Top 10 AMAZING Facts About Firefly
In this installment, we are going to strap on our spurs and take to the sky as we dive into Joss Whedon’s space western, Firefly. Though the program only lasted one short season before being pulled by the FOX network, there are plenty of factoids and interesting tidbits out there to make a list. We’ve dug through these Firefly facts and chosen ten of the most interesting.
Firefly was Aired Out of Order
Some would say the fate of Firefly was sealed when Fox decided to play around with the episodes chronology. Whedon originally wrote the episode “Serenity” as the show’s opener, so it included introductions to the main crew. Fox executives viewed the episode as unsuitable for a pilot and aired what was written as the second episode, “Train Job”, as the premier. Viewers missed out on the very important introduction to the show’s more mysterious characters, Simon and River Tam. “Serenity” eventually aired, ironically as the series’ final episode on December 20th, 2002. The episode “Out of Gas” acted as the season’s flashback episode, making “Serenity” seem even more out of place.
Many Similarities Between Firefly and Outlaw Star
Incase you aren’t familiar, Outlaw Star is a space western anime that came out in the mid-to-late-1990’s. If one were to look at Firefly and Outlaw Star next to one another, they may start to pick up on some pretty big coincidences. To start, both River Tam and Melfina of Outlaw Star were transported in a cargo box and revealed in an episode one cliffhanger. Each series also carries some familiar characters, such as the lead group of outlaw renegades, an unknown renegade warrior, and an engineer with a child-like personality. While many would be quick to state Whedon borrowed these ideas from the show, he claims to have never heard of Outlaw Star.
Nathan Fillion Keeps Malcolm Reynolds Alive via Castle
On Castle, Fillion plays a novelist that shadows a local detective, but the former Captain sometimes has a hard time of letting go of his previous life. There have been several instances on Castle where Fillion’s titular character has referenced or alluded to Whedon’s Sci-Fi western. During a Halloween episode, Castle even dressed up as a rather familiar looking “space cowboy,” complete with a brown coat and conspicuous sidearm. Castle also mentions an “old show” he used to love as an explanation for his knowledge of Mandarin.
Firefly was Set for 7 Seasons
Of course, Joss Whedon had no idea that his show would run for 15 episodes before being canned, so when he started creating it, he had a very big picture in mind. During a visit to the set of the 2004 Firefly follow-up film, Serenity, Whedon told IGN scribes that he designed the world and its characters to “sustain seven years worth.” As the show never made it past year one, it is assumed that many of Whedon’s ideas for the show have been brought to life via the canonical comic book series.
Joss Whedon Wrote the Theme Song
The theme song to Firefly, “The Ballad of Serenity”, is a catchy little tune that showcases the shows western elements and concepts of freedom that the Firefly class ship brings to its crew. The ballad was written by the show’s creator, Joss Whedon, before the show was even greenlit. The song was performed by Sonny Rhodes for the show’s intro, but Whedon was the first to pick up a guitar and play it. As a bonus on the DVD release of Firefly, Whedon’s original acoustic recording of “The Ballad of Serenity” can be found as a bonus featured.
Recycled Starship Troopers
Star Wars wasn’t the only Sci-Fi flick to find its way into Firefly. Rivaling the Serenity crew is the supergovernment ruling the Verse, The Alliance. To some, these battle gear worn by Alliance soldiers may look a bit familiar. That would be because Whedon recycled the combat gear of the soldiers in Starship Troopers to outfit Alliance soldiers with. The only modification made from the 1997 flick to Firefly was a purple paint job – otherwise, the costumes are, piece-for-piece, the exact same.
Star Wars Makes Many Cameos
There’s no doubt that the success of Star Wars helped birth many science fiction concepts across the ages, and Firefly is definitely amongst one of them. To pay homage to the Hollywood Blockbuster, Whedon took every opportunity he could to sneak in a little bit of Star Wars. A 12-inch replica of Han Solo frozen in carbonite can be seen in a number of scenes throughout the show and it’s hard to ignore the similarities between Serenety’s captain, Malcolm Reynolds, and Solo. Star Wars afficianados may also recognize some space craft snuck into the background, such as a Starlight Intruder and Mobquet Transport.
Inspired by a Civil War Novel
For the most part, Firefly is a pretty lighthearted series, which makes the fact that it was based off of a Civil War novel a bit surprising. According to a SciFi.com Q&A with series creator, Joss Whedon, the concept of the Sci-Fi Western came from “The Killer Angels,” a Pulitzer Prize winning novel about the Battle of Gettysburg. The novel is a fictional account of the battle that was later turned into the 1993 film, Gettysburg. Whedon states he was inspired by the lives of the people featured in “The Killer Angels” and imagined a world structured around the concept of the Reconstruction Era.
Firefly’s Extended Universe
Like many of Joss Whedon’s projects, Firefly has been gifted with a rather extended universe. The show may have only lasted one season, but the crew of Serenity continued their adventures in comic books, novels, a series of online videos, and a feature length film. Firefly’s popularity and cultural importance continues to grow still and, in 2013, video game developers Quantum Mechanix and Spark Plug Games revelaed they would be opening up the universe infinitely via an online mobile game that would depart from the original crew and explore beyond Serenity’s exploits.
Character’s Speak a Mix of English, Mandarin and Cantonese
If you find yourself watching Firefly one day and start to think your television’s language setting changed, don’t worry, your TV is just fine. The show’s creators got creative when it came to dialogue within the universe’ and made English, Mandarin and Cantonese the three leading dialects. The reasoning for the odd combination is that both the United States and China were widely responsible for the departure from Earth, providing the needed technology and man power to make it possible. The mass exodus of combined cultures over generations fused the two together, creating a universe where both languages are more prodominent. Any cursing done on-screen was done so in Mandarin, likely as a means of getting around American sensors.