Seventeen years ago, the space Western drama created by Joss Whedon, Firefly, started its criminally short run on Fox. Set in the year 2517, the series followed the crew aboard a Firefly-class spaceship named Serenity. With an ensemble cast of nine memorable characters, Joss Whedon’s trademark mix of humor, action, and heart, and an incredibly loyal and devoted fanbase, Firefly gained cult status.
Aside from generating such a loving fanbase, the show also served to launch the careers of the cast. Today, we decided to check in on the crew of Serenity and see what they’ve been up to these days.
9 NATHAN FILLION – MAL REYNOLDS
Despite its short run, Firefly has a cult status and Captain Reynolds often finds himself among the best TV characters ever created. Captain Mal Reynolds was Nathan Fillion’s first starring role and it, indeed, made him a star.
Fillion’s natural charisma and likability no doubt contributed a great deal to the character’s popularity. Mr. Likeable had no difficulties finding acting gigs after Firefly’s wholly unmerited cancelation. He’s done eight seasons of Castle, a comedy web series Con Men with Firefly co-star Alan Tudyk, and had various cameos on both the small and big screen. At the moment, you can catch Fillion on ABC’s The Rookie where he stars as the oldest rookie on the police force. Fillion is charming and funny as ever and the show itself is an enjoyable watch.
8 GINA TORRES – ZOË WASHBURNE
Captain Reynolds’ second-in-command, both in the Unification War and aboard Serenity, Zoë Washburne was played by the amazing Gina Torres, who possesses an uncanny talent for portraying tough-as-nails characters. Zoë was a force to be reckoned with and one of the best female characters on TV.
Other than Firefly, Torres is best known for her portrayal of Jessica Pearson on USA Network’s legal drama Suits. Torres is every bit as awesome in the courtroom as she was fighting Reavers. Torres’ character was popular enough to spawn a spin-off series titled Pearson set to premiere in 2019. The show will follow Jessica as she enters the realm of Chicago politics.
7 ALAN TUDYK – HOBAN “WASH” WASHBURNE
Zoë’s husband and the pilot of Serenity, Hoban “Wash” Washburne will be remembered for his dry humor, hilarious one-liners, and the most adorable relationship he had with his wife. Portrayed by the incredibly funny and likeable Alan Tudyk, Wash was a fan-favorite.
After Firefly, Tudyk appeared in a lot of TV shows, including Dollhouse and Powerless, and movies, especially Disney movies. Most recently, he voiced KnowsMore in Ralph Breaks the Internet. Tudyk will be playing Mr. Nobody in DC’s upcoming web series Doom Patrol. The series is set after the events of Titans and sees the Doom Patrol take a life-changing mission from Cyborg.
6 MORENA BACCARIN – INARA SERRA
One of Serenity’s small shuttles is rented by Inara Serra – a Companion, high-society courtesan licensed by the Alliance. The stunning Morena Baccarin portrayed Inara, which was her first television role. Following the show’s cancelation, Baccarin starred on shows like V and Homeland, and most recently Fox’s Gotham.
On Gotham, Baccarin portrays Dr. Lee Thompkins who started out as a kind medical examiner but her life took a sharp turn when she decided to date Jim Gordon, as it does. Last we saw her, she was dead, but won’t remain that way since we know she’ll be back for the final season. Apparently fond of comic book adaptations, Morena Baccarin also played Vanessa in Deadpool and voices Gideon on The Flash.
5 ADAM BALDWIN – JAYNE COBB
Portrayed by the 6’ 4’’ Adam Baldwin, the brutish, but surprisingly sensitive, Jayne Cobb was an imposing figure even without his trusted shotgun Vera. But this mercenary with a sick sense of humor will perhaps be best remembered for his unique interpretation of the concept known as the chain of command.
Though Baldwin is mostly known for his work on Firefly, you may also remember him from NBC’s Chuck where he portrayed an equally dangerous character – Colonel John Casey. Most recently though, Baldwin starred on TNT’s The Last Ship which followed a crew of 218 lone survivors of a global viral pandemic aboard USS Nathan James.
4 JEWEL STAITE – KAYWINNET LEE “KAYLEE” FRYE
The heart and soul of both the show and the ship Serenity, Kaylee is one of the most wholesome characters you’ll ever encounter. But Kaylee’s also responsible for some of the show’s most hilarious moments, like when in the middle of a deadly battle against the Reavers she hilariously proclaimed she won’t be dying before she gets to finally be with Simon.
The talented mechanic was portrayed by Jewel Staite who described the character as someone who wears her heart on her sleeve. Since Firefly’s cancelation, Staite has appeared on numerous TV shows, including Castle, Blindspot, and Arrowverse’s Legends of Tomorrow where she appeared as Ray Palmer’s distant relative.
3 SEAN MAHER – DR. SIMON TAM
In the very first episode, Captain Reynolds’ crew picks up three new members, including Dr. Simon Tam and his younger sister River (at the time, hidden in a pod). Throughout the show, Simon’s awkward attempts at flirting with Kaylee made us cringe and laugh at the same time. He kept finding a way to foil his attempts at romance, much to Kaylee’s irritation.
To this day, Sean Maher is best known for his portrayal of Dr. Simon Tam. However, he has since appeared on Arrow as Shrapnel, starred on NBC’s The Playboy Club, and he’s voiced Dick Grayson in a number of animated movies.
2 SUMMER GLAU – RIVER TAM
Summer Glau made a name for herself by starring in numerous sci-fi television shows – Firefly, The 4400, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Dollhouse, and Alphas. However, she definitely made the strongest impact with her portrayal of Simon’s erratic sister, River Tam.
Other than the many sci-fi shows we already mentioned, Glau has also appeared on Arrow as Isabel Rochev, aka Ravager, and she’s also made cameo appearances on her Firefly co-stars’ shows Castle and Chuck. Her next project is Netflix’s crime drama Wu Assassins where she will be playing Miss Jones. The series follows a young chef who discovers he’s the Wu Assassin who has to gather the powers of an ancient triad.
1 RON GLASS – SHEPARD BOOK
Ron Glass, may he rest in peace, portrayed the mysterious Shepard Book who joined the crew aboard Serenity at the start of the show. Though he opposed violence, Book was highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat and firearms. When asked about what the Bible had to say about killing, Book hilariously explained that it’s very specific on the topic but “somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps”.
Ron Glass died in 2016 and had one of his final appearances on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where he portrayed Dr. Streiten – the man who performed the controversial procedure that saved Agent Coulson’s life.