Rothfuss pledges to buy Firefly from Fox and give it away

Bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss has pledged to help actor Nathan Fillion buy the rights to Firefly from Fox. Fillion, who starred in the series, has publicly said that if he had the money to get Firefly back from Murdoch and Co, he'd make it free and release it on the net:
Here's the deal. My second book is about to come out. My publisher tells me there's a decent chance of us selling a truly ridiculous number of copies. If this happens, I will have more money than I'll know what to do with.

Except that's not exactly true. I know exactly what I'd like to do with that money. I'd like to help you buy the rights to Firefly back from Fox.

I'm only a fledgling author. But by a strange twist of fate, I happen to be a fledgling author who is also an international bestseller.

Left to my own devices, I will probably spend my royalty money on useless bullshit. I will buy rare books and narwhal horns. If the book sells extremely well, I expect I'll probably do something like buy an abandoned missile silo and convert it into my secret underground lair.

An open letter to Nathan Fillion (via Copyfight)


  1. I love Firefly, and would love to see another movie or series based on it. But I can’t help but be skeptical about the quote from Mr. Rothfuss. It sounds like a gimmick to sell more copies of his new book.

  2. This… would be the coolest thing in the history of cool things.

    @Salviati: Patrick Rothfuss does not need a gimmick to sell more copies of his new book. Seriously. He’s doing this because he’s a complete geek.

    1. I really hope so. Any project to spread and build the Firefly franchise would have my full support. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about Patrick Rothfuss or his books yet. But if he wants to support the cause, more power to him.

    2. It would be great if Mr. Rothfuss could get several of his fellow authors to join him. It would lend more credibility to the HNBF cause!!

    1. mdh said: I’d pay 50 bucks for a new season of firefly. Would 400,000 other people?

      Yes. Oh yes. I know I’d pay the $50, or $100, and gladly too. So would my fiance. He’s the one who got me into Firefly.

      Will it happen? I doubt it, that would be too much like awesome. But I can dream…

      And yes, Antinous, I agree with you too– more Dr. Horrible, please.

      I’d settle for more Lone Gunmen… but like mraverage, my favorite shows die too soon. *sob*

  3. For the love of all that’s good in the ‘verse, let’s hope Fillion and Rothfuss can make this happen. With their backing, crowdfunding could make a big dent in that price tag.

    And – moar Firefly please.

  4. Yes, the Name of the Wind sold well. The sequel is expected to sell very well. It also took four years to write. The first book took seven years to write.

    Mr Rothfuss could be at Stephen King level sales and he’s going to need to be significantly more prolific before things like this will come to pass.

  5. Hey guys, if you’re interested in showing solidarity for the cause theres a facebook page “Help Nathan Buy Firefly”. Its 85k fans strong and a further show of numbers from the BoingBoing crowd couldn’t hurt, cheers for your support.

  6. …not to deflate anyone, but so far no one has figured out if Fox *will* sell the rights, nor for how much. Since Fox isn’t exactly famous for doing the right/smart thing, there’s no guarantee that all the money in the ‘verse would do any good.

    1. Fox should, however, be willing to sell a show which didn’t have enough episodes to enter syndication, even if they keep a percentage just to be dicks. It really does make a huge difference when calculating the present-day value of future earnings potential from the original material.

      My biggest concern about Fox trying to do something with it on the basis of the fan loyalty would be a misguided “reboot” without the Whedon and the original participants. (And probably running it in a timeslot often preempted for sports, then killing it after half a season.)

      Apologies if this has already been asked, but what about the Serenity set itself? Is it semi-intact, somewhere?

      Has anyone pressed the big red button?

  7. The official unofficial page for even more updates: which also has a link to the interview with NF.

    Really glad to see more people get behind this. While I don’t think we’ll ever see new episodes, I’d love to be proven wrong. At least it’s back on TV for now.

  8. Placed my pre-order for Wise Man’s Fear (the book in question) yesterday, and now some of my money could go to buying Firefly rights!? Hmm… *considers ordering one more*

    Oh, and Name of the Wind is, IMO, the best new fantasy released this millennium. Definitively recommended.

  9. Wow. When I initially read this, I thought we were talking about the right to redistribute the first season of firefly, and I thought, well, okay, sure, that’s kind of cool I guess. I mean, it’s on netflix, so I have access already, but you know, cool.

    But then I read the comments here – we’re talking about the rights to make new Firefly shows? OMFG. that is ridiculously awesome. And yes, I would totally pony up $100 in advance for a new season of Firefly.

    Uh, it probably goes without saying, but my enthusiasm is based pretty explicitly on having Joss Whedon running the show again. If someone buys the rights and then hires Whit Anderson to do the writing, then might be perhaps less excited.

    1. But then I read the comments here – we’re talking about the rights to make new Firefly shows? OMFG. that is ridiculously awesome.

      I dunno, was Fillion (or Rothfuss or Whedon any other ‘big name’) ever talking about that, or is this just about commenters on boingboing getting over-excited and not reading carefully enough? I’d like to see a quote from Fillion or anyone else saying there’s any possibility of new Firefly before I jump on this bandwagon, the right to just show old episodes free on the net doesn’t seem that exciting to me since anyone who’s interested can just rent them on netflix or something.

  10. why am i the kiss of death for any good show? if i might even like it, it’s dead before it’s time. Firefly, Threshold, Enterprise. next time i like something – i’ll keep quiet about it.

  11. I’d totally pay 50$ for more Firefly. Fillion best not reneg on his offer to play Mal. There will be hell to pay!

  12. I’d pay $100 for another season of Firefly. I’ve always thought there were enough Joss Whedon fans out there to finance the show that way. I assume we must be talking about buying the rights back so they can make new episodes, since I’m sure every hardcore fan already has it on DVD.

    1. A Dr. Horrible sequel is supposedly in the works; but everyone involved in the original is currently busy with other projects, so no telling when they’ll get around to shooting it. I have to assume that Joss is focused on The Avengers right now; so he probably doesn’t have a whole lot of free time to write songs. Though, from what I understand, he already has the story planned out.

  13. Sorry, but this is delusional bullshit.

    First off, the rights aren’t for sale.

    Secondly, even if they were for sale, they’d cost exponentially more than the royalties of a single best-selling book.

    1. One mans dream is another mans “delusional bullshit”.

      I caught wind of a guy with a plan
      he’d snark at you but would not take a stand
      When he moves his bowels
      on others comments, he then howls
      And stays anonymous cause he ain’t much of a man.

  14. This is either a stunt or sincere. At this point- we don’t know. The first thought about it’s sincerity from me? Yeah- he’s got the intention to “Lead By Example” and do Something Very Good. The phrases about money he used in the quoted blurb? It’s admirable if sincere, Slimy if it’s Karmawhoring. Only time will show which it is.

    But- there’s a precedent. Wendy Bucklew. She had her entire career locked up in the limbo of contract games her label had been playing. A fan who became a dotcom millionaire felt he owed her a debt for what her music had done for him. He bought her free of the contracts. And depending on which of the Netlore stories you read- warehouse/s of her back albums got gifted to her as well. As of last I looked- moments ago, apparently the guy- presumed a guy? remains anon to this day. Romantic? Hell yes. Thinkable to be repeated with Firefly? We can hope. I’d like to think more of us would do such things. When we have more than we could live to spend in our lives, how we spend what we have still counts. And that such a mindset continues.

  15. I’m totally with you browncoats, but I am deeply afraid that BlueSun will never release the Tams no matter how much coin the Cap’n offers them.

  16. I’ve tried to show it to friends. No one likes it. I’m so happy to see such a positive response for this show!

  17. I think if you ‘pre-sold’ a collector’s edition of a new 2hr pilot or extended episode, that people would pay $50. Include a little booklet or maybe an autograph. Something to make it truly special.

    $50 is reasonably affordable, and if it is exclusive to this offer only, it has a broader collector’s appeal.

  18. Oh, drat there goes my rare book and narwhal horn business. Anybody want to buy a slightly used missile silo?

  19. Raising money to buy the Firefly rights for Nathan Fillion seems a little odd. Wouldn’t we want Joss to own the rights?

  20. if they raise firefly again, what will happen to Castle??? (they had a nice firefly nod last week … and that halloween show 2 years ago)

    I keep wondering how much happier I’d be if there had been already 7 seasons of firefly!

    Anyone else thiks it would be fun to cast Jason Bateman as Nathan’s twin brother ?

  21. I can think of hundreds of ways to spend my money in more worthwhile causes than in propping up a show that was clearly so bad that was put out of its misery (if the lame movie is anything to go by, it is a good decision).

    In the SciFi field there are so many more interesting projects to be done that it is really painful to see so much interest on this cultish non phenomenon.

    Can you all please let this franchise that never was die its natural death?

  22. Everyone here probably already knows The Science Channel will be re-airing the entire series starting March 6th at 8:00. Nothing new but atleast it’s on again. I imagine if rating are good enough it could encourage a new season?

  23. This is awesome, I’ve been patiently waiting for the second book and to know the real life author is actually a nice guy, well that’s just a bonus. Oh and Tzctboin, FYI he also supports Heifer international I think he’s entitled to have a few substitute narwhal horns.

  24. I’ve already ordered a couple copies of Mr. Rothfuss’ second book for our library, and can’t wait to read it myself. (The first one was great.)

    With this pledge, however, I might just buy a few more copies for my fantasy fiction-loving friends to make absolutely sure it sells ridiculously well.

  25. I’m just worried that reviving the series could ruin what nostalgia I have for the original. Even in the best of circumstances the show couldn’t be what it was pre-“Serenity” since several key characters were killed off in the movie and writers would be hard-pressed to find a plausible reason why the remaining ones would still be working together on the same ship several years down the road. (Am I the only one who noticed that everyone on the Enterprise seemed to have the same job description for an improbably long time?)

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a well-done spinoff though.

  26. This idea is as crazy as it is awesome, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In a week, the facebook group got 85,000 supporters. If it keeps growing at this rate, 400,000 browncoats ponying up $50 each gives us $20 million. Enough for a good season, I’d say.

    And even if Fox doesn’t want to sell the rights, don’t they have just the TV rights? It didn’t stop Universal from making a movie. And that appeared on DVD. So who had the internet rights? The DVD rights? If Fox doesn’t hold exclusive rights on that, then it’s still possible.

    Also, I seem to have read somewhere that the Fox rights would be exclusive for 10 years. With Firefly being from 2002, that could mean the rights will become available next year.

    There’s also the slight possibility that someone at Fox will see reason, although I admit that’s a long shot.

  27. I’m not a big fan of cowboys in space, but I’d pay $50 to again watch River in the zone. She just slays me.

  28. I love Firefly stupidly and recklessly, but does nobody notice – though it is linked above – that Nathan tweeted:

    “It’s beautiful to dream of more Firefly, but PLEASE DON’T SEND ANY MONEY. Just keep being great Browncoats, which you are!”

    And in his recent interview at Nerdist, when asked about the effort, he pooh-poohed it and laughed? And that Fox will never EVER sell the rights to Firefly? And the more popularity & press it gets, the harder they’ll cling to them? They don’t plan on making any more Firefly, but they do like the promotion for their licensed products.

    This effort is symbolic at best, and while I *get* the desire for more Firefly, and the whole “we are mighty” romantic thing, I also profoundly believe that this is a huge amount of wasted effort and emotion, around a notion that even Nathan himself has (gently) disavowed.

  29. Ah, if anyone has read his blog, this portion of text is completely out of context.

    In the post, he was clearly joking about what to use his money for and commented on all sorts of silly things before mentioning that. It was pretty clear to me he was being facetious.

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