[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[I don't even know how to categorize this, it's just a random thought, but it sort of kind of suggests a story.]
Discussions like this always make me think of the movie Salt which I'm told was originally supposed to have a male main character and, presumably, a female spouse. (If the movie had called for a happily married gay couple I think I would have heard of that.) So the female lead we get was originally written as male, and the male love interest we get was originally written as female.
They're both great characters and I don't see why we can't have more like them.*
It also makes me wonder about other things. Can you think of any reason why Mal from Firefly couldn't have been female? Nothing really comes to mind. It would have changed things of course. Mostly involving sexuality, I think. The main character would be a lesbian, Zoe would be implied to be bisexual (otherwise why would Wash think that there is unresolved sexual tension between Zoe and Mal?) marriage equality would be shown to accepted and noncontroversial (see the first Saffron episode) and stuff like that, but nothing jumps out as making it not work.
Interestingly, I think that in places sticking closer to the script would change things more than reworking it For example:
Inara: What did I say to you about barging in to my shuttle?
Mal: That it was manly and impulsive?
Inara: Yes, precisely. Only the exact phrase I used was "don't."
Keep that word for word the same and it would imply that Inara and female-Mal have previously had some disagreements about how a woman should act, with Inara implying that Mal isn't doing it right, and Mal is interpreting their subsequent interactions in light of that. A theme that would return in ORM when Inara is surprised that Mal has experience wearing a dress. (Though, to be honest, that probably would be somewhat surprising, do you imagine female-Mal wearing a dress to the ball with Kaylee, or sticking with the tight pants? I think she'd wear pants.)
* And I'm still pissed off that apparently the only reason that spouse died was because sexists with power thought a woman shouldn't rescue her husband. Rescuing presidents is ok, but a husband being rescued? No way. Bastards.