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The 10 Greatest Anti-Heroes: #5 Malcolm Reynolds

March 17, 2010  |  10:05am
The 10 Greatest Anti-Heroes: #5 Malcolm Reynolds

TV Show: Firefly
Movie: Serenity
Actor: Nathan Fillion

When Joss Whedon created Malcolm Reynolds as the centerpiece of Firefly, he wanted a hero who is “everything that a hero is not.” Once a sergeant in the losing war for independence, Mal captains a team of misfits in smuggling operations on the edge of the galaxy. His main goal in life is to be left alone and avoid the Alliance government—until he discovers (in the movie Serenity), their heavy-handed plan to fix (i.e., medicate and subdue) the world, at which point he aims to misbehave. He’s broken, bitter and faithless. He’s also damn funny and the one person his crew can count on without reservation. Through his crew, Mal slowly comes to terms with what he’s lost in himself. As Nathan Fillion describes the team his character surrounded himself with: “In Wash, he has a lust for life and a sense of humor he’s lost. In Jayne, he has selfishness. In Book, he has spirituality. In Kaylee, he has innocence. Everybody represents a facet of himself that he has lost and that’s why he keeps them close and safe, and yet at arm’s length.” That dynamic complexity in Mal and in his interactions with the crew are what drew us to Firefly and how a TV show canceled midway through its first season sold 500,000 copies on DVD, launched a major motion picture, spawned two comic book series, inspired rabid fans still actively championing the show, and begat two collections of scholarly essays* and the forthcoming third companion book, Firefly: Still Flying.

  • These highly recommended books, Finding Serenity: Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon’s Firefly and Serenity Found, were edited by Jane Espenson, the wonderful writer and (co-) executive producer behind Caprica, Battlestar Galactica, Gilmore Girls and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    Malcolm Reynolds Quotes:

“See how I’m not punching him? I think I’ve grown.”

“You can’t open the book of my life and jump in the middle. Like woman, I am a mystery.”

“No one’s killing any folk here today, on account of we got a really tight schedule.”

Malcolm Reynolds Video:

Next: The 10 Greatest Anti-Heroes: #4 The Dude

Previous: The 10 Greatest Anti-Heroes: #6 Han Solo

The 10 Greatest Anti-Heroes: Introduction

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