Yesterday had a bit of a bombshell; J. Michael Straczynski is “re-imagining” Babylon 5 on the CW Channel! This remains my favorite tv show of all time and was a massive influence on me and my stories. This is amazing news. JMS has said he’s retelling the same basic story but in a different way a la Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica.
I can’t wait to see this new version and find out what’s changed! One of my favorite what-if experiments is wondering how B5 would have turned out differently. I’ve always been fascinated to read JMS’ comments about the original version of the story, how it changed, where it could have gone… and now to see him present a second take on the subject is going to be incredible!
Ironically this news comes just one week after the Sci-Fi Pubcast did an episode discussing the what-ifs of science fiction. We were already planning to do a part two this weekend that would have included Babylon 5!
Spoiler Note: If you didn’t watch Babylon 5, just skip the rest of this. It’s non-sense spoilers!
It takes a little bit of detective work to suss through his statements, but the original version of B5 was VERY different from what we ended up with. Sinclair would have been the lead for the entire run, of course. The original five year arc would have ended with what became “War Without End”, resolving neither the Shadow War nor the Earth War. If I recall the tea leaves correctly, the Shadows would have wiped out the Vorlons and destroyed B5 (hence the flash-forwards in “Babylon Squared”), forcing the heroes to travel through time to steal B4 to use as a base of operations. This in turn would have led to a SECOND five year series set on B4 with Sinclair and Delenn leading a rag tag group of rebels against Clark’s Earth and the Shadows.
I’m sure B5-CW will not use any of this and be much closer to what we got. I can only assume Sheridan is going to be our lead for the entire run and that the presumably 5 year arc will conclude the Earth and Shadow Wars, only without the lame duck fifth season. JMS was told the show would be cancelled after four years so he wrapped up both arcs early, then got an 11th hour renewal on a different channel resulting in… some extra room. He’s said several times the intended 4th season finale would have been “Intersections in Real Time”, with the events of aired Season 5 only taking place in the back half of the last season.
Oh man, I could go on about the what-ifs forever on this one. I dearly hope a) this show actually gets made, and b) it runs for the entire intended length. Oh and c) it gets a decent budget! This could truly be astounding!