Serenity was the theatrically-released film based on the science fiction television series Firefly. It was written and directed by Joss Wheden and was released in 2005.


Set 500 years in the future, Earth (referred to now as “Earth-That-Was”) had become so overpopulated that humans left the planet, finding a new solar system with many habitual planets and moons. The inner planets were ruled by the Alliance, while the outer worlds resisted their control. A war eventually broke out between the Alliance and the rebels (known as the “Browncoats”), which was “devastating” (as said during the movie’s intro).

Afterwards, due to work being hard to find in general for those residing in the outer planets (that resisted the Alliance), people had to make do with what they could get. Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the Firefly class ship Serenity, took on whatever jobs he could for him and his crew, even illegal ones (such as ones involving theft).

Serenity has a scant crew; two of which, the ship’s doctor Simon Tam and his sister River, are fugitives wanted by the Alliance. River had been mysteriously experimented on in an Alliance institution and was broken out by her brother Simon, spending the family’s fortune on contacts to infiltrate the institution and get his sister out. They have since been sneaking around the galaxy, hiding aboard Serenity, which has been tracked by mercenaries trying to bring River back to the Alliance.

The movie takes place several months after the final episode of Firefly.


While the Alliance is trying to track down the Tams, the Serenity crew is taking on another illegal job, robbing a security company of its payroll. Their heist (as well as lives) are jeopardized when violent creatures known as Reavers show up, which the crew are able to escape them. They then later turn over the stolen loot and inquire about their next job with their perspective employers.

Unfortunately during that meeting, a television broadcast makes River turn violent for no reason whatsoever, uttering the name “Miranda” before her outburst starts. Upon checking with a contact of the Serenity crew, it is discovered that a subliminal message was hidden in the broadcast to flush out River, bringing the Alliance even closer to achieving their goal of either capturing or killing her.

Meanwhile, the crew must keep one step away from The Operative, who is hot on Serenity’s trail, find out who or what Miranda is, and keep out of the Reavers’ clutches as well.



  • The Reavers garnered several mentions during the Firefly series, but were never shown; during the show’s pilot (also called “Serenity”), the Serenity crew encountered a Reaver ship, and in the “Bushwhacked” episode, a Reaver in his beginning stages was shown, but a full-fledged Reaver was never shown until this movie. Also, how the Reavers came to be was also revealed in this movie as well.
  • The Operative’s name is never mentioned.
  • Director Joss Wheden said this was the hardest script he had ever written, due to trying to figure out a way to introduce all the characters for those new to the crew that had never seen Firefly, but without seeming redundant to fans of the series.