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"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."
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July 02 2006

The earlier, longer script for Serenity. SerenityStuff.com takes a very in depth analysis of an early copy of the Serenity screenplay which has surfaced.

Wow, that sounds really really interesting. Though I think I like the sadder, darker outcome of the movie; more Joss-ish, less Hollywood.

Still, I bid on one of the copies available on eBay. I hope to get one...
Let me guess, this must be the happy-go-lucky version that Joss said he wrote before deciding to make something more than just "Firefly" on the big screen.

I agree with the reviewer. The final version is the gut-wrenching and ultimately more satisfying version.
That's exactly it - this would have been a huge, expensive version of Firefly. And a damn good one.

But it wouldn't have been Serenity.
I concur. I thought the final version reads (and plays out) more like a motion picture, I think.

That said, the fanboy in me squees at the script. Extra dialogue!

Ebay bidders beware, it bares handwritten scrall from Universal staffers (script notes).

Chris - I've done some digging in and a believe the men-breaking-out-River thing is mentioned in the Official Companion, but could be wrong. That said, this script is clearly early.

By the way, the stuff River says about Inara.... Hohum! Black widow references? References to the type of person she is?

I miss Firefly. Like, a lot.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-07-02 05:34 ]
I also have mixed feelings about this - I loved the happy ending in the early script but the movie really emotionally impacted me and felt more real. I liked that Book was on the ship with everyone else and fit with the actual movie story. I loved the scene with Mal in Inara's shuttle and Wash walking in on him. I do wish there had been more Mal and Inara stuff in the movie. But, I still think the movie was perfection and loved every moment of it.
One thing I will say - although Book obviously got short changed in screen time in the final version, he did at least have a clear purpose/role in the movie. Also, Zoe got an arc - revenge. And fighting, regardless.

Also, Wash and Zoe's line about having babies? That'll stoke some fandom fires.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-07-02 05:41 ]
gossi - River's comment about Inara is out of context, but I couldn't have filled it in without quoting the whole section. More like she's saying what happened in Inara's bed was a lie, a carefully crafted lie by someone who's carefully constructed mask blocks sight from both directions. I'm not sure if she's trying to comfort Mal or if that's just what she's experiencing when he happens to ask. Her version sounds better, though :)

On the whole, I'd rather have had Book on board. He still could have talked to Mal about belief (he doesn't, in this version, there's little Mal/Book interaction at all) and he could've died later on, but the big changes that work here where they were too slight in the movie (IMO) were Book's presence and Mal/Inara.
Even though I love Serenity as is, it would've been great to have had some of these scenes and some of this dialogue in it.
Reading this was like getting a tiny bit more time with our crew, a smidge more of the beloved 'verse, which is always a wonderful thing.
And, joss in his underpants? You're a big tease, gossi.
;)
Jayne singing the Fruity Oaty Bars song would have been amazing!

And yes, Book on the ship would have been a good thing (but only if his death still came halfway through the movie, if that could've been worked out...).
I'm most intrigued by Book's line about how long it would take him to read over all those bodies. It makes me wonder if the line reading would have just been the weight of Book's general compassion, or some sort of more personal sense of responsibility.
Dunno. If anything, this version has less hinting about Book's past than the movie, and both of them have MUCH less than the shooting script or the novelization.
Really interesting stuff, but I think the final version of Serenity gets it right.

The bit about Mal keeping Kaylee and Simon apart (despite displaying entirely different behavior in "Jaynestown"), as well as Kaylee's drink-throwing reaction, struck the wrong chord for me. It seemed out of character for both of them.
Again, both are single mentions that leave out the surrounding dialogue. The first was Simon's almost rueful admission -- dragged out of him by Kaylee -- that Mal said back when Simon started as crew "that if I, oh, ever laid a hand on you he'd shoot me in the throat." With lots of awkward conversation before and especially after.
Kaylee's drink-throwing was in a much longer version of the Maindenhead Bar scene where she gives him hell. Here she gave him a lot more hell, because of Simon's earlier admission.
Both fit the tone and the characters involved, blame my summary for not getting it across.
Iím career Army, my whole family is. I was already in when the war started.


That's the most exciting part to me because it's as close as we get to knowing ANYTHING about Zoe's history. Everyone else betrays things about their families, childhoods, or something else about their pasts on the show.
I agree JCapra! I loved that bit. It not only told us a whole lot about Mal but a whole lot about Zoe and what her life may have been like.
I think a mixture between this and the movie would have been the best thing for us Firefly fans. To still keep the deaths in and the general glum feelin of the movie but keeping some of that glorious dialogue (not gonna go over it here since its too many) and also having Book on board in the beginning among other things. The whole him leaving thingy always seemed a bit contrived.
But I understand why some of this got cut. Cause reading this it feels more like "Firefly the Movie" and Joss has always said he wanted something grander than just Firefly in big screen. Also, some of these things seemed to be catering to the fans alot and some of it might have alienated nonfans which was another no-no for the movie.
So as long as I get ahold of the actual script online somewhere I'm not gonna be the slightest bummed over not having Jayne singing the Oaty Bar song on screen (since he's doing a good enough job in my head). It'll just be like when I read the Dead or Alive script, since to me it feels like I've actually seen Jayne's turtle (love that turtle) and Simon's going insaneyness.
Suspect that a lot of this came from the ideas for further Firefly episodes that were brewing in Joss's head before the series was cancelled. I agree that this would not have made as good a movie as the final version - but there's the bones of some fine TV in there. Sigh. If only.
Someone should scan the copy into pdf (notes an' all) to stop the profiting on ebay (and to get us the script for freesy too!).
Suspect that a lot of this came from the ideas for further Firefly episodes that were brewing in Joss's head before the series was cancelled.

Well, he's already said as much. And I think that was a sensible place to begin, writing in essence "Firefly the TV Series: The Movie" from what would have transpired in the series, and only then going back and beating it into a motion picture.
Oh, that dialogue between Simon and Zoe about Mal and the war were amazing... I wish they were in the final cut
I second the motion, willbueche, about a PDF! I really am curious to see the whole thing myself. Still, extra good luck to my twin UnpluggedCrazy with your ebay bid -- hope you get one of these copies! :-)

I felt a lot of different things reading this. First, it's always great to have more Jossy goodness. I really like the lines quoted for Zoe, about the difference between her and Mal. The jokes were hi-larious, like Mal and Jayne's routine about violence if they don't find out who has the vault combination, and Jayne singing the fruity oaty bar jingle. But then I started thinking about all the jokes, especially since Mal had most of them, and I started to think about how Fox told them after the Firefly pilot to make Mal funnier/nicer, and it seems like this would have been doing the same thing -- making him a really nice guy who has trouble talking to girls instead of a guy who lost everything on the battlefield and now is dangerous enough to fly through Reaver space twice, take on the Alliance in an unarmed ship, put the lives of his entire crew on the line for real since a lot of his friends (Book, the Sanchez Brothers, etc.) were already murdered in this pursuit, and still keep flying.

Of things that were "not so much" for me, it's very interesting for River to give her viewpoint of Inara, but IMO it also seems pretty obvious that Inara (or any companion) lies to clients, has to lie to herself too, gets caught in a web of lying, etc. I also agree with Chris Bridges that it was better to be surprised to see that River has been trained as a fighter. I really didn't like that Simon says Mal told him to stay away from Kaylee, because there's not a lot of reason for that. (Now, I could understand if Mal said "if you hurt Kaylee, I'll kill you," but this doesn't sound like that.) Besides, like valgal said, in Jaynestown, Mal was totally giving Kaylee every chance to hook up with Simon (and in The Message, Mal didn't exactly interfere with Kaylee's love life either, until guns were involved). It's nice to have Book on the ship, but if Haven is under the leadership of some guy named Dresden, then how much do we really feel it if Dresden does get killed? He's like the guest star of the week. If everyone is at the stand against the Reavers, we really do have a fairly good guess they'll all make it, and if they all leave happy and planning to have babies -- and, basically, come back next week -- then, yeah, it's like a TV ep with lots of ships that blowed up real good.

I also can't say that just adding more jokes and keeping Book and Wash alive would have made more people come into theatres. Non-Browncoat people would still be saying, "I didn't see the series, I don't know these characters"/"I didn't see any commercials for this"/"I'd rather see Jodie Foster looking tough running around a plane the size of an office building." ;-)

So, maybe we would have enjoyed a middle version. More Book, but maybe he still gets killed on Haven because he stayed planetside for some reason. (It sounds interesting to use Serenity to ram an Alliance ship as her only way of fighting, BTW.) More character scenes (especially Zoe's talk about her own background in the war), but not quite so "we can't die because we're -- so -- damn -- funny" (even though, I repeat again, the jokes were great, and I would have been LOL all through Season 2 and then buying the DVD box set at the end of the season, no doubt!).

Or OTOH, we can have the incredible movie that Joss made that shocked us and made us cry and made us feel something cathartic, unlike all the other crappy forgettable movies that come out each weekend. :-)

Thanks so much for posting this script review, Chris Bridges, and for linking to it, gossi!
My heart leapt when I read Chris Bridges' description of the script as being sunnier than the movie. "Maybe Wash doesn't die!" Was my first, hopeful, thought. Because although Book's death hit me hard, Wash is my favorite and his death devastated me. Sure enough, I got my wish and my happy ending and I love it!
I'm not saying the movie should have been any different, but I like having an "alternate universe" where my mind can imagine things being all better for Wash and Zoe.
I agree with a lot of what billz says (especially about the slightly too jokey feel that might have ocurred).

One of the things I liked about the film is that we get a chance to see more of the Mal from 'War Stories' i.e. the one who is an extremely hard and ruthless killer who'll stop at (almost) nothing to save his people, his ship and himself (in that order). That's all he has until he finds out about Miranda and finally has a cause to believe in again. I think too much lightness might have detracted from that a bit (even though humour is definitely a big part of why I loved both show and movie).

Also, given that his whole being is geared towards individual freedom and personal responsibility, I just don't see him warning Simon off. Apart from anything else it casts Kaylee in the helpless victim role, needing big manly Mal to protect her and make her life choices for her which doesn't jibe with Joss' representation of either Kaylee (and women in general) or Mal.

I like the falling on the alliance ship idea just for it's sheer reckless bravery but I don't believe it for some new character we barely know (though I might've if he'd been doing it to save Book) since Mal would be risking his ship and the lives of everyone onboard presumably without time to get consent. Normally he only does crazy stuff like this as a last ditch effort to save all their lives.

That said, though I find it incredibly effective and know exactly why he had to go, i'd have loved to see Wash make it and it's verging on criminal that

See, thatís the difference between
Mal and me. All I ever lost was a war.

couldn't be fit in somehow. Sums Mal up in just a few brilliant words.

Cheers for that Chris Bridges (and gossi), very interesting read.
It's worth noting that the full script has more funny. At 190 pages it's very long.

There has been an ethical debate about posting the PDF online. Ultimately, I figure Joss doesn't want people to see him in - erm - his underpants. That said, because copies are going on eBay, I think it's only a matter of time before this ends up online. So there's a big ethical argument it at least should be provided free of charge, rather than somebody profiting from the distribution of it.

The fact it still has script notes from Universal on it is also slightly uneasy.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-07-02 14:17 ]
Hmm, I can see both sides I think but on balance i'd say, hold off on the PDF for now (much as i'd love to read it). If it turns up online, it turns up (and then a fan initiated and free copy would be fine, IMO) but the fact that it's not meant for public consumption combined with the fact that it has potentially very embarrassing notes from the studio on it would put me off (unless his purple fontedness gives consent, of course).

A detailed summary like Chris provided gives a feel for the changes without the potential illegality (i'd assume it'd fall under fair use ?) or embarrassment.
I wouldn't say the notes are embarrasing - there's sections with "Wow!" highlighted and such. I dunno, it really depends who wrote the notes and if they care.
Wouldn't the script be copy righted or something like? I would hate to see people received C&D letters from Universal.

And secondly, I have to wonder whether Joss would have wanted people to see it or not.
In edinburgh, Joss was asked about publishing this script. He said he didn't want to, as he didn't want people seeing him in his underpants (I steal the joke, people).

That said, somebody connected with the film is actually selling the script on eBay. It's very murky.
Okay, so I'm definitely not Joss--at least the last time I checked, it's been a while--but I don't think there's much harm in making available an earlier, inferior version of something that eventually became the wonderful product that it was. I mean, the movie is definitely out there and from what I've read, better than this script...if anything, it would just be a fascinating and amusing read.

And by my saying it's "inferior," I don't mean to say that it's bad. It's still probably typical Joss brilliance, just not as refined and ballsy as the final version.

I've been screenwriting for some time (nope, haven't yet had the finances to make something), and I think I'd actually be pretty happy to let my fans read something earlier and less great. Like I said, I just find it amusing and fascinating to compare.

And thanks a bunch, oh twin billz! :-)

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2006-07-02 15:20 ]
Exactly Simon. If it's a very early draft then it won't be polished and JW would probably have only meant it to be seen by those involved in the revision process and very close friends, his wife etc.

Seems to me that, assuming Joss was serious in his jokeyness, then he doesn't want it doing the rounds. Would for instance David Blaine seem as mysterious if we knew how he does all his tricks ? OK, bad example since Blaine's kind of a publicity seeking idjet but you get the idea ;). Would Joss still seem as brilliant if we could see all his missteps and poor choices ? In my view, yes since no-one reasonably expects his stuff to just leap fully formed from his head to page and it only shows that as well as talent he has to put in a lot of hard work but it would seem he doesn't feel the same way.

And it would definitely be copyright the author (i.e. Joss obviously) or his employer (i.e. Universal) if he wrote it as a work-for-hire since, assuming US law is even vaguely similar to the UK, copyright occurs automatically upon creation (procedures like posting it to yourself, registering it with banks etc. are just so you can prove copyright and relevant dates for any possible future court proceedings) which means you're meant to seek permission before copying and distributing (of course, in the internet age, once something's 'in the wild' it's virtually impossible to contain no matter how many C&Ds are issued but it's worth making clear that it would, strictly, be illegal to distribute).

Much as we might want to see the draft I think we should respect Joss' wishes (that said, if it was made available in electronic format i'd still read it since any potential damage would've been done - plus, i'm weak ;) - though with a very sympathetic eye and, warts and all, i'd still probably be blown away by it).
A detailed summary like Chris provided gives a feel for the changes without the potential (...) embarrassment.
Joss was asked about publishing this script. He said he didn't want to, as he didn't want people seeing him in his underpants.

And there's why I wrote a review, instead of trying to scan this mother. More than the copyright issue, more than the Universal notes (which aren't much to speak of, mostly checkmarks and a very few jotted questions and one-word comments), I'm concerned that if I published it online Joss would be unhappy with me. I'm sure it'll be out there, eventually, but I ain't gonna be the one to do it.

He may not want us seeing his choices. He may have been hoping to reuse the cut dialogue elsewhere (Serenity comic miniseries, maybe?) He simply may not have wanted us to see a happier version for fear we might prefer it and blame him for needlessly killing off beloved characters to make his movie scarier (although I'm glad consensus here seems to be for the movie version).

But it's also true that the script is out and someone is profiting from it. Personally, I'd rather see a published version with notes and stories from Joss. In fact, I'd like to see a book with this, the shooting script, and the final transcript of the movie with Joss explaining why he done what he done, which I think would be an excellent crash course in How to Write a Movie That Affects People. It'd be huge, but I'd buy it. Titan? Hello?

So I chose to go halfway. I'm not publishing the script, but I'll tell you where to get it, describe it for you, and give you the dialogue or facts I think are the most interesting to fans. Believe me when I say that there is plenty more great dialogue I haven't listed.

Me, I read this is AU fanfiction. Just really, really good AU fanfiction. :)
Anybody wanting to buy my eBay script "Serenaty - The Opera" should contact me. It's kradical!
I am dupe post boy. With the cape.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-07-02 16:31 ]
Dear Mr The gossi,

I am recenetly into contact with the Script 'Serenity/Cats: The Next Generation: The Musical (of the film based on the tea-towel)'. As I am unfortunately unable to produce this glorious work without moneys, I write you this opportunity to help finance and bring to the world this masterpiece. For tiny cash you two can allow credit in the finished producer. Also, bumpily.

Please send your czechs payable to the Society for Advancement by Jingoistic Epiphanies (SAJE) as quickly as the humans make possible via my bank.


Yours in sincerity,

Mr FJ Fabricant
Agent and Manager Extra-ordinary
(electrical work also carried out with very reasoning rates)
Dear Mr FJ Fabricant,

My credit card number is 4726643746528654, expiry 01/04/07... Pls bring my goods to da world!
Wow. That's amazing, I never thought it would get out there. That said, I'd really love to see the whole thing posted online. (It's not like it would take value away from owning an official copy).

I can definitely see how many of the changes made Serenity more cinematic, more moving, and a bit less expensive. Most of them were for the better, but I do miss some of the fun dialog that was excised.
I'll have the script within a week, and can't wait to read it. I still think Joss didn't reach the right compromise with Book. I know he put him on Haven because the fans wouldn't care about this Dresden character, but the problem was, newbies had no idea who this guy on the rock was, either. Book was underused for fans, and a nobody for newcomers.

Personally, I would've compromised by having Book on the ship at film's open. On the first visit to Haven, he decides to stay behind (maybe a mining disaster occured or something), leaving him open to death a few scenes later. This gives fans more Book, while letting people unfamiliar with Firefly learn who he is before his death scene.
The way I see Book is that his short time with Mal, in Firefly, in the movie, it was physical distance contrasting with spiritual and emotional distance. Even though they regarded each other as friends and colleagues, they could not bridge the gap between them. Mal, who began seeking Book for counsel, was bridging that gap just a little bit. And we see in Serenity that they seem to be more comfortable. There's less harshness to their tones.
That was a real interesting read and it would be good to see the whole script. I appreciate the reasoning behind Joss not wanting people to see this script but it's out there, nothing we can do about it now. I don't think it's fair for people to profit from what's not theirs and, as it is, the seller has made almost $1000 from this script. Obviously, an official version like Chris Bridges suggested would be ideal because I am willing to pay to read this but i want that money to go to the right people. Failing that, i'd much rather fans could get it for free, even if that annoyed Joss.
Also, not having Book around to talk to in the beginning of the movie emphasized how desperate and unfocused Mal was. He was spinning, reacting to what got thrown at him, and was in a bad position. His arc in the movie was his rediscovered belief, and it was important to show him without it first. (One reason why I wish Zoe's line about losing just the war had made it in)
I especially like the comment over there which refers to the "morons over at Whedonesque.com" and then goes on to refer to Jubal Early as an Operative, and to The Train Job as The Train Robbery.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2006-07-02 19:15 ]
Comments made by a banned poster, so we won't talk about that here (bit like not going to Ravenholm).
Re. Mal's "inconsistent behavior":

Isn't it fairly canon that he was totally against Wash and Zoe hooking up? And that he made it clear to BOTH of them? Maybe I've read too much fan fiction, but I'm pretty sure that it came up in War Stories.

I don't think that Mal's ideas about freedom extend to him keeping his opinions/wishes/orders to himself, EVER. (See his conversations with Inara, Jayne, Simon, Wash.....)
I could certainly be wrong, but I don't remember Mal ever voicing that he was against Wash and Zoe's relationship, in War Stories or otherwise.
MAL: Not so. There've been plenty of orders of mine she didn't obey.
WASH: Name one!
MAL: She married you!
But Mal was only against their relationship because "ship romances complicate things" as we see with Mal and Inara's situation in "Heart of Gold"

Also, "I still think Joss didn't reach the right compromise with Book. I know he put him on Haven because the fans wouldn't care about this Dresden character, but the problem was, newbies had no idea who this guy on the rock was, either."

^^I was showing an episode of Firefly to a friend who saw the movie but not the series and when Book came on the screen she said "Isn't that the wise old man?" That struck me as very very funny :)

[ edited by MySerenity on 2006-07-02 21:02 ]
Now being discussed at Fark.com....

I would kill to get my mitts on a copy of this. Thanks for the rundown, Chris. The extra Jayne dialogue was a gas.
Fair points about Mal, wouldn't be the first time someone had preached one thing and done another but I don't think we can take the 'War Stories' quote about ordering Zoe not to marry Wash at face value. At that point Mal's sole aim was to rile Wash up enough to keep him alert and focussed so he'd have said exactly the thing that would most wind him up whether it was true or not.

Similarly the quote about shipboard romances was maybe partly how he felt (it's certainly true that it's harder to predict people's responses when love's in the mix) but surely it was also largely an excuse to avoid his feelings for Inara, a sort of canned response used to deflect people (maybe including himself) ? He wasn't really saying 'shipboard romances complicate things' he was saying 'my feelings for Inara complicate things'.

Still, if he genuinely believed warning Simon off was the best thing for the crew/ship then I guess he might've compromised his ideas about freedom for practical reasons and gone ahead and said it (after all, as he'd see it they'd both then be free to leave Serenity if the order was too restrictive) so I can accept the possibility.
I think if Mal warned Simon off it would have been like father warning a guy to stay away from his daughter--not because Kaylee needed to be "protected" but because lots of men like Mal in the leadership role think that it's their job to protect their family.
MySerenity: I agree about Mal. Look at his reaction in the Maidenhead when Kaylee discusses, er, batteries. His "I can't know that" is very paternal or maybe brotherly. Perhaps it's more fraternal than paternal. I'm not sure. I could see either a father or brother being very particular about who dates the girl. Mal would be protecting Kaylee from all the trouble Simon is. Not because he's a bad person, but because he's got River to worry about. Plus, he's not exactly a street-smart lad. Perhaps it's protecting Kaylee emotionally, not physically. It's not like Mal doesn't know Kaylee had sex: "I noticed it when I was lying on my back..." But that he doesn't want Kaylee to get hurt.

I'd sure like to see that screenplay someday. I'd have paid good money to see Jayne singing the Fruity Oaty Bars song. Is Adam going to any conventions anytime soon?!?!?!
Oh god, please don't ask Adam to sing the Fruity Oaty Bar song. Actually, you can, just don't ask Nathan... ;)

I view Mal and Kaylee's relationship as fatherly, so him warning Simon rings true to me.

With regards to Book being on the ship - I mostly agree it would have been nice to have him on board at the beginning, however having said that one of the thing I think Serenity suffered from slightly for Jo Average Moviegoer is the amount of characters being shown.

Within the first 20 minutes of the movie, there's - what - 20+ or so characters on screen with lines? That's like, one every minute.

I certainly know a few non-Firefly fans I've seen the movie with took away the names of Mal and River, and realised Simon was a Doctor, but that's about all they could remember. Mind you, one more into the mix - maybe it ain't so bad.

Since this has gone on Fark, I think the eBayer in question is going to make very large bags of money from the script. They're already well over $1000 as it's a dutch auction.

Edit: the seller is also selling hand written notes by Joss for the Firefly episode Our Mrs Reynolds.. here. This is pretty wacky.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-07-02 23:42 ]
Yeah, I think it would've been a bit like a father (or maybe older brother) and I think he'd have done it with the best of intentions and I think he'd still have been wrong.

It's true that lots of men think it's their job to protect their family (if I had kids i'd probably feel exactly the same way) but, to me, it's actually their job to put their kids in a position to be able to 'protect' themselves.

Any time you do something for someone else's good you're implicitly saying that it's because you feel they're incapable of doing it for themselves so I think Mal warning Simon off is casting Kaylee in the weaker role, saying she needs to be protected (however noble his intent). Mal saying to Kaylee 'He's trouble, my opinion is you should stay away' is advice from a more experienced friend/crewmate/senior officer (hell, even if he orders her off Simon at least he's acknowledging her position as a full member of his crew, effectively telling her 'It's my way or the highway, your choice'), Mal saying to Simon 'Stay away from her' is dictatorial and diminishes Kaylee as an autonomous agent (she can't make an informed choice because basically Mal hasn't informed her ;).

All that said, I reckon Joss could have put it in just to have Kaylee go ballistic at Mal and point out how wrong it was of him to interfere in that way so, again, I concede it's not necessarily inconsistent with Mal's character (or Joss' ;), just with his own idea of his character (i'm sure he'd think he was being chivalrous rather than chauvinist).

(note i'm not saying she never needs protecting since she clearly is weaker physically and not as good at combat but this is more like a division of labour than straightforward hierarchy since Mal and Zoe need 'protecting' from the engine blowing up and Kaylee is the only crewmember qualified to do that)
Well, without reading the full scene it's hard to pass judgement entirely on Mal's character - you might read it different. One thing I will say about Mal, though - he's certainly a character with his flaws, so if he's being flawed it rings true to me. (He hates the concept of whores, but sleeps with one yada yada).
Everything comes out in this internet age, and I'm as tickled to read the unfilmed dialogue as anyone, but as a writer, I am chilled...drafts are for playing, and experimenting, and trying. They're not meant to be out there. I very much understand the underwear comment.
The issue of whether it's right or not is besides the point. The question here is whether it was true to Mal's character to say that to Simon, and I say it absolutely is. Even without his problems with intimacy it is shown again and again that he protects his crew, his family, and doesn't stop doing that if the family members don't care for it. He got into a swordfight over Inara's client treating her badly, remember.
When Simon first joined he wasn't family yet, but Kaylee was. Big brother, father, protector, whatever Mal is to Kaylee, he would have said something like that to Simon. It was later that Simon began to prove himself and become part of the family.
Yeah, fair enough, I did wander a bit with the whole right/wrong thing.

I guess I can just see him saying something like 'Hurt her or cause her to be hurt and violence will ensue' much more than 'Stay away from her or else'. Maybe that's just because it sits better with what I want Mal to be like (or maybe it's because, as a brother, I could see myself doing the first more than the second). My question then would still be why didn't he say it to Kaylee ? After all, when Wash was the new, possibly bad choice he (maybe ;) ordered Zoe to stay away, not Wash.

Still, i'm splitting hairs over a point i've already conceded (twice) from a script which was never filmed so I think i'm gonna let sleeping dogs lie (and if it's not asleep maybe sedate the bastard ;).

(though not to drag the point out too much or seem to be picking a fight over every little thing - 'Too late !' shouts the chorus ;) - but I really think the swordfight was much more about Mal's ego, honour, maybe even simple jealousy and not wanting to be shown up in front of Inara than it was about protecting anyone. He didn't run away when he could have with no danger to her for instance which, as she points out, is definitely in character for the normally pragmatic Mal)
Not to put words into Joss' mouth at all but my guess would be that he'd be more ticked off by someone selling this for personal profit than by people seeing into his creative process. I mean - it's not like this is for charity.

Hey - idea on that. Joss/Universal, if you can wrangle it legally - how about setting up a pay per download version of this that the fans can buy that goes to charity. I mean, seeing as it's out already, might kill two birds with one stone.
gossi remarked:
"One thing I will say about Mal, though - he's certainly a character with his flaws, so if he's being flawed it rings true to me. (He hates the concept of whores, but sleeps with one yada yada)."

Does he hate the concept of whores? I thought he specifically hated what he perceived to be the lie of the whole Companion thing (or at least that, in his opinion, Inara lies to herself), not that he hated prostitution in general.

We have no idea what "sort" of Christian Mal was, but I'd bet on his religion having something to do with his opinion on the matter, regardless of the fact that he lost his faith since then. I'm sure there're some very liberal Christians out there who might make an argument in favor of prostitution, or at least wouldn't outright condemn it as a sin and an ill of society, but I don't think Mal was that kind of Christian.
I guess I can just see him saying something like 'Hurt her or cause her to be hurt and violence will ensue' much more than 'Stay away from her or else'. Maybe that's just because it sits better with what I want Mal to be like (or maybe it's because, as a brother, I could see myself doing the first more than the second). My question then would still be why didn't he say it to Kaylee ? After all, when Wash was the new, possibly bad choice he (maybe ;) ordered Zoe to stay away, not Wash.

Word, Saje. Very well said.

On the subject of posting this script online, I hadn't thought about the fact that this was not meant for the public, as others have pointed out (good point, guys!). Selling copies for charity, with Joss' and Universal's approval, sounds like a good option. One person selling their personal copy once for whatever reason, well, I guess you can't stop that from happening. But one person selling multiple copies of property that doesn't belong to him/her, for personal profit and without permission? Er, not so much. OTOH, if someone posts a PDF soon and we can all get this script for free, then it might make it impossible for this person to continue profiting. The invisible hand of the marketplace, yo. (See? I was paying attention in class this year! ;-))
I'm sure there're some very liberal Christians out there who might make an argument in favor of prostitution, or at least wouldn't outright condemn it as a sin and an ill of society, but I don't think Mal was that kind of Christian.

It's 500 years in the future - I think Christianity will have changed a lot since then. Hell, 500 years ago we were stoning to death women 'witches'. Then 500 years in the future we're doin' it again :o)

[ edited by gossi on 2006-07-03 11:37 ]
Mal did relate to Nandi a bit, as she was an 'independent' much as he was, in her own way. (Sticking it to the man... even if it involves men sticking it to her...)

ANYWAYS...

Who is this individual who happens to have all these scripts to sell off? I agree, it's just not right to be profiting from them. To have this access he must be in a job somewhere at Universal - and couldn't he lose his job by selling these? I mean, I'm sure that kind of thing is not allowed. As happy as I am that this is out there (I've been curious a long time about it, and want to see) I think it would be only just if this individual lost his job. (Then he'd really need the auction money).
I wondered the same thing, so I wrote and asked him. Here's what he said:

I used to work on the show so, when Joss wrote the movie, a colleague I worked with was kind enough to pass it along to me.

[ edited by Simon on 2006-07-03 16:17 ]
No, really, he said this:

"I used to work on the show so, when Joss wrote the movie, a colleague I worked with was kind enough to pass it along to me. "
...and now he's taking advantage of this kindness by profiting off of it???

[ edited by AnotherFireflyfan on 2006-07-03 15:18 ]
Don't have much to add to this discussion, but just wanted to pop in and say I'm enjoying it -- the ideas in particular, but as always, the smart and reasonable way they are expressed and debated. Yay, whedonesque. Also wanted to take the chance to say specfically to Saje that I'm always taken with your take, and really enjoy reading your posts. I enjoy the way you write and think, both when you're serious and when you're jokey-like. Sometimes I get all involved and posty, but lots of times, I just enjoy being able to listen in on this crowd's back-n-forth. So often I'm nodding my head or laughing as I scoll through a particular post, and when i get to the end, it's signed Saje. Good stuff. Cheers.
While auctioning it off for charity sounds good, I'd still be very leery of anything like that without Joss' express permission.

Granted, I'm in a fuzzy ethical position since I bought one, but still.

[ edited by Chris Bridges on 2006-07-03 16:18 ]
Bringing up Mal's Christianity is an interesting topic. The way I see it, Book is the type of man who does not condemn people, only their actions. Clearly there is a conflict with his faith and Inara, but he as a person cares for her as another human being. That is the real meaning of "love the person, hate the sin." Mal is quite the same way, whether he realizes it or not. He has no respect for her chosen life, the pretentiousness, but he can understand it. They may be from two different worlds, but they both have to survive -- they've just taken different routes to survival. Likewise, he dislikes her choice but cares for her as a person.

Any kind of hostility on the part of any spiritual front would have been Book really trying to convince her she is sinful and that she needs to repent. Of course, this is not the case, because Book himself has a shady past -- he knows a thing or two about forgiveness, redemption and sin. He is following Luke 6:42, which is "How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Basically, Book understands he needs to see his own faults before he can point a finger at others' faults. As an authority figure in spiritual matters, he realizes that it is his responsibility to be the moral yardstick. He doesn't jump the gun to condemn sin. He looks at the person, sees what they need, and helps them.

In my own opinion, I think Mal pre-Serenity Valley would have been very straightforwardly against prostitution. He lost faith in the war, and afterwards, he lost that kind of shiny naivete that he posessed. When the veil of naivete was lifted, he saw a crumbling world where people had to survive, and I think it softened his beliefs. Not only did he stray from faith, he also came to see that people have the right to live, in whichever means they need to, as long as it doesn't harm innocent people. I think he would have dismissed Companions as "whores" if not for the fact that he met Inara, and she changed his mind. I suspect that of all the women he has met, he respects his mother and Inara the most. She is conflict -- part of two worlds but not fully belonging to either. And through her, he is also conflict -- a life he is forced to lead and a life he glimpses that he could never have. Regardless of whether he wants it or not, a civilized life is there and he can't have it, can't be part of it. He decided his fate years before and now here's Inara, a gift from this other life that he's chosen to give up. Of course, he still knows it's the right decision -- but you can't say that it doesn't just hurt sometimes.
Err,* gulps, blushes, tries to take a compliment better than he usually manages, probably fails *. Cheers yourself barest_smidgen, i'm here all week (i'd say try the fish but it smells a bit dodgy to be honest ;).

Have to agree though, I rule. We, I mean, we rule ;-). Seriously, this is easily one of the most reasonable and civilized places on t'intarweb (in my experience) and i'm often amazed at the sorts of topics touched on without anyone getting too riled up or taking things too personally (and on the very odd occasion someone does, the mods are ready to step in and wield the firm yet reasonable hand of orange or blue smackdownedness). Yay Whedonesque, indeed.

Re: Mal and prostitution/Companions, i'm not sure it's for any particularly moral or religious reason that he's against it (though I agree pre-Serenity Valley he may have been straightforwardly opposed) since I always saw it as a combination of the hypocrisy and lack of independence that he disliked about Companionship. As he sees it (IMO) Inara thinks she's a free, independent business-woman but in fact she's just as much a slave and subject of exploitation as the whores in 'Heart of Gold' and is tricking herself into thinking she's free. Which is ironic of course because Mal is also tricking himself into thinking he's free when he's actually still stuck back in that valley, hiding from the world (or was before Miranda anyway).

Re: Book, it's possible that by their time the church has accepted Companionship in the same way that the mainstream church accepts evolution today (where it would've been heresy 500 years ago). Or it could be that Book is just a good man and judges people by their actions and what's in their heart rather than what they put under 'Occupation' on their passport. Either way, I think he realises that Inara isn't going to be convinced to see the error of her ways (if they are in error) by him sermonising about eternal damnation or hellfire or even lepers ;).
Except the mainstream church doesn't accept evolution. The mainstream church (I'm guessing you mean protestant, baptist, etc. other denominations) understands that people believe it, but it does not accept evolution as fact or truth.
I'm pretty sure Book's faith isn't supportive of Companion as a valid occupation or service -- note his reaction in the pilot -- but Book knows to love the sinner.
Well, maybe not as fact or truth but Pope John Paul II said in 1996 that it's at least not antithetical to God/religion:

Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory.

I know the new guy's more traditionalist in his views but I thought once the Pope says something, that's it as far as the Catholic church is concerned (also, the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences has long accepted evolution as fact but then, being scientists, many of them Nobel winners, I guess they would ;).

(BTW, I use the Catholic church as an example because AFAIK Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination)

Yeah, good point Chris Bridges. Not necessarily Book's response to Inara since that could just be slightly prudish embarrassment but the fact that Mal introduces them to each other at all. He does it to get a specific reaction which means he must've known Book's religion frowns upon Companions.
IMO, The statement made by Pope John Paul II acknowledges the growing belief in evolution, but he does not endorse it, nor does he say that it is okay for a Catholic to believe. I think what he's really doing is acknowledging evolution as an existing path of thought and that there is possibility that it is more than a hypothesis. I see it as more of an allowance to those who believe that God may have started evolution, more than a statement saying that it is okay as a Catholic to fully believe in evolution.
I wanted to chime in briefly from the perspective of a fledgling writer.

Although I am certainly conflicted on how I feel about 1. The script being public and 2. the individual who is profiting from it, I am also fascinated by the document. There's something deeply appealing to me in getting a copy of the script, and/or reading Chris Bridges summary. To see something in progress, rather than in a finished state, is very informative to me as I hone my own craft.
More Pope Poop:

It was the Vatican II Council under Pope John XXIII that said it was perfectly fine for Catholics to believe in Evolution as long as they acknowledged that it was God who started the spark that got the ball rolling.

Mixing my metaphors, but you get the jist. Things were a bit more progressive back then.
Ah, interesting about Vatican II and a bit depressing (IMO) that we actually seem to have regressed.

BTW, it's a common misconception that evolution must involve some non-divine origination (which Browncoat may be alluding to with 'fully believe in evolution'). Abiogenesis is the idea that living beings developed from non-living matter and it's possible to 'fully believe' evolution without it. Evolution can carry on perfectly well if that isn't the case and Earth (for instance) was seeded with single celled organisms by aliens or even divine intervention (though i'd say most people who accept evolution also agree with abiogenesis in principle - there's a lot of contention about the mechanism).

I think John Paul II is also definitively saying that evolution is more than a hypothesis (which is true by definition anyway) when he says "new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis" and then goes on to refer to evolution as a theory (in science a hypothesis merely posits the possibility whereas a theory has been tested, is supported by evidence and has, so far, stood up to scrutiny. We have the 'theory of gravity' for instance because even though gravity clearly exists we're not totally convinced about the how and the why of it or the 'theory of relativity' - which in my opinion, BTW, has plenty of much wackier consequences than evolution - that's been tested repeatedly and, so far, met with prediction).

He also says ""In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points" which seems to me to be saying it's OK to agree with evolution so long as you also accept some conditions (and to me these conditions - as far as I can tell, that God instills souls, set the process of evolution off and there was only one Adam - aren't so much on evolution itself but more on not holding to a materialist, naturalistic explanation of the origins of life, the universe and everything).

My personal feeling is that he's coming as close to saying it's probably true as he can while not completely alienating the traditionalists but it's definitely open to interpretation.
Re Mal/Inara, I would just say I don't think his opinion of her profession has anything to do with religion at all, since he is known for saying things like, "You're welcome on my boat, God ain't." I agree with the already ruling ;-) Saje that Mal just sees it as an exploitive way to make a living.

I also think that Mal hates any situation that makes you have to pretend you really like somebody/something that's really terrible, b/c IIRC (I think in Out of Gas) he said being a whore and an Alliance supporter are pretty much the same thing. In other words, if you can't, don't or won't speak your mind freely, then Mal has no respect for you. (Which makes it pretty hypocritical for him that he can never tell Inara how he feels, at least not until after they escaped from the Training House in Serenity, but, flawed hero, yo.) ;-)

ETA: In the evolution/religion discussion, I agree with Saje that many people who are religious do not find evolution at odds with belief in God, as they will believe that God set evolution in motion, but because of free will/etc., it is not strictly speaking "God did every bit of it." (My physical therapist is Jewish, and we have had millions of talks about everything over the years, and I remember that is pretty much how she described it to me.) It is also my understanding that the Catholic Church is more accepting of evolution than some Protestant churches, while some Protestant faiths do accept evolution, but I really don't know which are which. (We are "lapsed lazy uninformed casual Catholics" in our house -- BTW, excellent quoting of encyclicals, Saje -- yes, John XXIII was a pretty modern-thinking guy, and John Paul II was very widely educated and intelligent, and Benedict XVI -- well, he's from a different viewpoint!)

[ edited by billz on 2006-07-04 00:50 ]
Just watched "Shindig" and I think billz has it. During the dance Mal seems more upset that Inara's clients think she loves them, that they won her, then he does about her job.
That's how I always saw that episode - that Mal was upset that Atherton acted as if he owned Inara - and said as much - and that Inara wasn't objecting on her own behalf. If you recall, Mal had the same kind of reaction in "Our Mrs. Reynolds" when Saffron kept alluding to her 'belonging' to him. He kept trying to get her to stand up for herself, even going so far as to say: Don't you ever stand for that sort of thing. If someone ever tries to kill you, you kill them right back.

I think the problem he had with Inara's profession was his feelings for her that he couldn't or wouldn't admit even to himself. He didn't want to own her, but he also didn't want her with other men.

And, as often happens, I agree with barest smidgen on both counts: how respectful and erudite the discussion is on this board and how much I also enjoy the sage comments of saje.;-)
What always makes me smile is the sheer all-encompasingness (also a word) of the general knowledge displayed by this community. I consider myself made incredibly smart by association ;-)
A Whedonesque a day helps you work, rest and play. And steal cheesy slogans from multinationals, obviously.
"I also enjoy the sage comments of saje.;-)"

Does that mean he is really old or that he tastes good with chicken? (That sounded less dirty in my mind.)

"I suspect that of all the women he has met, he respects his mother and Inara the most."

...and Zoe, we mustn't forget Zoe.

As for the Christian debate, I think it comes back to the "true Christian" question. There are so many kinds of Christians but many are not going to consider someone else "Christian enough" if they do not believe in certain things. So these discussions could go on for a really long time with the lack of information on what form of Christianity both Mal and Book followed...oh...well I guess that's kind of the fun of the whole thing and I'm stating the obvious. Ok, never mind. I have a rainy 4th of July/birthday barbeque to go to and this will probably be off the front page by the time I get back. Happy discussing!
newcj, check out Flickr for a special Happy Birthday thread just for you!

We can always hope that in 500 years Christianity has become more inclusive and less divisive. The fact that this group can carry on a reasoned exchange without anyone resorting to rhetoric of an abusive nature gives me some hope ;-).
Does that mean he is really old or that he tastes good with chicken?

Old or a chicken 'stuffer' ? Those are my choices ?

;-)
Well, I was actually thinking of the definition, wise, esp. as a result of long thinking and experience, but if you think you would taste good with chicken, we can go with that. Of course, where I live 'Saje' is a store - several, actually - which carries natural remedies and aromatherapy products, so you can also choose that definition ;-) A rose by any other name ...
Old or a chicken 'stuffer' ? Those are my choices ?

Well, be grateful, Saje -- both choices beat "nickname for American game show host Pat Sajak." (Yes, as a matter of fact, my grandparents did drive down for a couple of days to spend the 4th of July holiday with us -- why do you ask?) ;-)
Thanks samatwitch, I saw the thread on Ficker when I dropped by to try to figure out where to write about something I noticed when watching an epi of BtVS this morning. (A BtVS mini-marathon was my birthday present to myself.) Have to go back and figure out whether it belongs on Flicker or Whedonesque.org. Life is so complex. ;-)

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