It was a full house for the “Firefly Guests” panel in the Sheraton Grand Ballroom on Friday morning at 11:30AM. Fans dressed as Kaylee and Zoë, along with a veritable sea of Jayne Cobb hats, filed into the room to hear Alan Tudyk and Adam Baldwin wax nostalgic about Firefly and Serenity, along with other projects they have been in.
The questions were kicked off by moderator Aaron Sagers with a request for the guests’ first “Con” experience. Baldwin recalled how incredible it was taking a private jet as it was the first time he had been on one. Tudyk remarked that particular con was after Serenity and they had all attended San Diego Comic- Con. Tudyk then spoke about his first experience at the London convention, lovingly called the “Janky Con” due to an eclectic photographer he encountered who is also referenced in his show, Con Man.
Attendee questions followed with Tudyk handing out gifts—t-shirts, action figures, and props from Con Man—to those asking. The first question out of the gate: “When did you find out that Wash was going to die, and when did everyone else?” Tudyk replied that Joss Whedon called and explained that Wash dying would raise the stakes. Everyone was hurt—Zoë, Mal, Kaylee, even the doctor—and this was a rallying moment. “And really, he kills people. That’s Joss’s thing.” Baldwin recalled it was at a dinner when the show first started filming when “Joss told us none of our characters is the title of the show,” basically relegating all of them as supporting roles.
The next question was directed to Baldwin: “In Firefly, Chuck, and The Last Ship, you do a lot of grunting. What is your vocal warmup?” He responded that he is just an old curmudgeon and he channels his dad who used to sigh a lot due to his two brothers and himself causing his father much disgust.
“What is your favorite line from Firefly or Serenity?” came next. Tudyk answered first with, “Oh god, oh god, we’re all going to die,” closely followed by, “I’m a leaf on the wind.” Baldwin—after prompting from Tudyk about the apple eating scene, “Who eats an apple like that?” “That was my father’s switchblade,” he said. “I don’t like my hands getting sticky.”
A more academic question came next: “Both your characters were old enough and would have been around for the Unification War. What was your backstory?” Baldwin mentioned that Jayne was on another planet, probably drinking. Tudyk said, “Wash flew in one sortie and was shot down. He was taken prisoner and entertained the enemy troops with shadow puppets.”
In a departure from Firefly/Serenity, the next question was for Baldwin: “What was your favorite part of working on Chuck?” Baldwin’s reply came from the heart, saying his favorite thing, similar to their time on Firefly, was the family atmosphere. He stated that they were always under the possibility of cancellation and that fear is a prison. “By loving each other, that made it so the audience loved us.”
The penultimate question to Tudyk was in regards to the “This land…” scene in Firefly. “In the dinosaur scene, who wrote that? Was it scripted or was it improv?” Tudyk stated that there is very little improv in Joss’s shows, that everything is scripted.
The final guest question was a request for each of the actors to impersonate each other’s character. The outcome of this exercise drew howls of laughter from the crowd and was a perfect note to end on.
In hopes of enticing Joss Whedon to attend Dragon Con next year, the panel emcee announced they will be putting together a video to send to Joss. If you would like to participate, Tweet your Whedonverse selfie and tag it with #PleaseJoss. These will be included in the video.