As part of NaNoWriMo 2018, the Let’s Write team embarked on a month-long deep dive into what a hypothetical follow-up to Firefly/Serenity could look like.

Envisioned as a 10-episode mini-series for a streaming or premium cable network (with plenty of room for more, of course), this “second season” of Firefly is set 15 years after the events of the movie.

We brainstormed the story over the course of three podcast episodes, culminating in us writing a full script for the first episode of the season. You can find all of that linked here.

As big Firefly fans though, this wasn’t quite enough to really scratch that itch for us. So as a follow-up, we sketched out an outline of what the rest of the season would have looked like, accompanied by illustrations by Julian.

All nine of these were originally posted to our Let’s Write Twitter and Instagram profiles, and you can now see all of them collected below.

This certainly won’t be the last time we revisit this universe, so keep in touch with your own thoughts and ideas. Until next time, keep on writing!

Episode 202 – “Rubicon”

The crew comes to grips with the fact that Inara is now an Alliance envoy. Although they are initially distrustful of her, she eventually convinces them to a

secret facility on Rubicon where she reveals that River contacted her a few years prior to inform her of the renewed Reaver threat.

The Alliance has been tracking it ever since, prepping for the inevitable invasion. To Mal, this is unacceptable, as it’s more evidence of the Alliance not only tampering with human subjects, but also withholding information about their failures from the public, failing to disclose her escape, etc. Inara cools his nerves by presenting him with the facts: If they don’t join together to combat this threat, Alliance, Browncoat, it won’t matter; the Reavers will destroy modern human civilization.

This tense reunion is interrupted by an attack on the city. The team rushes to the scene, fearing it’s Reavers. What they find instead is that it’s been perpetrated by the resurgent Browncoat movement that has been gaining traction the last few years. Mal heard rumors of their tactics but assumed it to be Alliance spin, but now, face to face with a team of radical anarchists, Mal begins to wonder if the lines between the two factions are less defined than he once thought. The terrorists have stolen intel and are attempting to broadcast the message of the renewed Reaver threat, having encountered them at the fringes of the ‘Verse. Agreeing that this would yield widespread panic, the two sides work together to chase the terrorists through the metropolitan jungle of Rubicon.

They manage to catch with the terrorists, giving Mal an opportunity to confront the leader of the team. He recognizes Mal and Zoe as a great war heroes, borderline deities to the New Browncoat Movement before he kills himself with cyanide. Mal and Zoe further grapple with the weight of their “legacy.”

Episode 203 – “Silence”

Under a heading provided by River, the Firefly crew embark on a mission to find and protect another former Alliance test subject.

Unfortunately, they know almost nothing about this “Subject 18”, only that he or she took refuge in a remote monastery some years ago, after an Alliance/Browncoat battle on the planet inadvertently freed a number of imprisoned individuals.

Complicating things further is intel that an agent of the enemy is likewise on the hunt, giving the crew a limited window of opportunity to identify and rescue the subject.

The crew pose as monks to infiltrate the compound and eliminate any threats. They encounter difficulties however upon learning that all of the monks have taken a vow of silence.

A muted game of cat-and-mouse occurs, as the crew match wits with an assassin who has likewise embedded himself in the monastery.

The crew successfully thwart the assailant, and are surprised to learn that the individual bears the ritualistic scarring indicative of a Reaver.

They are even more surprised to learn that the Alliance test subject is only a child, who had been rescued by some of these monks on a pilgrimage, and kept safe by them ever since.  They decide to leave the child in the monks’ care, and continue on with their mission.

Episode 204 – “Across The ‘Verse”

The crew docks on a populous planet to refuel and resupply. Hobie becomes frustrated when Zoe won’t let him join the crew for shore leave, and sneaks off the vessel. He learns that on this planet, his father was something of a celebrity, having been a successful pilot in an underground racing league.

While trying to learn more about his father, Hobie is manipulated by a sleazy promoter into taking on Wash’s old racing identity, and enters into a ludicrously dangerous annual event called the “Death Circuit.”

Meanwhile, River tasks Kaylee and Simon with tracking down a young prodigy, who might be yet another Alliance experimentee.

In the episode’s b-story, Jayne inadvertently inherits a noodle shop and finds that an honest day’s work might just be a little too much work.

Zoe and the Serenity crew find out about Hobie’s entry into the race and rush to intervene. At the last minute, Hobie decides to drop out of the competition, having learned that his father did the exact same thing. Something about this helps connect him to his dad, turning Wash from this legendary hero, into a very human figure, with very human failings. Zoe and Hobie make up, and bond over a bowl of Jayne-cooked noodles, with Zoe sharing stories of the man that was Wash.

Episode 205 – “A Boat With No Sail”

After the events of the previous episode, the crew of the Serenity is on its way to a new planet to meet with River’s contact. In the middle of the journey the ship suffers a mechanical failure and is left drifting towards their destination on emergency power.

With nothing to do but wait until they arrive, the crew’s boredom quickly turns to conflict as old feelings begin to spill out. The crew confronts Mal about why he kicked them off Serenity so many years ago.

After heated discussion, we learn that Mal pushed people off the ship and stranded them because he realized they would all put themselves in danger to protect him and he couldn’t deal with or be responsible for that. Their cathartic conversation is interrupted by the ship taking a turn for the worse. The crew is forced to work together again to save the ship and their lives.

With the ship now safely stabilized and their destination just a few hours away, Mal discovers that the source of their mechanical issues was a simple case of a few wires being disconnected, coincidentally residing near River’s old haunt in the engine room. Suspecting her intentional interference to get the crew to work together again, he smiles but keeps the information to himself.

Episode 206 – “Not Their Man”

The Serenity seeks refuge on a backwater planet to undergo repairs. Seemingly by chance, Mal and Inara run into a ghost from their past… the still very much alive Jubal Early.

The pair are captured, but are surprised to learn that Early wasn’t there for them at all. Early’s true target is revealed after Mal and Inara are rescued by a mysterious figure: The Operative. He’s been in self-imposed exile since they last saw met.

River convinces the Operative that he still has a chance to craft that “better world” he dreamt of. Reluctantly, the Operative joins the crew of the Serenity, aiding them in avoiding a cleverly laid trap by Jubal Early.

Episode 207 – “Ultimatum”

A new lead brings River and the crew to a seemingly abandoned space station on the fringes of Reaver space. The crew discovers that it’s actually a refugee colony, hidden off the grid from both Alliance and Independent intelligence.

A former Alliance test subject set up the colony years ago during the worst of the fighting, and has been overseeing it ever since, keeping the population safe until they can find a permanent home. However, the renewed Reaver threat has led to an unexpected influx of new residents, taxing their already strained resources.

The crew explores the facility, meeting people and listening to harrowing tales of the enemy they face. They encounter a few familiar faces from their past travels, now left homeless. The gravity of the threat facing the ‘Verse sinks in and the crew finds themselves struggling to remain optimistic.

Things go from bad to worse when the Reaver Queen herself suddenly arrives with a fleet, knocking out the station’s life support. She delivers an ultimatum to the entire station: hand over River and she will repair their life support and spare them.

The crew scrambles to devise a plan and protect River from those who would turn her over to the Queen. Kaylee manages to repair the life support with the help of Hobie, but they soon find themselves in a fight for their lives when the Reaver Queen unleashes her full fury.

In a climactic confrontation, both River and the Reaver Queen are gravely injured, forcing the Reavers to retreat. River is left comatose and on the brink of death, when she suddenly unleashes a wave of psychic energy that affects the entire crew on the Serenity. Their fate is left uncertain.

Episode 208 – “River’s Song”

After the cliffhanger ending of the previous episode, we pick up with each member of the crew seemingly waking up in strange, new realities… ones in which they had never met each other. Presented with visions of alternate lives for themselves, they are forced to confront the consequences, good and bad, of the choices they’ve made that have led them to where they are.

Mal and Inara encounter visions of a life together with a family, free from the pressures of leading those who depend on them. Zoe and Hobie are confronted with a future where Wash is alive and well. Jayne grapples with the lonely existence of the mercenary life he led before meeting the crew, Simon struggles with the career and life he could have led outside his devotion to his sister and Kaylee finds an alternate path in which she had never left her home planet.

It becomes clear that each of their sacrifices and decisions were integral in the development (and often, the survival) of the crew as a whole. Gathering that they are trapped in River’s subconscious following her psychic meltdown in the previous episode, the crew unites to navigate a scrambled series of moments in her past, from her childhood to her time being experimented on by the Alliance, to her adventures after leaving the Serenity.

In a final memory from her time with the Alliance, the crew discovers the root of the Reaver Queen’s motivation. Much to our surprise, we learn that not all of the Alliance test subjects were forced into the Academy program. The Reaver Queen, a woman named Hope in her former life, was a promising Alliance operative who joined with full knowledge of what it would do to her. She believed that unlocking her full potential could help bring about a better society, worth whatever her own personal sacrifice would be.

Upon the completion of her training, she was given a single directive which was burned into her deepest subconscious: restore peace to the universe. She went comatose for several days as her mind ran the possibilities on how to accomplish this, and upon waking up, she broke out of the Alliance facility, commandeering a vessel and piloting it to Reaver space.

The crew struggle through River’s subconscious and manage to reach her. River awakens to say that she understands what the Reaver Queen, Hope, is trying to do. The crew prepares a risky gambit to stop her once and for all.

Episode 209 – “Leaves On The Wind”

With River recovering from her injuries, the crew of the Serenity must carry on her mission without her. With time running out, they split up. One half races to find an enclave of Alliance test subjects abducted by Hope. The rest of the crew must rally a combined Alliance and Browncoat fleet. Jayne takes charge of the Browncoats while Inara gathers the Alliance. They meet on a neutral moon, and after initial tension and resistance to the idea of working together, Mal shows them evidence of the threat they are facing and urges them to unite.

They form a Coalition to face down the Reaver threat and prepare a plan to separate Hope from her forces, believing that eliminating her will send the remaining Reaver forces into disarray, making them easier to dispatch.

Before they can begin their plans, however, a Reaver scouting party is sighted on the moon and a high-stakes chase ensues across the marshlands of the moon, the Coalition forces determined to eliminate the scouts before they can pass word of their plan back to the Queen.

One of the scouts escapes and the Queen shifts her focus to the Coalition, determined to bury them before they can organize their resistance.

“It don’t matter what color your shirt is anymore. The past is done and buried. All that’s left is forward and forward means through. Don’t fight for your government. Don’t fight for your friends. Don’t even fight for your family. Fight for humanity. Because them out there? They’re the lack thereof and that is our future, sure as the planets turn, ‘less we stand tall and do something about it.”


Episode 210 – “Watch How We Soar”

It is revealed that Mal and crew’s plan was a misdirection, intentionally leaked to the Reaver scouts with the goal of drawing Hope’s focus and buying time for the rest of the crew to reach the enclave, knowing their best hope of victory is River and her associates.

River reveals Hope’s true end-game. She has spent the past decade attempting to reverse engineer the Miranda chemical agent, trying to fix what went wrong the first time. However, after many years she realized that she’s missing a key piece of research… one that was the result of the work done on River Tam, the last subject to go through the Academy program.

Hope needs what’s in River’s head, literally, and her Reaver invasion and attacks on the other Academy subjects have actually been a calculated effort to draw River out of hiding.

With their backs against the wall, the Coalition lures the Reaver forces in between the two moons and begin their assault. Jayne commands the primary forces, Hobie comes into his own as he leads a squadron of fighters into battle. The Operative leads a successful strike force to liberate the Alliance test subjects, at the cost of his own life.

Despite these initial success, the Reavers unleash the unfinished Miranda virus, decimating a significant portion of the Coalition’s forces. On the verge of defeat, River and co. infiltrate Hope’s command ship, crashing it on one of the moons. Amidst the wreckage, River pleads with her to surrender, as the Coalition represents a major step forward in the pursuit of a true peace. Hope states that no human peace will ever last, their species must become something new.

The two clash, and after a back and forth fight, they appear to be at a stalemate. River points out that this violence will lead nowhere; Hope’s fleet is in tatters, and her stockpile of the Miranda agent has been wasted. Hope surprises River by revealing that she has one last sample.

Hope purposely infects herself with the last of the Miranda agent, knowing it will put her into comatose-like condition, but preserving the nearly-complete virus inside of herself. In her final moments she tells River that humanity’s last chance for peace is in her hands.

With their leader gone, the Reaver fleet falls into disarray and are defeated. In the aftermath, the Serenity crew and their allies pull themselves together and mourn their losses. River and her associates, now fully revealed to what’s left of the Coalition, vow to help establish a new status quo in the ‘Verse to ensure lasting peace and prosperity.

In a brief epilogue, we end where we began: the crew prepares for the imminent nuptials of Mal and Inara. The wedding take place at a beautiful locale on Inara’s homeworld of Sihnon, but the crew returns to the Serenity for the reception. After a series of warm toasts and speeches, Mal and Inara take to the floor for a first dance just as the Serenity’s power shuts down, leaving everyone in the dark. Mal swears and we cut to black.

… As the credits conclude, we hear the beeping of a heart rate monitor. Hope is alive and being kept on life support. River watches over her, deep in thought.