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Storylines From Firefly That Were Never Resolved

Joss Whedon's sci-fi epic Firefly was unceremoniously canceled by Fox after airing just 14 episodes. With the show shuffled into the Friday night death slot and the episodes aired out of order, it makes sense that the series wouldn't find the love it deserved while on air. However, in the years since, it has become a cult classic, attracting millions of new fans and gaining a new life on Netflix.

Some of the burning questions that the show left behind were answered in the feature film Serenity, which hit theaters in 2005 after the studio realized what a huge mistake they'd made. However, with only 90 minutes to wrap up storylines for what was supposed to be a seven-season show, there were still plenty of questions that Firefly never had the chance to answer.

Mal and Inara

No couple has ever been more OTP than Mal and Inara. The two had a crazy amount of sexual tension throughout the series, but while Kaylee and Simon ended up getting their time together in the engine room, Mal and Inara never found a way to each other. While it's likely that the culmination of their relationship was being saved for a future season or film, it's still a huge disappointment to many fans that we never even got to see the two share a kiss (or at least one where they were both conscious).

However, it may be a good thing that we never witnessed Mal and Inara getting together. According to executive producer Tim Minear, Joss Whedon planned to have Reavers attack Mal's ship, forcing Inara to use a drug that would kill anyone who raped her. When Mal goes to rescue her, he finds all the Reavers dead, implying something truly awful.

"He comes in after she's been horribly brutalized, and he comes in, and he gets down on his knee, and he takes her hand," Minear said. "It was very dark."

While we'd all like to see Mal and Inara wind up with one another, we don't want to see it happen like that.

Inara's past

Mal asked Inara during the "Out of Gas" flashback why a respectable Companion decided to join a group of thieves heading into deep space. And like the smart woman she is, Inara deftly avoided the question. She said it didn't anything have to do with the Alliance, and nothing in the series indicates Inara was lying. However, that still begs the question: what actually lead her to Serenity?

There have been a number of fan theories, many having to do with a syringe that Inara is seen holding in the pilot episode. While some have theorized the syringe is the anti-rape drug that Minear mentioned, others believe it was something else entirely. The show's producers confirmed on the Browncoats Unite reunion special that Inara was actually dying from a terminal illness, something which could have explained the syringe and might be why she decided to board Serenity. What better way to live your last days than adventuring through space?

However, it's entirely possible this illness had nothing to do with why Inara joined the Serenity crew, and since the show only gave fans vague information about her background, there are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the mysterious Companion.

Shepherd Book

Shepherd Book was one of the most confounding characters on Firefly, for both his crewmates and fans. A priest who also just so happens to be a skilled shooter and strategist? Everyone knew that something about the guy wasn't quite right, and Serenity's other passengers questioned his abilities on multiple occasions. However, the questions surrounding Book were never answered in the series, leading to extensive fan theories and speculation.

Following his death in the film Serenity, the writers decided to clear things up by officially introducing Book's background with the 2010 graphic novel Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale. In the story, it's revealed that Book, whose real name is Henry Evans, ran away from home after an abusive childhood and became a Browncoat soldier. He eventually took the identity of Derrial Book so he could embed himself as an undercover operative in the Alliance, where he became well-known for his brutal tactics. After the war, he retired to an abbey, becoming a man of the faith before winding up on Serenity.

Still, while the comic is considered canon by some, Book's background was left a mystery to fans who only watched the show.


We don't get much information on Jayne's background throughout the series, aside from the fact that he's a hired gun who's willing to move along when a better offer comes around (as proven in "Jaynestown," "Out of Gas," and "Ariel"). The only other information about Jayne's past comes in "The Message," where he receives a loving letter—and signature knit hat—from his mother.

All of this raises an importation question, though. How did Jayne get this way? He appears to have a pretty loving family life, so why did he end up becoming a hired gun? It's likely that Whedon had planned more in-depth character backgrounds for the crew later on in the series, which hopefully could've given more insight into the tough but lovable mercenary. Unfortunately, the show never got that far.


Mal's erstwhile wife, Saffron (or whatever her real name is), only appeared for two episodes in the original series and was nowhere to be seen in the movie, but she was still a very memorable character. Played by future Mad Men star Christina Hendricks, Saffron was locked in a dumpster at the end of "Trash," waiting for police to come pick her up. However, we all know Saffron is a pretty wily character, so it's unlikely she actually ended up behind bars, or at least not for very long.

Whatever happened to Saffron, we want to see it. The character lit up the screen with every appearance, and it's quite likely that right now, in the Firefly universe, she is somewhere out there in space, charming men into doing her bidding and being awesome in the process. We'd also like to know how many saps she's married over the years. Mal guesses hundreds, and we have to agree.

River's abilities

Name a better sci-fi fight scene than River Tam versus the Reavers in Serenity. We'll wait. As hinted at throughout Firefly and proved in the film, River has some pretty intense fighting skills from her time being held in the Academy. Plus, she's a pretty proficient marksman, as shown in "War Stories." It also appears that she has some psychic skills, with the character hinting she knows how to read minds...and possibly even worse.

However, we never got to explore the full extent of River's fighting skills and mental abilities. Is she actually a mind-reader, and if so, does the power go any further than that? Exactly how many people are needed to take her down in a fight? Can she, as she told Jayne in "Trash," kill someone with her brain? Unfortunately, it looks like fans will never know.

The Academy

Simon rescued River from the Academy—the government facility where was being experimented on—but it took all of his resources to do so. However, this Alliance "prep school" likely had a number of other "students" inside, none of whom are ever seen or heard from on the series.

It's quite possible that there are several other superpowered teens running around the Firefly universe, either escapees or kids who've been released from the program so they can work as weapons for the Alliance. While it's definitely possible that one or two of them would've popped up in Whedon's seven-season plan, they were never even mentioned in the series.

Blue Sun

Considering how subtle its inclusion was in the original series, fans might not realize the mystery of the Blue Sun Corporation was never actually solved. The logo for Blue Sun, which even serves as the namesake for an expansion pack for the Firefly board game, can be seen everywhere in the show, including on food products and technological devices.

Some fans have theorized the mega-corporation has something to do with River and the Academy, partially due to her violent outbursts that tend to occur around Blue Sun-branded products. (For example, when she slashes Jane's chest in "Ariel," he's wearing a Blue Sun shirt.) The Hands of Blue operatives, who appeared in "The Train Job" and "Ariel," are also rumored to be connected to Blue Sun.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Whedon briefly mentioned the Blue Sun conspiracy at Comic-Con in 2012, saying the show planned to reveal more about the company in later seasons. However, the show was cut short, and fans are now left with just vague mentions of the possible villains behind the entire Alliance plot.


Near the end of the movie Serenity, Mal and our heroes discover the Alliance accidentally turned citizens of the planet Miranda into the Reavers. As these cannibals have been terrorizing people for quite some time, this is big news for the residents of the 'verse. So we have to imagine that, in what appears to already be a pretty fragile alliance between the main planets and the rim planets, this revelation would lead to a good amount of civil unrest.

Could the universe be headed into full-fledged war? Zack Whedon, who penned the graphic novel miniseries Serenity: Leaves on the Wind (which takes place nine months after the ending of Serenity), says that while the discovery doesn't exactly lead to revolution, it does open up some eyes.

"The revelation about Miranda is spun in every way and to every political end," he told Comic Book Resources. "There are those who have been inspired by it and have formed the New Resistance, a grassroots movement filled with young, idealistic, political activists. The Alliance is spinning it their own way to deflect and limit their exposure, and, as with any massive political entity, they are very good at that."

The full effects of the Miranda revelation are definitely something we'd like to see play out more fully on our TV screens. Unfortunately, it seems like that isn't going to happen anytime soon. Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal, Fox!