FIREFLY EPISODE DISCUSSIONS

Someone please break Joss' fingers! [spoiler]

POSTED BY: TOADSMOOTHY
UPDATED: Friday, December 31, 2010 15:04
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Thursday, December 30, 2010 3:28 AM

TWO

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


I think Serenity: Float Out demonstrates that Joss Whedon has not planned where to go next with the Serenity story. Whedon subcontracted the writing of the comic to never-wrote-a-comic-before Patton Oswalt. It is a eulogy to Wash. Snooze-fest. Boring. I've been to funerals where everyone says the sweetest, nicest things about the wicked rascal who died in a motorcycle crash while being pursued by the police. A Serenity comic should not be like that. We want the lowdown on Wash. He was no angel.

Serenity: Float Out could have been spiced up by having the pregnant woman carrying Wash's baby NOT be Zoe, but Wash's old girlfriend. Zoe thinks Wash was cheating on her. (He wasn't.) Zoe thinks Wash was only looking for someone like his old girlfriend. (He did love Zoe.) Zoe learns that Wash ran away from the old girlfriend when Old Girl started talking about raising a family. All this discovery occurs between the eulogizing of Wash's piloting skills.

The whole crew is listening to whispering Zoe and Old Girl. And every time Jayne opens his mouth about Wash, Zoe punches him in the face. That's entertainment!

And at the end of Serenity: Float Out, Zoe is back in her bunk on Serenity, knowing that Wash will have his child. And Zoe never will.

It looks to me like Joss Whedon didn't have even a vague outline for Serenity 2 and 3 before he finished writing Serenity. Five years later, he still doesn't. I assume he intended to haphazardly throw together an outline only after Serenity was a big success and he was counting his money. See Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3 for an example of that. Those last two Pirate stories were messy piles of poop, which showed Joss Whedon that successful movies don't need a story. Success requires Johnny Depp. A coherent story is optional.
"Pirates of the Caribbean 3" Review by Ask A Ninja.



The Joss Whedon script for "Serenity", where Wash lives, is
Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/two

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Thursday, December 30, 2010 6:53 AM

STORYMARK


Given that Oswalt (a huge scifi geek) approached Whedon and asked to do acomic, rather than Whedon seeking out first time writers, your assumption is.... a reach at best.

And really, you think he should have outlined further movies, with no prospects of having them made? Rather unfairly demanding of you. Especially since doing so would be not only a waste of time, but also probably painful for Joss.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Thursday, December 30, 2010 6:57 AM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by ecgordon:
I don't care if it made money at the box office, because it was mainly the Star Trek title that did that,



Uh, if that's the case, why was it the most successful Trek film ever, even in adjusted dollars??

Your statement literally makes zero sense, other than as the rantings of a bitter fanboy.

If there was even a kernel of truth to your claim, the prior couple Treks would not have been flops.... and yet, they were.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Thursday, December 30, 2010 7:56 AM

TWO

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by Storymark:
Given that Oswalt (a huge scifi geek) approached Whedon and asked to do a comic, rather than Whedon seeking out first time writers, your assumption is.... a reach at best.

And really, you think he should have outlined further movies, with no prospects of having them made? Rather unfairly demanding of you. Especially since doing so would be not only a waste of time, but also probably painful for Joss.

It was Patton Oswalt pitching various story ideas to Joss Whedon. Has Joss run dry? It should have been Joss pitching to Patton like Serenity: A Shepherd's Tale, where Joss Whedon has the outline of a story (the skeleton?) and gives it to his brother to flesh out. Joss knew where A Shepherd's Tale was going. {My eloquently short summary: Book was always a double-crossing, murdering, torturing badass. He changed, a little, once he found religion. }

Getting back to Serenity 2 & 3: It's not that hard to write 500 words to describe where the trilogy is going. But if Joss had no idea, even 50 words is an impossible burden.

I think Joss hasn't written the 500 words because he has not wanted to know where he is going with Serenity. Making decisions puts limits on possibilities and that's too adult. Let studio execs be the adults and Joss be creative. With the example of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3 (probably 4, too), not knowing is no real handicap to making money, so long as you got Johnny Depp as the leading man.

Once Nathan Fillion learns how to swagger and prance like Johnny Depp, Joss Whedon won't need to know where Serenity 2 is going. Any half-ass space pirate story will be pure gold. Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of rum.

The Joss Whedon script for "Serenity", where Wash lives, is
Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/two

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Thursday, December 30, 2010 12:06 PM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


I dislike Abrams' Trek not because I am a bitter fanboy. Even though I have enjoyed various incarnations of that 'verse over the years I'm not a Trekker or Trekkie upset about the breaking of canon. I simply thought it was a terrible movie. Writing, acting, plot inconsistencies, everything. And it probably made more money than any other Trek film because as the general state of the entertainment business has proven time and time again, people like crap.

No personal offense intended to anyone else who happened to like it, I just didn't.



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Thursday, December 30, 2010 12:34 PM

GWEK


Quote:

Originally posted by two:
I think Serenity: Float Out demonstrates that Joss Whedon has not planned where to go next with the Serenity story.



I respectfully disagree... sort of. :)

Joss has stated previously that he had a very loose seven-year outline for FIREFLY, with the storyline of SERENITY roughly analogous to season two.

Having said that, Joss is always character-based, and while the vast majority of his work is very commercial, I think the problem with the future of SERENITY is one of medium. Some of the stories he wants to tell will work in a movie, but others will only work in a "more intimate" medium.

I see that as the common trend in what we've seen since 2005:

FLOATOUT is an "intimate" story that gives one huge character reveal: Zoe is pregnant with Wash's daughter. Why reveal that in the comic? First, without Zoe's appearance, the actual 'Verse is very limited (some stories about a dead guy, told by characters we don't care about). Second: Joss knows that if he picks the larger story up again, enough time will have passed since SERENITY that Zoe will no longer be pregnant. So, he gave the fans a nice little Easter egg in FLOATOUT.

THE SHEPHERD'S TALE is similar. Any theoretical sequel might reference Book, but a movie is not likely to make much use of the character (with only 110-150 pages to play with and still a large cast, Joss needs to focus on those who are still here). Thus, while the shepherd's tale could have played out as a satisfying television episode (or across a series of episodes) it has no place in a movie).

BETTER DAYS takes place pre-SERENITY (and even pre-TLB). It introduces some interesting new elements, but I don't think it's enough to pin a movie on, so, again, we get it in a comic.

So what IS left for movies? With a rough seven year plotline (of which we have seen two-sevenths), I'm sure Joss has at least ten or a dozen different ideas for SERENITY II... but it's a constant juggling game of "Is this idea commercial enough to merit movie sequels of its own?" and "If I tell a story from theoretical Season Four, what do I do with the good stuff from Season Three?" and "Dang, I'm not sure if Summer Glau is still young enough to play Season Three River!" and a half dozen considerations I'm sure I haven't thought of.

Although it's a far more complicated situation, the story goes that in the late 1970s, George Lucas has two different ideas for a STAR WARS sequel, based on how much money he might have available. The more ambitious concept included the entire cast, multiple locations, and massive battles, and proved to be the heart of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. The less-ambitious, low-budget idea involved a smaller cast (Luke, Leia, the droids, and limited appearances by Vader), mostly on a single planet, with no major battles. That idea was handed over to become the novel SPLINTER OF THE MIND'S EYE.

Quote:

Whedon subcontracted the writing of the comic to never-wrote-a-comic-before Patton Oswalt. It is a eulogy to Wash. Snooze-fest. Boring. I've been to funerals where everyone says the sweetest, nicest things about the wicked rascal who died in a motorcycle crash while being pursued by the police. A Serenity comic should not be like that. We want the lowdown on Wash. He was no angel.


For the record, I agree with you that FLOATOUT was a snooze-fest. Honestly, though, I think that the story was less about Wash and more about the three dudes talking about him. Has the comic (and they) been more well-received, I suspect we might have an ongoing Floatout series, allowing Oswalt, Joss, and others to explore the 'Verse without telling us what happens to the crew of Serenity next (and therefore keeping all options open).

Quote:

Serenity: Float Out could have been spiced up by having the pregnant woman carrying Wash's baby NOT be Zoe, but Wash's old girlfriend.

...

And at the end of Serenity: Float Out, Zoe is back in her bunk on Serenity, knowing that Wash will have his child. And Zoe never will.



But apparently that was never part of Joss's plan. He's stated that Wash was always slated to die, so presumably, the idea of Zoe raising Wash's child alone (or, rather, with the help of the crew) was part of the grand plan.

Quote:

It looks to me like Joss Whedon didn't have even a vague outline for Serenity 2 and 3 before he finished writing Serenity.


Why should be have a vague outline for SERENITY 2 and 3? That implies that he was expecting to do a trilogy of movies. If SERENITY was successful, it might have opened the door to a trilogy, or a five-movie series, or even a load of made-for-TV or direct-to-DVD movies. To create it as part of a sequel would be to limit the options prematurely.

Quote:

I assume he intended to haphazardly throw together an outline only after Serenity was a big success and he was counting his money.


You know what they say happens when you assume, right?

I'm pretty sure your dead wrong on this count.

FIREFLY/SERENITY is not about money to Joss. It is about love. FIREFLY is his true love, and the lost devastated him.

SERENITY is a passable substitute, but an anemic substitute nonetheless. I imagine that if Joss didn't have scripts for movies prepared, a large part was the secret hope that SERENITY would be so successful that it would lead to another TV series.

Quote:

See Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3 for an example of that. Those last two Pirate stories were messy piles of poop, which showed Joss Whedon that successful movies don't need a story.


As a third-generation screenwriter, I'm pretty sure there are very few lessons that the PotC movies could teach him.

Other than giving you an opportunity to bash the movies (I do agree, by the way, that they were grabage), I'm not sure why they're germaine to Joss and SERENITY.

Quote:

Success requires Johnny Depp. A coherent story is optional.


That's Hollywood, baby. Stars sell movies on their first week, maybe the second.

But strong scripts are what keep them in the theater, making money, well after that.



www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Thursday, December 30, 2010 3:15 PM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by ecgordon:
I dislike Abrams' Trek not because I am a bitter fanboy. Even though I have enjoyed various incarnations of that 'verse over the years I'm not a Trekker or Trekkie upset about the breaking of canon. I simply thought it was a terrible movie. Writing, acting, plot inconsistencies, everything. And it probably made more money than any other Trek film because as the general state of the entertainment business has proven time and time again, people like crap.

No personal offense intended to anyone else who happened to like it, I just didn't.





That's cool, to each their own. I know a lot of people didn't like it, but a whole lot did - many of them non Trek fans. So, saying it's success it merely down to the name is... inaccurate. And just because you didn't like it, hardly makes it crap.

"People like crap" is an easy go-to when you don't like what others do, and there is often a kernel of truth. But things don't become hugely popular without doing some things very right - even if it doesn't work for you.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Thursday, December 30, 2010 3:18 PM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by two:
It was Patton Oswalt pitching various story ideas to Joss Whedon. Has Joss run dry? It should have been Joss pitching to Patton like Serenity: A Shepherd's Tale, where Joss Whedon has the outline of a story (the skeleton?) and gives it to his brother to flesh out.



So what. His giving a friend a shot hardly means the well has run dry. But you do love jumping to wild conclusions, so I know you'll just come up with something wilder to rationalize.

As for your comments of Serenity 2 oand 3... you act as if the man should never do anything but think about Firefly. I don't think he's quiate as hung up as the more obsessive fans.

And the Depp fixation... yeah, whatever.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Thursday, December 30, 2010 4:39 PM

TWO

The Joss Whedon script for Serenity, where Wash lives, is Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/folder/1uwh75oa407q8/Firefly


Quote:

Originally posted by GWEK:
As a third-generation screenwriter, I'm pretty sure there are very few lessons that the PotC movies could teach him.

Other than giving you an opportunity to bash the movies (I do agree, by the way, that they were grabage), I'm not sure why they're germaine to Joss and SERENITY.

Quote:

Success requires Johnny Depp. A coherent story is optional.


That's Hollywood, baby. Stars sell movies on their first week, maybe the second.

But strong scripts are what keep them in the theater, making money, well after that.

I dredged up Pirates of the Caribbean and Johnny Depp, the charismatic Sea Pirate, because Nathan Fillion is a charismatic Space Pirate. In Hollywood, movie success depends on who's playing the leading man more than what dialog is spoken. Sadly, Fillion was Mister Unknown in 2005, but not anymore. Fortunately for Pirates 3, Depp was a celebrity. Using Depp was smart, compensating for a bad story with stupid dialog. Or stupid story with bad dialog.

I want to pick apart one very specific item where I doubt Joss Whedon has a plan for Serenity - he's turning River into a murderer. Or serial killer, if you prefer. So far she has killed Joss in the R_Tam_Sessions. She killed 3 more in War Stories. She killed 1 in Serenity:The Other Half. She killed 6 more, last month, in Serenity:Downtime. She killed a heap of Reavers. Did I miss any? Where is Joss going with River?

River's story seems to be drifting toward exciting but meaningless massacres. Is River to become a killing machine whenever the story needs a jolt of caffeine? Or will she eventually specialize in killing Reavers because it is her wholesome destiny? As Buffy is to demons, will River be to Reavers? If the future is like the past, Serenity will be full of thrill killings by River because it is fun for the audience. I suppose bloody murder is the Hollywood default when nobody has planned the story far enough ahead. When you don't know where the story should go next, kill somebody. Or have a fight. That's Entertainment!

The Joss Whedon script for "Serenity", where Wash lives, is
Serenity-190pages.pdf at www.mediafire.com/two

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Thursday, December 30, 2010 4:57 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by ecgordon:
I dislike Abrams' Trek not because I am a bitter fanboy. Even though I have enjoyed various incarnations of that 'verse over the years I'm not a Trekker or Trekkie upset about the breaking of canon. I simply thought it was a terrible movie. Writing, acting, plot inconsistencies, everything. And it probably made more money than any other Trek film because as the general state of the entertainment business has proven time and time again, people like crap.

No personal offense intended to anyone else who happened to like it, I just didn't.



I thought it was clever nonsense myself. Not Science Fiction, but, like, a better version of Spock's Brain, or somesuch.
Watchable, at any rate.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Thursday, December 30, 2010 8:03 PM

PLATONIST


...he's turning River into a murderer.




I started to notice this pattern in the more recent comics, too. Her leaving the ship in "Downtime" and then returning, without anyone on the ship knowing what she did, and then her keeping it a SECRET, really creeped me out, because, jump to the future, she’s now the pilot of Serenity.

I know she’s saving the crew with what she does, but I really don’t like how she’s being used. Where do you go with a character that can kill and not seem even remotely affected by it?

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Thursday, December 30, 2010 8:15 PM

THEHAPPYTRADER


I assumed the River killing bits was related to River's 'Reaver' potential. Remember how she wouldn't lie down with the rest of the kids in the hallucination? I figured that was like saying if she was exposed to the Pax she would become a Reaver. Maybe she has this inner violent aggressive nature that was brought out by the Alliance but not created by it which she will have to learn how to deal with.

My fear is that she's going to finally get the hang of that just in time to die or something.

Also, I agree that Pirates 2 and 3 was crap. I could watch Johnny Depp act like a pirate all day but none of the others did anything for me.

I really liked the new Star Trek, but I hate that it might have made my favorite Treks (TNG and DS9) never happen in the timeline. Now who knows what happens next. I'm totally looking forward to the sequel though. I'm probably in the minority here, but I rather liked seeing more of Spock's 'human' side in the movie. I found it quite amusing, though possibly only because I was accustomed the original series Spock.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010 8:24 PM

STORYMARK


Quote:

Originally posted by two:

I want to pick apart one very specific item where I doubt Joss Whedon has a plan for Serenity - he's turning River into a murderer. Or serial killer, if you prefer. So far she has killed Joss in the R_Tam_Sessions. She killed 3 more in War Stories. She killed 1 in Serenity:The Other Half. She killed 6 more, last month, in Serenity:Downtime. She killed a heap of Reavers. Did I miss any? Where is Joss going with River?

River's story seems to be drifting toward exciting but meaningless massacres. Is River to become a killing machine whenever the story needs a jolt of caffeine? Or will she eventually specialize in killing Reavers because it is her wholesome destiny? As Buffy is to demons, will River be to Reavers? If the future is like the past, Serenity will be full of thrill killings by River because it is fun for the audience. I suppose bloody murder is the Hollywood default when nobody has planned the story far enough ahead. When you don't know where the story should go next, kill somebody. Or have a fight. That's Entertainment!




You act as if River's conditioning came out of nowhere, and was not forshadowed on the show. Makes most of your point rather nonsensical.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Friday, December 31, 2010 2:45 AM

TOADSMOOTHY


Quote:

Originally posted by two:
Quote:

...I want to pick apart one very specific item where I doubt Joss Whedon has a plan for Serenity - he's turning River into a murderer. Or serial killer, if you prefer...



I agree.

Jayne: "...next time little sister gets in a murderin' mood, might be you she comes callin' on, or Kaylee, or Inara."

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Friday, December 31, 2010 3:04 AM

TOADSMOOTHY


Quote:

Originally posted by TheHappyTrader:
...I rather liked seeing more of Spock's 'human' side in the movie. I found it quite amusing, though possibly only because I was accustomed the original series Spock.



Well, Spock *was* half human. ;) And I like what he did with Spock's parents. Besides, Vulcans are emotional, perhaps more so than humans. They just bury it very deep. ;)

I will confess, a chill went down my spine and I got a bit weepy when Spock tells the young Kirk:

"I have been and always shall be your friend."

Recalling all the emotion at his death speech in Wrath of Khan.

Yeah, I'm ready for the sequel.

P.S. I think Chris Pine makes a damned fine Kirk the younger. And I think he and the new Spock do well together. ...Am I just easy to please?

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Friday, December 31, 2010 5:06 AM

GWEK


Quote:

Originally posted by two:
I dredged up Pirates of the Caribbean and Johnny Depp, the charismatic Sea Pirate, because Nathan Fillion is a charismatic Space Pirate. In Hollywood, movie success depends on who's playing the leading man more than what dialog is spoken.



While there is definitely some truth to what you're saying, it's also a dreadful oversimplification. The easiest way for a movie to get made is for it to have the two following elements:

A) A script that is both smart and commercial
B) Attached elements (actors and/or director) who have built-in followings

Often, on the road to getting made, the script will be significantly modified, generally for the worst, often by the VERY SAME ELEMENTS THAT ALLOWED IT TO BE MADE.

For the record, SERENITY met only 1 (well, 1.5) of these criteria: It DID have an attached element with a built-in following: Joss Whedon. It also had the support of one of the most rapid and vocal fan-groups since Trekkies.

What it lacked, to some extent, was a commercial script, which made it difficult to successfully market. Factors working against it also arguably included Joss himself (for better or worse, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYE carries a stigma to some folk), coming out at a bad time of year (what should have been second-tier summer blockbuster coming out after the summer was done and gone), and coming out after the sci fi audience may have been burnt-out by all the junk that came out with the Prequel Saga. Heck, ticket sales may also have been impacted (ironically) by the existence of the series: "Hey, man, want to go see that movie SERENITY again?" "Nah, I just picked up a DVD from the show it's based on on! I hear it's even better!"

Did the lack of a "Depp-level" star hinder SERENITY? Doesn't seem to have hurt movies like THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, BATMAN BEGINS, KING KONG, and the latest Harry Potter movie, all of which made it to the top 10-grossing films of 2005 (while SERENITY sits way down the list as #100).

Quote:

Sadly, Fillion was Mister Unknown in 2005, but not anymore. Fortunately for Pirates 3, Depp was a celebrity. Using Depp was smart, compensating for a bad story with stupid dialog. Or stupid story with bad dialog.


I would argue that for PotC2/3, Depp was part of the problem, not the solution, as is often the case in sequels. Seqeuls are often notoriously worse than the originals because they are written FOR THE CAST, not written as stories. We definitely see this in the trajectory of the PotC movies, and also, for example, the Rambo and Rocky movies. In these examples, the first entries are intelligently and creatively written, but subsequent movies increasingly pander to the cast and/or audience expectation.

When PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN was written, the writers did NOT have Johnny Depp in mind--in fact, they were hoping Hugh Jackman would be cast. Depp was the one to choose to play Jack Sparrow like a drunken rock star, and while it was a brilliant choice for the character and for PotC:BP, it definitely had impact on how the sequels were written.

Remember also that the PotC movies are somewhat unique in that PotC2/3 were released a year apart (whereas most movies have a 2-3 year cycle) and were viewed as sort of one big sprawling, epic 5-hour saga rather than two 2-hour movies.

All of which is not to say that you're wrong to say that PotC2/3 are crap.... just that you're being very limited and short-sighted by saying that the reason they CAN be crap is because they have a popular star in them.

Quote:

I want to pick apart one very specific item where I doubt Joss Whedon has a plan for Serenity - he's turning River into a murderer.

...

Where is Joss going with River?



I have cut out the majority of what you've written because it's not important.

What is important, and what you're forgetting, is the timeline. All of these murders take place before or in SERENITY, so he's not "turning River into a murderer." He's already done so. That's not part of the future. It's part of the past.

As storymark points out, this is no surprise, because we've been told that River has been engineered as a psychic assassin. Given what has been done to her, it is absolutely not in the least surprising that she can kill easily and without apparent remorse.

BECAUSE SHE'S INSANE.

The crew deals with this quite explicitly in both the series and the movie.

Given much of Joss's work, I think it's reasonable to speculate that Joss's future plans for River have much less to do with her "turning in to a murderer" than with having her deal with the consequences/aftermath of having been a murderer.

Quote:

River's story seems to be drifting toward exciting but meaningless massacres.


Again, that his the direction it came from, not where it is headed.

Quote:

Is River to become a killing machine whenever the story needs a jolt of caffeine?


I would think not. From a storytelling perspective, it is going to be very difficult for Joss to tell future tales of Serenity if River is on the power level of a superhero and the rest of the crew is, well, just the crew. Tough to concoct satisfying stories where the crew is in peril if River can just fight them out of it every time.

When we were discussing future stories for our Virtual Firefly series, we addressed the dilemma of River being so powerful and it's important to remember that, despite being a psychic killer woman, she is also still a damaged little girl with an overprotective brother.


www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Friday, December 31, 2010 9:30 AM

FEARTHEBUNNYMAN


@Gwek - given the circumstances, not sure you could classify her bro as being "over" protective, but that makes me want to ask - did you interpret the end of the BDM, "my turn", as River's taking control of herself, and in addition to that, recognizing her attributes and making a commitment to using them to protect her loved ones? And if so, (or not) how did that play into your future story breakdowns? B/c that was kind of what I drew from the end. She's finally "awake", and while I reject the notion that she's ever going to be fully stable, and possibly not even self-sufficient, or able to get by without some modicum of guidance and medical care, that River by the end of the BDM had reached a point of control of herself, and awareness, that she hadn't truly possessed up until that point.
She has a soft heart, underneath it all. I'm not sure I see her becoming a mindless killer-woman, once she has at least some more control of herself.

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Friday, December 31, 2010 10:01 AM

GWEK


Although you and I are drawing slightly different (although not necessarily incompatible) conclusions, I think we both agree that the assertion that Joss "had plans" to turn her into a psycho serial killer just doesn't seem valid.

I agree with you that the "my turn" sequence in the movie is River taking control of herself.

What exactly that means, though, is open to interpretation, and I think it again goes back to the questions of "Will the story be continued?" and "If so, in what format?"

A lot of folk seem to infer that post-SERENITY, River is "fixed." She has gotten out the secret of Miranda, and since Wash is dead and we see her helping Mal pilot, the assumption is that she will become the hotshot pilot. She is fixed, and now has a new place in the family.

I assert that, if the story continues, that is patently ludicrous. She is "better" but still broken. Miranda is only one of MANY secrets bouncing around her head, and a lot of the damage that was done to her was PHYSICAL and could not possibly be repaired by expunging the secret of Miranda. Mal would be a moron to put control of the ship in her hands.

Miranda and "My turn" are accentuated for the movie because that's what the structure of the movie requires. And, if the story ends there, it's a satisfying ending.

But if the story DOESN'T end there, I posit that River is "better" but nowhere near "fixed." Future stories might show her as more coherent, but would have to show that she is still broken in many ways.

As I mentioned previously, from a storytelling perspective, Joss would have to deal with "super-River," and would likely be able to "keep her in line" by examining her weaknesses.

Consider, for example, the following:

1) Say Simon were able to sythesize a drug that could help her continue to be coherent, but it would dull her psychic abilities. (From a writing point of view, this accomplishes a number of things: It prevent "reader River" from disrupting every story, shows the continued dynamic between River and Simon, and gives the Tams a compelling reason to continue to be aboard Serenity, if the drug requires expensive and/or illegal ingredients).

2) Even with her psychic abilities muted, River is still an excellent combatant... but the processes were experimental, so let's posit for a moment that Simon eventually deduces that whenever River fights, she risks some terrible side effect. Maybe, for example, she can become "locked" in combat mode or "becoming a Reaver," or maybe without her psychic abilities mitigating things, she risks a coronoary.

Taken together, these elements create a situation where the writers don't need to worry about "super-River," but they DO have her in a nice little box for when they need her (further, this builds on what was established in the movie, rather than negating anything that has come before).

Something like this also creates some really interesting moral dilemmas for our heroes, especially Mal, River, and Simon, forcing them to make exactly the kinds of hard choices that Joss Whedon is so fond of. What happens when Mal is in the middle of a deal that he thinks is important enough to merit "reader River"? Does he appeal to River and Simon, or does he just mess with her next dose to get "reader River" back temporarily? And if there are circumstances where she choses to stop using the drug, how does River deal with the balance between psychic and incoherent? She now has extra abilities, but is she still capable of using them in any functional way? And what about the drug itself? Is there a withdrawal aspect? Addiction? And let's not forget "super-River." if she risks a truly terrible fate every time she fights, who decides when she''ll take the risk? And how much is she willing to experiment to test her limits? What does that do to her relationship with Simon? And what tensions does that create between Simon and Mal?

All really rich, interesting stuff to play with, I think--more Whedon-y that either "super-River" or "killer River," in my opinion. (For the record, one of the ideas we had discussed with River is that, yes, she seems to be "better," but every time she appears to be improving, the crew realizes that there is a whole new level of trauma and trouble that they hadn't even guessed at).



www.stillflying.net: "Here's how it might have been..."

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Friday, December 31, 2010 10:39 AM

FEARTHEBUNNYMAN


Based on what you wrote I think you and I are more or less on the same page. Your second idea was one I hadn't thought up before - very interesting! And then there's always the question of River's emotional state and reactions to what's been done to her, what she's capable of, and what she's already done (voluntarily or not). We already see in the BDM and to a lesser extent in the series that she has guilt and fear of herself over it, and I think that's stuff she'll still be coming to terms with post-BDM, so it would be interesting to see that play out as well.
I like to think we WILL see it in some form or another eventually.....

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Friday, December 31, 2010 11:02 AM

PLATONIST


...We already see in the BDM and to a lesser extent in the series that she has guilt and fear of herself over it.


And…When exactly in canon does she demonstrate this because I’ve seem to have missed it.

Can you be more specific by citing evidence?

I can't recall her ever asking how the customers of the Maidenhead are fairing, or any of the crew for that matter. She's very River centric, must be part of her programming.

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Friday, December 31, 2010 11:09 AM

PLATONIST


...She has a soft heart, underneath it all.


Again, this seems to be an attribute you want to bestow upon her.

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Friday, December 31, 2010 11:21 AM

FEARTHEBUNNYMAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:



And…When exactly in canon does she demonstrate this because I’ve seem to have missed it.

Can you be more specific by citing evidence?




Really? Ok. In OIS, pretty much her entire speech to Jubal Early. "Can't be trusted" etc. And in the BDM "Bullet to the brainpan" & "It isn't safe...for them". Off the top of my head. Obviously she was referring to the situation in the BDM parts, particularly the bullet to the brainpan part, but it's not a stretch to say River is aware that she herself is a danger, nor that she would also associate that danger with what she herself is. But if you disagree feel free to say so.

As far as River having a genuine kindness to her, really in most most things about her I see that, in her behavior, and again in OIS and in Safe of course...I mean pretty much all of it. Her apologetic behavior to Simon in the BDM after she had hit him...most of the time she could be described as cold or callous are when her programming kicks in. When she's being herself, not so much, but again, if you think her characterization does not support that, feel free to explain your point of view.

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Friday, December 31, 2010 11:49 AM

PLATONIST


"Bullet to the brainpan"

I interpret this as River being in a lot of personal pain because of her trauma and wanting to end it, not because she wants to spare anyone else from harm.



"It isn't safe...for them".

She returns to the ship, she doesn’t ever offer to leave by her own accord, to keep the others safe, and then while she’s on the ship, she escapes, knocks her brother down and holds Mal at gunpoint, commandeering the ship. Haven gets attacked; many die, including children and Book. I guess she was right.



As far as her being apologetic or caring, it's all directed towards keeping Simon safe, her brother, whom is her care taker, watch carefully, it takes Simon getting shot in the BDM for her to act, before that she's still screaming about the Reavers being in her head. And Jubal wouldn’t even be on the ship terrorizing everyone if it wasn’t for her and Simon. Granted she devises a plan to get rid of Jubal, but it’s only to secure a safe place for her and her brother. He needs so much looking after.

In time, I could see River becoming more altruistic and not so much with the self preservation, sacrificing herself for others…hmm…maybe that’s where her character was to evolve, post BDM.




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Friday, December 31, 2010 12:18 PM

FEARTHEBUNNYMAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Platonist:
"Bullet to the brainpan"

I interpret this as River being in a lot of personal pain because of her trauma and wanting to end it, not because she wants to spare anyone else from harm.



Yes, I do think that was primarily it, as I mentioned, but I think I have an additional interpretation to the scene - that she wanted to die not just for herself - based on my overall interpretation of the character.



Quote:

"It isn't safe...for them".

She returns to the ship, she doesn’t ever offer to leave by her own accord, to keep the others safe, and then while she’s on the ship, she escapes, knocks her brother down and holds Mal at gunpoint, commandeering the ship. Haven gets attacked; many die, including children and Book. I guess she was right.



she willingly left with Simon, even after he double checked with her "River, do you want to leave" "It isn't safe....for them" and then it was Mal who brought her back on board...and then chained her to the floor. So....yeah, she wasn't going anywhere. and then her takeover was to make them see the truth. A bit rough, but probably something she needed to do to make them lsiten...and then of course she apologized and seemed a tad ashamed regarding Simon at least, later.

Which I guess brings us to the crux of our disagreement here:



Quote:

As far as her being apologetic or caring, it's all directed towards keeping Simon safe, her brother, whom is her care taker, watch carefully, it takes Simon getting shot in the BDM for her to act, before that she's still screaming about the Reavers being in her head. And Jubal wouldn’t even be on the ship terrorizing everyone if it wasn’t for her and Simon. Granted she devises a plan to get rid of Jubal, but it’s only to secure a safe place for her and her brother. He needs so much looking after.


I do agree with you that Simon is her center, and the one person whom she loves most, but that's not hard to understand. But where I disagree with you is that Simon is the ONLY person she cares or has compassion for. Just her primary, as the same incidentally with Simon.
But she shows plenty of fondness for Kaylee especially, for the Shepherd (returning his book, again somewhat apologetically), and for Mal. She feels the pain of those hurt by Miranda, is horrified by all the death.

Like I said, she's not a manipulative sociopath. I see her circle getting bigger though, once she's not always constantly overcome by everything screaming in her head, and is better able to operate a little more normally.

You seem to think she is only concerned for hers (and Simon's) preservation, right? I think I might meet you in the middle and say it's probable that's her primary concern. But I think even during the series and film, she doesn't lack at least some of that concern for the rest of the crew...

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Friday, December 31, 2010 2:57 PM

PLATONIST


...but she shows plenty of fondness for Kaylee especially, for the Shepherd (returning his book, again somewhat apologetically), and for Mal. She feels the pain of those hurt by Miranda, is horrified by all the death.



Agree, but like any 17 year old, she is focused on herself and thinks about herself, first. She may have a fondness for the crew, but she's lacking a significant amount of interpersonal skills. She never inquires about their overall being, her interactions with them are limited to shows of slight empathy (she does provide Inara with this in TLB) and a few metaphoric phrases which they perceive as random crazy talk.

Like I said, if the show would have continued, River's circle of care would have widened even beyond the crew. Her character would have still battled with inner demons, but at the same time, we would have seen more of the girl, as in the end of the movie. Just my take, and no I don’t think she would have ever been completely healed; it would have ruined the character.

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Friday, December 31, 2010 3:04 PM

FEARTHEBUNNYMAN


Well I don't really disagree with any of that :) I was just disagreeing with your disagreement that she doesn't have a kind heart underneath it all, and isn't capable of feeling remorse for her actions. But it doesn't seem like you fully disagree with that, just that you maybe interpret her as being further on one end of the spectrum (at this stage in time, i.e., the end of the BDM) than I do, and there's room for varying opinions there:)
Anyway, I'm off to get wasted, so thanks for the discussion and have an awesome New Years!

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