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Firefly / Serenity : The Secret of Shepherd Book

Saturday 16 September 2006, by Webmaster

I’ve spent the last 3 years in a secluded mountain hut, contemplating Shepherd Book’s past.

I finally see the truth about Book.

We’ve all talked about it over and over: Either he was an assassin, or a general, an operative, a cop...etc.

We can’t seem to decide on that - But, we can all agree he knows too much, and fights too well, to be an ordinary preacher. We can all agree he has important ties to the Alliance, as witnessed in the episode Safe when they saw his ID card.

Well here’s the deal: His exact job with the Alliance is not the big mystery. Whether he was a soldier, general, operative, that’s not what really matters — the biggest secret is Book himself. What he carries in his body.

Joss gave us a big clue in The Message, with Tracy smuggling body parts. They have the technology.

During the early stages of the war, the Alliance took steps to preserve its most crucial data. They came up with a backup plan, and developed a program to store data inside human beings. By using special modified organ transplants, this data would be undetectable in a scan.

The Alliance planned to send these “Books” out into the worlds. They also had a recall strategy, and hoped to ensure their intellectual integrity in the event of disaster in the core planets.

At this time, an aging officer/operative/cop volunteers for this program. He wants to retire, to get away from the violence and become a shepherd, and this is his only way out. It’s also very likely that his new organs give him youthful strength and reflexes (perhaps even knowledge).

That’s why the Alliance cares so much about Book in Safe. And that’s why he tells Jayne he’s “more or less intact” in Objects in Space. The Alliance, or some faction, is still running this disaster program.

And this is a premise for the Serenity sequel(s).

Joss was originally planning for many secrets to come from Book’s body. What happened to River? Who are the Reavers? What is Blue Sun? Etc....

In order for us to get this info, Book must die. It makes sense. Because the way Book died as a throwaway in Serenity didn’t really make sense. Joss changed his original plan.

Sure, Book’s death gives Mal the inspiration to go to Miranda - but I think originally, Joss intended that Book’s death LITERALLY give Mal the inspiration. And someone like Mr. Universe, a nerd from the war, helps Simon remove and decrypt the data in Book’s body.

Joss used the River and Reaver story in Serenity, but I think he intends to explore the other secrets, like Blue Sun, contained inside dead Book.

The Serenity sequel will begin with the crew flying Book’s body back to the monastery for burial and they get attacked. Someone is trying to steal Book’s body.

That’s why Book had to die in Serenity, and why he’ll be back in the sequels. We’ll get flashbacks about Book and this “disaster program,” and his death will end up saving the ‘verse! And the fans won’t be so upset that he dies in Serenity.

Can I get a Praise the Lord!

5 Forum messages

  • Firefly / Serenity : The Secret of Shepherd Book

    17 September 2006 01:51, by KnightFire420

    "Joss was originally planning for many secrets to come from Book’s body. What happened to River? Who are the Reavers? What is Blue Sun? Etc...."

    Nice theory but here are the problems. We know what happened to River. We know who the Reavers are. The Blue Sun is also known. Who they are no but what they are yes.

    Oh and the last one...

    There isn’t going to be a sequel! Get over it already!

  • Firefly / Serenity : The Secret of Shepherd Book

    17 September 2006 03:15, by Anonymous
    Great theory except... the war is long over. Sending a preacher out to the hostile outer planets? Really not a great plan to keep someone safe. Nice little idea, but why is this reported as news..?
  • Firefly / Serenity : The Secret of Shepherd Book

    20 September 2008 19:12, by wolf of shadowz
    I like this theory. And hope that they do make a sequel. It always seems that people like to pull down theories with some merrit rather than using there imagination to ponder the possible and impossible.
  • Firefly / Serenity : The Secret of Shepherd Book

    12 January 2010 23:17, by M@F6

    A very interesting theory. The thought that I had was that Book was an operative, in the High Command organizing the attack on Serenity (the moon). After seeing close-up the aftermath (rotting corpses in in the 10’s of thousands. Book belief in the righteousness of the Alliance is broken, he wanders ’cross the ’verse to find the Abbey which takes him in. He studies, cooks, and takes on the name "Book" (he had no name as an Operative). When he finds it his time to leave he sees the name Serenity on the ship and believes it is fate.

    FF several years

    The operative from the film "Serenity", broken and searching for meaning wanders into the Abbey.

    This is just my theory. Probably there will be no movie in it. Maybe a graphic novel.


    • @Operative commanding Serenity: Yep I second that - exactly my theorie. Would have had great potential for a longer story arc with the conflict Mal - Sheppard. Also being an operative seems to involve some kind of "religous" element as well and it seems very likely that someone who’s believe is shattered would search shelter and purpose with another one. The only unexplained information would be why Jubal Early knew he was at least no usual sheppard. Maybe Jubal recieved some operative training himself and went rogue later on? This would explain his martial arts skills. Maybe sheppard trained some young apprentice operatives in the past and they met there? Trying a shot into the dark: If the sheppard, the operative from the movie and Jubal Early were all in some way related to the operative programm, this would leave us with 3 black males. It was stated somewhere that Jubal Early is a homage to Jango/Boba Fett. In the Star Wars universe, Jango Fett was cloned to create soldiers. Maybe the operatives are cloned / genetically altered in some way as well? Could the sheppard even be old enough to be the "original"?