Joss Whedon Feels “Unfettered Joy” for VERONICA MARS Kickstarter Success, but It Won’t Work for Another FIREFLY Movie

     March 14, 2013


When the Veronica Mars movie reached its $2 million fundraising goal on Kickstarter in just 10 hours, devoted fans began to imagine what other cancelled shows could seize this financing opportunity.  The first series that came up, repeatedly and emphatically: Firefly.  After all, no one can mobilize his core fanbase like Firefly creator Joss Whedon.  And Whedon admits that his first reaction to the unqualified success was “unfettered joy” because he feels like this is “a real game-changer.”

But before you get your hopes up, Whedon went on to explain why this will not lead to another Firefly movie anytime soon.  Read what he had to say after the jump.

Whedon clarified to Buzzfeed that, even if they had the funds, it would be difficult to round everyone up for another go-round:

joss whedon firefly movie

“That’s what everybody wants to know about. Uh, yeah. My fourth feeling when I read about [the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign] was a kind of dread. Because I realized the only thing that would be on everybody’s mind right now. I’ve said repeatedly that I would love to make another movie with these guys, and that remains the case. It also remains the case that I’m booked up by Marvel for the next three years, and that I haven’t even been able to get Dr. Horrible 2 off the ground because of that. So I don’t even entertain the notion of entertaining the notion of doing this, and won’t. Couple years from now, when Nathan [Fillion]‘s no longer [on] Castle and I’m no longer the Tom Hagen of the Marvel Universe and making a giant movie, we might look and see where the market is then. But right now, it’s a complete non-Kickstarter for me.”

The cast and crew are attached to the property enough that if the opportunity arose, I believe Whedon and Co. would find time eventually.  (Whedon says in this very interview it’s still true he “would love to do another one.”)  But “eventually” is the operative word in that very uncertain hypothetical.

The Veronica Mars crew set a modest minimum goal $2 million, because you can produce a modern-day detective story for cheap if need be.  A movie set in outer space 500 years from now is more complicated.  Whedon elaborated:

firefly serenity movie

“We come to Veronica Mars to hear her talk and hear her father talk. But Firefly/Serenity, it’s kind of a different animal — and then there’s also the question of what kind of animal it is. Because some people are talking about Firefly episodes. Some people are talking about [a new] Serenity. I think anything we could get off the ground would be appreciated by the fans. But what form it would take is I think under some debate.

For me, [Kickstarter] doesn’t just open the floodgates. God knows, things are cheaper now than when we made even Serenity. Good effects can be done in a different manner. Nor is that universe all about spectacle either. But it is a tad more expensive — and a little all-consuming! And of course, there’s the other fear: What if it’s not that good? I can do something that’s not that good — that’s fine. But if I do that and it’s not that good, I’m going to feel really stupid.”

There has been some controversy about the ethics of a corporate-backed enterprise asking for money from fans upfront without financial reward on the backend.  That would not hold Whedon back:

“I understand that it feels not as pure, and that the presence of a studio makes it disingenuous somehow. But people clearly understood what was happening and just wanted to see more of the thing they love. To give them that opportunity doesn’t feel wrong. If it was a truly wrong move, I don’t think it would have worked. I feel like people would have said, ‘Hey, that’s not fair! That doesn’t count!’ It costs a lot to see a movie anyway. And it’s usually not one you like. That kind of passion, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. I might not be thinking it through. I’m not exactly business Joe.”

Regardless of how you feel about movie studios on Kickstarter, it is exciting to watch this play out.  Maybe Whedon won’t hop on board right away, but someone of the same ilk will sooner than later now that we know there are millions of dollars out there, waiting to revive cult properties.  I am already dying to see the second test case.

firefly reunion joss whedon nathan fillion summer glau

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  • Lance

    I call baloney. The fact of the matter is, after Avengers Whedon is “too big” to go back to Firefly. That’s the truth. He’s (probably legitimately) concerned about what an underperforming film would do his ascension into the big league of directors.

    • will

      I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I don’t think he wants to do another Serenity, but we could easily see a Firefly webseries, or a Netflix continuation like with Arrested Development. Whedon only wrote and directed 3 of the original episodes (Not to mention that he didn’t write or direct “Out of Gas”, the best episode of them all IMO).

    • Antara Chowdhury

      I don’t know how long you’ve known about Joss Whedon, but if you’ve known him pre-Avengers then you’d know that’s completely not true. Whedon would never let fear of an under-performing film stop him from doing something he was passionate about. His first film post-Avengers is a black-and-white Shakespeare adaptation that was filmed in his house in 12 days! That’s not exactly the type of movie most of America goes out to see. Joss Whedon and the cast of Firefly truly love that show, and they’ve all said countless times over the years that they would love to revisit it if they could. But Joss is incredibly busy with Marvel, and Nathan Fillion is the star of his own show. They wouldn’t have the time to do anything Firefly-related right now anyway, even if a studio gave them the money for it.

    • dogg

      He’s afraid of screwing it up! It’s one thing to take a on a new IP and fall short, it’s another to screw up a beloved classic. I can’t blame him for not wanting to make another AfterMASH. Serenity felt like a damn final ending. Now if HBO hired him to do a new series in the same universe…

    • Lance

      There was a man named J.J. Abrams who said he was too busy with Star Trek to ever take on a Star Wars film. Then the situation changed and he realized he could do both.

      If Whedon really wanted to revisit Firefly, he’d find a way. There’s just not really an upside for him now, only risk.

      And whatever Whedon’s career was before Avengers, we really have yet to see what direction it will take post-Avengers. In five years time, who knows? We might be reading interviews where he says things like “We’ve really put a lot of extra sizzle in Avengers 4, some really cool set pieces… that’s what the audience wants, not character angst, and I’m not going to fight them. And thanks for asking about Battleship 3 — I think this time we’ve really got the mix right, these aliens are just going to floor you when you see them in Smell-O-Vision 4D.”

      If you say it could never happen, just look at the career of George Lucas before and after Star Wars.

      • Sean

        Abrams was only committed to Star Trek through this Summer. Whedon is committed to Avengers/Marvel for several more years. And all Whedon said was, it’s not an option right now.

        I don’t think there’s any reason to assume dubious motives from the guy following his massive hit with a literally home made take on Shakespeare and still wants to make a sequel to his musical webseries. Back in the 90′s he was a A-list screenwriter/script doctor and instead of pursing that career he decided to make a TV series out of his not so warmly received show about a teenager who kills vampires. He seems to be a pretty straight shooter when it comes to what he wants.

  • will

    OK, I like Whedon’s pop culture referencing as much as the next guy, but seriously, “Tom Hagen of the Marvel Universe”?! The guy and his own dialogue are starting to implode in on themselves.

  • MmmHmm

    I think a Firefly animated series to fill in the gaps would be cool. Kind of like The Clone Wars (either version) or even The Animatrix one off DVD. Have it build up momentum to a new movie or an extra season on Netflix.

    • Tarek

      Hummm… Animated series…. Hummm…
      This is not turtle ninjas boys.

      • Mickey7

        The new seasons of BtVS are comic books so why not an animated Firefly series?

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  • Da Truf

    Dear Mr. Whedon,

    It has already been 10 years since the show ended and truthfully, NOBODY wants to see the “COCOON” version of Firefly, so GET CRACKIN’ ALREADY!!!!

    Your Biggest Fan
    Da Truf

  • Ethan

    I wonder if this is potentially the way that the end up financing at least part of the Arrested Development movie after the 4th season is released on Netflix.

  • The Blue Elephant

    i would backup a kickstarter firefly movie/show in a heartbeat.

  • elikias

    The sad truth is that Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin’s faces are too puffy for them to reprise their roles at this point.

  • Sit Down and Shut Up

    SO he’s upset that Veronica Mars is getting a movie backed by fans because he’s afraid Firefly fans will want the same. Way to make something not about you about you, Whedon. Your ego is showing a tiny bit.

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