The cornerstone of the fans’ love affair with Firefly is the 13 television episodes, culminating in the film Serenity. But if you’re a fan of the show, you’ve probably watched all of the episodes numerous times – maybe even with the audio commentary from Whedon, the stars, and other show creators. For real fans, though, this may not be quite enough. Is there any way to dive into the individual episodes more deeply?
Titan Books helped out the fans by publishing a series of stunning, glossy fan-gasmic volumes that include not only images of the props and various production stills, but also full scripts of the episodes of the series. Across these three books – ultimately collected into a single volume – there’s a glimpse into nearly every aspect of the production process on the series, why it was ultimately cancelled, what the various actors felt about their characters, and even some new stories.
And so very many shiny, shiny pictures.
Firefly: The Official Companion, Vol. 1 (Amazon) includes a 7-page interview with Joss Whedon (the first half of an interview split across the two volumes), profiles of all of the major characters, profiles of Mal & Zoe’s pistols, an article on the costume design, and the uncut shooting scripts of the following episodes:
- The Train Job
- Our Mrs. Reynolds
Firefly: The Official Companion, Vol. 2 (Amazon) concludes the interview with Joss Whedon, along with information on other props (including Jayne’s Vera!), and the uncut shooting scripts of the remaining episodes:
- Out of Gas
- War Stories
- Objects in Space
- Heart of Gold
- The Message
As a writer, having a copy of these shooting scripts is invaluable. One of the big draws of the show was the fluid way the dialogue dripped from the mouths of the actors. In fact, Fillion himself comments on the writing language in a quote used in the Mal Reynolds profile of volume 1, in the midst of praising the cast’s talent:
“[Joss Whedon] found not only talented actors, not only people who understood that kind of lilt to the language or the personas for their characters, but everybody brought so much to the table that it made my job so incredibly easy.”
The third volume in the series is Firefly: Still Flying (Amazon), which features not only profiles on a variety of props (Wash’s dinosaurs and the Lassiter laser pistol among them, as well was what happened to the head of the Jaynestown statue), but also an article on “the writing process” by Jane Espenson. What sold me on getting it was the promise of four new stories by writers from the show:
- “What Holds Us Down” by Jane Espenson (8 pages)
- “Fun With Dick and Jayne” by Ben Edlund (2 pages, kids picture book style – so only 5 sentences)
- “Crystal” by Brett Matthews (10 pages)
- “Take the Sky” by Jose Molina (8 pages)
As you can tell, these stories are extremely short (even shorter when you take into account that some of these pages are full of photographs!), so I wouldn’t recommend the volume if you’re expecting a deep story set in the Firefly ‘Verse. This contains additional sections on each character, with quotes from the actor/actress about the character.
If you’re interested in these three volumes, then you’re in luck: Titan Books has collected them together into this hardcover compendium, Firefly: A Celebration (Amazon), throwing in some additional collectibles, such as production stills and a faux bank note in a pocket in the back of the book. If you want a look at this collectible volume, I suggest looking at this unpacking video for a glance at what you’re getting.
More on Firefly
- Firefly, A Retrospective – Part 1
- Firefly: The Complete Series is available on streaming through Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video, or on DVD/Blu-ray.
- Serenity the film is available on streaming through Amazon Instant Video, or on DVD/Blu-ray.
- Firefly: The Game board game review
- Review of Serenity: Those Left Behind comic collection
- Pre-order Serenity: Leaves on the Wind hardcover comic collection
Andrew Zimmerman Jones is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. In addition to being a contributing editor to Black Gate magazine, Andrew is the About.com Physics Expert and author of String Theory For Dummies. You can follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, and even Google+.