Babylon 5 Reboot Will ‘Blend New Ideas’ Like Westworld and Battlestar Galactica, Creator Says
Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski has addressed his decision to develop a “from-the-ground-up reboot” of the beloved 90s space opera series.
Straczynski, who recently co-created the Netflix sci-fi drama Sense8 with the Wachowskis, took to Twitter on Monday to confirm his involvement in the widely-reported Babylon 5 reboot. He confirmed that a rebooted version of the show is in active development for The CW and that he’s “hip into writing the pilot now, and will be running the series upon pickup.”
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. I’m hip deep into writing the pilot now, and will be running the series upon pickup.
— J. Michael Straczynski (@straczynski) September 27, 2021
“The network understands the uniqueness of Babylon 5 and is giving me a great deal of latitude with the storytelling,” Straczynski assured fans in his lengthy Twitter thread, which also addressed some of the reasons behind the decision to create a hard reboot of Babylon 5 rather than returning to the original series’ universe for a continuation of the story.
Straczynski explained that he had added several tools to his toolbox in the years since Babylon 5 had been on screens, with the original series airing between 1993 and 1998. He suggested those new tools and resources would ultimately change his approach to the show and that there would be “no fun and no surprises” in retelling the same story in the same way.
“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 said, adding, “I hope to create additional new forms of storytelling that will further push the television medium to the edge of what’s possible.”
“To those asking why not just do a continuation, 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,” he explained in additional tweets. “Our original Londo without the original Vir? Or G’Kar? How do you tell Sheridan’s story without Delenn? Or the story of B5 without Franklin? Garibaldi? Zack?”
He concluded his comments by promising fans that the rebooted version of the show would attract “new viewers while honoring all that has come before,” with a story that will reportedly revolve around series protagonist John Sheridan as he takes command of Babylon 5 — a diplomatic station built in the wake of a devastating war with an advanced alien race.
Straczynski is currently working on the reboot alongside Warner Bros., which helped produce the original Babylon 5, and will help pen the script. In the meantime, you can catch a remastered version of the original show on HBO Max, which cleans up the original special effects at the expense of returning to the original 4:3 aspect ratio.
Adele Ankers is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.