You’ve probably heard the news about the Kickstarter project to get a Veronica Mars movie funded. In case you haven’t, here it is in a nutshell: Veronica Mars was a fun, clever little series about a high-school private investigator (Kristen Bell) which ran from 2004-7. The first two seasons were great; the third wasn’t quite in the same league; eventually the show was cancelled. The creator, Rob Thomas, has been trying to get a Veronica Mars film off the ground ever since. Eventually, thwarted at every turn, he decided to see if the fans would pay for it. Last week he set up a Kickstarter campaign to raise $2 million: if he could hit that, he’d make the film and Warners had agreed to support him.
Within 24 hours, the campaign had hit $2 million, breaking Kickstarter records. As I write this, the film now has a budget of $3.6 million. It’s still going up and there’s still the best part of a month left of the appeal.
Much has been written this week about the pros and cons of such a scheme. People have been complaining that if fans are going to fund projects, the studios will get lazy and won’t want to fund things themselves (which is their job, of course). Others are sniping that the eventual movie won’t make any money. Many more, like me – and probably you – are wondering what other joys we can bring to the screen with our own hard-earned cash.
Personally, despite the fact I didn’t watch the series all the way through to the end, I’d like a Chuckmovie: it’s a perfect choice for a big-screen flick, although to pull it off properly it would need a lot more than Veronica Mars‘s $3.6 million. The Middleman also springs to mind – it would make a fantastic cult movie. I know many people are screaming for a Sarah Connor Chronicles film, as well, although with other new Terminator films on the way, that’s probably not going to happen. And why limit this to TV shows? If we could Kickstarter a Dredd 2, the world would be a magnificent place! That’s probably my favourite idea of all; supporting a film that was fantastic but which didn’t do well at the box office, just to show that it has enough potential for a sequel. Perhaps, with all the DVD and Blu-ray sales and rentals and good word of mouth, Dredd 2 would be a hit.
But the one show everybody’s talking about reviving is Firefly. So much so, in fact, that Joss Whedon himself has commented on it. He pointed out that he’s tied up for the next three years making Marvel stuff and couldn’t possibly commit to a Firefly film. I’ve seen people getting a bit uppity about this, leaving comments on websites moaning that Whedon should hand it over to someone else while he’s busy, but these people seem unable to comprehend the fact that many of the cast are also doing other things now. Scheduling a movie – with or without Whedon – would be a monumental pain in the ass for everyone. Nathan Fillion is filming Castle for most of the year. Gina Torres is doing sterling work on Suits. Alan Tudyk is in Suburgatory. Morena Baccarin stars in Homeland. Adam Baldwin – assuming the pilot gets picked up – could be starring in The Last Ship. Would all these people, and the others, quit their jobs to make a second Firefly film? Much as I’m sure they’d like to sail on the Serenity again, they still have contracts to honour and mortgages to pay. Nope, they won’t be doing that.
My main problem with another Firefly film, however, is the one that nobody seems to be talking about: it’s been a decade since Firefly aired and eight years since Serenity. These guys have aged. They’re all Hollywood-pretty, of course, so they’re still gorgeous, handsome and younger-looking than we can ever aspire to (jealous? Not me!), but they’re still noticeably older than they were the last time they sat on the Serenity’s bridge.
I can’t speak for you, of course, but I don’t like the idea of watching my favourite crew looking years older but stuck in the same place. Isn’t there something a little sad about them all still being on that ship after so long? Wouldn’t they have reached the natural end of their time together and scattered – settling on worlds, having kids, taking on the occasional space mission just for old time’s sake, before sailing home again? Mal might stay with the Serenity until his dying day, and possibly Zoe (unless she was pregnant at the end of the movie, which is my little theory), but Jayne, ever the mercenary, would surely have found a more lucrative team to work with. Inara could be doing anything (or anyone), perhaps at Mal’s side, perhaps not. Assuming they managed to deal with the blue-handed guys at some point, I’d like to think that Simon practises medicine somewhere, Kaylee works nearby at a spaceship repair lot, and River’s a dance teacher. Or a mime. Or a school dinner lady.
Okay, all of the above is a bit pants – this is why I’m not a screenwriter. If I was, there’d be more nudity. But the point stands: characters have to change if they’re meant to be realistic, and the thought of the Serenity crew remaining the same, frozen in amber, is the last thing I want for them. You can’t make a film now and pretend it’s picking up where the movie left off: too much time has passed. You can’t turn back the clock and pretend it’s still 2003 and the series is continuing, either. These guys deserve more. I think it’s best to leave them as we left them at the end of Serenity rather than breathing life into them again. As a chap named Victor Frankenstein once found out: when you bring back the dead, they’re never quite as perfect as you think they will be.
Finally, going back to Veronica Mars: a few of you may be unaware that Whedon himself is a fan, even making a cameo in one episode. You can see him ad-libbing madly in this gag reel from 3 mins 20 secs… And keep watching for additional Charisma Carpenter and Alyson Hannigan!