Malcom 'Mal' Reynolds - The Captain (played by Nathan Fillion)
The son of a rancher (born on the planet Shadow), Mal fought in the Unification War for the Independents, a sergeant who wound up commanding 4,000 soldiers in one of the war's bloodiest battles, Serenity Valley on the planet Hera (Zoe served with him). After the war, Mal got as far away from the Alliance as possible, heading for the border worlds to scratch out a living. And for the captain of Serenity (named for that battle), no job is too big, too small, or too illegal, as long as it keeps his crew together and his ship flying: "our perfectly legitimate business enterprises."
Captain Reynolds fancies himself a master planner, stealing from the rich and selling to the poor, dancing between the top-heavy Alliance and less valorous segments of the interplanetary underworld, while trying to retain a soul that doesn't go to that Special Hell reserved for people who talk in movie theaters or cancel television shows before their time(approve sites). Mal doesn't fit in with the law-abiding Alliance crowd, but he's also a bit of a misfit among the people of the underworld — and therefore makes very few friends among either group.
Q & A with Joss Whedon
From the Browncoats website.
Why do you think that Mal's blend of harshness and undying loyalty to his crew make him such an appealing character to fans of the show?
Malís a leader. People respond to a leader because, quite frankly, they want to be led. A leader is somebody who does not always do whatís likeable and has to make decisions nobody else wants to make, and thatís the kind of character Mal is. Heís also clearly somebody whoís in pain - which people, I think, both respect and want to protect him from - and heís somebody who is not cut and dried and noble - he has a good quirk to him, a sense of whimsy, which is something that people also look for. The other thing about being a leader is loyalty to the crew is your first command; itís your first priority. Mal could not be a leader if his crew didnít know that what he was trying to do was keep them alive and whole and that he would never abandon them. Heís not just out for himself no matter how many times heís going to tell you that he is.
Notes on Mal's age, for updating the timeline (via [email protected]):
Mal was born on september 20, 2468. look closer at his DOB in the movie when the Operative is viewing his file. Look on imdb.com, search for "Serenity".
When the Operative reviews Mal's file, it shows his Date of Birth as 9/20/2468. 9/20/2002 is the day Firefly premiered. Coincidentally, 9/20/1968 is Firefly writer/producer Ben Edlund's date of birth.
- We're not gonna die. We can't die, Bendis. You know why? Because we are so very pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die. Huh? Look at that chiseled jaw.
- And I'd like to be king of all Londinum and wear a shiny hat.
- We'd be dead. Can't get paid if you're dead.
- This is not my best day ever.
- What? The doctor! Oh. Hey! Is there, is there a reward?
- Gettin' awful crowded in my sky.
- No, I'm not. I'm a mean old man.
- Oh... I'm a bad man.
- Well, we may not have parted on the best of terms. I realize certain words were exchanged. Also, certain... bullets.
- If I ever kill you, you'll be awake, you'll be facing me, and you'll be armed.
- We're still flying. (...) It's enough.
- And I'm thinkin' you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling, so why don't we just ignore each other 'til we go away?
- See, this is another sign of your tragic space dementia, all paranoid and crotchety.
- Well, they tell you never hit a man with a closed fist, but it is on occasion hilarious.
- Kaylee, what the hell's goin' on in the engine room? Were there monkeys? Some terrifying space monkeys maybe got loose?
- Wash, you have a stroke or something?
- Reavers ain't men. Or they forgot how to be. Now they're just nothing. They got out to the edge of the galaxy, to that place of nothing, and that's what they became.
- It's a real burden being right so often.
- Looks like civilization finally caught up with us.
- If I didn't know better, I'd think we were dangerous
- Resupply, look for work, move along. We sniff the air, we don't kiss the dirt.
- I never back down from a fight.
- Sure, it's humiliating. Having to lie there while the better man refuses to spill your blood. Mercy is the mark of a great man. (Stabs Atherton in the side.) Guess I'm just a good man. (Stabs him again.) Well, I'm all right.
- See how I'm not punching him? I think I've grown.
- See, morbid and creepifying, I got no problem with, long as she does it quiet-like.
- That's good. You lie there and be ironical.
- What's "sanguine" mean?
- Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
- Yeah, but she's our witch. (Cocks gun) So cut her the hell down.
- Well my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.
- Whoa! Hey! Flesh...
- Whoa, good Bible.
- It's been a while -- a long damn while -- since anybody but me took ahold of my plow.
- Oh, I'm gonna go to the SpecialHell.
- But she was naked! And all... articulate!
- Honey, I'm home.
- Can you conjure up a terribly compelling reason for me not to [kill Saffron]?
- You wanna tell me how come there's a statue of you here, lookin' at me like I owe him somethin'?
- Let's go get our wayward babes.
- It's my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of sumbitch or another.
- You are very much lacking in imagination.
- I need that in Captain Dummy talk.
- Everybody dies alone.
- Well. Looks can be deceiving.
- Offering to shoot us might not work so well as an incentive as you might imagine.
- Zoe, I'm paying you too much.
- You all gonna be here when I wake up?
- The patients were cynical and not responding and we couldn't bring them back.
- Pupils were fixed and dilapidated --
- Look, you got a little stabbed the other day. That's bound to make anyone a mite ornery.
- Just once I'd like things to go according to the gorram plan.
- Ah, the pitter patter of tiny feet and huge combat boots. SHUT UP!!!
- Probably not talk quite so much.
- We're starting a book club?
- You want to meet the real me now?
- Haven't you killed me enough for one day?
- No! No, it's not!
- I know it's a difficult mission... but you and I... have to get it on.
- Yep. That went well.
- You [Saffron] and lipstick are a dangerous combination, if I recall.
- Can't miss a place you've never been.
- This is my scrap of nowhere. You go on, find your own.
- Well, who in the damn galaxy ain't [Saffron's husband]?!
- Unless... it looks likeÖ we're stealing your priceless Lassiter, 'cause... that's what we're doing. Don't ask me about the gun, though, 'cause that's new.
- No one's killin' any folk today, on account o' we got a very tight schedule, Yo-Saff-Bridg.