Ron Glass 1945 - 2016
Man at Funeral (Joss Whedon) He got there with grace, humor & enormous heart. He was, among so many other things, my Shepherd. Raise, appropriately, a glass. Rest, Ron. Mal (Nathan Fillion) "Sheperd, don't move". "Won't go far." We love you, Ron Glass. Don't go far. Wash (Alan Tudyk) Ron Glass was one of the greatest actors to work with. His laugh was beyond infectious and his generosity was ever present. Simon (Sean Maher) What an honor it was to know you, to work beside you and to have called you my friend. You will be missed. I love you sir. Jayne (Adam Baldwin) Among the kindest and gentlest souls to have walked this earth with us. Kaylee (Jewel Stait) I adored him. Everybody did. I love you, Ron. Can’t wait to see you again. "I don’t care what you believe. Just believe it."
There has been much talk over the years about bringing back Firefly. Much as I would love for their to be another couple dozen episodes there are serious problems with the concept.
First - and difficult to say - I don't believe Firefly is ever coming back. And certainly not in the form we would want, that is, instead of 14 episodes there were 36 or 72 episodes - that crew, back then. That can never happen.
However, this does not mean that we cannot revisit the 'verse, can never see any of the characters again, cannot have more exploration of the 'verse from Whedon's mind. There are several ways this could be tried.
The Battle Star Galactica method
This solution was to continue the storyline not long after the original ended with the same characters but played by different actors.
The problem here is that we fans associate the characters with the actors that played them. All of the actors but one are still around and could re-play their characters. Substituting new actors for these roles just wouldn't feel right. Trying to do this, I think, would simply cause a revolt among the fans and it just would not fly. If, 30 years from now, someone tried this it might work, but not now.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation method
This was to create a new storyline set in the same universe with all new characters and actors but with continuity with the original and occassional cameos by the original actors.
This is a viable solution. You could have all new actors (possibly with cameos by the originals, but the story would have to move 15 years or so into the future if you used the originals in cameos). The new characters would have to capture the hearts of fans but I believe it could be done. If we had Whedon and Minear writing at least the initial episodes it could work.
The Lord of the Rings / Hobbit method
This method was to continue the storyline with the original characters and the original actors and pretend that they didn't age in the years between productions. (LOTR actually failed miserably as they were attempting to go back in time rather than forward and the aging of the actors was especially noticable).
Okay, no way. If they attempted to continue the series just after the events in Serenity using the same actors, it would simply fail. I for one would not like to see a 30-year-old Summer Glau playing a 17-year-old River Tam. (I would not have a problem with her playing a 30-year-old River Tam!) So, this solution would fail for the same reason it did in LOTR.
The Prime Suspect method
Here you continue the storyline with the same characters and the same actors but the story has moved into the future so the characters' ages match the actors' ages.
This is also a viable solution. Especially as it has only been 15 years and you could have a mix of new actors and original actors. Pick up the story but 15 years after the events in Serenity. The characters have aged, moved on, and you would need at least some new characters - remember, Wash and Book are dead.
The Firefly solution
This I think is the best approach. It would be a combination of the TNG and PS solutions.
Keep some of the original actors in their original roles. Bring in a host of new characters. Move the story forward 15 years.
Let's look at a possible storyline and see if it works.
For example, you could still have Serenity, but put Zoe in as captain. Keep Kaylee on as mechanic. Possibly keep Jayne on as Public Relations. I would even keep River as Albatross.
Bring in a new First Officer, a new pilot and a new medic.
Mal has "retired" and moved on. Possibly he fulfils the Book role as sort of elder statesman and leader emeritus. It might also be interesting if he and Inara married. Also, Mal has a sort of mythic role in the outer planets because of the broadwave about Miranda and the damage it did to the Alliance.
Simon has gone back to medicine but rather than on the core planets he has been working on improving medical facilities on the border worlds, like Jiangyin. This allows the story to cross paths with him frequently even though he's not a "regular" on the show. Simon has married and has children. They would be in their early teens and becoming fiercely anti-Alliance.
For the storyline, it now has been almost a quarter century since the war and so you wouldn't be able to delve as deeply into the immediate after-effects of losing a war as you could on the original series. However, as the Operative said, the broadwave of what happened on Miranda has hurt the Alliance. They still control the core planets, but their expansion into the border worlds had to be halted for a while as they needed to quell unrest in the inner system.
This has allowed the two "worlds" to diverge even more. The reduced presence of the Alliance in the outer planets has allowed them to develop a stronger sense of independence and they are even less willing to "join" than before. It also allows River to operate openly without fear of being turned in or captured.
However, the Alliance has regained much of its strength and is again starting to move outward. This causes two things to happen. The outer worlds resist, strongly, and a possible second war looms. As the Alliance moves it strength outward, it opens the possiblity of unrest in the core. This dynamic, all empires fall prey to it, is a driving force in the story.
For the characters, Mal views the impending war with horror. Much as he still is opposed to the Alliance, he does not want to see another war. Zoe, however, feels a bit differently. Although age has tempered her a bit, she still is in the outer worlds and feels the negative effect of the expansion of the Alliance and thinks she might be willing to do battle again. Remember, her husband, Wash, was killed by the Alliance. Indirectly, as he was killed by the Reavers, but the Reavers were created by the Alliance. She still harbors a deep hatred because of this. Zoe's personal journey is uncertain. We have to remember that she very much wanted a child. However, she wanted that child with Wash. Has she married again? Does she have kids? How does she manage being captain and raising a family. Good fodder for stories. There is also the dynamic between her and the new pilot. No matter how great a person and pilot they are, that was Wash's chair and she will never be comfortable with someone else in that role.
Kaylee, as non-political as ever, fears the new war and does not want to see it happen nor to participate. Her personal journey is this, she did get married - not to Simon - but is now divorced and her ex will probably appear as a recurring role. Still looking for love but not quite as fervently as when she was 18 - she's now in her early 30's. But she definitely wants a kid or two. Its even possible that she has had a child - it would be best if the child were young, not a teenager. It would be interesting if she and River were jointly raising the child, like two moms but without them being in a romantic relationship (although that might also be an interesting story).
Jayne has become more mellow. He is more professional and less emotional than before, but is still Jayne. Working for the last 15 years or so on Serenity has been a good gig and he looks upon it as his life now rather than just as a temporary job. He is not looking to "cash in" on the big score anymore, but wants to maintain the life he's accustomed to. He has gained some morality because of his association with Mal, which leads him to not like the new Alliance, but he still has no desire to go to war. He has no partner, though him gaining one would make for a great storyline, no? Also, much to his surprise, he likes being an "uncle" to the kids and is very protective of them.
River is the same as ever. Occassionally nuts, still sometimes nightmares, still damaged from what the Alliance did, but more relaxed and adjusted than before. More playful, more involved. If we include the she-and-Kaylee-raising-Kaylee's-baby story we'd see that a lot. They would be great co-moms. She is still a reader and still a genius so that's of great value to Serenity's success and survival. Although she has much reason to hate the Alliance, she doesn't see war as the solution, she has other ways of weaking them.
The new First Officer, pilot and medic (and possibly other characters as well). Already mentioned is Zoe's difficulty with anyone being in Wash's position. Other than that, we leave it to Whedon and Minear to flesh these people out and bring them to life.
I do believe that Firefly could be revived. Zoe as captain, Jayne as Public Relations, Kaylee as mechanic, River as albatross, Mal and Inara "retired", Simon off doing good in the outer worlds, a new First, Pilot and Medic. Possible impending war with the newly expanding Alliance. Domesticity with Mal and Inara, Zoe and Kaylee as Moms and so on. Possible interesting characters in Kaylee's ex (who, by the way, is not the father of her child) and with Simon's wife and children.
Ahhh... one can dream...