Saturday afternoon, in front of a packed Hyatt Centennial Ballroom, four crew members from the beloved ship Serenity met for the first and only time at this Dragon*Con in front of a packed Hyatt Centennial Ballroom. And as if Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, and Summer Glau weren’t enough, Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk joined the festivities via prank-call not five minutes into the panel.
Despite the colossal audience attendance, the familiar energy between the stars was immediately present, and all of them kept the tone casual. To put an end to Fillion’s cellular interruptions, Baccarin told him, “You are the weakest link! Goodbye!” When Maher confessed to frequent vomiting from nervousness at playing new roles, Staite exclaimed with a giggle, “This is a classless panel!” Later, the entire audience held up their middle fingers so that Baccarin and Staite could send camera phone pictures to Fillion and give the prankster a taste of his own medicine.
Watching the actors interact as they did on the show was a true gift. Staite and Baccarin teased and hugged each other, every bit the quasi-sisters Kaylee and Inara were on Firefly. Maher, seated next to screen-sibling Glau, made sure to repeat the questions she couldn’t hear through the earpiece she wore, and hung on to her every word.
Glau herself gave a beautiful description of River’s character and her growth throughout the series. When a fan asked how it felt to play someone crazy, Glau retorted: “She’s not crazy! She’s just misunderstood!” After the events of Serenity, she imagined River with her own ship and crew, managing a business.
“What kind of business?” Maher wanted to know.
“Jewelry-making,” she replied with a smile. “And crime.”
The family element, a core attraction of the show, seemed to be just as resonant for the actors as it was for all who watched. Discussing the genre of their sci-fi western, Staite declared, “I always saw it as a family drama!” to Maher and Glau’s vigorous nods.
“Are you guys on crack?” was Baccarin’s prompt retort. “It’s in space!”
At one point, Maher noted that his cheeks were sore from all the laughing; everyone in the room knew how he felt.
“Before we go,” Staite said as time ran out, “can we do something to embarrass my husband, Matty?” Collectively, the fans sang “Happy Birthday” to the lucky man. It was the perfect joyous end to a reunion of friends.
Nivair H. Gabriel has whiled away her twenty-four years of life on Earth as a writer, feminist, engineer, photographer, and fangirl. She is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and has contributed to io9.com, Fantasy Magazine, Pittsburgh Magazine, MIT's The Tech, and the Hugo Award-winning Weird Tales. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where she works as a technical writer by day and sometimes sleeps by night. She believes that the existence of Jon Stewart is proof of God's love for humankind. This is her fourth Dragon*Con.