CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- FOX's short-lived sci-fi series "Firefly" is heading to the big screen courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Creator Joss Whedon is set to write and direct the film, which is scheduled to go into production in the first quarter of 2004. Universal picked up the rights to the cult series from 20th Century Fox Television, also the home of Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" franchise.
"Firefly" marks Whedon's feature directorial debut. The prolific writer/producer is best known in the feature community for his screenplay credits on such films as "Speed," "Titan A.E.," "Alien: Resurrection" and "Toy Story."
It's not clear which of "Firefly's" cast members are on board for the feature, although it's assumed attempts will be made to reunite the cast. Co-stars Morena Baccarin and Nathan Fillion both landed TV pilots this past development season with the former's ("Still Life") landing on FOX's midseason schedule. Fellow cast member Alan Tudyk has also been busy, as he's currently shooting the Will Smith-led feature "I, Robot."
"Firefly" has been building buzz as a possible feature since its cancellation late last year while a DVD set of the show's 15 episodes (three of which never aired on FOX) is considered one of the most anticipated releases of the holiday season.