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Serenity vs. Star Wars - Mutantreviewers.com Review

Saturday 28 October 2006, by Webmaster

It’s that time of year. The leaves are turning and falling, apple pies are baking, and we’re all starting to think about holidays, snow, and awards. It’s a natural season in the movie world, and of course, the Mutants are no exception.

So we picked our categories and made the nominations in the Annual Mutant Awards, and I’ve got to say, no where is the race as tight to me as in the Best Movie Vehicle. (Note: I have NOT seen the running results!) Serenity, the DeLorean, the Millennium Falcon, the Batmobile, the Blackbird, Optimus Prime, Slave I, and the 1971 Plymouth ’Cuda 340? They’re all a heck of a lot cooler than my Honda Civic, even if it does have a sun roof. But as we were talking about it, a certain blond, used-to-have-a-goatee Mutant who shall remain nameless expressed concern. Concern about what? That Serenity might actually beat out the Millennium Falcon for the coolest vehicle. How could a little upstart kick the butt of one of the most iconic space ships in movie history? The sacrilege!

Well, me, I don’t believe it would be a sacrilege, because while the Falcon is cool, Serenity herself is too, and just because she’s newer than the Falcon doesn’t mean her value is any less. But then I got thinking about it even more, and thinking about some of the similarities between the two crews. Now, some similarities are mandatory, mind you. Any crew is going to have a captain, a first mate, a techie, etc. That’s just part of having a ship. And Firefly/Serenity is certainly not remotely a rip-off of Star Wars. But what if you do ask the age-old, deeply philosophical question....

Who would win in a fight?

Welcome to...


The Ship: Serenity vs. the Millennium Falcon

First up, naturally, is the ship. One of the things I like about both ships is they’re clunky looking. That’s cool. They look like exactly what they’re meant to be: low end, non-military ships.

Interestingly, both Serenity and the Millennium Falcon are smuggling ships. Both have been shown to be extremely adept at outflying their chasers. However, Serenity and her crew tend to be a little more, erm, discreet about their business, taking on legitimate passengers (and even legitimate jobs, when they can get them) and relying on their wits and mouths, whereas the Millennium Falcon and her boys tend to favor laser canons. Which brings us to point two: Serenity is not armed, the Falcon is. Naturally, this means that the Falcon would win in a classic fight. But let’s go a little deeper.

One of the advantages Serenity has is that we got to know her in a television show, not just three movies. Therefore, we’ve seen her a little more than we’ve seen the Falcon, especially her interior. And I’ve got to say, for the most part, the interior of Serenity wins based on that alone. We’ve seen the crews rooms, which have a pretty cool setup, the engine room (and Kaylee’s hammock alone makes the Serenity engine room cooler than the Falcon’s), and the kitchen, plus the flight deck (a given, really) and the shuttles and the cargo hold. In short, we’ve pretty much seen everything on Serenity - I can’t even think of a crew member’s room we haven’t seen.

Both are rather stark setups, with little decoration and not much in the way of luxuries, which is to be expected. I will say that the Falcon’s board games trump Serenity’s (3-D space chess vs. some sort of poker with round cards), but the physical activity on Serenity (hoop ball or whatever it is) looks more fun that training sessions with Obi-Wan, even if it does involve a light saber.

It’s a close tie, but I think what tips it for me is one thing that Serenity has that the Millennium Falcon doesn’t:

Plastic dinosaurs.

Winner: Serenity

The Captain: Mal Reynolds vs. Han Solo

Um... excuse me while I drool for a second. Man, it was worth doing this article for this minute alone. Whoo!

Okay. Two very fine looking- er, very fine captains. Fine, two hotties. Two guys who excel at getting into trouble, are motivated largely by profit, can talk their way out of anything, are just as happy to shoot you if that doesn’t work, and who think rules are for other people.

I’m really not sure who would win a fight here, but it would be really, really fun to watch.

Seriously. They’re both quick draws. Witness Han shooting Greedo first (because we all know that’s how it happened) and Mal shooting the Alliance Fed in the Firefly pilot. Han’s blaster might be more effective than Mal’s pistol, but I don’t think that really matters. They’ve both got their own sort of honor, although it’s not conventional and you’d better understand it well before you rely on it. But if you’re their friend, they’ve both got your back from here until eternity.

Neither of them are even much in the way of womanizing. I mean, Han gets Leia, sure, but that’s the only chick we ever see him with. Mal, shunning the Kirk love-in-every-other-episode approach, only has one romantic encounter the entire series and movies. So we can’t even use that. And they both wear tight pants remarkably well. (Hey- I didn’t say it, ask Kaylee.)

I’m gonna give the edge to Han here, just because while a laser vs. bullet might not matter in most cases, in a fight between these two any little edge tips you over the top.

Winner: Han Solo

The First Mate: Zoe (Warren) Washburn vs. Chewbacca

We’re gonna be seeing a lot of good old Chewie here, because he fills more than one role on the Millennium Falcon. He’s not only the first mate, but the muscle, tech, and co-pilot. When you consider his role is filled by four people on Serenity... well, let’s just say Chewie’s gonna win any fight here.


Chewbacca vs. Zoe. If there’s a crew member on Serenity that can give Chewie a fight, it’s got to be Zoe. Jayne may have the muscle and Jayne may have the guns, but it’s going to take a lot more than that to take Chewbacca down, and Zoe’s the one that’s got the muscle, the guns, and the brain. A good shot, smart, strong, and sneaky when she wants to be, Zoe’s the Serenity crew member to truly fear.

Plus, she has better hair.

Winner: Zoe Washburn

The Muscle: Jayne Cobb vs. Chewbacca

We’ve really already answered this, haven’t we? Is there anyone out there who thinks Chewbacca isn’t going to make Jayne cry like a little girl?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Winner: Chewbacca

The Pilot: Horance "Wash" Washburn vs. Chewbacca

Dude, getting into a fight with Wash? That’s not on. This one’s been cancelled because Chewie and Wash decided this was stupid and went out for a beer.

Winner: The bar they go to.

The Techie: Kaylee Frye vs. R2-D2

They’re both cute. They’re both quite perky. And they both can fix anything, under any conditions. And neither of them are particularly handy with a gun. (I realize Chewie does tech for the Millennium Falcon before the droids come on board, but hey.)

This is kind of a hard one, in a way. I mean, for one, it’s not like R2-D2 exactly has a lot of snappy dialogue (even if I am quite convinced he swears at C-3P0). Neither of them are warriors, which is something I like. I mean, R2-D2’s not above an electric shock in the butt, and I’m sure Kaylee could deliver a mean slap, but it’s not in character for either of them to be cold-blooded enough to kill someone. (Well, figuratively speaking, in R2-D2’s case.) They’re the support, both in the technical and emotional sense.

However, for me, this is not a tough call in reality. George Lucas’s droids may practically be sentient beings, but the fact is they aren’t. Human intelligence and resourcefulness trumps artificial every time in my book.

Winner: Kaylee Frye

The Protocol Expert: Inara Serra vs. C-3PO

You know, it makes sense that every smuggling ship should have an "Ambassador." Someone who knows etiquette and protocol, languages if necessary, and can help the smugglers fly under the radar. Now, while Inara hasn’t really demonstrated a proficiency in languages (aside from English and Chinese, which everyone in the Firefly universe can speak), she hasn’t been called on too, and I suspect she’s fluent in several more. However, I must admit that C-3P0’s got her trumped, with how ever many millions of languages he speaks.

But really. Prissy, high strung golden droid or sexy space hooker?

Winner: Inara Serra

The Whiny New Kid: Simon Tam vs. Luke Skywalker

Now, this one is fascinating to me, because let’s face it, aside from some personality traits and their relationships with their captains, these two don’t have that much in common on the surface. Jedi-in-training vs. fugitive doctor, although they’re both wanted by the Empire that they’re fleeing. (Come on - the Empire and the Alliance have a lot of traits in common as well.)

Now, obviously, in a physical fight, Luke is going to kick Simon’s butt. Aside from the fact Luke can wield a lightsaber, we’ve got canonical evidence that Simon isn’t much good with a gun. He couldn’t kill the Fed in the series pilot, and in War Stories, Simon confessed he’d never killed anyone before, and Book riposted he was pretty sure that he still hadn’t. However, in a battle of wits, Simon’s got Luke whipped. Sure, Luke’s got the Jedi mind trick, but that only works on the weak minded and weak willed, and that ain’t Simon.

It pains me to write this, because I’ll be honest - I adore Simon. I have a thing for brutally intelligent guys who know they’re smart and are proud of it and have a serious devotion to family. I’ve always thought Luke was a whiner and vastly preferred Han to him. But I’m going to have to give the battle to Luke. Why? Because while Simon runs away from the Alliance (albeit because he’s wanted and he’s trying to protect his sister), Luke turns around and blows stuff up, and takes on the best villain in the history of movies. (Vadar - NOT Anakin.) Now, Simon does have his own brand of courage, but yeah.

Plus, Luke’s a heck of a lot better at disguise, even if he is short for a Stormtrooper.

Winner: Luke Skywalker

The Old Mysterious Wise Man: Shepherd Book vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi

I know that Obi-Wan is in a long time ago in a galaxy far away, and Book is in a galaxy far away 500 years in the future. But have these two ever been spotted in the same room? Some eerie similarities here. We all know Book was some sort of warrior, who retreated from the world to a life behind walls. (I can’t say a hermit because there were others at the Abby, but a retreat it definitely was.) Obi-Wan was a warrior who retreated to become a hermit. They’ve obviously both seen horrors. They’re both mentors, of a sort. They’re both deep believers, Book in God and Obi-Wan in George Lucas’s clear version of God. And for crying out loud, they even take on the same mystical tones some times.

They’re both smart. They’re both cunning. They both can kick butt, and we don’t really know the true extent of how much. They’re both dead. However, Obi-Wan sacrificed himself to let Luke and the others get away, whereas Book... we never learned what was up with Book, but the episode with the bounty hunter plainly stated that Book’s got a very, very harsh edge to him. Book scares me - Obi-Wan doesn’t.

Winner: Shepherd Book

The Dangerous Chick that Comes Onboard And Can Kick Everyone’s Butt: River Tam vs. Princess Leia

Okay, pre-Serenity movie, this was no question. Leia wins, all the way. But in the Serenity movie... "and start with the part where Jayne gets knocked out by a 90 pound girl, cause that’s never getting old!"

I think River could probably beat Leia, just because she’s psychic. But then, Leia’s got abilities with the Force that haven’t been trained up, so she might as well be psychic after a while. They’re both good shots, they can both be utterly ruthless, and they’re both some of the best women in science fiction ever.

My guess is what would happen is that if Jayne got word that they were fighting, he’d be expecting mud wrestling and the slave girl outfit, show up with popcorn, and they’d both kick his butt together.

Winner: Don’t know, but Jayne’s crying like a little girl again

So the final score is: Serenity, 5, Millennium Falcon, 2, with two draws, thus proving that Mr. Man’s Man movies is wrong about older and classic being better. (Erm, as much as one completely subjective article written by a major Firefly fan can prove anything.) However, I couldn’t help thinking that for the most part, I can’t imagine these two crews in a fight, and instead, kept thinking how much they’re probably like each other, unless one cut in on the other’s business. But God help us all if they ever formed an alliance between themselves. I really think Chewie and Wash had the right of it - I see these crews getting drunk together far more than I can see them duking it out.

And really, I think that’s something we can all agree on.