Ever since Nathan Fillion joined ABC’s crime drama Castle, he’s been such a good sport about slipping in references to his 2002 sci-fi western Firefly. After all, it was playing Captain Malcolm Reynolds that made him into a beloved cult figure, which eventually translated into mainstream TV stardom. So in the past few years, we’ve seen Nathan’s character Rick Castle dress up in Mal’s old tight pants to be a “space cowboy” for Halloween, or he’ll look right at the camera when someone mentions “Serenity.” Not to mention when he was reunited with Jayne Cobb, a.k.a. Adam Baldwin, last season!
But you always got the sense that these Firefly Easter eggs were Nathan’s doing, that he bugged the writers to include them out of a sense of affection for still-loyal Browncoats. Then I found out about one of Castle‘s upcoming season 5 episodes, which could be the most meta Firefly joke ever. E!’s Kristin Dos Santos revealed in her daily Spoiler Chat roundup that Castle is looking to cast someone to play… Nathan Fillion, basically:
Gabriel Winters is described as an actor who quickly rose to fame playing Captain Max Richards on a hit sci-fi series. Of course, unlike Fillion, this leading man spiraled out of control after his show went off the air with booze and one-night stands.
OK, this is awesome. Not only is Castle lampooning what could have been the fate of their star, but they’re literally making a parody of Malcolm Reynolds. I don’t think Joss Whedon could’ve ever foreseen this when he dreamed up Firefly, and especially when the series got cancelled after only fourteen episodes. (Also, what great timing to learn this news, on the tenth anniversary of the series premiere!) As a geek, I’m just so delighted and touched that mainstream TV thinks Firefly influential enough to parody.
Castle 5×07 “The Final Frontier” also pokes fun at geekery in general: Castle, Beckett (Stana Katic), and the other police officers end up at a sci-fi fan convention called SuperNovaCon, where a young woman gets murdered. The victim and the other attendees are all fans of Nebula 9 (the Firefly parody), and Gabriel Winters could be one of the suspects.
For his part, Nathan — who often shares behind-the-scenes photos and videos with his fans — doesn’t seem to have commented on the casting yet. Who could they get? Unfortunately, a lot of Nathan’s doppelgangers are all probably too famous to do a cameo: Jeremy Renner and Jason Bateman immediately come to mind. So, ABC will probably go with some hunky unknown. Just as long as they find someone who can deliver lines like this with such panache:
.gif: hulk-widow on Tumblr