Firefly / Serenity Trivia

Firefly trivia



Episode 1: Serenity (1)

At the beginning of the modern scene in space just after Mal says “The vault’s sealed” we cut to a shot of Mal’s back you can clearly see the “sticky” around the vault lock – this is before he applies the sticky which is seen a few seconds later.

After the crew lands on Persephone, and everyone is leaving, Wash drives the crawler down the ramp, but stops to tell Zoe to be careful (“Zhu Yi”). As he prepares to start down the ramp, if you look at the front bumper of the crawler, you can see a hand reach out and pull him forward. This may not be visible in all formats.

In the very last scene on the flight deck, the toy dinosaurs Wash was playing with at the beginning of the pilot (“Serenity”) can be seen left behind on his console.


Episode 2: Serenity (2)

When everyone is celebrating the escape from the Reavers, we see Wash is piloting the ship. But as the camera pulls back, we see the control panel and steering wheel are gone and Wash is in fact holding on to NOTHING. According to the commentary, they needed to take out the panel to make a camera move work, and the actor playing Wash mimed holding the steering wheel for the shot, but in widescreen it’s pretty blatant. Joss Whedon said no one noticed the error and the shot was used anyway.

So how’d the Reavers track Serenity to Whitefall? We’re told it’s the same ship that went past them earlier, when they weren’t close to Whitefall. So…how’d the Reavers know Mal & crew would be there? Or did they just get lucky?

Wash says he can’t see the incoming Reaver ship and has to do a scan. Not more then a few seconds later Mal looks out the ship and the Reaver ship is practically on top of them.

Episode 3: The Train Job

According to his DVD commentary, Joss Whedon said that he originally intended to play the part of Badger himself.

In the overhead shot of the train, just before Serenity comes into the shot, the wheels on the train that are F/X’d out elsewhere can be seen in the shadow next to the track.

What the heck does the opening narration mean? So, they found a new solar system and hundreds of new earths? So are they all in one solar system, or what?

Maybe this will change in future episodes, but all the planets we see in this episode (including the intro and the opening credits) are dusty and dry and kinda desert-like. But we’re told in the opening narration they were all terraformed. So why’d they go around and create a bunch of deserts? (some didn’t find this too unusual, thinking maybe the process was limited to desert creation)

Episode 4: Bushwhacked

So the survivor attacks Jayne, who in return shoots him. When Mal follows the blood drops to the vent, it’s closed. So the survivor takes the vent off, climbs in, and then places it back in. He seems too out of the world to be putting the vent back.

When Simon comes into the other ship in the spacesuit, he lays down his flashlight to try and take of his helmet, but when the shot changes to Kaylee coming toward the screen to help him you can see the light from the flashlight still moving over the other characters behind Kaylee, at one point blinding Jayne, as if Simon was still holding it.

The ship’s name “Serenity” was taken from one of the last places the war was fought before the Alliance considered the war won, which was called Serenity Valley.

Wouldn’t Captain Malcolm and Zoe have noticed a bad odor before River looked up towards the slaughtered, hanging passengers of the derelict ship?

So what happened to the ship’s log they found? First Mal and Zoe find it, start examining it, and talk like it’s going to have some kind of big revelation, but then they forget about it entirely.

So why doesn’t Jayne give up Simon and River to the Alliance? He sure talks about them being unwanted and pain-in-the-necks enough times, but he has the chance here to secretly give them up to the Alliance by giving away their hiding place and he doesn’t take it. Presumably he’s just loyal to Mal or just really likes them and it’s all talk, but this isn’t really clear.

Where is the survivor hiding in the common room? He gets the drop on the Alliance guys and Mal despite the fact they’re facing in all directions and there really isn’t anywhere to hide.

Where do the Alliance soldiers disappear to when the survivor attacks? There are several soldiers, plus Mal and the Alliance captain, who go into the room. Then the survivor attacks, kills one or maybe two soldiers tops, and it’s just him, the captain, and Mal – where’d the rest go? And why aren’t they helping their commanding officer? Also, you can see the hand of a soldier on the Cruiser commander’s shoulder after Mal saves him… obviously there were soldiers around, why didnt they help him out?

Episode 5: Shindig

In this episode it’s revealed that Kaylee is short for Kaywinnit Lee, and her last name is Frye.

According to the DVD commentary for this episode, it is revealed that the necklace Zoe always wears is to symbolize her marriage to Wash (instead of a ring). That is why she never takes it off.

Cows will never walk on a grate or a grid-like pattern. According to Jane Espenson, the cows were placed there with bluescreening.

Conveniently, the cows in the hold don’t start mooing until after Inara and Mal finish their conversation. Or at least, the sound editor thoughtfully cut them off the track so the two could have an understandable conversation.

Episode 6: Safe

During the rescue of River and Simon, the red dot from the laser sight on Jayne’s gun on the Patron’s chest is 2 or 3 inches across (way too big). Laserbeams don’t get wider at a distance, and besides, Jayne can’t be more than 50 yards/meters away at the most.

How do the hillfolk know that Simon is a doctor? He and the others never mention it (that we see or hear) while they’re in town.

Anybody working with cows will find the shot of the empty cargo bay, with neat little piles of cow manure despite a herd of the animals milling around in there for days, highly suspect.

Simon’s comment about Book’s injury being the “first decent wound” doesn’t make much sense since Mal was badly injured previously in “Out of Gas” and Simon ended up treating him. However, this episode was actually filmed and produced prior to that one but aired out of sequence by Fox, explaining the apparent continuity error.

Episode 7: Our Mrs. Reynolds

In the UK DVD boxset release, according to the booklet, this episode was written by Joss Wheldon; not Joss Whedon.

The town seems to be a closely-knit kinda community. And yet no one there seems to take it amiss when Saffron, a stranger, wanders up and “proposes” to Mal. If she had stayed in town for a while to establish her credentials, how long was she there in town while waiting for a ship to come by she could set up for a hijack?

Previously we were told that River escaped from the Academy. This episode Inara says that Saffron must have received companion training at “the Academy.” The way everyone talks about it in capital letters, “The Academy” seems to be a single well-known place…that trains both psychics and companions? Otherwise referring to both training organizations as “The Academy” seems unnecessarily confusing.

Episode 8: Jaynestown

After the young boy takes the shot that was supposed to hit Jayne, he falls to the ground. You can see a rope attached to his left foot during this stunt and when he is falling to the ground.

When Stitch points his shotgun at Mal, there is a pump action sound effect, even though he does not pump the gun.

You can’t take a shotgun blast for someone. A shotgun blast is a spread of pellets, even at relatively close-range. At least some of the pellets/buckshot would have gone past the guy and hit Jayne.

Stitch walks upright pretty well, and manhandles Simon pretty readily, despite being locked up in a cramped box for four years. Did the Magistrate let him have daily exercise periods and all, or what?

So exactly what is “Port Control”? The Serenity landed in the middle of a big open field with no signs of buildings, no one to greet them, and no indication they had to request permission to land.

Episode 9: Out of Gas

The random piece of equipment that Wash throws in the salvage yard appears to be a Catalyzer, the engine component that broke and caused the situation in “Out of Gas”.

One of the candles on the birthday cake goes from being lit to not lit depending on the camera angle.

The dress that Kaylee is wearing in the flashback is the same dress she wears on her date with Simon in the episode “The Message”.

In one of the DVD commentaries for “Firefly,” it’s explained that Zoe wears her leather necklace as a sort of wedding ring, symbolizing her marriage to Wash. But, she’s wearing the same necklace during the flashback shots in this episode. Why is she wearing it if she’s not married to Wash yet?

At least in our time, injecting a big needle of adrenaline into someone with a stomach wound will almost certainly result in one very dead patient.

Episode 10: Ariel

When the ambulance lands, you can see the casters that it is sitting on.

When Jayne, Simon, and River are being arrested, Jayne has his hands cuffed behind his back. A moment later he gets shot with one of the Fed energy weapons and his hands go flying up in front of him which would have been impossible if he was still handcuffed.

The ambulance used in this episode was eventually found in a scrap yard in the Mojave Desert, and then purchased by fans.

One of the guards had blood all over his mouth from biting Jayne, but the blood is gone when the blue-handed operatives check them.

Episode 11: War Stories

Wash must be a terrible pilot in a shuttle, as the shuttle seems to be zigzagging all across a perfectly flat valley – the sunlight sways back and forth from the window across Mal and him as they’re going to the drop zone. Either that, or the sun is changing position on the horizon every five seconds.

As the crew are storming the station, one “dead” guard can be seen lying perfectly alongside one of the walls. But when the opposite wall gets shot, you can see the whole body jump in shock.

In the scene where Mal has the torture device attached to his chest, his amputated ear is on the wrong side of his head. Obviously, the picture has been flipped (a mirror image), as the buttons on his shirt are on the wrong side, also.

The crew seems to know all about Niska’s reputation when he first met them. Here they’re pretty close to his space station when they make the drug deal, and they don’t seem to be worried at all about their proximity to him or the chance he might do something. In fact, Mal even thinks it’s going to be an easy run.

The councilor’s bodyguard comes in and says “All clear” even though Kaylee and Jayne are not-so-carefully hiding up in the catwalks.

Episode 12: Trash

The outfit that Inara is wearing at the end of the episode is the same one she is wearing the flashback in Out of Gas.”

At the end of the episode, when Mal is butt naked and talking to Zoe and Wash, when they’re leaving him Wash tells Zoe, barely audibly if you listen carefully, “Zoe, he’s Jewish!” You can try guessing what he’s referring to.

At time index 17:45, as Mal’s shuttle is landing on the island, a spacecraft can be seen flying from right to left in the background. This “spacecraft” is actually a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a US supersonic reconnaissance aircraft which was first flown in 1964.

When Kaylee is reprogramming the garbage can, the screen next to her clearly shows a Windows desktop (with what looks like the new hardware wizard at the first step). Time index on the DVD copy of the episode: 21:41

Episode 13: The Message

When Simon starts cutting Tracey, he make about an inch cut before Tracey wakes up and jumps him. After he’s lying on the floor, the cut goes all the way down his sternum.

When Simon goes to do the autopsy on Tracey you notice that he plans to cut right down the middle. When an autopsy is done the doctor or coroner makes a ‘Y’ cut. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a doctor or coroner opening a body by cutting right down the middle of the torso.

When Jayne starts digging in the box for the enclosed item the camera cuts to the rest of the crew and Jayne is slightly off camera. However, you can still clearly see him take the hat out and let the box fall on the floor, yet when they switch cameras Jayne is shown doing the same actions as before – taking the hat out and letting the box drop. This leads to a bit of a mismatch when they cut the shots together.

The dress that Kaylee is wearing on her date with Simon is the same dress is wearing in the flashback on the episode Out of Gas.

Tracey’s plan is a bit unclear. He is supposedly smuggling genetically-engineered human organs from one planet to another. He’s supposed to go to Ariel, where he said the new organs would be taken out and his original ones put back in. Presumably his organs were taken out on a planet that wasn’t Ariel, which means they had to be transported to Ariel. How was this to be accomplished? Isn’t trafficking human organs illegal? Is there some sort of legal distinction between real organs and genetically engineered ones? If transporting the originals is easy enough, then why not smuggle the new ones that way? Why bother with a human incubator in a risky and unnessesary plan? Perhaps it could be argued that real organs can survive outside the body in artificial incubators and genetic organs cannot, but if that’s the case it means there’s something fundamentally wrong with the genetic process of creating the organs, because they should be indistinguishable from real ones. If this is the case, using a genetic organ would probably be very risk and possibly prone to failure. Of course, they could be failure prone and the black market doesn’t really care.

Arriving on Persephone, Jayne exits Serenity wearing the hat his mother made for him in “The Message.”

Episode 14: Heart of Gold

If you’re watching closely, when Rance Burgess is delivering his sinister speech to rally his men, you can see that one of the cutaway shots of the onlookers is actually played backwards. Keep your eyes peeled, you can see the fire on one guy’s torch is flowing backwards when they tilt up to show him.

As Mal dives from the roof, one of Burgess’ men shoots at him with his horse facing Mal dead on. Mal lands and does a forward roll, and now the horse is standing at right angles. Why would you move a horse while shooting at an armed, moving target?

We know Book knows his guns better than he should, yet in this episode he’s only armed with a hose. We know from “War Stories” that he’s not averse to taking up arms if needed. River, with her blind-shooting ability, also seems underutilised.

When Burgess walks out of the room with the baby, you can clearly see he’s holding a doll in one shot

Episode 15: Objects in Space

At the climax of the story, Mal moves in behind Jubal and pushes him off into space. But actions and reactions are equal — the shove should send Mal flying off in the other direction. There is no indication that he is braced against anything or has secured his footing in either the wide shot or the close-up that shows him appearing quite suddenly behind Early.

When River is still claiming to have merged with Serenity, she is able to speak to several rooms individually. Is this possible to do from Early’s ship? And how could she tell that Mal was rolling his eyes– was it a big goof or a psychic awareness?

Serenity logo

MOVIE: Serenity

In the movie, the key phrase, that Dr. Simon Tam uttered to put River to sleep, “Eta Kooram Nah Smech!” in Russian means literally “this is for hens to laugh”, meaning “this is very ridiculous”.

When the Operative reviews Mal’s file, it shows his birth date as 9/20/2468. 9/20/2002 is the day “Firefly” (2002) premiered. Coincidentally, 9/20/1968 is “Firefly” writer/producer Ben Edlund’s date of birth.

Although only a portion of the animated “Fruity Oaty Bar” commercial is visible in the movie, it was produced in its entirety and is visible as an “Easter Egg” on the DVD. Joss Whedon wanted the commercial to be as odd as possible and admits on the DVD that it is heavily inspired by the “Mr. Sparkle” advertisement from “The Simpsons” (1989) episode “In Marge We Trust.”

According to Adam Baldwin, the mini-gun his character Jayne uses at the end of the film is nicknamed “Lux”, after the message board handle (LuxLucre) of devoted fan Kerry Pearson. Pearson, who died of complications from diabetes, was best known for creating fan art that featured the characters from “Firefly” (2002) in a “South Park” (1997) cartoon style.

There is an inside joke printed on some of the crates in the cargo bay. Some of the crates have the message “Reusable Container: Do Not Destroy” printed on them (they are visible behind River after the Reaver has been shot). The original set for the ship, from the show “Firefly” (2002) was destroyed (even though creator Joss Whedon swore he’d make use of it again), and therefore could not be reused for the movie (the set had to be rebuilt from scratch).

Fanty and Mingo are named for the pair of mafia thugs from Joseph H. Lewis’s The Big Combo (1955).

Universal Studios took the unusual step of allowing early previews of the unfinished film. The first early preview was in November 2004 in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles CA, when the release date for the film was still early 2005. The 5 May 2005 previews were held in 10 cities, the 26 May 2005 previews were held in 20 cities, and the 23 June 2005 previews were held in 35 cities. An early preview was also held on the Gold Coast, Qld, Australia on Friday 22 July 2005.

Two wrecked ships are shown with the registration numbers C57D, a reference to Forbidden Planet (1956). Jayne points out the first one as they explore. The second is the rescue ship, the source of the beacon. Writer/Director Joss Whedon says in the DVD commentary that the name of the world, Miranda, was taken from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, where it is the name of a character who says, “Brave new world that has such people in it.” Forbidden Planet was loosely based on The Tempest.

When the crew first arrives on Haven, Jayne is strumming the “Ballad of Serenity” (the “Firefly” (2002) theme) on the guitar.

This is the first film to be released by Universal on HD-DVD (High Definition DVD).

A coffee maker seen in Serenity’s dining room/kitchen is an F.A. Porsche Design coffee maker made by Siemens.

The futuristic-looking handcuffs used on River are in fact Clejuso Number 13s, the second heaviest handcuffs currently in production.

EASTER EGG: From the main menu screen, keep clicking “left” until you light up a triangle with a dot in the center on the right side of the screen. This icon will take you to the full Fruity Oaty Bar commercial.

Malcolm’s Social Control number is 099,836,5,4112.

The keyboard Mal uses to transmit the signal from Mr. Universe’s basement is a Micro Innovations Web Office Pro Keyboard.

One of the video clips playing on the monitors in Mr Universe’s base is the Blue Sun commercial from the “Firefly” (2002) episode “The Message”.

This is the first film for which a digital cinema distribution master was made using the new DCI standards using JPEG2000 compression and a 12 bit 4:4:4 XYZ color space.

The cannon the crew mounts to Serenity is a WW2 German 20mm Flak 38.

Among the buildings shown in the opening sequence (where voice-over narration describes the “terraforming” process) are the Emirates Towers, key features of the skyline of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. A skyscraper in the foreground of the same shot is based on designs by Sir Norman Foster (Lord Foster), including the Commerzbank headquarters in Frankfurt and the HSBC building in Hong Kong.

Morena Baccarin provides the voice (“Parliamentary override. Full access.”) for the security terminal in the records room.

The key phrase, that Dr. Simon Tam uttered to put River to sleep, “Eta Kooram Nah Smech!” in Russian means literally “this is for hens to laugh”, meaning “this is very ridiculous”.

Wash’s jacket has a Leonov mission patch from 2010 (1984) on one arm, and a real-world Russian Intercosmos patch on the other.

Concept art for the film reveals that many of the weapons are based on the design of paintball markers. They include such paintball-specific touches as the propellant tank mount point at the bottom of the rear grip, and an “expansion chamber”-style fore grip.

The poem Mal refers to is “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In the poem the Mariner shoots down an albatross which causes the death of his crew and the destruction of his ship.

Mal’s drink of choice, Ng Ka Py, is a Chinese brandy. (It is available in the San Francisco Bay Area, particularly in the Li Po bar in SF’s Chinatown and some liquor stores in SF and Oakland’s Chinatown.) It is seen in the film in his quarters, and it is also the drink he calls for in the bar in the first scene of “The Train Job”.

Summer Glau has said that she pitched to Joss Whedon the idea of her character River becoming a pilot during the “Firefly” (2002) television series. In this film, River finally becomes co-pilot of Serenity.

The original “Firefly” (2002) title theme is played at the end of the closing credits, in a guitar-only version.

Zoe, Mal, and Jayne’s guns from Firefly are in a private collection so it became necessary for everyone to have new weapons for the film. The only weapon carried over from the series is Jayne’s bowie knife.

The cast had a running gag where they would yell Summer Glau’s name whenever she flubbed a line or forgot to do something. It originated on “Firefly” (2002) when she forgot her line at the end of a very long and difficult scene.

According to the director commentary, Mal’s line “Faster would be better” was ad-libbed by Nathan Fillion when Joss Whedon told him to “say something Mal would say.”

On Miranda, when the crew discovers the dead citizens in the sealed room, right before River starts talking in Chineese, there’s a body of an old man in a lab coat wearing golden shoes. The shoes he is wearing are Nike Flightposite III, basketball shoes designed for Kevin Garnett, introduced around 2001.

Body count: 74

After they find the first body that’s been dead without injuries in the white city you can see a strange kind of stairs with a ramp through it. This is an exact copy of the stairs at the Robson Square in Vancouver, Canada designed by Arthur C. Erickson.

Once Simon has put River to sleep in the bar, On the floor next to her can clearly be seen an Earth Aliance PPG from the series Babylon 5.

Though the Trade Agent (the elderly man in the Trade Station who unlocks the safe) is played by ‘Weston Nathanson, his voice was dubbed by Joss Whedon. According to Whedon, several of the stand-in voices from the early post-production stage remain in the final film, among them this and Morena Baccarin’s voice as the computer at the beginning of the film.

Contents of Mal’s personal file:
Son of a rancher, born on the planet Shadow.
Bound by law five times:
– Smuggling
– Tariff dodging
– Transporting illegal cargo
Independent Army
57th Brigade
Awarded valor commendation:
Battle of Serenity Valley

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