Should Firefly Be Revived?

NO. Firefly/Serenity should not. In fact, outside of comic books and other franchise tie-ins, Firefly should never get any sort of series continuation ever again.

Steady your heartbeat, Browncoat. I have no news. In fact it’s unlikely you’ll see Whedon and company circling back to any of their former titles anytime soon. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was nominally his subsequent show instead, and after delivering so righteously with The Avengers, and now taking Batgirl with Warner Bros. and DC, Joss Whedon will be unavailable for the next few years. That means Dr. Horrible, too.

Firefly benefits from shining brightly and going out relatively strongly. The series ended abruptly, yes. And you can argue that “The Message” is the actual ending, rather than “Objects in Space.” (I will rebut that argument in a moment.) But the story is brought to a fitting conclusion by Serenity. Mal and company realize that staying one step ahead of the law is no longer a sustainable tactic, and the crew finds some meaning in life they were otherwise running from.

“Objects in Space” is the ending to the show because we need to set up River for the movie. She’s the linchpin to their troubles and needs closure with respect to her past so that she can eventually grow. Tonally, “The Message” has a farewell quality to it and we all know that it was this episode that the cast and crew discovered the show’s cancellation. But River is central to Serenity‘s conflict, and her interactions with Jubal Early in “Objects” reveals more than previously shown. Up until that point, we see her only as a force to act on other characters. She’s dangerous and capable of delivering serious hurt. But how her condition affects her self-esteem and self-worth is rarely touch upon until “Objects.” She reveals her emptiness and helplessness as a prisoner in her own fractured mind. But the audience never really empathizes with River as her role is that of an instigator. She’s a seventeen year old girl though; the guilt is probably overwhelming.

It’s crucial then that we understand River’s true feelings because we need to be convinced that her and her brother’s departure from the ship is in the best interest of everyone. Remember, they are wanted fugitives and the lightning rod for much of the show’s conflict. The audience knows it will hurt too. Simon’s integral to the well being of the crew and resourceful when direly necessary, but without Mal’s protection and experience, he and his sister are vulnerable.

One of the finer points of Firefly is that the story was meant to be fluid. We catch up with the crew as they’re picking up passengers we eventually grow familiar with. But it’s likely that they’re not the first group of outsiders to reside on the ship. People come and go and Mal is essentially aimless. He loves Serenity, but I suspect could ultimately part with it if it meant saving a member of his crew/family. Wash and Book are of course the big examples of life after Firefly. The crew must now learn to live without Wash’s voice of reason and Book’s apparent moral compass.

This is why a sequel wouldn’t make sense. The characters are done. Most importantly River is done, having found some semblance of peace. “I’m alright,” she admits as she learns the identities of the voices in her head and the truth behind her abruptly detoured existence. Her taking the wheel of Serenity post-climax symbolizes the personal shift she has undergone. She’s in control of her own life now.

Whatever adventures might follow would not carry the emotional weight of the film and cheapen the crew’s implied last stand. We can safely assume that Mal and company go on to other capers, but we don’t need to see them. It’s enough to know that they’ll be “alright.”

None of that matters of course because I’d be first to drop a month’s pay into that Kickstarter if it ever happened. I’m a sucker.

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