A few weeks ago, Nathan Fillion mentioned that he'd buy the rights to the late, great, Firefly and start filming new episodes if he won the lottery. Subsequently, a few (hundred thousand) intrepid fans did their best to make that a reality, but www.helpnathanbuyfirefly.com has shut down after series creator Joss Whedon's sister-in-law publicly denounced the site on Twitter.
Maurissa Tancharoen is also a writer for such Whedon projects as Dollhouse and Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. This week she became a footnote in the colorful history of Firefly as well: after buzz about the fan movement reached a fever pitch, she sent out this Twitter message:
Guys, no one in the Whedonverse is in support of www.helpnathanbuyfirefly.com. Please save your money!
Tancharoen later amended her statement with a longer message, stating that there were no hard feelings from the Whedon clan, but Joss and Co. weren't comfortable with fans trying to take direct control of the Firefly rights, and even less with them collecting real money to do so. After the news broke, the organizers put a short message on Facebook announcing an official end to their efforts.
It should be noted that the site never took any collections, merely pledges. While they fell short of anything like the $300 million that Fillion first joked about, the pledges were still impressive. Roughly 12,000 fans pledged just over a million US dollars, with an average pledge of $85. 'Help Nathan Buy Firefly's Facebook page has 113,000 fans.
While I'd love to see Firefly on the air again as much as the next Browncoat, the movement had about a snowball's chance in a Capissen 38 engine. Fox was never under any obligation to sell the rights to Firefly - legitimately or not - and on the off chance that they saw millions of dollars worth of fan interest, they'd be much more likely to try a ham-fisted reboot themselves. Then there's commitments from the actors: Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin and Summer Glau (nevermind) all have steady gigs on other shows, to say nothing of Whedon himself, who's knee-deep in superheroes right now writing and directing The Avengers. Let's face it: it's coming up on ten years since the series was cancelled, and Serenity was a fitting, if bittersweet, end to the franchise.
It was fun while it lasted, folks. The 'Help Nathan Buy Firefly' organizers accomplished a lot in a short time, bringing a bunch of people some fanservice on Facebook and generating buzz for worthy projects like Child's Play, Whedon's equality charity Can't Stop the Serenity and fan movie Browncoats: Redemption. If nothing else, this incident showed how deeply 'the little TV show that couldn't' has embedded itself in the hearts and minds of geeks everywhere.
Don't forget, Science Channel is currently rebroadcasting all fourteen episodes of Firefly Sunday nights at 10 PM - and Captain Mal himself seems to be dropping Firefly and Serenity references every other week on Castle.