- November 30, 1995 -
As I write this, I've just started
writing "War Without End, Part One," #316, the first part of the two
episodes that bring Sinclair to Babylon 5, which we'll shoot sometime
after the first of the year. It's been touch and go, but we've finally
been able to schedule all of the guest cast members from "Babylon
Squared" for this one, which is the flip side of that episode. It's
probably going to be the most expensive show we've done yet, due to
the hideous production requirements for this one. It's also the one
I'm most nervous about writing, even more than "Fall of Night,"
because an awful lot happens here, and it has to be done just right.
It's going to be probably the toughest writing job of the series to
I'll be putting Sinclair and Sheridan together a lot, which is
shaping up to be an interesting combination. We're also going to see
Minbar for the first time.
- "In WWE(1)I noticed a larger than usual group of
offhand lines (ethel &.../wait in car.../cool-you know what I'm
talking about). Was this scripted? Or was someone just ad libbing?"
There's almost NO ad-libbing allowed on the show. You can't change a
word unless someone comes to my office and approves it, and it can't
change the meaning. (I.e., the actor is having a hard time saying
"shibboleth" or something.) Everything said in this show is scripted,
offhand comments included.
- Did you work out the circular sequence of events
as you went, or was it all mapped out beforehand?
No, it all has to hang together, or it's kinda useless. It just
required working out the details of what was, is, and will be. Then I
walked on water....
- Why didn't Sinclair interact with G'Kar?
The problem is that you've got about 42 minutes to tell your
story. You have to get into it, and get into it fast. Unless there's a
reason for the scene to be there, if it doesn't move the plot along, it
shouldn't be there. You'll note there isn't even a B-story in the
two-parter...there wasn't room.
Sure, it would've been nice to have Sinclair meet G'Kar, sit around,
talk about how they've changed...have Sinclair and Londo meet, talk
about stuff...have him and Ivanova sit around, talk about stuff...but
then you've got just a bunch of scenes that are basically, "Well,
hello, how've you been?"
The next sounds you would've heard would be the click of remote controls
changing channels across the nation.
As it is, in that two-part episode, you've got Delenn, Garibaldi,
Sinclair, Sheridan, Marcus, Ivanova, Lennier, Zathras, Major Krantz,
Krantz's second...it's our most character-intensive episode in a long
time, all of them being present in every other scene, plus the other
three characters we see in part two. It was, quite simply, stuffed to
the gills, and there wasn't room for a single wasted word.
That's the difference between a novel and a television show; you can
stop the action in a book as often as you want to have asides, but you
can't do that in TV with as much facility. To do the scenes you
describe would've meant turning this into a three-parter, and as it is
part one is almost an extended teaser for part two. It would've been
moreso with these additional scenes.
If it isn't necessary, it shouldn't be there.
- It would've been
nice to see some of those scenes, it just wasn't practical. And you
have to make hard choices. As someone once said of writing, "You have
to kill all your darlings," meaning the nifty little things you'd *like*
to do, as opposed to the things you *have* to do.
- Actually, Mike Vejar is directing the two-parter, and I'm
absolutely thrilled about it; Mike's been our mainstay for
some time, and he's just terrific. (He directed "Convictions,"
- Well, reactions have been coming in on the two parter, and so far
everyone's wog-boggled. Peter Jurasik called to say he didn't know
what I'm smoking these days, but to please send ten pounds of it to
his house at *once*. Mumy went nuts over it, everyone's very
excited...including and especially Michael O'Hare, who got his copy
of the script today, read it straight through, and is *extremely*
excited by the story, and what happens with his character, and is
VERY much looking forward to the shoot.
- (Oh, and lest I forget, yes, Zathras does return in "War," as does
Sinclair, who has a lot of great scenes with Marcus, Sheridan, Delenn,
Zathras and others. It also has some real surprises in store, including
some flash-forwards from WAY down the line.)
- January 22, 1996
Today was a very interesting day; today Michael O'Hare returned to the
Babylon 5 stages in preparation for shooting the two-parter, which
begins tomorrow. Today he came by for his wardrobe fitting and to get
his hair trimmed, say hi to folks, and hang out...lunch was me, John
Copeland, Michael and Bruce Boxleitner eating together at one of the
tables in the lunch area behind the stage, lots of laughing and kidding,
and the two get on great. (Turns out they'd worked on other projects
before, including the short-lived A Rumor of War series by Sterling
Anyway, it's a great atmosphere, and everybody's psyched for the
two-parter. It's like he never went away.
- January 23, 1996
[...] today is Michael O'Hare's first day of shooting here on
the B5 stages for the two-parter, featuring his return to the station
from Minbar, and propels him into the center of attention for most of
the two parts. Everyone's having a great time so far, he and Bruce have
been hanging out a lot, and the episode should be a real toad-strangler
when it's finished.
- A toad-strangler, a barn-burner, a doozy...it's a good thing.
- Won't Sheridan and Sinclair both be standing around giving orders?
The similarity is only if
you choose to define them by their narrow roles. Their personalities
are vastly different. Also, Sinclair's been through a lot in the
intervening couple of years, he's grown, he and Marcus would definitely
have something of a relationship since he would've been there while
Marcus was being trained, and so on. And their roles in the story are
- My guess is that "War Without End" may well pass by
as all time favorite...until the next one comes along.
- Did you reuse footage from
We did both; we reshot some scenes from B2, and used some footage
directly from that episode. Some pretty elegant matches, too, I think.
- The vision of B5 blowing was the same as the one from
- Why weren't the new uniforms in the flashforward in
We only saw the black flak
uniforms in B2, because I knew we'd be changing them, but wanted to
hide that fact (as I did with Delenn's line to Sinclair in B2, done
off-camera to hide her change). And the Minbar cityscape was done by
- About Ivanova cracking under pressure
With most of their systems down, everyone around her dead,
Sheridan dead, knowing she's about to die and there's nothing she can
do about it, and obviously knowing full well who's out there...about to
witness the deaths of a quarter million sentients on the station...I
felt a bit of an outburst, a final letting go of the emotions, was not
inappropriate for her. (Although I do think Claudia may have played it
a bit too hysterical at times; separate the lines from the performance
and look at it again.)
- "You hand this woman a script and say to her,
'Miss C., everyone around you is dead and you are in command.
The station is falling down around you and you're in terrible
pain, about to die by decompression or laser burns or crushing--or
worse, you could become a Morden and be controlled by the Shadows the
rest of your life.
You have no hope of rescue.
You may not know where you are.'
And then you say she was a tiny bit on the hysterical side?"
Hey...from where I sit, that's just another day at the office.
Don't know many producer/writers, do you?
- I don't believe anyone on Minbar was wearing shorts.
It's not the season for that.
- Was the voice of the Vorlon on Minbar the same actor
who did Kosh?
Yes, that was Ardwight again.
- There probably wasn't a credit there because it was an
incidental voice rather than a recurring voice.
The other Vorlon also sounded different because I directed
Ardwight in different inflections...literally stood there outside the
booth using my hand like a baton to indicate the rising and falling
inflections as he spoke, to give it a wave kind of sound.
- Sinclair's Minbari words are subtitled "alright,"
which is a misspelling -- it's really "all right."
Yep, it was misspelled, and it wasn't misspelled in the script. When I
saw that on the final tape, it was too late to correct it for this
airing. It'll be corrected later. (Somebody wasn't being careful when
they did the captioning.)
- As Sinclair notes when he arrives at B5, his status as ambassador is
pretty much gone after the coup.
- Won't Earth ask where its ambassador is?
Well, Minbar isn't being very receptive to Earth at the moment,
and will probably just put them on hold...indefinitely....
- How did Sinclair get so cryptic so quickly?
He was kinda Zen when he left, frankly...and two years living
among Minbari, learning their language, learning to think the way they
do, learning the whole history of the shadow war...that can have a
pretty profound effect on you. It obviously wasn't all hanging around
the Hyatt Minbar and watching reruns of I Love Lennier for two
- Sinclair wasn't on Mars during the riots in the first
season, so how does Sheridan know him from them?
It's been established that there have been previous riots on
Mars, including the food riots referenced in, I believe, the pilot.
- Will the relationship between Delenn and Sheridan cause problems
Well, remember that we never defined what those feelings were between
Sinclair and Delenn; she had a great deal of respect and admiration
for him, yes. And she had a fair measure of faith in him as well.
Question is, what's the root of that? We'll learn some of that in
the two-parter. As for Sinclair, he was mainly involved with Sakai.
- Sakai certainly wouldn't have wanted to get tied down to life on
Minbar, and Sinclair knew that his life would be difficult now with the
rangers, so they parted ways.
- Marcus's look came because he overheard the Minbari-language
part of the discussion, and knew something was up. It made him more
watchful of Sinclair, which pays off in WWE2.
- I like Zathras...he's just nuts.
- Will we learn who Zathras' people are?
Eventually, though that answer isn't terribly important.
- Why didn't the Shadows destroy B5 before it went
B5 wasn't destroyed because it wasn't the one that would be
taken back. Yes, the prior stations would've looked more like B4 but
they were sabotaged *very* early in the construction process. You'll
learn why he didn't want Garibaldi along next ep.
- The B1-B3 sabotages had nothing at all to do with the B4
situation; it was just done by forces opposed to the very notion of the
- The first 3 Babylon stations never got much past
the very earliest stages of construction, just some hull elements, that
sort of thing, nothing that could be recognized. Other forces took
them out, mainly for political reasons.
- B4 survived the prior shadow war, but in very bad shape;
didn't last much longer after that.
- Is the war room staffed continuously?
Yes, the war room would have to have support personnel there
when the big guys are off having fun or sleeping.
- Why did Sheridan's clothes change?
His clothing is different because that's the future Sheridan,
into whom the current Sheridan has sort of slid....
- Was whatever destroyed Sheridan's stabilizer related
to the creature in "Knives?"
No, that was just the result of the blast.
The energy being that got Sheridan in "Knives" had no relation to
anything in the ongoing story; it just existed outside our normal
universe, and got in and out via the rift (which also served to remind
us that it was still there).
- Sheridan "leapt" into his future self, hence the difference
in wardrobe and appearance. Londo wasn't suprised to see him. If you
recall the Centauri guard when we first arrive in the Palace, he says,
"I think he's awake again, would you like to see?" The implication
being that he's been beaten into unconsciousness, hence Londo's line,
"Welcome back from the abyss." It was at that moment of
unconsciousness that he "slid" into his future self.
- The time-flash (which in Sheridan's case is much more
pronounced than what we've seen before) slides you forward or backward
in time to where you are at that moment. At that moment, 18 years from
now (in the story), Sheridan was/will be on Centauri Prime. So when he
slid along the time line, that's where he ended up. Just as in Babylon
Squared, when Garibaldi had a timeflash back to his time on Mars. It
blips your perception to another point in your life, wherever you
happen to be.
- Sheridan slid forward in time, to wherever he was
at that moment in the future. He didn't just go hopping around
aimlessly; if he flipped 10 days ahead, he'd come into his body at that
point 10 days from now, wherever he happened to be. At that moment, 17
years down the road, he happened to be on Centauri Prime.
- I'd rather let part 2 get into what exactly happened to
- Has Sheridan slid past his death on Z'ha'dum?
Well, who can say at this point *what* happens on Z'ha'dum...?
- Would the future Sheridan notice being slid
The future Sheridan would have a little memory of what happened
during that time, but it'd be almost dreamlike, two steps removed.
- How did the Shadows know about Babylon 4?
Well, if the Minbari had records of B4's visual look, given that
the Shadows are advanced, would they not also have the potential to
recognize it for what it was once it was nearing completion from their
- Did the Minbari agree to help fund B5 because they
knew about B4?
No, because if you remember, even Delenn didn't know where B4
came from until she came to B5, well after completion.
- Why don't the Minbari have many records of the last
It was also a very devastating war, and one of their mistakes
was that there were those who were entrusted to keep the past, sort of
a more advanced version of storytellers, who put all their data in one
basket, as it were...very possessive and jurisdictional. When they and
that center of data were taken out, a lot was lost. One drawback of a
very rigid and structued society.
- But if that happened early in the war, wouldn't they
have records from after that point?
Certainly it would've occured in the last days of the war.
- Do the Minbari have time travel?
They've played with some research in this area, but they aren't
anywhere near the tech required to actually do anything with time.
- Why hasn't Minbari ship design changed?
The design *has* changed; the main section is much longer, and
more primitive looking, less tricked out. You can see a bit of it
there, but you will see them in more detail in part two.
Sinclair was scarred during ranger training duties.
- Would arguing with Kosh in
"Interludes and Examinations"
have been the original source of the scar?
No, because you'll note that Sheridan isn't scarred by it. No,
you have to remember that one doesn't just transplant one storyline
onto another. It doesn't work that way. Sinclair has his arc,
Sheridan has his own.
- Sheridan wasn't a "backup"
for Sinclair, he was brought in specifically because I needed somene
who could and would do things in a different way, and had a different
arc. If it was going to track 1-to-1 you wouldn't *need* a new
And the swipe Kosh took at Sheridan wouldn't be *nearly* enough
to cause a huge scar like that.
- "1) Assuming the present is the time period during which
we watch Babylon 5 and the period we saw at the beginning of the WWE
episode, does the possible fall of B5 (if the mission fails) take
place in the past or the future? We see Ivanova screaming in the
mysterious transmission that "they're killing us" and that the
Captain is dead, so I assume this indicates that the possible fall of
B5 takes place in the future since Sheridan is the only Captain
(Sinclair was a Commander, non?). But we also see Sinclair reliving
his flashback with Gerabaldi from Season one in which B5 falls, and
he then seems to indicate that his mission is to prevent such a
catastrophe. Since Sinclair is there, with Gerabaldi, this would
seem to suggest that the fall of B5, if the mission fails, takes
place in the past in relation to the present with which we are all
familiar.(Breath) So, if the mission fails, when will B5 fall; past
of future??? Or perhaps put another way: Will B5 possibly fall
under Sheridan's command or Sinclair's? <-- God, that's
Nope. The scenes are all in the future. Garibaldi specifically
identifies the distress call as coming from 8 days in the future.
Sinclair's vision wasn't a flashback, but a flash forward; even the
blowing of B5 was identified by Lady Ladira as in the future. It's
*always* been placed in the future, though most of this was in the
first season, which hasn't been reshown. Also, in the first act,
Garibaldi again *specifically states* that when they went to B4,
there was a glimpse of the future and the fall of B5.
"2) Faced with the end, why would the bloodied Ivanova feel compelled
to deliver a play-by-play to a non-existant audience? Or even to one
that is there? I found that strange."
First she was trying to get help. Second, there should be some
record of what happened for those who would investigate. They would
need to know, just the way a signal operator sends out a distress
call for as long as possible as the ship sinks. SOP.
"4) About Delenn's slide show: It looks as though Minbari ships have
remained basically the same for the past 1000 years. I could not see
one change. Why is that?"
Because you weren't looking closely enough. The older Minbari ships
are much longer and tubular in design; you'll see them better in the
second half, but there's definitely a difference.
"5) The preview showed Gerabaldi giving 'em hell with a big gun. Why
wasn't that in the episode (I know, some scenes in previews don't
show up in the actual ep, but it seemed important)?"
Because we were seeing the sequence from Sinclair's point of view; he
was gone by the time Garibaldi began firing, so he wouldn't have seen
it. Story logic.
"7) Londo spoils us all by telling us Sheridan wins the war--suspense
exit stage left--unless the time line is somehow further altered,
which would go against the inevatability theme JMS seems to be
Okay, everybody who thought I was going to have our heroes fight a
war for two whole years or so, and then *lose it*...a major dramatic
disappointment to say the least...raise your hands.
In any event...quite frankly, several of your "serious nitpicks" are
actually incorrect, and come from making assumptions or simply not
paying attention when someone says something clearly in dialogue, as
Garibaldi does, that the flash was of future events, and then IDs the
signal as from 8 days ahead.
- If Sinclair had stayed with the station, who would
have been transported to Centauri Prime?
I appreciate the questions, but there are so many alternate
timelines flying around right now...I'm not sure I want to further
complicate the issue.
- I could answer this, but if I expand the time paradox loop
any further, I would end up not answering it because I'd already
answered it, which means it wouldn't get answered, requiring me to
answer it now, and pretty soon the universe implodes, and I don't want
that on my conscience.
- There are no alternate univeses, only alternate or possible
futures. If they didn't go back, the future in which Sinclair is there
with Garibaldi -- having come back to see through the final battle --
and in which Sheridan is killed, and Ivanova is calling for help...that
future will come true.
- Why was Garibaldi left behind?
It's a story point, and it'll be explained clearly in part two. What,
you think I'd have something this odd going on and not explain it?
It's coming. Be patient.
- The flash to the firefight was Sinclair's, not
Actually...incorrect. Whenever there's a timeflash, people see
one thing or another. When Sinclair and Garibaldi first came aboard,
there was a timeflash. We saw what Sinclair saw, we have no idea from
that scene what Garibaldi saw. No reason he couldn't have seen
something from about that same period. It wasn't stated either way at
- But Krantz said it was different for
Hey, who're you gonna believe, Krantz or me?
Besides, it could've been a sequence from the fall of B5, but
not that exact MOMENT, so it WOULD be different, so NYAH.
(suddenly I'm five years old)
- How did Zack know about the White Star?
The White Star has been common knowledge ever since it
came in at the end of "Severed Dreams." Certainly, by virtue of being
Garibaldi's second in command, he'd know about it. At this point, most
everything is out in the open now.
- I'm sure Garibaldi will eventually end up on the White
Star; and the Minbari will also probably begin slowly acquiring
English, and vice versa.
- Why was Delenn so nervous after Sheridan
She didn't know what was coming, and that worried her. She is most
secure when she has a definite plan of action, and variables aren't
something the Minbari are good at in any event, they're very rigid and
And we'll be seeing the Sigma walkers again in the not too distant
future. And some of their pals.
- Was Sinclair speaking Minbari during his entire
conversation with Delenn, with English presented for the viewers'
No, he slid into Minbari at that point to try and conceal what
was being said from the others on the bridge.
- Why did Ivanova claim B5 was
an Earth Alliance station?
The name of the station is still the same; it was built by the
Earth Alliance. So that's how she'd refer to it.