The Firefly and Serenity Database
Jubal Early
Biographical information


Eye color


Hair color



Bounty hunter

Ship(s) captained or crewed

Thunderbird-class Surveyor

Jubal Early is a bounty hunter who boarded Serenity with the intention to kidnap River Tam in return for a bounty.

Personality and traits[]

Early was athletic and adept at unarmed combat. He was given to rambling on philosophic matters in the middle of tense situations, frequently asking, "Does that seem right to you?" He may have been hard of hearing or easily distracted, as he repeatedly misheard what others were saying to him. When River Tam read his mind, she revealed that he was a sadist, who tortured his neighbor's dog as a child. This is directly contradicting his own words, when he stated that he doesn't enjoy harming people. He also implied he would rape Kaylee Frye if she did not do as he told her, and used the same threat of raping Kaylee when he dealt with Simon Tam.

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind[]

Jubal appears on an Alliance starship, forced to kill the guards in front of the captain's office before affirming his intention to hunt down Serenity. After sharing a meal with the captain and his XO, he explains that he'll let someone else lead him right to Serenity. Sure enough, a member of the New Resistance ran his mouth and Jubal stow aboard their starship. Once the New Resistance made contact with Serenity, Jubal killed the entire crew, excluding their leader Bea, who was onboard Serenity, before planting a bomb to destroy her ship. With River in a medically induced coma, he proceeded to capture Mal, Simon and Bea while locking Jayne and Inara in their rooms. He then asked about the fate of Shepherd Book, Wash, and Zoe only to learn that the first two are dead while the latter had been captured by the Alliance.

Jubal was then overpowered by Kaylee, who freed her friends and chained up the bounty hunter. She threatened to torture him, bringing tweezers within an inch of his eye before stopping, admitting that she was trying to scare him. He gets dropped with the rest of the trash when Serenity leaves the snowy planet where Mal picked up the Operative.

Behind the scenes[]

Jubal Early was portrayed by Richard Brooks for the episode. Joss Whedon's DVD commentary for this episode reveals that Early was partly inspired by the Star Wars character Boba Fett, and Early's spacecraft (especially the interior) shares a resemblance with Fett's spacecraft. He shares his name with the Confederate Civil War General Jubal Anderson Early, from whom Nathan Fillion has claimed to be descended.

He is armed with a custom pistol in "Objects in Space" (S01E14). It fires bullets, but is only fired once on screen while fighting with Simon. It appears to be a larger version of Jayne's holdout pistol.

At the end of "Objects in Space", the crew leaves him floating through space. His fate is unknown. Early has the distinction of uttering the last lines in the Firefly television series as he floats through space: "Well... here I am."

According to Joss Whedon, Early survives the episode[1]; he was evidently considered as the antagonist for the film Serenity, The Operative being used instead when Brooks was not available.



Notes and references[]

  • Richard Brooks is most well known for is portrayal of character Paul Robinette on the show "Law and Order." This is a character he has played in 69 episodes.