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2 YEARS

Comic-Con 2012: 'Firefly' Reunion 'Beyond Vindication' for Joss Whedon

Alongside what he calls "the best cast he'll ever work with," the "Avengers" writer-director talks about his short-lived series -- and makes Nathan Fillion cry.

Firefly Panel Comic-Con - H 2012
Getty Images

Nothing makes 2002 seem farther in the rearview mirror like clips of Joss Whedon's short-lived Firefly set to LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It."

But that's how the reunion of the one-season Fox series kicked off -- with 4,000-odd fans in Comic-Con's Ballroom 20 convulsing out of glee to a montage of raised eyebrows and one-liners in a new promo for its upcoming Science Channel run.

The reception grew to a standing ovation when Whedon, writer Tim Minear and stars Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher and Summer Glau took the stage to rehash favorite scenes and talk about the show's brief production.

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Whedon, who's been vocal over the years about his frustration with Firefly's cancellation, was quick to note that the time for hard feelings had long passed. "It goes beyond vindication," he said of the anniversary celebrations. "Vindication came a long time ago. It goes to a place of transcendence."

There was no real news to deliver. Firefly has been off the air since almost immediately after its premiere, and the subsequent theatrical labor of love, Serenity, did not make nearly enough money for a follow-up to be feasible. Comics remain an option for future stories, though -- as Whedon was quick to note that 2007's Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale is the best-selling graphic novel in Dark Horse history.

"It was one of the finest nervous breakdowns a man could have," Whedon said of his one-off effort to reassemble what he affectionately refers to the best cast he'll ever work with. "We always knew from the very beginning that everything we were doing, we were doing for the right reasons with the right people."

The rest of the panel lingered on inside jokes, fan praise and a brief improv radio play of a Firefly episode, but there was one particularly tender moment. Whedon, praising Fillion's work as an actor, segued into a story about his moral fiber.

Fillion, who joked about crying the entire time, finally started to choke up. And by the end of the hourlong Q&A, so did everybody else.