Firefly (TV Series 2002–2003) Poster



Every scene in space is shot without sound effects of the ship moving, precisely as it would be in real life; no air, no sound. Of course, that doesn't cover the background music played during those scenes.
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Between shots, the cast preferred to wait in the ship's lounge instead of their trailers/dressing rooms.
The Alliance's full title is the "Anglo-Sino Alliance." Joss Whedon intended for it to be the merger of USA and China, the last of the world's superpowers. That's why many characters sometimes speak Chinese. The Alliance flag, seen in the original pilot, is a blending of the US and Chinese flags.
Joss Whedon intended the show to have run for seven seasons. While there were low ratings at first, the real reason it was cancelled was that the FOX executives thought it was too dark. Joss Whedon and the cast refused to change the storyline, so FOX Network canceled it with only 11 episodes out of 14 airing on the network. Prior to its cancellation fans formed a Firefly Immediate Assistance campaign which involves sending in postcards to the FOX Network to support the production of the show. After that didn't work, the campaign worked on getting another network such as UPN to pick up the series for a second season. The campaign ended up being unsuccessful in securing the continuation of the show.
Fox originally aired the episodes out of chronological order. The proper chronological episode order is as follows:"Serenity", "The Train Job", "Bushwhacked", "Shindig", "Safe", "Our Mrs. Reynolds", "Jaynestown", "Out of Gas", "Ariel", "War Stories", "Trash", "The Message", "Heart of Gold", and "Objects in Space".
The cast had a running gag where they would yell Summer Glau's name whenever they flubbed a line or messed up. It began after she forgot her line at the end of a particularly difficult scene. The gag continued through the filming of Serenity (2005).
Every time Mal rides a horse, no matter what planet, it's always the same horse. His name is Fred.
Nathan Fillion considers this to be the most fun he's had on a television series, and compares every other job he gets to it.
The character 'Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds' was ranked #18 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends" (1 August 2004 issue).
The DVDs of Firefly (2002) and Serenity (2005) were flown up to the International Space Station by astronaut Steven Swanson on board the shuttle Atlantis during its June 2007 STS-117 mission.
The Alliance officer and soldier uniforms are leftovers from Starship Troopers (1997).
As with Star Trek (1966), the first pilot was rejected, forcing the preparation of a new one, "The Train Job." The original pilot, "Serenity" (which introduced the characters and their story arcs) was the final episode aired in the show's original run.
During the DVD commentary, it is mentioned that there was a subplot for Inara that was never developed but that was foreshadowed with a number of shots and/or lines during the series. At a 2008 Dragoncon panel, Morena Baccarin confirmed the long-standing rumor that that subplot would have involved Inara having a terminal illness.
According to Amy Pascale's 2014 biography of Joss Whedon, Whedon proposed a Firefly plotline in which Inara injected herself with a prophylactic solution - not a birth control but a serum that would poison anyone who raped her. Whedon's idea was that Inara would then be kidnapped and gang-raped, but that the rapes would take place offscreen, and the only sign of them would be a pile of her rapists later found dead. This plotline was nixed by the network and no version of it ever appeared on the show.
Chinese phrases are often inserted into the English dialogue, sometimes to get around censors. Some ship signs are in Chinese.
Although it has been long known that the relationships between Firefly's show runners and FOX, the network on which it aired, were fraught, in 2014, Business Insider and Amy Pascale's biography of Joss Whedon both provided some never-before-published further details about how FOX executives completely misunderstood the show's aims. Some examples include:
  • FOX at first refused to pick up the show because they didn't like the fact that the characters Wash and Zoe were married (thus scuttling any chance for romance between Zoe and Mal); they relented when Joss Whedon insisted.
  • The network constantly asked for the show to be less dark, but also wanted Mal to shoot more people.
  • Pascale also recounts how completely FOX misrepresented the show in its ad campaign--instead of advertising it as either a science fiction or a western show, it instead made ads implying that it was an offbeat comedy, scored to the wacky 1997 Smashmouth song "Walking on the Sun."
The entire interior of Serenity, and some of the exterior, was built full-scale and almost completely contiguous. It was split across two sound stages: one for the upper deck and one for the lower deck, shuttle docks, and hold.
Nearly all of the main cast members have appeared as villains in other Joss Whedon projects. Nathan Fillion appeared in the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) as Caleb. Gina Torres appeared in the fourth season of Angel (1999) as Jasmine. Adam Baldwin also appeared in "Angel" (1999), but in the fifth season as Marcus Hamilton. After "Firefly" (2003), Summer Glau and Alan Tudyk appeared in Dollhouse (2009) as Bennett Halverson and Alpha, respectively. Sean Maher played Don John in Whedon's movie of Much Ado About Nothing.
Serenity's engine room includes the center console from a Boeing 737, complete with throttles, fuel cutoffs, spoiler and flap levers, and pitch trim wheels. It's frequently seen standing on the floor between the cot and the engine.
Joss Whedon originally wrote the role of Mal Reynolds with Nicholas Brendon in mind. However, the shooting schedule conflicted with his commitment to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997).
During the eight season run of Castle (2009), Nathan Fillion reunited with at least five "Firefly" cast members: Richard Burgi appears in season four, Adam Baldwin in seasons four and eight, Gina Torres in season five, while Summer Glau and Jewel Staite appear in separate episodes in season eight.
Summer Glau appeared as a Prima Ballerina in Angel: Waiting in the Wings (2002). Whedon remembered her from this and contacted her about the part of River.
Originally, the ship had only 5 main characters. Throughout the development process, the character list was increased to 9.
Some of the weapons used in the series were contemporary with the time of production and chosen based on their somewhat futuristic look. No modifications were made by the prop department to either disguise them or make them look more futuristic. Alliance soldiers are seen carrying British L85A2 rifles and Heckler & Koch MP5s, both in variant models. The Browncoats are seen using Heckler & Koch G36 rifles.
Joss Whedon originally thought up the premise of the show with his friend Tyler Lovelly, who was not interested in pitching the show, so only Whedon was involved in production.
In several episodes (for example Firefly: The Train Job (2002), Jayne wears a German police jacket, from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate (German: Rheinland-Pfalz). The badge on the right sleeve has the word "Polizei" (German for police) on the top and the emblem of Rhineland-Palatinate underneath.
Morena Baccarin's character Inara is named for a goddess worshiped by the Hittite (Hurrian) Empire of what is now Turkey, circa 1800-1200 BC. Inara was the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe and daughter of the Storm-god Teshub/Tarhunt. She is analogous to the Greek Artemis and the Roman Diana.
Joss Whedon has said that he was inspired by Michael Shaara's novel "The Killer Angels", which also inspired the film Gettysburg (1993).
The pistol-sized lever action gun Zoe wears on her hip and sometimes uses is called a Mare's Leg. It is a cut down Model 1892 Winchester, the same gun used by Steve McQueen in the TV series Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958).
According to an oral history of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008) published in July 2008 in Entertainment Weekly, Neil Patrick Harris auditioned to play Simon.
Many of the names of off-camera and minor characters are drawn from the ranks of science fiction writers. Notably, Bester (Alfred Bester) as the original mechanic of Serenity and Brennert (Alan Brennert) and Ellison (Harlan Ellison).
In September 2012, the New York Times reported on an American couple (Amber Balmer and Trey Memmott) who were such big "Firefly" fans that they not only incorporated references to the show into their wedding ceremony, but they also both changed their last names to "Reynolds" in tribute to the character of Capt. Malcolm Reynolds. After the wedding officiant introduced the couple as "Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds," she proclaimed, "No power in the verse can stop them!"
The sawed off shotgun that Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) carries is the same prop that Lord Bowler (Julius Carry) carried in The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. (1993).
Joss Whedon was one of the screenwriters of "Toy Story" about a cowboy doll and a toy spaceman.
Gina Torres joined the cast, after the cancellation of her science fiction series Cleopatra 2525 (2000).
Both Sean Maher (Simon) and Summer Glau (River) have appeared in Arrow (2012), as Mark Scheffer/Shrapnel and Isabel Rochev/Ravenger respectively. Though they didn't share any episodes or scenes together.
All of the main characters have voiced a character of the DC Universe except Jewel Staite. Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern and Vigilante, Gina Torres as Vixen, Wonder Woman and Superwoman, Alan Tudyk as Green Arrow, Superman, and the Flash, Morena Baccarin as Black Canary, Cheetah and Talia al Ghul, Adam Baldwin as Superman, Green Lantern, Jonah Hex and Parasite, Summer Glau as Supergirl, Sean Maher as Nightwing / Dick Grayson and Ron Glass voiced a newscaster in Superman: Blasts from the Past: Part II (1997).
Christina Hendricks did the nude scene in Our Mrs. Reynolds (#1.3) herself without the use of a body double. But, only her back back and bare upper shoulders are seen.
Media coverage of Joss Whedon's shows often mention his practice of gathering cast members and other friends at his house to hold informal readings of Shakespeare's plays. Whedon's enthusiasm for Shakespeare's plays is reflected in a number of references throughout Firefly. These include the names of several planets visited by the Firefly crew (Ariel and Miranda are both characters from The Tempest) and plot devices (in both "Ariel" and "The Message," different characters take a drug that slows their physiological functions enough to make them appear to be dead; this completely fictional drug is a major plot device from Romeo and Juliet, which Shakespeare wrote in the 1590s). Whedon's Shakespeare readings eventually developed into a feature film version of Much Ado About Nothing (released in 2012), which also starred Firefly regulars Nathan Fillion and Sean Maher.
Summer Glau later went on to star in another science fiction TV series "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles", which is based on the films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. In that series, Glau starred as Cameron Phillips, a mysterious teenage girl who is revealed to be a female Cyborg from a post-apocalyptic future. The character of Cameron Phillips had been written with Summer Glau in mind for the role and Glau got the part partly due to the strength of her fight scenes in the film "Serenity", which is a sequel to "Firefly".
Joss Whedon originally cast Rebecca Gayheart as Inara.
"The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara, "Stagecoach" and Jewish partisan fighters in World War II were Joss Whedon's influences behind the series.
Morena Baccarin & Jewel Stait share the same birthday only 3 years apart.
Nathan Fillion's first role as a leading man.
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Summer Glau was 19 - 20 years old when the series was in production.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Ron Glass was a cast member of the sitcom Barney Miller (1974), which was set at the 12th precinct of the New York Police Department. While it was likely just a coincidence, the NYPD's 12th precinct was also the setting of Nathan Fillion's series Castle (2009).
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In the 20th Century Fox film Alien: Resurrection (1997). The Betty crew (A crew of space pirates) led by Frank Elgyn are hired by the military scientists aboard the USM Auriga to kidnap humans in suspended animation and deliver them to the scientists, so they can be hosts for aliens. Series creator Joss Whedon was the screenwriter of Alien: Resurrection (1997).
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1st sci-fi for Summer Glau.
Objects in Space (#1.10), which was the final episode of the series, saw bounty hunter Jubal Early sneak aboard "Serenity" to capture River Tam. In the final episode of the British series "Blake's 7" Blake (#4.13) The Scorpio crew discover their former leader Roj Blake is now a bounty hunter. Paul Darrow, who played Kerr Avon in that series, was a fan of the film "Serenity", which is based on this series.
Jewel Staite and Summer Glau have both worked with Thomas Dekker.
It's been speculated online that Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) is an influence behind the series. Like Han Solo, one of the central protagonists of the film, Malcolm Reynolds and the Serenity crew are space pirates and trying to do business and make a living in the universe whilst evading The Alliance (The Galactic Empire). Alan Tudyk later went on to star in the spin-off film Rogue One (2016) as K-2SO.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In a 2009 speech at Harvard University, Joss Whedon said that Zoe and Wash were the only couple in any of his TV shows that he never would have broken up (if the show had not been canceled).
Jubal Early's failure to capture River Tam and return her to The Alliance would result in The Alliance sending its mysterious assassin The Operative after her in Serenity (2005).

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