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Sci-Fi Movies

Interviews: Ask J. Michael Straczynski What You Will 276

J. Michael Straczynski has written Thor, World War Z, and Changeling among many other films. He created Babylon 5 and has worked on numerous comic book titles including Superman and The Amazing Spider-Man. Most recently, he has teamed up with the Wachowskis for an original Netflix sci-fi series, Sense8 . He's agreed to take a break from his busy schedule in order to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
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Interviews: Ask J. Michael Straczynski What You Will

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  • Babylon Reboot (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:05PM (#46535107)

    Have you considered rebooting Babylon 5 with a new cast a la JJ Abrams Star Trek? If not yourself at the helm of such a project, would you ever cede control of those characters to another creative team?

  • by madopal ( 308394 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:07PM (#46535131) Homepage
    What would have been different with the last two seasons of Babylon 5 had you known for sure you had a full 5 seasons?
  • Babylon 5 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Patrick LaFollette ( 3488015 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:11PM (#46535179)
    Have you ever considered revisiting the Babylon 5 universe? Perhaps in animated form?
  • actors across series (Score:5, Interesting)

    by doas777 ( 1138627 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:13PM (#46535191)

    I've often noticed that if an actor played a speaking character in one scifi series, while looking mostly humanish, any other series they are in they have a pretty concealing costume. For Instance Mr Katsulas played a rather humanish Tomalok on Startrek, whereas his G'Kar had a pretty intense costume.

    Is this done intentionally, or just coincidence?

  • Re:Babylon Reboot (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <> on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:25PM (#46535349)

    Really? All the "made for TV movies" that were released after the end of the final season? The entire Crusade series? The Legend of the Rangers? The Lost Tales?

    It certainly seemed like there was a struggle to actually end the story...

  • Re:Babylon 5 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:30PM (#46535407)
    While reboots in general are often terrible ideas, I've always felt B5 was a prime candidate for one. It came in that awkward stage between 80's tv and modern tv (it was certainly one of the pioneers of longer story arcs) and also pushed the boundaries of CGI (IMO awesome back then but nigh unwatchable now). I don't know if any of you have tried to go back wand watch those 80's shows you thought were so awesome back then - I have, and they're more often than not unwatchable trash compared to what we are used to now (some shows excepted, of course. I won't say which so I don't offend anyone at all). 75% of B5 was incredibly brilliant and holds up perfectly fine today. But that other 25% (much of it packed into the first season) is embarrassingly bad to watch. I've tried more than once to get friends into the show and have them tell me it's terrible (and this is despite them skipping the worst on my recommendation). B5 simply hasn't aged well; I'd love to see it get a modern reboot (no lens flare please).
  • Social TV (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hhawk ( 26580 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:43PM (#46535583) Homepage Journal

    For me, you are the father or grandfather of social TV, meaning the way you promoted Bab 5 (before, during and after) the series is more or less the methodology that many TV shows and movies have adapted. You maybe have been using NNTP (Network News) instead of Facebook or Twitter, but for me you are the first.

    My question: in that context: What are show producers/runners not doing today with Social Media that they could or should be doing to engage and interact with fans?

  • Reaching Fans (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hhawk ( 26580 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:45PM (#46535601) Homepage Journal

    When you look back at how you used tools like NNTP to engage with your audience regarding Bab 5, is there anything you would have done differently today?

  • Fans online (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hhawk ( 26580 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:48PM (#46535643) Homepage Journal

    I consider your use of online technology for Bab5 to have been both Evolutionary and Revolutionary.

    My question: Which if any other shows, writers, producers and show runners did you emulate or follow or get inspired by when you took to the Internet to promote Bab 5.

  • Lensman movie (Score:4, Interesting)

    by grylnsmn ( 460178 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:48PM (#46535647)

    Years ago, you mentioned that you signed on with Ron Howard to write a screenplay for a movie based on E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series. Is that project still in the works?

  • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:58PM (#46535769) Homepage

    Sense 8 brings together one of my favorite creators of worlds, with one of my favorite authors, and one of my favorite companies....

    What has it been like to work with the Wachowski siblings and Netflix? Has working with Netflix provided a freer avenue for creativity than a traditional television network experience offers?

  • by x0 ( 32926 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:58PM (#46535773) Homepage
    Many on here are no doubt wanting a sequel of some sort. Honestly, I'd like to know where Lennier ended up, and did he ever redeem himself?

  • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @01:11PM (#46535919) Homepage

    At the moment there is not a single TV show in space? Since the ending of the BSG reboot and Stargate: Universe cancellation, TV has been essentially "spaceless".

    Why do you feel that is?

    And what do you feel it would take to bring "space" back to television?

  • by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @01:21PM (#46536039)

    Why did you make a movie and then name it World War Z when it had nothing in common with the source material except for a title?

    Because the movie that was released had relatively little to do with the screenplay that JMS wrote. In fact, they had to add some of JMS's writing back in when they released how terrible the later revisions were.

  • Jeremiah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by beukerc ( 551572 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @01:35PM (#46536215)

    So, what is the story with Jeremiah? I only saw the first season and haven't been able to track down the 2nd, but I rather enjoyed what I saw of the show.

    I read an interview you did [] where you mention that you finished the 2nd season and wrapped up what you could as best as you could and then ran like hell. What happened?

  • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @02:29PM (#46536775) Homepage

    In Babylon 5 you took on the concept of the Nightwatch. What are your thoughts regarding the current global monitoring by the NSA? What actions do you feel Americans could be taking to voice their opposition and stand against our present "Nightwatch"?

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @02:41PM (#46536909)

    I know that there are a few things in B5 that were mentioned, maybe touched briefly, that were hinted at and that did eventually not get the attention that I felt they were supposed to get, either because of time constraints, because actors decided to jump ship or because of reasons that I (or even we, as a whole) don't know about.

    Are there any plot ideas that you were quite fond of that you could not flesh out the way you wanted them to? Any "loose ends" that you really wanted to tie up and give closure but couldn't during the series run? And, of course, why couldn't you?

Garbage In -- Gospel Out.