As sure as water is wet, fire is hot, and the days of the week ending in "Y", you can rest assured that as long as there's a Television Critics Association press event and some kind of programming entity named "FOX" in existence that someone's going to ask about bringing back Joss Whedon and Tim Minear's Firefly. Granted, Minear and Whedon have done their part to keep the Firefly "comeback buzz" going among the fanbase (check out Minear's tweets here).
So credit The Wrap for bringing the Firefly revival question once again, to not only Minear but also to FOX President of Entertainment Michael Thorn during Wednesday's TCA winter press event.
● Thorn was cautious to not directly commit to anything (referencing Minear being "very busy" on FOX's 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star), but said "it's a good idea":
"The macro answer is, any time we look at one of our classic titles, if there's a way to reinvent it for today so it's as resonant now as the original was, and is, to the fans, we're wide open. I loved 'Firefly,' personally, and I watched every episode. I didn't work on it, but I loved the show. It had come up before, but we had 'The Orville' on the air and it didn't make sense for us to have, as a broadcast network who is very targeted, to have two space franchises on our air."
● As for Minear, he says he and Whedon have been talking about a revival at different points over the past decade – in particular, the options on how to approach a return to characters fans know so well:
"Joss did sort of revive it by making 'Serenity.' But we have talked about different permutations and how that might work. Do you take two of the characters and put them in a different place and sort of retell a new story with two old characters, with new characters?"
● While Minear admits that the logistics could be tough considering where everyone's careers have gone, he still sees the love and interest there – and the format that a Firefly revival should take ("I would love to see, like, an eight- or 10-episode limited adventure in that universe"):
"You're not gonna get everybody back — unless you did something like a limited series, like they did for 'The X-Files.' Then maybe you could get these people to come back. 'Cause Nathan is a little busy doing 'The Rookie.' But I also know, 'cause I just texted a little bit with Nathan over the weekend, when I posted those pictures from 'Firefly' and he got very sentimental. Everyone who worked on that show dearly loves it and they all still talk to each other. I still see Alan occasionally."
Speaking of Whedon… he's focusing his attention on HBO's upcoming epic sci-fi drama The Nevers. Whedon co-writes the project with Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie, directs, executive produces (along with Espenson, Petrie, and Bernie Caulfield), and serves as showrunner on the series, which focuses on a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world. Oscar-nominated production designer Gemma Jackson (Finding Neverland, John Adams, Game of Thrones) has also joined the project.
The Nevers stars Olivia Williams (Miss Austen Regrets), James Norton (Grantchester), Tom Riley (Dark Heart), Ann Skelly (Death and Nightingales), Ben Chaplin (The Children Act), Pip Torrens (Preacher), Zackary Momoh (Seven Seconds), Amy Manson (Torchwood), Nick Frost (Fighting With My Family), Rochelle Neil (Death in Paradise), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark), Denis O'Hare (American Horror Story), Laura Donnelly. Kiran Sonia Siwar (Brexit), Elizabeth Berrington (Good Omens), Ella Smith (Hoff the Record), Viola Prettejohn (The Witcher), Anna Devlin (12 Monkeys), and Martyn Ford (Kingsman: The Golden Circle).
"The Nevers": Cast of Characters (Updated)
● Williams' Lavinia Bidlow is a wealthy spinster and champion of the "Touched" who funds the Orphanage (where Amalia and many of the Touched live) through her vast family fortune. She is stern and old-fashioned, but as strong-willed and clever as anyone she confronts.
● Norton's Hugo Swan is a pansexual posh boy whose charm has about five years left on its lease. He runs a secret club and a side trade in blackmail. He's devoted to fulfilling everyone's worst impression of him – and fascinated by the Touched.
● Riley's Augustus "Augie" Bidlow is a sweet, disarming nerd and Lavinia's younger brother. A keen ornithologist, Augie is happy to let his older sister take the reins of the family fortune. He finds the Touched unnerving, but is drawn to them by his increasing infatuation with Miss Adair, and by the schemes of his nefarious best friend, Hugo.
● Skelly's Penance Adair is Amalia's (Donnelly) dearest friend, and one of the first women to join her cause. A devout – yet heretically progressive – Irish girl, Penance has genius for invention. She is delighted by her power, and her default is love and acceptance. But she's firm in her moral sense, and will be guided by what's right over what's expedient every time.
● Chaplin's Detective Frank Mundi is big, gruff, and deeply moral. He trusts no one, least of all himself: his reputation for sudden violence (and excessive drink) is not unwarranted. Frank finds himself caught between the powerful, who ignore the the laws of the land, and newly empowered, who ignore the laws of physics.
● Torrens' Lord Massen is staunch, unflappable, and merciless in his defense of the British Empire A former General and now Peer, Massen may be the only man who sees clearly what havoc these few strange people can wreak upon the established order. Which he will protect – one way or another.
● Momoh's Doctor Horatio Cousens is one of the few successful West Indian physicians in London. Married with a young son, Horatio's fortunes took a dark turn when he met Amalia and discovered his own ability. Now he works with her, and with the Beggar King, those who don't care who is or isn't "different."
● Manson's Maladie was committed by her husband (and is genuinely unstable), warped by a power she can't understand and tortured by doctors intent on finding its source. She now lives underground, runs a gang and is on an infamous murder spree. She affects a theatrical parody of a bedlam waif, but mad as she is, she's a woman with a purpose.
● Frost's Declan Orrun aka The Beggar King is charismatic and brutal. Declan runs – or has a piece of – most of the low-level criminal activity in the city. He's perfectly happy to help Amalia and her cause – and equally happy to sell them out. He backs winners, and the Touched are long odds.
● Neil's Annie Carbey aka Bonfire is a career criminal who landed the ability to control fire and is happy to hire it out. Came up rough, stayed that way, but she's neither impulsive nor cruel – just looking out for herself. No matter who she works with or for, Annie trusts only Annie, and the fire.
● Tomlinson's Mary Brighton is gentle but surprisingly resilient, pursuing her dream of singing on stage. A disappointing career and a broken engagement haven't diminished her spirit. She's going to be great. She's going to be very surprised how.
● O'Hare's Dr. Edmund Hague is a gifted American surgeon who uses his skills in the coldest, most brutal way possible. But it's all in the name of "progress"…
● Siwar's Harriet Kaur is a young Scottish Sikh who lives with the Orphans but is accepted by both her family and her betrothed. She's determined to live her life as she planned, despite its increasing weirdness.
● Berrington's Lucy Best is a dirt-poor and streetwise woman who has given up thieving to live with the Orphans. Her wit and high spirits mask a tragic past.
● Smith's Desiree Blodgett is a prostitute whose power makes men tell her everything on their minds. What she's heard may get her killed, even though she doesn't listen to most of it. She's devoted to her 6-year-old son, who never speaks.
● Prettejohn's Myrtle Haplisch is a middle-class girl rescued from a family who can't understand her — literally, as she no longer can speak — and is thrilled to be at the Orphanage.
● Devlin's Primrose Chattaway wants to be an ordinary, proper 16-year-old girl — which is difficult, as she stands 10 feet tall.
● Ford recurs as Nicolas Perbal, aka Odium, the quintessential henchman who will do anything for anybody's money.