Finding Serenity in Comics: Matthews Talks "Serenity" Mini-Series

Fri, May 27th, 2005 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Dave Richards, Staff Writer

Mal by John Cassaday
When "Firefly," the sci-fi western television series created by Joss Whedon, was cancelled, fans of the show despaired. They thought they would never see the crew of the firefly class ship The Serenity, again. They hoped they were wrong. Their hopes paid off. Last year a DVD set of the entire series was released and in September movie goers will once again visit the futuristic world of "Firefly" when the feature film "Serenity," written and directed by Whedon, reprises the entire cast of "Firefly" and blasts its way into theaters.

Dark Horse Comics plans to ease the wait till September with the release of a three-issue "Serenity" mini-series this July. The series is co-written by Joss Whedon and "Firefly" writer Brett Matthews with art by Will Conrad and will bridge the gap between the television series and the film. CBR News spoke to Matthews via e-mail about the adventure that awaits the Serenity's crew before they grace the silver screen

"Serenity" the comic was written not only for fans of the show "Firefly," but also for fans of character driven science fiction. "The comic is absolutely accessible to the new reader," Matthews told CBR News. "We wanted to make it something that someone who had never seen the show could pick up and understand and enjoy and to this end the comic tells an original story that anyone who reads it will experience from beginning to middle to end. You'll meet the characters, you'll see the mess they find themselves in and then you'll watch them struggle to overcome it. It's self-contained that way."

There will also be plenty in the series for hardcore "Firefly" fans. "Joss cares very much about the people that have always been there," Matthews explained. "We didn't want to chuck all the wonderful things that happened in the show, to pretend like it didn't happen. Readers familiar with the show will get a lot out of the comic, I think, and there's plenty in it specifically for them. This is why the book is set so specifically in continuity -- it occurs after the show but before the film. It's set in a world where the television episodes did happen and the feature film will. The comic is a bit of what happened in between."

Not much time has passed since the end of "Firefly" and the "Serenity" comic. "I believe the movie takes place six months to a year after the end of the show, and the comic takes place between the two," Matthews said.

Jayne by Bryan Hitch Inara by J. G. Jones
When the comic begins, the crew of Malcom Reynolds ship are dealing with the coming departure of one of their own, Inara Serra, who announced she was leaving the ship at the end of the TV series. "Emotionally, things are in a state of flux. Inara's leaving, everyone's dealing with that in their own way, and oh yeah they've got to find and do dangerous work just to keep Serenity flying," Matthews explained. "The struggle is that of the show, it remains the same -- how do you make your way in a very hard world? In Mal's case, a world that pretty much wants nothing to do with you? That you fought to keep from becoming what it has... and lost. What are you willing to do to survive? How much does it take to make a life worth living? Where do you draw your lines? What do you take with you, and what do you leave behind?"

Matthews couldn't say much about the plot of the mini series. "In brief, 'Those Left Behind' is about a job that goes bad and the why of that. About endings and beginnings. About moving forward and why that's good and why it sucks. There's gunplay, there's romance such that it is, there's derring-do-- all the things that make the world of Firefly unique and what it is."

The tone of "Serenity" the comic series will be identical to the tone of "Firefly." "It's funny, it's tragic, it's thrilling, it's sexy, it's uplifting and it's depressing-- all at the same time," Matthews explained. "That complex mix that permeates the show and film and which Joss is without peer at."

Matthews also promised that all the romantic tensions between the various characters on "Firefly" would be part of the story in "Serenity." "Dude, it's Firefly. Of course!"

Readers can expect appearances from some of the reoccurring characters on Firefly. Matthews hinted that the crime lord Badger might make an appearance.

"Serenity" #1, Pages 2 & 4
One of the ongoing mysteries of "Firefly" was the true intentions of the Blue Sun Corporation and its mysterious blue gloved enforcers. Matthews could not confirm that the Hands of Blue would make an appearance in the series. "I'm drawing a blank on this one," he said.

Another ongoing mystery on "Firefly" was the enigmatic past of the character Shepherd Book. Readers of "Serenity" will get a few more clues to Book's mysterious background.

The biggest mystery of "Firefly," what exactly was done to River Tam, the young sister of the ship's doctor will be addressed in the "Serenity" film. "See the movie this September. Twice," Matthews answered when asked about River.

You don't have to read "Serenity" the comic to enjoy September's feature film, but readers of the series will enjoy some fun and interesting insights into the movie. "The film does a wonderful job of telling its story for the hardcore Firefly fan and uninitiated viewer alike. We've tried to do much the same thing with the comic. That said, there are elements of the film you get a peek at for the first time in the comic," Matthews explained. "You see the genesis of some of the conflicts and the dynamics at play in the film. To be honest, I think people are going to enjoy the film no matter what for the simple reason that it's really, really good. You just can't fake the love and passion that Joss has put into it... I very much hope readers will feel the same way about the comic."

 
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