Contradictions between Firefly series & Serenity

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Magisterfrodo, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. If anything, Early and the Operative represent two different philosophical systems.

    The Operative is the true believer who, at the end, finds out that the God he's been serving is a false God -- in finding out that the Alliance created the Reavers in their attempts to pacify people and then covered their role in the Reavers' creation up, the Operative discovers that the previously mostly-benevolent Alliance was, in fact, fundamentally corrupt and authoritarian. He becomes the Existentialist who realizes that God is dead but that he still needs to empathize with other people and treat them morally.

    Early, on the other hand, is a Nihilist. He's the man who realizes that there is no God, but takes this as meaning that since nothing inherently means anything, there is nothing wrong with hurting others. He's the Nihilist who takes the death of God to mean the nullification of life and existence itself, who believes in nothing real. He's a much simpler, much more immoral person.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't agree that it means the Alliance is fundamentally corrupt and authoritarian, just that it had fallen too much under the influence of corrupt leaders. That doesn't mean it isn't a basically sound system. Even a well-intentioned system can go wrong if the wrong people end up in charge of it (as we Americans know all too well after the past eight years), but that doesn't mean it can't be redeemed.

    The whole point of Serenity, after all, is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions: that the Alliance was founded in order to foster peace and prosperity, but it was taken too far. But the ending of Serenity suggested that the exposure of Miranda might be the first step toward redemption.

    Kind of the opposite of Angel's epiphany: "If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do." I.e., if the only meaning in an action is in the action itself, rather than some cosmic consequence or reward, then it's important to make that action positive rather than negative. I think that's basically Whedon's view of the world.
     
  3. G2309

    G2309 Captain Captain

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    Another inconsistency is how in the series Simon said he had no idea what the alliance had done to her. Yet in the film he has time to question the chief doctor before rescuing her.
     
  4. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

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    ^That's not really a contradiction. They didn't give him details of what they actually did to River, just what the results were.

    Simon did not break River out on his own. There's no way he could have. He needed to acquire the uniform he was wearing, the various security clearances needed to get in, someone to fly/drive the getaway vehicle, someone to get the plans of the facility and so on and so on.

    It makes sense for him to go in because, not knowing what state River might be in, she may have needed immediate medical attention before being extracted, and him being a familiar face doesn't hurt either.
     
  5. Dark Gilligan

    Dark Gilligan Writer Fleet Captain

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    Yes there are inconsistencies (most of which can be explained "in universe"), but they really come down to transitioning the story from television to film.

    Whedon needed to sharpen Simon's backstory and make him much more pro-active in the movie, hence the noticable and sometimes jarring changes in the good doctor's demeanor. But his appearance was also noticably different. The television Simon had a boyish quality; his hair was tossled and he dressed in foppish Western attire, as if his mother had picked out his clothes for him. The movie Simon's hair was slicked back and the Western garb was gone. He looked "harder", more utilitarian. Either "foppish" Simon was an act (not an inconceivable idea) or Whedon did indeed retcon him to move the film along.

    As for Mal, it was mentioned upthread that Fox thought his portrayal in the pilot was too dour, wounded, and grim. They wanted Whedon to lighten him up, hence the Mal we know from the series. When given the chance to make the movie, Whedon returned Mal to his original concept. Indeed, the Mal Reynolds in the two bookended "Serenity" films (pilot and movie) are the same guy; it's the television Mal in between them who was different.
     
  6. Brolan

    Brolan Commodore Commodore

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    What bothered me about movie Mal was I didn't see the crew following a man like that. Or maybe they stuck with him to make a quick buck, but bailed on him at the first opportuntity.
     
  7. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    Well he drove Inara off the ship, and Book too, so maybe from that point on he was in a "I don't give a shit" mentallity and told Simon off because he was making things difficult and just pissing him off. That would fit with later on Haven when he told them he'd leave them all there.

    As for the second, I think Whedon said he simply forgot.
     
  8. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    IIRC, KRAD covered this in the novelization by saying that they bought the hover-mule with the Lassiter profits.
     
  9. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think that either of those are real inconsistencies, though. Real people are multi-faceted creatures with many different faces for many different situations, who change, evolve, revert, and change back again and again over time.

    Heck, Whedon even acknowledged the differences in Mal's behavior when he has Inara ask him who he is now.
     
  10. Bisz

    Bisz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh, beat me to it.

    I get so pissed off when watching Firefly and Serenity. When watching Firefly I get pissed off at Fox for canceling a show that could have been a pinnacle of television and when I watch Serenity I get pissed off... at Fox for canceling Firefly and getting Serenity instead.
     
  11. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    I don't think they retconed Simon. Simon was almsot in diguise when he quitely sought passage about Serenity; the dark flasses and cloths, didn't even seem to fit his personallity, more like he was making a (lousey) attempt to hide.

    And remember he was the one who made the suggestion of sneaking into a Alliance hospital and steal medicine. The show only lasted like 14 episodes -- we never really got to see all of his personallity.

    Also remember, not getting paid very often, or eating very often, with a pissing, angry, conflicting crew, can kind of harden a person after living with them for over a year.
     
  12. Dark Gilligan

    Dark Gilligan Writer Fleet Captain

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    It was less than a year in-story between the pilot and movie, not nearly enough time for those changes and evolutions to occur believably. In Simon's case in particular they were either forced or faked. And again, the possibility that "foppish Simon" was an act from the very beginning is not out of the question.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm again compelled to point out that the Simon of "Ariel" is just as competent, determined, strong, and effective as the Simon of Serenity. He always had that potential within him, when he was in his element and when he was motivated by the need to protect his sister.

    Simon was like me -- not good at being spontaneous or dealing with the unexpected, but quite capable when he had time to make plans and prepare himself. So he seemed clumsy and feckless when he was out of his depth, facing situations like interacting with frontier ruffians, participating in heists, and being seduced by Kaylee; but as we saw more than once on the show, particularly in "Ariel," he was perfectly capable of handling himself once he'd gotten a handle on a situation, once he'd been able to develop a plan for responding to it. We also saw this in "Objects in Space." When he was initially attacked by Early, he was taken down easily; but later on, when he'd had more time to size up his opponent, he was effective at waging psychological warfare against Early, turning the tables and making Early the confused, uncertain one.

    So the Simon of Serenity is exactly the same character as the multifaceted Simon Tam of Firefly. In River's rescue, as in "Ariel," he was a man with a plan, a man acting out a practiced role in a context he was familiar with (medicine, high technology), and so he was focused, confident, and capable. In the present-day scenes, he'd been on board Serenity for eight months, gotten accustomed to his crewmates and their lifestyle, and so he was in a better position to cope with it and was less tentative. And once it became clear that River was in danger, Simon showed unquestionable strength and determination in standing up for her, just as he always did.
     
  14. Dark Gilligan

    Dark Gilligan Writer Fleet Captain

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    ^^ But... his hair was different. And don't think we didn't notice. ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2009
  15. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    Eh, people in Joss's shows change hair styles all the time.

    And remember how well he hide his feelings for Kaylee. It wasn't unti lthe film he admited sharing them.

    Didn't Joss say he planned five or sevens seasons of the show? I'm sure he had paths and ideas. "Serenity" may have been something like a season 2 or 3 finale that got built up to.
     
  16. archeryguy1701

    archeryguy1701 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I didn't think Mal drove Book off... I always operated under the assumption that Book just reached the end of his trip, and jumped ship.
     
  17. tharpdevenport

    tharpdevenport Admiral Admiral

    According to Joss, the comic series he did (the first one), is cannon. In it, Mal eventually drove Book to anger, and Book slugged him one. This caused Book to re-evaluate being on the ship, and as I recall (I think that was covered in the next issues [Ineed to re-read them]), this caused him to leave. Plus, he was "terminated" (I assume it was termination from Alliance spying).
     
  18. Nardpuncher

    Nardpuncher Rear Admiral

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    Another thing I didn't like about the movie is that soemone seeing it would have no idea that the TV show had a Western motif.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Uhh, I think the bank heist might've tipped them off. But it's a myth that Firefly was meant to be just a "space Western." It depicted a human civilization that was a hodgepodge of cultural influences and technological levels. The frontier worlds resembled the Old West while the core worlds were sleek and futuristic, with everything in between. Part of the problem with not showing the original pilot first was that audiences didn't get to see the mix of cultural and technological levels it showed and were thus given the false impression that it was just a "space Western" -- and were also deprived of the pilot's explanation for why the frontier worlds were like that.
     
  20. Nardpuncher

    Nardpuncher Rear Admiral

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    Oops...I guess I was wrong again! Thanks for that.
     

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