Fox Is ‘Wide Open’ to ‘Firefly’ Revival – ‘If There’s a Way to Reinvent It for Today’

TCA 2020: Fox’s entertainment president Michael Thorn and “Firefly” EP Tim Minear tell TheWrap what could make it work

Firefly Cast

“Firefly” executive producer Tim Minear recently reawakened fans’ demand for a revival (or maybe just made their cries louder than they already were) when he tweeted out a picture from the final day of shooting on Joss Whedon’s short-lived, cult-classic Fox series. And then Whedon added fuel to their fire by retweeting this.

Since Minear started this whole thing, TheWrap asked both him and Fox’s president of entertainment, Michael Thorn, what it would take to revive the Nathan Fillion-led space western at the Television Critics Association press tour Tuesday.

“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,” Thorn said. “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.”

And while “Orville” has since moved to Hulu, freeing up that “space franchise” territory, Thorn points out that Minear is already “very busy” at Fox right now, showrunning both “9-1-1” and its upcoming spinoff “9-1-1: Lone Star.”

“But it’s a good idea,” the Fox exec said.

The 20th Century Fox Television-produced “Firefly” premiered on Fox in September 2002 and was canceled after eleven of the first season’s fourteen produced episodes were aired. But since then, the show has amassed a very serious fanbase. Along with Fillion, the show starred Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau and Ron Glass.

“In this crowded marketplace, if you can start with some kind of brand awareness and IP that has a vocal support and, in this case, a crazy, passionate love for it, you’re ahead of the game,” Thorn said.

As for Minear, he says he and Whedon have been talking about a revival at different points over the past decade.

“Joss did sort of revive it by making ‘Serenity,’” Minear said, referring to the 2005 film that acted as a big-screen series finale for the show. “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?”

“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.”

Basically, Minear thinks the only way “Firefly” could be revived is in a limited series format.

“I would love to see, like, an eight- or 10-episode limited adventure in that universe.”