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Babylon 5 May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut 252

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 Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @11:40AM (#47642013) Homepage

    At least he had a good story on the TV series, which really was important. A lot of the CGI effects were at the time decent but today they wouldn't measure up. At least the CGI effects were in most cases only backdrops, so it didn't really matter that they weren't fully realistic. A good thing was that it held stories within the grand story.

    The story itself did leave a lot of threads to follow outside the station with several untold stories. The technomages are still a bit of a mystery, who are they actually, and what were their origins?

    Gideon: I thought you said you never hold a grudge.
    Galen: Well, I don't. I have no surviving enemies... at all.

  • Re:What's a reboot? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Snard ( 61584 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (kulawahs.ekim)> on Sunday August 10, 2014 @12:30PM (#47642251) Homepage

    I would say that "reboot" can mean different things, in much the same way that "Zathras" can refer to more than one individual, depending on how you pronounce it :) There is the one you describe (change the story line / concepts), but I think it's also possible to simply retell the story, or perhaps tell "more of the story" (i.e. start a bit earlier in the arc, or give additional background). Our technology has changed a bit since 1994 (I mean, gad, we were still running Windows for Workgroups back then!) so it makes sense that we can better imagine the future from this perspective. I respect JMS and believe he would not tamper with the core precepts in the series. And while there are lots of faithful fans who remember the original series, there is also a huge audience of people who aren't familiar with the original series & would enjoy an excellent space opera.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @02:18PM (#47642795)

    Except that the series jumped the shark when Sherdian came back from the dead, which was always part of the arc.

    FWIW, I never saw it that way. With the powerful races that are in play by that point in the show, it needed someone from the younger races to do something that appears miraculous from our perspective to put us in the same league and make the final outcome to the main plot arc credible. What happened to Sheridan was that something, and it was clear from well before the critical event that the older races knew and understood things about what was happening that the younger races in the show and, by extension, we as the viewers did not, so personally I didn't find it either out of character or a random deus ex machina twist.

    Season 5 is best viewed as a collection of disparate standalone stories, of which there are actually a few redeeming ones.

    There I definitely agree. JMS didn't get to finish things quite the way he'd hoped, with the potential cancellation after season 4 obviously causing some reordering and early resolution of major plotlines, and things like losing a major cast member for related reasons that they couldn't fix in time when they did get the green light for season 5. However, a few of the individual episodes in season 5, particularly the ones that looked at the station and characters we had become so familiar with from a very different perspective, were some of the best single episodes of the whole series IMHO. There's a great little moment at the end of "A View from the Gallery", where something happens just in time, and it puts the often grand themes and seemingly awesomely powerful characters we normally see in the show in a very different light.

    I wonder whether a reboot of the main series is the best way to go, though. It's hard to believe anyone could play characters like G'Kar and Londo with the brilliant individual performances and wonderful chemistry of the original actors. I can watch the new Star Trek films and enjoy a big space fight with the best of them, but I don't see Kirk and Spock, I see a different ship, a different crew, and a very different (read: Hollywood) style. It's more like ST:TNG compared to ST:TOS, a familiar environment but different characters and stories. I'm not sure trying to retell the original B5 story with a bigger screen, a bigger budget, bigger SFX, and none of the original magic is a winning move (although if there's anyone who could pull something like that off, JMS would be the one, and if they manage some exceptional casting as well then it might be worth watching).

  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @04:09PM (#47643267)

    Part of the "jumping the shark" was due to money craziness, and the problems when core actors decide they need to do other things with their career. The switch of captains was an enormous problem for fans and the story line, but we'd come to terms with it. The switch of first officers as well, was crippling.

    The reboot of Star Trek was, admittedly, a failure. It lacked Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future as a better place as a more mature place and time with a frontier that tested and showed people who'd learned to engage frontiers with the hard-won wisdom they'd learned, who were actually making the galaxy a better place by sharing that wisdom But I was personally very pleased with the "Enterprise" series as an attempt to restart the series in an earlier period and recapture the exploration of a less mature series.

    And for Star Trek/Babylon 5 comparisons, there can only be the Deep Space 9/Babylon 5 comparison. Anyone who didn't see parallels simply wasn't paying attention, and it was fascinating, as fans, to see how much better of a storyline Baboylon 5 was, and how much having a larger studio and a larger budget and franchise was able to help Deep Space 9. I really found myself wishing that Paramount, JMS, and the remainders of Gene Roddenberry's core crew and estate could have worked something out for Babylon 5 to have been told in the Star Trek universe with the larger budgets and resources.

    I'm forced to admit that as a fan, I was delighted and thrilled to see Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, renowned as Gene Roddenberry's supportive wife, as Nurse Chapel and Lwaxana Troi and the voice of all the computers in Star Trek, pop up as the wife of the emperor in Babylon 5. It was wonderful to see the woman, herself, show her support of the excellent work at Babylon 5 by appear in a small bit fascinating role.

    And Walter Koenig's hop from roles as Chekov in Star Trek to Alfred Bester in Babylon 5 was... well, you have to go watch the shows to understand the _completely_ different role Walter Koenig plays, and to applaud the acting and the writing that created it.

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @06:46PM (#47643947) Journal

    Star Dreck was shit from the start, and Rottenberry's "vision" was at best naive claptrap and at worst unredeemable drivel.

    That was kind of the point of Star Trek, or at least the point of TNG and to a lesser extent TOS. I'm sorry that you didn't get that, it wasn't for everyone, but it was and is the reason why the reboot completely sucks ass and has nothing in common with Star Trek other than the title and character names.

    Is the near-utopia presented in The Next Generation attainable? Probably not, human nature being what it is, though if anything made it possible it would be an abundance economy with virtually limitless supplies of energy that can literally make food and consumer goods out of thin air. The notion of people working towards the common good rather than personal enrichment is a lofty one, hence the fiction part of Science-Fiction.

    It was a lot more enjoyable than the dark depressing crap that passes for entertainment these days, like Law and Order Rape (err, I'm sorry, Special Victims Unit) or even some of the darker Sci-Fi stuff, like the really misanthropic episodes of Babylon 5 or Battlestar Galactica. Yeah, I get it, character conflict is fun to write. Does anybody know how to write uplifting stories anymore? It'd be nice to have something more grown up than Frozen to turn to when I need to escape for two hours.

    Bad "science" (only loserboy nerds known as "trekkie pedophile geeks" can delude themselves into believing any of that shitty technobabble can ever be related to real science)

    Star Trek at its best was never about the "science". It was about the story and the characters. As long as they remained consistent about the fake science who cares? Go watch the third, fourth, and fifth seasons of TNG or any of DS9 or TOS. The technobabble was there, but it played by a known and consistent set of rules. The particle of the week deus ex machina technobabble crap was primarily a 7th season TNG problem (the writers clearly ran out of ideas) and long running Voyager phenomenon.

    B5 was vastly superior to DS9 (which was a shameless ripoff)

    The only parts of B5 that DS9 ripped off were the Messiah Complex/Emissary crap of the Commanding Officer. Coincidentally, that was also the least watchable part of DS9. I wanted to shove Sisko out an airlock when he stopped talking about "wormhole aliens" and started talking about "Prophets".

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban