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Trivia / Firefly

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  • Accidentally Correct Writing: A much-criticized scene had Jayne place his beloved rifle Vera in a spacesuit in order to fire in space, with the given reason that it needs oxygen to fire. Bullet propellants contain all that's needed for combustion, meaning that normal guns should be able to fire in the airless environment of space. However, there actually is a valid reason for putting an atmosphere around it: exposure to hard vacuum can cause many types of non-specialized lubrication to flash-evaporate and render the firing mechanism inoperable, meaning the gun would not even fire in the first place.
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  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Adam Baldwin grew up watching westerns, so Jayne Cobb resonated with him a lot.
  • The Cast Showoff: In case you did not know beforehand, "Safe" shows you that Summer Glau is a damn good dancer. Adam Baldwin also plays guitar.
  • Dawson Casting: Summer Glau was 23 when she portrayed River Tam, implied to be in her mid-to-late teens.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Kaylee wasn't supposed to be skinny so Jewel Staite gained weight to play her in the series. However, Staite's figure was usually obscured by the coveralls she wore so she didn't bother gaining back any weight for Serenity.
  • Executive Meddling: Fox insisted that Joss Whedon to write a second pilot because they wanted more action and less drama. They also threatened to pan-and-scan crop, no matter how it was shot, necessitating re-shoots.
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  • Follow-Up Failure: This was Joss Whedon's first series after the Buffyverse and it infamously died an inoble death, but still has a devoted fandom.
  • Friday Night Death Slot: Friday at 8 PM was not a good idea for a show that features the hero shooting first, kicking people into engines, and flirt-bickering with a well-educated, beautiful, classy... prostitute.
  • Inspiration for the Work: Joss Whedon developed the concept for the show after reading The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara chronicling the Battle of Gettysburg. He wanted to follow people who had fought on the losing side of a war, their experiences afterwards as pioneers and immigrants on the outskirts of civilization, much like the post-American Civil War era of Reconstruction and the American Old West. He also read a book about Jewish partisan fighters in World War II.
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  • No Stunt Double: Nathan Fillion did a lot of his own stunts until he found out that his stunt double was not getting paid for most episodes because of it.
  • The Other Marty: Rebecca Gayhart as Inara, who was recast after filming a few scenes of the pilot. Joss Whedon does not fault her performance itself, but he apparently foresaw a problem since he shot most of her scenes in single-person profile so he would not need to bring in other actors in the event that he had to re-shoot her scenes.
  • Out of Order: Numerous episodes were aired out of order, most glaringly the double-length pilot, which was aired last. While the chronological last episode did air, three episodes before it are only available on DVD and this necessitated reshooting a scene in the final episode, since it made explicit reference to events that had never been aired. The effect of malicious Executive Meddling.
  • Prop Recycling: The Alliance officer and soldier uniforms are leftovers from Starship Troopers.
  • Reality Subtext: While filming the funeral scene for "The Message", the crew was informed that the show had just been canceled. The sadness you see on their faces is real. This was also what the composer Greg Edmonson had in mind when he wrote the music for that particular scene.
    • River goes without shoes (and wears boots when she does have them on) because Summer Glau has arthritis and tendonitis in her feet, which makes shoes painful to wear. Boots, specifically cowboy boots, are somewhat more comfortable. Summer also requested to be barefoot because she didn't know how to properly show expression as River, and explained to Joss that as a dancer, she could do it through her feet.
  • Science Marches On: Not for the show so much as the fandom - a common criticism of the worldbuilding was that there were too many planets close together, an argument which makes a lot less sense since TRAPPIST-1 was discovered.
  • Screwed by the Network: As if the Executive Meddling wasn't bad enough on its own, it was very evident that whoever were making the executive decisions for Fox at the time really didn't get the show and had no idea what to do with it. Several episodes where aired out of order and some of them were preempted of them for baseball. To add insult to injury, the show was placed in the Friday Night Death Slot and the channel's own adverts for the show promoted it as a action-comedy, which is quite far from an adequate description to put it mildly. Worst of all, the series didn't even get to finish its first season.
  • Star-Making Role: For the entire main cast, except for Ron Glass; in his case it was a Career Resurrection..
  • Throw It In!:
    • One scene at the end of "Ariel" has Mal debriefing the crew after retrieving River, Simon and Jayne. When Mal walks up to Kaylee, he reaches for her shoulders, spins her around and pulls her close to him. This was apparently improvised by Nathan Fillion, and the writers decided to keep the scene.
    • According to Tim Minear in the Firefly 10th anniversary special "Browncoats Unite", the part at the end of "The Message" where Kaylee holds Simon's hand was not in Joss Whedon's original script.
    • Alan Tudyk got the script for the scene where Mal and Wash argue in "Out of Gas" about an hour before shooting, and was furious that he had so much technobabble to memorize on such short notice. He and Minear immediately decided that Wash should be furious in the scene.
    • Originally, the dance scene in "Shindig" had Mal and Inara to dance, and for Mal to suck at it. However, Fillion and Morena Baccarin spent so much time practicing the scene that Fillion learned it quite well and couldn't convincingly play someone who couldn't dance. They left that take and dubbed in a line by Mal saying "This dance I think I actually know."
  • Trope Namers: This series named the following tropes:
  • Unfinished Episode: Airing on the Science Channel in November 2012, the 10th anniversary special "Browncoats Unite", which featured interviews with most of the cast and two of the writers, Tim Minear and Jose Molina, brought up various concepts for potential episodes:
    • Tim Minear elaborated on the vial and syringe Inara was seen with in the pilot episode "Serenity", explaining that it was a drug which, if she were raped, would cause the rapist to die a horrible death. Inara would have been kidnapped by Reavers, and the crew would track her down. When Mal enters the Reaver ship, he finds all the Reavers dead. He would then see Inara after she has been horribly brutalized, take her hand and treat her like a lady. According to Minear, this was one of Joss Whedon's first ideas regarding the kinds of stories they would tell through the series.
    • Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres and Sean Maher imagined the couples of the show (Wash/Zoe and Simon/Kaylee) having children and living onboard Serenity, with Zoe arguing with Jayne over who's going to teach the kids about guns.
    • Alan Tudyk also had a concept where they would transport feral dogs for dogfighting, and then River would commune with the dogs and actually tame them, rendering them useless.
    • Adam Baldwin came up with a scenario where Jayne would get his own ship and try to compete with Mal, fail badly and end up returning to Serenity a bit more humbled.
    • Nathan Fillion pitched an elaborate story with a moral dilemma that he heard from Joss Whedon, where the crew would land on a planet and would be treated very well, before learning that the planet was dying and the inhabitants want Mal to help them escape. However the planet is so distant that if they take on refugees they will run out of air, unless they meet another ship. Mal pretends to agree, and while the crew are sleeping, takes control of Serenity and flees the planet. As they escape, they never meet another ship, and realize if they saved the people they all would have died. Mal then assumes responsibility for their actions, emphasizing that what happened was his fault alone.
    • According to a 2013 interview with Joss Whedon “I had planned to do an episode of Firefly with Amy and Alexis and James Marsters as part of a travelling Shakespeare troupe. Because it’s sort of a staple of the John Ford Westerns, there’s always that over-the-top theatre guy. And I thought it would be terrific to have them to try and put on a play in the cargo bay.”
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The role of Malcolm Reynolds was originally meant for Nicholas Brendon, but he was busy with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • Neil Patrick Harris auditioned for the role of Simon Tam before Sean Maher was cast.
    • In the Comic-Con panel for the series' 10th anniversary, which included Joss Whedon himself, an audience member asked Joss how the series ending would have differed from Serenity had the first season been confirmed as the only season of Firefly. Joss replied that he would not have killed anyone, and that the back-stories of Inara and Book would have been further elaborated.
    • The RPG includes a plot that would have been part of the second season, that the Alliance is on the brink of economic collapse and trying very hard to prevent this by covering it up.
    • Joss Whedon gave an interview around the time Serenity came out, where he stated that, had the show lasted multiple seasons, he had an idea to include a cameo by Spike sometime around Season 6, retroactively incorporating Firefly into the Buffyverse. The scene would involved Mal encountering Spike in a bar on one of the border planets, where the British Vampire would resignedly tell him "Nothing ever changes".
    • There would have been some further development of Inara and Mal's relationship, and Inara would have confirmed that she is terminally ill in Season 2.
    • Jayne would've been revealed to have been the co-founder for the Blue Suns corporation, but was forced out. Thus explaining why he puts up the front of being a brainless thug when he's obviously smarter than that — he just doesn't believe in hard work anymore and wants as little responsibility as possible.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Firefly and Serenity Database.
  • Word of Saint Paul: In a DVD Commentary, Alan Tudyk gives a semi-serious speculation on what Wash was up to during the Unification War: he got a job ferrying supplies (for which side isn't clear), but was shot down on his first mission and spent the rest of the war in prison, where he survived Scherazade-like with his puppet shows. Many fans added this to their Fanon.


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