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What to expect in Babylon 5


from J. Michael Straczynski, creator, writer and producer copyright 1993

There has always been a plan for a series to follow. If anything, that was the point of the entire exercise...to tell a story. To create a novel for TV that would span five years, for which the pilot is the opening chapter. Having now seen, or about to see the foundation for that story, and before being asked to lend support to that series, you have a right to some sense of what that series would entail, and what you're being asked to support. One should never sign a blank check on the bank of one's conscience. So here's a preview.

You will find out what happened to Sinclair, for starters, during the Earth/Minbari war. For nearly 10 years, Sinclair has worked to convince himself that nothing happened to him on the Line other than what seems to be the case: that he blacked out for 24 hours. He's just managed to convince himself of this. Now, suddenly, someone comes into his life and with seven words -- you'll know them when you hear them -- completely unravels the self-deception. He knows then that something DID happen to him, that someone DID mess with his mind...and he is going to find out who, and why.

The ramifications of that discovery will have a major influence on the series, on his relationships, and the future of not only his character but many others.

You will see what a Vorlon is...and what it represents. And what it may have to do with our own saga, and a hidden relationship to some of our other characters (watch the reception scene carefully). We'll discover that there are MANY players in this game. You'll find out what happened to Babylon 4, and it will call into question what is real, what is not, and the ending of that episode is one that you have not seen before on television.

We'll find that most every major character is running to, or away from something in their hearts, or their pasts, or their careers. Garibaldi's checkered past will catch up with him in a way that will affect his role and make him a very different character for as much as a full season, and have lasting effects thereafter. Lyta will take part in a voyage of discovery that will very much change her character. She will be caught up in a web of intrigue and forced to betray the very people she has come to care for.

We will see wheels within wheels, discover the secret groups behind the Earth and Minbari governments who suspect, with good reason, that one of the B5 crew may be a traitor, who sold out Earth during the Earth/Minbari war.

Some of the established empires in the pilot will fall. Some will rise unexpectedly. Hopes and fortunes will be alternately made or destroyed. At least one major race not yet known even to EXIST will make its presence known, but only gradually. Some characters will fall from grace. Others will make bargains whose full price they do not understand, but will eventually come to realize, and regret.

At the end of the first season, one character will undergo a MAJOR change, which will start the show spinning on a very different axis. The first season will have some fairly conventional stories, but others will start the show gradually moving toward where I want it to go. One has to set these things up gradually. Events in the story -- which is very much the story of Jeffrey Sinclair -- will speed up in each subsequent season.

Someone he considers a friend will betray him. Another will prove to be the exact opposite of what Sinclair believes to be true. Some will live. Some will die. He will be put through a crucible of terrible force, that will change him, and alter his destiny in a profound and terrible way...if he goes one way, or the other, it will determine not only his own fate, but that of millions of others. He will grow, and become stronger, better, wiser...or be destroyed by what fate is bringing his way. In sum, it is a story of hope against terrible adversity and overwhelming odds.

Each of our characters will be tempted in a different way to ally with a dark force determined to once and for all destroy the peace. Some will fall prey to the temptation, others will not, and pay the price for their resistance.

The homeworld of one of our major characters will be decimated. War will become inevitable. And when it comes, Babylon 5 will be forever changed.

That, in broad brush strokes, is a little of what I plan to do with the series. It is, as stated, a novel for television, with a definite beginning, middle and end.


Netscape HTML Checked! November 16, 1993 - Robert Lentz (ralentz@ralentz.com)

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