Inara Serra is a character from the science-fiction television series Firefly, created by Joss Whedon. She is played by Morena Baccarin.
Inara, born in the late 25th century on Sihnon, is a Companion, a high-society courtesan licensed by the Union of Allied Planets (the "Alliance"). In Alliance society, Companions are part of the social elite, often accompanying the wealthy and powerful. They have considerable ritual and ceremony surrounding their services, which appear to extend beyond sex to nurturing psychological and emotional well-being.
As of the end of the original Firefly series, most of what is known about Companions is derived from Inara herself and incidental discussions with and about other Companions and Companion-trained individuals. These sources suggest that Companion training includes social and physical grace, at least some performing arts, and psychology. Companions choose their own customers, and can have ungracious customers banned from any Companionship.
Inara was a rising member of Companion House Madrassa, possibly in contention for house priestess, when she suddenly and inexplicably left to travel the outer rim. She has suggested that she "wanted to see the universe".
Less than a year before the events of "Serenity" (the pilot episode of Firefly), she contracted with Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, captain of spaceship Serenity, to lease one of its shuttles as a combination transport and "office". This provides Inara with some mobility independent of Serenity, and Malcolm with some respectability that helps him open doors in the marketplace that he might not otherwise achieve as an ordinary smuggler. She and Mal have developed an unacknowledged attraction to each other which they resist, ostensibly for business reasons, and practically by jesting and sometimes hurtful bickering.
Inara has a number of frequent clients throughout the Allied worlds, and takes both male and female clients, although most of her clients are male.
Inara appears to be at least somewhat adept at swordplay ("Shindig"). In the movie Serenity, it is shown that she also may have been trained somewhat in the martial arts, and is skilled with a bow and arrow, apparently preferring them over firearms. In a proposed extended version of a scene from Serenity, in Inara's Companion montage, she was to be seen teaching the girls how to use the bow, but this idea was dropped, claiming that she appeared too much like "Wonder Woman". This is mentioned in the DVD commentary.
Inara is one of only three main characters in the Firefly / Serenity universe who express any religious/philosophical beliefs; she is Buddhist. The two other characters whose beliefs we know about are Book, a Christian Shepherd (priest), and Malcolm Reynolds whose faith in God was broken in the Battle of Serenity Valley.
In the audio commentaries for the series DVD collection, it is mentioned that there is a subplot for Inara which was not developed in the series or the film. The producers mention two foreshadowing events that hinted at this plot. The first is the syringe-like object that Inara looks at during the Reaver encounter in the pilot episode, and the second is hidden in the dialogue of the conversation she has with Simon when the ship is disabled in the episode "Out of Gas". The line most likely associated with this hidden subplot is her response to Simon's "I don't want to die [on this ship]," "I don't want to die at all," as the rest of their conversation is straightforward exposition.
- Actress Rebecca Gayheart was initially hired to play the part of Inara but was fired after only one day of filming. Joss Whedon said that there was a lack of chemistry between her and the rest of the cast. Morena Baccarin filmed her first scene the very day she was accepted for the role.
- Companion (Firefly)
- Serenity, a movie based on the TV series, was released in September 2005.
- Firefly — The Complete Series DVD set Template:ASIN
- specific episodes: "Serenity", "Out of Gas"
- Here's How It Was: The Making of Firefly: a 28-minute making-of featurette.
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