This Week's Cover: Geek God Nathan Fillion goes mainstream

There’s only one guy we know of who could get mobbed by the hordes at Comic-Con and the moms at Costco: Nathan Fillion. A card-carrying member of the Whedonverse since Firefly debuted (and was canceled) in 2002, his rugged handsomeness and quick wit have been favorite topics of conversation among geeks for nearly a decade. But now, we’re having chats with our 63-year-old mothers about his smile, usually around 11 p.m. on Mondays. How did that happen?

To find out, we stopped by the set of ABC’s Castle this week, woke Fillion from a sound sleep in his trailer (he’d worked all last weekend), and asked the actor starring as crime novelist Richard Castle — who’s partnered with NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) for “book research” — to recount his whereabouts from 1994 to today. What we discovered is, during his rise from soap star to one of primetime’s most popular leading men, Nathan Fillion has never taken a job just for the paycheck. “Everything I’ve done I’ve done with an excitement of ‘I can’t wait to do this!'” he says. It’s because he’s stayed true to who he is — a geek whose advantage is he looks mainstream, as his mother would say — that he’s gone from playing Joss Whedon’s personal Harrison Ford to embodying the TV character readers have crowned the man they would most like to date. It’s easy for him to have that infectious enthusiasm for characters when there’s so much of him in them. We talked to Castle creator Andrew Marlowe and costar Stana Katic to learn what Fillion and Castle share besides their boyish charm. “He’s a guy who I thought had the many facets to show the many different kinds of faces of what it meant to be a man,” Marlowe says of casting the nearly 40-year-old actor. “To play the beleaguered son, the loving father, a potential love interest who’s charming but someone who is also really annoying yet can get away with it — Nathan had that in spades.”

One thing Fillion has no short supply of now: Admirers who’d like to see more of him. He also shares his thoughts on the latest fan campaigns to resurrect Firefly (now rerunning on the Science Channel) and to get him cast as treasure hunter Nathan Drake in the upcoming adaptation of the Uncharted videogame to be directed by David O. Russell (The Fighter). One die-hard fan even confronted Russell (who envisions regular collaborator Mark Wahlberg as Drake) in person about casting Fillion, and posted it on YouTube. Fillion’s message to anyone else thinking of trying the same: “Let’s not burn any bridges,” he laughs. “If somebody came to me and said, ‘How come you get to be in another Joss Whedon production? Shouldn’t it be this other guy?’ I’d say, ‘Hey, man, me and Joss are buddies. This is what we like to do with our time. Why you gotta come down on me?’ So you know what? If you see David O. Russell, maybe say, ‘Hey, Nathan would love to work with you one day.’ Maybe say that.”

For more — including a face-off between Fillion and Katic on how soon Castle and Beckett should get together, and Fillion’s plans for keeping his geek fan base stoked – pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, March 18. Or you can click here to buy this issue online.

Read more:
Nathan Fillion makes our list of 50 actors we’d watch in anything
Nathan Fillion talks Firefly‘s return to cable
Nathan Fillion answers Stupid Questions
Nathan Fillion answers a bonus Stupid Question about his lightsaber
Nathan Fillion takes the EW Pop Culture Personality Test

Comments (239 total) Add your comment
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  • Bug

    Funny that you mention it, because my 62-year-old mother and I have conversations about him frequently too. We both love Castle and loved him as Joey on OLTL.

    • Sapphire

      I too loved him as Joey on OLTL long before he was a Whedon and primetime star, and was so glad to see him reprise the role years ago for Asa’s funeral. He brings that same lovable charm to Castle. I’m so glad to see him finally get the recognition and fandom he deserves!!

      • JD

        agreed loved him on OLTL. that role has never been the same since he left. It was great to see him at Asa’s funeral a real compliment to the show and to the actor who played Asa when he passed in real life. Everything Nathan does firefly, buffy, dr. horrible, castle is fantastic. Wish we could see him in more things.

      • David

        Not once have I ever picked up an issue of EW, I think I just might break that streak for Fillion. Casting Mark as Drake in uncharted is a stupid move, nobody really likes him much anymore, I’m sick of his bad boy persona. Fillion would hands down fill the role in spades, can’t wait for his upcoming role as (Antman I think?) in the superhero flick.

    • Shiny

      I barely got through the first few lines without laughing heartily. Nathan is cute and hilarious, and I’m glad everyone knows it now.

    • Hey 57 isn’t dead yet

      Why shouldn’t we old babes still crave, he is extremely charming and intelligent and sexy, watch him on the talk shows and u will see why his star is rising for us all. Utterly destined to be a movie star, and he already is on tv, broadway, where ever, he should be spread around for the world to savor

      • 62 ISN’T DEAD YET EITHER!!!

        Tell your grandma that, Bug!!!

    • aleksa

      My 63 year-old mother and I (almost 40) love him, too.

    • Color Me Impressed

      Wait, there is going to be an Uncharted movie directed by the guy behind The Fighter and possibly starring Nathan Fillion as Nate? This is going to be AMAZING!!!!!!

  • Merrydan

    I might frame this win.

    • Nicole

      I thought the same thing!

      • Puh-lease…

        I’m a geek and this man is not my god.

      • @Puh-lease

        Really. Bruce Campbell fits the bill more.

      • Iridessa

        Geekdom is polytheistic. I prefer a universe where Bruce Campbell and Nathan Fillion both occupy Geek Mount Olympus.

    • Frank Anderson

      Yeah, A+ for giving a cover to such a great actor. EW has almost made up for the Charlie Sheen and William covers recently.

    • Megan


  • pat

    last week you had lost on the cover…this week nathan fillion on the cover….2 really bad covers in a row

    • Shannon

      suck it, pat

      • bre

        I almost said the exact same thing. Thanks, Shannon, for saving me the trouble.

      • Becki


      • queue55

        double ditto

      • Lisa

        Suck it about sums it up. If you don’t think NF is not the sh** you need to just stop watching things for entertainment purposes, cause there is no hope for you.

      • Trekkie Gal

        Ditto infinity

      • dipshat

        The Past FOUR covers have sucked!

      • C Men

        Lisa, your double negative implies you do not think NF is the sh**.

      • Lisa

        Thanks cman, cause I def think NF is the sh**!!!!!!

      • Jacqueline

        Double Ditto infinity, Love Nathan! Thx. Trekkie Gal!

    • Annette

      I agree – two really bad covers!

      • Bobby’s Robot

        Sorry they have put Twilight on the cover recently. Give the rest of us a chance.

      • Nellnee

        Go away idiot flamer

      • Shea

        i hate you.

      • Bobby’s Robot


    • Kiki

      Fillion is fine. In more ways than one. But I could not believe we were getting a cover about show no longer on the air just to update the careers of its actors. Lame, lame, lame. Seriously, there was NO other entertainment news item that was more cover-worthy than a NON-news piece like, “Where are they now”?

      • Jas

        So an article about a lead actor heading into season 4 of a top 30 (or so) tv show isn’t entertainment news?

      • Myra

        They “stopped by the set of Castle” to interview the star about his life…did you even read the article? Castle is a current (renewed) hit TV show. Do you seriously believe that actors don’t get asked about previous shows when they are interviewed? Why do people read articles about people they obviously don’t like? I never understood why they waste their time commenting about things they don’t even care about. Baffled!

      • lynn

        I believe Kiki was talking about the Lost cover, guys.

      • Dr. Chim Richalds

        TV execs are constantly trying (and failing) to create the next Lost, so it’s still relevant. It’s cultural impact carrying the banner for myth-arc fantasty/sci fi programming can’t be denied.

    • RK

      Glee must be next.

    • Nellnee

      769,000 followers on Twitter, many of whom will now go out and buy the mag to hang onto. I think that is a win for EW.

    • Rev. O.J. Flow

      pat fail.

    • Common

      Although Pat may not be the most popular – I can say “Suck It” truely a brilliant comeback can “Ditto” be close behind – what great comebacks -did it take you 30 minutes to slam your hairy paws on the keyboard to get the letters right.

      • Edgar

        I don’t know. How long did it take to misspell ‘truly’?

    • Bobby

      Yup, you said it Pat. Awful covers.

    • brandinb

      I disagree. Last week’s cover was awful (as well as the two before it), but this one is a definite improvement!

    • Pat, Dip-shat, Annette, Bre, Becki

      Guess you morons would prefer Justin Bieber on the cover. I can tell just by your idiotic “names”. Kids, the bunch of you.

    • Color Me Impressed

      Really? I thought the last two covers have rocked! I’m so glad Glee or Twilight wasn’t on the cover.

    • Dr. Chim Richalds

      The only thing that would be better would be a cover that combines Lost and Nathan Fillion.

  • Geronimo

    “…A card-carrying member of the Whedonverse since Firefly debuted”

    What about Season 7 of Buffy? Just saying…

    • Maddy

      Firely was before Buffy-Season 7.

    • Mike

      He did Firefly before appearing in the last season of Buffy.

    • Ash

      Word. Every time I watch that season I inevitably forget that he was there and then as soon as I see him my memory catches up and I uncontrallably shout, “Xander’s EYE!” He was great as the preacher man. He had to split.

      • CLS

        Nathan was a priest in Dracula 2000 too. The man looks sinfully good in a collar.

    • Big Walt

      How about Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place? That’s what I always remember him from.

      • Dani

        I loved him on that show!!!!

      • Jen

        Thank you for remembering that! I loved him, even then!

  • Maddy

    As the daughter of 2 sci-fi fans, my 60-year-old Mother and I were having conversations about him long before Castle.

  • Holly

    From what I’ve read, Nathan seems like a genuinely decent person, much like many of the characters he’s portrayed. It’s always refreshing to be able to admire someone both as an actor and a good man.

    • queue55

      Well said!

    • Jono

      Met him at Dragon-Con. Was making time to chat one-on-one with 60 year old ladies and geeky fanboys (when other stars only have time for hot young women). Told him he did great fight work in SERENITY and he was genuinely appreciative. Class act.

    • Anne

      He completely seems like someone who you could have a beer with and watch the game, then sit up for hours talking about the ridiculous things that fascinate all of us infected with geek. He’s that guy friend you have who’s actually kind of hot — the one you hang out with all the time but never actually get together. Until that one night when everyone else has gone home and you’ve had a little too much wine ….

  • Elizabeth

    I liked him on “Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place” — with Ryan Reynolds no less.

    • MelindaB

      Ditto. I liked that show anyway, but when Nathan was added, that just made it better.

    • jmckee

      Would love to see reruns of this show. The characters were hilarious & very lovable.

  • Konfide

    Good LORD he is as hot as fresh baked bread… I’d like to slather him in butter and eat him up

    • allie


    • SlyMac


    • orville

      Now *that’s* a mental image I can totally get behind.

    • Tiffany


    • Kayla

      Or you could maybe just get a life. Weirdo.

    • carol

      Oh, This! A million times this!

    • kel

      Preach! I love me some NF!

    • DS

      LMAO!! Hilarious mental pic! ;)

    • Dr. Chim Richalds

      Now there’s an epic image for a Nathan Fillion cover. Ha ha.

  • Ann

    Another favorite character: Captain Hammer. Separated at birth: Jason Bateman.

    • Mr. Holloway

      The hammer is his penis.

      • aleksa

        I’m fine with that.

  • KPW

    LOVE Him! It is about time he got a cover…too bad Stana couldn’t join him.

  • Fortune

    this dude is pure gold. He can act his butt off and the first time i played the first uncharted game i thought about him. And Castle is awesome. Alot of cop shows fail at comedy butt this one does it easily.

  • Nessa

    Why did you make him wear a shirt?

    • d


    • mari

      If I am not mistaken, many GL fans wanted him as Green Lantern (way before Ryan Reynolds was in anyone’s radar).

    • Ace

      Isn’t this his EW Photo Booth pic from last year’s Comic Con? (*cough* I may or may not have saved it to my pix folder. *cough*)

  • jamie D

    At least its not another lame Lost cover.

    • C Men

      Your mom’s lame. And dirty. I banged her in the A while I watched Lost.

    • Anne

      Since he was in LOST, it kind of is.

  • Michelle

    Best. Cover. Ever.

    • Lisa

      Completely agree!! I have been reading EW since kd lang and the first magazine. I have subscribed for the last 12 years, EW you have just ensured that when I am up next May you have me for another four years! Nathan is the man!

    • Jill

      Agree! This is the first time in years I’ve felt the urge to actually go buy a copy of EW.

      • Tia

        I agree. My local B&N will be getting a visit to pick up this issue.

  • Flavs Paradise

    nathan fillion is truly made of pure win!

    glad to see him on the cover

    • wowed


    • Matt W


      I’m so glad my friend made me watch Firefly. Serenity is next then time to catch up on Castle.

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