Several people from Dark Horse Comics (based just south of here in Milwaukie, conveniently) attended the Portland screenings, so we got news directly from those who make the Firefly/Serenity and Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. Among their updates:
* "That's not a Shepherd": Joss Whedon has finally decided to do a Serenity prequel that will show how Derrial Book became a de facto priest, which is a particular hole in the backstory that fans have wanted filled. It's being called A Shepherd's Tale, and should be out in either late 2008 or early 2009.
* Dark Horse's goal is to do a Serenity miniseries once a year. These are likely to remain prequels because Whedon wants to keep his options open for stories that take place after the events of Serenity. Yes, the direct-to-DVD sequel to Serenity is still a possibility, though how sure or how not-sure a possibility is something I don't and can't know. (Ask my 2010 self! Maybe he'll know. Always in motion is the future...)
* Cool real-life backstory: back in 2002 Dark Horse talked to Whedon and 20th Century Fox about the possibility of a Firefly comic book. Whedon said to hold off on that until the show had had time to develop.
* Speaking of: if Whedon's new show Dollhouse is a hit (it's coming to Fox in January, paired with 24 so it's getting a high profile), Dark Horse has already talked to the Powers That Be about a comic based on that, should circumstances warrant it (i.e., if it's a hit).
* Detouring to Buffy stuff: that comic book continues apace, with various writers continuing the "Season 8" story arcs. A story on the back-burner is a continuation of Fray, the vampire-slayer story set hundreds of years after Buffy. If more Fray is written, only Joss Whedon will write it, same as before.
* Scott Allie, Dark Horse's senior managing editor, has passed along his Serenity editing duties. The new editor working with Whedon and the other Buffy and Serenity writers is Sierra Hahn, who moved from a DC/Vertigo Comics job in New York to work for Dark Horse. Another convert to Dark Horse and Oregon (he crowed)! Allie'll stay plenty busy with his other work, but trusts the Whedon crew to keep doing interesting comics.
Oh, and I have one other photo to share from that weekend, courtesy Mike "Culture Pulp" Russell. I'll put that up later.