November 16th, 2008

Map of the Verse

I couldn’t be more thrilled to (finally) announce (and reveal the big secret I’ve been hinting at for over a week) QMx’s most ambitious project to date: The Complete and Official Map of the Verse.

Over two years in the making, the Map of the Verse measures 25 inches by 38 inches and is printed on both sides of a sheet of 65 lbs cover stock (believe me, we needed the space). It documents the names, positions, sizes, populations and other never-before-published details of the 215 terraformed planets and moons orbiting the five star systems that comprise The Verse of Joss Whedon’s Firefly and Serenity.

The Map of the Verse encompasses every bit of information about the Verse we could lay our hands on. It not only includes all the worlds from the show and movie, but also extended canon from licensed products and even a few from popular fan fiction. A team of researchers including folks from The Signal Podcast and other luminaries of the Browncoat community worked diligently on the science of The Verse, factoring in distances, orbits, masses, stellar classes and a lot of other astrophysical stuff that frankly made my head hurt. It was our goal that The Map of the Verse makes sense – scientifically and in terms of story continuity – and thanks to the help of many, many dedicated people, I think we were able to come pretty close to achieving that goal.

We also considered the politics of The Verse in constructing the map. We tried to answer questions like why Hera was so important that the loss of a single battle there could end the war decisively: Turns out Hera orbits a protostar (along with Shadow and Sturges) that rides the inner edge of The Border and is an ideal jumping-off point for travelers going to The Core or out to The Rim. In combination with Persephone – which orbits a stellated gas giant on the outer edge of The Core – Hera/Persephone form a kind of “airlock” between The Core and the rest of the Verse, making it a target of great strategic importance.

And that’s just one detail the team – including map designer Geoffrey Mandel who created the maps you see in the movie – considered as they constructed this model of the Verse.

The Map will be available for the first time next weekend at the Creation Serenity Convention in Burbank, CA and then shortly thereafter on the QMx website. We’ll be offering the map in two forms – Z-folded roadmap style for $26.95 and hand-rolled and inserted into an archival tube for shipping and storage for $34.95. It’s also worth noting that Margaret Weiss Productions has endorsed the Map and we expect they’ll be using this Verse model in future Serenity Role-Playing Game supplements. (By the way, if you haven’t gotten a copy of the Serenity RPG, you should. It’s a fantastic read, even if you don’t roleplay!)

With literally thousands of details I could ramble on all day about the map and all it encompasses. But, rather than do that, I’ve prepared a little gallery of images for you to ponder:

So, what do you think? Big enough for ya? ;-)


58 Responses to “Map of the Verse”

  1. Steve Rees says:

    Holy Cow. Thanks to one and all. This is shiny.

  2. Chris says:

    Wow. Nice I have been waiting for this. Thanks. That’s crazy big… now I can plan my takeover of the verse. ;)

  3. john vaughan says:

    ah, …WOW… ya that about sums it up

  4. keelhauler says:

    Sweeeet! The colors are striking! Fantastic work! I’ll be getting both the folded and non-folded versions! Awesome!!

  5. jonesy says:

    Fantastic job!! What do you think that Joss thinks about all this? I hope that Margaret Wiess can get the rights to do more Serenity products. Keep up the great work.

  6. mike says:

    Awesome, I am running out of wall space at work for all this cool stuff. the Blueprints already line my walls I might have to take down a boring NASA poster or something. great job.

  7. Christim says:

    Beautiful job. As you mentioned the RPG, I wonder how folks will make use of this concerning travel times. I know that is something various people have come up with in the past…how long would it take to get from one planet to another, at varying times of their orbits. I posted a link back to here in this thread:

  8. William Pace says:

    What can one say that would add or take away from Geoff’s fantastic representation of the team’s efforts? The first words that sprang to my mind were elegant and superb, but these fall short. Not that any one word fails on its own, but there is a mood to the piece that transcends definition. It makes me think of younger years when I poured over maps of my own solar system, anxious to see the placement and revolution of Earth among her many neighbors. How does one describe the simple, unique feeling one experiences when pondering the great expanse at an age too young to comprehend it? I know that I’m waxing poetic to the point of sounding moony, even ridiculous, but when the image first came up, I was seven again. Perhaps in the end the word I’m searching for is…wonder.

  9. jonesy says:

    When is this going to be available to order?

  10. Akin says:


    I really hope I’m able to see you, Andy, next week… things are a mess down here. At least one friend of mine lost basically everything he owns so far, save what he was wearing and his car… including all his 501st and Firefly/Serenity costumes and gear. Nasty business, these fires…

  11. darthviper107 says:

    Wow, this is great. I’m working on a project and really needed this stuff. And here it is! Great job folks.

  12. admin says:

    Hi Scott – I’m very sorry to hear that. Please extend our best wishes to your friend and if you/he can make the show, I’ll be sure to set something shiny aside for him to help restart his collection (free of charge, of course). No one should be without their shinies, especially during trying times.

    We just drove back through the fires around Route 5, and they were pretty amazing (in a bad way). I certainly hope this all gets under control soon…

  13. Akin says:

    Ahhh, disregard the email I sent, then… my knowledge of ways to get to LA without using freeways isn’t needed!

    I’m not sure if he’ll be able to make the con, now, but I’ll pass it on…

  14. Atom says:

    Boy did I call it, I must admit that the dual sided printing is disappointing, that means I can’t mount it like all the other QMX posters I’ve got. :(

  15. Jim in St. Louis says:

    First, all of our thoughts and prayers go out to those that have been affected by the fires in the LA area.

    Second, were all glad you made it home safely Andy!!!!

    Third,,,,,, WOW! It WAS worth the wait. These look like genuine NASA prints of our solar system. Such deep, rich and vibrant colors and what detail. Like the blue print set, it will take weeks to take in all of the information presented.



  16. Mary E. McKay-Eaton says:


    Whoa. Totally AWESOME map!

    I’ve got to get my friend to buy this for me at Creation Con. Thanks so much, Andy. You and everyone who worked on this map just defy description. There aren’t any words that can pay proper justice for what you’ve done. Thank you-thank you-thank you!

  17. Donnovan says:

    Beautiful work.
    Will there be any support documents included with the map? I’d love to know the thoughts behind the choices made for it.
    Or maybe a Signal interview where all that can be discussed?

  18. Dibbzy says:

    Very nice. Got enough picture for a calender there. lol

  19. darthviper107 says:

    Once you’re well into the line you should do a making-of DVD, that would be interesting to see the process of all the stuff you make.

  20. admin says:

    Hey there -

    Going to try and answer everyone’s questions, but first – thank you!!! Geoff and I were just talking this evening about how overwhelmed we’ve been by all the positive feedback. When you spend this much time sweating over every tiny detail, you sometimes lose the Verse for the planets, so to speak. Seeing you guys loving this is about the best reward we could ask for.

    Okay, so, first, to answer several folks on availability: The map will be available for order off the website on November 24, day after Creation Con. Only reason it’s not going up sooner is our fulfillment team will be working the booth in Burbank ;-)

    Atom – the reason we went double-sided was to make the map as affordable as possible, but still maintain very high quality. The map is *huge* and as such, we wanted the heaviest stock possible. 65lbs cover stock is double the weight of the 100lbs text stock we usually use for posters (I know, it’s strange, but text stock is measured differently than cover stock is). Those two things combined make the poster much more expensive to produce than our usual poster.

    If we had printed the front and back as two prints, it would have doubled the cost to get the whole map. This way, if someone wants both sides for reference or really only wants to display one, they don’t have to pay for a second print. And if someone wants to display both prints, then it won’t pay anymore buying two two-sided prints than they would have if we’d printed them separately.

    BTW, after reading Jim’s comment, one other thing I should mention – each planet was modeled individually based upon that planet’s backstory. So, each planet, sun, protostar and gas giant image is like an individual painting.

    Donnavan – the plan – as soon as I catch my breath – is to post the extensive white paper J. Chris Bourdier wrote on the science behind the Map of the Verse. Chris was one of our most prolific researchers and is a hardcore and dedicated Browncoat.

  21. TVChick says:

    Cool about posting the paper. I don’t have the urge for this map (though I TOTALLY see why people do). But I sure would love to read the paper about the science of it all. :)

  22. Taurin says:

    …ah…ah…ah…>>can’t talk brain overloaded with happiness<<

  23. Nick Edwards says:

    It is rather of the Awesome isn’t it?

    Couldn’t believe it when I first got a look at the finished thing a few day ago. The full inventory of planets and moons on the back was amazing enough, but the front is simply stunning. Very proud to have played a small part in it’s creation. Lovely lovely job.

    And as to Signal interviews with Andy…well, keep listening to the feed!

  24. oldduffer says:

    Outstanding effort and result, you “done good” boys! :)

  25. Benjamin says:

    Shouldn’t the Blue Sun be the center sun?

  26. admin says:

    Hi Benjamin – You might think so, but it was explained to us that Blue Sun Corp was so named because it’s aspiration was to “touch the farthest reaches of The Verse”.

  27. Christim says:

    Have you ever gotten the chance to handle/use a laminated folding map? I was thinking about those who might want to use this in a RPG context and that would be perfect for letting all sorts of people handle it. Those sorts of maps are quite durable…and stain proof.

  28. admin says:

    (response also posted on the SerenityRPG board)

    Hey there Christim – we looked at laminating; but it turns out unless you’re printing 10s of 1,000s of maps it’s a very expensive process and would have driven the price way above the comfort zone for a lot of Browncoats (there’s a reason why most laminated maps are a lot smaller than 25×38!) There’s also the issue that lamination degrades color and print readability. This map has *a lot* of color and teenie, tiny details in it that would have been obscured by the lamination process.

    We also looked at some exotic papers, such as duraprint which looks and feels like paper, but actually behaves more like nylon (aka, you can’t tear it). We went pretty far down this path until we saw print samples – the ink was distorted and looked blurry. There was also a cost factor here, as well – although not as expensive as lamination, it still cost 4x even the heavy card stock we went with. While Browncoats may have been willing to pay $60 or even $100 for this map, we really didn’t want them to have to.

  29. darthviper107 says:

    I agree about the price deal. I was surprised at the low price. Seeing the quality of the other printed collectibles shows this will be really great.

  30. Veyron says:

    Stunning. Simply stunning.

  31. Linoge says:

    Wow. That is simply amazing. And, me being the cartophile I am, something tells me I will be snagging one when they come available. Thanks for the effort on a beautiful product!

  32. Thomas D says:

    Just curious with the Serenity and Firefly IPs shuffling around recently, but is this an officially licensed product?

  33. admin says:

    Hi Thomas – not entirely sure what you mean about IPs shuffling around, but yes, the map is officially licensed with Universal.

  34. EmpireX says:

    Oh! It’s so shiny! So beautiful!

  35. Thomas D says:

    It’s probably just a rumor I heard. Silly internets.

    Anyway, that looks totally cool. I’m going to have to save up some cash for it.

  36. jonesy says:

    Christmas is coming soon. But I don’t think I can wait that long.

  37. wydraz says:

    This was worth the wait. Superb.

    Some wallpapers of even one of the five systems would be very cool…

  38. Therese says:

    WOW! I am going to have to come up with a dual view frame so I can hang it either way. Very well done!

    A million thanks!

  39. that is batshit insane. I’m in love.

    I would die if some one actually got this to work in a physics simulator.

  40. TheIron says:

    So, Andy, when will it become available, and where can it be purchased?

  41. admin says:

    Theiron – we’re going to open sales on the website this weekend. Just wanted to make sure the printing went good and was happy with the results. I had Marian Call and her band over today. When we went to lunch, I unfolded the map to show them in the middle of the restaurant, and they were amazed. The drummer wants to have it tattoo’d on his back!

  42. Saintt Jayne says:

    Holy cow! I haven’t been excited by any new Firefly stuff in years, but this certainly did it! Fantastic works.

  43. William Pace says:

    Is the drummer going to tattoo himself front and back like the map?

  44. Brian Rubin says:

    I am so buying that at the con this weekend…

  45. Rich L. says:

    Ok, even I’m impressed. To think all the hoopla is over a tv show that ended after 14 episodes, it simply boggles the mind. As does this map of yours. It is rather stunning. I don’t suppose you’ll be selling prints on Ebay. Put me down for #1 !!

    Again, great job!!

  46. admin says:

    Rich – well, if not us, I’m sure someone will be before long (some of our resellers only do business through eBay). You could also just get ‘em through our store when they become available.

    Have you subscribed to our newsletter? ( I strongly recommend it.

  47. admin says:

    Brian – be sure to ask for Andy – I’m sure I’ll be around! (As will Geoff Mandel, who I’m sure would be happy to sign it for you, if you like).

  48. Madison Stark says:

    Just one word… WOW!!!

    I am definetly give this has a present to myself!!
    Amazing job!

    A big Thank You for this from a Browncoat in Portugal.

  49. Donnovan says:

    I just listened to your interview on The Signal #21 this week. I always enjoy listening to your enthusiasm for this stuff.

    I don’t know if I’ll use this for my Serenity game (I added too many worlds to shoehorn in here), but this will still make a lovely wall hanging.

  50. Ali says:

    WOW!! I am amazed and how it turned out. I had only seen the one side with my nebulae, but seeing the finished product I can’t wait to get my little hands on it. Thanks Geoff for the opportunity to be part of the Team! Go Team!

  51. geraline k. james/crewchief says:

    OMG–it is so super shiny–but alas,I cannot make it this year…next year fingers crossed…toes,,,eyeballs ect..have a great time..think of all of us..wishing we were also there too…..Stay Shiny..LOL CHEERS–CREWCHIEF–

  52. koeran says:




    *slumps down exhausted*

    (For those of you who have seen ‘The Incredibles’, if you haven’t, SEE IT!)

    Having tried and failed to compile a list of the names and locations of all the planets in the verse, I have a pretty good understanding of just how much work you’ve all put into this fantastic product. And I have a feeling that my understanding is probably only the tip of the iceburg.

    Considering also that the list was intended to be the first stage in a ‘Character Background Generator’ for the Serenity RPG, my efforts have stalled. However, with this I’m inspired to continue the project with renewed vigor.

    *Tips Hat*

    Put me down for 2, maybe 3…

  53. ScrewtheAlliance says:

    Of course, this completely screws up my fanfic. Thanks.

  54. Browncoat Bob says:

    Got my map a few weeks ago and I can’t put it down! Love it. Do you have an update on the white paper? Thanks.

  55. cornmother says:

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the Verse!!!

  56. Zubin says:

    Is it still possible to buy this anywhere?

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