Jump to: Spoilers (17)
According to Nathan Fillion, he personally supplied the blueprints used to build the ship set in the film after being informed at a production meeting that the originals had been lost. He was able to do so because, being so excited about being in the original show, he had taken photos of ALL the preproduction materials he had seen, including the blueprints.
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In the cargo bay, just after a Reaver is shot, some of the crates behind River have the message "Reusable Container: Do Not Destroy" printed on them. It's an inside joke. The ship set had to be rebuilt from scratch for the movie because the original, from Firefly (2002), was destroyed.
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The cast had a running gag where they would yell Summer Glau's name whenever any of them flubbed a line or forgot to do something. It originated on Firefly (2002) when she forgot her line at the end of a very long and difficult scene. (Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarin and Sean Maher can be seen doing this on the DVD blooper reel.)
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In his DVD commentary, Joss Whedon said Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, and Sean Maher performed many of their own stunts. Glau, a trained dancer, used her dancing skills in River's two fights. For the second fight, the cameraman, who was also a dancer, moved through a gap around the combatants to achieve the movie's dynamic camera angles.
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According to the director commentary, Mal's line "Faster would be better" was ad-libbed by Nathan Fillion when Joss Whedon told him to "say something Mal would say."
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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.
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During Mal's conversation with Inara over the wave, four of Mal's scars are visible. All are from wounds he received during Firefly (2002). The one on his chest was inflicted by Crow in Firefly: The Train Job (2002). The one near his diaphragm is from a gunshot wound inflicted during Firefly: Out of Gas (2002). The one on his side is from his duel with Atherton Wing in Firefly: Shindig (2002). The one on his left shoulder is from the bullet graze in the pilot.
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The apparently seamless long single take during the film's opening titles actually does contain one cut, albeit an invisible one: there is a quick pan as Mal and Simon descend a stairwell into the lower decks, which contains a CGI wipe (using the background of the wall) that seamlessly blends the shots together. This was needed since the actors are actually walking onto another set at this point.
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To put River to sleep, Dr. Simon Tam says, "Eta Koor'yam Nah Smech!," Russian for "This is very ridiculous" (literally "This is for hens to laugh!").
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According to visual effects supervisor Loni Peristere, the Reaver ships are conceived along the lines of "muscle cars that look like Leatherface," each representing a mask the Reavers wear. [Paste Magazine interview, October 4, 2005]
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When Simon rescues River from the Alliance Academy Facility, Simon says to the project director about River "She always did love to dance." This is a nod to Summer Glau (River Tam): Summer was a ballet dancer before becoming an actress, after a broken toe ended her career. She often works her dance skills into her roles.
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Ranked #5 in Rotten Tomatoes "50 Best TV Adaptations of All Time"
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Summer Glau trained intensely with the fight choreographers for three months before principal photography began.
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The events of the film take place six months after Firefly: Objects in Space (2002), the final episode of the Firefly (2002) TV series. "Those Left Behind," a three-issue comic book series written by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews, published by Dark Horse comics, and released during summer 2005, bridges that six-month gap.
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EASTER EGG: From the main menu screen, keep clicking "left" until you light up a triangle with a dot in the center on the right side of the screen. The icon will take you to the full Fruity Oaty Bar commercial. In the DVD commentary, Joss Whedon admitted that he wanted the commercial to be as odd as possible. He said it was heavily inspired by the "Mr. Sparkle" advertisement from The Simpsons: In Marge We Trust (1997) The uncredited actor in the commercial and the Easter Egg segment is Robert Michael Lee.
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Mal's drink of choice, Ng Ka Py, is a Chinese brandy. it appears in his quarters, and he ordered it in the first scene of Firefly: The Train Job (2002).
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Morena Baccarin provides the voice for the security terminal in the records room.
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According to Adam Baldwin, Jayne's mini-gun is nicknamed "Lux", after LuxLucre, devoted fan Kerry Pearson's message board handle. Pearson, who died of complications of diabetes, was best known for creating fan art featuring characters from Firefly (2002) in a South Park (1997) cartoon style.
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Though the Trade Agent (the elderly man in the Trade Station who unlocks the safe) is played by Weston Nathanson, his voice was dubbed by Joss Whedon. According to Whedon, several of the stand-in voices from the early post-production stage remain in the final film, among them this and Morena Baccarin's voice as the computer at the beginning of the film.
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Though she did say all the lines, Hunter Ansley Wryn (who plays young River) was dubbed over by Summer Glau to make the connection easier.
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The cannon the crew mounts to Serenity is a WW2 German 20mm Flak 38.
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In addition to Book's Christianity, which was established during the series, characters also practice Buddhism (Inara lights "incense" in front of a Buddha shrine in her room) and Judaism (Mr. Universe steps on a glass at the end of his wedding). In Firefly: The Message (2003), the Postal Agent was wearing a yarmulke (kippah), which is worn by Orthodox, and other, Jews.
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The main inspiration for the Fruity Oaty Bar commercial came from The Simpsons episode "In Marge We Trust", in which Homer Simpson appears in a bizarre Japanese commercial for "Mr. Sparkle" dishwashing detergent. The commercial went through several revisions; with each pass Joss Whedon would simply tell the animators to "make it stranger".
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Wash's line "I am a leaf on the wind" was influenced by the quote "I will bend like a reed in the wind", which was said by Paul Atriedes (Kyle MacLachlan) in Dune (1984).
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Mal mentions a poem that he has read about an albatross. It's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
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The lyrics of the Fruity Oaty Bar commercial song goes: Fruity Oaty Bars make a man out of a mouse/Fruity Oaty Bars make you bust out of your blouse/Eat them all the time/They will blow your mind/"I feel so ashamed, I haven't eaten Fruity Oaty Bars"/Fruity Oaty Bars/Fruity Oaty Bars.
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Concept art for the film reveals that many of the weapons are based on paintball markers, with a propellant-tank mount point at the bottom of the rear grip, and an "expansion chamber"-style fore grip.
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The opening credits appear 10 minutes into the film. They are shown in a 4-minute, unbroken take through different decks of Serenity. This is called a 'one shot' of unbroken edits as the camera just keeps rolling instead of having a 'cut' to break up the shot.
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Mal was a sergeant during the revolution, but listed as captain when his history file comes up on the screen.
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The first Universal film released on HD-DVD (High Definition DVD).
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Among the buildings shown in the opening sequence (where voice-over narration describes the "terraforming" process) are the Emirates Towers, key features of the skyline of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. A skyscraper in the foreground of the same shot is based on designs by Sir Norman Foster (Lord Foster), including the Commerzbank headquarters in Frankfurt and the HSBC building in Hong Kong.
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The scenes that were taking place on the planet of Miranda were filmed at a High School in Diamond Bar, California.
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In the White City, one of the crew examines a mummified corpse inside a car. Stencilled on the car's side is 'C57D'. This was also the serial number of the saucer ship in 'Forbidden Planet'.
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(at around 29 mins) The actors in the docking station scene wear the "Army of 8" uniforms from Kevin Costner's apocalyptic film "The Postman"
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When the Operative reviews Mal's file, it shows his birth date as 9/20/2468. Firefly (2002) premiered 9/20/2002. Writer/producer Ben Edlund was born 9/20/1968.
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The names of the identical twins Fante and Mingo were taken from the 1955 film noir classic "The Big Combo," which had two mob enforcers named Fante and Mingo who worked together closely.
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The film takes place in 2517.
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The first nine minutes of Serenity (2005) were made available online as a promotion in advance of its theatrical release. Between the online release and the theatrical release, the brief cut to Alliance security personnel was changed from blue to red.
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Originally, Joss Whedon wanted Greg Edmonson, who had scored the TV series, to score the movie. Edmonson couldn't, so Whedon brought in composer Carter Burwell. After discussing the movie and submitting some demos, Burwell left the project due to differing opinions. Music executives at Universal insisted that Whedon hire a more familiar composer. Eventually David Newman was brought on to score the movie.
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The soundtrack sometimes samples music from the video game "Civilization II," using the "fantasy/Tolkien" theme.
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The Sanskrit word "Aapada" is written on the side of The Mule used early in the movie for the heist. "Aapada" means Trouble or Danger, and soon enough during the heist the crew gets in trouble/danger when the Reavers attack the town.
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The futuristic-looking handcuffs used on River are Clejuso Number 13s, the second heaviest handcuffs in use at the time.
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According to Joss Whedon, The Operative was influenced by villainous performances such as Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List, Tim Roth in Rob Roy, and Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York.
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The scene where River is revealed holding bloody weapons and surrounded by dead Reavers is imitated in an episode of Castle (S7:15 Reckoning) when the rescuers burst in on Kate Becket holding a blood scalpel and standing over the dead body of the psychopathic doctor holding her hostage.
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At 1:18:07, Dr Caron, the Research and Rescue woman, who tells the Serenity crew about the Pax (the G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate) is wearing a CMB over her right breast. The CMB, Combat Medic Badge, is an award given to US Army medical personnel (particularly, combat medics) who treat casualties, providing medical support, under combat conditions. On the military uniform, the CMB would be worn on the left side, over a Soldiers' awards.
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In a scene, Jayne decides to take River on a "shuttle ride", as he intended to leave Serenity with River and betray them by handing over River to the Alliance, but is overpowered by River. Not the first time - In "Firefly" Ariel (#1.9) Jayne decided to betray River and Simon by alerting the Feds of their presence in the medical facility on Ariel, a core Alliance planet. But, Jayne is also arrested by the Federal Marshals as an accomplice and Jayne is confronted by Mal by imprisoning him in the ship's airlock door and Jayne is forced to confess his betrayal.
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Universal Studios took the unusual step of allowing early previews of the unfinished film. The first preview was in November 2004 in California's San Fernando Valley, when the release date was still early 2005. Further previews happened on May 5, 2005 (10 cities), May 26, 2005 (20 cities), and June 23, 2005 (35 cities). On July 22, 2005, a preview was held on the Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia.
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Jewel Staite is the only crew member on Serenity who hasn't done voice work relating to animation of DC Comics Justice League. Nathan Fillion voiced Green Lantern; Gina Torres voiced Wonder Woman, Vixen and SuperWoman; Alan Tudyk voiced Green Arrow, Superman, the Flash and the Joker; Morena Baccarin voiced Talia al Ghul, Cheetah and Black Canary; Adam Baldwin voiced Metamorpho, Parasite, Superman, Green Lantern and Jonah Hex; Sean Maher voiced Nightwing and portrays Shrapnel; Summer Glau voiced Supergirl; and Ron Glass was a news anchor on an episode of Superman: The Animated Series (1996).
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The 2nd science fiction film by Joss Whedon about a crew of space pirates. The 1st was Alien: Resurrection (1997) which Joss Whedon was the screenwriter.
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The coffee maker in Serenity's dining room/kitchen is an F.A. Porsche Design, made by Siemens.
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Joss Whedon decided not to do a "Serenity 2" and instead focused on "The Avengers" films.
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This is the first film for which a digital cinema distribution master was made using the new DCI standards using JPEG2000 compression and a 12 bit 4:4:4 XYZ color space.
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On one of the posters for the film, River Tam is seen with an image of Earth behind her. Other than the opening sequence, the film doesn't take place on Earth at all, but in another solar system.
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The keyboard Mal uses to transmit the signal from Mr. Universe's basement is a Micro Innovations Web Office Pro Keyboard.
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Malcolm's Social Control number is 099,836,5,4112.
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Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sarah Paulson would later star together in 12 Years a Slave (2013).
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The characters' names Mingo and Fanty were inspired by the names of Richard Conte's henchmen played by Earl Holliman and Lee Van Cleef in the 1955 noir "The Big Combo"
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The scene where the main characters escape with the mule was not an entirely new idea. The movie Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) from 3 years earlier contained already a similar scene.
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The extreme closeup at 32min 31secs reveal that both of Summer Glau's front teeth are chipped. Her right hand tooth having the largest chip.
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Although the film is a direct continuation of the television series "Firefly". Some fans of the show wrongly assumed that the film was a reboot.
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In the DVD commentary of "Firefly", Joss Whedon said that if the "Firefly" TV show had not been canceled, Season 2 would had concluded with the Serenity crew discovering the Miranda planet and uncovering the origin of the Reavers.
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According to Joss Whedon's DVD commentary, the most difficult scene for sound was Simon and River's final scene, after Simon is shot. Sean Maher and Summer Glau developed a strong bond during production of Firefly (2002). Sean's acting was so good that Summer kept bursting into tears whenever they attempted to shoot the scene.
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According to a Q&A with Joss Whedon and the cast after the premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, there were at least 20 separate takes of Simon and Kaylee's final make-out scene in the engine room. Take #20 was used in the final cut.
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Summer Glau has said that she pitched the idea of River becoming a pilot during the Firefly (2002) television series. In this film, River finally becomes a co-pilot of Serenity.
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Joss Whedon revealed that the reason Wash and Book were killed off in the movie was because Alan Tudyk and Ron Glass could not commit to sequels. Universal Pictures wanted all the main actors who would appear in the sequels to be contractually available, meaning Whedon had to find a way of getting Tudyk and Glass out of the story. (In his original script, before he knew they couldn't commit, all members of the crew survived, with Zoe and Wash promising to have children together.) Despite this Whedon has also revealed that there was a "strong possibility" that Wash and Book would return if a sequel ever was made -- indicating that he had plans to find a way to bring them back. In the Official Serenity Companion, he acknowledged that it would have to be done in a way the audience would buy.
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Shepherd Book's tombstone reveals his first name, Derrial. Wash's tombstone shows that his full name is Hoban Washburne.
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The funeral scene includes several real funeral customs. Zoë wears a white dress, the traditional Chinese color of mourning. Small rocks are placed on the grave markers of Mr. Universe, Book, and Wash, from the Jewish tradition of mourners placing a small stone on the grave at every visit.
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After Mr. Universe betrays the crew to the Alliance, he turns to the Operative and demands his "thirty coin," a reference to Judas betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
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During the funeral scene, Kaylee wears a medallion with the doubled Chinese character for joy/happiness/cheer, a symbol often used in weddings.
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In the commentary, Joss Whedon says that when the Alliance troops lower their weapons at the end of the film was actually the actors simply stopping after he yelled "cut" on set. The footage was added to the film. The scene was supposed to end with the soldier asking for an order from the operative. It was changed in post production.
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According to commentary, the crew made a mistake when building the mule hovercraft seen during the first chase sequence with the Reavers at the opening of the film. Zoe, Mal, Jayne, and River were all riding in the mule during the chase. In dialogue, when Zoe asks Mal why he didn't save the man who begged them to take him with them during their escape, Mal responded that "The mule won't run with five". The production crew had accidentally built the mule with five seats, an initial oversight. Although this was covered when Mal says "We couldn't take the weight, he would've slowed us down," meaning that instead of there not being enough room, there would've been too much weight for the mule to escape quick enough.
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Several of the Reaver ships in the final battle are Alliance ships with different paint schemes.
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The reaver ship that is destroyed by the gun mounted on Serenity is the "Betty" from Alien Resurrection which was written by Joss Whedon.
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Body count: 74
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Ron Glass (Shepard Book) passed away on November 25th 2016.
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After they find the first body in the white city, a strange kind of stairway with a ramp appears. It's an exact copy of the stairs in Robson Square in Vancouver, BC, Canada, designed by Arthur Erickson.
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On Miranda, the crew discovers dead citizens in a sealed room. The body of an old man in a lab coat wearing golden shoes appears just before River starts talking in Chinese. The shoes are Nike Flightposite III basketball shoes designed for Kevin Garnett, introduced around 2001.
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