JJ Abrams to helm Downton Serenity
It looks like the rumors are true; Fox and the BBC are collaborating on a reboot of the Firefly franchise that will focus on the period before the Unification War. Entitled Downton Serenity, the new show will focus on the early adventures of first officer Malcolm “Mal” Crawley aboard Serenity.
A synopsis of the first season had been leaked and copied below. Warning: spoiler alert!
Episode 1: Alliance aristocrat Robert Crawley, captain of the Firefly-class ship Serenity, and his two daughters, Inara and Zoe, are introduced to distant cousin Malcolm Crawley, now the heir to Serenity after the previous heir was lost in Reaver space, presumed dead.
Episode 2: Mal proposes; Inara declines. Mrs. Patmore, ship’s cook, worries about her new kitchen maid, River. Footman Jayne and lady’s maid O’Brien plot together against the new valet, Simon, who is on the run from the Alliance.
Episode 3: Inara proposes; Mal declines. Zoe finds herself falling in love with the ship’s chauffeur despite her father’s warnings. Reavers board Serenity, but are soundly repelled by Carson.
Episode 4: War. Mal and Zoe join the resistance over Robert’s strenuous objections. Jayne, frustrated by the life of a servant, enlists in the Alliance. Kaylee, ship’s mechanic, finds herself attracted to Simon.
Episode 5: Mrs. Patmore, sensing River’s great power, takes her on as a Padawan learner (and promotes her to assistant cook). Mal and Jayne meet in combat on the battlefield. Zoe intercedes and keeps them from killing each other, though both are injured; Jayne with a crippled hand and Mal worth an injury to a nerve cluster in his back that may prevent him from walking again. Robert wrestles with whether he is supporting the correct side in the war.
Episode 6: The war ends. Zoe tries to convince the apolitical chauffeur Wash that the Alliance victory will lead to tyranny. They become engaged; Robert is practically apoplectic.
Episode 7: Mal recovers from his injuries and becomes engaged to Saffron. In despair, Inara becomes engaged to Atherton Wing. Jayne betrays Simon to the feds. Robert grudgingly gives his blessing to Zoe and Wash.
Episode 8: Mal tries to convince Robert that as a freighter Serenity is unprofitable and recommends they turn to smuggling. Saffron, upon discovering that the Crawley family is in debt, disappears with Heinrich the security programmer. Inara dumps Atherton. Mal and Inara marry.
Episode 9: The bitter Atherton Wing takes Alliance fugitive Simon as his prisoner. Mrs. Patmore and River console Kaylee and then set off to rescue him. Zoe and Wash argue about whether to have a baby; meanwhile, Inara becomes pregnant.
Episode 10: Mrs. Patmore and Atherton Wing cross swords in an epic duel while River rescues Simon. Robert leads the crew’s first illegal operation, a train heist near Paradiso. Inara, shaken up from the train, travels to Ariel to have her child. An exuberant Mal, perhaps sensing his character’s dramatic arc is descending with his happy marriage, wrecklessly causes an accident with another ship while returning to Serenity…
JJ Abrams took a quick break on the set of the upcoming Doctor Who movie, which he is directing now that Disney has acquired the BBC, had this to say about the new series: “It’ll be great fun. We’ve taken at least three seasons worth of material and condensed it down into one. A lot of it won’t make any sense, but we think it’ll move too fast for people to notice.” When asked about casting, Abrams noted, “as the director of every major scifi franchise, I have excellent casting leverage. Who else could approach Nathan Fillion and tell him that if he agrees to reprise Mal, he can have his pick of playing either Khan Noonien Singh or the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia?”
Watch for Downton Serenity this fall on Fox in the US or on the BBC in the UK.