the impossible is this: they raised HALF A MILLION DOLLARS for Equality Now with Can't Stop The Serenity screenings. Yeah, it passed the $500k mark last year. I can't think of any other fandom which has done that. I want to be clear: if there was any semi-maybe-possibly realistic way to revive this thing as was, I'd be all over it. I love Firefly. I still dream about stories which haven't been told. Like the Young River stuff.

The Serenifly fandom is something which hasn't died. That's amazing. But the movie didn't happen because we made a campaign for the movie. It happened because of Universal and Joss' vision of a movie future not based on a sequels of prequels.

Is Sereniverse dead? Well, the creator is currently doing one of the biggest movie releases of next year. And it's not like he's constantly fighting Fillion when he sees him. Ultimately, when it comes to joss whedon's career, anything can happen. The rulebook here is in the bin. Welcome to entertainment chaos.
I think the mythological confusion over getting the movie made persists mainly because if, say, the DVD sales had sucked and the box set bombed, Universal might have taken a step back and wondered if they'd miscalculated.

There is an interview with Joss on from early December 2003 when the DVDs came out in which he refuses to discuss the movie "because talking about it would make it less likely". As near as I can recall, that's roughly the time where the business aspects were still being nailed down, and about the time that the original draft was scrapped.

But all of that is a far cry from "fan campaigns and DVD sales got the movie made". It's more a matter of "fan campaigns and DVD sales probably made Universal more confident about their decision, and certainly let Chris B et al keep the flag waving". That's cool and all, but it's not necessarily "mighty" in the sense that campaigns like HNBF (the topic at hand) try to capitalize upon.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-02-24 02:27 ]
16 December 2003 is when Universal legal kicked into action over the project. The deals for actors followed not too long after from memory. But my memory is sketchy. Firefly DVDs came out 9 December.

[ edited by gossi on 2011-02-24 02:36 ]
I think the issue here is deliverables. That, and the odd way this twosome has gone about things. As someone said, it would have been nice if someone from here was involved, but that still doesn't solve the problem. If it was my campaign for example, sure you've talked to me but that doesn't mean you know me.

The deliverables need to be clear. Are we buying the rights? Are we funding a production? Are we doing one and leaving the other to Joss? If this project were completed successfully and Joss didn't actually start a production, is everyone going to be happy still? Would Joss even accept it, realizing that he may be obligated to do something if it works? What about the rest of the cast? Personally, I don't think the rights are the issue. I think a production that covers its expenses are the issue.

Also, the expenses need to be up front. Running a non-profit entity doesn't mean going into the red yourself. The person who runs this is going to need to engage legal council, financial analysts (preferably multiple) to establish net present value of the license, and it may be advisable to have someone hired who has done this type of negotiation before. It needs to be disclosed that those funds will come out of the pot.

I think we get sidetracked to say "no fan initiative has ever..." or "fan based ... can't work." That confuses the issue. Yes, fan initiatives on the internet work all the time. They're called political campaigns. The internet can (and has) funded high dollar projects before as well, including Wikipedia which costs quite a bit to operate. Wikileaks (politics aside) is another one.

It's not that it can't be done. It's not that it won't ever be done. It's, aside from the social networking aspect that these two have going for them, do they have any idea what they're doing past that? The way it's been handled so far, I doubt that. This has already gone on too long without basic questions being answered.

Now me personally, I'd like to see a fan execute this successfully at some point. There's a lot of fan money out there that WOULD be spent to make something like this if it was given the opportunity. That said, I think the big problem you have is the incompatible assumptions that the fan running it should take no money from the collected funds when that fan will undoubtedly be paying out of pocket for most of the required professional services not to mention personal time spent. That's where I think you get hucksters from. No rational fan would take that deal and the only type of person who would would be the type working an angle.

Honestly, as an enterprise... I find the whole thing fascinating. This particular incarnation? 'Eh...

I wish I'd made a site first. :)
I don't personally have an objection to fan-funded work, azzers. If someday Joss were to post here that he'd set up a financial and legal infrastructure for fan funding, it's not like I'd argue against it. But the idea that fans can organize independently to fund something that the creative powers that be haven't signed on for from the beginning is sort of ludicrous.
The whole thing also seems silly since fox has stated they wouldn't sell the rights to begin with.
To me, as soon as you say "Joss were to post here that he'd set up financial and legal infrastructure" you've defeated it. That is Joss spending money out of pocket and actively starting the project. Why would Joss front money for something he couldn't reasonably be sure would even net him enough funds for what he needs? He's at immediate financial risk in something as risky as the internet. At that point, wouldn't he do better to just work within the system (put up some money and find some angels to go into it with)? And it's not really fan initiative at that point. But it is fan funded.

Grack I hear what you're saying, but money talks. And Fox doesn't improve the value on their books by holding properties they have no intention of using. "Not selling" is frequently short for "you'd better make me a good offer because I'm not giving this away."

[ edited by azzers on 2011-02-24 03:22 ]
Never say "never," but sometimes say "probably not anytime soon."
azzers, you're basically making my point, and underscoring what I imagine was part of what led Joss to reject fan funding of his work as a viable model. (I'm not sure I agree, but I imagine it's the way he was seeing it.)

But if it's unrealistic for Joss to assemble the financial, legal, and logistical framework for a fan-funded project, how is it realistic for fans -- who have no financial, legal, or logistical resources or expertise to draw upon and who simply do not have to be taken seriously by the industry powers that be -- to set something up and say "okay, Joss, now come do this"?

It isn't realistic. Which is my entire argument.

On a Joss-like scale, fan-funding only works if it's launched by the creatives themselves. And that's if such a thing would really work on that scale at all.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-02-24 03:22 ]
It seems odd to me that fandom are pretty much united in not wanting a Buffy movie without Joss, but here's a fan campaign for Firefly with no hint of Joss' involvement.

Buffy was an all-encompassing affair wherein Joss Whedon was essentially the entity that tied everything together and kept it focused. Firefly, because it was a much more intimate show on a technical level (finite number of characters literally stuck in a confined space) was much more reliant on its ensemble in terms of providing a sense of cohesion (an extremely successful strategy, as it turned out.) The actors and their characters ended up fitting so well in that universe that it really isn't that hard to imagine how additional elements would end up fitting in it as well, and as such the prospect of other writers being involved imo just doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

ETA: There's also a precedent in the case of Buffy for non-Joss Whedon helmed instalments having... issues.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2011-02-24 03:47 ]
I make the case it doesn't make sense for Joss to do it that way. Joss HAS contacts in Hollywood and works around business but I have no idea what his level of corporate expertise actually is, but in general can more easily and reliably raise capital from within the Hollywood system.

However you can't assume "the fan" who runs it has those same strengths and weaknesses. We use the phrase "the fan" to refer to someone who isn't involved in the current production but has interest. That does not mean "the fan" we're talking about isn't wildly successful in their own right. This person could be a successful fundraiser, work at a high level at a PAC, work as a corporate underwriter, or bring some other group of skills that Joss himself wouldn't necessarily posess. Fans aren't just kids in school. They are doctors, lawyers, and business owners. That type of person might actually find less risk taking a different path. Hollywood itself is relatively closed to outsiders who aren't already in possession of large wads of cash, the internet is not.

Where I find you are close to correct is the number of failed attempts or scammers that have led to such a cynical attitude that it may not be possible for that reason. And as I said, even if your deliverable was "We will purchase the rights to Firefly from Fox as a gift to Joss. We will not ask that he produce anything from it. The rights will be his free and clear." Someone who pays will inevitably raise an eyebrow if Joss doesn't produce something soon. I also see the scale problem, but it's very hard to quantify the maximum amount 30K fans are willing to pay on average per person. You don't know until you ask.

I hope I don't keep making this sound like the people we're talking about in this article are reputable people (I have no idea), I'm simply talking about the logic and possibility of doing something like this. That is what I find interesting.

[ edited by azzers on 2011-02-24 04:16 ]
Well, Firefly is trending at #7 on Yahoo right now. And that's just about The Science Channel playing it. I think that's a good thing.
Aye. I actually like the idea of a young-River at Alliance academy myself. Get Andrew Chambliss to get his crazy tech trials on. Or a post-Serenity show about the fall out from Mal's actions - bringing down a large government isn't without consequences.

The post is hashtagged #pipedreams.

Huh. Gossi, I thought you didn't like the idea of a Firefly spin-off.
I think we can take a few things as a given:

1) Anyone who is currently in power at Fox knows full well that their predecessors made a mistake in canceling Firefly. Hindsight is 20/20.

2) Especially considering how well the reboot of BSG did (a property most would have written off as dead long ago), Fox is unlikely to sell the rights to Firefly to anyone, for any reasonable price. If they sell it to someone else and it goes on to do extremely well, it would be very embarrassing to them.

3) Even if they did decide to sell the property, it's extremely unlikely they would sell it to a random conglomeration of fans. Not only is it something they don't understand well (we all know studios are resistant to what they don't understand), fans either doing well with the property where they couldn't OR squandering it would be equally embarrassing.

4) New Firefly content without Joss at the helm would be about as well-received as a Joss-less Buffy. No dice.

5) Considering his past experience with Fox specifically, and TV studios in general, it will probably be quite some time before Joss is willing to wade back into the political swamp of helming another studio-owned show.

Assuming this is true, I think any possibility of new Firefly content would have to start with Joss. Without his buy-in and leadership, no fan-run campaign (no matter how well-meaning) is ever going to succeed.

On the other hand, I have no doubt that browncoats kick as at raising money for a good cause. We've proven that time and again. When Avengers is done, and Joss is ready to start his next self-owned project (whether that be a Dr Horrible movie, Goners, or something completely new), fans could play a significant role in raising seed capital.

Again, it won't be a fan-run campaign. But if Joss started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $x million dollars for a new show, with different donation levels getting different perks (from DVDs to cast lunches to walk-on roles), he'd be able to make his capital in no time, and have the freedom to own his creation from the ground floor up.

I just hope we can convince him to do more with his properties on the licensing side. I'm thrilled we got QMx their small license. But there are dozens of other companies that would kill to create Dr Horrible licensed merch if they could only get permission. Trust me, I've done the research... :)
I think someone who knows what they're doing (not me) should, on the shoulders of this media attention and hype, do a fundraiser for charity.

It'd be a shame to let this excitement go totally to waste, I think that someone who knew what they were doing could ride this wave and guide it into something productive.
Can we get Gossi to write those spin offs please?!
Everything RayHill just said is dead on. 20th won't sell. They can't afford to sell. Joss is the only one who can lead this. I'm done with this topic. I'm officially flouncing off from this stupidity.

More Firefly is not stupid. Wanting to create content outside the studio system is not stupid. Wanting to create more Firefly (owned by a studio) outside the studio system is STUPID and delusional! Won't happen. Ever.

Make something else. I'll be there with my dollars. :)
Any campaign would have to start by saying that we want Firefly back and Joss to lead it, here are 500,000 of us who feel this way. Various other shows of support could happen like putting more emphasis on CSTS or other similar but as yet not in existence to my knowledge fund raising projects involving Firefly/Serenity.

At the very least we could hope that Joss takes the message to heart and tries to get something started with the fan base energized the way it is. Joss loved making it, the cast and crew mostly all said they loved doing it, indications are that Fox knows they could've done more with it... revived Firefly can happen through the studio.
electricspacegirl, I don't like the idea of a poor mans spin off. Ya know, 9 wacky new characters on a ship without joss at the helm under the Firefly name. Of course, I'm completely conflicted about the thing anyway - even if a full blown, properly done Firefly spin off was announced I'd be a bit suspect until somebody explained why the premise mattered. (My only reason for kicking the tire of something Alliance-based is that's the side of the story you never saw represented).
I like the idea of an official flounce, the idea of some bureau rubber stamping flounces makes me smile. There's probably permits and all sorts.

Other than that, not much to see here really right ? "Offhand Comment Causes Teacup Tempest in Fandom: Film at 11 (OK, we don't have film but we may have stock footage from the last time it happened)".
I make the case it doesn't make sense for Joss to do it that way. Joss HAS contacts in Hollywood and works around business but I have no idea what his level of corporate expertise actually is, but in general can more easily and reliably raise capital from within the Hollywood system.

For all we know, he may have already tried (and failed). He's not one for talking about projects that never got off the ground.
Or not for years anyway and then off-handedly. It may come out when he starts doing the press junkets for Avengers.
I think its been mentioned, but considering the reaction to Buffy Season Eight and some of Dollhouse, Angel and just about everything Joss has ever produced - fans funding something once and then seeing something they don't like is so problematic. "We gave you money, you blew up Serenity!"
Would Joss have made the same story decisions if Serenity had been fan-funded? It's an interesting "what-if".
I think the mythological confusion over getting the movie made persists mainly because if, say, the DVD sales had sucked and the box set bombed, Universal might have taken a step back and wondered if they'd miscalculated.

Also because Joss explicitly utilized this myth in his intro to the prescreenings. I love you, Joss. But with the last bit of that, I think you set every subsequent fan campaign in motion.

Also why am I the only noisy one who seems to remember that when Browncoats did the impossible and were mighty, it was at the Battle of Serenity Valley where they lost?
Sure, bring facts into it. I don't see it catching on personally but g'luck with it.
Gossi you were reading into my suggestion. Never ever did I say Joss wouldn't be at the helm of a spin-off. I think that's an absolute must.

I don't get your apprehension about a Firefly spin-off. To me, that universe is rich enough to warrant a franchise the likes of Stargate. There are so many story possibilities.

I'm not saying I think a spin-off or two is going to happen. It probably won't. But it would be so nice if it did. Cuz Firefly as we know and want more of it, is totally dead. We'll never see that show again, except on our DVDs. Unfortunately. But the universe? If Joss still wants to tell more stories within it, I hope someday he gets to. Maybe when he's a famous movie director after Avengers is a big hit. :) Yes, I like to dream.
Yhere actually is a Joss-sanctioned, Fox-and-I-think-Universal-okayed entire fan feature film, "Browncoats: Redemption." All of the major entities were okay with it as long as *all* money made from it went to charity. This seems like a perfectly good venture that succeeded within the parameters set for its existence. However (since this is the first time I'm seeing it mentioned in this thread, for starters), this doesn't seem widely considered to be a major reboot/continuation/whatever. I can't see Nathan Fillion signing on to a Jossless "Firefly," I can't see too many fans considering a Jossless/Fillionless 'Verse thing filling the "Firefly" void and after everything that's happened, I can't see Joss Whedon coming back to the 'Verse without full control.
Weren't people incredibly apprehensive before the start of The Next Generation too? I get that Roddenberry is completely different from Joss in that Joss is about telling a singular vision and Gene liked exploring ideas, no matter who told them but I can still see Joss working on a Firefly-based project at the same time as doing whatever else is as long as the main control was with Jane Espenson, Tim Minear, Shawn Ryan or whoever. If he is crazy enough to have three shows on at one stage, with a hand in everything, I'm sure he can manage a some films while consulting on a Firefly show.

...nope. I don't want it. I don't want the show to be Jossless. I can't... I started this post being more positive about the idea but it can't happen anymore. I recommend everyone to write this post - it will sort out their brains. :p
Sidebar, but:

One of things I respect professionally about joss - like, a LOT - is he doesn't appear to let his name be used on things outside of his control where possible. Witness the complete lack of Firefly novels. I dig that. If he decides he has a Firefly story which needs to be told at some point, he could make it happen in a book by supervising it. I'm sure he could have made some degree of extra money at some point by putting his name to other peoples TV shows, that sort of thing -- I'm sure he gets offers -- but he hasn't. If his name is on something, he's probably going to be all over it. That's the way, in my head, things should work.
I think its been mentioned, but considering the reaction to Buffy Season Eight and some of Dollhouse, Angel and just about everything Joss has ever produced - fans funding something once and then seeing something they don't like is so problematic. "We gave you money, you blew up Serenity!"

Which, of course is the reality of all show funding. The reason Dollhouse was "ruined" by Fox at the pilot stage (note the sarcasm) was Fox didn't like what they initially got.
Ok, this is starting to spin wildly out of control... Although I guess it can't hurt that the show is getting some mainstream press coverage...
...nope. I don't want it. I don't want the show to be Jossless. I can't... I started this post being more positive about the idea but it can't happen anymore. I recommend everyone to write this post - it will sort out their brains. :p

I wouldn't say that I would want a Joss-less show, but to me the thing that really draws me in to that show is the universe and the way in which characters inhabit it (the whole different people staring out into the abyss and their reactions to it spiel) - conditions laid out by Joss so masterfully that I really wouldn't worry about people screwing it up without him (infact I think it would be interesting to see what other writers/directors working in the 'Verse could come up with on their own - there's a lot of space in that 'Verse.) Imo Firefly has always had the potential to be the franchise that Star Trek was supposed to be, but never really was, and if there was ever a case in which I would actually be okay with the existence of a franchise zombie Firefly would be it.
Imo Firefly has always had the potential to be the franchise that Star Trek was supposed to be, but never really was...

Hmm, in what respect ? Presumably you mean in some specific way brinderwalt since claiming that Trek isn't a (huge) franchise seems pretty hard to defend.

The Sereniverse is quite rich IMO and could sustain a spin-off, maybe two. But ultimately it's "just" a (kind of) dystopia, in sci-fi those're ten a penny. The main characters and (at least) Joss' hand on the tiller made it what it is for me, without those it's less interesting.
Hmm, in what respect ? Presumably you mean in some specific way brinderwalt since claiming that Trek isn't a (huge) franchise seems pretty hard to defend.

Insofar as it lived up to Gene Roddenberry's original pitch for what the show was, namely, Wagon Train to the stars - aka a saga of random everyday people journeying out into the unknown and having to come to terms with that kind of existence. A byline that, imo, Firefly did a far better job of expressing in its short run then the Star Trek franchise (with the occasional exception) ever has.
I'm especially fond of the comments thread on their update today, wherein (surprise!) people are conflating FOX and 20th, and in which one person in essence thinks the campaign should publicly shame Nathan and Joss into saying something about the effort. (The commenter doesn't use the term "shame", obviously, but that's basically what it would be.)
Ive felt this for a while, but Im finally going to post it here.
Whedonesqers are becoming elistist and, basically, douches. You know that there are many times more fans of Joss' work than come here to this unofficial blog right?
It feels like there are people here that think 'if its not done by us, its just not official.' Screw all you that think like that.
This 'anonymous' and 'unofficial' fan movement has probably done more to actually UP the chances of Firefly returning than anything that hs ever been on this blog.

[ edited by Beren77 on 2011-02-25 04:08 ]
It's beautiful to dream of more Firefly, but PLEASE DON'T SEND ANY MONEY. Just keep being great Browncoats, which you are!
-- Nathan Fillion
Beren, what kills me is that there are legitimate criticisms of the HNBF campaign, and many of us have managed to express them without, for example, calling the people behind it names like douches. And yet here you march into this thread and start throwing curses around at fellow Whedonesquers. I think that speaks volumes.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2011-02-25 04:31 ]
Whedonesqers are becoming elistist and, basically, douches.

It's probably for the best we parted ways in that case.
So now Nathan speaks out and yet people at HNBF think he said that to satisfy his agents or the Castle producers, or he only said that because he just had 140 characters to work with?

So they're only waiting for Nathan and Joss to answer if it's the answer they want? Because Nathan is obviously not down with this idea, and yet they still think it's a great way to raise money.

As for us being elitists, look. I'd love to be able to create TV and film content through fan campaigns, but the industry just doesn't work that way. We're being realistic, and well, cautious. We've been on this page many times before and we know how the story ends.
Maybe Nathan will clarify it with more than 140 characters and with a more forward statement during the Nerdist interview-perhaps that will finally get their attention and make them see the light. Let's hope so. *sigh*
I remember long ago when I wanted to have Firefly back so much and folks here were negative ( rightly so ) about it's chances of ever coming back and it was hard for me to not get frustrated. But I finally improved my knowledge of the fandom, it's history and truly paid attention with an open mind to what was being said here and realized folks here had been there, done that and KNEW for sure what they were talking about.

I hope the fans pursuing this will realize it too.

In the meantime my thoughts on this are simple. We took our sadness over the loss of a tv show and made that into something much shinier. Our commitment to charities like CSTS and KNTR are the legacy we should keep going with. To me, it's a much wiser decision than pledging money to try to get a show back.

I think what might sometimes come off as elitism is shared experience. The whedonesque regulars have been through a lot together over the years, including quite a few "bring back firefly" campaigns and a group of convention runners who disappeared with several hundred thousand dollars of our money. There are also quite a few people who work in the entertainment industry and have more insight than most on how things really work behind the scenes.

Any new campaign that begins will invariably be viewed through that lens by the folks here. If the campaign echos flaws from previous campaigns or is based on logic that just doesn't make sense from inside the industry, those who know better are bound to point these issues out. More importantly, any *anonymous* campaign (especially where the organizers go out of their way to maintain their anonymity despite requests to the contrary) will be met with a great deal of suspicious for a very good reason.

As for the douche comment, well, I think it's fair to say that we all get that "not so fresh" feeling from time to time.
Balance is important because it's so easy just to become knee-jerk cynics after seeing it so many times so a bit of cautious "Wait for more information" style optimism in these situations is always welcome IMO (so long as someone else does it - play to your strengths and all that ;). BUT there's a difference between cautious, informed optimism and blind pie in the sky and when you see the same old stuff being trotted out time and again (the fans got Serenity made etc.) then it gets frustrating.

(kudos to those who've taken the time to look back and inform themselves of what's gone before so that - hopefully - we aren't doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes)

Insofar as it lived up to Gene Roddenberry's original pitch for what the show was, namely, Wagon Train to the stars - aka a saga of random everyday people journeying out into the unknown and having to come to terms with that kind of existence.

Ah, I get you now brinderwalt. You're maybe being a bit too literal though in that case, his intention wasn't an actual "Wagon Train" [but to the stars] (the phrase he uses is "a 'Wagon Train' concept"), he just used that as a jumping off point (since they're travelling around and sometimes stories will centre on secondary characters and so on). The lead is still a starship captain, his crew is still prominently featured, the focus is sci-fi action-adventure etc. Here's the full text (in PDF) of his original pitch and (particularly if you're a fan) it makes pretty fascinating reading (how many TV show pitches include the Drake Equation* ?!). A lot changes from pitch to screen (most of which many fans will already be aware of) but it's actually pretty close to what we ended up with (particularly if you don't count changes made after the pilot).

* OK, it's not actually Drake's equation cos Roddenberry didn't have it to hand so made it up but that's what he was aiming for ;)

This thread has been closed for new comments.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.

joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home