Firefly Has A Sneaky Alien Easter Egg You Probably Missed

Fans who watched "Firefly" when it aired on Fox for its one and only season must feel really justified these days. The network aired the episodes out of order and canceled the show before the entire season had aired, and yet its appeal is undimmed all these years later. Watching it now, it's almost comical how they could have missed how brilliant the series was. Sure, there are some things in the 2002 space Western that didn't age well, including the alleged actions of its creator Joss Whedon. Still, it created a whole new version of the quippy patter conversation style that went beyond what Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" gave us.

The show has gained cult status over the years, with fans called Browncoats gathering at conventions some two decades after "Firefly" premiered and the release of the 2005 film "Serenity," which essentially served as the series' second season. "Firefly" references have ended up in a whole lot of pop culture. Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) were huge "Firefly" fans in "The Big Bang Theory," with Summer Glau, who played River Tam, appearing in an episode. Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) in "Community" were fans as well. Nathan Fillion, who starred as Captain Malcolm Reynolds, later went on to dress as his "Firefly" character on the TV show "Castle," claiming it was his "space cowboy" Halloween costume. Even "Battlestar Galactica" managed to sneak the spaceship Serenity into the background of a scene.

However, what you might not have noticed is that the "Firefly" pilot episode has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it "Alien" franchise Easter egg, as noted in a no-longer-available story on SYFY (via Cheatsheet and Giant Freakin' Robot).

The Battle of Serenity Valley

If you recall, the "Firefly" pilot episode (which is titled "Serenity," just like the series' follow-up movie) began in the middle of the Battle of Serenity Valley, where Browncoat soldiers were fighting against the Alliance. The battle is going badly when then-Sergeant Reynolds picks up a big cannon. On the heads-up display (HUD), you can briefly yet clearly see the logo for the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, the big bad from the "Alien" franchise. The tech company is pretty much the definition of an evil corporation, where human life is cheap, and money is the only focus. Their primary goal is to get a sample from a Xenomorph and turn it into a bioweapon.

"Firefly" and "Alien" are both set in futures with space travel, but there's actually another connection between the two properties. That would be Joss Whedon himself, who co-wrote the script for the 1997 sequel "Alien: Resurrection." That movie is set in the year 2381, with "Firefly" taking place in 2517. It seems to indicate that these two franchises at least share in the idea of an evil conglomerate that makes weaponry and that the company has lasted for centuries. 

If you want to do a rewatch, "Firefly" is currently streaming on Hulu.