The Whedon Formula: Why the Characters of Firefly and Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Would Get Along a Little TOO Well

By on February 19, 2014

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said the Whedon brothers and sister-and-law/wife when they were planning Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  It seems that the crew of the Serenity has an awful lot in common with the S.H.I.E.L.D. team aboard the Bus. Not that we’re complaining! As devote Whedonites, we welcome more-of-the-same… and besides, there’s enough variation to make the new show new – not the least of which is the freakin’ Marvel Universe! We’re just saying… you know… there are more than a few similarities.


[Not so much for Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., because it’s still pretty young and there’s not much to spoil, but yes very much so for Firefly and the film Serenity… But honestly, why haven’t you watched Firefly and the movie final chapter Serenity yet? Seriously. This can’t be the first time you’ve heard how amazing they are. Quit stalling and do it right now… literally!  They’re streaming on Amazon!

Firefly on Amazon Instant VideoSerenity on Amazon Instant Video

And while you’re at it, check out Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and make your own comparisons.

Watch Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Amazon Instant Video


Firefly-Marvel Agents of SHIELD

Can you tell the difference?

The Whedon Formula:

1. The Right-Hand Woman

Zoe Washburn-Melinda May

She’s tough, she’s capable, and she’s always there to help out the leader when he needs her. (You might even call her the “Cavalry.”) She’s Melinda May… but she’s also Zoë Washburne. Behind every great man is a great woman, and that’s somewhat of a law in a Whedon story. It seems that these bad-ass beauties are sometimes even more capable than the men they follow – how many times has Zoë saved Mal’s ass and has Coulson ever flip-kicked anyone? Nope.  But the Right-Hand Woman’s relationship with her leading man is strictly professional, and we like how neither took the predicable romance route and instead looked elsewhere for their love interests (though they didn’t look too far).

2. The Love Story Between the Doctor and the Mechanic

Firefly Marvel Agents of SHIELD Romance

Grease and gears. Blood and bones. It’s all about knowing how they fit together, and that’s why doctors and mechanics understand each other. To be fair, Fitz and Simmons are an engineer and a biochemist (respectively, as the point is to get them confused), but come on… potato, potahto. While one’s working on the ship’s engine or a new gadget, the other is curing a gun wound or an alien disease. The point is they all have extensive knowledge beyond a normal person’s… and yet they can’t fully understand this emotion known as “love.”


3. The Reavers and the Centipede Projects

Reavers-Centipede Project

An unstable science project unleashed numerous overly-aggressive soldiers that our heroes have to fight? Oh, the folly of man… Did the Clairvoyant learn nothing from what happened at Miranda? (Or vice-versa? Choose your own chronology.)


4. The Resident Bad-Ass

Grant Ward-Jayne Cobb

Here we have the most diversity in the personality, as Ward is almost nothing like Jayne. In fact, the only thing that they do have in common is they’re both bad-asses. The bigger (and more fun) question is… Who would win in a fight?


5. The Wild Card


She wasn’t supposed to be on the ship/plane, but now that she is, no one knows what to expect! She’s the Wild Card, and her mysterious past is one of the strongest driving forces of the series! Whether she’s hacking computers or shooting bad guys with her eyes closed, one thing is clearly evident… there’s something a little different about this girl.


6. The Fearless Leader

Agent Coulson-Mal

At times he’s stoic, while at others he’s quick with a joke. He’s got a thick skin, but also a tenderness towards the people following him. He’s a sentimentalist who dreams of simpler times long past. Yet one thing about him never changes… he’s the one in charge! Malcolm and Coulson, the top dogs, the ones that call the shots. Their personalities are fairly similar, but their ideologies are vastly different! After all, one is a lawless libertarian and the other is a by-the-books bureaucrat!  So we leave it to you, fellow Whedonite, to answer our final question:

If Malcolm and Coulson met at a bar, would they get along? 

6.5 – What about Inara?  We guess she most closely resembles… the Cellist.

About Matt Ellis

Freelance web writer. I like science, comics, and long walks on the beach. I write and draw this webcomic in crayon.

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