While the pop culture landscape may spend most of the day obsessing over AMC’s The Walking Dead or J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, for a certain segment of fandom, one of the most exciting announcements of the year doesn’t involve the big or small screens, but rather the comics page. After weeks of rumors, last month Dark Horse finally officially announced Serenity: Leaves on the Wind, a new comic series that will continue the story of Joss Whedon’s Firefly and Serenity when it launches next year. Now writer Zack Whedon and artist Georges Jeanty have revealed a few new details about the series, including the addition of a new crewmember.
We had already learned that Leaves on the Wind will indeed continue the storyline after the tragic ending of the 2005 movie, and that it will pick up some nine months after those events. Those nine months are an important detail, because the series opens up with Zoe about to give birth to Wash’s unborn child. Writer Zack Whedon (yes, he’s Joss’ little brother) tells MTV:
The difficulties of childbirth sort of forced them to step out into the world a little bit when they’ve been trying to hide out and fly under the radar and not be seen or heard from, but because of Zoe and her pregnancy they’re forced to abandon that idea.
If you recall, the movie saw Captain Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of the Serenity strike, at the very least, a serious PR blow to the Alliance, revealing to the whole ‘verse the government’s involvement in the creation of the hyper-violent, cannibalistic Reavers. It would have been naive to think that would take the Alliance down in one swift blow, however. Especially in worlds from the mind of Joss Whedon, heroes’ luck doesn’t trend nearly that well.
Indeed, aside from being part of a quote the late, lamented Wash was fond of, “Leaves on the Wind” is also a metaphorical nod to where Mal and company are as the series begins. Whedon continues:
The nature of the story is that there are a lot of forces pushing them around and altering their path.A leaf on the wind doesn’t have control over where it’s going and neither do they at this point. They’re sort of reacting to all these forces that are out of their control.
Zack Whedon also reveals that the series will see the addition of a new crewmember to the Serenity, a “member of a new sort of resistance movement” named Bea. Given the public embarrassment the Serenity gang served the Alliance in the movie, it’s not surprising to see a newly revitalized resistance against the oppressive government, and it would make perfect sense for members of that resistance to look to Mal and the rest as figureheads, if not outright leaders. On a more practical level, the crew lost two members in Serenity, so it’ll be good to see a new addition to the crew, especially as a new viewpoint through which to view the familiar characters.
Artist George Jeanty will be handling the artistic duties, and he talked to Bleeding Cool about the challenges of recreating such familiar and beloved likenesses as Mal, Zoe, and the rest, but stopped short of confirming whether any other known characters might pop up in the series outside of the core crew. He does say he wishes he had the chance to connect with the actors who brought the characters of Firefly and Serenity to life. “I’d love to sit with them when I have a particular script and pick their brain from time to time.”
Jeanty also drops one quote that may send some Browncoats twisting in circles. When asked if the fact that Serenity is continuing in comic form meant the chances of another live-action sequel were dead, Jeanty countered, “I thought just the opposite, I thought, especially when Joss was on it, this was something where if there was gonna be a film, he was working it out in comics first.” That’s little more than a theory at best, but it’s good to hear that the people involved in the series don’t see Leaves on the Wind as precluding the possibility of more Serenity on the big screen, however unlikely.
Joss himself, of course, is a busy man these days, putting together the much-anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron for 2015 and overseeing the other Marvel Cinematic Universe properties on the big screen and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC. (Brother Jed Whedon is a writer and executive producer on the latter…writing chops clearly run in the family.) Nevertheless, Leaves on the Wind will very much operate with his blessing, and Jeanty reassures loyal Browncoats that brother Zack has things well in hand. “Zack really has the language,” says Jeanty. “You can tell the characters just by listening to them.” Given how important the slang and stylized dialogue was to the show, that’s definitely good to hear.
Zack Whedon is on board to write the first six issues of Leaves on the Wind, which is being described as a “miniseries” at this point. However, if the series is a success — and duh — there’s every chance it will continue just as the Buffy and Angel comics have (not to mention similar projects such as the Farscape comics and the recent X-Files: Season 10). Zack, however, will be moving on after those initial six. He has previously worked on shows such as Fringe and TNT’s Southland, and is currently writing the upcoming AMC series Halt & Catch Fire.
Still, Zack sounds optimistic about the comic’s future:
My dream is that [Dark Horse] could arrange for a writer who knows the property and really cares about it, or a series of writers like that, to take over in six-issue chunks or ten-issue chunks or something like that. Each person who loves this universe could put their imprint on it and tell the kind of stories that they wanted to see, and I think that would be really cool.
That template isn’t unprecedented: the post-series Buffy comics have seen arc penned by Whedonverse and TV veterans including Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man), Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods), Jeph Loeb (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Jane Espenson (Once Upon a Time), Doug Petrie (American Horror Story), Drew Z. Greenberg (Arrow), and Steven S. DeKnight (Starz’ Spartacus).
The future of Serenity looks bright. Leaves on the Wind will hit comic shops on January 29, 2014.