Firefly fans got some amazingly cool news recently with the announcement that Dark Horse would be launching a new Serenity comic series. Any new series featuring Captain Mal and the rest would be awesome, but even more exciting, the series would actually continue the story where the movie Serenity left off, rather than filling in backstory with prequels. Now more details about the project — officially titled Serenity: Leaves on the Wind — have been announced, including that it will be written by creator Joss Whedon’s brother and frequent collaborator, Zack Whedon.
Dark Horse revealed all the new details to the Nerdist as a way to kick off New York Comic-Con, which unfolds this weekend. While the news isn’t as exciting as if Joss were writing it himself, he’s understandably busy these days what with that whole billion-dollar-franchise. Zack is no slouch in the writing department himself, having began as a production assistant on Angel — a little nepotism is okay now and then — and gone on to write for Deadwood, Fringe, AMC’s short-lived Rubicon, and a little pop culture phenomenon known as Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It’s safe to say the crew of the Serenity is in good hands. (Hell, in his hands the crew is probably considerably less likely to die horribly than they would with Joss behind the keyboard.)
There is, however, some disappointing news. Rather than the ongoing series many fans were hoping for, Leaves on the Wind is currently just a six-issue mini-series. Thankfully, the possibility for it to continue beyond that point is still there, but that decision hasn’t been made yet. Given the success of the ongoing Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel comics that continued their respective stories beyond the televised endings, there’s certainly potential for more, and I have no doubt loyal Browncoats will make the series a success either way. Fingers crossed that we’ll get more than six, but at the very least it’ll be nice to see what the Serenity crew is up to after the tragic events of the movie.
Zack Whedon is also no stranger to the comics format, having written comics tied into such beloved franchises as Star Wars, Terminator, and earlier Firefly/Serenity series. In fact, Whedon says his brother’s sci-fi/western universe is “where I feel most confident. Beyond that, the challenge is to make something good, something that feels like it is building on what is already there rather than just mimicking it.” And while Joss is too busy to be involved with the day-to-day process on Leaves in the Wind, Zack did confer with hi and discuss the direction he wanted to take things, and of course the direction Joss had planned to go had the series lasted longer than one season. “Hopefully he’ll enjoy what I did,” jokes Zack, before adding, “Yikes.”
Leaves on the Wind picks up some nine months after the events of Serenity, meaning, among other things, Zoe is very pregnant with Wash’s child and about due to deliver. The crew is in rough shape after the losses they took in the movie, and while their actions did deal a blow to the Alliance, it’s hardly down for the count…and now it’s really pissed. Needless to say, the crew of the Serenity is, once again, on the run.
Given the name of the series, some fans might be getting their hopes up for more of Wash in flashback form, but hold your (space) horses. Whedon says:
I called it that because I felt like it was a way to honor Wash and the effect his death had on the crew. They are still reeling from that event in many ways, and beyond that they are drifting a bit, pushed all over the ‘verse by forces out of their control.
Whedon also shoots down a couple of other elements, revealing that the Blue Sun Corporation won’t factor into things, nor will a story thread that would have played out in a continuing Firefly series: the reveal that Inara was dying of a terminal illness. (Joss Whedon: He Can’t Not Kill People.) But for this series, at least initially, Inara will remain healthy. Except for all the people trying to kill her and the rest of the crew, obviously.
Whedon says that Leaves on the Wind will be a bit more dire than the TV series’ often light touch. “They’re too ‘almost dying’ for that,” says the writer, adding that the crew will definitely be on the offensive as we join them. “They’ve been painted one way by the media and the Alliance is trying to stamp them out harder than ever.” Just another day aboard the good ship Serenity…
Finally, Whedon says that, while there is potential for the series to continue beyond its initial six issues, he won’t stay aboard beyond that point.
I sincerely hope that someone will take the baton when I am done.I am leaving a lot on the table to play with and resolve. I think it would be amazing if the book was passed from writer to writer, each one putting their stamp on it, telling the stories they wanted to see in the series.
Given how many former Whedonverse writers have contributed to the Buffy, Angel, and Dollhouse comics over the years, I have no doubt there will be any shortage of interested parties when the time comes.
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind will hit comic stands on January 29, 2014, with art by Georges Jeanty.