Published on, Apr 2018

Photo by Chris Fitzgerald

Alan Tudyk Is Still Trying To Make Sense Of ‘Firefly’’s Cancellation 15 Years On

From cancellations to Star Wars, pop culture icon Alan Tudyk tells Daniel Cribb his career has taken a lot of unexpected turns.

Having voiced a character in every major Disney film since 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph – including Duke in Frozen and Alistair Krei in Big Hero 6 – you’d imagine it’d be game time for pop culture superstar Alan Tudyk when he’s at a family event like his niece’s birthday. “Actually, no,” he begins from his car on the way home from such an event. “I think they’re waiting for the next [character]. They’re like, ‘We need some fresh material.’

“At cons I do – whenever I see a kid, I force my voices on them. I’m sure they’re rolling their eyes like, ‘Mum, make him stop.’”

He’ll have new Disney material to dish out later this year after the release of Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, but for now, he’s still on lockdown. “The Disney lawyers will break my arm,” he jokes. “The Disney lawyers, they’re serious, they’ll come and rough you up.”

There’ll still be more than enough to talk about when he makes appearances at Supanova Comic Con & Gaming Melbourne and Gold Coast this month, with the Firefly favourite racking up an insane amount of credits across TV, film and gaming since his last visit to the convention, including Rogue One, The TickDirk Gently’s Holistic Detective AgencyPowerless and more. “You never know what’s going to come along when you’re an actor. I definitely didn’t see Star Wars coming until I suddenly got a call and they were like, ‘Gareth Edwards wants to talk to you.’ And I said, ‘Oh, my gosh! Who’s Gareth Edwards?’ And they said, ‘He’s the director who’s going to be directing Star Wars – Rogue One.’

“I went to go meet him at the Star Wars celebration in Anaheim that year and he offered me the role. We were just chatting and he was like, ‘So, you wanna do it?’

“You never know what’s going on out in the world; you just sort of hang out and wait, and then if it comes along, just say ‘yes’ and get to work.”

Tudyk took a completely different approach when it came to his own show, Con Man, which is loosely based off his own experiences at fan conventions and features a slew of familiar faces, including his former Firefly co-star Nathan Fillion. “That took over my life for about three years,” he says. “We did everything – we were a small little production house, so I was writing and producing and acting in it and doing all the post and editing and the music.

“I learnt so much from that project and it was satisfying in a way that I hadn’t experienced before; I’d love to make another show.”

Con Man began as a crowdfunded web series on Vimeo, moved to Comic-Con’s subscription streaming video service for a second season and was eventually acquired by Syfy and scoring two Emmy Award nominations, but it wasn’t such an easy project to get off the ground. “People just didn’t understand it,” he tells. “It’s just Hollywood – it’s weird… They didn’t understand the sci-fi culture or conventions. When I would explain it to production companies, they would be like, ‘Oh, yeah, those stupid nerds.’ And it’s like, ‘Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah! Back up, back up. NO. You’re missing the point – they’re the heroes of the story.’ They just couldn’t wrap their heads around it. They thought of sci-fi conventions as just this fringe thing and they didn’t get it.”

Given Con Man is loosely based on Tudyk’s own experiences, it’s not surprising the cancellation of Firefly is referenced on numerous occasions. Over the past 15 years, the sci-fi series’ following continues to grow and draw in more dedicated fans. “I love that it does. At conventions, I’ll meet people who are my age who saw it when it first came out, and I’m also meeting their kids, who they introduced it to when they were old enough to watch it.

“It was a well-written show, it was different, it was ahead of its time… It doesn’t make any sense that is was cancelled. You can imagine so many different stories that didn’t get told, so many different adventures that those characters could have gone on, and so it makes it a little bit more precious.”

Alan Tudyk will appear at Supanova Comic Con & Gaming Melbourne (20 – 22 April) and Gold Coast (27 – 29 April).