At DragonCon this year, Firefly
actress Jewel "Kaylee"
Staite was scheduled to be a guest, and maybe do a panel or appearance
or two. Attendees got a special surprise, however, since both
Nathan "Mal" Fillion and Adam "Jayne"
Baldwin decided, unannounced, to keep her company at the con.
All three of them appeared at a special Firefly
panel, which was supposedly for promoting the upcoming Serenity
movie but which ended up as an hour of touching anecdotes, hysterical
banter, audience interaction, and cast practical jokes.
The panel got off to an odd start with a live performance
of the Firefly opening theme, with one guy on acoustic
guitar singing as another guy accompanied on the flute. I have
no idea who they were, but they weren't anything spectacular.
And as much as I like Firefly, I do have to admit that
the theme really kinda sucks when performed live on acoustic
instruments. It's like every lame folk song you've ever heard,
only with spaceships.
left: Nathan Fillion, Jewel Staite,
and Adam Baldwin. No, really.
When the three guests finally took the stage, they began with
an outpouring of gratitude for the fans whose support made the
movie possible in the first place. Adam Baldwin thanked the
fans for all their support, a very un-Jayne-like reaction, but
one that was obviously heartfelt by the actor. Nathan Fillion
also thanked the fans for letting him play Mal Reynolds yet
again. He seemed to be as big of a Firefly fanboy as
the people packed into that Atlanta hotel ballroom, saying "I
love watchin' it, I love bein' in it, and I love shootin' people
in the face."
After that, it was Jewel Staite's turn to say a few words.
However, what she had was a little different from what Nathan
and Adam had. Before the panel started, Peter David (yes, THAT
Peter David) had passed a paper from fan to fan in the audience,
asking them to perform a certain gesture in unison at a prearranged
signal. It seems that Nathan and Jewel had been having an ongoing
bird-war, seeing who could flip off the other the most times.
By the time of the beginning of the panel, Nathan was ahead
in the game, thanks to a few judicious birds in the Firefly
gag reels. When Jewel's turn to speak at the panel came, though,
someone stood up, said something to the effect of "On behalf
of Jewel Staite, the audience wishes to pay their respects to
Nathan," and then the entire audience stood up and gave
him the one-finger salute. With such a devastating coup de grace,
the flip-off war came to a sudden conclusion with an undisputed
victory for Jewel. Nathan himself could only respond, "You
guys . . . you guys, that's f***ed up."
That set the tone for the whole panel. Adam, for instance,
described how he hated how his character had to be on a ship
with a "wimpy captain". Fortunately, things did
settle down a bit during the question and answer session, though
the humor level didn't decrease one whit. When asked what motivated
the cast to take their roles, Adam responded with just one word:
"Money". He also rattled off Jayne's speech
about Vera, Jayne's favorite gun, and was ribbed a bit
by Nathan for forgetting part of it. Nathan also shared his
feelings about conventions in general, saying "There's
nothing like walking into a room with a whole bunch of people
who already like you."
Other questions were more serious, and were answered more seriously.
When asked how difficult it was to reassemble the cast for the
movie, Adam answered for everyone by saying "Joss just pushed
the red button, and we all came running." When asked what
the toughest part of the show was for her, Jewel said that it
had to be the scenes with bounty hunter Jubal, in the episode
"Objects in Space," though she did say that the actor
playing Jubal was incredibly nice and kept apologizing to her
after every take.
The most interesting question was what each cast member took after
principal photography wrapped on the series. Adam said he kept
Jayne's knitted hat, and wanted one of the Vera guns, but
wasn't allowed to have one. Jewel kept some Alliance money and
the cute girly Kaylee door sign. Nathan managed to snag a rubber
replica of his gun and a holster for it, and the catalyzer for
The panel wrapped up with a few amusing anecdotes and one hysterically
touching moment. Nathan and Jewel talked about how Ron "Book"
Glass would crack everyone up on set by constantly making fun
of the costumes worn by Inara, saying things like "Hey,
is the circus in town?" When asked what talk show he wanted
to go on to promote the Firefly movie, Adam deadpanned
"The View." And finally, one fan girl stood
up, and said it was her birthday that day, and as present could
the three cast members sing the Firefly theme for her.
So they did. In unison. And they were good.
Of all the things at the panel, that said the most about the show
and why it's so successful. Not only are the fans completely
and utterly devoted, but three of the main stars are willing to
go to cons, sing the theme song for their fans, and have all the
lyrics actually memorized!
With support like that from all sides, it's no surprise that
Firefly has risen from the dead.