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"Browncoats : Redemption" Movie - Firefly Takes Flight Again

Saturday 22 May 2010, by Webmaster

Sadly, Joss Whedon’s stellar sci-fi western Firefly remains grounded for now. But Trekkie-like die-hard fans called Browncoats are nevertheless taking flight with their own film Browncoats: Redemption. It hits the convention circuit starting with New England’s Granite-Con on May 23.

“Browncoats: Redemption was made by the fans for the fans,” director Michael Dougherty explained to Wired.com by e-mail. “But we view this as an independent film; we had Firefly fans travel from all over the U.S. to volunteer their time as extras and other supportive roles in its production. Without them, this film would not exist, and it will only be successful with their continued help and support.”

Browncoats picks up the story on Miranda, three months after the events of Whedon’s film Serenity, with fans volunteering as cast and crew. It’s not a documentary of Firefly, but meant to be a sci-fi feature on its own based on the world Whedon created.

The support has ramped up as Dougherty and his crowdsourced crew of indie Whedonites labored to keep Firefly’s fan-driven foray into feature-film in orbit.

The film will be officially released at Dragon-Con in September, but it will pop up at Granite-Con and Comic-Con before that. Teasing Browncoats: Redemption’s progress are unveilings of trailers and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks.

“We’re in the final stages of editing a completed rough cut that puts the film’s run time at 84 minutes,” said Dougherty. “There are a few scene tweaks, additional dialog recording and CGI finalizing left to do. But we believe we’ve created a strong film with high production values that will also allow it to stand independently.”

Like Star Trek before it, Firefly was a terribly underrated sci-fi franchise that endured years of worse programming before its fans took matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, these fan-film flurries are as close as fans will get to the good ship Serenity, at least until Joss Whedon pursues a probably inevitable sequel or prequel of some sort.

But unlike Gene Roddenberry’s humanistic classic, Firefly fandom is not just funding its own feature film, but also giving much of that labor of love’s proceeds back to the public.

“Browncoats: Redemption is a charity project,” Dougherty explained, “created to raise funds for five charities through our love of the Firefly/Serenity universe. We’ll also be supporting the annual Can’t Stop the Serenity charity screenings, where we’ll be sharing the first 12 minutes of our film. We feel that the highest quality film we can make will do the greatest amount of good for the charities we support, and perhaps even allow us to reach new Browncoats.”

That shouldn’t be too hard, with or without the help of Browncoats: Redemption. Whedon’s Firefly is a timeless merge of mashed genres, interstellar action and pervasive humor. It’s arguably more compelling than Whedon’s other programming like Dollhouse, and maybe the forthcoming Avengers film, unless he’s allowed to stretch out by the suits.

“There’s much hope, provided that he’s given the creative freedom to move,” Dougherty said. “I’m even more hopeful since it’s been said that Whedon may be rewriting it. He’s had a great relationship with Marvel and a successful history writing and directing for ensembles.”

Firefly faithful are also looking forward to Whedon’s peripheral projects. He’s producing and co-writing the horror-comedy The Cabin in the Woods and working on a documentary about San Diego’s fangasmic Comic-Con.

Fans are also geeked on Patton Oswalt, who wrote the comic Serenity: Float Out, due June 2 from Dark Horse. It’s all good in the Whedonverse.

“We haven’t seen Whedon do a documentary yet, and I can’t wait to see his take on horror,” Dougherty said. “I hope another Dr. Horrible comes out, but I wouldn’t be terribly upset if it didn’t. But Whedon is one of those artists that, no matter what medium he pursues, people will follow him to see his take.”