Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In Firefly, we are introduced to the Reavers; humans who were claimed to have reached the edge of space and went mad from seeing the endlessness of it all. Causing their entire mental state to degrade into primal rage and fury that haunts the entire galaxy of the Firefly Universe.

However, we find out in Serenity they were the 0.1% of the population of Miranda that acted conversely to the Pax gas agent, causing them to go insane.

My question then comes back to, how did they keep the mental status to be able to pilot starships and go on raiding parties instead of tearing each other apart? What is it about being a Reaver that makes them immune to each other's rage?

share|improve this question
The same could be asked about most Zombie movies, where mindless Zombie hordes pursue single humans instead of eating each other. (Exception: Zombies that only eat braaaaains) – atticae Feb 7 '13 at 18:34
Yeah, but Zombies don't have an awesome backstory like Reavers :P – TylerShads Feb 8 '13 at 15:31
BTW, “the entire galaxy of the Firefly Universe” is just one solar system (though with many Earth-link planets and moons). – svick Feb 17 '13 at 0:35
I think of them as the velociraptors in Jurassic Park: ruthless but cunning killers that work together for a common goal (so to speak). – Michael Itzoe Feb 18 '13 at 16:01

Personal theory-

They are like a different species from humans. As other carnivorous animals, they don't eat each other. As some carnivores live in a pack they also live in a pack. They didn't even take interest in dead humans similar to some scavengers. They are anti-social and brutal but still they show some intelligence as driving ships,so they are not dumb and they have little intelligence to know who are their one kind.

They are similar to other Movie characters like were-wolves, vampires, Aliens, predators etc. who also exhibit similar characteristics.

share|improve this answer
I'd agree with some of it if it wasn't depicted a lot that Kaylee and Wash work together a lot to man their one ship, wheras Reavers seem to control a whole sector of space, with a lot of advancement initself. – TylerShads Feb 6 '13 at 19:07

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Whedon wasn't able to fully explain the back story to the Reavers. Whedon originally planed on stretching the universe of Firefly over years, including a video game. If you watch Done the Impossible (a fan documentary), Whedon says the plot of the film was intended to continue from where the show left off but also be easy for non-fans to understand. In full, I don't believe there is a way to answer this question.

share|improve this answer
This is also a good point considering the show's fate. – TylerShads Feb 15 '13 at 13:12

While Wheedon provides no real answers here, nature may bring some insight into view. I would suggest the Reavers were not "insane" so much as hyper-sensitive and overly aggressive. They would probably still have a hierarchy and order to their way of life. There would still be some type of "chain-of-command" where as to keep them in order. In the movie Riddick, they "keep what they kill" - seems this might apply here as well?

share|improve this answer

It's almost like pheromones. If you don't exude a certain secretion or smell you are perceived as in this case a target. That's why they don't (assumption) attack each other. The opposite effect for zombies. The living put out a certain something that attracts the walking dead or undead as the case maybe.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.