- As for Chrysalis, there's about 8 to 10 days in "story time" between
it and the events in "Points." The next few shows track in real-time.
- Why do the Minbari have a grudge against Sheridan? It was wartime,
They don't much like the way he did it, which was rather sneaky.
My sense is that the Minbari have something of a superiority
complex; the idea of being beaten, even briefly, by a technically
inferior race is going to grate on them. Also, bear in mind, that
the military caste has not been fully informed about WHY they were
ordered to surrender...so there's a great deal of animosity just
barely submerged there, which is pointed at the only real human
they know from the war...because he cost them.
- Heads definitely rolled (figuratively speaking) in the Minbari
warrior caste after the Black Star incident. They allowed themselves
to get cocky, and didn't do a proper job, which was more than an
embarrassment to them.
- It kinda bothered their sense of superiority; also, their sense of
honor lies more in the direction of one-to-one combat, rather than
mining something as a trap. Consider it the way British troops did
toward American revolutionary fighters who hid behind trees and used
guerilla tactics rather than fighting the way the British *wanted*
them to fight, out in the open, in nice, easily shot-at rows....
- We will be changing the main title sequence after "Revelations"
airs to include the new version of Delenn. Would be silly of us to
include the new version in episodes prior to her unveiling.
- The fact that Minbari believe in souls does not make it so.
If a story is rigorously SF, but some of the people who inhabit the
story have belief systems, does that automatically invalidate it as SF?
I don't think it's the position of this show to state whether or not
a belief system is true but rather to explore the actions of those who
THINK it's true; not to resolve arguments, but to start arguments. (See
"Believers" for more on this one.)
What the characters believe is subjective, and is their business.
Or, as Sheridan says in a later episode, "I'm not saying what I'm
saying. I'm not saying what I'm thinking. For that matter, I'm not
even THINKING what I'm thinking."
- This is correct.
Sheridan did NOT tell President Clark about the
Minbari soul situation. Clark already knew about it. Sheridan's line
is, "I spoke with the president. He is the only other person who knows
why the Minbari surrendered." Also, in the first issue of the comic,
this prior knowledge on Clark's part is clear as well.
- BTW, and just for the heck of it...the line about paying off karma at
an accellerated rate is something Kathryn has been muttering for ages;
I popped it into the script for fun.
- Sheridan asked what kind of scanners the fighters were using because
he couldn't figure out why they were picking up the Minbari fighters.
He wanted to be sure nobody had snuck by some kind of new tech. Once
he knew they were the same tech as before, he knew something screwy
- Correct above; Sheridan says, quite specifically, in the conference
room with Ivanova after the Grey Council guy is gone, "they used some
kind of stealth technology WE'VE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO BREAK." It's not
a matter of old or cheaper tech; we just haven't broken their
- And yes, ships can sit in hyperspace (something also mentioned by
Laurel Takashima in the pilot, "If I were the Vorlons, I'd have a
warship standing by in hyperspace just waiting to attack."
- Basically, I decided to name the EA Lounge "Earhart's" because she
is an important figure in aviation history, and I wanted a 40s art
deco style to the place, down to big band music, and it fit perfectly.
There have been more women aviators, civilian and elsewhere, than we
know, particularly during WW II at home, and they deserve recognition.
- The Earthforce lounge (EA personnel only) is Earhart's, named after
the famed aviator.
(Consequently, as tradition, only swing or big-band music is ever
played in Earhart's.)
Yes, we brightened things up a notch, but only a notch, because we
discovered that a lot of the good work being done on the sets and the
costumes wasn't being seen because we were too dark. So we went up
about one f-stop, but at the same time began using more shadows,
textures and colors, so the show has a denser look to it.
- As noted elsewhere...we have previously established that the Dome is
periodically on Standby Mode, when the system is performing autmoated
(automated) backups, routine maintenance, that sort of thing. It was
in "Midnight," when Garibaldi informs Ivanova that that's where he
likes to go, when it's on standby, and is quiet. It was in "Sky,"
when Ivanova asks Tech 1 if there are any more ships due in for a
while, is told no, and she puts her feet up on the console, nobody
Also, B5 tends to run on human cycles of day and night, something we
try to reflect in the sets and effects, showing the Garden bright
during day times, and dark during night stuff (as around dinner time
in the Fresh Air Restaurant). Maintaining such cycles has been found
to be critical in these kinds of environments.
The standby mode only happens every 36-48 hours, for about an hour.
Most departments also have their own control areas, using C&C mainly
when command personnel are required. In addition, there are folks
monitoring C&C, and if anything *should* happen, someone could be
there within seconds.
- The Hyperion was built before the EM war, and survived.
The Agamemnon, a much superior ship, was built afterward. Sheridan
was not commanding the Aggy during the war. It's one of the best
ships we've got, almost the equivilent of an aircraft carrier or
battleship, and it took a lot of seniority and work to get it.
- Yes, you will see the Agamemnon again.
- Nothing has been dumbed down or simplified; in a first season episode
(in other words, the first episode of any given season), you get a lot
of sampling. If the show is obscure, or there's too much prior
knowledge required to get into it...they go away fast. So there was a
bit more straightforward exposition in this episode in order to avoid
scaring off new viewers.
And I stated, some time ago, that this was a lighter episode because
it's sandwiched between two very intense episodes, "Chrysalis" and
"Revelations," and I think you need some relief there.
And as Walker noted, there are times when the dome is on standby, as
noted in "Midnight." The systems every 36 hours or so go through a
period of self-repair and maintainance for an hour or two; if anything
comes out of the gate or into local space, someone's there within
- I wouldn't look for too much of Garibaldi in the first episode; he
was shot in the back...my feeling is that, TV logic to the contrary,
it takes TIME to recover from that. Consequently, this will take a
few episodes to get even remotely back on track.
- Yes, the quote definitely comes from Lincoln. I hated the old
Babcom logo, so we dumped it.
- Re: yankeecentrism...we always strive for balance. Yes, he quoted
Lincoln, but he also noted that on his 21st birthday, he flew to see
the new Dalai Lama being sworn in.
- Thanks. If you think PoD was a "wham," then I can't wait to see
your reaction to "Revelations."
Interestingly enough, I figured on giving Sheridan a tie to the
Civil War through his ancestor, General Philip Sheridan (sometimes
called "Little Phil" by Lincoln). Afterward, I discovered that Bruce
is a big civil war buff, so the Lincoln stuff worked very well.
One of my favorite sequences from this episode is the stuff aboard
the Minbari cruiser during the Battle of the Line; the shots
surrounding Delenn and the other Minbari gives it a very god-like
aspect. Just wonderful.
- Yes, Sheridan is descended from Gen. Philip John Sheridan of the
- Sheridan is a soldier. A soldier is told, in wartime, THIS is your
enemy. You kill the enemy or your enemy kills you. Afterward,
you're in the same position American soldiers were in after the end
of WW II when it came time to reconcile with the Germans and the
Japanese. It can sometimes be very awkward...and sometimes
reconciliation takes a while.
- For what it's worth, Sheridan is neither a "space cowboy" nor a
"gung ho type." This description has nothing to do with the
character, and I'm not quite sure where you got this. Certainly I
never said or implied it.
Captain John Sheridan is a war hero, of sorts; he squeaked out the
only real victory of the Earth/Minbari War. (Which means the Minbari
don't generally like him a lot.) He did what he did because that's
his job. He's a professional soldier. For the last two years, he's
been commanding the Agamemmnon, a high-visibility Earthforce starship
on deep patrol. As such, he has had to learn to work with a number
of different races and species.
In some ways, his character is somewhat more well-rounded than was
the case with Sinclair, over whom a general sense of doom often
seemed to hang. Sheridan is often very thoughtful and introspective;
at other times, he can be just a bit eccentric; he leads by
respecting those who work under him, and givingthem room to grow;
like any career officer, he HATES the bureaucracy with a passion, and
this is the one thing that can drive him nuts; he knows that
commanding B5 is a great opportunity, but he also knows that his
presence brings certain complications with it, and he's very
ambivilant about that aspect; he's the son of a diplomatic envoy who
disappeared on his 21st birthday, running off to see (of all things)
the new Dali Lama being installed; he has a very easygoing manner,
and a great sense of humor. He quickly re-forms a friendship with
Ivanova, for whom he has great respect and professional admiration.
(For a time she served under him at Io.)
He is, actually, a fascinating and intriguing character with a lot
of different shadings...none of which have *anything* to do with
being a "space cowboy" or "gung-ho type."
Anyway...point being...when it was announced that there was going to
be a new Lieutenant-Commander, a number of folks went ballistic and
said the show would now be ruined. I said, in essence, look...I
created Takashima; I can create an interesting character to replace
her. And I thunk up Ivanova, who according to the rec.arts.b5 poll
is the most popular character on the show. When it was announced
that Sinclair would be STAYING with the show, after the pilot, a
number of folks said this was bad, he was wooden, he stunk, get him
off...and ended up being very enamored of him. My only reply now
about Bruce...give him, and me, a chance. I genuinely think you will
like what you see a *lot*.
In the course of the first season, Ivanova, Garibaldi, G'Kar, Londo,
Delenn, others...they've exploded into strong characters. You need
an equally strong character designed to hold his own, and be
memorable, in that august company. Sheridan was designed knowing we
had a much elevated playing field around the character.
Obviously, clearly, and irrefutably, an actor brings a *lot* to any
role. No question. But it tends to begin with what is created.
I've seen it said here, repeatedly, that none of the characters are
uninteresting; they all have lives, and agendas, that make them
fascinating to watch: Londo, Morden, G'Kar, Delenn, Garibaldi,
Ivanova...what those characters are came out of my head, in terms of
who tey are, what they say, what they believe, where they came from
and where they're going. Why would I invent a new character that was
any less involving, or interesting, or multifaceted? Particularly
knowing that he's going to be a central character?
Speaking as someone who's been in fandom a long, long time, I know
there is always a tendency for panic, to assume the apocalpse is
upon us, that something is never going to be the same again. I heard
this after the Enterprise was destroyed in "The Search for Spock."
I've heard this a lot over the years. It's generally over-reaction
and worry before anyone has even seen a frame of film.
Bottom line being...wait and see, then judge. I've tried very hard
not to let you down, and I think so far I haven't done so...I have no
intention of starting now. Bruce is doing an absolutely *brilliant*
job as Captain Sheridan, bringing a thoughtfulness and intensity and
charm and intensity to the part that is a joy to behold. Give him a
- Alas, I wrote my note about Bruce around 1 or 2 in the morning, and
I meant to balance out *intensity* with *intelligence*, but my
brain saw the first letters i-n-t-e, and vapor-locked.
- How important to the Arc is Sheridan?
How critical was Aragorn to the storyline of Lord of the Rings?
- The way in which Sheridan comes into the storyline is *absolutely*
consistent with everything that has come before, and everything that
- Sheridan was never on the original list [to command B5] because at
that time when the EA needed Minbari financing for B5, they knew it'd
piss off the Minbari to have it there, so he was never considered for
the post at that time.
- "Sounds like a formula to really PO the Minbari."
- Just to clarify: in Soul Hunter we set in place the question of what
these things are, and do not resolve that question. Dr. Franklin
offers that with the correct technology, it might be possible to
make (for lack of a better term) a clone of someone's neural patterns,
copy his personality and memories into a storage device...but also
dismisses the notion of soul stealing.
I traffic in ambiguity.
- In a sense, yes, "Believers" now enters the arc...but so does "Soul
Hunter," in a big way. Replay Lennier's talk to Sheridan and Ivanova,
then play Delenn's conversation with Sinclair and the Soul Hunter in
that episode, and suddenly a lot of elements begin to intersect.
- Re: you're noticing the line, "You talk like a Minbari" from Neroon
to Sinclair in "Legacies"....yup. Sometimes this stuff is in broad
strokes, sometimes in teeny little things like that. Also ties in
even further with where Sinclair goes.
- Note that Lennier says he wishes he could have told them (us) the
*rest* of the prophecy...and there's definitely more to Sinclair, as
will be seen later in the season. Remember, the Grey Council never
tells anyone the whole truth (note how Kalain asks that question
upon being told that Sinclair is just an ambassador).
- There really wasn't/isn't time in PoD to get into the angst everyone
has over Sinclair leaving (though some of that is given to Sheridan,
oddly enough). But it WILL get brought up in subsequent episodes,
especially from Garibaldi.
- Sinclair was the first human the Minbari (or at least the Grey
Council) had ever met, having come this far for the final victory.
The Earth Explorer vessel was part of a military fleet that
encountered a Minbari convoy, there was a miscommunication, a
misperceived threat, and our ships opened fire. There was no
- Sure, you could blind-fire at a Minbari cruiser, but it's pretty
heavily armored. And while you're shooting at it, you're not only
being hit by cruiser blasts, but the several dozen Minbari fighters
coming in behind you. And shooting at a sublight traveling fighter by
eye would absolutely never work. It *has* to be computer guided.
(BTW, for the sharp of eye...if you go back and sill-step through
some of the cockpit screen shots in "Sky," you'll note that on the tac
screen in Sinclair's cockpit it says something to the effect of
"Unable to lock-onto target.")
- Yes, you can go in and shoot at a Minbari *cruiser* visually...but
the reality is that any long-range weapon will be intercepted by
targeting fire, and if you get up real close and personal...well,
actually, you *can't* get up real close and personal because, as
Mitchell learned in "Sky," you get shot by the fighters.
What the fighters tend to remain engaged with are the Minbari fighters,
which are *incredibly* fast...much too fast to target visually.
And believe me, as Sheridan stated, Earth's been *trying* to break
the stealth tech for a while, just hasn't been able to.
- Re: [Robert] Foxworth...he was someone we spoke to in case Bruce turned out not
to be available, and we liked him instantly, and he liked the show.
So for good luck, we had him come in for this role, which may appear
again. He's a terrific actor.
- What were all those ribbons on General Hague's chest awarded
I'll have to check, but probably most of those medals are for
actions during the Earth/Minbari War, and during the Dilgar War.
I'll have to check to get anything more specific than that.
- Well, my thought at the time, and I probably should've put this
into dialogue in retrospect, was that there's a window about every 36
hours when the entire C&C system goes through self-maintainance for
about half an hour, backing things up, doing self-repair, filing logs
with Earth Central, that sort of thing. They normally pick a slow
period in docking, and any other routine stuff is handled through the
backup C&C on the other side of the station axis (you can see it
directly above the docking bay when the normal C&C is directly below
At first I'd considered putting that in Ivanova's mouth when she says
"Of all the time he could've picked," but then the reveal of where
he was and what he was doing fell flat; it needed to be a surprise or
it lost its impact and the humor. Ah, well....
- It has been established, in prior episodes, that there are brief
periods when C&C is in "standby mode," during which time no ships are
due, the station is in "night" cycle, and the operational equipment
in C&C goes through routine backup and maintenance. In "Midnight on
the Firing Line," our first episode, Ivanova is told by Garibaldi
that Sinclair is in C&C when it's in standby mode because he likes
the quiet during those brief periods (usually only about an hour or
so); in "Chrysalis," Ivanova asks Tech 1 if any more ships are due in
for a while, is told no, and she puts her feet up on the console,
watching the news, with the place pretty much deserted.
This isn't the bridge of a starship; this is mainly a center of
operations for docking and other station activities requiring command
personnel. Every separate department -- environmental, other
resources -- has its own separate control center, with lots of
In addition, there's always somebody monitoring stuff as it comes
through, so if there *were* any kind of problem, there'd be somebody
on site in C&C in thirty seconds. Basically, we're talking an hour
or so once every 36 to 48 hours. I could've explained this in
dialogue, but it would've taken the edge off the revelation and humor,
and I figured we'd done this before enough times that it wouldn't be
- Just as an advisory...the woman who spoke up in PoD (the tech who
told Sheridan that Security wanted him) is not a Tech 1 replacement;
she was there just for that one episode. We have a number of folks
floating through that area now, because logically you would have
- A vibe shower would theoretically use sonic waves (in combination
with other elements, like disinfecting lighting, as seen in "Signs")
to remove dirt and kill bacteria.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
- Delenn staying while Sinclair goes is part of WHY Sinclair goes and
Delenn stays. It's absolutely part and parcel.
- Delenn had intended to tell Sinclair much about the soul issue
before entering the chrysalis.
- It's always interesting, if you have one character upon whom everyone
else leans, even depends, to *remove* that character for a time.
Because then those characters have to *react*...to either stand or
fall on their own. It shakes things up a little...and vastly
intensifies the characters.
- I'm going to test myself, and see how much I can say without saying
You have X-number of characters. They're all in the same place.
You're trying to tell a story that has a great deal of scale, and
covers all kinds of worlds, changing politics, alliances, on and on.
The question becomes, how do you *illustrate* that? To use a line
from the original Trek, when a mob guy is brought aboard the
Enterprise, he says later, "All I saw was a room and five guys."
So now you start saying, "Hmmm...what if I remove Character A from
the chessboard, and move him over *here* for a while? He wasn't going
to be doing much for the next little bit anyway. And we won't just
"deal" with that change, it's part of the story...it broadens out the
story to include Place A *and* Place B. It has repercussions down the
road. It comes up again in the future. Elements from Place B now
become known on Place A. Character A may even make an occasional
reappearance to keep us even more closely connected with Place B,
which is necessary because Place B is very, very important."
What we have in mind here isn't quite comparable to anything that's
been done before. The character will still be alive. The character
will continue to have an impact on the story. The character will be
spotted from time to time. The character will continue to show up in
the comic and the novels. And through this move, you have the benefit
of substantially opening up the B5 universe, you help create the
realignment of characters and loyalties that was anticipated for this
season, and it helps kick over the tables, as we did in Chrysalis.
Just a slight refinement on the argument.
- I can probably answer your question a little better after you've seen
the second episode of this season. For now, let's just say this: in
working out the story for year two, Sinclair's main line of connection
was to the Minbari. But the Minbari storyline was diminishing in ways
onnected to the war in year two; obviously we all know what is on the
upswing in year two, certain dark forces. I needed someone who has a
connection to *that* side of the story to personalize it, and Sheridan
brings that connection to the mix, although he doesn't know it yet.
- The Battle of the Line and the hole in Sinclair's mind was always
intended as the entry point or trigger to the story. It's like Frodo
being given the Ring in LoTR. The story isn't about that, that's how
we get INTO it. Frankly, there's no way you can sustain that one
element for five years, nor did we ever intend to do so.
The only difference in the resolution of that aspect is this: we had
originally intended to resolve the missing 24 hours, and the Battle
of the Line, by episode four, season two. We've simply moved it up
3 eps to the first episode. Because new players are coming onto the
field, in the form of the Shadowmen, and other forces, and we now
have to begin turning our attention to new mysteries.
- "Changes are coming; Sinclair was the first, there will be others."
He was referring to more changes coming.
- Sheridan, or more specifically the need for someone *like* Sheridan
began to get through clearly toward the latter part of last season,
as I began planning out season two's progression, and kept looking at
elements of the story and trying to find ways to get Sinclair into
the heart of them. They felt contrived, for the most part; and the
other characters, like Londo and G'Kar and Delenn, were *really*
moving forward in a big way. The role of Sinclair was becoming
primarily that of a "problem solver," and when that happens, a sort
of glass bell falls down around the character, and you can't do much
So what the writer has to do is break that bell in one way or
another; do something totally unexpected to him, and bring in someone
who has a direct, personal connection with the storyline emerging in
season two, so it's not contrived or forced.
- All the characters are unique; there seems to be this
bone-headed notion, that I frequently run into, of "Well,
Ivanova's just Takashima renamed," or "Sheridan's story is
just the same as Sinclair's, same guy just renamed." They're
*not* and never have been. The story of one does not devlove
automatically upon the other. If you make a change, it's
because you have something better in mind...otherwise why
- I said, from the very beginning, that once the series got rolling, no
single primary question could be allowed to go more than about one
season before answering it, otherwise you get into a frustrating Twin
Peaks situation where *nothing* is resolved. Basically, the events
begun in "Chrysalis" bleed over into three episodes; the Battle of the
Line answers were initially only a couple of episodes further down in
my outline, about episode #3. Making the change, for one thing,
allowed me to move that storyline forward to episode #1, blow through
it and get the story moving in year two faster, rather than delaying
further with loose threads from season one.
- The idea of a Chrysalis II went by the boards once I really got into
the script, and realized that C1 had tipped over too many tables to
even HOPE to resolve them in one follow-up episode. So the threads
yanked in C1 will be paid off over several episodes, hence no C2; the
first episode of year two is "Points of Departure."
- What about Catherine Sakai?
This is the one thread that I'm still trying to decide about.
- They didn't get married. Wasn't time, and his new posting
- We're dedicated to improving all of these elements on a regular basis;
CGI, sets, directing, lighting, name it.
The music will change every year, to get in sync with where the season
is going; the tone and tenor and mood will shift.
Re: the narration...last year, Michael had the benefit of being able to
see the sequence prior to reading the narration, and reading with the
images. That was when we were shooting in July to air in January. In
this case, shooting in August to air in November, Bruce had to wing it,
without any images for reference, just text. Now that we've got the
opening completed (and we weren't satisfied with it or done tinkering
with it until a few days before delivery), we'll probably let him do
it again with the visuals before him, so he knows what he's reading to,
since it'll have a *big* impact on how he delivers the stuff.
- There's a reason for this: due to time constraints, we have to get
Bruce to do the narration *without* having the images in front of him;
he had no way of knowing where beats would go with the images, or what
would be under it (since we were still putting the new opening
together), so we had to artifically build in pauses when we did the
final transfer (as opposed to year one, where we had the images
assembled long before we had Michael do the narration). What took
forever was that 5 fade/dissolve/wipe, which just killed us time-wise,
but is spiffy to look at.
Now that it's all together, we plan to have Bruce re-do the narration
with the images in front of him, so he can respond naturally and make
it flow, the way he would've been able to do had we had the material
ready in time.
- Re: the theme music...to me, one is neither worse nor better than the
other. They're *different*, and meant to convey different moods and
themes. Each year it'll change. This year was heavy on strings and
brass; next year it'll be heavy on percussion. The main theme will be
reinterpreted and interpolated in different ways. In the B5 universe,
change is the only constant.
- Promoting Ivanova to running the station would not be logical, since
from a military and diplomatic standpoint she has nowhere *near* the
level of experience required. It wouldn't be done in real life.