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"Firefly : The Official Companion" volume 2 - Serenitystuff.com Review

Thursday 3 May 2007, by Webmaster

This afternoon I received a copy of Titan Books’ Firefly Companion Vol. 2. I just absorbed the whole thing (with a break for “Heroes”). And I can tell you honestly, without fear of understatement, that you desperately need this.

If you’ve seen their previous Companions you know generally what to expect. Scripts, behind-the-scenes photos, interviews with cast and crew, etc. They got better every time. Also, bigger: the Serenity Companion was 158 pages, the first Firefly Companion was 176 pages, this one is 208. And every page is crammed.

As I said for the last one, I’m a Firefly whore. The reason I started this site was because I was obsessively hunting down everything and anything Firefly, interviews and articles and essays and more, and I figured I might as well point other people to what I found. I’m about as versed on obscure show trivia as possible for someone who didn’t actually work on the show. And I still learned something new on every other damn page.

Some of it’s minor, like how Niska’s spider device was designed (with close up pics) or who the other musicians were in the theme song. Some of it’s unexpected, like Ben Edlund and Jose Molina talking about future story ideas (like the one where Inara has to teach Kaylee to be girly so she can pass as a Companion, or where the ship gets clipped by an old Alliance mine, or the plot that even Joss said was too dark). And some of it’s just fun to read, like the cast’s memories of episodes and the second half of Joss’ interview. “What was in Inara’s needle? One of the things I’m going to keep for myself. It may be in the special edition once I finally wake up to reality. But my unreality occasionally opens in theaters, so...”

Closeups of Simon’s surgical tools and Jayne’s gun-cleaning set and the Ariel ID badges and the cardiac infusers and Jayne’s knife and Kaylee’s reprogrammer from “Trash” and more. Stories behind the costumes (including Jayne’s hat!). Who wrote what, and why. More stories of naked Mal. “The Message” was written so they could do a cool chase scene with some landscape software Loni had. Did you know that using the intercoms in Mal’s scene with Jayne in the airlock was Nathan’s idea, or that “Can I come in?” was Adam’s? Articles on editing, lighting, CG effects, production design, cinematography, music... lots of familiar names all come up with new things to share. There’s the expected Joss-worship, but a close runner-up is Nathan, and who’s surprised by that?

And then there’s the tributes to the fans. The cast is still very appreciative, still a bit amazed and flattered at the intensity of strangers who love the show as much as they do. There’s mention of the initial movements, the Backup Bash, the ambulance rescue, “Done the Impossible,” and some shoutouts to some familiar fan names. (Adam? Get a copy...)

There are unexpected bits, like the complete text (in Chinese and English) of the “Earth That Was” puppet play from “Heart of Gold.” There are comments from Christina Hendricks and Melinda Clark and Michael Fairman and Jonathan Woodward and Jeff Rickets. You’ll find out how they did the blinky lights in the engine room, and where they put the little Han, and what they were originally going to steal in “Trash” but couldn’t get the rights.

And a full double spread is devoted, with love, to Vera. Oh, and you get the scripts for the rest of the episodes, which are not the same ones that are posted in various places online.

Once again we get full page pics and essays on each character, and they manage to build on what the actors said in Vol. One without getting repetitive. Different photos, too, including plenty I haven’t seen before and some behind-the-scenes shots scattered throoughout, with the same beautiful graphic design that helps pull everything together.

I admit, I tend to gush over Firefly stuff. It’s why I’m here. But in this case it’s fully justified, especially when you consider that even with all this I’ve hardly scratched the surface. Go buy it.