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Sound Masters: Serenity

Joss Whedon's television series Firefly first aired in 2002. Unlike Whedon's previous show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly was short-lived; but like Buffy, it became an immediate cult classic. And when the audience demanded more, they were given a continuation of Whedon’s space Western in film form with Serenity—which turns 15 years old today.

Like the series, the movie underperformed fiscally but captivated all those who watched it. In fact, Serenity was released to select theaters without a title, and it was left up to the fanbase to figure where and when screenings took place. Despite this, every screening sold out within 24 hours.


With multiple space fights and interplanetary travel, Serenity’s visual and sound teams had their hands full. It was also important that the characters themselves had a certain “Western” sound to them to contrast with the high concept sci-fi setting they’re in. But Joss Whedon never puts sound on the back-burner, and there’s plenty of it to go around in Serenity—the real challenge would be to find a scene where sound isn’t present.


Today’s clip is a prime example of the massive amount of sound needed to create this film. Listen to all the lasers and explosions fly by, as well as distinct sounds for each space ship. Let’s enjoy the film that solidified Whedon’s fanbase and created many other opportunities for him, with more to come!

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