Who Did The Rookie's Nathan Fillion Play On Modern Family?

For his role as Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds in Joss Whedon's space western "Firefly" and the film follow-up "Serenity," Nathan Fillion emerged as the de facto heartthrob among a certain subsection of nerd culture. It's an identifier that Fillion has embraced, particularly in his recurring role as Missy's celebrity crush on "Big Mouth." Fanboys flocked to Fillion, too, with his work on "Castle" and as the voice of Green Lantern only strengthening his star power. With his starring role on "The Rookie," Fillion's broad appeal has expanded to police procedural fans.

Indeed, there's just something about the guy that attracts intense fandom. That's the crux of his character Rainer Shine on "Modern Family," who Fillion played for six episodes in Season 8, plus a cameo appearance in Season 9. When Phil (Ty Burrell) is invited to do a real estate segment on the local news, he's thrilled to meet his hero, Rainer, who is the weatherman.

Phil is flustered around Rainer and consequently approaches their budding friendship with the nerves of a schoolboy crush. He's part-mortified, part-jealous when Rainer starts dating his 20-something daughter, Haley (Sarah Hyland). "[Phil] is shocked and horrified, but the reality is he kind of set us up accidentally," Fillion told the New York Post. "He hates it but it's also all his fault."

Fillion loved playing a vain weatherman

Leading up to his recurring role on "Modern Family" in 2016, Nathan Fillion was all too familiar with the inner workings of a TV studio. He had, for eight seasons, starred as cocky mystery writer Richard Castle on ABC's "Castle." When the series was abruptly canceled in May of 2016, Fillion was taken aback, though he wasn't exactly devastated.

"It wasn't the beautiful send-off that I think maybe you could hope for, but it's the entertainment industry, it's a business, I get it," the actor said in the same interview with the New York Post. Cancellation, he joked, wasn't a new experience for him, with the premature cancelation of "Firefly" perhaps the most famous example. Fillion went on to say that he doesn't take it personally when a show he stars in gets canceled, noting that he has starred in several shows that have faced that fate.

For Fillion, "Modern Family" was a welcome distraction from the fate of "Castle." It also gave him an opportunity to distance himself from Richard Castle. "It's kind of a niche for me to play characters who are vain but don't know that they're vain. It's something I'm practiced at," he said. "It's very easy to laugh at a character who's that stupid. He's kind, he's nice, he's sort of charming, but he's just so cheesy and so flawed."