Like all Firefly fans, I’m rejoicing at the recent news that the Firefly movie has been green-lighted. Any return to this rich and detailed universe can only be a good thing. Can’t it?
Personally, I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I don’t care whether or not the movie is wildly popular— we all know it won’t be a blockbuster, and I seriously doubt there’s any chance of a franchise being developed here. The most we can hope for is a revived television series after the movie comes out. As Joss Whedon has already said, it’s a second chance for a series that was never given a first chance.
But personally, I’m not sure a movie is the way to go with Firefly. After all, one of the show’s greatest strengths was its intertwined character arcs and subtle, slow development over time. That can’t be accomplished in a single two-hour movie. Characters must be introduced quickly— BAM!— and then you get on to the action. If you spend the first 45 minutes introducing everyone and developing their background again, then you get a yawning audience and everyone loses interest.
In addition, Firefly was always about small-time action, about the “little people” getting crushed by the big machines of the Alliance and real life. Remember the simple goal in the opening voiceover? “Keep flying...” That hardly seems like feature film material to me. And in that case, making the series a whole lot bigger would possibly constitute a betrayal of the original premise(s) of the series.
I’d much rather see a made-for-TV miniseries (the route that Farscape is taking) than a feature film. A miniseries would allow the characters time to grow, to take hold, and for the action to develop properly. Although I love Firefly, I don’t want to see Firefly just for Firefly’s sake. I want to see quality Firefly. And to me, that means that we need to see quiet moments with Zoe and Wash or Simon and River, quiet introspection with Mal and Book, or relaxed conversation with Inara and Kaylee. A feature film means none of that stuff that made Firefly great, just lots of slam-bang action.
I guess we’ll just have to trust in Joss Whedon’s writing talent. It’s his story; I’m sure he’s going to treat it with care and not betray his premises— at least not in any ways that matter. We’ll just have to wait, and trust.