The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or often simply the MBTI, is a personality test designed to classify individuals as being one of 16 different types. The test is most often used to help managers and other decision-makers to better understand the strengths and needs of their teams but has become increasingly popular outside the business world for its depth of insight and positivity.
Sure, not every type is represented on Firefly but this rundown ship of space cowboys boasts a rich tapestry of extroverted and introverted personality types – each of whom has their own strengths, weaknesses, and mighty damn quirks, too.
So, who’s who? Let’s dive in and find out…
Malcolm Reynolds (ESFP)
“That’s ‘cause I got people with me, people who trust each other, who do for each other and ain’t always looking for the advantage.”
I know what you’re thinking; Captain Mal Reynolds is a commander, not an entertainer! And, sure, I can see why you might think that – but hear me out.
Mal is bold, strong, and at his utmost best when he has to improvise in the moment – be that physically or, like, y’know… with a witty retort or something. He believes in the ‘verse he can see and feel, and doesn’t like to waste time on Shepherd Book’s philosophical what-ifs. And he’s not just some petty criminal, despite what he might have us believe; he’s the sort of Big Damn Hero that puts on a show for everyone watching.
Like all entertainer personality types, Mal is surprisingly emotional and VERY vulnerable to criticism (just ask Inara!). And it’s well worth remembering that, despite his penchant for mischief and “shoot first, ask questions later” hijinks, his fun-loving exterior belies a soft inner world of feeling. Believe me; his care for others runs DEEP, and it’s actually his unwavering adoration for his Firefly family that fuels him and inspires him each and every single day of the week.
Throw in the fact that he always throws himself at any problem to solve it in the moment, and you have a textbook ESFP: Mal is the undeniable entertainer of the good ship Serenity, and that’s probably why we all love him to little pieces.
Zoe Washburne (ENTJ)
“First rule of battle, little one: Don’t ever let them know where you are.”
Mal may not be our textbook MBTI commander, but, thankfully, someone else on Serenity is.
Hell yeah, I’m talking about Zoe Washburne!
A natural-born leader, Zoe positively radiates authority and charisma – and she’s renowned for maintaining an almost eerie level of calm, all whilst thinking strategically and coming up with the sort of plans that will undo the chaos that has almost definitely been wrought by the rest of the crew that same day. Maybe that same minute, even.
Essentially, Zoe is the kind of person who rises to every challenge and smashes it, seemingly without even having to try too hard. And all of this contributes to her authentic confidence, which in turn makes her a truly dynamic lover – the kind that’s always coming up with new ways to express her affection to her husband in a manner befitting a total badass (see, for instance, the moment she demanded Mal take the helm so that Wash could fulfill her desire to “tear all my clothes off”).
All hail Zoe, then, for being the commander we didn’t know we needed. Or, rather, the eternal perfection we never actually deserved. Fact.
Shepherd Book (INFJ)
“I think everybody could stand to calm down a bit.”
Say hello to the rarest and most precious personality type of all; it’s Shepherd Book, our beloved INFJ and advocate!
Shepherd is the sort of person who radiates calm, which means that he’s brilliant at deescalating emotionally-charged environments – a skill which, as you can probably guess, comes in incredibly handy onboard Serenity. And, idealistic and principled, he finds joy in acting as a force for good in the ‘verse, which means that, yes, he takes tending to his “flock” very seriously indeed.
This means that Shepherd naturally stepped into the role of the ship’s father figure the moment he came aboard, gently guiding everyone else aboard towards the path that will see them evolve into the best versions of themselves. Y’know, eventually.
If you’re looking for someone, then, who’s approachable, contemplative, intellectual, AND compassionate, you need Shepherd in your life. Hell, what am I saying? We all need Shepherd in our lives! And that’s why (spoilers) the events of the Serenity movie still sting so badly.
Inara Serra (ENFJ)
“You’re lost in the woods. We all are. Even the captain. The only difference is, he likes it that way.”
Let’s face facts; Inara is the definition of a ‘protagonist’ personality type. She’s passionate, for starters, and ridiculously charismatic. She’s diplomatic, too, and a shrewd negotiator. And she’s always incredibly vocal about her values – which means that, yes, this altruistic “ambassador” (to coin Mal’s nickname for her) will always speak the hell up when she perceives something as unjust or wrong.
To put it in sci-fi terms, Inara is an empath, which, sure, makes her very, very good at her job as a Companion. It also means, though, that nothing brings her a deeper sense of joy and fulfillment than guiding her friends and loved ones to grow into their best selves – particularly when that friend/loved one is Mal Reynolds. Sometimes, sure, she pushes him too hard. And sometimes, sure, she comes across as… well, a little hyper-critical, which leads to him feeling resentful or unfairly judged. But it’s all those clashes and flying sparks that amp up the sizzle between these two, making them one of the most shipped duos in all the wide ‘verse.
Fingers crossed he eventually deserves this perfect protagonist, eh?
Hoban Washburne (ENTP)
“Is there anything else on your mind that I should know about? There’s all sort of twists and cul-de-sacs. It’s wild.”
Easily the funniest person aboard Serenity, Wash is the king of making a joke of every situation – within reason, of course; ain’t nobody messing with his beloved Zoe!
Our seasoned pilot is as quick-witted as he is playful, which makes him approachable as hell. No wonder, then, that he gets along with basically everyone on the ship. Thankfully. Because Wash is also the sort of guy who’s more than willing to challenge conclusions made by others in the group and enter into a little friendly high-spirited debate – even when tensions are running skyscraper-high.
Unlike some ENTPs, Wash understands the value of consideration and compromise – largely, in part, due to his magnificent relationship with Zoe; they may disagree at times (usually about the captain), but they always have each other’s backs. And this means that their romance is the kind that wows everyone thanks to its strength, depth, and spark. So much spark.
Basically, Wash is a thoroughly entertaining leaf on the wind. And we love nothing more than to watch him (sob) soar.
I’m sorry. It’s still too raw.