Browncoats Unite!

The Web site for Joss Whedon’s upcoming Serenity movie, based on his “failed” series Firefly is online.

Although Firefly was cancelled by Fox after only a handful of episodes, it managed to garner a small band of fans in the short time it was on the air. When it was released on DVD, those fans had managed to create such a buzz that the band quickly became a legion. The new Web site (Internet Archive) seeks to harness this groundswell for the movie’s April 22, 2005 launch.

Its divided into two major sections, the blog and the Browncoats. The blog is updated a few times a month from the set of the movie, providing a stream of information to tide viewers over until the movie comes out. The Browncoats section — named for the “independents” who fought in a civil war against a federal/United Nations-like enemy — is given over to the fans. You can download banner ads (look for one on Nuketown soon), icons for AOL Instant Messenger or LiveJournal, answer trivia questions, recruit other fans, and partake in “offline” challenges such as taking a photo of yourself at ComicCon with Serenity in the background. All of these activities earn fans points that can later be redeemed for merchandise. The site also contains an active message board

It’s blatant viral marketing, but given the role that fans have played in boosting DVD sales of the series and spreading word about it, it’s wholly appropriate. So if, like me, you’re a fan of Firefly, go join the Browncoats and help what’s going to be one of the best libertarian science fiction films ever make it big.