Despite Nathan Fillion's Mal being front a centre of most of the show's advertising and artwork, Firefly had always been an ensemble effort. Luckily, all the cast members returned for the movie instalment with Zoe (Gina Torres), Wash (Alan Tudyk), Jayne (Adam Baldwin), Kaylee (Jewel Staite), Simon (Sean Maher) and River (Summer Glau) still on the ship, and Inara (Morena Baccarin) and Shepherd Book (Ron Glass) having departed since the series' finale.
Despite the strength of the cast, and various member's rising TV profile, it was still a film full of unknowns, and everyone involved seemed to know it would make the movie a hard sell. However, the story would remain that of the ship's captain, Mal, told intermittently from the perspective of their unstable house guest, River.
All of the performers do an outstanding job of re-inhabiting the characters they had brought to life on TV. Summer Glau deserves particular mention, as she did her own fight sequences with a mixture of martial arts and ballet, using her experience as a dancer to learn the extensive routines.
This River is a little more sinister than the lost little girl we followed during the course of the series, but her eventual victory rings true to both interpretations and she never loses her humanity despite essentially being a glorified plot-device. The rest of the crew are sidelined in pursuit of a coherent narrative, but everyone's natural affinity with their characters helps them remain present, if not centre stage.