Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 4-16-2018

Document Type



Linder, Laura. The Music of "Firefly" and "Serenity": The Development of Codes and Themes for a Better Understanding of Character. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2018.


Copyright Laura Linder 2018


A comparison of the music written for Joss Whedon’s television series, Firefly, and the following film, Serenity, reveals some key stylistic differences, especially in the ways each score codes specific characters. Greg Edmonson wrote the score for the television series, while David Newman wrote for the film. Though their scores are noticeably different in scope, Newman does draw influence from the style set by Edmonson in the original series. The original score featured several eclectic styles and sounds that shaped how the characters were presented. These choices present Mal as a heroic cowboy, the Alliance as a grandiose villain, and River and the Reavers and mysterious Others. In the film, several revelations change the way that these characters are viewed, and the music is likewise changed. A change in orchestration shows Mal and his crew growing from minor rebels to a grand heroes and establishes the complex nature of the villains. Newman’s use of sounds established by Edmonson creates a unique connection between River and the Reavers, underlining a key plot reveal in the film.