The Charlotte Browncoats also were fortunate enough to get one of the few complete rough cuts of the forthcoming Firefly/Serenity fan charity project Browncoats: Redemption to show at the event. Of course, since it was a rough cut, the film was not polished. It still needed sound editing, as well as the addition of the final musical score and special effects, for example. But we could get a very good idea of how the finished product will look.
Keeping in mind that Browncoats: Redemption is a fan film made solely by volunteers for the love of the story and the cause of charity, I found it to be quite impressive.
Here are some spoiler-free reasons why:
1. Writing. The characters are clearly drawn and interesting, and they speak in the English/Mandarin/frontier Whedonspeak patois that all Browncoats know well.
2. Plot. Not only is there conflict, but the film manages to throw in a surprise here and there.
3. Canon. The action deals directly with the believable repercussions of what happened at the end of Serenity. It moves the larger story of the 'verse forward by building directly on what we already know.
4. Setting. The film has an impressive array of location shots. The frontier town sequences are especially atmospheric.
5. In-jokes. There are plenty of nods to Firefly/Serenity fans, but there are also fun moments for fans of other science fiction texts. One of the last lines, a gift to Trek lovers everywhere, got some of the biggest laughs of the evening.
6. Cameos. If you don't want to know about the special someones who show up in the film, don't click this:
I counted five special cameo appearances in the film, but there may have been more. Here's who I spotted:
- Sonny Rhodes, the blues artist who sings "The Ballad of Serenity" in the opening sequence of the Firefly series
- Michael Fairman, reprising his role of Adelei Niska from Firefly
- Adam Baldwin, in a role that may or may not be Jayne Cobb
- Yan and Rafael Feldman, reprising their roles of Mingo and Fanty from Serenity
- The Bedlam Bards, performing their music in a sequence in the frontier saloon "The Loon"
Proceeds from the DVD sales of the film will be divided equally and donated to Equality Now, Kids Need to Read, The Dyslexia Foundation, The Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center, and the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation.
Here's the latest trailer for the film:
"Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back! Wife or no, you are no one's property to be tossed aside. You got the right same as anyone to live and try to kill people."
- from "Our Mrs. Reynolds," Firefly