I love the show Firefly, that’s pretty safe to say. The movie is quite enjoyable too, but I’m okay with it being over. The interview with Gina Torres where she says that she can’t imagine playing Zoey without Wash helped close the wound. These days I can even watch the show & movie without going into that mourning-rage spiral anymore.
This post isn’t so much about that. This is about the feel of the show and what it can inspire. A lot of people out there try to get the feel right and just don’t quite hit the mark. That’s fine, it’s a lot harder than it looks. It isn’t just smugglers with a heart of gold, it isn’t just a western in space, and it isn’t just a small scale space opera. There’s a balance between character, action, setting, and tone that people pick out and run with. It’s like trying to recreate a good meat and only focusing on one flavor or ingredient. Sure, you might get lucky and nail that one thing, but it still isn’t right.
Firefly was somewhat inspired by the American Civil War. They wanted a lead character from the losing side, but slavery is bad and they didn’t want to attache it to that. A war between planets is what they settled on. From there things built. This is from a rough memory of a behind-the-scenes thing I watched a few years ago, I currently have a cold, and it was during a 12-hour graveyard shift. If this sounds slightly off, please forgive me, I’m working with the tools I have.
Recently Lootcrate came out with a fan-film set in The Verse. It was great and there should be more out there. The rights to the film/show are in limbo, but that doesn’t mean a new show has to come out and expressly say that it’s in the same setting. Just imply, or hint, and let the fans do the rest. Trust me, the fan-base will do a LOT of work for Firefly.
Why am I writing this? What is the point? What does this have to do with writing and idea building?
Good question, voice in my head. You see, I had this idea kicking around in my head for a year or two. It was an alternate history that would not leave me along. Weeks of research would lead to more research, which would lead to me doing absolutely nothing creatively because the damn idea wouldn’t let me be. Tonight, in my cold addled brain connected a few dots for me.
The story I wanted to do was a Civil War Alternate history and it just wasn’t working. I like my alternate history and science fiction to at least have some basis in reality. Scientific and historical allusions give ideas depth. The jump in history wasn’t sitting well with me. Sure, if I wrote it, people would read it, and accept it as the story, but I couldn’t accept it.
So… why not take the idea I had and launch it into space?
I love Firefly. I love alternate history. Launch it into space. I didn’t want to write a long drawn out war, I wanted the world after. Launch it into space. That could work.
Now, I’m late for some cold medicine and I should get some sleep.