Serenity (film)

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Films

Directed by Joss Whedon
Produced by Christopher Buchanan
David V. Lester
Barry Mendel
Alisa Tager
Written by Joss Whedon
Starring Nathan Fillion
Summer Glau
Adam Baldwin
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Gina Torres
Alan Tudyk
Morena Baccarin
Jewel Staite
Sean Maher
Ron Glass
David Krumholtz
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Jack N. Green
Editing by Lisa Lassek
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) September 29, 2005 (Australia)
September 30, 2005 (North America)
October 7, 2005 (UK)
Running time 119 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $39,000,000
Preceded by Serenity: Those Left Behind
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile

Serenity is a 2005 science fiction western film written and directed by Joss Whedon. It is set in the universe of the canceled FOX science fiction television series Firefly, taking place approximately two months after the events of the final episode. Set 500 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 a Unification War and fought on the losing side. Their lives of petty crime are interrupted by a psychic passenger who carries 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. Serenity won film of the year awards from Film 2005 and FilmFocus. It also won IGN Film's Best Sci-Fi, Best Story and Best Trailer awards and was runner up for the Overall Best Movie. 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 and the 2006 Prometheus Special Award.

Among fans, the film is commonly referred to as the "Big Damn Movie" or abbreviated "BDM", a reference to a line from a Firefly episode in which Mal and Zoe call themselves "Big Damn Heroes" after rescuing River and Simon. Serenity is a rare occurrence in the industry—as canceled TV shows are rarely continued in major motion pictures.


The film is based on Firefly, a television series that was canceled by FOX in December 2002, after 11 of its 14 produced episodes had aired. When attempts to have another network pick the show up failed, creator Joss Whedon decided to try and sell it as a film. Through a connection, he was introduced to Mary Parent with Universal Pictures, who immediately signed on after watching the episodes on DVD. By June of 2003, actors Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin confirmed this on the official Firefly forum, as did Whedon in several interviews.

After Universal Studios acquired the movie rights to Firefly from FOX, Whedon began writing the screenplay. Universal planned to start shooting in October of 2003; however, delays in finishing the script pushed the start of shooting to June of 2004. Universal, while on board with the movie, was not willing to spend the typical budget for a story set in space ($100 million), and Whedon convinced them he could do it for less, and without filming in Canada. And in 50 days, instead of the usual 80. On March 3, 2004 the movie was officially greenlighted to enter production and it was revealed to have budget of only $40 million. Typically, production of a movie would try and save money by not filming in Los Angeles, but Whedon insisted on staying local and hiring local, union crew.

Principal photography started on June 3, 2004. Joss Whedon stated that the film would be released as Serenity, in order to differentiate it from the TV series. 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. On September 17, 2004 Joss Whedon announced on the movie's official site that shooting had been completed.

Whedon's task was to take a television series that few people had seen and explain the premise, without boring the viewer, or the fans of the franchise. He achieved the exposition by constantly shifting the opening sequence: at first it is a traditional narrative, but then turns out to be a school room, which then turns out to be in River's mind, etc. The viewer is constantly fed new information. Whedon stated in the commentary that this works thematically as well, since it depicts River's fractured state of mind. When they reach the ship, Whedon uses a long tracking shot to establish "safety".

Since the budget was not very large, practical special effects were used as much as possible: if a CGI composite was called for, as many tangible sets and props were made to reduce the amount of CGI needed. The most technically challenging scene was the mule skiff chase. For budget reasons, a gimbal (a hydraulic turntable) and CGI, like the pod race in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, were quickly ruled out and challenged the production team to find an alternative. Instead they built a trailer with a cantilevered arm attached to the "hover craft" and shot the scene while riding up Templin Highway north of Santa Clarita. As "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."

One item that could not be reused from the television show that would have helped save money, was the original set of the interior of the ship Serenity. It had to be rebuilt from scratch for the film, using frozen images from the Firefly DVD set. ZOIC, the CG-rendering company that produced the graphics for the series, also had to perform a complete overhaul of their computer model of Serenity, as its television model would not stand up to high-definition cinema screens (and future HD DVD resolution).

The set for the failed colony, Miranda, was filmed on location at Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, California. (The building into which the Alliance ship is crashed is the DRHS Band and Orchestra's rehearsal room.)

Renowned comic book artist Bernie Wrightson, co-creator of Swamp Thing, contributed concept drawings for the Reavers. Other comic book artists who contributed to the production design include Joshua Middleton and Leinil Francis Yu (Visual Companion).


Five hundred years into the future, mankind has abandoned Earth and moved en mass to a new large star system. The system is controlled by the authoritarian Alliance, but away from the "core planets" outlaws like the crew of the interplanetary cargo ship Serenity can scrape out a living if they dodge Alliance forces and the Reavers - savage space-faring cannibals who raid the worlds of "the Rim." One of the Alliance's projects is the creation of a cadre of conditioned psychic warriors. The star "pupil" of this project is teenager River Tam. After her older brother Simon rescues her, the Alliance Parliament gives high authority to The Operative, who begins a ruthless search for the two fugitives.

Roughly eight months after River and Simon have joined Serenity's crew, the ship's captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds overrides Simon's objections and insists upon bringing River and her talents along on a bank raid. The raid is interrupted by a Reaver attack. After the crew narrowly escapes them, Simon confronts Mal, who decides to leave the two fugitives behind at their next stop. At said stop, River starts a deadly commotion that is triggered by a subliminal message broadcast by the Alliance in a commercial. Mal allows Simon and River to continue traveling on Serenity while the crew contacts a reclusive techno-geek known as Mr. Universe. Mr. Universe discovers the subliminal message and also notes that River whispered the name "Miranda." Mal receives a call from Inara, a former passenger. Suspecting a trap, but mindful that she must be in danger, Mal visits her and is confronted by the Operative, who offers to let Mal go if he turns River over to him. Mal refuses, and thanks to Inara's quick thinking, they escape from the Operative and back to Serenity. Another of River's outbursts shows the crew that " Miranda" is an unknown outer rim planet, about which River learned something horrible when in contact with members of Parliament during an inspection visit of her training. Since traveling to Miranda would require a suicidal crossing into Reaver territory, Serenity instead goes to Haven, now home to another former passenger, Shepherd Book. On arrival, the crew discovers that the outpost has been ravaged by Alliance forces, fatally wounding Shepherd Book in the process. The Operative sends a message claiming responsibility, and promising more of the same until River is turned over.

Again overriding the crew's complaints, Mal orders that Serenity be made to look like a Reaver ship. They successfully sneak the disguised vessel through an entire fleet of Reaver warships. Upon reaching Miranda, the crew finds it has a completely habitable environment — but the sprawling cities are empty except for masses of badly decomposed corpses, all without apparent cause of death. The crew discovers a log recorded after the disaster by an Alliance expedition, which reveals that the Alliance administered a chemical substance designed to suppress aggression and thus render the planet free of violence. It worked so well that the populace stopped working, eating, or caring about anything and let themselves die. However, a fraction of the population had the opposite reaction, turning hyper-aggressive and mentally unstable: they became the Reavers. A sickened Mal plans to reveal this secret to all the worlds by using Mr. Universe's transmitter equipment, but the Operative has anticipated this and waits just outside of Reaver space with an Alliance fleet. During the return trip through the Reavers, Serenity opens fire upon a pursuing ship, causing the other vessels to chase it: Serenity emerges from Reaver space flanked by the entire Reaver fleet. A massive battle ensues between the Alliance and the Reavers, allowing Serenity's pilot Wash to fly down to Mr. Universe's planet. The Operative's ship is destroyed, and he also flees to the surface in an escape pod.

Serenity crash lands on the planet and while it suffers massive damage, the crew has survived. Just as everyone begins to relax, a Reaver harpoon impales Wash, killing him instantly. Fleeing Serenity, the crew sets up a last stand to give Mal the time he needs to get to Mr. Universe and transmit the message. Mal finds Mr. Universe murdered, but triggers a message revealing a hidden backup transmitter. The Reavers attack the crew, inflict several injuries and force them to retreat. The crew tries to close a blast door, but it will not seal completely, so River dives through the gap in the door and seals it from the other side trapping herself with the Reavers. Mal reaches the secondary transmitter, but then The Operative appears, leading to a final bloody showdown between the two men. Mal emerges as the victor but does not kill the Operative, instead leaving him to watch the recording from Miranda. Mal returns to his crew; just as he is told what River did, the blast door opens to reveal River standing unscathed amidst an enormous pile of dead Reavers. A squad of Alliance troops belatedly storm onto the scene, but the Operative, his faith in his mission shattered by the Miranda message, orders them to stand down. The crew buries Mr. Universe, Shepherd Book, and Wash and patches up Serenity. As they prepare to resume their travels, the Operative makes his own exit, promising Mal they will never meet again. Serenity blasts off with Mal in Wash's seat at the helm, and River acting as his copilot.

Promotion and releases

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 released, 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 DC sold out in a mere 22 minutes and the second screening in Phoenix sold out in 8.

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.

A showing of the finished film billed as the "Gala Premiere" was held at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on August 22, 2005, followed by an interview with Whedon the next day, 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.

Internet campaign

The trailer also generated buzz on the Internet. It was uploaded on April 26, 2005 and by April 28, 2005, it topped the Yahoo Buzz Index. Universal also utilized 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 change from a shy child prodigy to the mentally unstable character of the television series.

On October 5, 2005, Universal also made the first nine minutes of Serenity available online. 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.

DVD release

Serenity was released on DVD, UMD, and VHS in North America on December 20, 2005. It quickly went to #1 in sales on 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 have grossed around $9,190,000. The DVD presents the film in anamorphic widescreen, with 5.1 surround sound. Included as extras 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 on the U.S. and Canadian editions that features a small featurette on the "Fruity Oaty Bar" commercial, entitled "We'll Have A Fruity Oaty Good Time". It can be found by going to the main menu, selecting "play movie", then pressing the left button. A design on the right will highlight. Press play.

On February 8, 2006, the film was released as a two-disc set in Australia ( Region 4) and parts of Europe (Region 2). In addition to the supplemental material found on the North American (Region 1) release, this release contains new features. At present, disc 2 is exclusive only to Australia and Benelux — Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg. It was released in Germany as part of the special edition 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 also released for the two disk edition by the EzyDVD chain of stores in Australia.

Serenity was chosen as one of the first HD DVDs to be released. The Serenity HD DVD was released on April 18, 2006. On the day of its release, 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. As of July 1, 2006 Serenity remains the second highest selling HD DVD.


Serenity won film of the year awards from Film 2005 and FilmFocus. It also won IGN Film's Best Sci-Fi, Best Story and Best Trailer awards and was runner up for the Overall Best Movie ( Batman Begins received first place). Won the 7th annual 'User Tomato Awards' for best Sci-Fi movie of 2005 at Rotten Tomatoes. It also won Nebula Award for Best Script for 2005. Serenity won the 2006 viewers choice Spacey Award for favorite movie. It also won Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form at the 2006 Hugo Awards. SyFy Genre Awards 2006: Best Actor/Movie Runner-Up: Nathan Fillion; Best Actress/Movie Runner-Up: Summer Glau; Best Movie Runner-Up.

Serenity received mostly positive reviews from film critics, with a "fresh" rating of 81% from the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles reviews from a wide range of film critics. Ebert & Roeper gave the film "Two Thumbs Up," and The San Francisco Chronicle called it "a triumph", while The New York Times described it as a modest but superior science fiction film. It is listed at #38 of top Science Fiction movies on IMDB. 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."

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".

Despite critical acclaim and Internet buzz, Serenity performed modestly at best at the box office. Although several pundits predicted a #1 opening, 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 totaling a box office gross of $25.5 million. Movie industry analyst Brandon Gray described Serenity's box office performance as "like a below average genre picture".

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. Universal 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, slightly less than the film's $39 million budget, which does not include the promotion and advertising costs. The film's creators and supporters are hoping that strong DVD sales, similar to those of the Firefly television series, may lead to the production of a sequel.

In October 2006, Joss Whedon announced on his website that there were currently no plans for a sequel.


  • Nathan Fillion as Mal. 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.
  • Gina Torres as Zoe. Another veteran who fought alongside Mal in the war, she is fiercely loyal to Mal, whom she calls "the captain."
  • Alan Tudyk as Wash. The pilot of the ship, and Zoe's husband. He often acts as a voice of reason on the ship.
  • Morena Baccarin as Inara. She is a companion and 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. A mercenary, skilled with weapons, is often the "main gun" for jobs and is someone who can be depended on in a fight. He is a "lummox" but thinks he is the smartest guy in space. As Whedon states several times, he is the person that will ask the questions that no one else wants to talk about.
  • Jewel Staite as Kaylee. Kaylee, the ship's intuitively skilled mechanic, also has a persistently bright and sunny temperament.
  • Sean Maher as Simon. Simon is River's loving brother who helps rescue her from the Alliance. He and River are taken in by the crew of Serenity. His life is defined by caring for his sister.
  • Summer Glau as River. River is a seventeen-year old psychic genius. She and her brother are taken in by the crew of Serenity after she is rescued from an Alliance Academy. The Alliance's pursuit of River forms the basis of the film's plot. As Whedon states, the film is the "story of Mal as told by River."
  • Ron Glass as Shepherd Book. A shepherd, or preacher, Book was once a passenger on Serenity, but now resides on the planet Haven. Mal and the crew look to him for guidance.
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as The Operative. A ruthless, intelligent employee of the Alliance assigned to track down River and Simon. In searching for the person to place the role, Ejiofor was on the top of every casting director's list, but the studio was wanting someone more well known. Whedon, however, was eventually able to cast Ejiofor.
  • 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 'verse.


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", but rather a force that is largely benevolent. The Alliance’s main problem is that it is in over its head dealing with all the myriad cultures that it cannot control and should not try to. What the crew of Serenity, and specifically Mal and his lifestyle, represents is that people have the right to choose, even if that choice is wrong. This is the main message of the film - that no one person or group has the right to impose their views on others, even if it is a better way of thinking.

The Operative embodies the Alliance and is as Whedon stated the "perfect product of what's wrong with the Alliance". He is someone who is a force for good, who wants to achieve a "world without sin", and believes this so strongly that he will do anything to achieve it, including risking his soul. In contrast, Mal is someone who has lost his beliefs. By the end of the movie, however, Mal finally believes in something so strongly that in a sense he approaches this potential to be a monster, for he asks the crew to lay down their lives for this belief. Whedon has said that the most important line in the movie is Mal's line to the Operative "I'm going to show you a world without sin." Whedon's point with this, and with Mal saying he is a "fan of all seven", is that sin is "outdated" and that it is just, quite simply, who we are as humans.

The characters' sense of belonging, relatively relaxed approach to conflict, natural disregard for authority, mixture of prudishness and passion, as well as physical courage and a sharp sense for materialism appears to be heavily influenced by their author. The primary social influence on Serenity and how it portrays its internal social universe of antagonists and protagonists appears to be influenced by the American depictions of the Wild West. However with the moral status of the antagonists in question it appears to be more complex in its depiction of human nature than at first glance.

Cinematic and cultural allusions

The creator of the series appears to be influenced by the Post American Civil War period and in particular is influenced by struggles faced by the landless of the South as they competed against carpetbagger and elite alike. Malcolm Reynolds faces similar obstacles with a similar lack of support. There is a claim that the Reavers would be the Indians in this 'Post Civil War' theory. Shephard Book behaves in a positive Christian way as well as referring to himself as one. Inara pays homage to a Buddhist statue, and in Jewish tradition, Mr. Universe breaks a wine glass during his "marriage" with his love-bot Lenore.

Serenity is influenced by the Wild West style of drab earth tone clothing used in depictions of that era. Natural materials such as wool, cotton, and leather predominate. The clothing also contains an east, south, and south-east Asian and Indian fusion of colour and beauty as well as influences from the American Civil War, late 19th century as well as the 1930's depression era. Mal's suspenders are strongly influenced by a World War 2 design. The clothing of the Alliance organization within the series is monolithically monochromatic, similar to the uniforms of the Empire in Star Wars as well as being the same props used in Starship Troopers. Serenity appears to be influenced by the Western set design notably 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 'the future looks worn down' precedent set by the Millennium Falcon but devolved even further. Like every space movie made after Star Wars, Serenity goes for a clean movement of form that with its occasional underdone look harkens back to the film work done with the old dykstra mechanical rigs. The usual lack of sound when the virtual camera is floating in space appears to be influenced by the similar usage in 2001

Joss Whedon explains in the DVD commentary track that the planet "Miranda" received its name in reference to a line spoken by Shakespeare's Miranda in The Tempest, Act V, scene I: "O brave new world, / That has such people in't!" 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". It is also of note that the planet on which River was conditioned is called Ariel, which is also the name of a character in The Tempest (who represents the wind). The aforementioned quotation from The Tempest also gave the title to the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which portrays an orderly but passionless society in which the populace are kept in check by means of a drug, Soma. Huxley described his novel as a "negative utopia". Like the World State of Brave New World, the Alliance in Serenity attempts to create a perfect society by administering a drug, but their manipulation leads to the exact opposite.

Serenity also owes a debt to such science fiction classics that influenced it such as Blade Runner, Star Wars and Aliens.

"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."
—Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

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". Serenity is one of several films set in the future that speculates how popular culture might evolve. Other films include Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange and The Fifth Element. This future envisioned in Serenity has two political and cultural centers: Euro-American and Chinese. Characters all speak English and Mandarin, with the latter language reserved for the strongest curse words. 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." The English subtitles on the DVD incorrectly list the line as "[speaking Chinese]".


The soundtrack to the film was released on September 27, 2005. It 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." 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.

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.


Fans of Firefly had hoped that if Serenity was 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). The former was always unlikely, since Fox still owns the Firefly television rights and Joss Whedon refuses to work for Fox again. Fans' hopes for further theatrical films appear to have been partially dashed by Serenity's mediocre box office showing. However, on December 1, 2005, 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 is expected that commissioning of a television sequel would be contingent on strong DVD sales of Serenity.

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 is that June 23, 2006, is the one-year anniversary of the third and final advance screening of Serenity prior to its release, and also Joss Whedon's birthday. The impact of the event could be seen from Serenity reaching #2 in the Amazon DVD Charts. the highest ranking the DVD reached since January 16, 2006.

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."

Whedon's response to the rumor consequently sparked many websites to publish articles stating that he would never do a sequel to Serenity. Joss 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."


Several spin-offs have been released which tie in with the film. One of the first, the R. Tam sessions, which are set before the film and TV series, were released unofficially by Whedon via the internet from August 16, 2005 to September 5, 2005, as a form of viral marketing for the film. A novelization of the film was written by Keith R. A. DeCandido, and published on August 30, 2005. 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 'verse. A role-playing game entitled 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.

Bridging the gap between the end of the television series and the beginning of the movie is a three-issue comic book series entitled Serenity: Those Left Behind. The comic is 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. The story is considered part of the Firefly/Serenity canon. Each issue of the series features three different covers, with each cover featuring one of the nine main characters, each by a different illustrator, including Joe Quesada, Bryan Hitch, Tim Bradstreet and John Cassaday. The first issue was published in July 2005, and the final one appeared in September. The comics quickly sold out on release, with both the #1 and #2 issues going into second printings. Many comic book retailers reported that it was their highest selling comic those months, in part because of the multiple covers, but also because it attracted a group of customers who are not traditionally comic book buyers. The comics were later reissued as a trade paperback compilation. It has been recently confirmed that Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews will write more Serenity comics for Dark Horse. The new comics are expected to be released sometime in mid-to-late 2006 or early 2007.

"Can't Stop the Serenity" event

Beginning in January 2006, fans (with Universal's blessing) began organizing charity screenings of Serenity to benefit Equality Now, an 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" or by the acronym "SN", and was coordinated through Can't Stop The Serenity(sic), where a full list of screenings is also available.

The majority of the screenings were held on or around June 23, 2006- the date both of Joss Whedon's birthday and of the final US sneak preview screening. As of October 1, 2006 the Can't Stop The Serenity website, after getting reports in from 42 of the 47 scheduled screenings, stated that the project had raised an estimated $65,900.24 for Equality Now. A breakdown of the 2006 screenings and their respective takes after costs are figured in is listed on the Can't Stop The Serenity website.

The organizers of individual screenings were able to donate anywhere from $236.11 (the estimated donation from the Oxford, UK screening before the final tally) to $6,900.00 (the estimated donation from the Portland, Oregon screening before the final tally) to Equality Now.

Discussion on repeating the event in 2007 began almost immediately upon the event's completion. Devin Pike, organizer of the 2006 Dallas event, replaced "The One True B!x" as the primary organizer and webmaster in late August of 2006. Though there was some disagreement amongst organizers regarding whether to schedule the 2007 event for the same late June timeframe or to schedule it for the official anniversary of the film's U.S. release date, the decision was made to hold future "Can't Stop The Serenity" events in June to connect it with the original 2006 date.

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