The timeline page on wikia for Firefly seems to indicate that Serenity takes place sometime after the TV series, but having watched the TV series and the movie, this doesn't make sense.

Serenity (the movie) opens up with River Tam being sprung from the Alliance facility. I can accept this as a "flashback" but this obviously takes place before the story that takes place during the TV series. However, after the opening sequence during the landing scenes leading up to the first job, the interactions between Simon and Mal do not match up with those at the end of the TV series. It was well established at the end of the TV series that Simon and River had earned their place on the crew of the Serenity - this is stated pretty much in these words by Mal to each of them on multiple occasions.

However, during the first job, River's mind reading abilities are well developed and controlled, which follows on well from the last episode of the TV series.

Furthermore to add more confusion, Wash dies at the end of the movie - so this portion of the movie obviously takes place after the TV show.

With this in mind, where exactly does "Serenity" (the movie) take place during the Firefly timeline?

  • Simon and Mal's interactions are strained in the film due to the inclusion of River in a mission which was against Simon's wishes and almost got her taken by Reavers. Hence Simon was absolutely livid to the point of punching Mal. Mal does not take orders from anyone on his own ship and rarely backs down unless lives are at stake hence things escalated until they were thrown off the ship.
    – Stefan
    Jul 1, 2013 at 11:32
  • I'd have to watch the movie again to be sure but my recollection was that escape sequence was a security camera recording being played back. I seem to recall someone pausing the video as they were being pulled up out of the building and some dialogue about Simon breaking River out due to love.
    – Erik
    Aug 30, 2016 at 23:42

1 Answer 1


The Serenity film was made to wrap up the story. They included the opening flashback scenes to explain what happened at the planet. They further wrap up the story with the crew from the last episode having worked together for some time (since the last episode).

Apart from the flashbacks, the movie is set completely after the series. I'm not sure which interactions Simon-Mal you are talking about. They have a clear conversation in the beginning in which Simon states that he has done enough (by being a doctor on board the ship). Their discussion is more to show the authority of Mal still conflicting with the protective nature of Simon.

  • Another thing that comes to mind is that the events of the TV series supposedly happen over the duration of a year, yet in the movie it's quoted as 8 months - it certainly doesn't happen "years" after the TV series
    – user1887
    Jun 29, 2013 at 21:21
  • 2
    I don't know anymore if some time gets stated, just going by the events in the movie is enough to set it after the series
    – Origin
    Jun 29, 2013 at 21:53
  • In addition, Simon and Mal's interaction is exposition. Their lines are phrased in a way that a third party (the viewer) can infer things and learn about the backstory. Keep in mind that the movie had to be accessible even to those who hadn't (yet) watched the TV show, or who don't fully remember it.
    – Flater
    Sep 25, 2018 at 8:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .