Firefly fans know that Wash had his dino figures set on his dashboard, but they held a deeper meaning for the pilot than just being simple toys.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Firefly: Watch How I Soar
BOOM! Studios have just released a new original graphic novel set in the Firefly universe entitled Watch How I Soar, an anthology collection featuring stories and tales all focused on Hoban “Wash” Washburne. Wash was the pilot of the smuggling ship captained by Malcolm Reynolds, and this new graphic novel shows Wash’s entire life flashing before his eyes right before his death. The individual stories go back to key moments in Wash’s past and even to what could have been had he not died in the Serenity film that followed the Firefly television series. One notable story in particular details the deeper significance behind Wash’s toy dinosaur figurines he kept on his dashboard.
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In the very first episode of Firefly, the fan’s first introduction to Wash sees him playing with a pair of dinosaur figurines in an extremely humorous scene that perfectly spotlights his light and laid-back personality among the other crew members aboard the Serenity. However, these were apparently no ordinary toys Wash was playing with while waiting for the crew to return to the ship with their salvaged haul. As one of the tales from Watch How I Soar reveals, the dinosaurs were a gift given to Wash from his father when he was a boy.
In the story entitled The Land, written and illustrated by Ethan Young, Wash is a young boy traveling the stars with Hoban Washburne Sr., his father. Trying to put some distance between themselves and the central worlds, the Washburnes travel from planet to planet, stopping when needed to repair their old ship that seems to be on its last legs. During a stop at a moon outpost, Wash’s father heads into town to find a way to get the money they need to fix their ship while Wash explores, eventually finding Dino World, a museum all about the prehistoric creatures that ruled in the Earth That Was. Wash is immediately enthralled, as he had never heard about dinosaurs before. When his father eventually finds him, Wash begs him to pay to see the dinosaur holo show, but they’re unable to afford it. However, the museum owner gives Wash’s father a box of dinosaur figures for free, which he gives to Wash as a gift.
As the father and son head back out into the stars above, Wash is playing with his new dinosaurs. Sure enough, he’s holding the same Stegosaurus and T.Rex he does in Firefly’s first episode, creating a narrative about the two dinosaurs sharing the land stretching out among them which they will call… “this land.” However, it’s revealed that it’s Wash’s dad who comes up with the idea for the “sudden and inevitable betrayal” by the T.Rex, as Wash was originally going to have the two dinos stay friends. Wash says that “shocking twists aren’t always great and sometimes they suck”, which can only be a reference to Wash’s shocking and sudden death in the Serenity film.
Learning that the dinosaurs were a gift from Wash’s father just makes the entire dinosaur scene from the first episode of Firefly that much better, if not also somewhat heartbreaking. It makes sense why Wash has always had the figures by his side and on his pilot’s dash. For Wash, the dinosaurs are invaluable and a token of his father’s love. Just like the rest of the stories in Watch How I Soar, The Land does Wash’s character great justice with the new details and history it provides, making him an even better character than he already was, while also making his death that much harder to bear.
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