Inara's secret.

UPDATED: Saturday, June 6, 2009 10:50
VIEWED: 22754
PAGE 4 of 4

Thursday, May 28, 2009 11:33 AM


I have just been rendered a puddle of mushy goop. Aww.

But what about canon reasons?


Friday, May 29, 2009 4:32 AM



Originally posted by Bytemite:
Why does Inara pretty much say she's going to stay to Serenity, if nothing about her condition has changed?

After studying the shooting scripts and thinking about Inara my best analysis relates that:
1. She was born on Sihnon, always intended to be a companion, and never planned to leave.
2. Her medical condition was a supreme shock. She left because of it. The details of why this had to happen are not explained.
3. As educated as she was, she had learned much about the 'verse which prompted curiosity. In an effort to find a silver lining in her situation, she left Sihnon to discover what was out in the black.
4. Her time with Serenity's captain emotionally changed her in ways she never thought possible. The Inara that "Supported Unification" from the OOG flashback is not the Inara who chooses to leave after Heart of Gold.

From the Shooting Script of the Pilot episode with underlines added by me:


We are close on INARA's face. She is being made love to by an eager, inexperienced but quite pleasingly shaped young man. She is beneath him, drawing him to his climax with languorous intensity. His face buried in her neck.

Oh... Oh.... oh my god...

He tightens, relaxes, becomes still. She runs her hand through is hair and he pulls from her neck, looks at her with sweaty insecurity. She smiles, a worldly, almost motherly sweetness in her expression. He rests his head on her breast, still breathing hard.

INARA (cont'd)
Oh my boy...


Inara and her client are seated on cushions, close to each other with their legs entwined, sipping tea from small cups. She has a robe on.

Sihnon isn't that different from this
planet. More crowded, obviously, and
I guess more complicated. The great
city itself is... pictures can't
capture it. It's like an ocean of

Is that where you studied? To be a

I was born there.

I can't imagine ever leaving.

There is but half truth in her reply, and a hint of weariness.

Well, I wanted to see the universe.

My cousin hopes to become a
Companion. But I don't think the
academy will take her unless her
scores come up.

It was the languages I struggled
with. And music, at first.

You play beautifully.

Thank you.

He looks down at his cup a moment.

Do you really have to leave? I
mean... I, my father is very
influential, we could... I could
arrange for you to be with...

She smiles that knowing smile again, just a tinge of sadness in it. He doesn't continue.

What the shooting script does not convey is the artistic "look away" that Joss brought to this sequence. When the client says "I can't imagine ever leaving" we "hear" Inara reply but we "see" her looking away in regret. This was a Whedon storytelling device to call attention to her true feelings on the matter even though her smile is practiced and patient.

Also this script helps add value to my belief that Inara is older than she looks. Her frequent patient & sad eyes are those of a woman who has been around the block more than a few times.

To answer the question of why Inara is on Serenity, the line above "I wanted to see the Universe" is the valid inital reason. I don't believe Inara is a character that would lie and so I believe her statement is 100% true. But the underlying new reason she is traveling is obviously for her growing love of Mal. The shooting script addresses this by calling the statement a half-truth. It's true because her education led to curiousity. It's false for two reasons:
1. Given an uncoerced choice she'd never have left Sihnon at all.
2. Her interest in the 'verse has been reciently supplanted by her interest in a cargo ship captain.

I need to end this post with a general question. Does anyone see as I do just how freakin perfect Firefly is? These scenes are in the pilot episode. Joss is a writer with vision. I never felt at one point in the 14 episodes that Joss was shooting from the hip as I do with shows like Lost. Firefly was an albatross. There are other things buried in the pilot like Book's statement to the barker in the evestown docks "I'm not a Grandpa" that further astound me at how well thought out the story was.


Sunday, May 31, 2009 2:09 AM


I agree completely. Firefly was just something special and we will never see anything like it again. Every time I watch it or find out something new about the characters I'm just awed by the subtelty of what Joss Whedon does. Nobody else even comes close to his level.
The fact that so long after it has been made it is still being discussed in such depth by its fans is a testament to that. I mean we're all still finding out new things about the characters and the 'Verse which to me is amazing.


Friday, June 5, 2009 11:34 AM


I've just caught up with this thread, after a long time out of the 'Verse.

And I'm sitting here twitching,'cos I've just seen my lost fic ideas on the screen. (A computer crash killed my entire work.) Book the dirty ex-cop, Inara's medical nasty (which I had started to use as an idea in my last posted Zen II fic, if anyone noticed)...

I knew there was a reason for the headaches. Joss is storing his spare ideas in my head when he's not using them.

Oh, and an answer to how folks see Jayne ending up? Sheriff of a town called Halliwell, on the planet Hecate.


Friday, June 5, 2009 11:51 AM


Really Space? that would have been an amazing insight to read, because I don't remember anyone covering this new revelation and material with proper justice, post BDM, except Cliosmuse, 2x2, Alliase, Bytemite, and a few others, since Morena's revelation and Joss's confirmation.

I don't know if this would fit in your verse though, it's horrendously sad and serious.
Go with and see what you could do, I'd love to read it:)


Friday, June 5, 2009 1:26 PM


I've been following this thread and really enjoying everyone's ideas. I am glad to know the truth about Inara's health. I didn't know until this thread directed me to the You Tube video. But I have to admit I was both shocked and saddened by it. I had heard this theory before but I hoped it was wrong.

***The following ideas are my theories about Inara's backstory and what ultimately happens to her.***

I agree with other posters that Inara is older than she looks. She kind of has an "old soul" quality to her. I can't remember her age as determined by her dossier on the Serenity Blu-Ray extras, but I'm sure a detail like a date of birth could be changed to match her very youthful appearance by an organization as powerful as the Companion's Guild.
My theory is that Inara experienced the worst possible side effect of an anti-aging skin care regimen. Companions in particular would be encouraged to do everything possible to always look their best, so Inara started using a popular anti-aging regimen recommended to her by other women and her physician. This anti-aging regimen acts by replacing telomerase in the body. Telomerase protects the telomeres from shortening, which slows the aging process. However, telomerase can also increase the risk of cancer by extending the lifespan and ability of cells to replicate for much longer without dying. There are actually skin care products on the market today that target telomeres. Jan Marini and Revive are two companies that currently have these types of products on the market. Joss Whedon may have been well aware of this when he created Inara's character and backstory.
Poor Inara is shocked and devastated when she is diagnosed with cancer. It wasn't like she was taking human growth hormone injections. She was just using a serum on her skin that had been in use back on Earth That Was. Reports of it causing cancer were extremely rare. Her doctors won't even say that they think it was the skin care regimen that caused her cancer, but Inara is convinced that it is.
Inara decides to fight the cancer aggressively, and the Guild covers the health care costs of its members. She leaves Sihnon and decides to see the universe with the remaning time she has left. She is instantly drawn to Serenity and the handsome Captain Reynolds. She forms meaningful relationships with all members of the crew. But the Guild expects its members to earn a certain amount of money each month and pay them 50% of those earnings. I noticed in the episode The Message that Inara receives a letter via post. I think the Guild sent that letter as a formal notification that she was not earning as much money as they expected her to and that all of the privileges of being a guild member(such as health care) were at risk as a result. In the episode Trash, Inara speaks to Mal with great urgency and concern about her not having had a client in three weeks. When she is able to book a client in that episode, she actually books a few. In the episode Heart of Gold, Inara finally realizes just how deeply she cares for Mal and it scares her. She knows that the longer she stays, the harder it will be for her to leave, and she tells Mal this. As much as she would like to pursue a relationship with Mal, she can't possibly afford the medication and care she needs to fight her cancer without being a member of the guild, so she leaves. But her feelings for Mal make it too hard for her to continue to see clients, so she ends up working at the Traning House. After the events of the movie Serenity, Inara realizes how much she missed Serenity, Mal, and the rest of the crew. But she can't leave the guild and continue to fight her illness. And she can't dump something like this on Mal. She knows he would never have enough money to help her if she left the guild to be with him. So she starts taking offworld clients occasionally while working at the Training House, and sneaks off to see Mal whenever she can. Eventually, she can no longer hide the progression of her cancer and she tells him the truth. Mal is angry, hurt, and heartbroken, but ultimately convinces her to leave the guild and live out her remaining days on Serenity with him and the family she has found and should never have left.


Saturday, June 6, 2009 10:50 AM


I love to read everyone's theories, and this one makes me wonder...did Mal steal and sell the very medicine Inara needs to stay alive while they were on Ariel? Oh, how ironic that would be.

And, I agree it makes sense that Inara needs to work for the Guild to continue her medical coverage. In Better Days she still has to work while the crew holidays after they become rich. She's really caught between a rock and a hard place (OK... no pun intended).






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