Serenity (film): Wikis



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Film poster
Directed by Joss Whedon
Produced by Christopher Buchanan
David V. Lester
Barry Mendel
Alisa Tager
Written by Joss Whedon
Starring Nathan Fillion
Gina Torres
Alan Tudyk
Morena Baccarin
Adam Baldwin
Jewel Staite
Sean Maher
Summer Glau
Ron Glass
Chiwetel Ejiofor
David Krumholtz
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Jack N. Green
Editing by Lisa Lassek
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) Australia:
September 29, 2005
United States:
September 30, 2005
United Kingdom:
October 7, 2005
Running time 119 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $39,000,000
Gross revenue $38,869,464[1]
Preceded by Firefly

Serenity is a 2005 space western film written and directed by Joss Whedon. It is a continuation of the cancelled Fox science fiction television series Firefly, taking place after the events of the final episode. Set 510 years in the future, Serenity is the story of the captain and crew of a transport and cargo ship. The captain and first mate are veterans of the Unification War, having fought on the losing side. Their lives of petty crime are interrupted by a psychic passenger who harbors a dangerous secret.

The film was released in North America on September 30, 2005 by Universal Pictures. It received generally positive reviews and opened at number two, taking in $10.1 million its first weekend, spending two weeks in the top ten, and totaling a domestic box office gross of $25.5 million and a foreign box office gross of $13.3 million.[1] However, it did not make back its budget until its release on DVD. Serenity won film of the year awards from Film 2005[2] and FilmFocus.[3] It also won IGN Film's Best Sci-Fi, Best Story and Best Trailer awards and was runner up for the Overall Best Movie.[4] It also won the Nebula Award for Best Script for 2005, the 7th annual 'User Tomato Awards' for best Sci-Fi movie of 2005 at Rotten Tomatoes, the 2006 viewers choice Spacey Award for favorite movie, the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form[5] and the 2006 Prometheus Special Award.[6]



Five-hundred years into the future, Earth's resources have been depleted and humanity has moved to another star system and terraformed many of the planets. All the inner planets are controlled by the totalitarian Alliance. A frontier justice still holds sway farther from the "core planets", where outlaws like the crew of Serenity can scrape out a living. A young girl is seen questioning the Alliance's practices. She awakens as River, a psychic who is being mentally and physically conditioned by the Alliance. The scientist in charge of the project calls her their star pupil. She is soon rescued by her brother, Simon. An Alliance agent, the Operative, arrives working on behalf of Parliament with unspecified, but obviously high, rank. He is charged with tracking down River before she can reveal secrets she's gleaned from high officials' thoughts.

River and Simon Tam are taken as passengers on the Firefly-class transport ship Serenity captained by Malcolm Reynolds, formerly a sergeant in the Browncoats, who lost a rebellion against the Alliance. During a bank raid, Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds insists upon bringing River along for her psychic abilities, despite the protest of her brother Simon. After the crew narrowly escapes Reavers, Simon confronts Mal and decides to leave Serenity at the next port. While Mal negotiates being paid for their bank raid, River arrives at the bar and suddenly proceeds to attack everyone there. Before she has a chance to attack Mal, her brother arrives and shouts a "safe word" that causes her to fall asleep. Despite his anger, Mal allows Simon and River to resume traveling on Serenity. The crew contacts a reclusive techno-geek known as Mr. Universe. Mr. Universe discovers that River's outburst was triggered by a subliminal message in an advertisement that had been broadcast across the Alliance during the previous weeks. He notes that River had whispered the name "Miranda" before attacking.

Shortly thereafter, Mal receives a call from Inara, a former passenger. Suspecting a trap, but realizing that she must be in danger, Mal visits her and is confronted by the Operative. The Operative offers to let Mal go free if he turns River over to him, but thanks to Inara's quick thinking, she and Mal escape the Operative and return to Serenity.

Another of River's outbursts shows the crew that "Miranda" is an outer rim planet, thought to be uninhabitable. River had subconsciously learned about the planet when she came in telepathic contact with a member of Parliament during her training. Traveling to Miranda to learn more would require an almost-suicidal crossing into Reaver territory. Instead Serenity leaves for Haven, a mining colony. On arrival, the crew discovers that the outpost has been ravaged by Alliance forces, with Shepherd Book, another former passenger, having been mortally wounded in the attack. Mal receives a message from the Operative claiming responsibility, and promising more of the same until River is turned over.

Over the crew's protests, Mal orders that Serenity be modified to look like a Reaver ship so they can reach Miranda. After sailing unnoticed through a fleet of Reaver vessels, the crew finally reaches the other side and discovers a normal, terraformed planet with a completely habitable environment — but the sprawling cities are empty, except for decomposed corpses, with no apparent cause of death. The crew discover a log recorded by an Alliance research and rescue team after the disaster. According to the log, the Alliance administered a chemical substance designed to suppress aggression and thus render the planet free of violence. An unfortunate side effect was that the populace had stopped working, eating, or indeed caring about anything and let themselves die. However, approximately a tenth of a percent of the population had the opposite reaction to the drug, becoming extremely aggressive and mentally unstable. They eventually left the planet and became the Reavers.

Mal plans to reveal this secret to all the worlds by using the transmitter equipment belonging to Mr. Universe. Unfortunately, the Operative has predicted this and gets there first. He has Mr. Universe agree to help Serenity and then kills him. As they leave Reaver territory, Serenity opens fire upon a Reaver ship. The ensuing chase by all the nearby Reaver warships causes the previously lone Serenity to arrive at Mr Universe's complex flanked by a large force. A massive battle ensues between the fleets, as Wash pilots Serenity towards the planet with both the Alliance and the Reavers trying to destroy them as well as each other. During the attack, the Operative's ship is destroyed, but he survives in an escape pod.

Serenity crash lands on the planet below and while it suffers massive damage, it appears that the crew is out of danger. As everyone begins to relax, a Reaver harpoon suddenly impales Wash, who dies immediately. Fleeing Serenity to continue their mission, the crew decides to set up a last stand in a small corridor and give Mal the time he needs to send the message. Discovering that Mr. Universe has been killed, Mal learns from a pre-recorded message on his robotic wife that tells of a secondary transmitter in another area of the complex.

Meanwhile, the crew is losing ground to the Reavers and is forced to retreat, with several sustaining serious injuries. The crew try to close the blast door, but it does not close completely. After Simon is hit by a bullet, River dives through the gap in the blast door, throws his medical kit back through and closes the door. River grabs axe-like weapons dropped by dead Reavers and shifts into her battle mode, against an apparently overwhelming onslaught.

Mal reaches the second transmitter and finds that it is inconveniently located on a platform surrounded by a large drop. When the Operative enters, Mal shoots the stun gun out of the Operative's hand and attempts to reach the transmitter, but the Operative follows him. A fight begins between the two men. While Mal eventually outwits the Operative, he does not kill him. Instead he disables him and leaves him trussed up to watch the recording from Miranda. The Operative realizes that he has been committing vicious acts on behalf of lies and illusions. Returning to the crew, Mal is informed that River was trapped on the other side of the blast door with the Reavers. The door opens a moment later to reveal River, standing amidst a roomful of dead Reavers. After a moment, Alliance troops blow in the wall behind her and enter, but instead of giving permission to shoot Mal's group, the Operative orders the squad to stand down.

After the crew buries the bodies of their friends Mr. Universe, Shepherd Book, and Wash on Haven, the crew patches up Serenity in a repair yard on the planet Persephone. A scene shows Kaylee and Simon consummating their relationship, when River's head peeks down curiously. Just as they are ready to leave, the Operative appears, telling Mal that he and his crew are relatively safe for the moment, and that the Alliance likely realizes it can no longer trust the Operative. Mal is not mollified and pledges to kill the Operative if they ever meet again. The Operative makes his own exit, promising Mal no such encounter will ever occur. Serenity heads back into outer space, with Mal in Wash's seat at the helm, and River acting as his copilot. The final shot shows the ship flying off triumphantly, until an unidentified piece of metal flies from the back of the ship and hits the camera, and we hear Mal's voice asking, "What was that?"


The crew of Serenity at the start of the film, from left to right: Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher, and Summer Glau.
  • Nathan Fillion as Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds: A former sergeant on the losing side of the Unification War, he struggles to survive free and independent of the Alliance. Captain Malcolm Reynolds was named #18 in TV Guide's "25 Greatest Sci-fi Legends" list in 2004.[7]
  • Gina Torres as Zoe Washburne (née Alleyne): A former corporal who fought under Mal in the war, and Wash's wife. She is fiercely loyal to Mal, whom she addresses as "sir".
  • Alan Tudyk as Hoban "Wash" Washburne: The pilot of the ship, and Zoe's husband. He often acts as a voice of reason on the ship.
  • Morena Baccarin as Inara Serra: A Companion who formerly rented one of Serenity's shuttles. In one of the Operative's traps, Mal is reunited with Inara at her training house, and the two escape back to Serenity.
  • Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb: A mercenary skilled with weapons, Jayne is often the "main gun" for jobs and is someone who can be depended on in a fight.[8] He seems dumb, but may be smarter than he lets on.[9] As Whedon states several times, he is the person that will ask the questions that no one else wants to.[10]
  • Jewel Staite as Kaywinnit Lee "Kaylee" Frye:[11] the ship's mechanic, has an intuitive, almost symbiotic, relationship with machines and is, consequently, something of a mechanical wizard. She is also notable for a persistently bright and sunny disposition, and her crush on Simon Tam.
  • Sean Maher as Simon Tam: Simon is River's loving older brother who helped rescue her from the Alliance. He and River are taken in by the crew of Serenity. A trauma surgeon before the rescue, he serves as a doctor to the crew. His life is defined by his sister's needs.[9]
  • Summer Glau as River Tam: River is a seventeen-year old psychic genius. She and her brother are taken in by the crew of Serenity after he rescues her from an Alliance Academy where her brain was "Toyed with". The Alliance's pursuit of River acts as the film's motive impulse. But, more abstractly, the film is the "story of Mal as told by River".[12]
  • Ron Glass as Shepherd Derrial Book: A shepherd, or preacher, with a mysterious past, Book was once a passenger on Serenity, but now resides on the planet Haven. Mal and the crew look to him for help.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative: A ruthless, intelligent employee of the Alliance assigned to track down River and Simon. Although Ejiofor was on the top of the casting director's list for the role, the studio wanted someone better known. Whedon, however, was eventually able to cast Ejiofor.[13]
  • David Krumholtz as Mr. Universe: A "techno-geek" with good relations with the crew of Serenity, especially Wash, Mr. Universe lives with his "love-bot" wife and monitors incoming signals from around the universe.



The film is based on Firefly, a television series cancelled by Fox television in December 2002, after 11 of its 14 produced episodes had aired.[14] When attempts to have another network acquire the show failed, creator Joss Whedon attempted to sell it as a film. Through a business connection, he was introduced to Mary Parent with Universal Pictures, who immediately signed on after watching the episodes on DVD.[14] By June 2003, actors Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin confirmed the deal on the official Firefly forum, as did Whedon in several interviews.[15][16][17]


After Universal Studios acquired the movie rights to Firefly from Fox, Whedon began writing the screenplay. His task was to explain the premise of a television series that few had seen without boring new viewers or longtime fans. He based his story on original story ideas for Firefly's unfilmed second season.[18] Whedon's original script was 190 pages, and attempted to address all major plot points introduced in the series. After presenting the script to Universal under the title "The Kitchen Sink", Whedon was asked to cut down the script to a size filmable under his budget constraints.[18] Universal planned to begin shooting in October 2003, but delays in finishing the script postponed the start of shooting to June 2004.[14]

The opening sequence shifts perspectives several times, from a traditional narrative to that of a schoolroom which is later revealed to be River's disjointed memories. Whedon said in the DVD commentary that the approach works thematically as well, since it depicts River's fractured state of mind. Once the narrative reaches Serenity herself, Whedon uses a long tracking shot of several minutes to establish "safety",[12] as well as (re-)introduce every character aboard ship and touch on their personality and motivations.


Universal, while on board with the movie, was not willing to spend the typical $100 million for a story set in space. Whedon convinced them he could do it for less money, without filming in Canada, and do it in 50 days, instead of the usual 80.[19] On March 3, 2004 the movie was officially given the greenlight to enter production and was revealed to have a budget of under $40 million.[20] Typically, production of a movie would try to save money by not filming in Los Angeles, but Whedon insisted on staying local, and hiring a local union crew.

Principal photography began on June 3, 2004. Joss Whedon said that the film would be titled Serenity, in order to differentiate it from the TV series. (Whedon also mentions in the Serenity DVD commentary that Fox still owned the rights to the name 'Firefly').[21] All nine principal cast members from the television series (Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Jewel Staite, Morena Baccarin, Nathan Fillion, Ron Glass, Sean Maher, and Summer Glau) returned for the movie. Stunt coordinator Chad Stahelski, a student of Jeet Kune Do under Dan Inosanto, created a customised fighting style for Summer Glau to use in the film's fight scenes. It was a hybrid of Kung Fu, kickboxing and elements of ballet, all combined to create a "balletic" martial art.[22]

One cost-cutting item that could not be reused from the television show was the original set of the interior of the spaceship Serenity, which had to be entirely rebuilt using frozen images from the Firefly DVD set.[19] The set for the failed colony, Miranda, was filmed on location at Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, California.[23]

On September 17, 2004, Whedon announced on the movie's official website that shooting had been completed.


An example of the Wild West influenced clothing and weaponry in Firefly and Serenity.

The film appears to have been influenced by the post-American Civil War Reconstruction period,[24] with Malcolm Reynolds facing obstacles similar to those of landless Southerners competing against carpetbaggers and elites, and, it has been suggested, the Reavers standing in for the Indians.[25][26] Renowned comic book artist Bernie Wrightson, co-creator of Swamp Thing, contributed concept drawings for the Reavers.[27] Other comic book artists who contributed to the production design include Joshua Middleton and Leinil Francis Yu (Visual Companion).

Serenity costumes are influenced by Wild West style: natural materials such as wool, cotton, and leather in drab earth tones predominate. Some clothing also reflects an east, south, and southeast Asian and Indian fusion of color and beauty[28] as well as influences from the American Civil War, late 19th century as well as the 1930s depression era. Mal's suspenders are strongly influenced by a World War II design.[29] The clothing of the Alliance organization within the series (in reality, reused uniforms from Starship Troopers[30]) is monolithically monochromatic, similar to the uniforms of the Galactic Empire in the Star Wars films. Serenity appears to be influenced by Western genre set design, in particular, entertainment programs set in the West during the 1970s and 1980s such as Little House on the Prairie. The cramped interior of the Serenity ship itself appears to be strongly influenced by the "worn future" precedent set by the famous fictional Star Wars spaceship the Millennium Falcon[31] but devolved even further. In a similar vein to the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Serenity goes for an occasional underdone look, or "used future", as Star Wars creator George Lucas refers to it.[32]

"Serenity" was clearly written by someone who grew up worshiping at the altar of Han Solo and the space marines in Aliens, but this genre picture is still a thrillingly original science fiction creation. The writing is as good as in the best "Star Trek" episodes, while offering a thoughtfully bleak vision of the future that brings to mind Blade Runner."[33]
—Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

This future envisioned in Serenity has two political and cultural centers: Anglo-American and Chinese. Characters all speak English and Mandarin, with the latter language reserved for the strongest curse words.[34] While these two are the dominant languages of the film, other languages are also spoken in the Firefly / Serenity universe, including Russian (spoken by Simon during the movie). The safeword phrase that Simon uses to shut River down, "Eta kuram na smekh", is a Russian expression ("Это курам на смех"). Literally, it means, "That's for chickens to laugh at" — a Russian idiom for "That's ridiculous".[35] The Japanese Katakana characters are also present around the universe, most obviously seen in the flowing script on River's desk screen at her school. A sticker with the Arabic word "الدحار" appears behind Jayne's head on a wall inside Serenity's bridge when the crew is discussing whether or not they should go to Miranda.

Visual effects

Adam Baldwin on top of the mule, which is shown here attached to the rig created to help achieve the effect of a hover craft.

As the budget for the film was considerably smaller than for other films, practical special effects were used as much as possible: if a CGI composite was required, as many tangible sets and props as possible were constructed to minimize the use of CGI effects.[36] The most technically challenging scene was the mule skiff chase.[36] For budgetary reasons, a gimbal and CGI, much like those used in the pod race in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, were quickly ruled out, creating a challenge for the production team to find an alternative.[19] Instead, the crew fashioned a trailer with a cantilevered arm attached to the "hovercraft" and shot the scene while riding up Templin Highway north of Santa Clarita.[19] Serenity visual effects supervisor Loni Peristere stated in a Los Angeles Times article, "Traditionally this would have been, like, a 30-day shoot. I think we did it in five."[19] Zoic Studios, the CG-rendering company that produced the graphics for the series, had to perform a complete overhaul of their computer model of Serenity, as the television model would not stand up to the high-definition scrutiny of cinema screens (and High-definition video resolution).[37][38]

Musical score

The film's musical score was composed by David Newman, and performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony under Newman's direction. According to director Joss Whedon's sleeve notes for the album, Newman was recommended by Universal's music executives when he requested a musician capable of "everything". Whedon's directions to Newman for the Serenity theme were that he wanted something homemade and mournful that would let viewers know that they were now "home" and evoke the idea of the pioneer, when everyone only had what they could carry.[39] The official soundtrack was released on CD on September 27, 2005. It is of note that the acoustic guitar version of the "Ballad of Serenity", which was used at the end of the film's credits, is absent from the soundtrack.


Hoping to generate buzz through early word-of-mouth, Universal launched an unprecedented 3-stage campaign to sneak-preview the then-unfinished movie in 35 US cities where the television series had earned high Nielsen ratings. The first stage of screenings was held in 10 cities on May 5, 2005. The second stage, held on May 26, 2005, added an additional 10 cities and was also the source of controversy when individual theaters began selling tickets before the official announcement was made, leading some shows to be sold out before being announced. The third round of screenings, with an additional 15 cities, was held on June 23, 2005. The screenings proved a success, with all three stages selling out in less than 24 hours, the second-stage screening in Washington, D.C. sold out in a mere 22 minutes and the second screening in Phoenix sold out in 8.[40][41]

Australian audiences were the first outside North America to get preview screenings. After an exclusive Sydney test screening, Melbourne held a public screening on July 21, 2005. This was followed by a film festival screening on the Gold Coast on July 22, 2005. Public preview screenings were held in Adelaide and Sydney on August 1, 2005, and Perth on August 4, 2005. Further screenings were held in Victoria, Tasmania, and Queensland in late August. There had been a screening of the unfinished film in February 2005 at the British Film Institute in London. This version of the film had a temporary score, including movements from Braveheart, as well as some unrendered effects and scenes which were later deleted. The audience comprised industry professionals and fans.

A showing of the finished film billed as the "Gala Premiere" was held at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on August 22, 2005,[42] followed by an interview with Whedon the next day,[43] and preview screenings across the United Kingdom and Ireland on August 24, 2005, in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Dublin. Several of the screenings in all the countries featured the attendance of Joss Whedon and the film's cast, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. Whedon also attended two Q&A sessions after sold-out screenings of the finished film in Melbourne and Sydney on September 12, 2005 and September 13, 2005.

The trailer also generated considerable buzz on the internet. It was uploaded on April 26, 2005 and by April 28, 2005, it topped the Yahoo Buzz Index.[44][45] On October 5, 2005, Universal made the first nine minutes of Serenity available online.[46] A browser plug-in allowed the viewer to see the opening of the film in full-screen broadcast quality (bandwidth permitting). The clip was removed a few weeks later.

Serenity was also the first motion picture to be screened digitally, fully DCI-compliant.[47]


Several tie-in products were released to promote the film; The novelization of the film was written by Keith R. A. DeCandido, and published by Simon & Schuster imprint Pocket Star Books on 2005-09-01.[48] Serenity: The Official Visual Companion was written by Joss Whedon, published by Titan Books, and released on September 1, 2005 in paperback. It contained the film's screenplay, along with other supplemental features such as concept art, film images, and a map of the universe. A role-playing game titled Serenity, published by Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd, was released in 2005. This was followed by Serenity: Out in the Black by Tracy and Laura Hickman.

A three-issue comic book series titled Serenity: Those Left Behind was released from June through September 2005. It was intended to bridge the gap between the end of the television series and the beginning of the film. The comic was written by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews, illustrated by Will Conrad and Laura Martin, and published by Dark Horse Comics. The story focuses on the crew of Serenity taking a salvage job from Badger following a botched theft on a backwater planet, and the pursuit of River by the ominous blue-gloved men seen in the television series. In March through May 2008, a new Serenity miniseries, titled Serenity: Better Days, was released, relating a heist where everything goes right and the crew finds themselves in a rare place: on easy street. The adventure takes place "before the movie and before certain people were iced"; i.e., in the timeframe of Firefly.

R. Tam sessions

Universal also employed a viral marketing campaign, producing five short videos that were released on the internet between August 16, 2005 and September 5, 2005. These short films, known as the "R. Tam sessions", depicted excerpts of counseling sessions with the character River Tam while she was being held at a "learning facility" known only as "The Academy". The counselor in these sessions is played by Joss Whedon himself. Taking place before the events of the film or the television series, the videos shed some light on the experiments and torture "The Academy" conducted on River. They "document" her transformation from a shy child prodigy to the mentally unstable character of the television series.[49]

Home video

Serenity was initially released on home video in North America on December 20, 2005. It was released on Region 1 DVD, UMD, and VHS, and the DVD quickly went to #1 in sales on[50] It also spent two weeks in the top ten on Billboard's Top DVD Sales charts, peaking at #3. As of January 15, 2006, the DVD/VHS rentals of the film had grossed around $9,190,000.[51] Included as extras on the DVD are an audio commentary by Joss Whedon, deleted scenes and outtakes, and several short documentaries. These documentaries include "Future History: The Story of Earth That Was", "What's in a Firefly", and "Re-Lighting the Firefly". Also included is a short introduction to the film by Joss Whedon, and an easter egg[52] that features a small featurette on the "Fruity Oaty Bar" commercial.[53] NASA astronaut Steven Swanson, a fan of the show,[54] took the Region 1 Firefly and Serenity DVDs with him on Space Shuttle Atlantis' STS-117 mission, which lifted off on Friday June 8, 2007. The DVDs will permanently reside on the International Space Station as a form of entertainment for the station's crews.[55]

The film was released as a two-disc set in Australia (Region 4) and parts of Europe (Region 2) on February 8, 2006. This version included new features, in addition to the supplemental material found on the North American (Region 1) release. At present, disc 2 is exclusive only to Australia and Benelux — Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and New Zealand. It was released in Germany as part of the special edition[56] However, other international territories may decide to release the 2nd disc as well. Added material for disc 1 includes "A Filmmaker's Journey: Journey with Joss from Script to Screen", which is available on all international DVDs, but not the US version. Added material for disc 2 includes a Joss Whedon Q&A session filmed at Fox Studios in Sydney, extended scenes, and two documentaries entitled "Take a Walk on Serenity" and "The Green Clan". An "exclusive collector's tin" version of Serenity was released for the two disk edition by the EzyDVD chain of stores in Australia.[57]

Serenity was released on HD DVD on April 18, 2006, and was one of the first films to be released on the format. It ranked in the later 100s on in top selling DVDs. Given the low demand for HD DVDs at that point, this is quite notable. The disc included all of the bonus features found on the original Region 1 disc. As of November 29, 2006 Serenity was the fifteenth highest-selling HD DVD. After the title key for Serenity was copied from a software player (as documented in Muslix64's doom9 forum thread) and posted on the internet as a riddle,[58] the film soon became the first HD DVD release to be released on the BitTorrent network on January 12, 2007.[59] The pirated release was a 19.6 GB 1080p VC-1 .EVO file with 5.1 DDPlus encoded sound. Although many other releases soon followed after the discoveries in muslix64's thread, Serenity's marked the beginning of widespread HD DVD pirating.

A two-disc Collector's Edition DVD of the film was released for Region 1 on August 21, 2007. According to Whedon, the excellent sales figures for the "Normal Edition" DVD allowed this release.[60] The DVD included all of the once-Australian-exclusive bonus features, sans the Joss Whedon Q&A session filmed at Fox Studios in Sydney, and with new content including a DTS 5.1 surround track, a second commentary with Whedon, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau and Ron Glass, the R. Tam sessions (dubbed "Session 416"), and the Sci-Fi Inside: Serenity documentary.[61][62] Universal Pictures redesigned the film's official website to reflect the new DVD set.[63]

On Tuesday, December 30, 2008, Serenity was released on Blu-ray Disc.

Charity screenings

Beginning in January 2006, fans (with Universal's blessing) began organizing charity screenings of Serenity[64] to benefit Equality Now, a human rights organization supported by Joss Whedon. By mid-June, 41 such screenings had been confirmed for cities in Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, and the United States, and as of June 19, 2006, there were 47 scheduled screenings. The project was referred to as "Serenity Now/Equality Now" on the official website, is often referred to in shortened form as "Serenity Now", and was coordinated through "Can't Stop The Serenity".[65] The event was repeated in 2007 (where it reportedly raised considerably more than the original 2006 screenings[66])[67] and 2008. Over $250,000 has been raised for Equality Now since 2006. Another repetition of the event is planned for 2009 with a goal of raising $155,000. As of May 1, 2009, 42 cities were registered for CSTS 2009 in 4 Countries and 24 US States.[68]


Box office performance

Despite critical acclaim and Internet buzz, Serenity performed poorly at the box office. Although several pundits predicted a #1 opening,[69][70][71] the film opened at #2 in the United States, taking in $10.1 million its first weekend, spending two weeks in the top ten, and closed on November 17, 2005 with a domestic box office gross of $25.5 million.[1] Movie industry analyst Brandon Gray described Serenity's box office performance as "like a below average genre picture".[72]

Serenity's international box office results were mixed, with strong openings in the UK, Portugal and Russia, but poor results in Spain, Australia, France and Italy. United International Pictures canceled the film's theatrical release in at least seven countries, planning to release it directly to DVD instead. The box office income outside the United States was $13.3 million, with a worldwide total of $38.8 million,[73] slightly less than the film's $39 million budget, which does not include the promotion and advertising costs.

Critical reception

Serenity received mostly positive reviews from film critics, with 81% positive ratings at the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes.[74] Ebert and Roeper gave the film a "Two Thumbs Up" rating,[75] and The San Francisco Chronicle called it "a triumph",[33] while The New York Times described it as a modest but superior science fiction film.[76] Science fiction author Orson Scott Card called Serenity "the best science fiction film ever", further stating "If Ender's Game can't be this kind of movie, and this good a movie, then I want it never to be made. I'd rather just watch Serenity again."[77]

However, some reviewers felt the film was unable to overcome its television origins, and did not successfully accomplish the transition to the big screen. USA Today wrote that "the characters are generally uninteresting and one-dimensional, and the futuristic Western-style plot grows tedious" while Variety declared that the film "bounces around to sometimes memorable effect but rarely soars".


In other media

On February 20, 2009 NASA announced an online poll to name Node 3 of the International Space Station, and NASA-suggested options included Earthrise, Legacy, Serenity, and Venture.[82] At the March 20, 2009 poll close, 'Serenity', led those four choices with 70% of the vote, though the winner of the poll was 'Colbert', a reference to late night comedy show host Stephen Colbert (The node was eventually named 'Tranquility').[83] Multiple internet sites have asserted that that name is a nod to the Whedon-created fictional spacecraft,[84][85] while Fox News observed simply that it "shares the name of a spaceship in the cult favorite television series 'Firefly'".[86]

Themes and cultural allusions

While the film depicts the Alliance as an all-powerful, authoritarian-style regime, Whedon is careful to point out that it is not so simple as that. "The Alliance isn't some evil empire," he explains, but rather a largely benevolent bureaucratic force. The Alliance's main problem is that it seeks to govern everyone, regardless of whether they desire to belong to the central government or not.[87] What the crew of Serenity, and specifically Mal and his lifestyle, represent is the idea that people should have the right to make their own decisions, even if those decisions are bad.[88]

The Operative embodies the Alliance and is, as Whedon described, the "perfect product of what's wrong with the Alliance". He is someone whose motives are to achieve a good end, a "world without sin". The Operative believes so strongly in this idea that he willingly compromises his humanity in furtherance of it. In contrast, Mal is, at the movie's beginning, a man who has lost all faith.[89] By the end of the movie, however, Mal has finally come to believe in something — individual liberty — so strongly that he becomes willing to lay down his life to preserve it.[88][90] Whedon has said that the most important line in the film is Mal's contented promise to the Operative at its climax: "I'm going to show you a world without sin", as he shows him the Miranda footage. Whedon's point is that a world without sin is a world without choice, and that choice is ultimately what defines humanity.[88]

Joss Whedon said in the DVD commentary track that the planet "Miranda" was named for Shakespeare's Miranda in The Tempest, who says in Act V, scene I: "O brave new world, / That has such people in't!"[90] The Alliance had hoped that Miranda would be a new kind of world, filled with peaceful, happy people, and represents the "inane optimism of the Alliance".[91]

The Fruity Oaty Bar commercial is partially inspired by Mr. Sparkle, the mascot of a fictional brand of dish-washing detergent, who was featured in The Simpsons episode "In Marge We Trust".[92] Whedon also mentions, in a hidden feature on the Serenity DVD, that when the Fruity Oaty Bar commercial was being designed, he constantly asked the animators to redesign it and make it even more bizarre than the previous design, until it arrived at the version presented on screen.


Fans of Firefly had hoped that if Serenity were successful, it might lead either to a revival of the television series or a film franchise (colloquially referred to as the "Big Damn Trilogy", or BDT).[93][94] The former was always unlikely, since Fox still owns the Firefly television rights and Joss Whedon reportedly refused to work for Fox again[95] (though he has since written and produced the television series Dollhouse for the network). Fans' hopes for further theatrical films appear to have been partially dashed by Serenity's mediocre box office showing. Whedon has stated that if a sequel is made, he hopes to address the character Book's backstory and deal with Jubal Early, a bounty hunter character assumed dead at the end of Firefly.[96] The first major sequel rumor began on December 1, 2005, when IGN Filmforce reported that Universal had expressed an interest in making a Serenity TV movie for broadcast on the Sci Fi Channel (which is owned by Universal), and eventual DVD sale. It was expected that commissioning of a television sequel would be contingent on strong DVD sales of Serenity.[97] In a January 2006 interview, Whedon doubted the chances of a sequel.[98] On June 23, 2006 a number of fans organized and spread word of "Serenity Day", on which all fans were proposed to purchase a copy of Serenity in an attempt to convince Universal that a sequel would be profitable. The significance of this day was that June 23, 2006 was the one-year anniversary of the third and final advance screening of Serenity prior to its release, as well as Joss Whedon's birthday. The impact of the event could be seen from Serenity reaching #2 in the Amazon DVD Charts,[99] the highest ranking the DVD had reached since January 16, 2006.[100]

On October 1, 2006, Whedon posted a comment to the website, responding to a rumor that he was currently working on a sequel to Serenity. He wrote,

"There's no sequel, no secret project regarding Serenity or somesuch and I'm not even sure how anyone thought there was talk there. I've seen Nathan and Tim (and Summer and Alan) recently because they're my friends because I'm so, yeah, awesome. So let's put that to bed and smother it with a pillow."[101]

Whedon's response to the rumor consequently sparked many websites to publish articles stating that he would never work on a sequel to Serenity. Whedon again returned to to respond to the new stories and wrote,

"Holy Mother of Oats! I turn my back for five minutes (that's how long it takes to admire my lovely back) and the interweb goes banoonoos! Isn't there any ACTUAL news to get wrong? Sorry about all this; it might be best if I just stay off the computer for a while....Here's a thing: when Firefly was cancelled, my heart got broke. Sounds a bit much, but it changed me. Not even Serenity could patch that wound. I'm wearier, warier -- after all those years as a movie writer, you'd think I'd be prepared for another lesson on my unimportance in the scheme of things, but I wasn't....All these rumor of projects or the death of projects... When the two worlds align and something actually happens, whatever it is, you guys know I'll be on this site as soon as I'm allowed to be. And I'll be very very clear. There is no news. Not never, just now."[102]

In an interview at the 2007 Comic-Con, Whedon stated that he believes hope for a sequel rests in the sales of the Collector's Edition DVD.[103][104] In an August 2007 interview with prior to the Collector's Edition DVD release, Whedon stated "It's still on my mind, I mean, but I don't know if mine is the only mind that it's on." He later said "You know, whether or not anybody who's involved would be available at that point — everybody's working, I'm happy to say — is a question, but whether I would want to do another one is not a question."[105] On October 4, 2007, Alan Tudyk suggested in an interview that Universal was considering another film due to DVD sales.[106] Although Joss Whedon later discounted Tudyk's statement as being "wishful thinking",[107] Tudyk is still hopeful a sequel will be made.[108]

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c "Serenity (2005) - Daily Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2006-08-27. 
  2. ^ a b "Films Of The Year". BBC. Retrieved 2006-08-27. 
  3. ^ a b "Serenity". FilmFocus. Retrieved 2006-08-27. 
  4. ^ a b "The Best of 2005". IGN Film. Retrieved 2006-08-27. 
  5. ^ a b "Hugo and Campbell Awards Winners". Locus Online. 2006-08-26. Retrieved 2006-08-27. 
  6. ^ Russell, M.E. (2006-06-24). "The Browncoats Rise Again". The Daily Standard. Retrieved 2006-07-16. 
  7. ^ July 26, 2004 TV Guide, p. 34
  8. ^ Whedon, Firefly: the complete series: "Train Job" commentary, track 10
  9. ^ a b Whedon, Firefly: the complete series: "Serenity" commentary
  10. ^ Whedon, Serenity: Director's Commentary, track 7 "Mr. Universe"
  11. ^
    • Staite, Jewel (2004). "Kaylee speaks: Jewel Staite on Firefly". in Jane Espenson, Glenn Yeffeth. Finding Serenity, anti-heroes, lost shepherds and space hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly. Dallas: BenBella books. pp. 227. PN1992.77.F54F56 2005. ISBN 1-932100-43-1. "Aside from playing Kaywinnit Lee "Kaylee" Frye in Firefly and Serenity" 
    • "The shooting script". Serenity, the official visual companion (paperback ed.). London: Titan books. 09 2005. pp. 78. ISBN 9781845760823. "Kaywinnit Lee Frye, as sweet and cheerful as she is mechanical [...] Kaylee is opening the doors" 
  12. ^ a b Whedon, Serenity: Director's Commentary, track 1 "Living Weapon"
  13. ^ Whedon, Serenity: The Official Visual Companion, pp.21, 24.
  14. ^ a b c Whedon, Serenity: The Official Visual Companion, p.17
  15. ^ "Captain on Deck! hello to all". Official Firefly Forum. 2003-06-13. Retrieved 2006-07-06. 
  16. ^ ""Serenity Saloon" is open fer bidness". Official Firefly Forum. 2003-06-06. Retrieved 2006-07-06. 
  17. ^ ""Serenity Saloon" is open fer bidness". Official Firefly Forum. 2003-06-06. Retrieved 2006-07-06. 
  18. ^ a b Serenity Collector's Edition DVD cast commentary
  19. ^ a b c d e McNamara, Mary (October 9, 2005). "Hollyworld: Down-home directing". Los Angeles Times.,0,2503431.htmlstory. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  20. ^ Snyder, Gabriel (2004-03-21). "'Firefly' feature alights". Variety. Retrieved 2006-07-02. 
  21. ^ Snyder, Gabriel (2004-03-03). "Whedon's 'Serenity' greenlit". Variety. Retrieved 2006-07-02. 
  22. ^ stated by Summer Glau in several interviews ([1], [2])
  23. ^ "Dead city of Miranda/modern American high school". 2006-04-19. Retrieved 2006-07-02. 
  24. ^ Authors, Multiple (2006-05-13). "CollectorMania in Milton Keynes". Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  25. ^ Muir, John (2005-09-30). "Reflections on Film TV Cult Friday Flashback 11". Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  26. ^ Conger, Wally (2005-08-18). "Firefly a Liberal Checks In". Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  27. ^ Epstein, Daniel Robert (c. 2005-09-30). "Interview with Joss Whedon". Suicide Girls. Retrieved 2006-05-19. 
  28. ^ None, Radegund (2006-08-29). "Official Costumes". Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  29. ^ Skaro, Jo (2005-07-00). "Even Space Cowboys Hanker to Look Shiny". Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  30. ^ Koukoulas, Steve. "Firefly the Complete Series". Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  31. ^ Tyler, Joshua (2005-09-29). "Movie Review". Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  32. ^ Gibner, Jason. "Genius in the Shadows". Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
  33. ^ a b Hartlaub, Peter (2005-09-30). "'Serenity' earns director Whedon spot on sci-fi's Mount Rushmore". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  34. ^ Espenson, Jane (2005-09). "Finding Serenity - Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherd and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly". Retrieved 2006-10-13. 
  35. ^ eyeofhorus (2005-09-13). ""Having a beer with Joss"". Serenity Oz ( Retrieved 2006-05-19. 
  36. ^ a b Whedon, Serenity: Director's Commentary, "What's In A Firefly"
  37. ^ Miller, Gerri. "Inside 'Serenity'". Retrieved 2006-07-09. 
  38. ^ "Interview with Zoic Studios' Visual Effects for Serenity". 2006-01-24. Retrieved 2006-07-09. 
  39. ^ Whedon, Serenity: Director's Commentary, Track 3 "Aboard Serenity".
  40. ^ "More Serenity Screenings Announced, Sell Out Immediately". 2005-05-12. Retrieved 2006-07-11. 
  41. ^ "Serenity Screenings Sell Out". slashdot. 2005-05-01. Retrieved 2006-07-11. 
  42. ^ Serenity at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
  43. ^ Reel Life: Joss Whedon Live Onstage Interview at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
  44. ^ "Serenity Trailer Now Online!". Retrieved 2006-07-11. 
  45. ^ "Serene on the Screen". Yahoo Buzz Index. 2005-04-28. Retrieved 2006-07-11. 
  46. ^ Serenity preview now closed
  47. ^ "Free Screening of "Serenity" at ETC on Nov. 7, 2005; First Screening of Fully Compliant DCI Feature". 2005-10-28. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  48. ^ "Serenity (Mass Market Paperback)". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  49. ^ (The site's FAQ states that it was not involved with the making of these videos in any way.)
  50. ^ "Serenity DVD Amazon sales rank tracker". 
  51. ^ ""Top Renters for Week Ended January 15, 2006"". Retrieved 2006-03-12. 
  52. ^ The easter egg is included on the U.S., European and Canadian editions.
  53. ^ Entitled "We'll Have A Fruity Oaty Good Time", it can be found by going to the main menu, selecting but not activating "play movie", then pressing the left button. A design on the right will highlight. Press play.DVD Easter Egg found on Serenity (Widescreen)
  54. ^ BREAKING ATMO - Meet Your Browncoat Astronaut
  55. ^ Blogs » Blog Archive » Board Game, Sci-Fi to Ride Shuttle Atlantis to ISS
  56. ^ "German Special Edition on". 
  57. ^ Serenity (EXCLUSIVE Collector's Tin) (2 Discs) @ EzyDVD
  58. ^ welcome slashdot
  59. ^ Coming Soon!
  60. ^ Whedon, Joss (2007-03-01). "Serenity: Special Edition DVD to be released in July". Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  61. ^ Serenity (US - DVD R1) in News > Releases at DVDActive
  62. ^ Universal Studios Home Entertainment :: From Universal Home Entertainment: Serenity Collector's Edition on DVD August 21, 2007
  63. ^ Serenity DVD – Serenity movie - firefly serenity movie
  64. ^ "Can't Stop The Serenity". 
  65. ^ Can't Stop the Serenity
  66. ^ Can' | The Global Event
  67. ^ [3]
  68. ^
  69. ^ Karger, Dave (2005-09-29). "Back in Commission". Entertainment Weekly.,6115,1111625_1_0_,00.html. 
  70. ^ Gray, Brandon (2005-09-29). "BOX OFFICE FORECAST". Box Office Mojo. 
  71. ^ "Box Office Forecast". Box Office Report. 
  72. ^ Gray, Brandon (2005-10-17). "'Fog' Tops Soggy Weekend". Box Office Mojo. 
  73. ^ "Serenity (2005) - International Box Office". Box Office Mojo. 
  74. ^ Serenity (2005) at Rotten Tomatoes
  75. ^ Ebert & Roeper, Reviews for the Weekend of October 1 - 2, 2005
  76. ^ Dargis, Manohla (2005-09-30). "Scruffy Space Cowboys Fighting Their Failings". New York Times. 
  77. ^ Card, Orson Scott (2005-09-30). ""Uncle Orson Reviews Everything"". Retrieved 2006-05-19. 
  78. ^ "SyfyPortal Awards". Retrieved 2006-10-08. 
  79. ^ "'Serenity' Beats 'Star Wars' in Best Sci-Fi Film Poll". Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  80. ^ "Serenity named top sci-fi movie". BBC News. 2007-04-02. Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  81. ^ "Serenity crowned top sci-fi movie". Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  82. ^ Yembrick, John (2009-02-20). "Be Part Of History -- Help NASA Name The Next Space Station Module". NASA. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  83. ^ "Help NASA Name Node 3". 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  84. ^ "Help NASA Name a Node". 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  85. ^ Newitz, Annalee (2009-03-05). "Vote to Make Serenity Into a Real Space Vessel!". Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  86. ^ "Stephen Colbert Tries to Take Over Space Station". Fox News. 2009-03-06.,2933,506126,00.html. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  87. ^ Whedon, Serenity: Director's Commentary, track 11 "Miranda"
  88. ^ a b c Whedon, Serenity: Director's Commentary, track 17 "Fighting for Belief"
  89. ^ Whedon, Serenity: Director's Commentary, track 2 "A Better World"; Whedon, Serenity: The Official Visual Companion, p. 21.
  90. ^ a b Whedon, Serenity: Director's Commentary, track 10 "Posing a Threat".
  91. ^ Whedon, Serenity: Director's Commentary, Track 14, "Learning the Secret"
  92. ^ Whedon, Serenity: Making of Fruity Oaty Bar on Serenity DVD
  93. ^ Daniel Terdiman (2007-08-03). "Fans of sci-fi 'Serenity' follow their bliss". Retrieved 2006-06-20. 
  94. ^ Rebecca Murray (2004-12-06). "Nathan Fillion Talks About "Serenity": On Working with Joss Whedon and "Firefly's" Cancellation". Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  95. ^ "Completely completed SERENITY screens at Comic-Con! And...". Ain't It Cool News. 2005-07-25. Retrieved 2006-06-24. 
  96. ^ "Interview : Joss Whedon". Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  97. ^ "Exclusive: A Serenity Sequel?". Retrieved 2006-07-01. 
  98. ^ Empire (2006-01-09). "Serenity And Beyond - Exclusive: Whedon on Firefly's future". Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  99. ^ "Serenity DVD Amazon Info Tracker". Retrieved 2006-07-01. 
  100. ^ "Serenity Day website". Retrieved 2006-06-06. 
  101. ^ "Whedon Responds to sequel rumors @ Whedonesque". Retrieved 2006-10-04. 
  102. ^ "Whedon Responds to Rumors of Serenity Sequel Death". Retrieved 2006-10-06. 
  103. ^ Laremy Legel (2007-08-03). "COMIC CON: Exclusive Interview with Joss Whedon". Retrieved 2007-08-03. 
  104. ^ Emily Christianson. "Comic-Con 07's Fantatsic Filmmakers: Joss Whedon Goes into 'Sugar Shock'". Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  105. ^ Whedon's August 2007 interview with Amazon (audio file)
  106. ^ Clint Morris (2007-10-04). "Serenity 2 A New Hope?". Retrieved 2007-10-04. 
  107. ^ "What's in Your DVD Player, Joss Whedon?". 2007-11-04. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  108. ^ "Tudyk believes Serenity 2 will happen". 2008-02-01. Retrieved 2008-03-30. 
  • DeCandido, Keith R.A. (August 30, 2005). Serenity. ISBN 1-4165-0755-8. 
  • Whedon, Joss (September 1, 2005). Serenity: The Visual Companion. ISBN 1-84576-082-4. 
  • Joss Whedon (Director). Serenity [DVD]. Universal.

See also

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Serenity is a 2005 space western film written and directed by Joss Whedon. It follows on from the canceled Fox science fiction television series Firefly, taking place about two months after the events of the final episode.


[First lines]
Teacher: Earth-That-Was could no longer sustain our numbers, we were so many. We found a new solar system, dozens of planets and hundreds of moons. Each one terraformed, a process taking decades, to support human life, to be new Earths. The Central Planets formed the Alliance. Ruled by an interplanetary parliament, the Alliance was a beacon of civilization. The savage outer planets were not so enlightened and refused Alliance control. The war was devastating, but the Alliance's victory over the Independents ensured a safer universe. And now everyone can enjoy the comfort and enlightenment of true civilization.

Young River: People don't like to be meddled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk. We're in their homes and in their heads and we haven't the right. We're meddlesome.

[Simon has infiltrated the facility where River is being held, and questions a doctor on her condition]
Simon: [impersonating an Alliance official] How is she physically?
Dr. Mathias: Like nothing we've seen. All our subjects are conditioned for combat, but River…she's a creature of extraordinary grace.
Simon: Yes…she always did love to dance.
[Simon activates a device, the pulse of which renders all present scientists unconscious]

Dr. Mathias: [on recording] Key members of Parliament have personally observed this subject. I thought--
[recording pauses]
The Operative: Key…members…of Parliament. Key. The minds behind every military, diplomatic, and covert operation in the galaxy…and you put them…in a room…with a psychic.

The Operative: Secrets are not my concern. Keeping them is.

The Operative: You know, in certain older civilized cultures, when men failed as entirely as you have, they would throw themselves on their swords.
Dr. Mathias: Well, unfortunately, I forgot to bring a sword.
[The Operative unsheathes his sword]
Dr. Mathias: I would put that down right now if I were you—
The Operative: Would you be killed in your sleep, like an ailing pet?

[After Dr. Mathias falls onto the Operative's sword]
The Operative: This is a good death. There's no shame in this, in a man's death. A man who has done fine works. We're making a better world. All of them better worlds.

[As Serenity begins a fiery dive into atmo, a panel on the bow breaks off, flying over the cockpit's viewport]
Mal: What was that?
Wash: Did you see that?
Mal: Was that the primary buffer panel?
Wash: It did seem to resemble—
Mal: Did the primary buffer panel just fall off my gorram ship for no apparent reason?
[Serenity shudders.]
Wash: Looks like.
Mal: I thought Kaylee just checked the entry couplings. I have a very clear memory of it!
Wash: Yeah well, if she doesn't give us some extra flow from the engine room to offset the burn-through, this landing is going to get pretty interesting.
Mal: Define interesting!
Wash: [deadpan] "Oh god, oh god, we're all gonna die"?
Mal: [on the ship intercom] This is the captain, we have a lil' problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight…turbulence, and then…explode. [to Wash] Can you shave the vector?
Wash: I'm doing it! It's not enough.
Mal: Just get us on the ground!
Wash: That part will happen pretty definitely.

Jayne: We're gonna explode? I don't wanna explode!
Mal: Jayne, how many weapons you plan on taking? You only got the two arms.
Jayne: Well, I just get excitable as to choice. Like to have my options open.
Mal: I don't plan on any shooting taking place during this job.
Jayne: Yeah, well what you plan and what takes place ain't ever exactly been similar.
Mal: …No grenades.
Jayne: Huh? Aw…
Mal: No grenades!

Zoe: We crashing again?
Mal: Talk to your husband. Mule prepped?
Zoe: Good to go, sir. Just loading her up. [She turns to Jayne as Mal walks off.] Those grenades?
Jayne: Yeah, Captain doesn't want them.
Zoe: Jayne, we're robbing the place. We're not occupying it.

Mal: Kaylee! Kaylee, what in the sphincter of hell are you playing at? We got the primary buffer panel coming right—
Kaylee: Everything's shiny, Cap'n. Not to fret.
Mal: You told me those entry couplings would hold for another week!
Kaylee: That was six months ago Cap'n.
Mal: My ship don't crash. [shouting over his shoulder as he leaves the engine room] [If] she crashes, you crashed her.

[Leaving the engine bay, Mal encounters Simon in the corridor. Simon stares at Mal.]
Mal: Bit of a rockety ride, nothing to be worried about.
Simon: I'm not worried.
Mal: Fear is nothing to be ashamed of, Doctor.
Simon: This isn't fear. This is anger.
Mal: Well, kind of hard to tell one from t'other, face like yours.
Simon: Well, I imagine if it were fear, my eyes would be wider.

Mal: Come a day there won't be room for naughty men like us to slip about at all. This job goes south, there well may not be another. So here is us, on the raggedy edge. Don't push me, and I won't push you. Dong-luh mah?

Mal: Hey little one. You understand your part in all this?
River: Do you?
Mal: [haughtily] This is what I do, darlin'. This is what I do.
[there is a pause, then Mal frowns and looks vaguely unsure of himself]

[Over Simon's objections, Mal has "recruited" River to join the crew on a job due to her psychic abilities]
Simon: Now River, stay behind the others. If there's fighting, drop to the floor or run away. It's okay to leave them to die.
Mal: Doctor. I'm taking your sister under my protection here. If anything happens to her, anything at all, I swear to you—I will get very choked up. Honestly. There could be tears.

[The crew prepares for a payroll robbery.]
Jayne: Shiny! Let's be bad guys.

Mal: How about you, darling, ready to go?
River: There's no pattern to the pebbles here…it's all completely random. I tried to count them but you drove too fast. Hummingbird.
[brief silence]
Mal: Right, let's go.

Zoe: Do you know what the definition of a hero is? Someone who gets other people killed. You can look it up later.

Trade Agent: You all are Browncoats, eh? Fought for independence? Petty thieving ain't exactly soldiers' work.
Mal: War's long done. We're all just folk now.

[Mal opens a small locked safe in the bank, to find it virtually empty. From inside the safe, we see Mal and Zoe peering in.]
Zoe: [sardonically] At last, we can retire and give up this life of crime.
[Mal shoots a look at Zoe, then pulls a secret handle in the vault. The floor retracts revealing a staircase.]
Mal: [calling out down into the vault] We're coming down to empty this vault!
Vault Guard: [from below, unseen] You'll have to give me your authorization password.
[Jayne fires an extended burst from his rifle into the floor.]
Vault Guard: [after a pause, brightly] Okay!

[Mal has his gun drawn while having a discussion with the vault guard of the bank he's robbing.]
Mal: The leg is good; it'll bleed plenty and we avoid any necessary organs.
Guard: I was thinking more of a graze.
Mal: Well, you don't want it to look like you just gave up.
Guard: No, I get that.
Jayne: [yelling from upstairs] Mal!
Mal: Every heist he's gotta start yelling my name.

[The crew's Mule is being pursued by a Reaver ship.]
Jayne: [To Mal] Gee, sure would be nice if we had some grenades right now, don'tcha think?!

[Jayne is being pulled toward the Reaver ship by a harpoon.]
Jayne: I won't get ate! You shoot me if they take me!
[Mal aims his gun in Jayne's direction.]
Jayne: Well, don't shoot me first!
[Mal shoots at the harpoon rope.]

[Mal's Mule crashes into Serenity's bay. Simon, who stayed behind, rushes to River asking if she's all right.]
River: I swallowed a bug.
. . .
[Kaylee, who also stayed behind, rushes to Simon]
Kaylee: [to Simon] Are you okay?
Mal: Is he okay?!?

Zoe: In the time of war, we never would've left a man stranded.
Mal: Maybe that's why we lost.

Jayne: I'll kill a man in a fair fight, or if I think he's gonna start a fair fight… If he bothers me, or if there's a woman… Or if I'm gettin' paid. Mostly only when I'm gettin' paid.

Kaylee: Don't ride in anything with a Capissen 38 engine, they fall right out of the sky.

Kaylee: We're [going] on a year now, I ain't had nothing 'twixt my nethers weren't run on batteries.
[Wash and Zoe glance at each other, embarrassed]
Mal: Oh, God! I can't know that!
Jayne: [Eyeing Kaylee] I could stand to hear a little more.

[Mal greets Fanty and Mingo, identical twins.]
Mal: Fanty, Mingo.
Mingo: He's Mingo.
Mal: He's Fanty, you're Mingo.
Mingo: How is it you always know?
Mal: Fanty's prettier.

Fruity Oaty Bar Jingle: Fruity Oaty Bars! Make a man out of a mouse! Fruity Oaty Bars! Make you bust out of your blouse! Eat them all the time! Let them blow your mind, ohh! Fruity Oaty Bars!

[River has just started a bar fight.]
Jayne: Hey, tussle!
Mal: [Realizing River is the one beating the bar patrons senseless] Jayne…
Mingo: Do you know that girl?
Mal: I really don't.

[After River's swift incapacitation of a barful of patrons, the crew regroups on Serenity.]
Mal: [to Simon] I believe you got some storytelling to do. What in the hell happened back there?
Wash: Start with the part where Jayne gets knocked out by a 90-pound girl, 'cause…I don't think that's ever getting old.

Mr Universe: [Watching the recording of the bar fight] You guys always bring me the very best violence.
[They watch the rest of the fight, which ends with Simon shouting a safe word that causes River to lose consciousness]
Mr Universe: ...And she falls asleep. Which, she would be sleepy.

Mr. Universe: You can't stop the signal, Mal. Everything goes somewhere, and I go everywhere.

River: Show me off like a dog. Old men covered in blood; it never touched them but they're drowning in it.

River: Put a bullet to me… Bullet in the brainpan, squish.

Book: You got a plan?
Mal: Hiding ain't a plan?
. . .
[Mal mentions that he could have left River behind.]
Book: It's not your way, Mal.
Mal: I have a way? That better than a plan?

Mal: It's of interest to me how much you seem to know about that world.
Book: I wasn't born a Shepherd, Mal.
Mal: You have to tell me about that sometime.
Book: [Pauses] No, I don't.

[After the crew, eavesdropping on a 'wave between Mal and Inara, sees Inara invite the crew to join her at the companion training house]
Wash: Inara. Nice to see her again.
Zoe: So…trap?
Mal: Trap.
Zoe: Are we going in?
Mal: Oh, it ain't but a few hours out.
Wash: Yeah, but, remember the part where it's a trap?
. . .
Kaylee: But how can you be sure Inara don't just wanna see you? Sometimes people have feelings. And I'm referring here to…people.
Mal: You all were watching, I take it?
Kaylee: Yes.
Mal: Did you see us fight?
Kaylee: No.
Mal: Trap.

Mal: Zoe, the ship is yours. Remember, if anything happens to me; if you don't hear from me within the hour; you take this ship and you come and you rescue me!
Zoe: What? And risk my ship?
Mal: I mean it. It's cold out there, and I don't want to get left.

[Mal, wearing a robe covered in tassels, kneels next to Inara in front of a Buddhist shrine.]
Mal: Dear Buddha, please bring me a pony, and a plastic rocket, and one of those—
Inara: Mal, what are you doing here?
Mal: invited me...
Inara: Yes, but I never thought in a million years that you'd be stupid enough to actually come!
Mal: Well, that makes you sort of a tease, now, doesn't it?

The Operative: I have to say, Captain, I'm impressed that you would come for her yourself. And that you would make it this far…in that outfit.
Mal: I can be very graceful when I need to.
The Operative: I've no doubt.

Mal: She is a mite unpredictable. Mood swings, of a sort.
The Operative: It's worse than you know.
Mal: It usually is.
The Operative: That girl will rain destruction down on you and your ship. She is an albatross, Captain.
Mal: The way I remember it, albatross was a ship's good luck, 'til some idiot killed it.
[He turns to Inara.]
Mal: Yes, I've read a poem. Try not to faint.

[The operative asks Mal to return River]
Mal: You have to open with payment.
The Operative: That is a trap. I offer money, you'll play the man of honor and take umbrage; I ask you to do what is right and you'll play the brigand. I have no stomach for games.

Mal: I never credited the Alliance with an overabundance of brains, and if you're the best they've got–
The Operative: Captain Reynolds, I should tell you so you don't waste your time. You cannot make me angry.
Inara: Please, spend an hour with him.

The Operative: I already know you will not see reason.
Mal: The Alliance wanted to show me reason, they shouldn't have sent an assassin.
The Operative: I have a warship in deep orbit, Captain. We locked onto Serenity's pulse beacon the moment you hit atmo. I can speak a word and send a missile to that exact location inside of three minutes.
Mal: You do that, you'd best make peace with your dear and fluffy lord.
[Mal tosses a mechanism at the Operative.]
The Operative: [catching the mechanism, then realizing what it is] ...Pulse beacon.
Mal: Advice from an old tracker. If you want to find someone, use your eyes.

The Operative: I'm not threatening you. I'm unarmed.
Mal: Good.
[Mal shoots the Operative, who falls behind a curtain. Mal grabs Inara and turns to leave.]
The Operative: [Grabbing Mal from behind] I am, of course, wearing full body armor. I am not a moron.

The Operative: Nothing here is what it seems.
[approaches Mal with his sword]
The Operative: He is not the plucky hero. The Alliance is not an evil empire. This is not the grand arena–
Inara: And that's not incense.
[The Operative turns, and a flash bomb throws him across the room]

Mal: [angrily] Do you want to run this ship?
Jayne: Yes!
Mal: Well…you can't!

[After discussing the danger River poses to the crew.]
Simon: We'll get off. River and I will get off at Haven. We'll find some—
Kaylee: Nobody's saying that.
Wash: Nobody besides Jayne is saying that.

Mal: I got no answers for you Inara. I got no rudder. Wind blows northerly, I go north. That's who I am. Now maybe that ain't a man to lead but they got to follow. So you want to tear me down? Do it inside your own mind.
Inara: I'm not trying to tear you down.
Mal: But you fog things up. You always have. You spin me about. I wish like hell you were elsewhere.
[Mal turns and stalks away]
Inara: [Quietly] I was.

[River has a gun trained on Mal as Mal tries to talk her down.]
Mal: The government's man, he says you're a danger to us. Not worth helping. Is he right? Are you anything but a weapon? I staked my crew's life on the theory [that] you're a person, actual and whole. And if I'm wrong, you best shoot me now-
[River cocks the gun.]
Mal: Or, we could talk more.

Mal: Half of writing history is hiding the truth.

Book: I shot him down…Killed the ship that killed us. Not very Christian of me.
Mal: You did what's right.
Book: Coming from you, that means almost nothing.
. . .
Book: I'm long gone.
Mal: No, Doc will bring you around. I look to be bored by many more sermons before you slip.
Book: You can't order me around, boy. I'm not one of your crew.
Mal: Yes you are.

Mal: I don't murder children.
The Operative: I do...If I have to.

[After Mal orders the crew to modify Serenity]
Zoe: Sir, do you really mean to turn our home into an abomination so that we can make a suicidal attempt at passing through Reaver space?
Mal: I mean to live. I mean for us to live. The Alliance won't have that, so we go where they don't follow.

[To a technician who has obviously just informed him that Serenity has given him the slip]
The Operative: Define "disappeared."

Wash: Can I make a suggestion that doesn't involve killing anybody, or is this the wrong crowd?

River: Run-tse duh shang-dee, ching dai-wuhtzo! Make them stop! They're everywhere! Every city, every… every house, every room—they're all inside me! I can hear them all and they're saying nothing! Get up! Please get up! Wuo-shang mayer, maysheen, byen shr-to… Please, God, make me a stone…
Jayne: [upset] She is starting to damage my calm…
Zoe: Jayne—
Jayne: She's right! Everybody's dead. This whole world's dead for no reason!

[Mal and the crew watch a holographic report on the Mirandans' fate.]
Dr. Caron: There's 30 million people here, and they just let themselves die.
[Everyone jumps at the sound of a brutal attack in the distance.]
Dr. Caron: I have to be quick! About a tenth of a percent of the population had the opposite reaction to the Pax. Their aggressor response increased beyond madness. They have become…
[A crash is heard in the background, now closer]
Dr. Caron: [sobs] Well, they've killed most of us. And not just killed…they've done things…
Wash: [A look of realization on his face] Reavers...They made them.
Dr. Caron: I won't live to report this, but people have to know. We meant it for the best…to make people safer.

Mal: This report is maybe twelve years old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there’s a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They’re gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I’m asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten, they’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people…better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave.
. . .
Jayne: [Taking a drink from a bottle of liquor] Shepherd Book always used to say, "If you can't do somethin' somethin' right."

Wash: I am a leaf on the wind…watch how I soar.

[A large object smashes into the front of Serenity.]
Mal: Wash!
Wash: [frantically] It's okay! I-I'm a leaf on the wind!
Mal: What does that mean?!

Spoiler warning: Plot, ending, or solution details follow.
[While searching for survivors on Haven, Mal finds a dying Book, fatally injured with a bullet wound in the gut.]
Mal: [Shouting, to Jayne] Get the Doc! [goes to Book's side] Shepherd! Don't move!
Book: Won't go far…
Mal: Shouldn't have been you. [pauses] The Alliance should've hit us…should've hit me.
Book: [coughs] That crossed my mind. [indicates the fallen ship] I shot him down.
Mal: [checks his wound] Yeah? I see.
Book: I killed the ship that killed us. Not…very Christian of me.
Mal: You did what was right.
Book: Coming from you, heh, that means almost nothing.
. . .
Book: I'm long gone…
Mal: No, the Doc will bring you around. I look to be bored by many more sermons before you slip. Just don't move.
Book: Can't...order me around, boy...not one of your crew.
Mal: Yes you are.
Book: River…
Mal: [calls out] C'mon!
Book: [grips Mal] I don' what you believe! Just believe! Whatever she… [succumbs to his wounds and dies]

The Operative: [as Serenity approaches a gathered Alliance fleet] Bastard isn't even changing course.
[An enormous Reaver fleet appears in pursuit of Serenity. A look of horror crosses The Operative's face]
Ensign: Uhh…sir?
The Operative: Target the Reavers. Target the Reavers! Target everyone! Somebody fire!

Mal: [leading the Reaver and Alliance fleets into combat, and stuck in the middle] The chicken's come home to roost.

[Serenity comes to a stop after a crash landing on Mr. Universe's planet.]
Wash: [relieved] I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I—
[A Reaver harpoon impales Wash, killing him.]

[As the Reavers batter the entrance to the crew's final stand, Simon turns to a shaking Kaylee.]
Simon: My one regret in all of this... is never being with you.
Kaylee: With me? You mean to say, as in.. sex?
Simon: I mean to say.
[Kaylee cocks her gun, with determination.]
Kaylee: Hell with this. I'm gonna live!

[River to a wounded Simon]
River: You take care of me, Simon. You've always taken care of me. My turn.
[River dives through the opening in the blast door, throws Simon's med kit through, seals the door... and proceeds to kick SERIOUS Reaver ass.]

[As Mal prepares to jump the chasm to the auxiliary control complex, The Operative shoots him from behind with a stun gun.]
Mal: You shot me in the back! I haven't made you angry, have I?
The Operative: [Referring to the Alliance forces being attacked by Reavers] There are a lot of innocent people in the air being killed right now.
Mal: [Referring to the Reavers] You have no idea how true that is.

Mal: I know the secret, the truth that burned up River Tam's brain. Rest of the 'verse is going to know it too, 'cause they need to.
The Operative: Do you really believe that?
Mal: I do.
The Operative: And are you ready to die for that belief?
Mal: I am.
[Mal draws his gun and shoots, forcing the Operative to take cover.]
Mal: [Making a break for the auxiliary control complex] Course, that ain't exactly Plan A...

[the Operative manages to stab Mal with his sword.]
The Operative: Do you know what your sin is, Mal?
Mal: Aw, hell...I'm a fan of all seven.
[Mal headbutts the Operative and pulls the sword out.]
Mal: But right now...I'm gonna have to go with wrath.

[The Operative has apparantly paralyzed Mal with a strike to his lower back. As the Operative retrieves his sword, we see Mal's fingers twitch and realization dawn on Mal's face. The Operative approaches with his sword, prepared to strike.]
The Operative: You've done remarkable things, but you're fighting a war you've already lost.
[As The Operative is about to run Mal through with the sword, Mal grabs The Operative's arm, dodges the sword, and elbows The Operative in the throat. The Operative gasps and drops the sword.]
Mal: Yeah, well, I'm known for that.
[Mal dislocates both of The Operative's shoulders.
Mal: Piece of shrapnel tore up that nerve cluster'n my first tour. Had it moved. Sorry 'bout the throat. Expect you'd wanna say your famous last words now. Just one trouble.
[Mal shoves The Operative's sword through his straps, pinning The Operative to a railing.]
Mal: I ain't gonna kill ya.
[Mal pulls out the recording that he and the crew of Serenity saw on Miranda and preps the console.]
Mal: Hell, I'm gonna grant your greatest wish. I'm gonna show you a world without sin.

[Mal is loading up the last of the repair equipment.]
The Operative: It's not over, you know.
[Mal instinctively goes to his holster, but doesn't draw. He turns to face the Operative.]
The Operative: I can't guarantee they won't come after you-the Parliament. Your broadwave about Miranda has weakened their regime, but they are not gone, and they are not…forgiving.
Mal: Well, that don't bode especially well for you—giving the order to let us go, patching up our hurt—
The Operative: I told them the Tams were no longer a threat. Damage done. They might listen, but I think they know I'm no longer their man.
Mal: They take you down, I don't expect to grieve over much. Like to kill you myself, I see you again.
The Operative: You won't…There is nothing left to see.

[In the deleted scenes]

The Operative: [looking at the name on the ship's hull] Serenity. You lost everything in that battle. Everything you believed in, everything you fought for…how did you go on?
Mal: If you're still standing there when those engines start goin', you'll never find out.
[The Operative blinks, looks down and walks away.]
Mal: [muttered] What a whiner.

Zoe: Sir, we have a green light. Inspection's pos, and we're clear for upthrust.
[Mal looks at his recently bereaved first mate.]
Mal: Think she'll hold together?
Zoe: She's tore up plenty, but she'll fly true.

Mal: It ain't all buttons and charts, little albatross. You know what the first rule of flyin' is? Well, I suppose you do, since you already know what I'm about to say.
River: I do. But I like to hear you say it.
Mal: Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of worlds. And love keeps her in the air when she oughtta fall down…tells ya she's hurtin' 'fore she keens…makes her a home.
River: Storm's getting worse.
Mal: We'll pass through it soon enough.
[As Serenity breaks atmo, a panel falls off the ship.]
Mal: What was that?
[Cut to black, roll credits]

Chinese translations

RUNtse de SHANG-DEE, ching DAIwuhtzo
Merciful God, please take me away. (hanyupinyin: ren ci de shang di, qing dai wo zou)
WUOshang mayer, maysheen, BYEN shr-to
I will close my ears and my heart and I will be a stone. (hanyupinyin: wo xiang mei er, mei xin, bian shi tou)

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