Firefly: People: Mal

Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds is the Serenity’s captain. He has a sharp sense of humour and yet suffers under the belief that the destruction of the existing political and social institutions (i.e. the Alliance) is necessary for future improvement of life the universe and everything. His opposition to the unification of the planets was met with failure and he and Zoe (his right hand girl) are members of a lost cause that fought a sort of rebel Anti-Alliance – and lost.

Mal was rasied by his mother on their ranch (on the planet Shadow). He always considers that ranching is a good life and with 40 ranch hands, they must have been fairly prosperous.

Mal was is a former Sergeant who (while most of the comrades in his position chose life under the law of the victorious “Alliance”) refused to settle down in a regime that he despised and instead, travelled to the “less civilized” distant planets, where the Alliance’s grasp is less firm. He chose to do this in the Serenity, a Firefly class transport ship.

His home was destroyed (presumably in the war a few years earlier) and he now meanders the galaxy looking for paid legitimate (and not so legitimate) jobs for his bloody ugly space transport ship, Serenity. His crew are a rag-tag group of misfits more closely allied to the crew of the LEXX than the Enterprise. For these and many other reasons, Mal doesn’t trust anyone.

He’s a much maligned dude, prone to tantrums of nastiness and rudeness. Zoe once explained to Simon why he is like this:

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In the war to unit the planets, the battle of Serenity was among the most deadly and decisive. Located on Herra, the valley was considered a key position by both sides and was bitterly fought over. The independent faction with sixteen brigades and 20 air tanks held Alliance forces at bay for almost two months until superior forces…..

Battle of SerenityHe (Mal) was my sergeant. Commander of 30 young grunts. ….. Three days in, there were so many officers dead, he commanded 2000! He kept us together, kept us fighting, kept us sane. By the time the fighting was over, he had maybe 400 still in tact. I said the fighting was over, but you see they left us there. Wounded as sick and as near to mad as could still walk and talk – both sides left us there while they negotiated the peace…… for a week. And we kept dying. Mercy, forgiveness, trust…… those are things he left back there. What he has now is the ship. The ship and us on it.

Zoe also explained why Mal named the ship Serenity: “Once you’ve been in Serenity you never leave. You just learn to live there.

If you were to meet Mal in the pub he’d be drinking whiskey. I guess you wouldn’t think him particularly noticeable except for the drunk blonde trying unsuccessfully to chat him up. You wouldn’t want to discuss life the universe and everything with him but you wouldn’t want to pick a fight with him either. We’d probably just make some inane comment about the weather – unless we were a young, drunk, blonde lady.

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And yet, he has a real thing for Inara. There is lots of loving glances (and lots of jealous glances) and he surely knows that Inara fancies the geezer! (in the episode ‘The Train Job’ she was heard to tell Book that she often prays fro his safe return and in the episode ‘Our Mrs Raynolds’ Inara kissed him – I suspect that she used her tongue(even though he was unconsious at the time)). However. He never shows it. Instead he is prone to being rude about her to the other passangers and crew, often calling her the ships whore. Their relationship will certainly develop, we just don’t know how yet.

Malcolm is played by Nathan Fillion, the son of an English teacher (like me – so he’s clearly a nice dude) and a University of Alberta student who sunk to desperate levels before graduation to become an actor – acting in such awful TV shows as ‘One life to Live’ and the despicable, ‘Two Guys and a Girl and a pizza parlour building/shed or something’. In 1996, Nathan was nominated for both a Soap Opera Award for Outstanding Younger Lead Actor and a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Younger Actor so clearly he showed that he can hold down a regular acting job pretty well!

But he’s also done some pretty cool theatre work with performances in the Orlando and Edmonton Fringe Festivals. He also competed in Theatresports as a member of Rapidfire Theatre, an Edmonton theatre company. After moving to Hollywood he landed an impressive (but minor) role in the excellent ‘Saving Private Ryan’. Unfortunately he played the other Private Ryan, you know, the one that nobody wanted to save.

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