Babylon 5 Reboot With Original Series Creator J. Michael Straczynski Happening At The CW
Space has always captivated society and if you need proof, just look at the influx of space-themed shows that have appeared throughout the mid-20th century to early 21st century. From Star Trek to Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1 to Firefly, we can’t get enough spaceships and other worlds. One of the most beloved of the space shows was Babylon 5, which took place between the years 2257 and 2262 during several major inter-species wars. It followed a human military staff and a group of alien diplomats that were stationed on a space station called “Babylon 5.” The station acted as a neutral ground for galactic diplomacy and trade, with the human military staff ultimately playing a major role in trying to prevent Earth from descending into a totalitarian regime. The series lasted for five seasons and resulted in tie-in novels, comic books, and short stories. It was also the first series to introduce viewers to the concept of a five-year arc, with a defined beginning, middle, and end. Well, we have exciting news for those that still want more Babylon 5: there is going to be a Babylon 5 reboot on the CW!
What Will The Babylon 5 Reboot Be About?
This new Babylon 5 is going to be “from-the-grounds-up reboot” and while the CW typically skews younger and caters to the teens of today, Babylon 5 apparently has some hardcore fans at the network, at least according to the creator of the original Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski. He tweeted:
“To answer all the questions, yes, it’s true, Babylon 5 is in active development as a series for the CW. We have some serious fans over at the network, and they’re eager to see this show happen. I’m hip deep into writing the pilot now, and will be running the series upon pickup. The network understands the uniqueness of Babylon 5 and is giving me a great deal of latitude with the storytelling.
“As noted in the announcement, this is a reboot from the ground up rather than a continuation, for several reasons. Heraclitus wrote ‘You cannot step in the same river twice, for the river has changed, and you have changed.’ In the years since B5, I’ve done a ton of other TV shows and movies, adding an equal number of tools to my toolbox, all of which I can bring to bear on one singular question: if I were creating Babylon 5 today, for the first time, knowing what I now know as a writer, what would it look like? How would it use all the storytelling tools and technological resources available in 2021 that were not on hand then?
“How can it be used to reflect the world in which we live, and the questions we are asking and confronting every day? Fans regularly point out how prescient the show was and is of our current world; it would be fun to take a shot at looking further down the road. So we will not be retelling the same story in the same way because of what Heraclitus said about the river. There would be no fun and no surprises. Better to go the way of Westworld or Battlestar Galactica where you take the original elements that are evergreens and put them in a blender with a ton of new, challenging ideas, to create something fresh yet familiar. To those asking why not just do a continuation, for a network series like this, it can’t be done because over half our cast are still stubbornly on the other side of the Rim.”
It’s an especially exciting turn of events since, in 2018, Straczynski had tweeted this:
Won't work. They literally told my agent "We have no plans, and no intentions, of letting anything else be done in terms of television with Babylon 5." And a kickstarter wouldn't pay for even a fraction of a season. That won't change for years, when those execs are dead/gone. https://t.co/NZ80WiIIcR
— J. Michael Straczynski (@straczynski) April 20, 2018
It’s unclear why Warner Bros. had the sudden change of heart, but fans are excited. The reboot is going to focus on John Sheridan (originally played by Bruce Boxleitner), an “Earthforce officer with a mysterious background.” He’s assigned to the five-mile-long space station, Babylon 5, a port of call for travelers, smugglers, corporate explorers, and alien diplomats at a time of uneasy peace and the constant threat of war. The official description from the studio says: “His arrival triggers a destiny beyond anything he could have imagined, as an exploratory Earth company accidentally triggers a conflict with a civilization a million years ahead of us, putting Sheridan and the rest of the B5 crew in the line of fire as the last, best hope for the survival of the human race.”
Despite the end of Babylon 5 with Warner Bros. Television, Straczynski continued the Babylon 5 universe with a TNT series called Crusade, seven subsequent feature-length films, and a series of novels, novelizations, short stories, and comics from DC. He’s also an acclaimed comics writer for DC and Marvel, having received the Eisner, Icon, and Inkpot Lifetime Achievement Awards for his books. He continues to work on numerous projects, including a new superhero universe!
Straczynski, will executive produce via his Studio JMS, with Warner Bros. Television acting as the studio. He’s repped by A3 Artists Agency and Gendler-Kelly.
Featured image via screengrab
Keilin Huang is a freelance writer that likes the Oxford comma, reading from her neverending pile of books from the library, and Reeses peanut butter cups. She thanks her Dad for introducing her to his Superman comics and probably majored in Journalism because of Lois Lane. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.