Last night's Firefly reunion special on the Science Channel contained the requisite amount of love for the spaceship that Joss Whedon and friends built. And for the fans — the greatest moment is this brief snippet where Gina Torres says, "There's nothing like a scifi fan. Like warm honey, poured all over you." I want to watch that clip over and over.
But there were also a few fascinating insights into the show, and a few truly surprising discoveries. Chief among them: a few story ideas for episodes that never got made. Including one that we're really, really glad never happened.
Last night, we heard more about the crazy "fighting dogs" episode that Alan Tudyk had wanted to make. And Adam Baldwin explained his idea for season two: Jayne goes off and becomes captain of his own ship, and he and Mal are rivals — until Jayne fails so dreadfully, he has to come crawling back to Mal.
But also, we learned part of Inara's huge secret: she's dying of some terminal disease, which is only vaguely hinted at in one episode. And executive producer Tim Minear explained about one episode that Joss Whedon pitched early on:
She had this magic syringe. She would take this drug. And if she were, for instance, raped, the rapist would die a horrible death. The story was that she gets kidnapped by Reavers and when Mal finally got to the ship to save her from the Reavers, he gets on the Reaver ship and all the Reavers are dead. Which would suggest a kind of really bad assault. At the end of the episode, 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. And he treats her like a lady. And that's the kind of stuff that we wanted to do. It was very dark. And this was actually the first story that Joss pitched to me when he asked me to come work on the show. He said, 'These are the kind of stories we're going to do.'
So, to sum up: Inara gets gang-raped by Reavers, who all die due to her drug use. And this finally convinces Mal to stop slut-shaming her, at least for a while. Kind of glad that episode never got made, to be honest.
Luckily, Nathan Fillion shared another story idea that actually sounded like it would have been cool:
There was a show that Joss was talking about where we get to a planet and these people are really kind to us and really sweet, it's kind of a wintry planet. And I catch them starting to steal our ship. Like, "You sons of — Wha?" And they go, "Okay look. Here's the deal. Our planet is dying. We're all going to die here unless you get us off here." But the idea is, we're so far out that if we take them back we're going to run out of air, we're going to run out of food, we're all going to die. Unless we meet up with another ship. So there's that chance: We could meet up with another ship, and everything would be okay. And I say, "Look, let's all sleep on it, and tomorrow we'll decide." And I lock myself in the bridge and I take off while y'all are sleeping. And you all wake up, and go, "What have you done?" It's too late to go back, we can't go back. And on our way back out, we never meet any ships — so we would have all died. We were all going to vote, and Captain Mal takes the decision away from everybody, so it's nobody's decision to kill all those people but his.
Other stuff we learned last night: the actors tried to create a brother-sister relationship between Jayne and Kaylee that wasn't really fleshed out in the scripts, mostly through body language. And the way that Jayne watches while Kaylee is being operated on in the pilot. Also, Fillion explained that Mal keeps all of these people around because they represent parts of himself that he's lost, like his faith (Book), his sense of humor (Wash), his capacity for love (Zoe).
Also, we got a few tantalizing hints about where these characters (the ones who are still alive) would be today — Wash and Zoe would have a kid, and so would Simon and Kaylee. And Jayne would be doing a lot of babysitting.