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:
“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:
“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.