‘Babylon 5’ reboot in development with original series creator J. Michael Straczynski at the helm
A reboot of the 90s sci-fi epic “Babylon 5” is in development at The CW network, Variety has reported.
Creator of the original show J. Michael Straczynski will write the project and act as executive producer under his Studio JMS banner. Warner Bros Television, which produced the original series, will produce the new show.
Needless to say, this news has been nothing less than a seismic event in the sci-fi social media circles.
In the original series, Babylon 5 is a giant, 5-mile-long (8 kilometers) space station located in neutral space next to a strategically vital wormhole-style jump gate, serves as 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 first commander, Jeffrey Sinclair (played by Michael O’Hare), discovers his ultimate destiny is vital in the jigsaw puzzle of galactic history. His replacement, Capt. John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner), also ends up playing an essential role in the survival of life in the galaxy as chaos gradually descends and several alien species go to war with each other, putting Sheridan and the rest of the space station crew in the line of fire as the last, best hope for the survival of the human race.
“Babylon 5” first aired in February 1993, and over the course of five and a half years, it changed television sci-fi forever. We’re not going to mince words here, the series is brilliant. You will laugh, you’ll definitely cry and you will absolutely be forever enlightened as you follow a mind-blowing story that unfolds across time and space.
Along with an incredible regular cast, the show included a number of cameos from major stars of sci-fi. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)
An incredible cast delivered phenomenal performances in the original “Babylon 5” series, including Andreas Katsulas (G’Kar), Peter Jurasik (Londo), Mira Furlan (Delenn), Jerry Doyle (Michael Garibaldi), Richard Biggs (Dr. Stephen Franklin), Claudia Christian (Commander Susan Ivanova), Stephen Furst (Vir Cotto), Bill Mumy (Lennier), Andrea Thompson (Talia Winters), Patricia Tallman (Lyta Alexander), Jeff Conaway (Zack Allan) and Michael O’Hare (Commander Jeffrey Sinclair). Tragically, an unprecedented number of these incredibly talented stars of sci-fi are no longer with us.
It is extremely difficult to imagine anyone other than Andreas Katsulas playing G’Kar or Stephen Furst playing Vir Cotto. However, the new show is described as a “from-the-ground-up reboot.” Quite what that means is not yet clear.
“Babylon 5” is one of the best science fiction shows ever written for television and happily sits atop its throne in the Sci-Fi Hall of Fame along with Ron D Moore’s “Battlestar Galactica,” “The Expanse” and “Star Trek: The Original Series.”
The timing of this quite interesting as only two months ago, Straczynski was tweeting about his interest in taking the helm of “Doctor Who,” saying, “I don’t know if the BBC would ever consider an American to show-run #DoctorWho, but if so, I would be there in a heartbeat. (Well, technically two heartbeats, since two hearts…)”
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/NZ80WiIIcRApril 20, 2018
And prior to this, Straczynski had made it clear on Twitter that current television rights holder Warner Bros. had no intention of either doing anything with the license themselves or of letting anyone else do anything with it. Whether these are connected in some way to today’s announcement is as yet unknown.
On social media, stars from the original show reacted to today’s announcement, with Claudia Christian for example, writing on Facebook, “I know some of you saw the announcement that WB is doing a B5 reboot series and I know you have lots of questions for me like ‘Are you playing Ivanova?’ ‘Are there going to be telepaths?’ ‘What year is it taking place in?’ Well folks, I know nothing … zip … nada. Joe has kept us in the loop from day one on this, because he wants us involved with the show, but we have no idea at this time what’s in the script or what the story is. Only Joe knows that for now, so you should go bug him about it. He won’t tell you, but the results should be amusing.”
Back in February 2021, it was announced that the entire “Babylon 5” series was to receive a long, long overdue remaster to 1080p HD, and as such, it’s now available as a digital download from Amazon, iTunes where available globally and on HBO Max.