Five Reasons We Love Nathan Fillion

Published on May 30th, 2012 in: Canadian Content, Comics, Gaming, Issues, Listicles, Movies, Science Fiction, The Internets, Top Five Lists, True Patriot Love, TV |

By Lisa Anderson

mal reynolds firefly
Nathan Fillion as
Mal Reynolds on Firefly

Few Canadian actors have been as beloved in the 21st century than Nathan Fillion. He’s perhaps best known for his role as spaceship smuggler captain and war veteran Malcolm Reynolds, in Joss Whedon’s short-lived but influential Firefly series. It’s true enough that Browncoats (Firefly fans) still love their Captain; he even unintentionally set off an online fundraising firestorm last year by suggesting that he would buy the rights to the show and distribute it for free if he had enough money. There are many other reasons that Nathan Fillion has as many fans as he does, though—even aside from being handsome and seeming friendly and funny in interviews and at conventions. Here are are just a few.

1. He’s more than just a pretty face. Most people who are familiar with Nathan Fillion know him from his live-action work. After all, he got his start on the soap opera One Life to Live, made it big on Firefly, and is currently on ABC every Monday in the comic crime drama Castle. He’s also been in films as diverse as Saving Private Ryan and Slither (no, really.)

Live action is not his only talent, though. Fillion has also lent his distinctive voice to animated series, including Justice League, Wonder Woman, King of the Hill, and Seth Green’s Robot Chicken. He voiced Green Lantern Hal Jordan in two animated features, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights and Justice League: Doom. This is notable because he was a fan favorite for the live action film, but the role ultimately went to Ryan Reynolds. (Fillion himself has no hard feelings about this, and has in fact spoken glowingly of Reynolds’s portrayal on several occasions.) He’s even done voice work for video games, specifically Jade Empire, Halo 3: ODST, and Halo: Reach.

castle by ABC Adam Taylor
Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic on Castle
Photo © ABC/Adam Taylor

2. Rick Castle is awesome. Most of the viewers of ABC’s comic crime drama Castle would probably love to hang out with (or go on a date with!) the title character. Fillion plays a famous mystery-writer-cum-police consultant on the show, and he’s one of the most likable characters on TV today. A single dad, Castle lives in a well-appointed Manhattan apartment with his daughter and mother, and their loving, supportive relationships make for heartwarming viewing. He manages to pine for a strong, smart woman—homicide detective Kate Beckett—without being disrespectful about it (er, most of the time). He started out shadowing Beckett in order to research a new novel, but quickly became genuinely committed to helping solve murders—a task for which his keen observation and imagination make him well suited. Best of all, in spite of the wealth, fame, and responsibility, Castle has not lost his sense of fun.

While each of Fillion’s characters are different, there seems to be a good bit of him in Rick Castle, as well of a glimpse of who Mal Reynolds might have been in an easier life. This is probably why Castle is seasoned with subtle shout-outs to Firefly fans, such as Castle’s famous “Space Cowboy” Halloween costume.

3. He understands that kids need to read. In 2007, Fillion and his friend, sci-fi author PJ Haarsma, co-founded an organization called Kids Need to Read to purchase books for underfunded schools and support childhood literacy programs. (Haarsma, also Canadian-born, had recognized this need in his travels to grade schools across the US.) KNTR was organized as a 5013c nonprofit the next year, and has been going strong ever since. As well as holding its own events, it is one of the many charities supported by individual Can’t Stop the Serenity events which occur every year. Fillion has supported KNTR and CSTS by attending events, providing auction items, and filming promotional material. He’s pictured here holding an official KNTR shirt designed by my friend Kim Hansing, which bears the group’s slogan, “Kindness is a Strength.”

4. He can keep a secret. You would think that Hollywood Jack-of-all-trades Joss Whedon would look forward to a break from directing this summer’s highly anticipated Avengers movie. But no: Apparently, what you do to relax ,when you are Whedon, is spend twelve days of your vacation filming a top secret, contemporary adaptation of Shakepeare’s Much Ado about Nothing. In black and white. With an all-star cast of alumni from your previous projects. Fillion played the comic role of Dogberry, memorably portrayed by Michael Keaton in the 1993 version. When the time came, however, the web-savvy Fillion got to be among the first to break the news over Twitter, which he did on October 23 of last year. Much Ado About Nothing is slated for festival release in October of this year.

5. He’s a poet and he knows it. Fillion played Captain Hammer in another Whedon project, 2008’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long-Blog. This groundbreaking web serial featured Neil Patrick Harris as the title character. In Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long-Blog—The Book, he uses the ancient Japanese poetic form of Haiku to distill the experience.

Six days to film it
Immortalized as a dick.
Then Neil stole my pants.

These are just a few of the reasons to love Nathan Fillion. I’m sure there are many more. Feel free to list your own in comments! But before you go there, we already know about the hammer.

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