The "Veronica Mars" movie raising $3 million and counting via its Kickstarter campaign has raised a lot of (somewhat uneasy) questions about the future of film funding and Hollywood's exploitation of its fans. The more "fun" questions, however, have been related to what other now-defunct TV shows should go the "Veronica Mars" route and get their fans to shell out the cash for a big-screen revival.
One of those shows is most definitely "Firefly," Joss Whedon's much-beloved but astonishingly short-lived 2002 sci-fi western series. "Firefly" got a terrific feature film adaptation in 2005 in the form of "Serenity," which garnered acclaim from both critics and audiences but made a worldwide gross of just under its $39 million budget. The Kickstarter success of "Veronica Mars" could pave the way for the return of Captain Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) and his ragtag gang of space mercenaries, though it's definitely not something we'll be seeing any time soon ... mostly because of Whedon's commitments to the entire Marvel universe.
"I've said repeatedly that I would love to make another movie with these guys, and that remains the case," said Whedon in an interview with BuzzFeed, in which the self-described "Veronica Mars" super-fan expressed "unfettered joy" over the success of the Kickstarter campaign. "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."
It's true -- making a Shakespeare movie with your pals in your back yard is one thing, but trying to fit in a new "Firefly" adventure amidst the all-consuming extravaganza that is "The Avengers" is probably an impossible endeavor, even with superpowers. But hey, maybe some day?
"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," said Whedon, making a somewhat strange "Godfather" reference that a lot of people probably didn't get. "But right now, it's a complete non-Kickstarter for me."
Another issue is the fact that $3 million in fan money would be swell and all, but such an amount doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what would be needed for a sci-fi action film like another "Serenity." True, the first movie was made for only $39 million (and looked like it cost at least twice that) and Whedon is as cost-conscious as the next guy, but such a project would still require a considerable chunk of change that Universal probably isn't too keen on shelling out itself -- and that no legion of fans could probably ever afford, no matter how damn "passionate" they are.
"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," said Whedon. "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!"
The main thing that keeps another "Firefly" movie on the backburner more than scheduling or funding is that Whedon's head just isn't in a "shiny" place right now, at least enough to deliver a truly quality product that fans deserve.
"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."
Whedon is currently hard at work on pre-production of "The Avengers 2," which will hit theaters in May 2015. However, don't be surprised if he finds a way to squeeze in a cameo in the "Veronica Mars" movie, as he did in the Season 2 episode, "Rat Saw God."