FIREFLY EPISODE DISCUSSIONS

How long after the series does the BDM take place?

POSTED BY: ADAMWANKENOBI
UPDATED: Thursday, December 21, 2006 16:28
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Wednesday, August 16, 2006 12:14 PM

ADAMWANKENOBI


I have heard from many sources that the BDM takes place approximately six months to a year after the series. However, as any browncoat will notice, this is impossible based on lines from the series and film.

In "Trash", Mal says that he first encountered Saffron "bout a half year back". In the BDM, Mal says that Simon and River have been on the ship for 8 months. Therefore, only two months at the most could of taken place between the series and the film.

Now, this number is fine with me, although not what I would expect. But was this Joss' intention? Since he is a geek, doesn't he pay attention to these things?

Questions? Comments?

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006 1:19 PM

VINTERDRAKEN


I always figured that roughly two months had passed between the series and the movie. Six months to a year seems a little hefty for my taste. Joss has rarely left anything to chance, and he has thought of more things than the entire fanbase collectively have, So yes its very likely intentional.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006 1:19 PM

VINTERDRAKEN


I always figured that roughly two months had passed between the series and the movie. Six months to a year seems a little hefty for my taste. Joss has rarely left anything to chance, and he has thought of more things than the entire fanbase collectively have, So yes its very likely intentional.

You can’t stop the Signal.
Keep spreading the word about Firefly!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006 1:19 PM

VINTERDRAKEN


I always figured that roughly two months had passed between the series and the movie. Six months to a year seems a little hefty for my taste. Joss has rarely left anything to chance, and he has thought of more things than the entire fanbase collectively have, So yes its very likely intentional.

You can’t stop the Signal.
Keep spreading the word about Firefly!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006 1:19 PM

VINTERDRAKEN


I always figured that roughly two months had passed between the series and the movie. Six months to a year seems a little hefty for my taste. Joss has rarely left anything to chance, and he has thought of more things than the entire fanbase collectively have, So yes its very likely intentional.

You can’t stop the Signal.
Keep spreading the word about Firefly!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006 1:19 PM

VINTERDRAKEN


I always figured that roughly two months had passed between the series and the movie. Six months to a year seems a little hefty for my taste. Joss has rarely left anything to chance, and he has thought of more things than the entire fanbase collectively have, So yes its very likely intentional.

You can’t stop the Signal.
Keep spreading the word about Firefly!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006 1:19 PM

VINTERDRAKEN


I always figured that roughly two months had passed between the series and the movie. Six months to a year seems a little hefty for my taste. Joss has rarely left anything to chance, and he has thought of more things than the entire fanbase collectively have, So yes its very likely intentional.

You can’t stop the Signal.
Keep spreading the word about Firefly!

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Thursday, August 17, 2006 3:46 PM

QWERTYUIOPASD


I believe Rivers age comes up in both the movie and the series... if they say the same thing I wouldn't put it past half a year. isn't she 17? I always get confused becuase of the "start with the part about Jayne getting knocked out by a 90-year old... man?". it makes me think the line is 19-year old girl, but its really 90 pound girl...

althoug 90 pounds seems pretty light for a 17 year old. . .

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Thursday, August 17, 2006 3:51 PM

USBROWNCOAT


I always figured it wasa couple of months.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006 9:26 PM

TERRI


Well, 90 lbs is small for a normal 17 year old, but you know, River spends a lot less time eating and a lot more time being crazy than most. And in the BDM, Simon mentions something to the effect of her being 17. Actually, who am I kidding, I watched it this morning, that's what he said. Back to the point, however, I can imagine Joss, being the fanboy he is, making this calcuations in his head, and not allowing for the blantat continuity problems. So, I figure that 2 months later sounds about right. Why wait, anyway, am I right? Somebody, am I right?


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Friday, August 18, 2006 12:35 AM

HANS


The excellent Firefly timeline ( http://www.mts.net/~arphaxad/firefly.html) has the series taking about a year, with the movie a couple of monthes later. This, of course, does not work based on the "eight monthes" line in the movie.

One explanantion I like is based on the fact that a year may not be a year. For us, a year is the length of time the Earth takes to go around our sun. However, this series is not taking place on Earth but in another star system, with presumably different periods of rotation from planet to planet. Maybe in the Firefly universe there are competing calendars with years of different lengths. So people on starships might use "Spacefarer's Mean Time" which is based on the old Earth clock. The Alliance might offcially determine one year based on the time it takes Londiniunm to go around the sun. Perhaps there were numerous other calendars used by the Independents, which are falling out of favour since the war ended.

Thus, when someone says that something happened "six monthes ago", maybe that's only three monthes in another calendar (or seven in another). It gives us a little fudge room where times and dates match up. Of course, it does make creating a timeline difficult...

Such a situation would be confusing as hell, but in my mind it kinda fits the somewhat chaotic Firefly Universe. Remember, on some farming community out on the Rim, the length of a local year is important when it comes to growing seasons, so they would want to use their own local calendar to judge the seasons rather than some official one.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006 5:15 AM

GORRAMMALCONTENT


Hi Hans,I like that explanation of the timeline.Makes total sense to me.
On the subject of River's weight,I think that Wash would choose 90lbs. strictly for effect.The term brings to mind "90lb. weakling".The smaller the opponent,the more humiliating it is for Jayne to be beaten by them.Just my opinion.

"What you plan and what happens ain't ever been exactly similar"

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Saturday, August 19, 2006 5:35 AM

SIGMANUNKI


@Hans:

That doesn't really make sense. I mean, by your logic, people would be able to say, "I'm 15." Yet be 35 by our standards (or another world in the 'verse). Basically, it throws everything out of wack. How are people supposed to communicate effectively if they have to convert from calander to calander to... everytime a time-span is referenced? Doesn't make sense.

How about instead of trying to resolve obvious errors on the part of the writers by way of exotic complicated conjectures, we just accept the contradiction and move on? To me, this is the most reasonable action as people do err you know.

----
I am on The List. We are The Forsaken and we aim to burn!
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Saturday, August 19, 2006 6:17 AM

ARCADIA


I think faulty timelines is a plague scifi shows will never shake. Sadly, firefly fell victim to it as easily as all the others...

Here are a few random thoughts about the timeline:
- In The Train Job, Inara says she's been on Serneity eight months. In Buckwacked, she says about a year. People interpret this as meaning that The Trainjob and Bushwacked were four months apart. I say, that interpretation makes no sense, especially when you take into account Simon and Inara's conversation during the ring-ball game. She was more likely estimating, becuase it has been "about" a year. The time between Train Job and Bushwacked was most likely a week, perhaps a lil' bit more, but not four months.

- As for Mal's comment that he ran into Saffron "about six months back", you need to keep in mind 1) when fox aired them OMR was episode 3? and Trash never aired at all. And if it had aired, who knows WHEN it would have aired. Maybe it was supposed to go after Objects in Space, but Joss figured that between football and other sports it would be about six months... :-)

- The only time we can be certain that a signigcant amount of time passed is between Trash and War Stories because of Inara's "haven't worked in three weeks" comment. Clearly, she had work in War Stories. But again, considering the intial airing order, the fact that while Trash may have been rushed, it was probably filmed with the idea that it would be aired, someday... what does this mean? If it had aired after OiS, it could mean nothing.

Anyway, now that I am finished ranting about things you didn't ask about, into the "eight months" line...

- Joss wrote the movie so that it would be accessable to new fans. If he had written "Simon and River have been here for just over a year", it would probably have struck new fans as odd that Mal still doesn't consider them crew. A year is a long time. Eight months, I think, is just on the cusp -- just long enough so that it makes sense for Kaylee to be so upset over Simon leaving and the other crew members (Zoe, Wash) to consider them family, but just short enough that it could make sense of Mal not to have accepted them yet.

And, to actually answer the question, I think Sereity took place six months after OiS, becuase emotionally it makes sense for the characters. As for inconsistancies it creates in the timeline, I blame them all on the fact that Fox screwed with the episode order and then canceled it and therefore make it necessary to have a BDM that was written with new fans in mind in the first place, and that is were the blame belongs.

Fox

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Saturday, August 19, 2006 6:30 AM

EMBERS


I'm thinking that Joss didn't write Trash and wasn't thinking of that when he said there was 6 months (or so) between the show and the movie...

mostly he wanted enough time to pass for the events of the comic book to take place, and for us to imagine that lack of work, poverty, and avoiding Feds, had led to Mal getting to a very angry desperate place (leading to the tension between him and Simon)

However writing it off as a faulty time-line is only one explanation, the other is that people lie...
depending upon the situation and who you are talking to you might want to exaggerate and say you've been somewhere a year (when it has been 8 months) OR in other situations you might want to just say you've been there a couple of months (when it has been much longer)...
keeping things vague can be important to folks out on the rim.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006 8:59 AM

ROCKETJOCK


Okay, I've got $0.02 to throw in.

At first I thought the eight-month figure was off too, especially given Joss' public statement that the movie took place six months after the end of the series. But let us remember that this is the same man who couldn't get Buffy's birthday right on her fricking headstone. Creative genius, yes, mathemetician, no.

Originally assuming the broadcast episodes to cover roughly one year, I shrugged off the eight-months line as a possible misreading of "Eighteen months" (although this interpretation would require River to be "a mentally traumatized eighteen year old girl", vice seventeen.) I've done some refiguring since, though and while events aren't exactly a loose fit, it is possible to wedge things into the eight-month timeframe.

First off, I'm going to assume that units of time in the 'Verse mean the same thing that they do in the present day. If the worlds of the 'Verse had random rotation periods, varied local calendars would make sense, but these rocks have all been terraformed to a set standard.

The length of the "local year" would vary greatly, due to different orbital periods around the sun, and keeping track of it would be important locally for the sake of seasons, planting periods, etc., but days, weeks, months, and "official year" would all be consistant across the system, in much the same way every time zone on Earth is calculated against GMT.

On to the timeline:

There are no major clues to elapsed time in "Serentity Pts 1&2", "The Train Job" or "Bushwacked", but it's safe to assume that at least a couple of weeks had elapsed betwen the Tam's arrival and the end of "Shindig". Roughly a month passed between the events of "Shindig" and "Safe", as is stated in the script. That a minimum of a month and a half right there.

In "Trash" Mal states that Saffron married him "Half-a-year back". That can be considered an approximation--people round dates off all the time, especially if there's been a New Year in the meantime. Allowing a large fudge factor, that's anywhere between four and eight months. If we go with the smaller figure, that's still a minimum of five and a half months since the Tams signed on.

After "Trash" we have the events of "The Message", "Heart of Gold" and "Objects in space". Not many time clues in any of them. As with the first three episodes, I'll assign an arbitrary figure of two weeks as a reasonable minimum. So that's an even six months so far.

After the broadcast episodes we have to allow for the events of "Those Left Behind" (The comic book story), which Joss has stated is in continuity. This means we have to allow enough time for Mal to contact Badger and be assigned the bank job that goes South at the start of the story, plus all the events following. Call it another week at minimum. So six months and one week so far.

"Those Left Behind" concludes with Inara departing Serentity for the training house, and Book's announcement that he, too, will be leaving (Although his actual departure is not shown.)

The following events must take place between the events of the comic book and the beginning of the BDM, although not necessarily in this order:

1. Book's departure for the Haven colony.

2. The overhaul of Serenity (modifications to the cargo bay and landing gear, and purchase of the new Mule, both presumably funded by sale of the Lassiter--maybe Mal should have spent some of that on new entry couplings for the primary buffer panel...)

3. As mentioned above, time must be allowed for Mal to broker and achieve sale of the Lassiter. I presume the above repairs would not be begun before Mal had the liquid assets to do so. There's potential for a good story or two in these events -- perhaps even explaining why the above overhaul was necessary -- but right now we're just worried about time elapsed.

4. Contacting Fanty and Mingo and getting assigned the Lilac job.

You might manage to get the events of numbers 1,2, 3 and 4 done in a month and three weeks, although it would be a squeak. Dramatically speaking, it would probably be better to allow for more time to let Mal's financial downturn be more prolonged and dishartening.

Final fudge factor: as with the six month figure from "Trash", the "Eight Months" Mal quotes in the BDM are recounted during a moment of dramatic and emotional stress, which pleads a good case for it being an approximation. Assuming it to be closer to nine or even ten months allows for a looser fit in the waistline and just a scosh more room in the rear.

Damn. It's hard work being a Flan, sometimes...




"Time is just nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once." -- Buckaroo Banzai

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Sunday, August 27, 2006 11:48 AM

ZOMBIE61


Okay, time to put on your "science geek" hats kids. The first thing to remember is, time is relative. Example: On Earth, a day is 24 hours long because that's how long it takes this planet to perform one full orbit around our sun. On Jupiter, a day would be longer because it takes Jupiter longer to orbit the sun than it does for Earth to orbit the sun.

In the film Men In Black, they got around this conundrum by creating "Galactic Standard Time", meaning you could conceivably use the same measurement of time regardless of where you traveled in the 'verse. In Star Trek, they simply had Kirk use a different Stardate when making his entries in the ship's log at the beginning of each episode, thereby acknowledging the fact that time is directly related to the specific location in the galaxy in which you happen to find yourself.

Therefore, each of the terraformed planets in the Firefly 'verse would most likely have to create their own standard for the passage of time based upon that planet's orbit; a calendar on Persephone would probably be very different from an Earth calendar. Keeping this in mind, Joss Whedon could use this to his advantage when attempting to chronologically explain the various events that occurred within the Firefly 'verse, and that the length of a month on Serenity is not the same as the length of a month in Kansas.

Hey, I'm just sayin'...

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Sunday, August 27, 2006 12:45 PM

STINKINGROSE


There is the issue of local time vs. ship time. Shindig and that "10 in the morning" line. That's like switching time zones on this planet. Maybe there's some slippage depending on how far you go physically from the core?
Ships' clocks could be set to capitol standard time, and then have to adjust to local variations. That could throw off reconings by days to weeks. Probably not months, but it's a big 'verse. Of course Mal could be keeping time using Shadow's calendar for all we know.
We can say "Less than a year" with some certainty.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006 1:24 PM

CRUITHNE3753


Quote:

Originally posted by Zombie61:
Okay, time to put on your "science geek" hats kids. The first thing to remember is, time is relative. Example: On Earth, a day is 24 hours long because that's how long it takes this planet to perform one full orbit around our sun. On Jupiter, a day would be longer because it takes Jupiter longer to orbit the sun than it does for Earth to orbit the sun.



Don't you mean one full rotation on its axis? A full orbit round the Sun is a year... A day on Jupiter is actually only just under 10 hours as it rotates faster, but its year is just under 12 Earth years.

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Monday, August 28, 2006 12:56 PM

ZOMBIE61


Quote:

Originally posted by Cruithne3753:
Quote:

Originally posted by Zombie61:
Okay, time to put on your "science geek" hats kids. The first thing to remember is, time is relative. Example: On Earth, a day is 24 hours long because that's how long it takes this planet to perform one full orbit around our sun. On Jupiter, a day would be longer because it takes Jupiter longer to orbit the sun than it does for Earth to orbit the sun.



Don't you mean one full rotation on its axis? A full orbit round the Sun is a year... A day on Jupiter is actually only just under 10 hours as it rotates faster, but its year is just under 12 Earth years.


Oops, you're absolutely correct. Thank you for keeping me honest!

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Wednesday, September 6, 2006 11:04 AM

BROWNCOATTABZ


River was 14 when she was taken to the Academy according to the pilot episode. According to the River Tam sessions she was there at least 146 days and Simon refers to she "was" 14. And then Simon says for "two years I couldn't get to her". She's 16 at the beginning of the season... and on Serenity she's 18.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006 6:54 AM

CAVALIER


In the BDM Simon refers to River as a "traumatised seventeen year old girl".

In the pilot, he says that "she was fourteen" when she left for the Academy, and that after he started investigating "for two years I couldn't get near her".

Of course, Simon could have been lying in the pilot...

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Thursday, October 19, 2006 11:25 PM

BROWNCOATSAWAY


i don't mean to sound ignorant and ask a stupid question, but what does BDM mean??

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Friday, October 20, 2006 12:19 AM

MRBEN


Quote:

Originally posted by browncoatsaway:
i don't mean to sound ignorant and ask a stupid question, but what does BDM mean??



Big Damn Movie.

BD is used as a reference, taken from the episode 'Safe' where Zoe calls them 'Big Damn Heroes', hence BDHs.

I think that Mal's grip on time is less than stellar, and we shouldn't take anything he says as an accurate timestamp.

mrben

"Carpe Aptenodytes"
http://www.jedimoose.org

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Saturday, November 25, 2006 1:08 PM

THEREALHEROOFCANTON


In the movie Mal says to Simon "Eight months, you've had her on my gorram boat, eight months" or words to that effect

That means the movie is happening 8 months after the start of the series

edit: Unless Mal's just plain wrong (read: Whedon's inability to add up has made its way into the script again )

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Saturday, November 25, 2006 2:12 PM

THEONETRUEBIX


Quote:

Originally posted by Cavalier:
Of course, Simon could have been lying in the pilot...



Now there's a can of worms.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006 4:52 PM

PIRATECAT


Begesus, all this over just 2 months, come on.

I like smacken em.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006 4:28 PM

NEVERMORE


i think that the movie takes place roughly 6 months after the show, i would assume the show stretches for about 6 months personally give or take.

one thing people need to remember, two months is a SHORT time period especially when it takes you often days or more to travel between worlds (sometimes as much as 3 weeks... the time between the Space Bizarre and Jiang Ying).

the movie takes place around 6 months after the show ends. or prolly 12-14months after the show begins. Thats my take.

edit: its fairly common to find mistakes in the everyday writing of the show, so generally i will way that ONE phrase against the full show (and other lines) of evidence to the contrary.

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