Captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds

(played by Nathan Fillion)

Originally born on a ranch on the planet Shadow, Mal became a volunteer Independent fighter and sergeant in the Unification War (“Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly Character)”). He commanded 4000 troops and met Zoë at Serenity Valley on the planet Hera, where the Independents’ loss became a turning point of the war (“Fireflywiki ‘Malcolm Reynolds’”). Mal named his ship after this event.

Mal is usually gruff, but sometimes his rough sense of humor is shown. He does not claim to have morals and openly denounces God, but a sense of right and wrong can be seen in his actions. Significantly, he only differentiates right versus wrong rather than legal versus illegal. For example, he steals a cargo from an Alliance train, but when he discovers that it is medicine for a plagued settlement, he delivers the medicine free of charge (“Firefly”). Mal is hardened and is not afraid to kill, but many times he makes decisions based upon practical morality and honor (“Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly Character)”). For example, sympathizing with the Tams and allowing them to board his ship was a compassionate rather than a tactical decision. As the series persists, he seems to lose some of these high ideals and kills more often in cold blood. Although he firmly establishes himself as the authority of the ship, Mal is intensely loyal to his crewmates, and, as seen in episodes such as “Out of Gas”, vaules the lives of his crew over his own (“Firefly”).

Mal’s relationship with the Companion Inara is composed partially of annoyance and partially of deep affection; however, they deny any feelings for each other, even though their close friendship, playful banter, and openness suggest otherwise. As the season progresses, he becomes increasingly protective of her, even though she is capable of defending herself. He even fights a duel to defend Inara in “Shindig” (“Shindig (Firefly Episode)”). When Mal confronts Inara about his feelings for her “Heart of Gold”, however, Inara quickly changes the topic and announces that she will be leaving Serenity (“Heart of Gold (Firefly Episode)”). There are no other women in Mal’s life except for one sexual evening spent with another Companion, Nandi, Inara’s close friend (“Heart of Gold (Firefly Episode)”). Ingra dismisses this action as inconsequential, but privately shows emotional pain.


Nathan Fillion

Nathan Fillion is a Canadian actor who has acted in a variety of television shows including One Life to Live and Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. He was also ‘Minnesota Ryan’ in the film Saving Private Ryan. Fillion is the winner of the “Outstanding Young Actor Award” for the Daytime Emmys in 1997 and the "Cinescape Genre Face of the Future Award - Male" award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films in 2002 (“Nathan Fillion”).







General Plot Summary



Thematic Content

Structure and Significance

Critics and Links




Last Modified 24 April 2006

Created by Julie Rooney
Contact me