Finally, The Joss Whedon/Serenity Panel
Luckily, Kevin Smith seems to have a
good sense of humor about himself. Because if WonderCon serves
as any gauge, he may have lost the top spot as Convention
Deity. Oh, sure, his panel was crowded and fun, but Joss Whedon
is breathing down his neck, slightly better dressed and seemingly
able to juggle a major fan franchise, shooting a movie and
writing comic books all at the same time.
After announcing that he would, indeed,
continue doing that juggle, Whedon also had the graciousness
to open up his panel to a few of his friends. True, Smith
often brings Jason Mewes, but let's face it - Mewes doesn't
capture female fans' interest quite like Nathan Fillion,
aka "Captain Tightpants."
Whedon introduced Fillion and two other
key castmembers from the upcoming Serenity, Summer
Glau (River) and Adam Baldwin (Jain). It should come as
no surprise that they all seemed really happy to be there,
and happy with each other. If extended clip Whedon showed
WonderCon is any indication, they're working on a great
Yes, Whedon gave San Francisco an exclusive
sneak peek at Serenity. A few years back at Comic-Con,
he previewed the pilot for Firefly, and though it
showed promise, it wasn't all that gripping. Joss learns.
The sequence here had everything fans could want. More importantly,
it had everything to suck in some new folks, too.
The crew of the Serenity heist a vault
hidden under a saloon. With ample time to showcase many
of the crew, they go about disarming everyone and reaching
their inside man. But just as they're about to start loading
up, River has a psychic flash that almost knocks her cold.
Outside, a dark ship makes planetfall - and River utters
the word that should terrify any sane man in the territory.
Whedon promised when he first began thinking about this
film, our heroes take on the worst menace this far future
has to offer. And though it happened almost too fast for
the WonderCon audience to register, this time we get to
actually see the Reavers. (The series had only shown
the aftermath of a Reaver attack.)
mighty crew of the Serenity...or at least some of
later moment, Whedon described the Reavers as being an analog
to the Apache in old Westerns. Rather than ascribe the worst
in human behavior to a specific ethnicity, he chose the
Reavers to make it clear that this darkness was a part of
human nature. When asked about the influence of the Scottish
Highland Reavers, he claimed ignorance of their existence,
but with Whedon it's hard to tell if he was truly ignorant,
kidding or just sparing a fan's feelings for asking about
rate, the lights came up to thunderous applause, and the panel
started taking questions. Many hit the usual fan marks, though
a moment of respect lowered on the room when one man thanked
Whedon and the cast on behalf of a buddy currently serving
Until this panel, I had no idea what a heartthrob Fillion
had become in fandom. He seemed to take it all in good humor,
referring to his own greatest personal challenge in shooting
Serenity as "the nudity." Not, of course, on camera
but the personal nudity that Joss Whedon demanded.
too, can create a cult TV show and have beautiful
women gaze at you like this...
A surprising number of "questions" really consisted of requests
for Baldwin and Glau to just repeat lines of dialogue from
the Firefly series. One fan did note that Glau's
character of River seemed to be a lot more in control of
her powers in the film clip shown, to which she replied
ominously, "River's a lot more in control." To which Fillion
had to make cuckoo noises...
response to numerous questions about acting challenges,
the series creator credited his actors for always being
eager to experiment and then be willing to just do what
he says. Sometimes, both ways work, especially with Baldwin,
who might get a dozen ideas shot down but still seems absolutely
in the moment in character in a final scene. And Whedon
should now know, by his own admission having watched the
footage of Serenity far more than he ever did for
the weekly series.
also made sure that a couple of key behind-the-scenes people
got acknowledged. In particular, he singled out Mary Parent
at Universal for believing in the idea of a Firefly
feature film. Oh, he's probably offered the praise before,
but for fans, it can never be said enough. He also mentioned
that David Newman would be doing the score for Serenity
after the original composer wasn't quite working out. In
a very smooth line (fanboys, take note of this sort of thing),
Whedon mentioned that he'd heard Newman's theme for River
and it was beautiful "...almost beautiful enough for River."
Of his previous creative children, Whedon
did affirm that he would love to do a Spike television movie.
But when asked if he would do a Buffy movie, he just
smiled through slightly clenched teeth and dropped, "I'm
not the one you should be talking to about it." For that,
we can only blame Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Glau watches Nathan Fillion call her cuckoo, and
the slow process of killing him with her brain.
While the audience was distracted with
such information, Fillion quietly dialed his cellphone.
The panel was interrupted by his phone conversation, then
he held the speaker phone up to the mike. Thanks to the
miracle of modern technology, Alan Tudyk got to briefly
join his castmates on the panel.
At first, Tudyk seemed incredulous until
the crowd cheered for him. Then Fillion asked, "maybe you
could clear up a question that we've been going round and
round on here. What was your favorite scene ...of mine?"
Without hesitation, the voice crackled,
"When you were naked. It's not a sexual thing."
They wrapped up with a promise to see each
other online for a little Halo 2, and just in time. The
panel ended, and Whedon and company were free to roam the