Browncoats, take note: Dark Horse’s new Serenity comics will finally answer the question, #WheresSerenity? It’s a query that has been on fans’ lips almost since the beginning: after Joss Whedon’s space western drama Firefly was canceled by Fox after only 11 of its 14 episodes aired, a small but extremely active fanbase — known as the Browncoats — took action and rallied to bring the show back.
Their efforts resulted in the 2005 feature film Serenity, which continued the exploits of Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds and the rag-tag crew of the Firefly-class transport ship Serenity, as they eluded the evil Alliance and struggled to survive by any means necessary — legal or illegal.
While there have been several Serenity comics since 2005, the upcoming Serenity: Leaves on the Wind adventure is the first post-Serenity miniseries featuring the entire surviving crew! Captained by Zack Whedon (Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale) with art by Georges Jeanty (Buffy Seasons 8 and 9), this six-issue miniseries is highly anticipated by thousands of fans.
Curious? We were, too! Fortunately, we were able to interview Zack Whedon and ask him how the crew is dealing with the aftermath of the events of Serenity — in which they lost several of their crewmates and exposed some of the dirty deeds of the Alliance — and what’s coming up next!
Read his responses below, and check out the covers to Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 and #2, as well as two interior pages from issue #1! You can pre-order the first issue of these new Serenity comics now to save 20%.
TFAW: Where is the crew of the Serenity when Leaves on the Wind begins?
Zack Whedon: They are hiding out in the middle of nowhere. They are in a place with no name, where no one would ever think to look, because they’re trying to stay missing. They’ve gotten themselves a lot of attention with what they did during the events of the movie Serenity, and they’re laying low.
TFAW: This is the first in-depth view we’ve seen of Mal and the gang since the movie. How have they changed?
ZW: I think they’re all still reeling from the loss of Wash and Book — that was a very traumatic experience for them all. They’re still dealing with that. River has reached a place of relative mental health, compared to how she was before the movie, so they’re happy about that, but nervous that it could go the other way at any moment. Zoe is dealing with the prospect of having a child whose father has been killed, so that’s tough on her. Even though they were successful in exposing the Alliance in Serenity [Editor's note: the crew discovered that the Alliance had released an experimental drug on the planet Miranda, killing most of its inhabitants and spawning the savage, crazed Reavers], it puts them in a difficult position, so they’re feeling pinched by the Alliance.
TFAW: How is Mal, mentally and emotionally, right now?
ZW: Mal doesn’t ever really admit his concern to anyone, but their situation is dire, and he knows it. So he keeps a stoic façade with his crew, but he knows they’re in a desperate spot and need to make a move if they’re going to survive.
TFAW: What is the dynamic of the crew like, with the loss of Wash and Book?
ZW: It’s interesting. With Wash gone, there’s certainly less humor — not that there isn’t humor, but also there’s the fact that two of their friends met violent ends. It casts some gloom over their situation. So they’re not loving life at the moment. But it’s interesting, they’re all sort of dealing with different things, so even though they’re on the same ship, or most of them are, they’re living very different lives. Kaylee and Simon are still basking in the glow of new love, and Zoe is, as I mentioned, dealing with the prospect of having a child who doesn’t have a father. So everyone’s in a different place, even if they’re in the same location.
TFAW: So you mentioned Kaylee and Simon; will the potential romance between Mal and Inara be explored?
ZW: Yes. [laughs] I’d like the readers to know as little as possible going into the first issue. That question is answered very quickly.
TFAW: What other characters will we be seeing? Are there any new ones to introduce?
ZW: There is a new character, a young rebel activist named Bea, who gets hooked up with our crew. She’s sort of leading the Resistance — well, not leading them, but sort of spearheading their efforts to find Malcolm, because they think that he could be a great asset in terms of not only leading them, but in terms of being a figurehead for their movement. So she’s pursuing him for that reason, and she factors in in a big way.
And there’s some returning characters, some faces from the show and the movie. And then in terms of new characters, we made a couple of other Operatives. We meet them early on, but they play a larger part later. Their names are Denon and Kalista, and they are Operatives. Then, we’re also introducing an Alliance officer named Officer Rogers, who is also part of the pursuit of Serenity. So lots of bad guys, and one good guy.
TFAW: So the odds are pretty equal!
TFAW: I can’t imagine Mal would really take to playing the savior role. How does he respond to Bea?
ZW: He’s not into it. You know, Mal is misunderstood by a lot of people, Bea included, and what she expects to find is not what she does find, when she meets him. The guy that she imagined is very different from the person that Mal actually is. He has no interest in playing that part for her.
TFAW: This is your second foray into writing Serenity comics, after The Shepherd’s Tale. [Editor's note: Mea culpa! We temporarily forgot the magnificence of Whedon's FCBD Serenity comic.] What are your favorite aspects of Firefly and Serenity?
ZW: I love the dynamics of the crew, and trying to recreate that. Everything is so off-kilter in the first issue of this new series, that you don’t really get to see them clicking together until later on. But I love recreating that. The show had such great chemistry between all these characters, and finding that again is fun.
And then, digging into the possibilities of the reaction to what they disclosed in Serenity. They dropped a big bomb with that revelation about Miranda and the Reavers and everything, so I’ve had a lot of fun with playing with how the world received that news.
TFAW: The fans of Firefly and Serenity are so enthusiastic, and so vocal! How do you deal with that kind of pressure?
ZW: Well, I’m not thinking about it. [laughs] I count myself as a fan, so I think that hopefully if I’m into the stories, that they will be too. You know, it’s very important to me to preserve the tone of the show and the movie, and of the universe, and to not stray from that. To create new stories that feel like ones you could have seen on the show. So I don’t think about it, except to get excited that there’s such a large audience waiting for it. That’s not usually the case, when you’re writing something.
So it’s exciting that there are a bunch of people who are enthusiastic about the universe, to pick up the comic on the first day and dig into it. I’m excited to share it with them. I’m really, really pleased with the first issue, I think it came out amazing.
TFAW: Will there be more comics after this six-issue miniseries?
ZW: I think this six-issue series will be it for me, at least for a long while. I just have a lot going on, and the process of writing comics is much slower and much more difficult for me than it is for some people. So I’m going to take a break, but my sincere hope is that they can get other great writers to keep it going, maybe in six-issue chunks or something like that. Georges is an amazing artist and has done an incredible job so far with the series, so I hope that if it does continue, it will continue with him. Because he’s doing an awesome job.
TFAW: Do you have anything else going on that you want to talk about?
ZW: Right now I’m working on a television show for AMC, a show called Halt and Catch Fire, which is set in Dallas in 1983. It’s about a computer company that’s getting into the PC business. I’m on the staff there. It was created by Chris Rogers and Chris Cantwell. It’s an amazing pilot, and I’m very excited.
Our thanks to Zack Whedon for updating us on Serenity: Leaves on the Wind! Make sure to order these Serenity comics (and catch up on previous ones) here at TFAW — you’ll save 10-50%!
Are you a Browncoat? What do you hope to see in the pages of Serenity: Leaves on the Wind? Post your comments below!