Nathan Fillion Will Return As “Firefly” Hero Malcolm Reynolds In A Family Sitcom, For Some Reason

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Twitter/@ABC_Publicity)

Captain Malcolm Reynolds is back. Nathan Fillion has donned his iconic costume from the short-lived cult TV show “Firefly” for a special return to the character that’s taken plenty of fans by surprise.

Not only does this come out of the blue, but Mal Reynolds’ return is taking place in the strangest possible place — as part of a cameo on the family sitcom “American Housewife.”

Well, this is certainly weird.

Apparently, Fillion will be playing himself for two episodes of the show, but why he’s going to be dressed in his familiar costume is not yet clear.

This feels like a really weird show for “American Housewife” to reference so prominently — while “Firefly” certainly has its fans, it’s far from a mainstream hit, hence its early cancellation and the disappointing box office returns on the movie, “Serenity,” that came after the fact.

Certainly, many viewers of “American Housewife” will get the reference, but many more will be left completely in the dark as to what’s going on and why anyone should care about Nathan Fillion’s brown coat.

Presumably, someone at ABC is hoping that this shock move will grab attention from fans of “Firefly,” and that they’ll hopefully stick around afterward. Considering that “American Housewife” isn’t exactly a sci-fi show, it’s hard to imagine that this gamble will pay off, and the whole move feels a little shallow.

Naturally, some fans are hopeful that this cameo might be an indication that ABC is considering bringing back “Firefly,” taking over from the show’s original network, Fox — after all, why reference this 15-year-old show so heavily if there aren’t bigger plans in the works?

Mutant Enemy, the production company for “Firefly,” has been making “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” for ABC for the past five years, and with that show wrapping up, it’s not impossible that some kind of “Firefly” nostalgia project might be in the works.

At present, though, this is merely wishful thinking. Fillion himself is already hard at work making a midlife crisis show in which he gets to make out with a 20-year-old, so he’s unlikely to be available for more “Firefly” anytime in the near future.

There’s always the possibility of a “Star Trek: The Next Generation”-style “Firefly” revival that tells the story of a different group of characters within the ‘verse, but it’s very unlikely that such a move would garner as much love and adoration as the original series.

Either way, it’s too soon to start counting chickens (or cow fetuses, if you want to stick to “Firefly” references). Right now, all we know is that for some reason, Nathan Fillion is going to dress up like Malcolm Reynolds for a sitcom, and for the first time since the early days of “Castle,” we get to see a little slice of “Firefly” re-created in live action.

For some fans, that alone is worth sitting through 40 minutes of unrelated family comedy.