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Earth has recovered and now surpasses the Firefly system in tech
Perhaps Earth has fixed its problems. Due to the larger population and the head start (the colonists wouldn't be developing very much tech during the trip) Earth might now be significantly more advanced and have a higher quality of life than the Firefly system. The colonists may very well have jumped ship too early and be living in relative squalor compared to the folks back in the Sol system. Matti 23
  • Not exactly. There are people living on it but they’re primitive tribal types. Although whoever made the plunderer bots is another possible story…

In nearly every fictional universe there is a River Tam
In Basically almost every fictional universe River Tam (or some variation of her) exists as a interdimensional constant either helping or guiding various heroes to their final destinies. Somewhat unfortunately this also makes River a God level Meta sue due to her interactions with nearly every single popular fictional character ever made.

Basically river is either a watchful hand over the multiverse or a cold hand of judgemental balance making sure both good and evil are equally balanced within their respective universes. From River to Cameron she always guides the heroe(s) to where they need to be.

Kaylee has "utilized" Inara's services in the past
Half of what they say is Accidental Innuendo, and both are sexually open. It makes sense.

Jayne is descended from Bobby Cobb
Makes more sense than you'd think

Zoe is Jasmine.
So when Jasmine gets owned by Connor in Season 4 of Angel, she is badly hurt but not killed, after all her physiology is very unlike a human's. She also has a minor Healing Factor and is most likely not ageing. After having laid low to regenerate for a very long time - say, 500 years - she has regained her ability to look and behave like a human. She still lacks her mind control-powers due to Angel's finding of her true name, and so does not pretend to be the messiah.

Needing a powerful but human tool to use from Behind The Man, she finds an impressive independence Captain named Mal Reynolds. She gets herself promoted into Mal's division to work alongside him and gain his trust. After the war, she encourages him to buy a ship, and effectively gets him to work for her while making him look like the hero. She "advises" him on all his decisions as captain, and insists that River and Simon be allowed to come with the crew, as she immediately recognises River's power. She is biding her time, and has big plans. What are they? No-one knows...

  • OR Jasmine has learned the error of her ways and decided that peace with out freedom (which is what the alliance wants) is not worth it. She has no big plans to take over the world, she's just in favor of freewill now.
    • Please tell me there is fanfiction of this.
      • There’s some if you can find it

Wash didn't die
Taking out the whole funeral scene, all that's there is that Wash was Impaled with Extreme Prejudice, didn't participate in the battle with the reavers... Now, they have a brilliant or "Gifted" doctor, who's been shown to know his trade pretty well, add in there the fact that a this is 500 years in the future, and we keep on making more and more medical advances every day, and Wash could end up in a coma for some months - while Simon fixes him up - and then he'd be good as new. He's too good to die!
  • But they had a funeral for him to let people think that he's dead while he's in his critical condition.
  • Ignoring the Fridge Logic, I kinda like this theory.
  • Alternatively, the Operative helped the crew fake their own deaths by sending out a fake reports/notifications and encouraging them to build a little graveyard with tombstones for themselves. We just only happened to see THOSE three tombstones. In a classic storytelling misdirection, the "dead" characters were still in traction and the medics wouldn't release them for the rest of the crew's somber little ceremony about starting new lives.
    • Wash and Book are in Tahiti.It's a magical place.
      • Book and the doctor in charge of the Tahiti project are both played by Ron Glass! It just makes too much damn sense!!!
      • The comics seem pretty definite about him being gone. Unless you count the robot and there was some pretty clear metal under its skin.

The Academy was experimenting with forcing the power of The First Evil on psychics.
This would explain why River has Caleb level strength, and the insanity (after all, a good natured person being forced to take on the power of pure evil is going to really screw with their minds).

Firefly and Halo share a 'verse.
Now, at first this looks like an Epileptic Tree. However, bear with me. In some supplementary materials (on Halo.Xbox.Com) it is said that humanity occasionally discovered planets with humans at different stages of development that they knew no ships had ever gone to. So, lets say a large group of ships leave Earth, some splitting off from the pack, taking those worlds. Most however, go to a single solar system, which becomes the one in Firefly. The Alliance fudges a few things, teaches lies, and everyone believes that the Earth was used up and they left. Firefly takes place in 2517, Pre-Human-Covenant War. Even if a Covenant ship showed up, it might get destroyed, and they would have no reason to attack human worlds yet. With there being Insurrectionists in the Halo 'verse, this would make perfect sense. The Pax may have even been made from a derelict Flood ship. It's not like the Alliance has any morals (come on, the Academy and Miranda prove that) and they lie to the people a lot (again, Academy, Miranda, Book's past, and more), so why not. Who knows, maybe the Chief and Cortana are about to land on a Core World.
  • this still kinda fits with the new halo canon where those discovered planets are there because humans used to have an empire all-but matching the Forerunners'. When the humans saw their war with the Forerunners was a losing one, they sent colony ships from Earth to keep their species from being wiped out. They would have kept their tech-level relatively low to keep the Forerunners from noticing.

River descended from Dexter.
Ok, this might quite the wild mass guess, but it kinda makes sense In the first season of Dexter, when he is in his mother's old house, while having some flashbacks, his flashback self yells "Look Out!" to him right before his brother tranqs him. Now, logically, this makes no sense without some sort of odd explanation. However, if he had some sort of psychic powers, it would explain a lot. River didn't seem to show any powers before The Academy which could mean that the trauma caused their manifestation. So, perhaps his watching his mother die and soaking in her blood awoke some powers in him. However, he was never really able to use them. The warning from his flashback self could have been an accidental mind reading of his brother, put into his flashback self as a Weirdness Censor. Accidental mind reading would fit River as well, as she does it a lot. Perhaps physics also have a inherent badassery to them, which is why the Alliance wanted them as weapons. If they are as badass as Dexter (kicking the ass of a former solider, killing that many criminals and more) and you have an army of them, you would be unstoppable.

The Pax is one of the _____Light viruses.
They were trying another Hope, only this time, it was planetwide and in the air. This one killed most, but the rest... well, you know. Oh, and one of the cast is Mercer, most likely Mal. River was an attempt to create a Psychic Runner.

One of the moons is Pandora.
It's not like Borderlands has enough backstory to refute this claim, and we didn't exactly go into all the corporations in the Firefly universe, so it's possible.
  • Seems unlikely. Borderlands definitely had weirder guns than anything seen on Firefly, plus the Guardians of the Vault don't really fit with the lack of aliens in the 'Verse. Also, The Clap-traps are definitely intelligent, and the Serenity Roleplaying game mentions that there are no human level intelligent robots.

Malcolm Reynolds is descended from Angel.
Well it seems to fit: the Badass Longcoat, the inability to cope with relationships, the suspiciously tension-laden bonds with other men, and the brooding! Dear God, the brooding!
  • I'd suspect Caleb before Angel.
    • Caleb?! That misogynistic serial killer? No way he'd ever be with a woman.
    • Misogyny, check, serial killer, actually yeah, ain't exactly a pacifist life style he's living. But psychopath, not so much.
    • How's Mal a misogynist? He has a female second-in-command who he greatly respects, he seemed absolutely shocked and horrified at Saffron's subservience and her expectation that he'd kill her because he didn't want her, he gets furious whenever someone (besides himself) treats Inara badly for her job, and he greatly admired Nandi and her strength in keeping her whorehouse together.
      • They're not calling Mal a misogynist, but Caleb. Mal's shown nothing but respect (tempered with common sense and self preservation) for women, while Caleb's glee at murdering potential slayers is palpable. Caleb makes it pretty clear his opinion of women is worse than Rance's. Unless they mean Angelus, who was a pretty psychopathic serial killer who considered every women except Darla a chew toy...
    • I'd say he's arguably more likely to trust women than he is men, judging by his relationships with his crew, which is the opposite direction of hating women. On the other hand, Mal probably WOULD ask Zoe or Inara to make him a sandwich just for the lols when they tell him to go to hell, but I'm not sure that counts as misogyny so much as having a really warped sense of humour.
    • Psychotic sense of humor? Check. Even diagnosed by a professional. And his pilot. And self-admitted.

Jayne is a Jaeger.
  • Now now, love of hats, strange accent and tendency towards violence do not mean... you know what? That actually makes sense.
  • Perhaps he's a descendant of Ognian?

Inara is 600 years old and originally from Earth-that-was.
In "Serenity" (the pilot, not the movie), when the Reavers are passing by the ship, Inara is seen with a mysterious tube. Joss Whedon has said that it is not for suicide, as one would believe if the Reavers were as bad as made out to be. It's never explained what the thing is for. A line from "Out of Gas" is also said to be related to her past: "I don't want to die at all." This leads to the premise that Inara is older than her appearance would have you believe. In this case, much older. Just think about her analogy in "The Message": "It would be like fencing the Mona Lisa". Mal didn't get it, and it may be that no one alive today knows what the Mona Lisa is, because it didn't survive the trip from Earth-that-was. (cited here) This theory opens the door to offshoot theories.
  • Her birthday is given on the Serenity Blu-ray. Records COULD theoretically be falsified, and maybe she's stopped adding years to her birthday count like women sometimes do nowadays, but supposedly she's 29.
    • In Heart of Gold, Nandi says something like "you haven't aged a day." The age discrepancy may not be actually noticeable and Nandi is being polite, or it might be the age discrepancy IS noticeable. This could hint at some form of rejuvenation therapy, or this could be taken as completely innocuous greeting comments and a mislead.
  • Couldn't Inara just have a good classical education, where Mal does not?
    • Well, in "Jaynestown," Simon, who also had a good education, compared Mudder's Milk to the beer given slaves in ancient Egypt. So, yes. But it could be both.
    • Uhh, Ancient Egypt was 2000 3,000 years ago. Firefly is 500 years in the future. We still remember it, why shouldn't they?
      • Because at some point in between we had to desperately flee the earth to find an inhabitable planet. Much history may have been lost in the process.
      • As an example, Western Civilization temporarily lost most, if not all, of the culture and knowledge of Ancient Grome during The Dark Ages. That's why they're called The Dark Ages, after all. If it weren't for Muslim Scholars who worked to preserve ancient texts, all that knowledge might still be lost.
    • In the movie, Mal references Rime of the Ancient Mariner. How did Coleridge survive, but the Mona Lisa didn't?
      • No-one thought to raid the Louvre before leaving for a new star system, but someone did bring along one of millions of Coleridge collections.
      • Even in today's world you can fit hundreds of thousands of digital copies of a book on a tiny Micro SD card. It's not unreasonable to assume that were the human race going to evacuate Earth it would be easy to take digital copies of all the classic literature. A large, fragile painting would never survive a harsh space voyage.
      • We have thousands of digital copies of the Mona Lisa already. It's more likely the massive cultural overhaul just resulted in characters without a very organised education having a hit-and-miss grasp of the classics. Knowing every work of True Art requires an education, knowing one of them just means you read a book once.
      • Or Iron Maiden records — Mal seems like a Maiden fan
      • They have obviously heard Beatles music. See episode one where they dispatch the "Crybaby" to distract the Alliance from their getaway. After firing it of, they directly quote the song "Cry Baby Cry" when they say "Cry baby cry" "Make your momma sigh!"
      • Excuse me, I need to go write a fanfic about our Favorite Big Damn Heroes listening to 20th-century music. note 
  • In "Heart of Gold", Nandi, a friend of Inara, claims she appears to not have aged a day.
  • Word of God is that Inara is dying. I don't know whether this is compatible or not, but I have to admit that the argument for a long-lived Inara is compelling.
  • But why would Inara be getting ready to inject herself to make herself younger, in the middle of a Reaver attack? It seems like a strange time, or motivation for a cosmetic medical treatment...
    • Maybe by rejuvenating herself, she also improves her combat skills and general toughness, allowing her to fight off the Reavers more adeptly.
    • Or it could have rendered her to a temporary death-like coma, safe from the Reavers who enjoy torturing living victims, but have no interest in those who are already dead.
    • The syringe you see in the Pilot is very simple — it is a "suicide pill" or "cyanide pill". She injects herself with it, and dies fast and painlessly, so she doesn't have to experience being raped and beaten to death. That, or it is the same drug Simon and River use in "Ariel" (also, the guy in "The Message") to make themselves look dead, but then that doesn't really make sense — reavers normally skin their victims. I doubt she'd want to be skinned alive.
    • Joss Jossed the suicide syringe in the Serenity episode commentary. See above. It's not a suicide pill. It COULD be the medicine used in Ariel and the Message, and technically, it's implied that Reavers like their victims alive, and leave them alone when dead, so that might actually work. The question to ask is if it's the drug they use later to feign death, why does Inara have it?
    • Also, when Joss Jossed that, he said it was originally an immunization kit, part of the extra medical supplies that Inara gives to Simon. That bit of footage was cut from that scene,,and they stuck it into the Reaver flyby because it just kinda fit well.
  • I remember hearing Word of God say somewhere that the syringe was full of a substance that kills anyone who has sex with the user, which would be effective due to the Reaver's habit of raping their victims to death. It was going to be part of an episode where Inara was, indeed, captured by Reavers. I'm pretty sure it was on an episode of The Signal
  • This was actually something suggested by Tim Minear at some convention during a panel about tv episode writing. It may or may not have been the actual plan Joss had for the syringe.
  • Maybe she's a Vampire with a soul, like Angel and Spike.
  • I hate to break this line of thought, but I thought the object in the pilot was the collapsible bow she uses in the movie.
    • Wow, no. There's no way in hell that it's the collapsible bow. It's just too damn small. If I remember correctly, you're shown that it's a syringe.
      • It's VERY CLEARLY a syringe. Do we have a trope page for Confabulation? note 
  • Jossed. It's been confirmed that she was dying of a terminal illness, and the syringe held her medication. She was considering not taking it so as to die with dignity.
  • Maybe she's actually Vanessa from Deadpool and somehow, Wade managed to transfer some of his healing abilities to her (this would account for how she was able to survive that impossible fall). It'd make sense, even more so with the fact that both were Fox productions, and Vanessa was a prostitute when she met Wade. Maybe she's been doing that kind of work for a long time.

Inara IS the subject of the Mona Lisa
There's more than just a slight resemblance. If we're giving her 600 years, why not give her 1000?
  • Totally possible, but there's the eyebrows. Sure, Da Vinci COULD have left them out, but Inara's are arguably one of her more striking features. It seems odd that someone with eyebrows as bold as hers would be the subject of a painting that's noted for being absent of them.
    • She might have been shaving them at that time. Styles and fashions change, after all. In one of the cast commentaries for Babylon 5, Claudia Christian complains about how thick her eyebrows were when the show was being filmed, and one of the other cast members reminds her that it was the look at the time.
    • The Mona Lisa originally did have eyebrows, as confirmed by x-ray. A restoration accidentally removed them some time after the original painting.
Inara is Faye from Cowboy Bebop.
It is already established that the gate disaster was capable of stunting the aging process, and Faye hasn't aged noticeably since then. Furthermore, Faye and Inara are similar in many ways, and the ways they differ can be easily attributed to hundreds of years worth of character building experiences.
  • Or she's Adria from Stargate SG-1 and the Ancients finally decided after a few centuries to return her to human form, stripping her of her Ori powers. Besides, it's the same actress.

River was given a form of Super-Soldier Serum
She looks like a teenage girl, but see her display her fighting prowess. She can kill you with her brain—and more.
  • ....isn't that canon already?

In fact, the entire Verse is the same as that of Cowboy Bebop.
Both are Space Western shows about a Badass Crew of outlaws travelling the solar system on a sturdy and dependable bucket of bolts, and society is a weird mishmash of different cultures and time periods. Admit it, this is so cool it has to be true.
  • This is entirely possible as Firefly is set centuries after Bebop. In Bebop, they had terraformed quite a bit of the local solar system, but deep space travel had not been achieved yet. Granted, in Bebop, the Earth was mangled more than "used up" but it's entirely possible we used up the entire solar system, developed deep space travel, and moved out further; it's not like we ever hear about Mars or any of the other planets in our system.

River is a Slayer.
A 90-pound girl who can take down an entire room of bloodthirsty madmen (who sure seem like demons), using only her mad martial arts skills and a pair of bladed weapons? In a Joss Whedon production? Clearly, the Academy was searching out Potentials to turn them into weapons for the Alliance. By extension, it was Fray's battles with the forces of darkness that led to humanity fleeing Earth-That-Was.
  • Inara's mysterious syringe is for River's Cruciamentum (see Buffy episode "Helpless").

River is a Potential Slayer.
Just because Joss said she isn't a slayer doesn't mean she can't be a potential. We alredy know slayers don't activate if their aren't any demons to fight and presumably whatever caused Earth to become known as earth that was drove off all the local demons. the prodigies the academy was recruiting were potential slayers who they were trying to activate through artificial means. Obviously they succeeded, sort of.
Kaylee is a descendant of Willow Rosenberg.
Both are brilliant, attractive young ladies who bear some resemblance to each other. In a Joss Whedon production. (Yes, Willow's gay, and so pregnancy doesn't seem likely. But first, artificial insemination happens; second, magic!; third, Xander finally falls for Willow; fourth, Willow could switch teams again.) Note as well that Kaylee's skills seem somewhat spiritual - she talks as if Serenity is a conscious entity.
  • Kaylee might also be descended from a close relative of Willow- her grandniece rather than her granddaughter, if you will. Presumably, any genetic talent Willow could have passed on to her children would be present in her parents or grandparents.
  • Or Kaylee could be the new Key sent to be guarded by River the Vampire Slayer
    • If anyone's the Key, it's Simon. If the original binding spell still holds the Key after Dawn dies (and she would probably outlive Buffy), then the Key would be forced into another human form, Cosmic Retconning itself into the family of the current Slayer. The effect is retroactive, and River is the current Slayer, so...
    • if Kaylee and Simon get married, then the Key would end up in the Slayer's family regardless. Cosmic Shipping?
  • It probably wouldn't require artificial insemination, since Willow had a long-standing crush on Xander and dated Oz, and alternate-universe Vampire Willow was apparently bisexual; it's likely that Willow herself is bisexual rather than lesbian, subject to No Bisexuals.

The Pax drug negates the presence of human souls in bodies, leaving them lifeless but easily accessible as "vessels" for demons.
Those that became possessed on Miranda became Reavers.

Firefly is a history of the Dune universe.
There are clearly numerous organised gangs, and the Companions are dead ringers for Bene Gesserit. Smugglers are common. Everyone's afraid of a threat that lives on the outskirts (Reavers/Honored Matres). River is a "psychic" - both a powerful warrior and a girl who can do complex calculations in her head: a pre-Mentat and a pre-Bene Gesserit. River's "fixing" The Bible is also a prelude to the Orange Catholic Bible.

For further evidence, Firefly does not have faster-than-light travel by Word of God. Why? Norma Cenva has yet to discover the Holtzman Effect that enabled faster-than-light space-folding engines, which themselves were unsafe without spice-overdosed prescient Guild Navigators.

Inara seems to age so slowly or be immortal because she has discovered Arrakis and the spice. Perhaps a terraformer malfunctioning created the sandtrout and sandworms, which couldn't evolve naturally.

  • Then what about her eyes? She doesn't have the characteristic blue-on-blue eyes of a spice addict.
    • Color contacts?
  • Better than the prequel novels we got, at least.

Jayne is using Obfuscating Stupidity to cover up a real intellect.
In an interview, Joss Whedon admitted that the actor who plays Jayne is much smarter and nicer than the character is. Out of jealousy, he therefore took great joy in making Jayne the Butt-Monkey of the series. Yet it's entirely possible that Jayne is intelligent in his own right. For instance, his plan to sell River up the river was well planned — up to a point.

The reason for this charade? Jayne is constantly trying to usurp leadership of Serenity. It is in his interest to play the fool so that his plans are never taken seriously. Thus, even if he fails, he will get to stay on the ship to try again. Then again, maybe he just likes playing the part of lovable oaf.

  • Lovable?
    • Hey, if Igniz can be lovable, so can Jayne.
  • Jayne is clearly deeper than he lets on most of the time. Example: when he betrays Simon and River to the Alliance and Mal finds out. Mal threatens to throw him out of the airlock and Jayne asks Mal not to tell the rest of the crew why he was killed. Jayne showing shame, remorse and caring about what the people he just betrayed think of him? If it was just plain selfishness, he would have begged Mal not to kill him and then lied about "doing anything" to save his own skin. The fact that he recognized the fact that he did something so awful he deserved to die and then begs Mal to lie so his crewmates don't think he's a jerk?? That's not Jayne's game-face. Even if you assume he was faking the whole remorse thing then it's just evidence that he's a lot sneakier than anyone would suspect.
    • So... hold Jayne over the volcano's edge and you will come to truly know him?
    • The above "volcano" comment was a bit of Fridge Brilliance for this Troper. It hits even harder when it's considered that the episode containing the "volcano" line appears right after the episode with Jayne's betrayal, as if Joss was offering up a reason for Jayne's "uncharacteristic" behavior in the airlock.
  • It's also possible Jayne has been playing stupid for so long he, on occasion, Becomes The Mask
    • The impression I got from the series and movie is that while Jayne is quite intelligent, he's extremely poorly educated.
    • I don't think he's all that smart. I think he's just well-rounded in the areas where he has a lot of experience, but definitely not stupid, just ignorant.
      • Mind that this troper(the one that believes Jayne is poorly educated) subscribes to the theory of multiple intelligences, and believes that intelligence shows itself in different ways. Jayne's aptitude is more in line with firearms and combat and likely has a more bodily-kinesthetic inclination than the rest of the crew. Mind you, I'm not saying he's a Genius Ditz or anything, just saying that he's more intelligent than his crude nature and lack of any sort of formal education lets on. Not as smart as Simon, Book, Inara, or Kaylee(in no particular order), but on a comparable level to Mal, Zoe, and Wash. He just has the rotten luck of having the least amount of schooling for anyone on the crew, which is why his competence only shows in his areas of experience; fighting.
      • The Serenity RPG manual gives stats for Jayne, and he has a 4 in intelligence, just below the average intelligence of 6. Jayne does occasionally get confused by fairly straightforward conversation from the other crew even when there aren't many big words to get confused by that just being ignorant would suggest. He's also shown to be impulsive and not think things through. However, I do think that Jayne has some cunning, and he's clearly good with guns and fighting.
      • The stats in the RPG manual are probably intended more for game balance than to reflect their actual abilitiesnote . For instance, Jayne and Zoe both have a strength of 10. While Zoe is no pushover, and I wouldn't want to take any bets on which of them would kick the other's ass, as far as pure brute strength I think Jayne would have Zoe beat. At the same time, Book is given a strength of 6, the same as Kaylee and Wash. Book's no spring chicken, but he's been shown weightlifting with Jayne, so I think he'd be a notch higher than what's he's listed as.
      • I dunno about Jayne beating Zoe even in brute force. While Gina Torres is more tall and svelte than beefhouse, my impression was that in series Zoe is supposed to have a lot of lean muscle strength, y'know, wiry. Plus I'm pretty sure Jayne's intimidated by her, perhaps as much or more than Mal. You have to remember how often Mal is injured and out of commission, which means at those times Zoe is the only one keeping Jayne from taking the ship.
      • I would give Jayne the edge by a couple of points for strength, and give Zoe the same edge for Agility. Throw in another couple points in Zoe's favor for Intelligence and Wisdom each, and give Jayne a penalty for Luck, if you're using a system that accounts for that. Throw in an obvious edge for Charisma (Zoe's no charmer most of the time, but people tend to respect her authority, unlike Jayne, who is seemingly respected only by Book.)

Shepherd Book used to be an Operative.
Book was strongly hinted to have high-up ties to the Alliance — high enough to merit instant respect from Alliance officers. He was surprisingly skillful with just about any kind of weapon. And what kind of a priest is actually named "Book", except maybe for a formerly unnamed government agent looking for a pseudonym?
  • Additional evidence lies in the fact that Book apparently understands how the Operative thinks.
  • Further, after Book explains the nature of the Operative to Mal early on in the Big Damn Movie, Mal muses once again that Book really does have to tell him about his past some day. And while Book had always previously responded to this by hinting that he might indeed eventually, for the first time ever he refuses here: "No, I don't." He doesn't have to tell Mal about his past now... because he just did.
    • My only problem with that is how easily Book was taken out by Dobson, Early, and the stray bullet from the cattle hustlers. I can't imagine the Operative being that easy to take out.
      • Dobson and Early both took him by surprise; Dobson while he was about to help him, and Early specifically took him out fast because he was dangerous. As to the bullet? He's still human, and for all the fighting skill the Operative shows, he's not going to dodge a bullet.
      • Also consider that the Operative might be one of the best, while Book (in his time) might've been more average (or just above).
    • Well, whatever he used to do, supposedly he's been retired and residing in an abbey for a while, during which time he completely forsook his former life of violence. He's still bad ass, but compared to active agents, his skills could conceivably be rusty. Plus there's the age factor.
      • Good point. And maybe there are different "levels" of Operatives, and Book was once a lower level operative and the guy in the movie is a high level operative?
      • Or different areas of specialty. The Operative was an assassin/infiltrator, while Book could've been a spy/torturorer/counterintelligence/whatever.
    • If you watch "Objects in Space" with this theory in mind, Early's answer to Simon blaming him for beating up a Shepherd gets a completely new meaning. "This is no Shepherd"
  • Confirmed in the comic book The Shepherd's Tale. ...Or So I Heard.
  • Maybe he held some other kind of high-level position that didn't expire, like being a magistrate? This would command the respect of the operatives, but wouldn't mean he would have to have sharp combat reflexes.
  • Jossed. Possibly. He was a high-ranking Alliance officer, among many other things (Alliance interrogator, Independent mole, etc.) but his precise rank was not made clear. He could have been an Operative; if so he may have been singlehandedly responsible for the Independents lasting as long as they did with his spying implants.
  • He also thought, in "Objects in Space", something along the lines of, "I don't give a damn if you're innocent or not. So where does that leave you?" assuming that River wasn't hallucinating that bit. As an Operative, it's entirely possible that he didn't have a moral compass beyond what the Alliance told him.
  • Derrial Book is not his real name; it's just the name he took for himself. The Operative in the film—and presumably all Operatives—didn't have a name.

Firefly is an unintentional prequel of Battlestar Galactica.
It has been hinted that Earth is the true planet of origin for the Colonials, not Kobol. It is entirely possible that, over centuries, the technologies seen in Firefly could lead to the creation of the Cylons, FTL travel, and such.
  • The planets and mythologies would need to be renamed as well; seeing as how the Firefly version of humanity already has gotten a bunch of things missed up about Earth after only a few centuries, and the Real Life example of Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul, those are perfectly good possibilities.
  • On the other hand, the Shepherds seem not too far from Christianity as known today, and the only other major religions seen are Buddhism and Judaism. Neither is the kind to go polytheist easily.
    • In the time needed to forget their true origin on Earth-That-Was? Plenty of time for new religions or mutations of old ones to come about, and old ones to be supplanted.
      • Or they could be separate developments of mankind happening simultaneously. The Alliance has more than 12 planets. Heck, it probably has lost more than 12 planets.
  • The finale of BSG didn't allow for this, but I think BSG and Firefly should have been concurrent-and the battlestar should have eventually jumped into the Firefly system(s) while searching for/after finding Earth.
    • The finale for BSG doesn't preclude it. First of all, there could be a closed time loop. "All this has happened before and will happen again," remember? However, moreover, it's perfectly reasonable how it could happen: Firefly's worlds have no FTL drive, but they had to get there somehow, and sublight travel to a habitable multi-star system with of lots of worlds that can be reached without FTL from one another would take eons... even using generation ships would have completely changed society so much, new alphabets would have arisen, religious would have completely changed, and there would most likely not be any discernible races left. Hell, they'd be virtually Eloi by the time they got there. So no, maybe there's no FTL, but that doesn't mean there never * was* FTL, to get there from Earth-that-was. However, that doesn't mean it was jump-drive of any sort through a traversible wormhole or a self-looped warp field or any of the typical "how do we do this without any of that pesky relativity" blackboxes usually used in Sci-Fi. Instead, perhaps just, with control of inertia (they do have artificial gravity, so they have inertial control) they were able to overcome the inherent problems of post-C acceleration causing mass gain and turning everyone into splotches before they even got to c. So they can travel faster than light, as if massless — and therefore every particle in them effectively duplicates the effect of tachyons theoretical effect and travels backwards in time, but without decelerating, so they get very far away but by the time they do it's a long time ago in a part of the galaxy far, far away. And then they colonise Kobol and then make robots, and some of those robots go off and found a new earth, and become biological, and then discover resurrection technology and travel (this time in sleeper ships) back to the colonies which have forgotten Kobol now and do all the stuff that happens in the new BSG series, and then eventually end up on earth ziddly years ago and then eventually at the end we start making robots, and Six is right, we don't make Cylons, but we have enough intraspecies wars that we screw up the planet so badly and use it all up, that we have to take off in ships to find a new world, etc.
      • You're still screwing with relativity there. Mass gain happens as you approach c, not when you go beyond it. If something is massless, it travels at c (no exceptions). To go beyond c, you need to have imaginary mass (yes, imaginary, not negative. Your mass needs to be a multiple of i). However, you don't need FTL travel to avoid generation ships. You just need to get sufficiently close to c, and by the power of time dilation, you can reach anywhere within a single human lifespan (as measured by the people living on board, of course).
      • Does Firefly’s expanded universe ever said where is The Verse (the star system were the series happens) located? Because even without FTL but with a sufficiently fast ship that, let’s say, travels near the speed of light, some star system can be reach in one human life span (even for non-travelers), for example, Alpha Centauri is at 2.5 light years from us, a ship traveling half the speed of light will reach it in 5 years. A system locate 20 light years from us will be reach in 40, etc., in general you don’t need generational ships if the star systems are relatively close. Granted, we still don’t have anything nearly as fast as even half speed of light but future generations may.
  • I can just imagine the scene, if Battlestar Galactica was happening concurrently with firefly. Galactica knows it is near Earth, jumps into the middle of the Firefly verse. The resulting conversation would go something like "You did WHAT to Earth?!" and "You just lead WHAT to the last thriving outpost of humanity?!"
  • You saying how its impossible to get to any system with sublight in less then eon, but the centari system is just a few light years away, ok not exxactally the same as the system in firefly but you get the point. Then take the Avatar example. yea, it takes about a decade to get where your going, but it wont feel like that thanks to relativity. Also, while not FTL, the firfly crew travvels between planets in a system with in a few days, so assuming a huge ship could get near that speed, interstellar one-way travel wouldnt be that hard.
    • There probably is some measurable amount of relativistic effect on time, but most of the ships only get up to 1/3 light speed. It took 120 years and a few generations to get from Earth to the new system. Not sure if that helps clarify.

Firefly is an unintentional sequel to Battlestar Galactica
  • They abandoned Earth That Was due to the next generation of cylons, thus continuing the cycle.
    • Or to put it another way All of This Has Happened Before, It Will Happen Again. Given that the Alliance doesn't seem to have Cylon level robotics (unless Mr. Univere's sexmech isn't telling us something) Humanity has a while to go before things get really bad. Again.
      • They've probably banned advanced artificial intelligence, it's only been a few centuries, they probably remember.
    • And what about religion? Firefly shows normal religions, no Greek paganism.
      • The cycles of history in BSG don't require every detail to be the same, just the general themes. more people and ships survived the fall of the 12 colonies than Kobol for example, and the 12 colonies cylons followed the fleet, unlike the 13th tribe of kobol, which went their own way. etc. and the Colonials abandoning their tech was meant to try and break the cycle. not to mention that the final scene of BSG is clearly meant to reflect modern day society on the cusp of making new cylon type beings.
  • Given the similarities between the 'verse and the system the 12 colonies was in, with so many habitable worlds and moons, perhaps the 'Verse actually is the site of the 12 colonies, having laid fallow for nearly half a million years. Earth Humanity arrives, settles the habitable worlds (now free of the fallout), and terraforms the moons and less habitable worlds.

Had the series continued, Simon would not have survived long.
Consider. Simon's role in Firefly and Serenity is threefold:

  1. To bring River on board and provide plot hooks and conflict by sticking up for her and investigating what happened.
  2. To provide romantic will-they-won't-they with Kaylee.
  3. To be shown treating the crew, explaining how they never seem to need to go to an Alliance hospital.

As of the end of Serenity, two of those jobs are done. River is "cured", and he's got together with Kaylee. We know that in other Joss shows, finally getting (back) together with someone is a kiss of death. Point 3 — well, they'd managed all right until Simon arrived, so you've got to figure that Mal, Jayne and/or Zoe know a bit of field medicine.

So, he's fulfilling no particular dramatic role, and he's probably worth more dead than alive in terms of angst for Kaylee and River, and indeed for Mal — "part of the crew" and all.

  • On the other hand, in Ariel we see him in the role of "budding criminal mastermind." Simon's intelligence and ability to convincingly impersonate an upper class Alliance citizen would still be useful. In Five Man Band terms, Simon makes a pretty good Smart Guy or The Face for the group.
  • Keeping in mind Serenity was created to pacify a livid fanbase who wanted the series to continue, or at least receive some closure. Had the show not been cancelled, plots would have likely been expanded on much more broadly, Kaylee and Simon not getting together as quick as they did, River not recovering as quickly, The Reavers remaining as an unseen, Nightmare Fuel antagonistic force who's origin's would continue to be a mystery. Jubal Early making a comeback. The possibilities go on forever. If we got a movie at all, the expanded plots would have made Serenity much, much different.
    • I heard somewhere that the whole Miranda storyline (including Wash dying) would have happened somewhere around mid Season 2 if the show hadn't been cancelled.
      • According to Whedon, Wash wasn't supposed to die originally. Alan Tudyk couldn't commit to another movie, if Serenity had been a major box office hit, so Whedon wrote him out.
      • Didn’t Tudyk dispel the myth he couldn’t commit?
  • "We know that in other Joss shows, finally getting (back) together with someone is a kiss of death." Hmm, Willow and Oz dated without dying. Xander and Cordelia dated without dying. Buffy and Riley dated without dying. They didn't stay together, but that's par for the course with any teen drama or soap opera.
    • Word of God said that Oz would have died had Seth Green not left the show when he did. And the other two relationships may not have had either partner die, but the breakups were train wrecks nonetheless.

Jayne is in fact completely loyal to Mal
Jayne has implied to Mal that Jayne would turn on Mal for a sufficient sum of money, and not a ludicrously large sum either. But when Jayne got an offer from Dobson that has to be high enough, he turned it down. Jayne is loyal to Mal and only keeps up this facade to ensure that Mal makes paying Jayne a priority and that people take pains to avoid pissing him off. He was willing to betray Simon and River because he didn't consider them crew.
  • See above under "Jayne is a lot smarter" entry. Jayne betrayed them because he didn't think Mal considered them crew. When Mal turned on him so viciously, Jayne realized what a big mistake he had made — he betrayed Mal as well. Even more, in The Big Damn Movie, even though they butt heads during the whole thing, when Mal makes his decision to take on the Reavers and the Alliance at the same time, Jayne doesn't bat an eye. If he was just in it for the money, he would have at least asked for a raise.
    • Of course, it's also possible that Jayne experienced quite a bit of character development between "Ariel" and Serenity. Over the course of the show, it's become obvious that he's become more and more attached to some other members of the ship's crew (including, finally, Simon and River). By the film, it's entirely possible that he's willing to follow Reynolds all the way to the gates of hell while he wouldn't have been earlier.
    • There is, of course, a very wide spectrum between "completely loyal" and "only in it for the money".
      • Really, if Jayne was only in it for the money why would he be flying with Mal of all the people in the 'verse?
      • Because anyone else either wouldn't hire him or has the cash to pay for someone who doesn't clean his toenails at the dinner table?
      • Episode and scene where that happened, please. 'sides, if you were looking for a capable gun for hire would manners and personal hygiene be your primary concerns? Because whatever else he may be it's clear that Jayne is DAMN GOOD at his job.
      • I can't tell exactly what you mean by that, but when Mal and Zoe brought Jayne on (flashback in Out of Gas), they weren't exactly looking for a gun-for-hire, they were trying to get out of being held at gun-point. Part of that very scene involves Jayne easily turning on his former employers for better money and better living quarters. Jayne may or may not have grown past this to some degree, but it's still been established as a strong motivating factor for him from the get-go.
      • Though if you mean "prove that Mal keeps him around not because Jayne's good at his job but because he can't afford a less disgusting mercenary," then I agree with you. Jayne IS good at his job, which is why I think they (mostly) try to overlook Jayne's myriad social flaws.
  • Jayne is loyal to Mal and the rest of the Serenity Crew. He sees the presence of Simon and River onboard as a threat to his crew, after all everyone onboard admits having Simon and River onboard makes it harder to avoid the Alliance.. He conspires to get rid of them not for money, but to protect the crew. During Ariel genuinely is ashamed at what he did, but not because he betrayed Mal, because in his mind he didn't, but because he failed to realize that Mal considered Simon and River part of the crew.

The experiments performed on River are continuations of the ones on The X-Files.
Seriously, the covertly kidnapping people to use in experiments, the mind reading (Gibson Praise), the sheer kick-assery. It's all there.
  • It's also been there in many, many other science fiction 'Verses long before The X-Files came along. Nothing new under the sun.
  • AND The X-files, Firefly, Dollhouse, and other sci-fi stories dealing with clandestine government human experimentation are roughly based on actual experiments and programs of the CIA in the 1960s. See also MKUltra, Mockingbird, The Men Who Stared at Goats, and the Family Jewels Reports.

Book and Niska served the Alliance together as interrogators or torturers.
We already know that Book worked for the Alliance, and that his work was less than moral. In "War Stories," both Niska and Book quote the same Qin-Empire era (c.200 BC) Warlord, Xiang Yu. Niska ties his quote to the torturing of Mal and Wash, and Book speculates that the people who worked on River were inspired by his writings. This may be standard teaching material if the Alliance instructs some of its more brutal enforcers. Niska and Book look approximately the same age. They may know each other.
  • Additionally, Book knows Niska's first name, and when Niska was mentioned in "The Train Job," Book's tone indicated that he was familiar with him beyond simply knowing him by reputation.
    • In "Our Mrs. Reynolds," Book reveals that he knows details of the 'nets' used by criminals to capture spaceships and kill or disable their crews. Maybe Book didn't know Niska, but knows a lot about him by reputation along with the rest of his knowledge of the criminal underworld? Niska looks to be a major crime lord, after all.

Somebody in the Alliance wanted the truth about Miranda to become public knowledge.
The Alliance's actions in persecuting an insane girl who may or may not know about the "incident" on Miranda seems a lot like a Revealing Cover-Up. What it does is give the people around her a motive to discover the truth and make it public knowledge. Once the truth was out in Serenity, the Alliance decided to stop hunting them. Maybe some high-placed official in the Alliance government wanted the people to know what happened but wouldn't be able to publish it himself, for fear of his life. So he sends the Blue Hands and the Operative against Serenity in order to motivate them to do the work that he couldn't do.
  • It was top secret classified materiel that could destroy the Alliance if it ever got out. Of course the Alliance would do everything in it's power to stop anyone from revealing anything about it even if they didn't have proof that the person knew anything. Hundreds of people have been arrested by governments over suspicion that they might know something. Example: Stanley Kubrick and his film crew were interrogated after the filming of Doctor Strangelove because the government thought they might know what the cockpit of a B52 looked like.
  • Also, who says that Miranda is the ONLY secret that River knew? As the Operative says, they put the minds behind every major decision in the system in a room with a psychic. She could know every single dirty little secret the Alliance has.

The Tam siblings are escaped Actives
The Rossum Corporation is a front for Wolfram & Hart, whose powers of evil will never be defeated. Ergo, despite Topher's Heroic Sacrifice the Dollhouses resumed business, and the world returned to the dystopia depicted in the "Epitaph" episodes. This eventually became so bad that humanity fled Earth; unfortunately, the Dollhouses came along. It came to pass, thousands of years later, that a childless but extremely wealthy Dollhouse director decided to create the perfect children for himself and his wife, who agreed to be the Handler for the two little geniuses. Umpteen years later, their daughter River learned about an Alliance-run Academy and begged to attend. What the Tams did not know was that said Academy was actually a twisted Dollhouse. Intending to hack the mainframe for their own purposes, this evil Dollhouse used River's extraordinary brain as a vehicle, sending her to and from the Attic over and over and over. When Mr. Tam read River's letters, he knew immediately what was going on, having heard rumors of this Dollhouse; however, he was reluctant to jeopardize his family and job and ignored River's pleas. While seeking to help his sister, Simon came across some of his father's files and thus learned the truth about the Dollhouses. He then freed River and fled on Serenity. He removed his and his sister's trackers and ejected them into space. He has yet to tell anybody—including River—the truth.

The Alliance is secretly controlled by Sky Net
SkyNet traveled to the future with its chronoporter to escape TechCom when they won the war, and covertly established itself within the future human government formed by the Alliance. The war with SkyNet was the entire reason humanity abandoned Earth, and why AI technology hasn't been developed in five hundred years. Projects like Miranda and the work done on River at the Academy are a new form of human controlling mechanisms started by SkyNet to take over mankind from behind the scenes, to make it easier to purge humanity when the next war began. The Hands of Blue are the next generation of Terminators who use sonic weaponry because, being machines, they are entirely immune to them.

River was being turned into a super-powered Repo Woman
A dystopian government with hinted control by a faceless corporation? Blue Sun is obviously a branch of (or a cover for) Gene Co, and they thought they could make a perfect legal assassin out of River...

River was intended to be some sort of remote viewer.
It wouldn't make much sense to deliberately turn an irreplaceable psychic genius into an assassin or any other kind of weapon; there would be too much risk that she would be killed in battle. Instead, River was supposed to be a remote viewing spy. Her fighting abilities were introduced as something of a kill switch in case she was captured. After it was activated, anyone holding her for information would either be killed, or be forced to kill her.
  • Depends on her effective range. If she can only sense twenty feet away, maybe a field assignment works better for her.
  • River was born a genius prodigy. The Alliance experiment turned her into a psychic. That's why she went crazy, because psychics do not occur naturally, so the human mind is not equipped to handle that ability, nor can they predict the nature and extent of her abilities. She and the other test subjects were 100% experimental, that is, they wanted to see what they could be made capable of first, and would figure out a use for them later (kinda like what the Shepherd suggested when he was talking about Xiang Yu). Remember that River was their "most successful" test subject, and she's certifiably batshit crazy. That doesn't exactly bode well for the condition (or, hell, the survival) of the other kids in what has to be an extremely expensive program. These assholes don't know what they'll do with her, they're still trying to figure out what she can do.

Inara is a former Alliance agent or even Councillor.
The mysterious syringe she carried was an antidote for Pax, which she planned to use on any Reavers who attacked her. In fact, it may have been her mind that River learned the secret of Miranda from. After the Pax failure, Inara-to-be was haunted with guilt for her role, quit politics to join the Companions guild/monastery under an assumed identity, and set about bringing pleasure and peace to others to atone for her sins. She didn't reveal the secret because she knew the Alliance would come gunning for her if she did. So she arranged a Gambit to have a certain ad for Fruity Oaty Bars play at a certain time...
  • Nandi confirmed that Inara was serving in the Companion House on Sinon several decades before Miranda ever happened.
    • Hang on...several decades before Miranda? Miranda happened 10 years before the events of the Big Damn Movie. Several decades implies three or more, making Inara at least 40-50 years old...but she looks around 25-30?
      • See the very first WMG: if Inara in indeed using drugs to keep herself looking young, this makes a lot more sense.
      • Malcolm Reynolds is around fifty years old, and the average life span in the Firefly 'verse is 120. 50-60 years old is like early 30s for them.
      • The wiki says he’s in his 30s
    • Not mutually exclusive. Maybe she was a Companion/Secret Agent working for the Alliance (you know there have to be some) who left for a while to deal with certain matters, then fled to the frontier when things went sideways. It would explain her "sudden urge" to see the Rim Worlds.
      • This also presumes that Nandi is telling the complete truth.

Had the series continued, Kaylee would have taken a level in badass by building a mecha
Kaylee has trouble with traditional combat, and she has a special connection to machines. It would be a natural extension of her character, perhaps after Simon being kidnapped or something.
  • Imagine Kaylee at the helm of a power loader. "GET AWAY FROM HIM, YOU BITCH!"
  • What could have been...
  • I think an actual Mecha would have been out of place in the Firefly Universe, but I can certainly see a kick-ass story where Kaylee is left alone on the ship while the "action" people (Mal, Zoe, Jayne) go off on one of their "perfectly legitimate business arraignments" and has to fight off some baddies usually only a landbound Serenity, trapped them in rooms, messing with the gravity. Hell if you think about it a "Kaylee as Serenity" motif would work better then the "River as Serenity" motif they did use.

The Reavers' ships are piloted by independent-contractor vampires.
Reavers are crazy, ruthless, raping machines, but they have the technical know-how and presence of mind to pilot space ships? It's clear someone else is doing it, and it's probably vampires. The reavers don't want to eat them since they're dead and probably wouldn't taste good, and the vampires get to feed off any spare victims the reavers bring back. Plus, the different sun of the new solar system probably doesn't burn them up (since it seemed to work with Pylea), so they can pilot all they want even with the big, open windows.
  • Except that Reavers also like to rape and torture victims. Sure, they wouldn't eat them, but they still have the other two options.
    • You're assuming that Reavers can't pilot a ship because they're insane and violent? Isn't the new pilot of Serenity just as insane and violent? The assumption that the technical skill of piloting a ship cannot be acquired by any person without sanity is spotty at best. Plus vampires wouldn't make good pilots. They'd burst into flames any time they headed towards the center of the solar system because the sun would shine through the window.
      • Vampires only burn if expose to Earth's sun, Sol, other stars don't harm them as shown in Pylea and the obvious reason thar there are stars in the night.
      • Actually, River isn't quite so insane anymore- which is why Mal lets her at the controls in the first place.
      • Or at least not quite so insane ALL the time. If they keep the Cortex off when she's around and Simon keeps her on a medical cocktail that's still has stable effects after the metabolization period.
      • I always figured that like Viking Bezerkers they just worked themselves up into some kind of blood frenzy before attacks. Rest of the time they were still horribly violent and ruthless, but just controlled enough to run their ships. Remember one of the key signs of Reavers is that they don't run their ships particularly well; no Core Containment, all the Reaver ships we see are all very crude with obvious unrepaired damage. The one that chases them in the Pilot Episode is missing an entire nacelle.
  • They don't even have to learn the skill while insane. The Reaver tech guys could easily be people who knew how to fly or repair a spaceship before they became Reavers. It's like riding a bike; you might not be able to learn how if you're insane, but if you already knew you aren't going to forget.
    • I always felt the Reavers more Orc-like than Zombie-like, I don't get why most people seem to feel their like zombies or 28 Days Later infected. Orcs are very similar; cruel, sadistic, violent, get in berserker frenzy during battle, but other than that can forge weapons and have chains of command. So I see no reason why Reavers can't be similar.

Jubal Early's "deadly and unpredictable midget" was Miles Vorkosigan.
But I had to set it on fire for a very good reason that I will explain at length as soon as I have made it up, no, honestly, Simon/Gregor/Mother!
  • But does Vorkosigan truly love fire?
    • Could be he just acted like he loved it as part of an elaborate charade. He was being captured because...

The Alliance are the precursors of the Cetagandan Empire.
Huge empire...spread to many planets...other planets around not under their sway, though they try...experimentation to make humans all fits! Clearly, Alliance scientists eventually figured out how to really mess with DNA and became Cetagandans. Miles was being captured because of some intensely weird time travel issues.
  • Cordelia is descended from River Tam.

Aliens do exist!.
But humanity's only been to two solar systems and space is really big, so it hasn't encountered them, nor will it in the protagonists' lifetimes.
  • Sorry but Wordof God confirms that there are no aliens in the Firefly universe.
  • No, Word of God excused itself from ever writing aliens into the story of the Serenity. Just 'cause there's no aliens in The 'Verse doesn't mean there's no aliens in the 'verse
    • The original statement left room for the possibility that these aliens are single celled organisms that only evolved within the last 10 million years located something like 30'000 light years from the new solar system.
  • I suspect the Word of God wasn't averse to the idea of aliens, but better to save them for when they desperately needed a really good plot twist.
  • Another theory: aliens DID exist, at least on some planets, but The Alliance wiped them out in order to make way for human settlers. This could explain why some planets were more successfully terraformed than others; they were already able to support intelligent life.

Firefly takes place in the same universe as Trigun.

Both series are Space Westerns, and both give off a similar vibe. Firefly is the Trigun world's past. Plants were a technology that was eventually abandoned by the Alliance. This works for both the anime version and manga version as one can assume any other autonomous plants simply decided to go into hiding if they had a reason to do so. The whole series is simply taking place on a world forgotten about by the Alliance.

  • More likely Project SEEDS was a different set of arc ships sent off in a different direction, and with better terraforming technology.

Jubal Early is a reader.
A less developed one than River, certainly, but there are two pieces of evidence. One, he is DEFINITELY not 100% there, mentally. Two, when Simon goes after his gun, Jubal tells him "Now is not your time" or something along those lines. Simon didn't make any noticeable sounds or sharp movements, and Jubal had his back completely to him, but still knew what he was going to do. How Jubal got this way is still a mystery, but maybe he's another escapee from the Academy?
  • It's quite possible. But if Jubal were an Academy escapee, he'd hardly be likely to take out a contract on River. As soon as he tried to hand her over to the authorities, they'd grab him too. Maybe Jubal just has good combat awareness- he can guess, accurately, when Simon is going to go after his gun, because he knows that Simon is going to try it the first time Jubal's back is turned.
  • It could be that he was too old or too weak for the Academy to bother with; it's also entirely possible that they simply never noticed him.
    • The Academy is definitely interested in readers. "The R.Tam Sessions" all but say outright she's got some form of latent psychic powers before they even get started with her.
  • Jubal's not an escapee, but a graduate.
    • This is supported by his comment about "surgeons getting cut on." He feels he's qualified to hunt down River because he's been modified the same way she was.
    • He might have been too unstable to be of any actual use to the Academy but Blue Sun could be employing him on a regular basis both to do their dirty work and to keep an eye on him for research purposes.
    • This Troper thinks it is highly probable that Jubal, The Operative from the movie and possibly even Book were all products of some sort of Alliance breeding, training and indoctrination program connected to, but not the same as, the one River was put through.
      • So all the black guys?
  • It's entirely possible that just being a reader makes you slightly unstable - and that increasing your ability makes you more so. In the Serenity Role-Playing Game reader is a character trait you can take - and it says it can either be inborn talent or something done to you in a lab. Early could have even been an Academy Candidate that didn't pass the entry exam, due to being too unstable to undergo the training.
  • It's stated by Simon in the episode Ariel that River is so screwed up because her amygdala was deliberately damaged, the part of the brain that filters emotions, before this from what we can see in Safe she's a perfectly normal, if a bit eccentric, girl and Simon has stated that River was "brilliant" at anything she put her mind too, so obviously she was already some latent talent already there, and the Academy just augmented it, that, and what they put her through in their tests, are the reason she's insane. Jubal is just a messed up individual, and stated to be in the directors commentary to be "almost psychic", so he could have some slight latent talent
  • Unfortunately, this is contradicted by Word of God. In the DVD commentary, Whedon states that in contrast to River, Early is just highly perceptive. He can tell that Book is not a shepherd, for instance, but he doesn't have anything on River's psychic ability.
  • Although you really got to wonder just how Early was listening in on their conversation in the galley... From outside the ship. In the airless vacuum of space.
    • Physical contact with the hull of the ship conducts sound waves through the material of Early's suit.
    • Yeah, I dunno. The idea theoretically would work, but practically I have doubts the amplitude of the soundwaves would induce vibrations that would conduct well enough through the structural elements and the hull between the crew and the outside of the ship, travel up Early's suit, and still be audible. I mean, the ship has to not shake apart under vibrations from entering atmo at super sonic speeds, and not deafen everyone aboard, I anticipate sound from conversation being very dampened. But maybe he has something to enhance sound in that helmet of his.
      • It's hard to spot, but in that scene he is actually holding some sort of device to the hull that's wired to his helmet. Presumably that's how he's hearing them.

The Tams are descendants of ninja.
How else do you explain their inexplicable skill at the Stealth Hi/Bye? Their name even sounds kind of Asian.

The Tams are of Asian, if not Chinese, descent.
There is an East Asian surname pronounced "Tam". The ancestry may not even be that far up the family tree, either, as even having one Caucasian parent can result in Simon and River's features.
  • Tam is fairly common Chinese surname. Given the Tams are also rich and the higher ups of the Alliance have significant Chinese cultural influence, this is very likely deliberate.

Firefly is in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Hear me through on this. There are several possibilities.
  1. A) Firefly is part of the age of technology or just before it, and the entire Firefly universe is just a small isolated area of space.
  2. B) Firefly is part of the age of strife. Many areas of the galaxy where covered by warp storms, which would make traveling to and from the Firefly universe impossible. They would also probably forget about Earth, setting up the whole "earth-that-was" myth.
  3. and C) The Firefly universe takes place anytime during the Imperium, and is either an isolated group that tries to replicate older cultures (this is mentioned in W 40 K) or, alternatively, they were that way before, but the alliance is actually the local Imperial government, and no one knows either because its covered up for now or because apparently no one even notices the imperium exists according to some rulebooks....
  • But none of the stuff we'd expect to see in WH40K is there. No orks, no explicit Chaos, no psykers, no commissar-types. Public buildings aren't decorated with skulls or zombie-cherubs or anything. Heck, it isn't even that Grimdark!
    • It's most likely several thousand years before the rise of the Imperium, and the Orks and Chaos can't be everywhere.
  • The Reavers' behavior fits that of those consumed by Chaos (as does the appearance of their ships).

  • Alternate explanation: The Verse is descended from a pre-Horus colony fleet that lost all its psykers to some kind of accident. No psykers means no warp travel or astropathic communication, and after a while everyone forgot those things were even possible. Chaos has very little effect due to having no psykers to use as gateways, and none of the Xeno races have noticed this particular colony. The Imperium thinks that the entire fleet was destroyed by whatever killed the psykers, so they haven't come looking. The Reavers are Slaaneeshi/Khornate cultists, while the Hands of Blue are Tzeetechian. Finally, this explains Inara's disease and long life: She found a case of rejuvenat injections somewhere, and she's almost out.

The characters all speak perfect Mandarin, it just doesn't sound right to us because future!Mandarin is pronounced differently than present!Mandarin.
But for some unexplained reason, English pronunciation hasn't changed as drastically.
  • It's Translation Convention. Everyone's shown speaking our English because they understand each other.
    • Or, because it's not the native language of the main characters. They speak it poorly because they just plain speak it poorly.
    • Case in point: French loanwords in English. Especially a couple of centuries after their introduction. Or for that matter, Chinese words - how do you mix up "Beijing" and "Peking"?
    • Same way you can spell any Chinese name about 12 different ways in English.
Or it could be the whole accent thing. They don't exactly speak perfect English either.

Kaylee is a distant descendant of L
Proof: they both love strawberries. She even gives Book passage on Serenity for a small box of them.

Also, Wash is a descendant of Matsuda, Zoe is descended from Aizawa, River is related to the Yagami family, and Shepard Book is the reincarnation of Soichiro Yagami.

Reavers are psychics.
The original ones read the minds of people dying from Pax and went insane. The survivors of the attacks, like the guy in Bushwhacked, are also psychics who go insane from exposure to Reavers' psyche and are left alive in order to spread the madness further.
  • That actually makes a lot of sense. It explains, among other things, why they picked that particular guy to witness the torture. A corollary to this theory would mean that psychics are immune to the PAX, but that's can easily make sense.
    • Seeing River's reaction to the aftermath of the event, it is quite possible that actually witnessing it happening was powerful enough stimulus to override PAX's effects.
    • This Troper thinks that sounds like something out of sci-fi.
      • We live on a spaceship, dear.
      • So?
  • Holy shit, I think you're on to something. It also eliminates the "why don't Reavers attack each other" Headscratcher.
  • I just realized - "Reaver" and "Reader" are only one letter away from each other. Coincidence?
  • Problem: they recruit the one guy in Bushwhacked, yet River is not recruited/does not go Reaver-insane whenever she's near enough Reaver activity to pick up on it. But it's an interesting idea.
    • The second hand Reaver in Bushwhacked was alone with nothing but Reavers, so no other "stable" minds around him to help, for several days. River was obviously emotionally tormented by the Reavers (i.e. her breaking down because "They are all full of rage!" in the Big Damn Movie) so who knows what might have happened had River encountered the Reavers for a longer period?
      • This may explain why River is able to rip the Reavers apart at the end of Serenity and they don't just all charge her at once - they don't attack one another, and they keep seeing her as one of 'them'. So they're fighting their own instincts to be able to fight her.
    • Triggered and vivisects them in cold blood. But, granted, other psychics may not have been put through the training River has.

The survivor in "Bushwhacked" actually was a Reaver.
When the Serenity's crew first boarded the drifting transport, they noticed there were no signs of a struggle whatsoever, despite one of the victims having been in the middle of making a personal diary entry. The tables in the dining area were full of half-eaten meals that were otherwise completely undisturbed, and the one survivor was constantly babbling crazy-sounding stuff about "no mercy" and the other victims having been "like cattle" during the Reavers' onslaught.

My guess? Whether or not this applies to other Reavers, the ones that hit this ship had a practice of first dosing their prey with Pax before boarding the ship. The vast majority of the victims were thus completely docile when the Reavers attacked, being either unaware of or completely apathetic about what was happening to them. The one survivor Mal and his crew found was also the one whose brain reacted to Pax the same way the original Reavers' brains did, and thus we are seeing how a Reaver-in-the-making looks. The reason his attackers didn't treat him like the rest of their victims is because they recognized him as a fellow Reaver and whatever is keeping them from attacking each other also kept them from attacking him. They may not even have forced him to watch as Mal supposes; the Pax may simply have given him the same twisted fascination with rape and ultra-violence that it imparts to other Reavers.

Related to the above, the entire planet of Miranda was a testing ground.
Miranda was one of the outermost planets in the system and had a dense ion cloud around it, cutting it off from communication with the 'Verse. Despite being an outer planet, its architecture, population, and beautiful terraforming give it equal standing with any Core planet. That place was well-funded. Miranda will give you a good life, but you have to be willing to be cut off from the verse and a total guinea pig.

Going off of the above, the Pax experiment was only the last in a series of long-running experiments on the population of Miranda, of which another experiment was to find and enhance psychic potential in a vast population. The way that the Scientist in the Apocalyptic Log speaks, it sounds like the residents of Miranda were being monitored and recorded at all times, even at their most private ("they stopped breeding.") The attempt to enhance psychic abilities is what allowed tenth of one percent of the population to have enough psychometry/telepathy to be driven insane.

  • Final note: the name of the planet could tie into this. "Miranda" means basically "she is to be admired, marveled, wondered at." Obviously the Alliance expected Miranda to be the shining example of all the goodness that the Alliance can bestow.
  • Somewhat to very likely, though I would speculate the level of monitoring is about consistent with what you might normally have already on the Core Worlds. Well, except in the black out zones. In any case, they didn't screen their test subjects very well, considering Kaylee's comments about them distributing brochures to encourage people to come to Miranda for work, though that doesn't preclude the possibility they were just trying to recruit a large unwitting test population. The other possible explanation is that the Pax was a large scale leak from an R&D facility. I also note that Miranda is not the same world as Mr. Universe's Moon. That's why they had to TRAVEL there (with Reavers chasing them).

Firefly takes place in the Buffyverse
In both Fray and Firefly, the slang term "Ruttin" is used. According to Urkonn, all non-vampire demons left this dimension, and all magic disappeared. This explains the lack of supernatural occurrences.
  • Maybe earth was one big hellmouth, and that's why we left.
  • This makes a great deal of sense to me. Reavers, then, are what happen to vampires when the human mind dies leaving the vampire demon in charge: much like what happened on Pylea with Angel. River is a Slayer, potential or actual. And by this point in history psychic powers are what you get when you would have been hugely talented at magic like Willow. And any strange mutations that pop up (like the Merman from Fray) can be explained by an ancient taint of demon blood.

Firefly occurs in a parallel universe to Mass Effect
How else can you explain the striking similarities? The Unification War, Alliance, Blue Sun(s), Consort/Companion, and even the characters (ie: Urdnot Wrex/Jayne Cobb, Tali/Kaylee, etc)
  • I would explain it as Mass Effect borrowing ideas/ripping-off from Firefly, but that's just my silly theory.
    • Or, more likely, as a Shout-Out to Firefly.
    • Shout out seems likely. Mass Effect is loaded with references to other Science Fiction franchises.

Jubal Early wasn't working for the Alliance
For whom then? Why, for the people who helped Simon get River out of the Academy in the first place. They probably planned to get rid of him one way or the other to get their hands on a mind reading supersoldier with head filled to the brim with high-level Alliance secrets. But they underestimated Simon rather badly and he managed to get off their radar. Now, if the beginning of BDM is any indication the Resistance probably doesn't like to get directly involved in dirty work - otherwise why would they allow an inexperienced youngster to infiltrate the Academy? - so it would make sense to hire someone like Early, who is both really good at his job and probably cannot be easily connected to his employers if he fails.
  • Jubal Early wasn't a lion? Well, no, he doesn't think he is any way... Seriously though, he isn't Alliance, he's a bounty hunter. He was after River because bringing her in to the authorities would get him paid. Simple.
    • Like it did those Feds in "Ariel"? Besides, between the Feds, the Blue Hands and The Operatives one would think that Alliance has little need to spend extra money on getting their dirty job done...
    • Ehm, Well. Technically the Blue Hands aren't Alliance either. According to Those Left behind, they're "Independent Contractors," though my guess is they're actually Blue Sun, trying to bring River back for further experimentation. Blue Sun has an interest in protecting it's own secrets, and have an agreement with some of the Alliance higher-ups, which is why the Alliance is okay with them liquifying their own Federal Marshals if they've learned too much. When the Blue Hands fail and the Alliance suddenly realizes there's a potential for other more serious leaks, they first collectively shit a brick, THEN send out the operative.

The Reavers are telepaths and they form a Hive Mind.
While they pilot the ships, Reavers use of full brain power of the Hive to operate the machinery, while outside reavers hunt, kill, and recruit. We've seen that a man can become a Reaver without being exposed to the pax, as in Bushwacked. Maybe while they're out raping and killing everyone that's not useful they look for Reaver-compatible people who could become telepaths and Mind Rape them, breaking them and pulling them into the network. Telepathy is already established as an integral part of the Firefly 'verse, I would expect it to come up sooner or later in regards to the Reavers.

Mal is Jack Harkness
Think about it. He's a rough and ready captain who's smooth with the ladies and quite skilled with firearms. He's not above a bit of illegal activity and he wears a similar long coat. Jack travelled with humanity when it switched solar systems and he fought with the Independents for some fun. He became disillusioned from such a long life and not from the war and the reason he doesn't look the same is that his face has started to become more like the Face of Boe's over the centuries. His hair is blond because he bleached it at some point to hide his identity and his immortality explains why he doesn't seem to have any fear of death.
  • If he was Captain Jack, wouldn't he be threesome-ing it up with Inara and Jayne? At least?... Can this WMG be true? Please?
  • How is Mal blond..?
  • How is Mal smooth with the ladies?
  • Who's Jack Harkness?

Hoban Washburne is a descendant of Philip Fry Jr.
  1. Earth is destroyed several times while Fry Sr. is frozen, the first of which was the incentive to start colonizing space - his nephew Fry Jr. was the first man on Mars, and a few centuries later humanity has reached a new Solar System and established new planetary civilizations, with the latest scion being Wash, a lovable redheaded [Unfazed Everyman everyman]] in a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits IN SPACE!!.
  2. Having repaired its economy, humanity returns (post-Firefly) to Earth-That-Was to rebuild, and a descendant of the Fry line (a greatn-nephew of Fry senior) named Hubert Farnsworth is still running an interplanetary courier business, though now legitimate, when he meets his greatn-uncle, who true to the family line takes up residence as the lovable redheaded everyman in a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits IN SPACE!!.
  3. The progress from 2000-2500 is much less impressive than from 2500-3000, but that's Moore's Law for you. The invention of robots would have been a quantum leap, for one thing. In Firefly, people have already started to refer to human-occupied space as "the 'verse", indicating their sights are set on loftier things. They just haven't discovered the aliens yet (the Martians were... er... hiding?)
  4. Mr Universe's huge abandoned cloud-computer thingie underwent some sort of Ascent To A Higher Plane Of Existence to become the "maybe God" as met by Bender.
  5. Final proof? Personal mantra, Phlip J Fry: I'm walking on sunshine! Personal mantra, Hoban Washburne: I am a leaf on the wind!
    • Can it work with the Washburne Industries reveal?

River and Simon were both genetic experiments.
Simon and River's parents were given generous funds by the Alliance to have their children genetically enhanced to become smarter. Simon was a failed attempt as, while he was "gifted", he was not the super-genius they were attempting to create. River was a successful result, and therefore her attending the Academy was not really a choice but rather a stipulation as part of the agreement with the Alliance. This explains why her parents were apparently distant from her in flashbacks to their childhood as their parents didn't want to get attached to the daughter they knew would be taken from them.

Female? Check. Possesses vast amounts of knowledge she should not by any normal means possess? Check. Completely batshit insane? Triple check. Driven insane by said knowledge? Check. Possesses extreme combat ability and capacity to kill multiple opponents in an incredibly quick and efficient manner? You betcha.
  • But AFAIK, River's mother is still alive. At least, it's never been mentioned that she's dead. And security for The Archive has gotten real shoddy since Dresden's time, seeing as River had no bodyguard, and was allowed to go and join some weird government program.

Badger is Badger.
At the end of Better off Dead, Badger flies away to parts unknown in his improvised space-shuttle. Maybe he got cryogenically frozen, and waken up in such a way that his brain was damaged to the extent he could not invent anything anymore, but he could still become a small-time mob boss. Of course, you never see any trashy women around him in Persephone, so there's still some holes to iron out in this theory.
  • Badger? Unlikely, but he does bear a striking resemblance to Bodger...

Go on, Joss. We dare you to Joss this guess.
  • Possibly due to the fact that it was cancelled.

The previous WMG has already been Jossed.
Not by Joss, however. By Google. The new "wave" protocol Google have developed has been confirmed to take its name from Firefly. It looks like Wave will end up supplanting email as the standard means of online communication. Think about that for a second. The standard means of communication for the entire Internet will be named after this relatively unknown television program. The WHOLE INTERNET will be named after Firefly. With that much backing it, a second season would be unstoppable.
  • This is assuming, of course, that Google Wave ever amounts to anything.
    • I come from the future... Spoiler: it doesn't.

River was referring to Mal as "Daddy" in Safe
Yes, it was supposed to be heartbreaking moment to show that River wasn't fully aware that her parents effectively abandoned her and Simon, but maybe she knew after all and was actually talking about their new father-figure, Mal.

Firefly is actually someone retelling the story several generations in the future
The big clue for this one is the language the reason its so quaint isn't because of drift but because its actually an archaic form of whatever the narrator speaks. Its really the only explanation for the language that makes sense since really in 500 years English would actually be pretty unrecognizable (Consider Shakespeare or Chaucer) Its also worth noting that several characters keep journals such as Simon.
  • Chaucer was longer than 500 years ago and Shakespeare is more recent. The English of the 1500s is still easy enough to get the basic gist, but a lot of poetry from that time uses Latin sentence formations. The English that the Firefly universe REALLY uses could use sentence structures reminiscent of Mandarin?

Wash wasn't killed in Serenity, it was an Alliance body double.
Wash gets even more spastic when flying under pressure (The Message & Director Commentary of The Message) and never wears a proper uniform. Wash was kidnapped when they were last on Persephone and replaced with another agent to capture River if The Operative should fail.
  • That's a pretty big chunk of movie for "Wash" to be a body double. I doubt that his sharp-eyed, warrior wife Zoe (or, for that matter, the mind-reading River) would go that long without at least making some indication that Wash was not Wash.
  • Basic plot of This Fanfiction
    • The only issue with that fic is Zoe. Would she really not recognize her husband’s body wasn’t his during lovemaking?

Zoe is pregnant.
Because she has to be. I'm not necessarily implying Dead Guy Junior or Someone to Remember Him By, but that works too.
  • Hinted at in "Heart of Gold" when she mentions wanting to start a family.
  • Confirmed by "Float Out", thank God!
    • FUCK YEAH!!

Think about it. Both of them are sci-fi shows that were cut down in their prime. A letter-writing campaign by the small cult-following ensued, but ultimately failed. However, shortly afterwards, the popularity started to grow, as people were given new opportunities to watch it. Eventully, a movie was made, but was in one way or another unsuccessful. Does this sound familiar? It should. Doubly so.
  • So hopefully, a decade or so down the line, someone does an equally good remake of the original series?
    • No, an older Whedon will get the chance to remake it, and sadly, he die partway through production of the show (Or Joss it and complete the show).
      • Or he'll redo the pilot episode so Dobson shoots first?
  • You do of course realize that this implies a Firefly: the Next Generation?
    • Yes.
      • So long as there's no spandex, this troper is fine with that!
      • So long as there's spandex, this troper is fine with that.
  • It also implies more movies. Hell yeah!

River is Cameron.
Sometime after the events of the Big Damn Movie, Serenity is captured by the Alliance, which is actually Skynet. Skynet converts River into a Terminator, in a similar process to that in Salvation. River, naturally, maintains free will, but does not allow the Alliance to realise this. River's then sent back to 1999 to kill John Connor, and instead warps the Connors to 2007 to prevent Skynet from being created. Why? Skynet is the Alliance, and the Alliance run the Academy, and River does not like the Academy.
  • River is Cameron. Her circuits are a little quirky after 500 years, but she's still going strong. After helping defeat Sky Net, she joined humanity in abandoning the burnt out nuclear husk of Earth-That-Was. As a young women, she needs a family to pass as human, so she periodically adopts passing loners and implants new memories into them. Simon was estranged from his family and kicked out of medicine for unknown reasons, probably drugs. The Alliance is after her for her awesome robot bits.

Earth-That-Was was the origin of the birds from Kevin & Kell.
Planet overrun with pollution? Humans bailed to find other planets? Think about it.

The Pax is made from a descendant of the virus that made Earth-That-Was uninhabitable.
Film version, unfortunately. It killed most people, and made a very small number of them incurably insane. Ever since, people have been vaccinated at six months against it, even after they left Earth to escape the zompires. However, some epidemiologists were studying the vaccine-resistant strains of the virus that popped up every once in a while, and realized that the virus could enforce peace through its side effects, if only there was a way to tone down the fevers that caused death in 90-some-odd percent of subjects and made the rest susceptible to violent rage from the paxible effect. Someone took the first virulent strain of the resistant strains that showed up, added a bit of code that they knew would inhibit the high fever response in humans, and vented it into the atmosphere of Miranda, where they realized that not only did the Pax work all too well, but the violent insanity was not caused by the fever.
  • Jossed, probably, as Earth never was totally uninhabitable as the comics now show.

The Pax is a modified version of the Green Flu
Violent, rage-filled insanity, plus the spread to survivors who are not killed outright, points to the zombie-creating virus, possibly the reason for the demise of Earth-That-Was, having been spread (possibly by the means of the bottled boomer bile) to the new system. The Pax was an attempt to modify the behavior-affecting aspects of the virus to something less dangerous: however, people who would have otherwise been "carriers" now resisted the new strain and became afflicted with the old. This also explains how reavers can still fly ships: The more intelligent Special Infected handle that part of the duties.
  • Except Earth wasn’t totally unlivable after all

Jayne is a firearm-sexual.
He sleeps with women all the time because sleeping with a gun (or at least the sort of gun he could and would sleep with, which is something with a sufficient bore size and loaded, ready-to-shoot) would more than likely leave two four-inch holes in his pelvis where there weren't any before, and because he's that kind of guy (boorish, hedonistic, intent on proving his masculinity in as heterosexual a way as possible). And I do mean "sleeping with", he already literally sleeps with them.
  • This brings a whole new meaning to Jayne claiming that Vera is "miles more worthy" than Saffron, and Mal's horrified reaction to that. In the short story Take the Sky, it's suggested Mal really DOES think Jayne cargo-ships guns, and speculates that's the way Jayne will go. The Vera scene in OMR is probably the source of that belief.

River is a Pretender.
Look at it this way: The Centre created Pretenders via kidnapping prodigies and submitting them to rigourous testing and conditioning until they could perform any function or act like any person with just a little information.(And, as we've seen with Angelo, the technology had a tendency to go bad.) River Tam has been shown to be extremely gifted and capable in almost every activity she tries—she even seems to "become" Badger after knowing him for a few seconds. Given what we know of the Academy she was trapped at, it seems that the Centre survived beyond the end of Earth-that-Was, and created a new body in the new solar system, this time relying on technology rather than physical testing to creat their Pretenders.

The Alliance is being manipulated by the Great Old Ones
A member of the Alliance was "given" the idea to create Pax (or even the formula) by a Great Old One and manipulated into creating the Reavers. This would explain why they can identify each other, why they can operate finer tech when necessary, and why survivors become one of them.

One of the staples of the Great Old Ones is that they want to free mankind of "sin," by erasing the idea that anything could be sinful. The reavers have been freed from sin in they have no concept of right and wrong, just the desire to kill, rape and cannibalize (as well as make some stylish clothes). This was as a result of the Alliance trying to literally create a world without sin with the Pax.

"If they take the ship, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing. And, if we're very, very lucky, they'll do it in that order."― Zoe Alleyne Washburne

"I'm going to show you a world without sin."―Malcolm Reynolds

"That cult would never die until the stars came right again, and the secret priests would take Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth. The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild, and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and reveling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom."- H. P. Lovecraft, "The Call of Cthulhu", (1926)

Inara leaves her current location whenever she is in danger of falling in love
At the beginning of the series she leaves Persephone because that one guy likes her, and she ends up leaving Serenity when she falls for Mal. At the end of the Big Damn Movie, well, no more running.
  • She leaves Persephone in the first episode because she was scheduled to leave with Mal and his ship, not because some guy said he loved her.
    • Mere coincidence!
  • Inara doesn't leave Serenity just after she kisses Mal in OMR, which if she hadn't known by then she had feelings for him, would have been a pretty big sign. In blinking neon letters and a matinee marquee about a mile tall. Heck, when they first meet you could cut the belligerent attraction with a knife, all the warning signs were there.

Everything after episode 8, "Out of Gas", is Mal's Dying Dream.
The setup is just too delicious for that kind of interpretation. It's even lampshaded at the end of the episode!
Mal: "You're all going to be here when I wake up?"
  • "An Occurrence on the Firefly Bridge?"

The Alliance was trying to make Thought Police.
The reason they made them be weakened by their/other's emotions is so they couldn't hide the truth. The fighting skills were used for apprehension.

The "Hands of Blue" men work for a corrupt, future version of Stark Industries
Because their blood-rupturing-wand thing is clearly a souped-up version of the paralysis generator Stane uses in the first Iron Man film. The protective earpieces are obviously now subcutaneous implants.

The weapons used by the "Hands of Blue" are 456 technology.
Actually, the Alliance has been "controlling the population" on the border worlds by offering their children to the 456 for years.

The Reavers wanted the secret of their origins to get out
Serenity got to the ghost planet effortlessly, but was then followed obediently by the Reavers to kill The Alliance team waiting. As to why they attacked Mel and his group, well, they're not really coordinated. Or were just exited from killing everyone else just moments ago.
  • Actually, they chase Serenity on the way back because Mal destroys one of their ships with the cannon.
  • "Effortlessly"? Are we talking about the part where they had to nail dead bodies to their hull to disguise themselves as Reavers in order to sneak past?

The Giver takes place in the Firefly Universe.
This particular planet was an Alliance experiment in progress - constantly monitored with a drugged populace, and no contact with the outside world, much like Miranda. Only this time, with more careful application of the drugs, and genetic engineering, things go much more smoothly. Being a Reader like River was deliberately tied to having pale eyes, so the Giver and Jonas (and Gabe) are Readers who have taken their telepathy to a highly specialized, but powerful level.

Jubal survives after Objects in Space
Because if there isn't anything in his fancy spacesuit that will call back the ship, then that's just dumb. (when he first gets on Serenity, his ship is still moving towards it, but later it's docked to it.) Also fits with one of the earlier episodes when the escape from the reavers, where 'winning' isn't killing the bad guy, but just managing to get away. And if his "I'm still here" at the end is meant to be about the show, then that can only be a good thing.
  • Supported by the end of the episode, when River is getting off Early's ship. After she's left it and no one is watching, the ship starts to turn and fly away. Its not obvious, but its there.
  • Agreed. Though only shown for a few seconds, the ship very clearly turns and moves on its own accord. The "here I am" quote could easily be Jubal saying hello to his ship in his own strange way, and in fact makes more sense than Jubal talking to empty space.
  • Also, when the camera zooms in on Ealry's face when delivers his "here I am" quote, something is reflected in his visor. It's very unclear but kind of resembles his ship.
  • Confirmed, he shows up in the comics. He almost got killed again and then we don't know whether he's still alive at the end of the comic or not. He kinda is but his ultimate fate is a mystery.

Mal actually did die in the ending of "Out of Gas"
The rest of the series is either the afterlife or some sort of purgatory-equivalent; and Mal seems like the kind of guy who's "personal heaven" would simply be continuing his wild adventures with in the company of his crew. "Out of Gas" was written in a way that could double as a beautiful and moving death scene, as well.
  • Supplementing this theory, it is also possible that everyone died (what with the shuttles lacking the range to reach any place, and undoubtedly not very well-supplied), and then ALL moved on to a purgatory-equivalent. When they die in this "Purgatory", they are actually moving on to the main afterlife.
    • This would mean Book and Wash were the first to move on from purgatory to heaven...makes some sense. Although, Taking the comics into account, Book used to be an Operative, which really ought to mean he's the most "sinniest" guy on the ship.
  • Also supplementing this theory is the fact that Mal did not actually get to the button! Sure, Zoe claimed to have woken up and decided to turn her shuttle around, but still.

Reaver society is run like Terramort
A mad tyrant rules as long as s/he can fend off any and all Starscreams. Once a Starscream succeeds, the cycle repeats.

The Unification War was started on purpose by the Alliance to cover up Miranda
There was tension between the Browncoats and the Alliance, but in an effort to forestall outright war, the Alliance develops Pax. It works in small scale tests, so they move to large scale. It screws up, badly. In order to cover up the extermination of 30 million people and the creation of the Reavers, they purposely break down any chance of an agreement between the two sides and move to full scale war.

Wash can juggle geese.
Like hell would he admit it, though.

River's been psychic since the flashback in "Safe"
It's how she learns so fast. Also:"So how'd the Independents cut us off?""They were using dinosaurs."She can see the future. Because who do we know that makes the only other reference to dinosaurs?

Kaylee is going to get preggers.
This was an idea suggested by Sean Maher, where the sequel opens with Serenity crashing and Kaylee pregnant. And in the short story Crystal included in the new visual companion Still Flying, River says that Serenity's Engine, arguably Kaylee's baby, looks like a pig, and then thanks Kaylee for a long, beautiful story. A pig is small, pink, and requires lots of food, much like an expecting mother and their baby.
  • Alternatively...
  • Confirmed albeit 20 years have passed by the time she and Simon have their two kids.

Kaylee breaks up with Simon and gets together with Jayne.
Again in Crystal, River has a rather interesting premonition regarding Jayne's future. And considering the last line in Kaylee's section, she "has a pig to attend to." And Jayne, well...
  • Though really, this could be Jayne x Anyone. And might not even imply a future relationship, but rather just Jayne as usual. Still, if River is having premonitions about it, you'd think that the premonition is suggesting something about to change?
    • Jossed, although the road might’ve been slightly rough since Captain Kaylee was showing a liking for someone after the portal trip.

Either Mal, Inara, or River are next to die.
The Crystal short story is loaded with symbolism. Most people may have heard about Inara's secret, and we know about Wash and Book from the movie, but there's thematic suggestions that Mal and River might be on the chopping block as well. Example: "Malcolm Reynolds was dead." And River: "Running out of time." Then being carried "like a corpse" through Serenity.

The Operative commits suicide shortly after the end of The Movie.
It's pretty obvious in hindsight, but the Operative does seem to honor ritual suicide as a means of personal redemption (even going so far as to "help" others redeem themselves). He himself has failed to keep Miranda a secret and him telling Mal that "they'll never see him again" is pretty suggestive.
  • I don't know about that. He might just think that The Alliance, rather, has failed in its mission to create a "better world." And, just like with the good doctor toward the beginning, it has failed so utterly, that it may have to fall on its sword, and perhaps the Operative is that sword.
    • Jossed. He shows up again in the comics, and it's strongly implied Zoe killed him.

Firefly is a prequel series to Blake's 7.
At some point in the future, the Alliance develops a working version of the Pax, which they put in everyone's food. They recolonise Earth-that-was and invent FTL engines.
  • Or...

The events of Blake's 7 are taking place around the same time.
The last series of ''Blake's 7' introduced Pylene-50, which worked in very similar fashion to the Pax only without the side effects, and the domed cities on Earth and the restrictions on outside movement could quite easily have started out as a response to some kind of environmental catastrophe. It would be entirely typical of the Terran Federation to keep a Lost Colony too backwards and resource-poor to be worth annexing embargoed as a proving ground for their latest mood-stabilising drugs or other instruments of totalitarian unpleasantness. Whether the Alliance government is an Unwitting Pawn or willing accomplice is anyone's guess.
  • As a ''Blake's 7' fan I love the idea of a crossover. One thing I'll mention is that Firefly is supposed to take place in 2517. Blake's 7 is apparently at least 700 years in the future (one episode had a deep space ship which was 700 years old). Also, when they were considering crossing over with Doctor Who, it was implied to be contemporary with "Robots of Death" and the earliest dating for that episode (there was several) is 2777. So this leads more credibility to the prequel idea. Of course, if could easily be a mix of both ideas. The ancestors of the Firefly characters could have left during a time of overcrowding before FTL was invented (or at least before it was sufficiently available to transport this many people) while others stayed behind. On Earth, technological progress continues, they develop FLT, make contact with aliens, trade brings more technology and the Terran Federation begins expanding. The Alliance on the other hand never develops FTL. The Federation decided to keep them as a Lost Colony, using them for experimentation. It's possible of course that at some point before the commencement of Blake's 7, a group of rebels (whether related to Blake or not) decided that the Lost Colony being kept in such a primitive state was wrong and made contact, eventually giving them FTL, so the Firefly 'verse ends up becoming aware of the universe at large.

Wash was one of the Allied Pilots that took part in the saturation bombing during the Battle of Serenity Valley.
  • You think Wash has miltary service under his belt?
    • I just don't see many other places in the Firefly Universe do get that kind of piloting skills. In a weird way we know less about Wash before he became part of Serenity's crew than we do about anyone else. And hints that he was a former Alliance Pilot do pop up in the Extended Universe/Fandom.
    • That's because it was a backstory plot twist that Alan Tudyk suggested to Joss, that Wash flew two missions and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp performing shadow puppet shows. Joss never said yay or nay, but hints of it cropped up in the series, like Wash's line about shadow puppets in The Message. With Float Out, we know a bit more about Wash; he's flown crime and legal corporate jobs for a while, but it's possible those were AFTER the war.

The Alliance is run by the Templars, River and Simon are Assassins, and the Academy was using Animus technology.
The Alliance's efforts at controlling people's thoughts are almost perfectly in line with the Templar's goals. The Academy's experiments on producing psychic assassins was intended to root out subversive elemnts and police thoughts, particularly among those resistant to the Templars' attempts to control minds. The Academy itself was using Animus technology on River to help induce the bleeding effect. Her Psychic Powers are a side effect of the bleeding effect, and are a result of enhanced Eagle Vision. Her insanity is a direct result of the bleeding effect, coupled with her enhanced psychic abilities. Her superhuman combat abilities are due to a combination of the bleeding effect giving her the skills of her anscestors and her natural abilities as an Assassin. This is part of the reason why the Alliance wants Simon as well, because he can potentially do the same things as River.

Firefly is a prequel to Star Wars.
It is the origin story of the Humans who populate the core region of the Star Wars Galaxy.
  • The capital of the Alliance will later be known as Coruscant in a future language.
  • River, and presumably any others with psychic gifts, are the predecessors of the Jedi.
  • The Reavers will evolve into an entirely different species (assuming enough actually survived the Big Damn Movie,) or die out.
    • In the event they do evolve, they drift in space until they reach Tatooine, and become the proto-Tusken Raiders.
  • Humanity will not make first contact until they develop hyperspace technology.
  • The Alliance, as well as a future neo-Browncoat revolution that takes place in the mid-to-near future, will lay the ground work for the Old Republic.
  • The invention of the blaster will lead to the decline of traditional projectile weaponry.
So... Firefly, taking place 500 years in the future, precedes Star Wars, which was a long long time ago?
  • See, there's a simple explanation for that. No one ever pays attention to that part of the Star Wars movies. Even when they're quoting it.
    • Star Wars is being narrated by someone from the future of that Verse. To them, it is in the past; to us it's the future. It's easy!

The Chronicles of Riddick is set in the 'Verse about a thousand years on from Firefly.
They both have a used future and some level of psychics. Riddick has higher tech yes but I could see most of it evolving from what exists in the 'Verse. In both, they still use projectile weapons except for a specific group. The Alliance in Firefly, who still primarily use projectile weapons, and the Necromongers in Riddick. Richard B. Riddick is a direct descendant of Jayne Cobb. Jayne Cobb was the first Furyan. Imam was a descendant of Shepherd Derrial Book thanks to an indiscretion back before Book found God. Jack/Kira is descended from River. Fry is descended from Kaylee and Simon. They used Kaylee's last name when they got married to help avoid Alliance trouble and the spelling got bastardized over the the intervening millennium or so. The guys who run Crematoria? Descended from Niska. The Captain at the beginning of Pitch Black? Descended from Wash. (Apparently getting Impaled with Extreme Prejudice runs in the family.) Fry's only other surviving crew member? Descended from Captain Tightpants himself. Johns? Descended from The operative. Toombs? Descended from Jubal Early. So yes, by extension, Furyans are Jaegers IN SPACE.
  • The ancestry stuff is a bit far fetched but that the Alliance turned into the Necromongers and the psychic abilities of the Lord Marshall could be the results of the experiments they did to River.

Starship UK was one of the Arks.
  • The premise of "The Beast Below" is essentially identical to the backstory of Firefly: a fleet of ships carries the last humans away from Earth when the planet's no longer habitable. We still see signs of national identity in the 'Verse—The Sino-American Alliance, of course, plus place names like New Melbourne and New Paris—which suggests that the Who model of a separate Ark for each country or region might've happened there.
  • This provides a neat explanation for why so many regional accents still exist in Firefly's future. Starship UK, the British Ark we see in The Beast Below, seems to be divided up into sections that approximate the country's counties; it's possible that smaller regional divisons also exist, with people generally continuing to live in the district of the Ark that corresponds to their ancestors' hometown. If this local insularity got specific enough, it's possible that there was an East London division whose inhabitants became the ancestors of Badger and the other Dyton colonists.
    • If the East London accent really is unique to Dyton, then all of the people who still had that accent when Starship UK reached the new system would have to have immigrated there at around the same time once the colony became habitable; they would more than likely have been among the first to do so. Given that some sources refer to Dyton as a penal colony, this emigration might not have been willing—but then the Alliance isn’t exactly known for its ethical treatment of its citizens.
  • Of course, this theory implies that the 'Verse and the Whoniverse are one and the same, which gives us some problems re: aliens. But this isn't as difficult to overcome as it first appears: humanity's Weirdness Censor and judicious use of the Reset Button has caused Earth to experience First Contact multiple times in just the new series of Doctor Who, so it's plausible that by the time people started leaving Earth they'd forgotten that the aliens were anything but mythical.
    • It's a little more difficult to justify an apparently alien-free 'Verse for the British refugees and their descendants, considering what happened on Starship UK. Perhaps they forgot, too…or perhaps the people do remember, and just don’t realize what they’re remembering is true. It’s a story, after all, about a magic man in a magic box and a giant space whale and a queen who lives for centuries—and what is that but a fairy tale? It could well be that kids on Londinium and Dyton grow up with that story the way we do with Grimm and Andersen, and nobody thinks to ascribe any more truth to it than you would to “Snow White.”
  • All that still leaves the matter of time, which is the hardest contradiction to account for. We’re told that Firefly takes place in the 26th century; “The Beast Below” is set in the 33rd. But if this theory is correct, “Beast Below” needs to have taken place first. How can that be?
    • It’s possible that in one or both time periods they’re using an Alternative Calendar. The time that the Arks left the Earth is centuries before the events of either story, so there could have been a global changeover from the Gregorian calendar to some other system—maybe to avoid the religious baggage of the current system? If so, then that’s the calendar Liz 10 and her people would’ve been using in the “33rd century,” which in our terms is something closer to the 23rd. (If we accept this, it also helps to assume that Elizabeths III-IX were all, or at least nearly all, the same woman, who changes her regnal name after each time she elects to “Forget” because she doesn’t know she was the last queen, too). Some time later, the calendar gets changed again, probably back to some variant on the Gregorian system—because the different Arks reckoned their dates differently and needed to be reconciled, or because the first colonial leaders wanted to recalibrate the calendar to fit Londinium and Sihnon, or (most likely) both. This put the date back in the previous millennium, where it needs to be in order for Firefly and Who to coexist.
    • No, the 33rd century figure is clearly the same as our calendar, as Amy Pond (a time traveller born in 1989) is said to be in her 1300s while on Starship UK.

Shepherd Book is a Cylon
Think about it.

The Alliance wasn't as evil and the Browncoats weren't as noble as it seems
Okay this is strongly hinted and almost outright stated in the series proper. It's common knowledge that even though they were the antagonist Whedon never meant the Alliance to be the classic sci-fi evil empire. So while its obviously had some very nefarious elements, I think most of the rank and file Alliance personal and the vast majority of Alliance citizens were probably decent enough people. And I think it might have worked the other way as well. The outer planets probably were really lawless and violent before the Unification War, and given the limited resources of many of the outer planets it's not hard to imagine real, terrible bloodshed being had over say water rights or the best parcels of land, something that would fit very well with the Western Motiff the series always strove for. It's not imagine a terrible tragedy on the outer planets, say the Firefly 'Verse equivilent to the Mc Coy feud, finally pushing support for Unification. And it's not too much a stretch that many of the Browncoats, perhaps even the leaders of the movement itself, weren't fighting for freedom or independance like Mal or Zoe, but to maintain their little backwoods empires free of Alliance control.
  • I'm sorry, but when the atrocities on the Alliance side involve exploding people's heads with grenade-lined apples, gassing civilians, sending out guys like The Operative, the creation of psychic supersoldiers through a process of torture and mutilation, deterraforming a planet through excessive bombing, killing 30 million people through their incompetence and probably a bunch of other stuff, if Joss' intention was to grayify the Alliance, he failed.
    • Okay fair point that it's a lot easier if you don't factor in the Big Damn Movie stuff about Miranda, but it's still implied that the really bad stuff was done clandestinatly and hidden from the general populace. I think if the franchise ever gets around to in the Extended Universe to really showing what effect the Miranda Broadband had on the population and lower government of the Alliance might shed some light on it.
    • Like I said on the main page, no different from any existing government. Most people seem to think those are pretty okay, despite whatever evil stuff or pointless wars they get into.
    • Also, it is likely the Alliance is like some current governments who have plenty of evils of their own but still think they can go and rescue people from their "backwards" ways by force (backwards ways like selling women). Essentially, they see themselves as the universal police force and don't hold themselves to the same standards as the lawless outer planets. They are Lawful Good with their law superseding everything else.
      • It's also worth noting that the creation of the Reavers was not intended, and there is not a Nation in the world that would have owned up to a blunder as big as Miranda.
  • Sure. I imagine that an Alliance citizen touring the outer worlds would wonder why everyone seems to be so pointlessly evil. Whichever way you look there seems to be some brutal gang, oppressive landlord, or a band of superstitious peasants. And of course everyone knows that if there's one thing Browncoats love it's stealing food and medical supplies meant to help the needy. From the Alliance perspective the outer worlds are a lawless hellhole where a man can't even walk outside without having to get into a firefight.
  • It's presented pretty frequently that everyday life on the central planets is lovely; what we see more often (and what those planetdwellers presumably don't, or at least they ignore it) is the "nefarious" stuff that is done in order to make that possible. The question the series asks is whether Utopia Justifies the Means. "I think most of the rank and file Alliance personal and the vast majority of Alliance citizens were probably decent enough people." — no doubt they are (with apologies to Godwin, you could say the same about Nazi Germany). Does that mean disrupting their comfortable lives is unjustified in an attempt to stop their corrupt central government committing atrocities?

China was the only safe place during Earth's final days.
Which explains why there's all the Chinese artifacts in Firefly; because that's all they could get their hands on.
  • Seems more likely that China was just the dominant culture at the time of the diaspora. It certainly looks like a culture that's fundamentally American but with lots of absorbed Chinese influences and Gratuitous Chinese slang.
  • Jossed. It's explicitly said that the alliance was formed from a merger of America and China. yea I know its rediculous. plus, while theres alot of chinese influence that you notice, its because the more American things you used too. Overall it seems like a decent blend of both, with somepeople still leaning one way or another and English as the main language and chinese a strong second.
  • Ridiculous? You ARE abreast of global politics lately? One wants to rule the world (and established economic dominance to do so), one established and maintains a would-be world-wide parliament, both want to wipe each other out while maintaining a cool business-like relationship, and China secretly kinda wants to colonize the United States. Sounds like UST to me.
  • We’ve learned America still had people too.

River has mind control powers
Probably something she hasn't learned to use yet or hasn't been triggered. The reason the Blue Hands kill anyone who's talked to her isn't to protect against secrets leaking; anything top secret she says would be dismissed as the ramblings of a mentally disturbed girl. They're worried that she may accidentally mindcontrolled them in a subtle manner into doing something that may cause serious problems for them later.

The film was The Operative's personal Battle of Serenity Valley, and he'll become a kind of mirror of Mal
Think about it for a minute. At the Battle of Serenity Valley, Mal had the world he thought he knew torn apart, destroying everything he believed in and leaving him the man we see in the series. In the film, Mal shows The Operative the true ramifications of a world without sin, tearing apart the Operative's own belief system. This is even mentioned in a deleted scene (meant to go after the "nothing left to see" moment) where the Operative questions how Mal went on after the battle. Maybe given a few years, the Operative will resurface as a kind of mirror-Mal, this time a former Alliance man who's lost everything trying to make his way in the 'Verse. Could make for some interesting stories at the least.
  • Well, it's implied he's dead after 'Leaves on the Wind' though not outright confirmed...

Nathan Fillion will eventually find a way to secure the rights to Firefly and make an animated series out of it.
Nathan has said before that he really wishes he could own the rights to Firefly, so he could continue it in some fashion. What with the actors looking less and less like their respected characters over the years, an animated series would be able to bring back the original cast, or at least people who sound a lot like them, and make new stories based around the crew of the starship Serenity. It could also be adventures that take place before the movie takes place so Book and Wash can still be part of the crew.

Jayne is a descendant of Animal Mother
This should be an easy one to swallow, since it'd be hard to claim The Vietnam War didn't take place in the Firefly universe. Both Jayne and Animal Mother are gung-ho, aggressive, and abrasive. Both have names more suited to women than men. Both are very knowledgeable about the weapons of war (compare Jayne's monologue about Vera to Animal Mother explaining how tanks are employed to a reporter). We never heard Animal Mother's real name, so his last name could well be Cobb. And just tell me you couldn't hear Jayne saying "If I'm gonna die for a word, it's gonna be 'poontang.'"
  • Here's a fun experiment - watch the ending of FMJ where Animal Mother says he's the leader of the squad now, and compare it with Jayne's "chain of command" speech. If that wasn't an Actor Allusion on the part of Joss Whedon then somebody's freaking kidding.

Firefly shares the same Universe as Farscape
Set 500 years after Farscape finishes. The knowledge John Crichton left on the moon was damaged, so they could't quite develop faster than light travel, and as it turn out, Earth is a lot further away from the rest of the Farscape Verse than originally thought.
  • I always thought that they were at the other end of the Galaxy, if not another one altogether.

In-universe, "shiny" as a slang term for "easily appreciated, nice, pleasant" comes from spaceship maintenance.
Spaceships need to eliminate as much heat absorption as possible when near stars and in other high-light areas. What kind of surface is best for a ship to have? A shiny one.

Firefly takes place in the Starship Troopers movie-verse.
It's not just the soldiers' uniforms that is a giveaway - it's the experiments in psychic phenomena, and the militarized government. Also, places like "Port Joe Smith" in the movie forshadow places like the one featured in the episode "Safe".

Once Earth fell - mostly likely destroyed through all-out war with the bugs - the last of humanity moved out into space and found new solar systems to colonize.

China was the country least effected in the last days of the war, so their culture became dominant in the new setting.

  • I'm guessing we're including the WMG that the Bugs were produced by the Federation as part of a False Flag Operation? Because the lack of aliens is pretty prominent and the idea that they left Earth because they were forced off by alien bugs would go against that idea.
    • It takes place several centuries later. The bugs have become a myth like the Reavers. People in the 'verse prolly think that "the bugs" were literally bugs, and not aliens. For all we know, the average person in the street thinks that Earth That Was was destroyed by giant bugs created in an Alliance experiment Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • Jossed as Earth never was totally uninhabitable

The REAL reason Shepherd Book had his change of heart was that he took an arro- uhh, a bullet in the knee.
Now he does unto others as was done unto him.
  • He seems awfully quick to shoot people in the kneecap in War Stories.

The Blue Sun Corporation is run by the Strangers.

It only starts with the similarities in how both groups operate. Both send creepy, strange-talking people in nice suits and gloves after individuals who interfere with their plans (e.g. Murdoch, River.) Once you realize that, everything starts to fall into place. The Strangers agreed to work with the Alliance to further their own goals of experimenting on humans. The Pax is an early, failed version of whatever the Strangers use to keep their test subjects docile and unquestioning of the inconsistencies of their simulated city, developed by Blue Sun, ostensibly for the Alliance. The Strangers developed their ability to tune by experimenting on and studying River's brain, also learning a lot about human memory and how to alter and interfere with it in the process. When we see what happens to River when in Alliance custody in Serenity, she has a needle in her forehead... Hmmm, does that sound at all like how the Strangers implant memories to you? One of the things Dark City never answered is how a bunch of humans got in the middle of space anyway, with earth nowhere in sight. Firefly answers that pretty clearly, "earth-that-was got used up," and all. So yeah, turns out there are aliens in the 'verse after all

River Song regenerated into Saffron
Think about it
  • Drugged lipstick? Check.
  • Seductive as hell? Check.
  • And finally, "Goodnight, sweetie."
  • Jossed by Doctor Who itself, River Song uses all her future regenerations to save the Doctor's life.
  • Okay then, Saffron is one of her earlier regenerations.

Firefly began as an Alternate Universe all-human fanfic of Star Wars
Mal is Han Solo, Inara is Princess Leia, Shepherd Book is Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jayne and Zoe are two-sides of Chewbacca, River is a Deconstruction of Mara Jade, and Niska is Jabba the Hutt. Jubal Early, of course, is Boba Fett.
  • Seconded. Simon, like Luke, starts as the impetuous and idealistic foil to a older, cynical smuggler. Parliament is the Galactic Senate and the Maidenhead is the cantina. At the start of the space battle in Serenity, This Troper almost expected the Operative to say "It's a trap!"

The Alliance had their eye on River and the other students from childhood and paid off their families.
The Alliance kept tabs on exceptionally brilliant children for years. That's why most people didn't even know the Academy existed, because the only people who ever hear about it are those that the Alliance has been tracking from the start.

Eventually, the parents of these children are informed that they'll never see their children again, but they'll be benefiting the Alliance and all of mankind. To seal that silence, the families are also lavishly paid off. It wouldn't be a stretch to imagine that they also threaten to completely ruin anyone who doesn't prove so cooperative.

That's why Gabriel and Regan Tam ignore every piece of evidence Simon presents to them: they have a very cosy lifestyle and aren't about to rock the boat by making a fuss. It's also why they keep telling Simon to forget about River and think about his future, because that's exactly what they've done.

Inara is of Turkish and Italian or Iberian descent.
Serra is a surname of Italian or Iberian origin and Inara was the Hittite goddess of animals and hunting.

Inara is a timelord
Yeah, I know this joke is getting old, but hear me out on this! We know she's unnaturally old, we know she moves from place to place regularly, and we know how she can fit a lot in that little shuttle. I don't know if you can control the interior of a TARDIS, but if you could it would be easy for her to just make the chameleon circuit mimic a shuttle, change the interior of her TARDIS to resemble a shuttle (just small enough for nobody to notice the difference in size, since it's rare for people to enter her shuttle and her clients don't seem the type to know a lot about obsolete spacecraft) and swap Serenitys shuttle with her TARDIS when nobody is looking.

Firefly shares a universe with the Fallout series
Hear me out: The ultimate function of the Vaults was to test viability of long-term space travel, in case the earth became uninhabitable (used up?) due to nuclear war. Various pre-war spaceships are shown, hinted at or alluded to in the games and bibles and some of the ships shown in the shadow puppet show have kind of a retro feel to them. The setting shares a lot in the look and feel of the technology and even features the USA and China as major players in political destiny. My theory is that both sides had generation ships ready to go and when the Great War broke out, they launched; possibly spurred on by secret Enclave -waitforit-Operatives- on board. No one left on Earth knew or cared about the ships anymore (except MAYBE the Enclave) and no one on the ship was going to travel down to the surface to see if anyone made it. Clearly, the political enmity waned once they realized they were headed to the same place, or perhaps they just had to band together to survive. After 400+ years, it wouldn't much matter whose country was whose, and allows for the mythic vision of Earth-That-Was since no-one actually knows what happened to it. Someone else's theory went into the Lassiter and how it may be surviving Earth-That-Was tech. It looks quite similar to the Glock 86 Plasma pistol as seen in the Fallout games. Any missing tech can be explained away as either not onboard and therefore unknown to the original colonists (Power Armor was a very recent development by the time of the Great War) or unfit for space travel (perhaps some of those hastily constructed reactors that explode if you look at them funny).
  • Except Earth never was uninhabitable

The Academy is the Time Lord Academy
Time Lords were taking human children and trying to make them into Time Lords, in a secluded corner of the universe, far away from Earth, and lead the colonists to believe that it was destroyed, for some reason. Makes as much sense as anything they do.

The Alliance was trying to turn River into a Doll.
The name "Blue Sun" comes from the blue light that's part of the Doll-imprinting process. Physically conditioned, mentally unstable, and full of random bits of knowledge, River is a Doll gone wrong. Perhaps the Alliance was trying to recreate the Dollhouse's technology, but they messed up.

Rossum Corporation is one of the companies that merged to create Blue Sun.
Messing with people's brains? Chemicals and operations that generate cases of hallucinate-y crazy brainpan? Altering girls so that they become unstoppable assassins upon hearing a specific signal, and then de-activate when they hear another signal? ...yeah. There are a lot of similarities.

Zoe is wearing her wedding dress at the end of Serenity
It would just make the entire thing more poignant.
  • It would, but it's likely that it's another example of the culture fusion that is the Firefly universe. In Chinese culture, white is a color of mourning. (Wearing a white dress at a wedding is incredibly perverse and in bad taste in traditional Chinese culture.)

Patience is Mal's mother or another close relative.
She's got the same practical farmgirl outlook that Mal attributes to his mother in some anecdotes, talks to him in a way reminiscent of a fussy, slightly passive-agressive aunt, and refers to him as "my Mal." This would explain why they're still willing to deal with each other despite the mutual violence. Besides, it would be Joss's exact brand of utterly twisted hilarity for Mal to end up shooting at his own mother.
  • Jossed. Maude Reynolds is his mother.

Had the show continued, Simon would have cured Mattie (the sick girl in the letter from Jayne's mom), gaining Jayne's respect.

Niska is the father of (or a close relative to) Lawrence Dobson!
He specifically seeks out Mal to steal from a train with a squadron of Alliance Purple Bellies, figuring they'll get caught. The plan was to let him stew in an Alliance cell for a while, and break him out to torture him (supposedly) for not stealing the Pescalin. Mal suprised him by doing the job right under the nose of the Alliance Finest, so he calls up Crow to bring them in. Crow, being Larry's college roommate, wants to take matters into his own hands, forcing the fight, and, after losing that fignt, threatening to hunt Mal down (leading of course to his being pureed by the engine).

The guy Niska was torturing at the beginning of War Stories was an old war buddy of Mal's. Niska was pumping him for information as to Mal's whereabouts. Fortunately for Niska, Mal shows up on long range scanners, and he goes and gets him and kills him for shooting his son (or close relative) in the eyeball.

Earth the was is a lie by the Alliance.
Think about it. The only in universe explanation about Earth that was comes from a deliberately pro-Alliance class River went to before the academy. Would you put it past a Government that would commit atrocity after atrocity in an attempt to control their populace to lie about the fact they are not the only one out there? That and if Earth that was had the technology to Terraform planets why would the abandoned a Solar system that they already to unknown space? The Firefly Verse could be the equivalent of North Korea.
  • Well, if the earth was destroyed or left uninhabitable, I could see it being abandoned, but that makes a lot of sense.
  • Nope, as the comics now show.

River is autistic.
She does portray some rain man like character traits and given how some of the characters interact with her it's completely possible.
  • That's actually how I describe River to non-Firefly viewers; that she's essentially been tortured to the point of developing autism.
  • Speaking as someone on the autism spectrum (albeit, pretty high function), I've always believed this theory. The way she reacts to certain things (such as usual situations and sensory simulation) is very similar to how I myself and others like me would react in those kinds of environments.

River's fighting skills were unintentional on the Alliance's part, and are the result of one of two possible-though unintentional events
I thought of this while reading the headscratchers, but it makes a lot of sense. River was originally not planned to be a fighter, instead her skills were an unexpected side-effect of her gifts, that the Alliance merely decided to run with and take advantage of. Either because of...A) The fact she was exposed to highly trained hired killers for a considerable amount of time in captivity. Her mind reading skills combined with her fast learning skills made her absorb their knowledge and become an instant expert (Similar to how she apparently knows how to pilot Serenity after Wash dies). Or...B) Her skills with math combine with her mind reading abilities to grant her skills similar to the Wolverine villain Mister X (who has the same abilities as River) or Spider-Man (who's spider-sense results with something similar). She knows what her opponents are doing, figures out the best way to counter, then does so, while her instincts make her strike at the absolute perfect time to deliver maximum injury, resulting in her ability to utterly destroy the people she fights.

River's mental abilities are what lead to the creation of the Blue Hands' blood pens, and Pax/Reavers
They reverse engineered her mental abilities, resulting in a device that attacks the brain and a virus that alters it to one of two extremes.

Inara is an ancestor of Deanna Troi
Curly dark hair and eyes, very pretty, and often serves as the emotional backbone. Family resemblance anyone?
  • A pretty thin resemblance - while both subjectively pretty, the bone structure and other key identifiers just don't line up. (Besides, Inara is sixty times more capable and cool in a crisis. Troi isn't someone you worry about getting on her bad side; Inara is a woman you do not want to annoy.)

Had the show continued...
Joss would have broken the show and characters in so many ways that by the end it would have been just as convoluted and ridiculous as his other shows have been. I am not saying that is bad, I am just saying that it would have inevitably happened and a lot of fan love for the one season (half really) show is that they had such great characters and relationships. I think it is almost a good thing the show only lasted as long as it did. But here are some relationship issues as I see them had the show continued (an assumption of 5 to 7 seasons):

Zoe and Wash - This would not have ended pretty. In the first or second season the seeds of doubt as to their marriage would have been planted (possibly already done in War Stories) and they would have separated if not completely divorced (however that would have been handled according to space rules... "Some people juggle geese."). They would have gotten back together of course, but depending on how long it took to break them up and get them together the first time, coupled with how long the series went on, they probably would have been broken up again, and the second break up is always the final in a Joss show. More than likely, a second break up would have meant one of them was written off permanently (as Wash was in Serenity (Movie)). I doubt there would have been any inter crew couplings for Wash or Zoe, but if there were it would have probably been Wash and Kaylee and/or Zoe and Jayne. I can;t see Zoe actually hooking up with Mal (too much history between them for anything more than what they have). As for Wash and Inara, maybe, but doubtful since she probably would have been pining after Mal (or not on the ship) when Wash was not with Zoe.

Jayne - Would have become a Reaver. His overriding fear of Reavers in general and the fact that he was a great character means at some point he would have become "infected" (or some such) and either turned into a Reaver or gone insane like the man in Bushwacked. He may or may not have become cured but most of his development at some point would have been either crazy in some kind of institute environment, or on the ship being cared for (probably by River who more than likely would have been much more lucid by the time this development happened to Jayne).

Book - This one is a bit harder to pin down. He would have had his true past revealed eventually and it would have caused all kinds of conflict (probably between Mal and him since he seemed to have a direct connection to The Alliance), but since the show never got off the ground, any potential background concepts for Book went out the airlock. I suspect that whatever his true origin was, he would have been revealed to be completely loyal to Mal and the crew of Serenity and all the turmoil in his past would have made his Faith even stronger as he grew into being a Shepard. As for his being a Shepard, it is my suspicion that he would be revealed to not be an actual "ordained" Shepard and was just assuming the role to get away from his past. But as with all these WMGs, we will never know now.

Mal and Inara - Obviously this was a classic "will they, won't they" with the two of them. And as is usual for those kinds of stories, they would have gotten together at some point. It would never have lasted however. I suspect it would not even have lasted a full season, much like the Angel and Cordie pairing, or Angel and Buffy. It was doomed from the start for all kinds of reasons. Inara being a supporter of The Alliance, her being a Companion (and not quitting that once she hooked up with Mal), Mal being uptight, his tendency to call her a whore, all kinds of as yet undiscovered reasoning's between them. It would have been a long lead up (around 2 or 3 seasons) to a quick break up and then that would have been the end of it. They would have remained friends of course, and they might have even toyed with the concept of them together again, but it never would have happened.

Kaylee and Simon - This would have happened quickly. Probably in the first season. And then it would have broken apart just as quickly either in the same season or within the second. They might have continued to get together now and then for a little "reunion fun", but it would never be anything lasting because Kaylee is a slut. I do not mean that in a derogatory way. Kaylee just enjoys sex and men and she would have basically worked her way through the ship (as well as off the ship). It was intrinsic to her character to enjoy "the sex" and she would not have been the same without being that way, so she would not be able to be with Simon in a meaningful way. As to Simon, he would not have been able to change enough for her and was too invested in his sister's situation to be able to focus real attention to Kaylee. For his part, he would have become a real member of the crew and become integral to their existence. And I think he and Kaylee would have become good close friends, just not in a relationship way.

River - Possibly would have ended up with Jayne (after he was a Reaver and/or insane whether he was cured or not... who knows), but her relationships would not have been the focus on her character. Her development into a weapon would have been the focus and she would have become insanely over powered (the movie only barely scratches the surface of how OP she would have become had the series continued) and eventually just been another of Joss' super girls. This might not have been a bad thing, but it would have been a character stereotype for Joss and his shows manifesting itself in another show.

Serenity - That's right, the ship. She would have become a character in and of herself (already kind of was) and would have become so integral to the show that it would become impossible to end the show without Joss "killing her off". Probably something similar to what happened at the end of the movie, only this would have been more permanent and resulted in a final scene of sadness from the entire crew (but especially Mal). It would have been followed by some form of retrospective and of course comedy to lighten the mood, right before a reveal that someone knew of another Firefly class ship they could get a hold of... probably for all the money the entire crew had combined. Of course they would have pitched in and the show would end with them back on the side of poor and needing "the next job to get by".

The rest of the 'verse - Pretty much would have gone the same way as the movie. Reavers would have been explained. The Blue Sun would have gone down. The Alliance would still be running things (can't stop the machine). And Serenity would have powered through until she got blown up or crashed beyond repair. The crew would have had their ups and downs and at least one of them would have died before the end (probably still Wash). In typical Joss fashion it would have had a bitter sweet ending and many would not have been satisfied by it, but then when is anyone ever satisfied when one of Joss' shows ends?

Mal was a virgin before Heart of Gold
Consider how uncomfortable and awkward he is whenever the topic of sex comes up. When he's asked how long it's been since he last had sex, he says "Longer than I'd like to admit". The reason he always makes fun of Inara's job is because it makes him uncomfortable. He could never get any. And it brings a whole new meaning to the "You can't miss somewhere you've never been" line in Trash. He was probably referring to Saffron/Iforgetallherothernames, but maybe it was sex in general too.
  • This is a very strong argument, and it makes a lot of sense...

Earth-that-was is still inhabited.
After the events of Film/Serenity, the crew has to hide in the one place no one would dare to look for them, Earth-That-Was. There, they find the remnants of human civilization.
  • Not exactly but half right? They flew through a portal and found natives living on Earth. Now the Alliance is coming and they are trying to get the natives to trust them…

The people of Canton have rewritten Jayne's story as a tragic hero.
As Jayne said, they're probably putting that statue right back up again. They've rewritten their idea of who Jayne was to accommodate his confrontation with Stitch. According to legend, Stitch and Jayne were the best of friends who traveled the 'verse stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. But during the Canton job, their aircraft was hit and Stitch, along with the money, fell out. Jayne left him behind, thinking he was dead. Stitch was imprisoned by the Magistrate and brainwashed into hating his old friend. When Stitch accuses Jayne of being a criminal and a backstabber, Jayne does not contradict him due to his own feelings of guilt. Jayne's image as a hero was likely cemented after the events of Film/Serenity.

Interconnected movies, Lost In Space, After Earth and Matrix.
The premise of Lost In Space (god help for mentioning this movie, but hey) was that Earth's ecology was, not collapsing, collapsed, and that humanity was now looking to colonize another star system. So many colonists left, but some stayed behind. Seeing that humans couldn't survive on Earth the machines forced them into survival pods, and created the matrix, hence that war. One group of colonists settled the system that became the setting for Firefly, another group settled the system that became the backdrop for After Earth.

Simon is not just awkward around his crush...
...he actually just wants to find the right way to bring up his *ahem* "preference". Maybe it's that he likes the feel of a dress around his legs, although he hasn't had access to a dress the right size since he left home. Maybe he wondered if she'd mind wearing a fur-suit. Heck, maybe he'd like her to get a little chubby. Whatever it is, he has trouble bringing it up, feeling embarrassed enough at admitting that he liked her, let alone that he was a transvestite / furry / Chubby Chaser.

River is a natural telepath
  • She's established to have been a ridiculous polymath, capable of learning anything in a very short while. My theory is that her natural intelligence is no greater than Simon's, but she had a low-grade telepathy that allowed her to leach knowledge from those around her. So she wants to learn theoretical physics, she spends some time in the presence of theoretical physicists, and she knows what they knew. This also explains why the Alliance wanted her so badly, and why their treatments screwed up so severely (what would induce controllable telepathy in a regular human drives a natural telepath crazy).

If there's ever a sequel...
  • The focus will be on the next generation of Serenity's crew, since we know Zoe is pregnant with Wash's daughter and there's plenty other potential offspring. Characters could include:
    • The aforementioned daughter.
    • Darren Criss as Simon and Kaylee's son.
    • Offspring of Book from his pre-Shepherd days. Potentially old enough to be a romantic interest to either Mal or Inara if she's still alive.
    • Jayne's child, the result of an extended visit to a Companion or bordello. Expect Generation Xerox in terms of intelligence.
  • Their main concerns would be dealing with the Alliance, which despite the minor setback of the Pax reveal is still as corrupt as ever. However, they'd also have to deal with a new generation of Academy students, each programmed and having learned from the failures of the previous batch.

The Operative commits seppuku after going off to tell people about the Pax.
He thinks he's building a perfect world, one which he cannot live in, so death is in his plans eventually. And then his faith in the alliance is shattered. He does what he can to make amends, and then follows his own advice to Dr. Matthias, falling on his sword or doing the Hiri-kiri thing. Am I the only one who thinks this is practically written into his last scene? Because I know a few more hard-core fans who don't get this spin at all.
  • Jossed in the comics. It's strongly implied that Zoe killed him.

Saffron is a fallen Lightweaver.
  • She displays the Lightweaver gift for manipulating and utilizing lies, but she's lost the core of truth that a Lightweaver needs to keep sane. On top of this, her brief spurts of almost superhuman Badassery can be explained by her drawing on traces of Stormlight from somewhere, her ability to so easily elude pursuit may be augmented with illusions, and she could concoct the Goodnight Kiss drug out of nowhere with Soulcasting. All she'd need was one gemstone of the appropriate type (either garnet or zircon, I think). Plus, Stormlight healing would help prevent her from drugging herself when she tries to use that stuff.
    • Since Firefly would be on different Shardworlds, major or minor, she can probably draw on another form of investiture rather than Stormlight depending on what planet she is from/currently on.

Whenever they swear in Cantonese, they're breaking the fourth wall.
Not even really a guess. There's a scene in Mrs. Reynolds where Kaylee cusses out or severely nags on Mal in front of Inara and nobody else. Inara probably speaks it better than the rest of them. Ergo, and a thousand other times like this, they are really really just doing it for our benefit.

Firefly is set in the same universe as Star Lancer and Free Lancer.
The Alliance is, in fact, the Coalition (based on the Gratuitous Mandarin). Perhaps one day, those from the Sirius sector will be found or Trent will find his way to Alliance space.

Interstellar is a prequel to Firefly
The stations and the new planet together comprised a jumping-off point for humanity to leave the solar system. Upon further exploration, they found a new system with "dozens of planets and hundreds of moons". Shortly after they arrived, the wormhole closed. It would explain why nobody's ever gone back to check out "Earth That Was".

Kaylee has some psychic powers, but related to machines
  • There are three times in the series where she talks about her relationship to machines, and it's always "Talk" or "Tell". In the first episode, she says "Machines just have workin's and they talk to me." In Out of Gas, it's "Usually she lets me know when somethin's wrong." and in Heart of Gold "I'll talk to Serenity"

River is, for all intents and purposes, a "cured" Reaver.
For the most part, River is non-violent or only dangerous to herself. At other times, though, she is insanely destructive. While it's apparently more calculated than the violence carried out by the Reavers, it's still similar enough to point toward a connection given her background. It seems likely that she's at least witnessed flashes of what happened on Miranda, probably countless times. Given that Reavers "reproduce" by intentionally exposing people to the horrors that they inflict, it doesn't seem likely that seeing an entire planet full of them attacking and killing people so helpless that they didn't care enough to eat or drink could possibly avoid having an adverse psychological impact.

Whatever the Academy intended for her, going insane messed that up. The damage that they inflicted on her amygdala was intended to have the normal effect and limit her ability to feel fear or anger in an attempt to discover a cure for the other second generation Reavers, but instead had the opposite effect. Afterward, countless other surgical and psychological treatments were attempted to ensure that she was relatively safe.

"YoSaffBridge" is a descendent of...
... Chair

They're both played by Christina Hendricks, for one, but Chair shares more than an actress with her descendant. Chair has used her body to try to worm her way to the Bellacourt fortune (it's revealed at the end of the first episode that she's pregnant with the Commodore's lovechild, and hopes it'll be an heir. Similarly, YoSaffBridge uses her sex appeal to get together with people before using them for her own gain. Now, Another Period isn't even through its first season, so we don't know what happens to Chair or her unborn child yet, but she's implied to have been a prostitute in the past, so she may have given up offspring before. (That last part was put in in case both she and her unborn child die in the show, thus keeping the theory possible.)

  • Edited to reflect that the series in question now does have a Tropes page.

Kaylee's descended from Dilton Doiley
Because, why not?

The series Firefly also aired on Earth-That-Was

...but it was even more obscure, and nobody remembered it, unlike the Mona Lisa, the Beatles, etc. So the fact that the events of the show happened to re-occur in that same universe is just an infinitely improbable, yet still the case.

  • Fortunately, our timeline has diverged sufficiently for those events not to happen. Unfortunately, the same divergence also caused the show to be canceled after a single season...

Book isn't just an Operative, he's The Operative

Via time travel, making up for past wrongs. He's familiar with the Operative's character, and he has a dark but mysterious past he's running away from. Meanwhile, the Operative has had a change of heart at the end of the film, and disappears. Book could pass for an older version of him. It all fits!

  • Jossed by the comics, as Zoe appears to have killed The Operative.

Firefly is a prequel to Red Dwarf.
We know that Earth has been abandoned at this point and that Absent Aliens are, well, absent. The Alliance systems are the last remnants of human space. After Serenity, the Alliance falls apart and descends into anarchy and some disaster befalls human space, wiping out everyone, leaving the Dwarfers as the only ones left.

Han Solo, Indy, and Mal are all part of the same family
Based on the lives of both Indiana Jones and his father, we can assume that any child he raised would be fairly interested in his line of work. Then we are introduced to Mutt, his biological son who seems to have replaced Indy's focus on education with a more criminal element. It can be assumed that his family carries on like this for several years, until ecological damage or nuclear war start to threaten the planet. If one of his later descendants found some sort of success, it could be possible that someone from the family would be able to secure a spot on one of the ships leaving Earth. Generations later, one of the descendants attempts to stop the cycle of crime, raising her son peacefully on a ranch on Shadow. Her influence creates Malcolm Reynolds, still a criminal but with a clear sense of morality and honor. Years down the line he has children of his own, presumably with Inara, and teaches them all about his adventures. Inspired, they form a line of smugglers and honorable pirates, stretching all the way to Han Solo, who somehow manages to be genetically identical to his distance ancestor. As mentioned above, somewhere along the way Mal's descendants notice the similarities between the stories about River and all these weird new monks with the funny laser swords.

Pax doesn't permanently affect the target
Well, mostly not permanent. It's been mentioned that Reavers are somehow able think clearly and pilot spaceships and plan ambushes, but yet are savage mindless cannibals. If the effects of Pax wear off though, that could explain the different abilities. When going into battle, they dose up on Pax and turn into raging berserkers. Once it wears off and the Reavers are sated, they regain their mental faculties and go back to plan their next assault. The people on board the ship that the Serenity found didn't resist, making it likely that the Reavers released Pax onto the ship, and the one survivor is the only person who went Reaver from it. It's not clear what benefit they get from running with unshielded engines - perhaps it's just as simple as Pax damaging their ability to determine long-term consequences. It won't kill them immediately, so it's not worth worrying about.
The 'verse is not the only one
In "Heart of Gold" there is a line that is translated (by the Firefly companion, not by me) as,"Swollen of her, they left. And for the first time since the Great Burn that birthed her, She was alone." The exodus from Earth was said to carry "a quarter of a billion people". So the first line makes it sound like the Earth was being completely evacuated (hence afterwards it would be alone). Yet, according to the second, a relatively low number got on. What if there were actually multiple ships sent out though? They could have been send to different stars, each taking a share of the population, and setting up their own colony there. That way, humanity has the best chance of survival.

Firefly is set in the Star Trek universe
The exodus in Firefly was after the great atomic horror in Star Trek (which is why they remember the Earth as such as disaster) and was only a small subset of the population who'd begun working on generation ships during World War III, convinced they needed to get to a new world. It may or may not have been before warp drive, but certainly before it became a viable technology for evacuating the Earth and the people at that time were convinced there was no time to wait for warp drive to become viable. They set out on to terraform a new solar system where they could live in peace. We probably flew right past their ships during our early space exploration because they were going so slow we barely noticed them. They did eventually make it to a new solar system and set up their home, but by this time humans from Earth next encountered them we were part of the Federation and looked upon them as another civilisation, a pre-warp civilisation, and their pre-warp status and the Prime Directive made us choose to avoid contact with them.
  • If you ever heard of the Tommy Westphalls universe theory, it places Star Trek and Firefly (alongside other 400 shows) together.

Firefly is set in the Star Trek universe but is one of the Omega colonies
In Star Trek: Voyager we learn that there's such thing as an "Omega Particle", a bizarre unstable particle that destroys the subspace and makes warp travel impossible. The particle was once activated in a group of Federation's colonies isolating them forever. The events on Firefly happen in the 2500's, centuries after the events on the further existing canonical Star Trek show, plenty of time for the inhabitants to forget the existence of the Federation and alien life forms, especially after the chaos that should ensue. The destruction of Earth is only a myth and that's the reason why they can't develop (and never will) FTL technology nor can't be contacted by the Federation.

Firefly shares the same universe, or may be a neighboring universe, to The Chronicles of Riddick.
Some of the tech and civilizations seen in The Chronicles of Riddick stories look like they could take place on the outer planets of the 'Verse that we didn't get to see, or at least could have been another universe set up by one of the ships that left the Earth As It Was that didn't make the full trip and had more English speaking patrons onboard (which would account for the lack of the Chinese language in the films).

Firefly is based on a game of the Traveller RPG Joss Whedon played in college.
In an interview that is no longer online, Whedon (supposedly) stated that Firefly was based on a roleplaying game he played during his university years in England (1982-1986). Assuming he played a published game, rather than a home brewed system or a genera hack, the available sci-fi RPGs at the time would have included only a few games, most of them horribly out of tone and genre. If games without planet generation and slug weapons are eliminated, the games 2300 AD and Tabletop Game/Traveller, both published by GDW at the time, are the only available option (now the same ruleset with a different setting manual). However, 2300 AD wasn't published until 1986, the end of Whedon's university term, making it unlikely. Additionally, the firefly class ship from the show is very similar in size and capability to the Type 'R' Fat Trader from the books - both possessing short range FTL systems, limited defenses and weaponry, and large cargo holds with limited crew capacity. In terms of tone, both Firefly and Traveller share a similar feel - a "sixguns and starships" or "shotguns and starships" approach to the universe, with the characters often skirting the law in both. Furthermore, several worlds appear in officially published Traveller material that also appear in Firefly, including the Regina, Bellerophon, Ariel, and Persephone, many of which share some, if not most, of their characteristics between universes. Even more damning, in 1984 Gamelords inc. released a Traveller compatible supplement titled "A Pilots guide to the Drexilthar Subsector" which described Reavers Deep with pirates, which included the quote: "clashes of the Reavers proved to be an aggressive, warlike, and generally unprincipled group." Finally, in the pilot episode, wash shouts "Hang on Travellers" during some maneuvers - note that the leaked shooting script uses the double L spelling (though this may simply be a britishism, it is difficult to tell).

Shepherd Book is a Gilbert and Sullivan fan.
He's certainly taken to heart Gilbert's Author Filibuster through the character of Jack Point about making hard truths more palatable with humor.

Firefly is the future of the Team Fortress 2 universe.
Not gonna lie, this troper has absolutely zero evidence to back this us—they just like the idea.The only connection is the fact that they both have male characters named "Jayne" (well, in the TF2 'verse it's "Jane") who wear funny hats.

The entire series and film takes place in an MMO game.
The "crew" of the Firefly are a group of friends who play an MMO called The 'Verse, a fun and challenging MMO that plays like a Space Western with missions that provide an occasional moral challenge that players are put into. Each of the crew have their own classes: Mal and Zoe in the Soldier class. Wash being a Pilot. Jayne in a Mercenary class. Kaylee in an Engineering class. Simon is a Medic class. River in a Rogue/Wizard class. Inara is in a Bard class. And Shepherd Book is in a Civilian class, changing from a previous and undisclosed class. The "adventures" the crew end up in are mostly them role-playing in character (and never breaking their role) addition to actually just playing the game. Some of the characters encountered in the story like Badger and Saffron play as Civilians, but have included Rogue-elements to their characters, while others are story-dedicated NPCs. The Alliance and Independents war was an actual in-game clan war event that Mal and Zoe were involved in, which they ended up in the losing side of and incorporated into their character's backstory. The biggest bad of the game, the Reavers, are entirely NPCs (and for the film, Mal and crew agro them and use them to get to Mr. Universe's planet, which is a tactic that MMO players have used against enemies both NPC and player controlled). The game is a one-life/no-respawn style game, meaning if your character dies, they cannot be respawned (which is why Zoe panics at Wash's death, as Wash and Zoe's players are actually a married couple who play the game together after meeting each other in the game. And the "funeral" was something the group held in honor of their fallen comrade). The film's story with Miranda was a hidden mission that no one else knew about that the group of players managed to figure out due to River's class selection, and her hijacking Serenity the way she does was due to her player getting a hidden mission objective from watching the commercial in the bar.

The weapons that the Blue Hands use drain their victims' blood in exactly 8.6 seconds.
These would be the "adequate vacuuming systems" River alludes to.

Jubal Early died drifting in the middle of nowhere.
The show's cancellation deprived him of Joker Immunity, and Surprisingly Realistic Outcome follows.

There's something in the food.
Listen to River's ramblings as she messes with the Blue Sun food products in Shindig. From what she says, it sounds suspiciously like there's a PAX-like agent in everyday consumables, and River has some inkling of that fact.

Malcolm Reynolds is immortal
The easiest place for him to have become immortal is either 'Out of Gas' or 'War Stories' and he did die a violent, albeit brief, death in 'War Stories'. It would explain why he's very nearly scar-free in 'Trash'. Although if he *is* newly immortal, he better learn to use a sword really fast if he wants to last long...
  • And Wing is immortal and hoped to take out Mal before his immortality activated.

Wash bot is a cyborg
It wasn’t just studying Wash and it’s programming that led to the robot having Wash’s memories, skills and protecting Zoe. It’s got Wash’s brain and some of his body inside and future comics will show its memories returning and the realization it actually IS Wash. which will make Zoe even more ticked at the alliance…

Wash Bot will die soon
It will sacrifice itself during the battle when the Alliance shows up on Earth. We do know it’s not around in Firefly: Brand New 'Verse although we have no proof of its fate.

The Academy and Reavers
The Academy created the program that River attended so that they could build an army to kill the Reavers. River just found out about that too early.