J. Michael Straczynski has confirmed that a reboot of his beloved sci-fi series, Babylon 5, is currently in the works at The CW.
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News of the Babylon 5 reboot’s existence was first reported on by Variety, who reported on the morning of September 27th that they had learned that a “from-the-ground-up reboot” of the series was in the works from Straczynski and Warner Bros. Television, the studio that produced the original series.
Though details on the reboot were scarce, the trade outlet could confirm that “at this time, none of the original series stars are attached to the project.”
Unsurprisingly, this news caused a massive buzz across social media, with some fans excited for more Babylon 5 and others afraid the new series would suffer from the same problems that plagued such similar reboots or continuing series as Star Trek: Discovery.
So much so, in fact, that said buzz eventually prompted Straczynski himself to take to Twitter and confirm, “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,” he added. “I’m hip deep into writing the pilot now, and will be running the series upon pickup.”
Straczynski then explained, “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,’ the creator continued. “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?” he posited. “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.”
Turning to the concept of the new series as a reboot, Straczynski stated, “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,” he argued.
Addressing “those asking why not just do a continuation,” Strazynski clarified, “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.”
“How do you telling continuing story of our original Londo without the original Vir?” he asked. “Or G’Kar? How do you tell Sheridan’s story without Delenn? Or the story of B5 without Franklin? Garibaldi? Zack?”
“The original Babylon 5 was ridiculously innovative: the first to use CGI to create ships and characters, and among the very first to shoot widescreen with a vigorous 5.1 mix,” recalled the writer. “Most of all, for the first time, Babylon 5 introduced viewers accustomed to episodic television to the concept of a five-year arc with a pre-planned beginning, middle and end, creating a brand new paradigm for television storytelling that has subsequently become the norm.”
“That tradition for innovation will continue in this new iteration,” he asserted. “and I hope to create additional new forms of storytelling that will further push the television medium to the edge of what’s possible.”
Concluding his thread, Straczynski took a moment to note “how supportive and enthusiastic everyone at the CW has been and is being with this project.”
“They understand the unique position Babylon 5 occupies both in television and with its legions of fans, and are doing everything they can to ensure the maximum in creative freedom, a new story that will bring in new viewers while honoring all that has come before,” he said, before declaring, “Onward!”
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