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Firefly finally getting Unification War backstory with all-new comic series

Contributed by
Jul 2, 2018

One of science fiction fans’ most heartbreaking unrequited loves will be at least partly satisfied this fall, when the Firefly era kicks off at Boom! Studios with an all-new comic series that zeroes in on the Unification War backstory — a heavily referenced yet little-known past that helped forge the identities of characters we came to love in Joss Whedon’s all-too-short-lived Fox TV series.

The new ongoing series will delve into the pre-Serenity days of the Firefly crew, giving shape to the tormented hidden pasts of Captain Malcolm Reynolds (played by Nathan Fillion in the 2002 TV show) and First Mate Zoe Washburne (played by Gina Torres). 

Boom! Studios teased out a first look Monday, giving us a much-welcomed glimpse of Mal and Zoe back in action:

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Boom! Studios

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Boom! Studios

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Boom! Studios

Writer Greg Pak confessed to Entertainment Weekly he’s always loved the world Whedon created, and welcomes the opportunity to explore it further.

“One of the things I love about the show is how much is implied about the world but not fully explained or explored,” Pak told EW.  “…They brilliantly took the time and care to layer in plenty of mysteries and curiosities for later exploration. And I think that’s why the show’s been so great for follow-up comics: There’s so much room to tell new stories that deepen the world and the characters in genuinely significant ways.”

Although the new series is definitely going to put Mal and Zoe front and center, Pak said he loves all the Firefly characters and doesn’t really isolate any of them in his mind when it’s time to sit down and create.

“On an emotional level, we’re probably going to dig the deepest with Zoe and Mal in this story,” he confided. “But it’s funny — when I think about writing this book, I never have just one or two characters in my head. Every time a scenario starts to form, I get excited about the interactions and dynamics of all of the principal characters. That’s the glory of the work of Joss Whedon, his creative team, and the amazing actors… So they’re all my fave, and I can’t wait to see them drive each other crazy in the story we’re putting together.”

Set in the years immediately preceding Mal’s post-war life as a survivalist space vagabond aboard the go-anywhere Serenity, the Unification Wars pitted the haves and the have-nots in a fight for resources that, Firefly always implied, didn’t have to be so scarce. Mal and Zoe fought side by side during the short conflict and remained together afterward, but they largely wore their battle scars on the inside during Firefly’s 14-episode run, as well as in Whedon’s series coda, the 2005 feature-length film Serenity. 


Written by Pak and illustrated by Dan McDaid, the new comic marks Boom! Studios’ first Firefly treatment since acquiring the rights from Dark Horse. It’s not the only time the comics have elaborated on Firefly’s universe beyond the TV show, but it’s the first real trip we’ve taken that explores how Mal, Zoe, and hopefully even more characters ended up valuing their freedom — even the hardscrabble, one-day-at-a-time kind — above all else. 

Are you on board for this all-new Firefly adventure? Look for the new series from Boom! Studios, which lands in comics stores beginning this November.