Firefly Characters

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Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds

The owner of Serenity and former Independent sergeant in the pivotal Battle of Serenity Valley. Very little is known about the enigmatic Captain; the little he reveals about his past life betrays nothing of his character (a mystery of its own). Malcolm reveals that he grew up on a ranch, and was raised by his mother and the ranch hands. The only other scenes of his past life that are shown are about the Unification War, in which he and Zoe fought for the Independent Army, the "Browncoats", as a platoon sergeant in the 57th Overlanders. He is an efficient leader and is skilled with guns as well as in hand-to-hand combat. Mal's character is full of contradictions. He is constantly fighting his demons, and his true self remains something of a mystery. (...more)

Zoe Alleyne Washburne

Second-in-command onboard Serenity, a loyal wartime friend of Captain Reynolds, and the wife of Wash. Described by her husband as a "warrior woman", she has great knowledge of combat. Her past is a mystery; the only thing known is that she was born and raised on a ship and served under Mal during the war as a corporal. She demonstrates an almost unconditional loyalty to Mal, the only exception noted being her marriage to Wash, which the captain claims was against his orders. Her maiden name is Warren, seen in a Serenity DVD Easter Egg. (...more)

Hoban 'Wash' Washburne

Serves as the pilot of Serenity, and is married to the ship's first mate, Zoe. He is only ever referred to as "Wash", the first syllable of his surname. When Mal confronts him in the Serenity film novelization, Wash's reasoning is "Why would anyone call themselves Hoban?" He grew up on a planet whose atmosphere is so polluted that no stars are visible. He claims to have spent time on a moon whose principle form of entertainment is juggling geese. Both of which he mentions in the episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds". A laid-back guy with a dry and occasionally laconic sense of humor, Wash tends to represent the pragmatic, cut-and-run opinion in any shipboard debate, and often serves as the calming influence in heated arguments. His actions sometimes appear cowardly, but Wash has proven his resolve and willingness to put himself in harm's way and do violence on behalf of his friends on many occasions.(...more)

Inara Serra

Inara, a Buddhist, was a rising member of Companion House Madrassa when she suddenly and inexplicably left to travel the outer rim. She has suggested that she "wanted to see the universe", although it is strongly hinted that she had other reasons. Less than a year before the events of the pilot episode, she leased one of Serenity's shuttles for transportation, living space, and workspace, providing her with some mobility. Though earning Mal's disfavor initially by stating that she supported unification of the Alliance and the Independents (in a flashback in "Out of Gas"), she and Mal have developed an unacknowledged attraction to each other which they resist, ostensibly for business reasons, and is expressed in the form of jesting and sometimes hurtful bickering. Mal constantly insults her career, but takes offense when others do so, going so far as to punch a client who did so. Mal tells Inara, "I may not respect your job, but he didn't respect you." (...more)

Jayne Cobb

Physically imposing mercenary previously uninvolved with the Unification War. Despite his comparatively brutish manner, Jayne regularly displays cunning and common sense. Originally a member of a gang that ambushes Malcolm and Zoe, Jayne switches allegiances and joins them after Mal offers him a larger share of heists and his own bunk. Though he engages in a few one-night stands, Jayne has no long-term love interest, beyond a lingering crush on Kaylee that Joss Whedon pointed out in the Serenity commentary. His feelings for her can be seen in his concern during the pilot episode, when he watched her surgery, as well as in his hostility towards Simon (Kaylee's obvious love-interest). Jayne is contemptuous of Simon and River, and sees them as a danger to his safety as they may bring the Alliance down on them.(...more)

Kaylee Frye

Kaylee has exceptional mechanical aptitude, despite her lack of formal training, and serves as ship's mechanic on Serenity.Kaylee is considered by the crew to be exceptionally sweet and chipper, the type who maintains a bright and positive attitude even when others are feeling low. The background of the character is revealed in the episode "Out of Gas", showing her joining the crew of Serenity. The ship's captain, Malcolm Reynolds, interrupted her and Bester, the ship's mechanic at the time, having sex in Serenity's engine room. However, when Bester incorrectly informed Mal that the ship could not be fixed, Kaylee quickly proved him wrong by diagnosing the problem and repairing the grounded Serenity virtually on the spot. Impressed with her mechanical ability, Mal immediately offered her Bester's job. Kaylee happily accepted, and left her family (and Bester) behind to join the crew. (...more)

Simon Tam

Since he was young, Simon's family had hopes for him to have a future in medicine. Simon was accepted to the best Medical Academy, or "MedAcad," on Osiris. Simon graduated in the top 3% of his class, and promptly moved onto a medical internship, which he completed in a mere eight months (as opposed to a year), and is licensed to practice medicine. From there, he became a resident trauma surgeon on one of the major hospitals in Capital City, Osiris. Around this time, Simon's sister River attended an elite Alliance-sponsored school called The Academy. Eventually, Simon realized that River was writing to the family in code, and began a quest to find and rescue her from the Academy. After learning about River's abuse at the Academy, he is unable to help her for two more years. However, Simon is eventually contacted by a group of men from an underground movement, and they help him with the rescue. While Simon and River head for Persephone, the Alliance freeze all of Simon's monetary accounts and label Simon and River as fugitives. (...more)

River Tam

River grew up with her brother Simon, with whom she was very close, as part of the wealthy Tam family on the "core" (Alliance-dominated) planet of Osiris. Having a high intellect and a ready grasp of complex subjects, she was sent to a government learning facility known only as “The Academy” at the age of fourteen. While her parents and Simon believed the Academy was a private school meant to nurture the gifts of the most academically talented children in the Alliance, it was in fact a cover for a government experiment in creating the perfect assassin. While in the hands of the Alliance doctors and scientists, River was secretly and extensively experimented on, including surgery that removed most of her amygdala (considered part of the limbic system, the amygdala plays a role in the regulation of memory and emotion), preventing River from being able to control her emotions. She has abrupt periods of mental instability and nurtures psychic and “intuitive” abilities, but although the R. Tam sessions imply that she may have already had some form of latent psychic abilities prior to being recruited, how and when this translated into her apparently full-fledged mind-reading abilities is unknown. The R. Tam sessions also imply that she may have been injected with G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate ('Pax'), which later adversely affects 0.1 percent of Miranda's population and creates the first Reavers. (...more)

Shepherd Derrial Book

Derrial Book is a "shepherd", or preacher, who provides frequent spiritual advice and perspectives for the crew of Serenity. He is a Christian, as evidenced by his comment on shooting down an attacking Alliance vessel on Haven, saying "that's not very Christian of me." He has a mysterious past, and on numerous occasions has demonstrated a depth of knowledge in a number of fields in which one would not expect a clergyman to be familiar: including space travel, firearms, hand-to-hand combat, and criminal activity. Book's past appears to involve the Alliance in some way; he possesses an Alliance identity card that gives Book priority status on an Alliance medical ship, and in The Message, he demonstrates knowledge of Alliance military procedures. Shepherd Book and the inhabitants of "Haven" are later killed by the Operative in the movie "Serenity". (...more)

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