The special includes clips from the drama, a round-table conversation with cast members including Fillion, Jewel Staite (who played Kaylee), Sean Maher (Simon) and Summer Glau (River), along with snippets from the Comic-Con panel headed by Whedon.
“I just wanted to make something that felt real, like a piece of history,” Whedon told the convention. “I wanted to tell an American immigrant story. I wanted to tell a Western story. But I need spaceships or I get cranky.”
The writer-director-producer grew emotional, telling the crowd at one point that “the story is alive” because of them.
The enduring popularity of a show that couldn’t get ratings traction in its first time around is something Fillion has pondered.
“There’s certainly more fans now than there’s ever been. It’s interesting that the show, being this brief moment in time, it didn’t have an opportunity to suck, to get bad,” he said. “So it’s this wonderful contained unit of what I like to think of as quality storytelling.”
The show has left its mark on a new and unsuspecting generation.
“`Firefly’ fans are out there and they’re breeding,” Fillion said. “I’ll be scanning Twitter and someone will show a baby and say, `This is Kaylee.’
“So I’m going to be out one day and someone will walk up and say, `I am Kaylee.’”
EDITOR’S NOTE _ Lynn Elber is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. She can be reached at lelber(at)ap.org.