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The last TV episode of Firefly, "Objects in Space", features a bounty hunter named Jubal Early who boards the Serenity with the intent of kidnapping River and claiming the bounty on her head. When I watched the episode, I thought that was just a funny name, but today I learned that there was a US Confederate general called Jubal Early.

Why was this Firefly character given the name Jubal Early? Did the showrunner have some interest in that US Civil War figure? Is the name intended to reflect his character or personality somehow? Is there any reason, either explicitly stated by the people involved or reasonably deducible from facts and context, for this name being chosen?

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Hat tip to Valorum for the find; the source of this quote is Firefly: The Official Companion, Volume 1, by Joss Whedon and Abbie Bernstein, which makes this a canonical source.

The Wikipedia page for Jubal Early replicates the quote as:

The bounty hunter in "Objects in Space", the final episode of Joss Whedon's series Firefly is named Jubal Early because Joss Whedon was told that Early was an ancestor of Nathan Fillion, who played the main character Malcolm Reynolds.

Essentially the same quote appears on Nathan Fillion's IMDb page, so this must be reasonably close to the original text.

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    I'm holding off upvoting until you source that (hint, Firefly Companion Vol. 1)
    – Valorum
    Feb 24, 2021 at 9:16
  • The name may be inconsequential. In a phone conversation with Joss, it was suggested by Tim Minear that they have a Boba Fett type character (mis-pronounced by Minear as Bobby Fed I believe). the story was about "River and her powers discovered" and the villain came later.
    – Kerr Avon
    Feb 24, 2021 at 17:40

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