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Television Movies Sci-Fi

Babylon 5 May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut 252

Posted by timothy
from the have-you-tried-turning-it-off-and-back-on? dept.
Ars Technica reports that "J. Michael Straczynski will shortly begin work on a rebooted big-screen version of his 1990s sci-fi TV series [ Babylon 5]." From the article: According to JMS's latest announcement, the new script will be targeted at a 2016 theatrical release and will be a reboot of the series rather than a continuation. This is necessary for both dramatic and practical purposes—the series was in regular production from 1994-1998, and the cast has simply aged too far to credibly play themselves again during the series’ main timeline. Additionally, several of the foundational cast members — Michael O'Hare, Andreas Katsulas, Richard Biggs, and Jeff Conaway — have passed away. ... The movie rights to the Babylon 5 property remain in JMS's hands, but the creator is hopeful that this time around, Warner Bros. will choose to finance the film instead of passing on it. Nonetheless (at least according to TV Wise), JMS is prepared to fund the movie through his own production company if necessary — something that wasn't a possibility ten years ago — suggesting that B5 will in fact come to the big screen at last.
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Babylon 5 May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

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  • by GrumpySteen (1250194) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @11:43AM (#47642025)

    It's a reboot, not a continuation. It starts from the beginning, so you don't have to see the TV series in order to watch the movie.

  • by Wraithlyn (133796) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @01:04PM (#47642415)

    They thought they weren't getting a Season 5, which is why they rushed to resolve all the major plots by the end of S4, leading to a rather underwhelming S5.

    So what you say is true, but not really their fault.

  • by mrbester (200927) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @01:37PM (#47642549) Homepage

    The CGI was groundbreaking and a great deal more than just "backdrops". Every ship, planet, piece of debris, weapons fire as well as the interior of various parts of the station was made on *Amigas* with zero model shots. When they had enough money for a small render farm they could create large space battles in real time.

    They kept the details secret even though big names like ILM and Paramount wanted to know how the hell they did it with so little equipment and a shoestring budget (we didn't see the battle of Wolf 359, only the aftermath and even that was a few years later because it was too expensive to make). They released old methods to the big studios on a seasonal basis: Mars Attacks used Season 2 quality, ST:Voyager used Season 4.

    Yes, the effects look dated. Because they are. But no one else could do what they did 20 years ago.

  • by CanadianMacFan (1900244) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @02:12PM (#47642761)
    If you want to know about the technomages then read the books about them. There is a trilogy by Jeanne Cavelos. Most of the books in the series are pretty good and fill in the gaps that were left by the series.
  • by marsu_k (701360) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @04:12PM (#47643287)
    Regarding the Sinclair -> Sheridan switch (which I didn't mind, I never particularly cared for Sinclair), there was a quite good reason for it [wikipedia.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 10, 2014 @06:04PM (#47643761)

    Bzzt. The pilot was made on Toasters, yes. The series was made on a render farm of NT workstations. Then somewhere around season three, they started compositing in some practical FX with the digital (improved explosions). There was no "secret", it was simply very good use of Lightwave, and there was no "real time"-- the CGI was rendered one frame at a time, and assembled / composited on digital tape. The primary benefit was cost-- Build one Hyperion class heavy cruiser, swap out the name plate texture, now you've got another... duplicate it a few times across the screen, create an Omega class destroyer, duplicate it a few times (and during "Severed Dreams", get the name plates wrong at least once), throw in a few dozen Star Furies-- you've got an Epic Space Battle-- whereas the model guys are shooting the same scene over and over and over and moving things around by hand. CGI made it faster and cheaper.

    Paramount, and specifically the Star Trek crowd, insisted that CGI wasn't good enough, and they would only use model shots... well, that, and the computer generated stuff ILM filmed at fantastic expense for the first season of ST:TNG. One of their complaints was the harshness of shadows in space due to the lack of atmospheric scattering-- which is accurate, but looks jarring.

    Foundation Imaging (the wiki page is badly flawed) had among it's team Ron Thornton (designed among other things the White Star, if I recall), an old hand at special effects-- he did a lot of work during Peter Davison's era on Doctor Who.

    Then Foundation Imaging and B5 parted ways at the end of season three, and Doug Netter set up a company to do the CGI work for seasons four and five (and Crusade and the B5 tv movies).

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