Furious Fan Boys

8 Things You May Not Have Known About Firefly

It’s been 8 years since Captain Mal and his crew flew off our screens for the last time. Even after almost a decade, Browncoats still turn out in droves for cons and events like Can’t Stop the Serenity. So whether you’re a long time fan or a newcomer to the series, here are 8 things you may not have known.

The Alliance troopers believe in ‘Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.’

The armor that the troopers wear is from the 1997 Starship Troopers film. The only modification is a purple paint job. After Firefly went off the air, the armor was once again repurposed for the Starship Troopers sequel in 2004.
Also, the sonic gun that is used in the episode “Trash” was reused by Joss Whedon. In Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, it became Dr. Horrible’s Death Ray.

“That’s not my name!”

Wash’s full name Hoban Washburne and is only given away in the novelization of the film Serenity. As for Shepard Derrial Book, his real name, as well the rest of his mysterious past, is revealed in Serenity: A Shepherd’s Tale to be Henry Evans.

Most of the names of minor characters are from real people

Jubal Early, the bounty hunter from “Objects in Space,” is named for Nathan Fillion’s ancestor who was a general in the Civil War. A lot of other character names come from sci-fi notables, such as Bester, the original mechanic of Serenity, who was named for author Alfred Bester and Brennert who was named for producer Alan Brennert.

Nathan Fillion keeps the show alive on Castle

There are numerous references to Firefly on Castle. The most recognizable would be when Nathan Fillion’s character Rick Castle dressed up like a “space cowboy” for the Halloween episode in the second season.  Other references include direct lines, like “I was aiming for his head” in the second season episode “Boom!,” or recalling skills learned on the set of Firefly, such as in the third season episode “Last Call” where Castle mentions he learned Chinese “at his last job.”

Han Solo had a cameo in the show

Well, more like 14 cameos. In every episode of Firefly, the cast and crew managed to hide a Han Solo in Carbonite toy in one scene. For example, in the episode “Jaynestown,” the toy can be found behind the mudder’s bar. It can also be found behind Mal while he’s cleaning his weapons in “Heart of Gold” and in the engine room when Kaylee is in her hammock in “The Message.”

The ‘Verse was well-populated with visitors from other sci-fi series

During the play in “Heart of Gold,” many famous space ships can be seen taking off from the Earth That Was. The Enterprise NCC-1701 from Star Trek, the Tantive IV rebel blockade runner from Star Wars and the Colonial Viper from Battlestar Galactica can all be seen carrying passengers away from the dying planet.

The ship Serenity was built full-scale

Most of Serenity was completely constructed to full-scale, but split into an upper half and a lower half. The cabin, front corridor, kitchen, rear corridor and engine room were built on one sound stage while the hold, med bay, lounge and passenger compartments were built on a second sound stage. It was so comfortable, that the cast would relax in the ship’s lounge between takes, rather than use the green room.

It’s still getting shout-outs

In 2009, Google released a real-time collaborative editing online framework called Wave. The name is based on characters in Firefly sending ‘waves,’ or messages, to others. Recently, the popular sci-fi show Fringe had an episode titled “Firefly” after the show was moved to Fox’s famed ‘Friday Night Death Slot.’  The CBS show The Big Bang Theory also references Firefly, such as in the season three episode “The Staircase Implementation,” where Sheldon has Leonard sign an agreement to always reserve Friday nights for watching Firefly, as the show is “going to be on forever.”

  • RiverDancer
    December 20, 2010


    Hoban Washburne’s name is shown on his memorial/tombstone at the end of Serenity; it’s not only in the novelization.

  • Jaimie
    December 21, 2010


    Castle’s ability to speak Chinese is in “Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind,” where they follow a chinese spy into a meat packing plant, and he says, “No, just a show I used to love.”

    • Haylia Jones
      January 11, 2011


      you bey it was Jaimie!

  • TF
    December 21, 2010


    Castle learned Chinese from “a tv show he used to love”, not “at my last job”. Otherwise some good tips for a show we still do love.

  • wysefyre
    December 21, 2010


    I never knew about the Han Solo cameos. When was that secret revealed?

  • Mia
    December 21, 2010


    Very interesting facts. I caught the reference on The Big Bang Theory. Poor Sheldon.

  • Jordan
    December 21, 2010


    I love reading these even though they usually make me very sad.

  • Sophie
    December 21, 2010


    Unless the producers found out in August about the time slot move, the writing/prep/filming time line for the Fringe episode titled Firefly just don’t support the reference. It was filmed in the last two weeks of October.

    • JBVO
      December 22, 2010


      Perhaps they filmed in August and then changed the name after the time slot announcement?

  • Philippa
    December 22, 2010


    Adam Baldwin has also been dropping ‘Firefly’ references regularly in ‘Chuck’, courtesy of the writers!

  • Rowan
    January 11, 2011


    Some of thid stuff I knew – some I didn’t, but what you seem unaware of is there is no green room on sets for TV series unless it is a talk show (so the guests can wait together) or if it is a sitcom and the producers want all the visitors on shoot day to stay in one place. Firefly had no green room, just trailers for dressing rooms.

  • Haylia Jones
    January 11, 2011


    Now I get to rewatch those episodes looking for carbonite Hans! this will be fun!

  • Darbus
    January 11, 2011


    Furthermore, the Google Wave error message read, “”Everything’s shiny, Cap’n. Not to fret!” An error has occurred, please refresh.”

  • David Busch
    January 12, 2011


    The “I was aiming for his head” line was actually a shout out to a previous series when it was used in “Firefly” – Avon says the same line in “Blake’s 7″, a series that influenced “Firefly” enormously.

  • Chris
    January 19, 2011


    I lurve that picture of Kaylee at the top.

    That ship looks kind of like the Satellite of Love from MST3k.

  • DrNavratil
    January 28, 2011


    Not only was did the battlestar galactica have a cameo in firefly but Serenity had a cameo in the first episode of the re-imagined version of Battlestar Galactica!

  • Xoer
    January 31, 2011


    actually in Close encounters of the murderous kind Castle says he learned Chinese from ‘A show i used to like”

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