- "The Long, Twilight Struggle" is probably the
biggest episode of the entire two years to date, story and EFX and
character wise, and will have a profound effect on the series that
I'd compare to a cross between "Signs and Portents" and "Chrysalis".
- I don't want to say anything about "The Long Twilight Struggle" at
this time, to avoid hyping people. Suffice to say it's a very strong
- Hell, in some ways, when compared with "Struggle," "The Coming of
Shadows" is a light comedy in which nothing much happens.
- Without spoiling anything...yes, in this regard, I've always noted
that there are some echoes of WW II in the overall storyline, and some
applies here. Also, again, the purpose of a large measure of the show
is to elicit discussion of such issues as this...where are the mora,
(moral) responsibilities in such a situation? What are the ethics of
mass warfare? Where does expediency begin and compassion end? *Should*
compassion have to end for the greater good?
If we can start some bar fights, I'll have done my job.
Fact is, I don't have one single damned good answer. But I've got a
whole LOTTA questions...
- Thanks. Yes, there's a WW II parallel, not in terms of
justifying one or the other -- one can make compelling
arguments for and against the use of atomic weapons to close
the war, but I leave it to those who were there to have
made the right decision, because they had to live with it --
but in terms of strategy and wartime logic.
- Thank you. I'm quite frankly thrilled beyond words at the preliminary
reactions from the UK to this episode; we worked *really* hard on it,
and I can't tell you what the reactions mean to us.
- Thanks. It's definitely one of my favorite episodes.
The intensity is terrific.
- Yes, "They're being bombed back to the stone age" is a Vietnam era
- Re: what you could see of the planet's surface...one of the side
effects of the technology used is that, realistically, it would throw up
a *hideous* amount of smoke, dust and debris, and you wouldn't see much
- Why isn't Londo floating weightless?
Some races, like the Centauri and the Minbari, use drive systems built
to varying degrees on magnetic and gravitational forces;
some of them don't so much go to a planet as create a situation where
they are drawn toward it.
One of the side effects of this is a field allowing for artificial
gravity. Earth doesn't have this level of technology, however.
- Re: your note about 500 Narns for every 1 Centauri...you may want to
check our own history. During the occupation of some parts of Europe
during WW II, similar tactics were used.
In some cases the threat rose as high as 100-200 Jews or Russians
executed for every Nazi killed; much the same has been done in earlier
history. Five hundred to one is a figure relatively consistent with
what humans have done from time to time when we wish to instill terror.
So I find this a curious quibble.
- Actually, Londo *specifies* that the 500 will include "the
perpetrator's own family."
- Was Draal's voice dubbed?
No, his voice wasn't dubbed, or changed, by anyone; might've been a
glitch in local audio or something.
- Thanks. Draal's played by John Shuck, who did a great job.
And yes, we'll definitely be seeing him again. (We first met him in
"A Voice in the Wilderness.")
- I loved the part with Draal calling out for Zathras
Yeah, that was a rather Draal bit of humor, wasn't it?
- In part it's John's take on the character, but what I indicated to him
was that Draal's gone through some considerable changes by entering the
heart of the machine; it's given him greater understanding, and the
freeing aspects of greater humor. It's almost like -- and I hate to
even use the reference because somebody'll say "Oh, that's what he's
doing," and I ain't, it's just a point of comparison -- Tom Bombadil in
LoTR...quite funny, but also someone not to be trifled with.
- It wasn't intended that Delenn should touch Draal; it sorta happened
on the set, and no one really noticed, and it wasn't worth going
back and reshooting the whole thing. My sense is that if it's
like a virtual reality situation, she would "feel" it even though
it's not there, if the image was impinging correctly on the brain.
But in either event, the image is not and should not be considered
to be solid.
As for Londo's shot...the director called "cut" I think a bit too
soon, we used every frame we had to extend that shot (and, in fact,
we even went so far as to freeze the final frame and extend the shot
by a smidge, if you look at it carefully). Nonetheless, I think it
works pretty spiffily.
As for the mass drivers, the amount of energy required to move
something that big would generate huge amounts of heat, possibly
making them even white-hot hence the glow.
- An actor's job is to physicalize the script. Can you
give an example?
Yes, I think that's accurate. The most obvious place where it worked
was where Londo looks through the window to Narn being bombed below.
There's no dialogue, and he has to convey a range of emotions just
through his face....which is a terribly difficult thing to do, and he
did a superb job of it.
- Mass drivers use asteroids freely available in space,
accelerated and fired into a planetary atmosphere. EA non-rotational
ships have zero g. EA tech is generally much lower in weapons tech and
other areas than the Minbari and Vorlons, among others.
- Actually, what Delenn said was, "...the Rangers *in this area* are
under my direct command." So Sinclair's post as Ranger One remains
back on Minbar.
And yes, Sinclair has apparently been described as the One...but you
must ask...the one *what*?
Expect final answers to this one late this coming season.
- On each season's music for the opening credits reflecting the
mood of the season
What do I have in mind for season three? What I indicated to Chris
Franke was to look at a piece of music he did in "The Long, Twilight
Struggle" and interpolate some elements of that into the main theme,
with a very hard sound. The piece in question is about the middle of
the first really...um...busy scene after the act break.
- Until "The Long Twilight Struggle," nothing else has come close to
that scene [the attack on the Narn outpost in "Coming of Shadows"]
for me. But there's some stuff in there that finally manages to
to surpass it. Just gorgeous and scary and awe-inspiring.
- These Narn heavy cruisers were different than the
"Midnight on the Firing Line."
There are various kinds of ships the Narns have, some older than others;
the ones in the first ep were older ones.
- About the Narn/Shadow battle
Thanks. Yeah, that scene is one of my favorites; a lot of work
went into it, and I think it shows.
- Secret of Narn success in injuring a Shadow ship?
Not much to the secret...they coordinated their firepower on one of
the ships, in hopes of doing damage.
- G'Kar's prayers would have been unrelated to the wounding
of the shadow vessel.
- Was the Shadow ship permanently disabled?
It was in shock, but it would've recovered in a bit more time.
- Were there four Shadow ships stacked together after
Actually, what's probably confusing is that the shadow vessels are
bi-level, so when two come together it looks like four or so; but it's
just the two.
- Thanks. One of the things I wanted to try was to find a way to stage
long-range combat. One of the things everyone says is that even though
real aerial combat tends to be at great distance -- and space combat
would be conducted over thousands of kilometers, you probably wouldn't
be able to even SEE your opponent at that range, just pick up the enemy
ships on your scanners -- you can't do that for TV because you need to
have both in frame, hammering each other short-range, to make it work
But I've always liked a challenge, so I thought I'd see if I could make
it work. The two sides are, as noted, thousands of kilometers apart,
and take most of that sequences just to catch up with each other. And
frankly, I think it's probably one of the most dynamic battle sequences
we've ever done, so you can expect more in the future, now that I've
kind of got the hang of how to do this.
- Agreed. The use of different tactics and weapons at different distances
gives a sense that there is a *strategy* behind what's going on, that
it's not just two ships coming with city blocks of one another and
clobbering each other. Strategy implies intelligence, and to see
intelligence in the shadow vessels is scary indeed.....
- The reason for the placement of the jump points is *very* straight
By virtue of their size and the tremendous forces unleashed by
punching a hole into hyperspace, you want to form it a little distance
away or risk being severely damaged.
If they formed the points between them and the enemy, which was quite
capable of avoiding them, it would be entirely possible for the shadows
to get in front of the point and cut off their sole means of escape.
Usually, better to form them behind you, so the enemy can't block your
way out, and take a possible hit or two to your aft sections than be
totally cut off.
They didn't anticipate the extra weapons the shadows had.
- Were those Narn cruisers especially big?
The cruiser is the same size as that sent to look into Z'ha'dum; it's
just a matter of perspective and how close the camera gets.
- Did the shadow ships phase out to avoid the energy mines?
No, they didn't phase out so much as absorb the energy,
at cost of great pain.
- Well, they're organic technology, so they can feel, but only
after a fashion.
- "Why didn't the fighters do anything?"
They did. Look more closely. They engaged the Narn fighters in
dogfights all over the place. They're hardly more than specks against
the huge ships, but they're definitely there.
- One Shadow ship in "Signs and Portents," two in "Chrysalis,"
three in "The Coming of Shadows," four here?
Give Tim Lynch a ceegar. Yes, more ships are starting to appear,
as more ships become available.
- They only have four ships?
Never said you're seeing their entire fleet, you're seeing what they
can afford to send out at any given moment on relatively low-priority
- Dave: yup. Londo's never coughed before, and
this was very deliberately placed. He's on the path, like it or not.
- The Vorlons lodged an official protest! Is this the first time
they've taken an action like that?
Yeah, that's pretty much the first time since the pilot where the
Vorlons got involved with the Sinclair situation.
- Bingo. As I mentioned before, the "long twilight struggle" title
is a quote; you correctly identified the source in the
- About Sheridan's closing speech
Certainly, Sheridan is slowly growing more into a leader who must
be able to step to the front in this kind of way, yes.
- What does "the balloon is going up" mean?
There have been many explanations for where this phrase comes
from. Most of them are obviously spook etymology, but the first one I
heard -- and who knows if this is right -- comes from WW I, where just
before one side would go into battle, they'd send one man up in a hot
air balloon to scout the enemy's location. If you saw the balloon
going up, you knew combat wasn't far behind.
Wherever it comes from, though, that's the general meaning of
Editor's note: Apparently the term dates back to
the American Civil War, during which balloons were deployed by the
Signal Corps before battles.
- Candles are, I think, wonderfully emblematic
of life, and of being
a single ray of light, or hope, in a dark place. The Grey Council
stands between the candle and the star; watch G'Kar's action re: a
candle in his quarters...and in that scene (for those who've seen TLTS)
note how many candles are in the room in the beginning, and at the end.
We are the candle that burns brightly, stubbornly, effectively...but
- The candles in G'Kar's quarters
Sherry...thank you. The level of attention to detail is the *only*
way that this story will be told properly. It means you sit down with
the director, and others, and you make totally clear -- there, and in
the script -- what you saw in your head when you wrote it. As well as
repeatd verbal themes, cues, phraseologies, it's important (since this
is a visual medium) to incorporate visual cues that add to the thematic
thrust of the piece, that create a mood, or convey an emotion or a
thought on an almost cellular level. The hardest part is being careful
not to OVER use them, because then they lose all meaning and impact.
- Re: G'Kar's position on the council...Sheridan could have
carried on, but it would've been basically useless. The Centauri now
occupy and run Narn, and thanks to the surrender and agreement to the
Centauri terms, call the shots as far as who can legitimately speak for
Narn. Sheridan could've kept G'Kar *in the room*, but he'd still be
powerless, without portfolio, and the whole concept of the council would
be shot. He is now simply Citizen G'Kar, same as any other Narn. No,
Londo isn't of higher rank in the council than Sheridan, but he speaks
for the Centauri, and the Centauri speak for Narn.
- Re: Earth's attitude toward the Centauri...stick around
for 2 more episodes.
Re: not recognizing the Centauri rule...on what basis would or could
Earth do this? If the Narns had not agreed to total and unconditional
surrender, sure, there might be a case you could make...otherwise, one
doesn't have a leg to stand on.
Vampyr...okay, (poink), I've now made you Babylon 5 Person here. So
how could Sheridan "take Londo down a peg" in any manner consistent with
reality? Yell at him? Sure, but to what effect? He had nothing to back
it up. Before, in "Shadows," he had a bluff he could run; now that's
not relevant because the actions have all been taken, and there is
nothing that can be done to stop it. Sometimes, things happen in the
real world, and we'd love to see the person taken down a peg, as you
say...but sometimes actually *doing* that in a real world situation, or
a fairly rigorous fictional situation, is a different matter.