Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What is "Babylon 5?"

Babylon 5 is a science fiction show that ran 5 seasons from 1994-1998. The continuity and realism of the show, as well as the use of cutting-edge technology, contributed to its success. The pilot, The Gathering, was aired in February 1993 before the first season began in January of 1994. J. Michael Straczynski, the creator, wanted the show to follow like a novel over a 5-year arc. His story was based on the Babylon station based in outer space near the planet Epsilon 3, and was intended to act as a base for diplomacy and commerce between the many galactic races, including Minbari, Narn, Centauri, Vorlons, and Drazi, to name a few. It was named Babylon 5 after the first 4 stations failed: Babylon stations 1, 2, and 3 were sabotaged and destroyed before completion, and Babylon 4 disappeared. B5 was the first successful station. It was meant to help foster peace, but later became the base for the Earth civil war and later for the Shadow War between the First Ones, the Shadows and the Vorlons, thus ushering in the Third Age of Mankind.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

JMS' Take on the Future of B5

One final note re: recent discussions on TMoS and more Lost Tales.

B5:TLT was commissioned at a $2 million budget to, yet one more time, "test the waters" for B5. We did what we could with that, and that was that. As we did with Rangers, which also suffered from not having a lot of money because of concerns about "is there really a B5 audience?" Which is, of course, a foolish question from a studio that has never really understood what it has in B5.

Of late, there have been more discussions from WB about doing more DVDs, again at a low cost, or a cable thing, again with minimal investment.

So for the last few months, I've been giving this whole subject a lot of quiet thought. And I've come to a conclusion.

B5 as a five year story stands beautifully on its own. If anything else is to be continued from that story, it should be something that adds to the legacy of B5, rather than subtracts from it.

As well intentioned as Rangers and TLT were, as enticing as it was to return to those familiar waters, in the end I think they did more to subtract from the legacy than add to it. I don't regret having made them, because I needed to go through that to get to the point where I am now psychologically, but from where I sit now, I wouldn't make them again.

So I've let everyone up here know that I'm not interested in doing any more low-budget DVDs. I'm not interested in doing any low-budget cable things or small computer games. The only thing I would be interested in doing regarding Babylon 5 from this point on is a full-featured, big-budget feature film.

It's that or nothing.

And if it's nothing, I'm totally cool with that because the original story stands on its own just fine. I'm not lobbying for it, I'm not asking fans to write in about it (nor should you) because such
campaigns never really have much impact...that's simply the position I've taken up here. Lord knows I don't lack for other things to do these days. I'm busier on more prestige projects with terrific people and great film-makers than at any other time in my career.

At the end of the day, for me, it's not just a matter of getting more B5. It's a matter of getting more *good* B5 that respects what came before it and doesn't have to compromise visually or in terms of action. The original show deserves better than that, the surviving cast members deserve better than that, and the fans who have supported it over the years definitely deserve better than that. A lot better.

So I've drawn that line in the sand, and I'm happy living on whichever side of that line the universe puts me. Just thought you should know, 'cause it's your show too.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Babylon 5: The Lost Tales

JMS is writing, directing, and producing a new Babylon 5 direct-to-DVD series of stories focusing on a particular B5 cast member (Sheridan, Lochley, Galen and Garibaldi). There were originally going to be 3 episodes on the DVD, at about 20-30 minutes each; however, the first DVD will now be 2 episodes, with the Garibaldi storyline being pushed to the next anthology. This has already been established at IMDb, Wikipedia, Ain't It Cool, and the Lurker's Guide to B5. Here are JMS' personal words about the new series (gleaned from JMSNews) about his experience making The Lost Tales from beginning to end.

Synopsis: While traveling from Minbar to Babylon 5 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Interstellar Alliance, Sheridan picks up an unexpected guest with a dire warning. Meanwhile, Lochley summons a priest to the station to help with a problem that may have supernatural implications.

Babylon 5: The Lost Tales
was released on DVD on July 31, 2007.

Watch the Trailer below:

Watch Video Blogs from "The Lost Tales" Below:

JMS' First Day on the Set

Video Village--Behind the Set

About The Lost Tales

The Reunion: JMS, Tracy, Bruce, and Peter

Bruce Boxleitner on Babylon 5

Prince Vintari Speaks!

The Aftermath from Shooting

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Tributes to the "Babylon 5" actors who have gone beyond the Rim

Tribute to Richard Biggs (Dr. Stephen Franklin)

Tribute to Tim Choate (Zathras)

Tribute to Andreas Katsulas (G'Kar)

Tribute to Johnny Sekka (Dr. Benjamin Kyle, Pilot Episode)

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Sunday, January 03, 1999

Babylon 5 Movie: A Call To Arms

Synopsis: (Many thanks to Wikipedia)

Babylon 5: A Call to Arms starts with Mr. Garibaldi meeting President John Sheridan, where they proceed to a space dock where two prototype Victory class destroyers are being built using a combination of Human, Minbari, and Vorlon technology. They tour one of the two vessels, the IAS Excalibur. President Sheridan receives a message purportedly from his wife, Delenn, however the message is actually gibberish and Sheridan stares at the monitor in a catatonic state for 20 minutes.

Galen later appears to President Sheridan as he is sleeping. Both appear standing on a dead world, where Galen claims that the planet was destroyed as part of a weapons test. Galen reveals that the message Sheridan received earlier was actually from him. The alien race responsible for the destruction of the planet return and so Galen leaves, as he does the phrase "Daltron 7" can be seen in the dirt.

Meanwhile on Babylon 5, Dureena Nafeel is stopped at security for a weapons violation and must surrender all of her weapons after which she proceeds to Downbelow. While in Downbelow, Dureena attempts to locate fellow members of a group called the Thieves Guild. However, while searching she is knocked unconscious. Dureena then wakes up on the same dead planet that Galen and Sheridan were on. An image of Sheridan appears and Dureena lunges at him. However, the image disappears and is replaced by a Drakh. Galen then appears and proclaims "This is not your world Dureena Nafeel, but it shares the same fate. When the time comes, be sure to pick the right target for you will only get one shot". Dureena awakens in Downbelow chained and surrounded by members of the Thieves Guild. Dureena then breaks the chains and attacks the man who knocked her out, she is then welcomed by the leader of the Guild.

Sheridan now appears on a planet where the Technomages have taken refuge. Galen is criticised by his colleagues for bringing Sheridan there and is warned that if his actions compromise their hiding place he will die. Galen reveals that his order fled to this planet to avoid the carnage of the Shadow War. Galen then conjures up an image of Z'Ha'Dum and asks Sheridan if he remembers it. Galen informs Sheridan that the Drakh are preparing for a war and are testing their resources, power, weapons and destructive ability. Galen tells Sheridan that he must find out how much firepower the Drakh have as he believes that they will start their war by attacking Earth. Galen also reveals that he has done all that he can and Sheridan must find the answers on his own. Galen warns him to keep this mission a secret and that any inaction may cause Earth to suffer the fate of Daltron 7. Sheridan then re-appears on the Excalibur and tells Garibaldi that they must leave on the White Star immediately for Babylon 5.

On Babylon 5, Sheridan meets with Dureena and EarthForce Captain Anderson, during the meeting Dureena attacks Sheridan. It is revealed that Dureena's planet was destroyed by the Shadows during the war and that she blames him because he didn't come to the aid of her people. Sheridan manages to convince Dureena that the Drakh are responsible and both Dureena and Captain Anderson agree to help.

They then take Anderson's ship, the Charon, to the dock where Excalibur is being prepped. Sheridan contacts the leader of the construction operation, Mr. Drake, and tells him not accept any orders from anyone other than him. Sheridan, Dureena, and half of Captain Anderson's crew board the IAS Excalibur, while Captain Anderson and the remainder of his crew board and take over the other ship, the IAS Victory. Both ships then get under way to Daltron 7. When they arrive, they find that the planet has been decimated by a Shadow Planet Killer. However, they pick up a Drazi distress signal and Sheridan, Dureena and Anderson proceed down to the planet's surface. They find the Drazi dead and a detailed surface analysis shows that the attack occurred only a few weeks ago. This means that the Drakh have managed to locate one of the Planet Killers that were left behind by the Shadows. Dureena locates a data crystal in a flap under the Drazi's arm.

On the data crystal, the Drazi reveals that dreams told him to come to the planet and when he arrived the Drakh were with the Planet Killer. He followed them as far as he could but returned to Daltron 7 to find any survivors after the Drakh ship met up with reinforcements. The Victory then contacts the Excalibur and warns them that a number of Drakh ships are approaching. The Drakh scan the 2 ships and asks the Excalibur to identify themselves. A signal is sent to the Drakh ships and they attack the Victory and Excalibur. Suffering losses the Drakh flee and are pursued by the Excalibur, where they are ambushed by hundreds of Drakh vessels. The Drakh launch a counterattack, forcing the Excalibur and Victory to escape into hyperspace. They then head for Earth at maximum speed. Sheridan alerts Captain Lochley to the threat and to mobilize a fleet to defend Earth. Sheridan then contacts Garibaldi and they deduce that Mr. Drake is an agent of the Drakh and that he sent the communication to them just before the battle began. Garibaldi discovers that the Drakh only have a single Planet Killer.

The Victory and the Excalibur rendezvous with a large fleet assembled around Earth, at which point a number of Drakh vessels drop out of hyperspace. A large battle ensues during which the captain of the Victory sacrifices the ship to destroy the Planet Killer and save Earth. However, the remaining Drakh vessels release a Shadow-engineered bio-genetic plague, into the Earth's atmosphere that will destroy all life on Earth inside of five years. President Sheridan declares that a cure must be out there, so he assigns the Excalibur to locate a cure.

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Sunday, November 08, 1998

Babylon 5 Movie: River of Souls

Synopsis: (Many thanks to Wikipedia)

Babylon 5: River of Souls was the third feature-length film set in the Babylon 5 universe. It was originally broadcast November 8, 1998 on TNT, as one of two films shown over the 1998-1999 season to fill in the gap between the fifth season of Babylon 5 and the first season of the spin-off series Crusade.

Half a year after becoming head of Edgars Enterprises, Garibaldi returns to Babylon 5 to meet with an archeologist hired by his predecessor. An archeologist in his employ has stolen an ancient relic he believes to be the key to eternal life from the Soul Hunters, immortal creatures who capture and preserve souls throughout the galaxy. But the item seems to have a will of its own, and the owners, the Soul Hunters, want it back. With the station under siege from the Soul Hunters, the explorer releases thousands of enraged souls from the relic who merge with others, attempting to taste life once more. Captain Elizabeth Lochley must save Babylon 5 from an impending attack of the Soul Hunters and the wrathful entities looking for retribution. At the same time an unwanted holo-brothel sues the station when Zack tries to shut it down.

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Sunday, July 19, 1998

Babylon 5 Movie: Thirdspace

Synopsis: (many thanks to Wikipedia)

Babylon 5: Thirdspace an enormous artifact that is discovered in hyperspace and towed to the Babylon 5 station for investigation, at which point the xenoarchaeology organisation Interplanetary Expeditions sends a representative, Dr. Elizabeth Trent (Shari Belafonte), to take control of the examination.

After being placed near the station the artifact begins to influence the dreams of many inhabitants of Babylon 5, eventually controlling many of them during their waking hours as well. These thralls, led by Deuce, first demand that the excavation be accelerated and then become increasingly violent towards the rest of the Babylon 5 population.

Eventually it is revealed by Lyta Alexander that the artifact is a Jumpgate that takes one neither to normal space nor to hyperspace but to a "third" space (hence the movie's title), built by the Vorlons a million years ago with a purpose that cannot be expressed in human language except as an attempt to make contact with the gods. In reality, thirdspace is inhabited by a violent race that posed a threat even to the Vorlons, and the ensuing battle ended with a group of Vorlons controlled by the thirdspace entities capturing the artifact and jettisoning it into hyperspace.

When the device is finally activated, the thirdspace aliens stream out and begin an assault on Babylon 5; the violent behaviour of the individuals under the artifact's control is intended to disrupt the station's attempt to defend itself. The struggle is ended when John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) enters the artifact and detonates a nuclear bomb.

The central theme of Thirdspace is hubris. The artifact was created because of the Vorlons' belief that they were equal in power to the gods, doubtless a reference to the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel, and it is as a result of Sheridan and Trent's shared pride and refusal to co-operate that it is activated.

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Wednesday, January 21, 1998

Season 5: The Wheel of Fire

"And so it begins....There is a hole in your mind...What do you want?...No one here is exactly what he appears...Nothing is the same anymore...Commander Sinclair is being reassigned...Why don't you destroy the entire Narn homeworld while you're at it?...There is a great hand reaching out of the stars...Who are you?...President Clark has signed a decree today declaring martial law....These orders have forced us to declare independence...Weapons supplies...Unless your people get off their encounter-suited butts and do something...You're the one who was...If you go to Z'ha'dum you will die...Why are you here?...Do you have anything worth living for?...I think of my beautiful city in flames...Giants in the playground...Now get the hell out of our galaxy!...We are here to place President Clark under arrest..."

Kosh/ Minbari Assassin/ Sinclair/ G'Kar/ Sinclair/ Gen. Hague/ Londo/ Elric/ Sebastian/ ISN Reporter/ Sheridan/ Bester/ Sheridan/ Zathras/ Kosh/ Lorien/ Lorien/ Delenn/ Sheridan/ Sheridan/ Sheridan

Season 5, entitled "The Wheel of Fire," first aired on January 21, 1998 with the episode "No Compromises." In this season we see the departure of some beloved characters, such as Ivanova and Marcus, but some new ones come into play, including the prominent appearance of telepath Byron and the elevation of the Drakh race after the departure of the Shadows. The season ends with the Babylon 5 universe 20 years in the future, as well as the destruction of the station.

(many thanks to Wikipedia)

In 2262, Earthforce Captain Elizabeth Lochley is appointed to command Babylon 5. The station grows in its role as a sanctuary for rogue telepaths running from the Psi Corps, resulting in a violent conflict. G'Kar, former Narn ambassador to Babylon 5, becomes a spiritual leader after a book was published that he wrote while incarcerated during the Narn-Centauri War. The Drakh, former allies of the Shadows who remained in the galaxy, take control of Regent Virini on Centauri Prime through a parasitic creature called a Keeper, then incite a war between the Centauri and the Interstellar Alliance, in order to isolate the Centauri from the Alliance, and gain a malleable homeworld for themselves.

Centauri Prime is consequently decimated by Narn and Drazi warships, and Londo Mollari becomes emperor, accepting a Drakh Keeper under threat of the complete nuclear destruction of the planet. Portions of the end of his reign are seen in various time-travel sequences throughout the series; one such sequence shows Mollari and former nemesis (and later friend) G'Kar dying at each other's throats in an act of mutual suicide. Vir Cotto, Mollari's loyal and more moral aide, succeeds him as emperor, free of Drakh influence. Sheridan and Delenn marry and move to Minbar, along with the headquarters of the Interstellar Alliance.

Twenty years later, on the verge of death, Sheridan takes one final trip to the now-obsolete Babylon 5 station before its decommissioning. Sheridan apparently dies, but is claimed by the First Ones, who invite him to join them on a journey beyond the rim of the galaxy. The Babylon 5 station is completely destroyed in a planned demolition shortly after Sheridan's departure, its existence no longer necessary as the Alliance has taken over its diplomatic purposes.

(Many thanks to Wikipedia and The Worlds of JMS)

President John Sheridan - Bruce Boxleitner

After returning to Babylon 5, President Sheridan began the process of leading the new Interstellar Alliance. The first years of the Alliance would bring about numerous problems that would shake the Alliance to its core. Sheridan had to work to keep the Alliance together, despite forces that were working to tear it apart. President Sheridan brought Captain Elizabeth Lochley to the station to take command. Even though Sheridan described her as Ivanova's replacement, she was really a replacement for the both of them. Lt. Corwin took over some of Ivanova's other duties. Sheridan gave her a free hand to run the station's affairs, reserving only the political course of the Alliance to himself.

Captain Elizabeth Lochley - Tracy Scoggins
Elizabeth Lochley is a forceful, no-nonsense military leader. She carries herself with a military bearing and in public appears to be the very model of a competent, decisive, and professional EarthForce officer. Although she is an extremely attractive woman, she only shows the more feminine side of her personality in private, during her off-duty hours. Much of her personal drive and ambition comes from her troubled youth and young adulthood (see below), and in private she is always willing to lend a helping hand or offer advice to those who are experiencing personal difficulties and problems. In terms of love and romance she is far luckier and more active than her predecessor, Commander Susan Ivanova. In addition to being married to Interstellar Alliance President John Sheridan for a brief period early in their military careers, she also has a passionate and sexually-charged love affair with fellow EarthForce Captain Matthew Gideon, the commander of the Victory-Class starship Excalibur. Despite her hard-earned personal and professional success, however, she is occasionally still haunted by memories of her troubled early years.

Dr. Stephen Franklin - Richard Biggs
In 2262, during the series fifth and final season, Franklin resigned from his post at Babylon 5 to accept the position of Head of Xenobiological Research on Earth upon the retirement of Dr. Benjamin Kyle. At the beginning of 2263, he selected Dr. Lillian Hobbes as his replacement on Babylon 5. Franklin later conducted research in the attempt to fight the plague the Drakh inflicted on Earth. He is seen in the Crusade episode "Each Night I Dream of Home".

Michael Garibaldi - Jerry Doyle
In 2262 Michael Garibaldi returned to Babylon 5 to oversee the inauguration of John Sheridan as President of the Interstellar Alliance. This gave him the opportunity to foil yet another assassination attempt against a president. Sheridan appointed Garibaldi as the head of the Covert Intelligence Division of the Interstellar Alliance. When Bester comes to Babylon 5 to resolve the standoff with Byron's telepaths, Garibaldi confronted him and demanded a recorded confession. Bester declined and invited Garibaldi to shoot him. Garibaldi could not. Bester informed Garibaldi that he had planted an Asimov block in his mind. Garibaldi could not harm Bester or through inaction allow Bester to come to harm. Confronted with the inability to exact revenge, Garibaldi escaped with alcohol. Garibaldi's alcoholism began to affect his work. During this time, Zack, Lochley, and Lise all tried to help Garibaldi with his problem. When Sheridan learned of Garibaldi's drinking problem, he suspended him. Garibaldi met with Lyta Alexander who was in custody and made a deal with her. He would launder money and build a force for her to use against Psi Corps. If he held up his end of the bargain for two years, she would remove the Asimov block from his mind. Later, Garibaldi learned of a plot to assassinate him and Lise, and he later discovered that the assassin was hired by the board of Edgars Industries. He fired them and made arrangements to have them hunted down if he or Lise were ever killed. Garibaldi replaced the board with employees with reputations for being troublemakers. Garibaldi and Lise returned to Mars to run Edgars Industries. They had a daughter.

Zack Allan - Jeff Conaway

Allan was the second aide to B5 Chief of Security Michael Garibaldi from 2259-2261. Following Garibaldi's resignation as chief of security in season 4, Allan was appointed Chief of Security. He held the position for many years; except for a brief stint back on Earth, he remained there until the station was decommissioned in 2281. Because of this, he was the only one not to receive his invitation to Sheridan's farewell party in Sleeping in Light, though Allan would still meet Sheridan one more time as Sheridan took one last walk through the station. In Sleeping in Light, he walked with a noticeable limp, which has never been explained on screen. In the voiceover commentary of the episode, series creator J. Michael Straczynski explained that Zack was involved in heroic activity and lost his leg. Later in the episode, after the aged and abandoned Babylon 5 was destroyed and the Drakh influence on Centauri Prime was exposed and eliminated, Zack joined the Rangers and became Centauri Emperor Vir Cotto's assistant and (presumably) a direct liaison between the Emperor and the Interstellar Alliance.

Delenn - Mira Furlan

During their return trip to Babylon 5 over the turn of the year to 2262, Delenn married John Sheridan in a private ceremony.Although Delenn was still Anla'shok Na of the Rangers, she deferred most of the day-to-day operations to others. However, she still had input. After returning to Babylon 5, Delenn discovered that she was pregnant. The only people more surprised than her were John Sheridan and Dr. Franklin. Delenn traveled to Minbar to oversee the final preparations of the new Interstellar Alliance headquarters at Tuzanor, the traditional home of the Rangers. She returned to Babylon 5 to collect her husband and belongings when the work was complete. When Delenn and Sheridan arrived on Minbar, Emperor Londo Mollari was waiting for them. He gave them a Centauri urn as a gift for their unborn child, instructing them to give it to him on his sixteenth birthday. During his visit, Delenn barely caught a brief glimpse of his keeper, but she didn't understand its significance. In December 2262, Delenn gave birth to a son named David.

Lennier - Bill Mumy
In the episode "Day of the Dead", Lennier is confronted by the ghost of Morden, the human who worked with the Shadows. Lennier, who had returned from training hoping to speak to a spirit as part of an alien religious observance, makes the mistake of asking Morden for wisdom. Morden predicts that Lennier will one day betray the Rangers. This encounter presages several later events in the series. Eventually it was revealed that Lennier was secretly in love with Delenn. However he explained to Marcus Cole that it was "not romantic love as you would understand it, something nobler," indicating perhaps some sort of platonic love.

Lennier did not act on his feelings due to her involvement with John Sheridan. Lennier did confess his feelings to her when he and Delenn were both trapped in hyperspace facing death, but Delenn, who had long known of his feelings for her, feigned that she hadn't heard his confession in order to spare him embarrassment.

Lennier's feelings later caused his downfall. When Sheridan suffered an accident aboard a White Star ("Objects at Rest"), Lennier, seeing for a moment the opportunity to remove his 'competition', refused to help him and fled, leaving him for dead. He did come back however but by then Sheridan had managed to rescue himself. Lennier ran away, deeply ashamed of what he had done, and was never heard from again, except for a final, untraceable call to Delenn in which he asked her and Sheridan for forgiveness. The series left Lennier's final fate unknown, although most of Morden's prophecies came true and there are hints in the series finale "Sleeping in Light" (during a sequence when the guests were remembering their fallen friends), that Lennier was killed in the Telepath War. In his commentary on the episode, J. Michael Straczynski simply says, "That's a very sad story, and maybe I'll tell it some day."
G'Kar - Andreas Katsulas
Upon his return to Babylon 5, he resumed his role as Narn Ambassador, and was instrumental in the founding of the Interstellar Alliance. G'Kar was a member of that organization's advisory council, and wrote the Declaration of Principles. Later, when Mollari returned to Centauri Prime to investigate potential corruption in the Centauri Court, Minbari Ambassador Delenn requested that G'Kar return with Mollari as his bodyguard. G'Kar accepted, if only to see the looks on the faces of the Centauri court. Upon his return to Babylon 5, he discovered that the book of religious observations he had been writing had been "liberated" by a friend who believed him dead, and published as "The Book of G'Kar." It was received well, and its popularity was approaching that of the Book of G'Quan. G'Kar had, quite unwittingly, become a holy figure. G'Kar found his new holy status very frustrating; While many Narn were coming to him for guidance, they were more interested in applying their own interpretation of his words, or focusing on some things he had said while ignoring others — even when he himself was insisting otherwise. His sermons, however, were often quite inspired.

His popularity was creating political pressure on the restored Kha'Ri as well, who finally insisted that he either come home to rule or publicly give them his blessing. The last straw was when he was forced to bluntly rebuke a particularly obnoxious would-be worshipper and that offended admirer attempted to assassinate him in retaliation, but ended up severely wounding Garibaldi's fiancée instead. G'Kar decided to leave Babylon 5 and explore the galaxy, knowing that he could do no more for his people there and that to stay would only cause more unrest. He appointed Ta'Lon as his successor. G'Kar would later return to Babylon 5 at least once more for a diplomatic conference.

Na'Toth - Julie Caitlin Brown

Na'Toth went home to Narn at some point during the second season. She was on Narn when the Centauri used mass drivers to pluck asteroids out of orbit and bomb the Narn homeworld. Na'Toth was missing and presumed dead. In the fifth season, Na'Toth was found to be alive and imprisoned in the Centauri Royal Palace ("A Tragedy of Telepaths"). Londo Mollari and G'Kar smuggled her from the palace, and arranged for her to be sent back home to receive treatment for her injuries.

Londo Mollari - Peter Jurasik

Following the galactic war with the Shadows, Mollari eventually rises to Emperor of the Centauri Republic, taking the title Emperor Mollari II as another member of his family had been Emperor in the past. One of his first acts as the new Emperor was to name Vir Cotto as his replacement on Babylon 5, a job not highly prized because of the earlier Centauri conquest of Narn, though Londo knew that Vir would fulfill the job dutifully, even if some of the other ambassadors distrusted him. At the end of the fifth season, it was revealed that the Drakh had manipulated the Interstellar Alliance into attacking the Centauri Homeworld. The Drakh decided they needed Londo to be Emperor. The Regent, Virini, died when his keeper was removed, and another keeper was attached to Londo. For the next 15 years, Londo reigned as Emperor. Londo soon learned that alcohol would put the Keeper to sleep, and would allow him a few minutes of freedom.

When the Drakh kidnapped David Sheridan - the son of John and Delenn - the couple came to Centauri Prime to free their son. Both Sheridan and Delenn were captured by the Centauri. Mollari tried to force the Drakh to leave, who responded by exploding fusion bombs they had planted on the surface of the planet. Mollari was told to execute Sheridan, and he was able to convince his Keeper that he was soon going to kill both Sheridan and Delenn. Mollari then ingested enough alcohol to put the Keeper to sleep and freed Sheridan, Delenn, and their son in exchange for their help in freeing the Centauri from the Drakh. Mollari knew that his Keeper would soon wake up, and alert the other Drakh that he had set his friends free. He knew the Drakh would kill them, and would then kill him for his betrayal. G'Kar entered the throne room, and Mollari explained the situation. He begged G'Kar to kill him before the Keeper woke up; his famous final words were, "Come, G'Kar. I am as tired of my life as you are.". G'Kar began to crush Mollari's throat, but did not finish before the Keeper awoke. The Keeper then seized control of Mollari and retaliated. Mollari and G'Kar finally died at each other's hands, just as Londo had predicted for many years.

Vir Cotto - Stephen Furst

Following the Shadow War, Vir returned to Babylon 5. For the next two years he continued to act as Mollari's assistant, and as a representative of the Centauri to Babylon 5 when Mollari was back on Centauri Prime. When Mollari ascended to the throne as Emperor, he named Vir as the Ambassador to Babylon 5 (now an important position). With the death of Emperor Mollari at the hands of G'Kar 15 years later, Vir killed Mollari's Keeper. After being approached by several Drakhs, he managed to escape from the throne room by jumping out the throne room window on to a waiting shuttle. From there Vir went to the Minbari homeworld. The remaining heads of the Centauri houses met him there. He was able to persuade the nobles into recognizing his claim as Emperor.

Lyta Alexander - Patricia Tallman

In early 2262, Alexander became romantically involved with Byron, the leader of a colony of rogue telepaths offered sanctuary aboard Babylon 5. Her contact, and sexual relationship, with Byron revealed to the telepaths that they had been created by the Vorlons as weapons for their war with the Shadows. This revelation directly lead to Byron's disastrous confrontation with the Interstellar Alliance. Although Byron eventually committed suicide rather than be captured by the Psi Corps, Alexander was inspired by his cause to create a homeworld for telepaths, and became the leader of a movement sponsoring violent resistance against the Corps.

Lyta also began to more thoroughly explore the abilities the Vorlons had given her. Over the second half of Season 5, she was able to forcibly extract information from non-telepathic minds, control masses of individuals, destroy security cameras and force individuals to commit suicide. She also retained information implanted by the Vorlons regarding menaces such as the jumpgate into Thirdspace. She once described herself as the telepathic equivalent of a doomsday weapon, hinting at even greater capabilities.

She was eventually arrested aboard Babylon 5 for supporting terrorism by John Sheridan (whose contact with Vorlons gave him immunity to her Vorlon-enhanced telepathic abilities) in late 2262. Alexander then struck a deal with Michael Garibaldi: He would use his contacts, gained both when he was the Head of Covert Intelligence for the Interstellar Alliance, and those from his current position as the head of Edgars Industries, to help her avoid prosecution, as well as provide funding for her cause. In return, Lyta would remove a telepathic block placed in his mind by Alfred Bester. Former Narn Ambassador G'Kar was leaving Babylon 5 at the same time, and took her with him on a mission of exploration.

Byron - Robin Atkin Downes

Byron Gordon is introduced to Babylon 5 in the season 5 episode No Compromises as a strong telepath (P12 rating). Byron is shown arriving on the Babylon 5 station with a large contingent of rogue telepaths early in the year 2261. At this stage Byron is portrayed as a Gandhi-like figure; a leader of telepaths who seeks freedom from the Psi Corps and from mundanes, but that will only do so through non-violent means. In The Paragon of Animals, Byron helps the new Interstellar Alliance by revealing treachery by the Drazi against the Enphili. John Sheridan offers Byron and his telepaths political asylum at Babylon 5. They are allowed to establish a small colony in Brown 3.

Lorien - Wayne Alexander

Lorien reappears a last time, in 2281, when Sheridan returns to Coriana 6 during the last hours of his life, as he was enjoined by Kosh to do. When he returns, he initiates contact with Sheridan asking four key questions:

Who are you? (The Vorlon Question)
What do you want? (The Shadow Question)
Why are you here? (Lorien's Question)
Where are you going? (The Final Question)

Lorien's questions are the questions mankind and the younger races are to introduce to break the stalemate between the Vorlons and the Shadows. Though Lorien does not need these to be answered, he asks them nonetheless, likely as a welcome to Sheridan. As Lorien enters the ship, he explains to Sheridan that they had not forgotten him. Lorien remains with Sheridan as he dies, and it is believed that he took Sheridan back with him beyond the Rim, joining the many First Ones there, though whether Sheridan does so corporeally or as an energy being like Lorien is an open question.

Regent Virini - Damian London

After the assassination of Cartagia in The Long Night, Prime Minister Mollari informs him that he has been appointed Regent to the throne until the Centaurum clearly determine how to fill the vacuum of power in Epiphanies. However, by the end of Epiphanies Virini came under the control of the Drakh, whos sought revenge upon the Centauri Republic for their part in the Shadow War and plotted the destruction of Centauri Prime.

By In the Kingdom of the Blind, Virini has become very reclusive, allowing only his personal physician and a few trusted aides access. He had been found wandering the palace at night talking furtively to himself, took to heavy drinking, and once ordered a guard to kill him, claiming that he was not himself. Routine documents such as status reports on the fleet and other reports were all reclassified 'Top Secret' for the Regent's eyes only, contrary to standard protocols.
The Drakh controlled Virini with a keeper, a parasitic life form that bonded to his shoulder and bent him to the will of the Drakh. Virini ordered the Centauri fleet to launch covert raids upon the shipping lines of members of the Interstellar Alliance to create unrest and distrust within the union. Ultimately this led to the Centauri war at the end of the fifth season, where the Narn and the Drazi devastated Centauri Prime.

In the episode, The Fall of Centauri Prime, the Regent introduces Mollari to a Drakh. The Drakh explains that they were servants of the Shadows and they want revenge by isolating the Centauri. If Londo will not agree to serve them, the Drakh threatens to detonate fusion bombs all over the planet killing millions. Londo agrees, and the keeper leaves the Regent who then dies in Londo's arms.

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Sunday, January 04, 1998

Babylon 5 Movie: In The Beginning

Synopsis: (many thanks to Wikipedia)

In the Beginning tells the story of a pivotal event in the history of the Babylon 5 universe. Ten years before the television series Babylon 5 is set, a terrible event occurred: Earth became involved in a deadly conflict with the just-discovered Minbari race. This war almost led to the extermination of the human race, but it was mysteriously halted at the last moment by the Minbari leadership for reasons that would remain secret for over a decade. This near-destruction of the human race led to the Earth Alliance creating the Babylon space stations as a means of preventing further wars.

During the first four years of the Babylon 5 TV series, numerous hints about and glimpses of the Earth-Minbari War were offered. When the program moved to the TNT cable network for its fifth season, a set of made-for-TV movies were ordered to promote it, and Straczynski chose to use the first of these to tell the story of the war he had so often alluded to in previous episodes.

The movie opens with a view of Centauri Prime in flames. A man is seen looking out of the window of the Royal Palace looking at the destruction. A boy and his younger sister are seen playing in the royal throne room and looking out the window watching numerous buildings go up in flames. Their governess finds them and tells them that it's the Emperor's window and that only he can look out that window. It is then that the Emperor hears them and tells them to come in front of him. It is then revealed that it is an aged Londo Mollari. Mollari allows the young boy to be Emperor of the Centauri Republic for five minutes in which he may give any order he wishes. He wishes that he be told a story of great battles and heroes and villains. His sister wants to hear a true story. Mollari decides to give them both what they want and decides to tell them the story of the Earth-Minbari War that happened 35 years ago and in which he was present at the time while he was ambassador.

The movie begins before the war, when the human race — feeling cocky following their defeat of the Dilgar — is rapidly expanding into space. Word reaches them of the mysterious Minbari race. Though they are warned by Centauri ambassador Londo Mollari to leave this race alone, they seek to make first contact.

Meanwhile, the Minbari Grey Council, led by Dukhat, has become concerned that the Shadows may have returned to Z'ha'dum in fulfillment of Valen's prophecy. They are taking a roundabout route to the dark world to investigate when they encounter Earth ships, specifically the Prometheus, seeking to make first contact.

A tragic misunderstanding follows. The Minbari ships turn towards the Prometheus and engage their long range sensors to gain more data on the unknown Earth ship. Unknown to the Minbari, the intense EMP field generated by their long range sensors have the unexpected side effect of disabling the Prometheus' jump engine, preventing the Prometheus from retreating. As the Minbari ships draw closer, they open their gun ports - a sign of respect in their culture. The interference from the Minbari sensors also prevent the Prometheus from determining whether or not the Minbari ships are charging their weapons. The captain of the Prometheus, with his Jump Engines disabled and the Minbari ships approaching gun ports open, misinterprets this as a sign of aggression and opens fire. The Minbari ships are heavily damaged, and their beloved leader Dukhat killed. In retaliation, the Grey Council announces a holy war against mankind, and the Earth-Minbari War begins.

The war lasts three years and countless humans are killed, being overwhelmed by superior Minbari technology. Several battles are seen: a lone corvette is witnessed charging a Minbari fleet; a Nova Class dreadnought rams a Minbari War Cruiser. Colonists are seen saying good bye to family and children, before marching outside to certain death. Commander John Sheridan, first officer of the Lexington is part of a battle group engaging the Minbari. After a Minbari ambush, Sheridan's CO is killed. He assumes command of the damaged ship and lays a trap for the enemy, seeding the local asteroids with nuclear mines. The Minbari Warcruiser closes in to finish off the remaining earth ship but is destroyed by the nuclear blast. The ship is the Dral La Fi (Minbari for Black Star) the Minbari flag ship.

As a last, desperate effort to stave off the inevitable, the president of Earth orders all available ships to form a line around the planet in a vain attempt to stave off the final Minbari obliteration of the human race. This, the Battle of the Line, is the final battle of the war.

During the battle, Satai Delenn (Mira Furlan), a member of the Grey Council, abducts a human pilot to learn about Earth's defenses. This pilot is Jeffrey Sinclair (Michael O'Hare). The Grey Council is startled to discover, upon using the triluminary, that he appears to carry the soul of Minbari religious leader Valen. The Grey Council concludes that Minbari souls have been reincarnated in humans. Since Minbari do not kill Minbari, they surrender to the defenseless Earth forces rather than kill Minbari souls in human bodies. Because of the damage this revelation could do to their own culture, they keep the reason for the cease-fire a secret.

In the wake of the war, Earth decides to build a space station that can serve as a kind of United Nations in space, with the intent of preventing future wars. (It takes five tries to get it right.) The movie ends right before the future seen in the episode War Without End, when Delenn and Sheridan are held captive in the Centauri palace and Londo is drinking massively to put his Keeper to sleep so that he can let the captives escape.

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Monday, November 04, 1996

Season 4: No Surrender, No Retreat

It was the year of fire... the year of destruction... the year we took back what was ours. It was the year of rebirth... the year of great sadness... the year of pain... and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed. The year is 2261. The place: Babylon 5.
- Lennier, Zack, G'Kar, Lyta, Vir, Marcus, Delenn, Londo, Franklin, Ivanova, Garibaldi, Sheridan

Season 4, entitled "No Surrender, No Retreat," first aired on November 4, 1996 with the episode "The Hour of the Wolf." The characters continue, and the Shadow War is ended as the Vorlons and the Shadows leave the galaxy forever. Meanwhile, Babylon 5 becomes a main base during the bloody Earth Civil War, where Clark's government is overthrown, and Captain Sheridan steps down as Commander of B5 and becomes President of the new Interstellar Alliance.

Plotline: (many thanks to Wikipedia)

In 2261, the Vorlons join the Shadow War, but their tactics become a concern for the alliance when the Vorlons begin destroying entire planets which they deem to have been "influenced" by the Shadows. Disturbed by this turn of events, Babylon 5 recruits several other powerful and ancient races (the First Ones) to their cause, against both the Shadows and the Vorlons. Captain John Sheridan returns to the station after escaping the destruction of Z'ha'dum, but at a price: barring illness or injury, he has only 20 years left to live. He is accompanied by a mysterious alien named Lorien who claims to be the oldest sentient being in the galaxy.

After Sherdian's return, Garibaldi returns and starts acting more paranoid and suspicious of other alien races than normal. He leaves his post as security chief and works on his own as a "provider of information". Garibaldi was actually abducted by the Psi-Corps at the end of Season 3 and re-programmed by Bester to provide information to him at the right time.

Centauri Emperor Cartagia forges a relationship with the Shadows. Londo Mollari engineers the assassination of Cartagia and repudiates his agreement with the Shadows. He kills Mr. Morden and destroys the Shadow vessels based on the Centauri homeworld, thus saving his planet from destruction by the Vorlons. Aided by the other ancient races, and several younger ones, Sheridan lures both the Vorlons and the Shadows into an immense battle, during which the Vorlons and Shadows reveal that they have been left as guardians of the younger races, but due to philosophical differences, ended up using them as pawns in their endless wars throughout the ages. The younger races reject their continued interference, and the Vorlons and Shadows, along with the remaining First Ones, agree to depart the galaxy forever.

Minbar is gripped by a brief civil war. Garibaldi betrays Sheridan and arranges his capture. Garibaldi later reveals to Bester about a virus that is dangerous to only telepaths, which the Psi-Corps then destroys. Bester releases Garibaldi of his programming, and allows him to remember everything he has done since being kidnapped. Garibaldi helps to free Sheridan and return him to the campaign to free Earth. An alliance led by Babylon 5 frees Earth from totalitarian rule by President Clark in a short but bloody war. This culminates in Clark's suicide and the restoration of peaceful government. Mars is granted full independence, and Sheridan agrees to step down as commander of Babylon 5. The League of Non-Aligned Worlds is dissolved and reformed into the Interstellar Alliance, with Sheridan elected as its first President and continuing his command of the Rangers, who are to act as a galactic equivalent of United Nations peacekeepers.

In the season finale, the events of 100, 500, 1000, and one million years into the future are shown, depicting Babylon 5's lasting influence throughout history. Amongst the events shown are the political aftermath of the 2261 civil war, a subsequent nuclear war on Earth involving a new totalitarian government in the year AD 2762, the resulting fall of Earth into a pre-industrial society, the loss and restoration of humanity's knowledge of space travel, and the final evolution of mankind into energy beings similar to the Vorlons, after which Earth's sun goes nova.

(Many thanks to The Lurker's Guide)
Captain John Sheridan - Bruce Boxleitner
The commander of Babylon 5 and, with Delenn, leader of the Army of Light. Formerly an officer of the Earth Alliance military until Babylon 5's secession, Sheridan was a hero of the Earth-Minbari War. He now finds himself at the center of a storm that dwarfs anything in his experience. A visit to Z'ha'dum, the Shadow homeworld, resulted in his death, but he was revived by Lorien, one of the First Ones. His sacrifice resulted in the destruction of the Shadows' largest city and halted their advance. The experience lent him a heroic mystique in the eyes of many, a situation which doesn't entirely please him.

Commander Susan Ivanova - Claudia Christian
Second in command and in charge of the day-to-day operations of Babylon 5, Ivanova's responsibilities have only increased since the start of the Shadow War. A capable pilot and tactician, she can frequently be found in command of part of the White Star fleet. Ivanova's natural pessimism, bordering on fatalism, would be unbearable if not for her dry sense of humor. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and raised abroad on Earth, Ivanova is a latent telepath, "not even a P1," and spent her life hiding her talent from Psi Corps after their legally-mandated drug treatments drove her mother to suicide.
Delenn - Mira Furlan
Officially, Delenn is the Minbari Ambassador, a former member of Minbar's ruling body, the Grey Council. The Shadow War splintered the Council and her people; now she leads the Religious and Worker Castes as co-commander of the Army of Light. Delenn's strong sense of destiny, her conviction that her role in the war is a matter of fate, led her to undergo a physical transformation that gave her human characteristics. At first, this made her an outcast, but as the ancient prophecies started coming true, she found her people rallying around her. Delenn and Sheridan are in love, but their relationship is largely on hold thanks to the demands of the war.
Delenn's aide, recently out of a monastery on the Minbari homeworld. He reveres Delenn as an almost holy figure and accepts her transformation without question. He has pledged his life to her, in fact, and is perfectly willing to die by her side. Still something of an innocent thanks to his isolated upbringing, Lennier has learned some of the art of diplomacy during his tenure on Babylon 5.

Marcus Cole - Jason Carter
A Ranger permanently stationed on Babylon 5, Marcus is a brave, capable warrior whose sarcastic wit belies dogged determination and fierce loyalty. Marcus fights for the Army of Light because he has nothing else left; his last remaining family was killed in a Shadow attack. Marcus secretly yearns for the affection of Commander Ivanova, but so far she seems uninterested.

Security Chief Michael Garibaldi - Jerry Doyle

Formerly in charge of security on Babylon 5. Though he has a troubled past, bouncing from position to position and trying to overcome alcoholism, he seems to have found his home on Babylon 5. Garibaldi is something of a smart-aleck, always ready to crack a joke, but given to bouts of self-doubt and introspection when nobody's looking. While Sheridan was on Z'ha'dum, Garibaldi was abducted by the Shadows and brought to a Psi Corps facility; he has no idea what was done to him there, and only vaguely remembers the abduction itself. Since his return he has become short-tempered and skeptical of Sheridan and his other compatriots.

Zack Allen - Jeff Conaway
One of Garibaldi's lieutenants, Zack is earnest and trustworthy, if not necessarily the brightest person on the station. During Garibaldi's absence, the job of security chief fell to Zack; the authority seemed to give him self-confidence, making him more willing to speak his mind.

Dr. Stephen Franklin - Richard Biggs

Dedicated and assured, a specialist in xenobiology (alien biology), and in charge of Medlab on Babylon 5. His background is mainly in experimental medicine, so his bedside manner is occasionally not what it should be. His strong sense of personal morality is at times in conflict with his duties as the chief medical provider for aliens from hundreds of worlds and cultures, some of whom view his obligations rather differently. Dr. Franklin is known to operate outside the rules when he feels the issue is important. He runs a free clinic in the Downbelow section for those who cannot afford medical care; he also serves on an "underground railroad" for telepaths who do not want to be found by the Psi Corps. In his middle thirties now, he spent years hitchhiking through space, offering his medical services in exchange for the opportunity to examine new life forms.

Londo Mollari - Peter Jurasik

The former Centauri ambassador to Babylon 5, Londo was promoted to chief of planetary security and became a member of the Centauri Royal Court. Londo was once a minor figure, a decadent nobleman from an insignificant royal house. But his dealings with the Shadows, dealings whose price he didn't understand until too late, propelled him into the corridors of power and are likely to make him the next Emperor. World-weary and horrified by the events spinning out of control around him, Londo's sarcastic sense of humor has been all but smothered; he finds himself walking on eggshells, choosing his words carefully lest they cause even more damage.

Vir Cotto - Stephen Furst
Londo's aide. Vir feels strongly that the choices Londo has made over the past year and a half are taking the Centauri down a self-destructive and morally wrong path, and he's getting less and less shy about expressing that opinion to Londo. He feels somewhat powerless in his position, close to the major decisions but always on the sidelines.

G'Kar - Andreas Katsulas
The ambassador of the Narn Regime when there was a Narn Regime to represent, G'Kar is a fugitive, wanted by the Centauri Republic. Sheridan granted him asylum on Babylon 5, which G'Kar is using as a base of operations from which to organize a movement to retake his homeworld from the Centauri. Thanks to a Vorlon-induced revelation, G'Kar believes that his people must serve the role of sacrificial lambs, sacrificing themselves in the interest of the greater good. He is something of a spiritual leader among his people; his exile, now well over a year long, has given him a compelling serenity and sense of conviction.

Ambassador Kosh - animatronics (Jeffrey Willerth, Ardwright Chamberlain)
The station's second Vorlon Ambassador after the first was assassinated by the Shadows, Kosh is a reclusive, dark personality, who seems to hold the other beings on the station in low esteem, if not contempt. Like all Vorlons, in public he wears a bulky encounter suit to hide his true form. When he bothers to speak with others at all, he communicates through a complex sequence of musical tones, translated into English by a device on his encounter suit. The only person on the station who knows anything about Kosh is his aide Lyta Alexander, whose body he occasionally inhabits when he wants to travel incognito.

Lyta Alexander - Patricia Tallman
A former Psi Corps telepath -- the first one assigned to the station, in fact. Three years ago she scanned the Vorlon ambassador, an experience that left her forever altered, and eventually led to her role as Ambassador Kosh's aide. Since the death of the original ambassador, Lyta has been less than pleased with her job; his successor is clearly less concerned with her well-being. But she believes in the rightness of the Vorlon cause, so she continues to serve.

Morden - Ed Wasser
A member of the same expedition Sheridan's wife was on, Morden was captured by the Shadows and works for them. He is always accompanied by one or two of them, though they're invisible to most people. Never a major player, he is always ready to talk to Londo and pass messages to and from his "associates." Thanks to Sheridan's expedition to Z'ha'dum, Morden is now a hideous, scarred figure, who travels in the shadows and hides his face with a hood and cloak.

Lorien - Wayne Alexander
The oldest of the surviving First Ones, Lorien lived on Z'ha'dum until Sheridan's visit. Lorien is much more than he seems; he can visit one's dreams and transfer pieces of his vast lifeforce into others. Lorien is saddened by the conflict between the Shadows and Vorlons, and is helping Sheridan put an end to it. He has introduced a third question to the two asked by the Shadows and Vorlons: "Why are you here?" It may prove to be the question destined to be asked by humanity.

Bester - Walter Koenig
A Psi-Cop, one of an elite unit of the Psi Corps whose function is to track down rogue telepaths, among other things. Perhaps in part because of his P12 psi rating -- more than twice as high as Lyta's -- he seems to have risen to a position of some importance in the Corps. Bester opposes the Shadow influence on the Corps, and is working behind the scenes to help the Army of Light.

Emperor Cartagia - Wortham Krimmer

When installed as emperor in 2259 by a group of Centauri politicians led by Lord Refa and Londo Mollari, he acted as, essentially, a powerless figurehead; however, he gradually amassed near absolute power. The scale of his self-aggrandizement and madness were exposed in early 2261, near the end of the Shadow War, when he willingly brought Centauri Prime to the brink of annihilation by the Vorlons in an effort to secure his place among the gods. His character appears to have been influenced by the Roman emperors Caligula and Nero, with his name possibly being derived from the city of Carthage.

William Edgars - Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

The Mars mogul that Garibaldi began working for, who used his "pharmaceutical" company, Edgars Industries, to formulate a solution to kill telepaths with a biological weapon. Edgars is eventually killed, and Garibaldi marries his widow, his former girlfriend, Lise, and heads Edgars Industries, though taking it in a new turn.

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