- The number of scenes varies depending on the amount of action
required. On balance, the average TV script has about 60-75 scenes or
shots in it. From time to time, in B5, we've gone as high as 130 shots
in episodes like "Twilight" or "Fall." I think we just blew out our
record here with "Severed Dreams," which has close to 140.
Number of scenes shot on any day depends on how long the scene; you
can do 4 really long shots or 8 fairly short scenes. The amount of
rehearsal varies depending on the scene, how many extras or what kind of
action/stunts are required. The more action, the more you rehearse, to
ensure nobody gets hurt.
- Much as I'd
have wished PTEN would've aired 10, the final part of the 3-episode arc
that changes direction on the show, a week after 9, even though it'd be
out of sweeps period...it's probably for the best. When producer George
Johnson saw the scrpt for #10, "Severed Dreams," he laughed, walked over
to me and said, "Boy, this is the best episode we're never gonna
deliver. ARE YOU NUTS?!"
As an example of "ARE YOU NUTS?!" in "The Fall of Night," in the
sequence between the first Garden shot and the end of Sheridan's rescue,
about 6-7 pages of script, there were, I think, about 60 or 65 EFX and
practical shots. In just the span of 4 pages in 310 there are roughly
100 EFX and practical shots. In EFX terms, it's probably one of the
biggest shows we've done, so it's better to give Foundation a little
extra time to get it right rather than rush them.
- All I'll say here is that there were *so* many EFX here that we
mixed the episode a few days before delivery, and got it down there 2
hours before the process for uplinking the episode to stations. It was
the hardest thing we've ever done...but it was worth it.
- Why are these three episodes not marked as a three-parter?
For the most part, it's a matter of how the episodes feel to
me, what length they feel as if they require. When I did the big three
this year -- Messages, Point and Dreams -- I hadn't really figured
they'd be as tightly connected as they ended up being. I knew they'd
relate strongly to one another, but in a sense, they're really a three
parter. The War Without End story I knew was WAY too big for one
episode, but due to the structure of the story wouldn't take being
extended for one more episode; at that point you'd just be dragging it
It's all instinct, I wish I had a more concrete answer.
- I think you hit the distinction between MfE and PoNR...the
former is exciting, the latter is tense, with "Severed Dreams" a good
blend of the two, particularly the latter. We did our final producer's
cut today, and man, it moves....
- Why the title?
If B5 was a dream given form, and the EA had the potential to be
something more than it has become, and the two part ways, then you have
severed dreams. (I had a much more elegant and interesting reply, but
obviously it entered Vorlon space and hasn't been allowed out again.)
- "Messages," for my money, is so far the best we've ever done, though
I'll be more able to lock that down once I've seen the final CGI. It
and "Dreams" are real CGI blowouts; in the latter, there are literally
100 shots -- CGI, live action, and compositing -- in *four pages* of
action. This is an all time record for us (and that doesn't count the
stuff earlier in the episode).
- Have begun shooting episode 11, "Messages From Earth," a hideously
complex episode, outmatched only by #10, "Severed Dreams," which is the
single most visually ambitious episode we've done in the three years of
the show. It's just totally outrageous, and it'll probably kill us in
sheer man-hours to produce...but the result should drop jaws all over
- Re: Foundation "adding a new flame effect"...sort of. One
night, we just went out into the parking lot, set up a camera pointing
up behind a plexiglass screen, and set off a bunch of explosions above
it. Went great until one of the blasts was so big it melted through
the plex *and* the camera lens....
Looked good though, didn't it?
- The PPG blasts looked different.
That was because there were so MANY of them; our PPG bursts
usually take a great deal of work. If we'd given all of them in this
scene that amount of work, we'd still be doing them.
- How did you do the lighting as Ivanova's ship tumbled?
We fixed a light atop a gimble, and pre-determined the
rotation of the starfury, then moved the lighting to match. Gives it a
much more realistic feel.
- "In an ep like "Severed Dreams" where cgi effects take
up literally almost 1/4 of the script, how much input does the director
have on "camera" angles, close ups of 'Fury pilots, and the way in
which the SFX is intercut with live action? Or is that entirely your
Generally, a lot of that material is either storyboarded, or
supervised by our on set EFX supervisor, who determines the angles to
be used. This is especially important in an episode like Severed
Dreams when you have to make sure that the pilots are oriented the
right way on camera (i.e., going from left to right, and facing left
to right) if that's the direction their ships are going in; otherwise
you'd have to flop the film to make it match. In larger set pieces,
using virtual sets and composite shots, the director has more
- From coproducer George Johnsen, about the
The show was seriously under the gun for delivery when those shots
were done. If I remember correctly, a couple of these shots came in on
the same day we were to deliver, and there was no time to re-render them
and still make the satellite.
If I were to tell you it would never happen again, I would be a big
liar, or a deluded optomist, but we try. Animators are human, after
- Funny thing is, how much as you note the show corresponds to some of
the things Mira's been through...some of it intentional, knowing that
if I dig into this area, it'll come out of her with the ring of
truth...some of it quite unintentional. When I finished writing
"Severed Dreams," and the actors got it, Mira's first words to me were,
"So...how long DID you live in Yugoslavia?" The parallel wasn't
intentional...but it fit.
- Toni: thanks. All of the characters shine in this one, Mira in
particular as Delenn. It's a nice contrast; her speech to the Grey
Council is an intense piece of work that goes on for a while; her
declaration to the EA ships is short, to the point, and absolutely
deadly. The right tool for the right job.
I'm utterly pleased and proud of the job we did here. Partly
because it's just so nifty on its own terms, and partly because it
gives us a new level to try and beat. Up until now, I've been looking
to top "Coming of Shadows;" now the goal is to top this one...and I
think it's possible there may be one or two even this season that'll do
that, but tonally I think they're different enough that it might end up
as a tie.
I definitely wanted the close-in, hand-to-hand fighting to
personalize what's going on. It's also very logical strategically.
You send in your forces to disable or overwhelm C&C, distract them,
slip in a cadre of troops to a station that (you hope) didn't know you
were coming...then they race to C&C and seize control from inside,
shooting anyone they have to en route. If Sheridan et al hadn't known
the ships were coming in, this could've gone very differently. But
once they were in, they were in close quarters, and you want to get in
closer if you're on the defensive side so that they can't use their
weapons without cutting down their own people. After that you have to
hope you can overwhelm the intruders with sheer force of numbers. It's
an ugly, awful way to win a fight, because it *guarantees*
casualties...but what war doesn't?
Something to bear in mind when rewatching, btw...it was during
this scene that Jerry fell and broke his right arm and right wrist.
And they still had one last scene to film. He stuck it out and they
rolled film, to get the shot of him and Zack at the end of the fight.
Next time you watch it, keep an eye on the right arm as he releases the
helmet...it bends in directions never intended by evolution.
- I agree, but Jerry was determined to do it, and more time
would've been lost arguing about it than it took to do the takes.
- The arm broken was his right arm and wrist; we worked it
into the show, in a way which actually worked well with what went right
before it. Jerry's doing fine now.
- Oddly enough, Jerry's broken arm tied *beautifully* into
something that had happened in the course of the episode we were
filming, so all it took was a line or two to sell it.
The funny thing is...in the very next episode after the incident,
there was a line in the script I'd written *weeks* earlier, and it
freaked everybody out...when Garibaldi asks someone to do something,
and the person responds, "What, you've got a broken arm or
something?" At first some people thought I'd put it in there to
pink Jerry, but it'd been there the whole time. Similarly, in the
Claudia incident, there was a line (cut for time) where Sheridan
says talking to the Drazi is like trying to talk to your right
foot...and Ivanova replies "I'll have you know I have a sublime
relationship with my right foot." Yep, the next day...that's the
foot she broke.
Just recently, I was trying to explain time travel to one of the
actors. I used the analogy, over lunch, "Suppose you finished
eating your chicken here, then got sick as a dog a few hours later,
then got in a time machine to go back in time and warn yourself not
to eat the chicken." Well, a few hours after that...the actor got
sick as a dog from the chicken.
I have been asked, expressly, not to make any further mention of
actors' body parts in scripts....
- We shot that last scene with Garibaldi *after* we'd shot the sequence
showing his injured leg. We don't shoot in sequence. So we had to
cover it in the next episode.
- We shot the last scene with the cane *before* we shot the scene
in which Jerry broke his arm. It costs way too much to go back and
reshoot. At the time we shot the later scene, he hadn't yet broken his
And G'Kar isn't all the way in yet; he wants to be, but so far
he's still being held at arm's length a bit...he may make an issue of
- Actually, though, because he *did* have his hand in his pocket,
it let me handle the break in the next episode without stretching
credulity too far. It was...well...I guess you'd call that part of it a
- Is General Hague shown?
Foxworth was slated for "Severed Dreams" when he bailed on us.
- We had booked Foxworth
long in advance. Later, out of the blue, a rep for the actor said that
by accident he'd been double-booked on B5 and DS9 for the same
period...and even though we had prior claim, because the other was a
two-parter, more money, they went for that. One can only wonder when
the other offer *really* came in....
- The Foxworth bail resulted in a change of about three lines,
that's about it. You'll know which lines when you hear them.
- We'd booked the actor long, long in advance. At the last
minute, he bailed to do a DS9 episode playing, essentially, the same
character, despite our having first dibs.
So I killed off the character. Didn't change the story by the
smallest measure. May actually have helped, since it raised the stakes
in the story right from the start.
Rule #1: Never honk off the writer.
- Regarding Hague...it's much harder to hold an actor on a once-in-a-while
basis. Every show is hostage to that. It's a reality of life. We
don't have contracts with folks who play one or two parts a year.
Screen Actors Guild doesn't allow that; you make deals as they come up.
You can't stop an actor if he wants to jump ship under those conditions;
and if you try, you have an unhappy actor on your set who'll just walk
through it because he or she doesn't want to be there.
- Re: Foxworth...it was really the only thing to do. I'd created
the character *specifically* to have him available for this episode,
after which he'd basically fade away while others took up his standard.
It was all leading up to this. Without being in this episode, there
was nothing more to do with Hague, hence I felt quite comfortable with
his fate, it changed nothing.
- Major Ryan was overstepping his rank.
Except, of course, you now have an extraordinary situation in
which the Major, through the death of his CO, was now the commanding
officer of the Alexander. In ordinary circumstances, this would mean
he'd be given a field promotion.
Second, I don't recall any situation where the Major was "giving
orders to a commander." The aide on the deck of the Alexander was a
Lieutenant, as I recall. Also, if Hague indicated that he was to be
given command as he died, that would likely be honored. Finally, yes,
the Major was involved in the discussions of strategy, but in *every
case* he presented Sheridan and Hiroshi with options, and because it
was Sheridan's neck of the woods, it was left to Sheridan to give
orders. He coordinated the defense, and was the only one speaking
directly with the Agrippa.
- I think Sheridan was kinda up to his ears in matters graver than
the Major's field promotion, though you're right, he had one coming (as
I noted in an earlier message). Given that they'd just broken away
from Earthforce, and walked away from the rank structure to some
extent, it would seem a rather indulgent exercise, since Earth
certainly wouldn't recognize the field promotion of a renegade officer.
- "...hit between the eyes." Yeah, that's the correct reaction,
Yes, it's easy to fire on the enemy when it's a faceless
entity; not as easy when it's someone you know. Kinda brings it home,
makes it personal.
- Exactly. If you're going to do something as monumental as what
Sheridan does here re: B5's status and Earth, it can't be done lightly
or frivolously or without sufficient cause. It has to be an absolutely
last resort. If we'd done it any sooner, it would've been less
effective, and more of a cheat.
And yes, after two breather stories, "Ship of Tears" starts the
arc moving again, and with very few exceptions doesn't let up for the
rest of the season.
- About the warning sign in
"Dust to Dust"
Yes, the sign does indeed say warning. Look for another sign
right behind somebody at the end of "Severed Dreams."
- Actually, yes, I tend to ask for musical counterpoint in the
show from time to time. For instance, when Sheridan et al were going
to the area where the crowd was waiting, I told Chris to fool us...give
us an ominous sounding sting going into what's going to be a very "up"
scene. In the battle earlier on, when you'd normally do something fast
and exciting, I asked him to give me something more somber, to pull out
the Requiem theme in a few places. Sometimes, in other shows, I ask for
music that works against a scene to control the emotional core of it;
if it's a bit too silly, perhaps, then I go for a more serious musical
cue to balance it out. Where a scene would seem to ask for major keys,
I go for minor chords.
It's all just part of the tapestry.
(BTW, a little secret...just for fun, I wrote a couple of songs
that you'll be hearing in an upcoming episode. I used to write songs
here and there, even did a couple for an ABC prime-time special, and
figured I'd try it again. I wrote the lyrics, discussed the music with
Chris, and he took care of the score, and it's about what I first
conceived. Came out pretty well, actually.)
- Where was Kosh during all this?
Yeah...Kosh seems to have retreated a bit so far...worrying,
- Why didn't Sheridan ask for help from Draal or Delenn?
The other thing to bear in mind about all this is the question of a
"clean fight." If Sheridan were to bring in alien forces at his order
to kill humans, it would pretty much destroy his credibility. Delenn
came in at the end but only after he'd made his stand on his own.
One of the things that kicked off the French Revolution was the
allegation that the King had brought in or was bringing in
Prussian troops to help put down dissenters. As long as it was
all more or less in the family, that was one thing...but to
bring in outsiders was an absolute affront to them. (One of
the singular incidents that started the fighting itself was a
group of Prussian soldiers sighted sitting in a cafe having
lunch, which caused this rumor about outsiders coming in to
spread like wildfire, and led to the some of the first major
incidents of rioting.)
Two brothers may fight one another, but let a third unrelated person
come in and shove one of the brothers around, and they'll *both* turn
During the worst days of the civil war, even Lincoln was offered
assistance in troops from at least one other country; he declined,
because it was an internal matter, and had to be resolved by those
involved, not outsiders.
Sheridan's logic was exactly the same. It had to be a clean fight.
- We'll establish in coming episodes that they have to
self sufficient; the Minbari will help some, others will also have a
reason to help support the station for the advantages it gives them,
the services it provides, and eventually docking fees will have to rise
if they can make a go of it.
- I'd have to check my figures, which are at the office and I'm
at home, but I *think* we've got about 600 crew and support on a
- Yes, the push in on Delenn revealed her in the White Star, and
yes, a fair number of the new 'furies B5 inherited are Thunderbolt
- "Severed Dreams had a line that was better than Ivanava's
sex scene. Wow, do these women get lines!"
Can't help it. I've always been vastly enamoured of strong, sharp,
funny, independent and strong-willed women. (Well, me and 99% of the
rest of the male population, most of them just won't admit it.)
I love it when anyone -- male or female -- comes up with a killer line.
Claudia and I are always going at it, each trying to top the other...and
I've found out the hard way that you don't challenge her on the theory
that she'll back down. Won't happen. Ivanova's just the same. Mira is
also dedicated, fierce in her convictions, extremely bright and worldly.
So why should their characters be any less than the women themselves?
- "...my favorite part, I must say was when Sheridan kissed
Delenns hand. I've been waiting anxiously for this to happen and it
finally did! My housemates all laughed at me but I guess I'm just an
This is a problem?
We are in need of more romance.
- Aren't Starfuries space-only craft?
Yes, the Thunderbolt furies were seen both on Mars and
A normal Starfury can't function in an atmosphere environment.
The new Thunderbolt models have airfoils/wings that are folded back
over the body of the ship for non-atmospheric maneuvering, and then
extend out to full sized wings when entering an atmosphere. (You'll
get to see in detail how this works back and forth in "Ship of Tears.")
- How does ejection from a Starfury work?
You can see explosive bolts going off, and a series of small
thrusters behind the cockpit are which allow for navigation. This
gets the pilot away from the main body which has either been crippled,
or is about to explode, the same way a modern fighter has an ejection
system. (Check the main credit sequence for a better shot of an
- How did the pilots tell which other Starfuries were
FOF...Friend Or Foe systems on board the furies.
- About the Alexander/Clarkstown battle
The interceptors have two components, one that throws a ball of energy
at an incoming weapons charge (physical or energy) and causes
dissipation, and the other is a net-like energy web that reduces the
severity, but does not deflect or absorb, beam type energy. This allows
some time for maneuvers after beam contact.
Note that Major Ryan (He'll always be D-Day to my brother!) was very
reticent to fire on the Clarkstown at all. Knowing that the
Interceptors were down made his job all the more difficult. The rear
facing beamn on the Alexander is similar in design to the front facers
on the Clarkstown. When the C-town fired on the rotating section ofthe
Alexander, it did not explode, as the interceptors were still active.
- If you're opening a jump point,
usually you make it a habit to have all
your fighters on board or else risk leaving them behind. A jump gate
can be more easily used and held open for fighters. When you arrive at
your destination, you can launch your fighters as you emerge.
- "Why was it impossible to jump into hyperspace (in the beginning of the
show) and not take the Starfuries with the ship? We've seen it done
No, I don't believe so. You've seen a jump GATE used, but that's
different from a jump POINT which basically closes right behind the ship
like a rabbit pulling its hole in after it. If the ships stayed behind
to protect its rear, they'd be left behind. Ships coming out of a jump
point into normal space sometimes will let their fighters zip out AS
they're coming out, alongside the main ship.
- In "Severed Dreams," the dilemma faced by the Alexander
in the teaser is that if they jump, they'll end up leaving their
fighters behind. A jump engine rips the area open for that one ship,
and closes it again right behind it. What sometimes happens, as in
"All Alone," is that *as a ship comes out*, it releases its fighters.
But you can't just follow a ship into a jump point formed by another
ship. You'd probably get torn apart when space folded back on you,
because the field opening the point is primarily around the other ship.
- Why didn't they shut down the jumpgate? Why did the EA ships
The answer to both your questions is about the same. It takes
about a day to power down, or power up a jump gate. It operates more
like a fusion reactor than a light bulb. So not only wasn't there
enough time, even if they *had* had enough time, you'd want to leave
the gate up and running in case you needed to evacuate for any reason;
otherwise you'd cut off your main escape route.
For the incoming fleet, knowing the gate was active was the way
to go, since it would let them launch their fighters prior to coming
in; if you use a jump point, you kinda have to launch while you're
coming out to avoid anyone being stuck behind.
- What good are small fighters if it's the big ships that decide
A lot more ships came in with the Roanoke and the Agrippa, support
ships and others. Probably more breaching pods. They took out those.
They're also used to keep the enemy starfuries from disabling the
defense grid on the station, leaving B5 free to use its weapons on the
larger target/worse threat. They're often used to soften up the enemy,
harrass them like a pack of hounds falling on a prey. In "Fall of
Night," we saw a Centauri vessel in large measure taken out by the
Starfuries with some B5 support. So they definitely play a part.
- Starfuries serve a *lot* of functions which we've shown before
on the series.
They can take out a ship's defensive screens and
countermeasures, allowing access by the big ships' armaments. In a
group, they can take out a good sized ship on their own (a la the
Centauri cruiser in "Fall of Night"). They also serve to protect the
station's defense grid from aggressor starfuries.
Also, a number of small support ships, including a Hyperion
class ship came through as part of the "carrier group" that went after
the station. It was up to the starfuries to take care of those ships
while B5 and the other destroyers took out the biggest threats.
- What about all the debris from the battle?
We've shown clean-up crews before outside, including a hazmat
station that goes out to clear away fuel cores or other toxic material.
They would've been dispatched for this.
- Fighters re-enter via the main docking bay and are recharged
and lowered into the fighter bays.
No question, spare parts would be a problem, and they'll have
to cannibalize a lot (plus whatever they scrounged up from the fighters
blown apart outside).
- Bear in mind that if we had gone over to the other captains and
what was going on in the other ships, to make room for those scenes we
would've had to cut anywhere from 3-5 minutes of the other stuff. You
can't just add to the show's time; if that goes in, something else has
to come out. So you'd probably have to cut the scene between Sheridan
and his father since that was the only stand-alone set piece.
Any time you write something, you must decide "who is it
about?" This episode was about *our characters*, the ones we've come to
care about, and how they deal with this. To take away from that and
spend time with people we've never seen before, and won't see again,
would be to cheat our characters of the time on screen needed to pay
off all the things we've set up over the years.
Would it have been an interesting aside to show the other
captains? Sure. In a movie, with an open-ended running time, I
probably would have. But there's nothing I would want to cut out of the
episode as it now stands to make room for it.
- Why no scenes from the opposition's point of
We haven't seen those scenes because we don't know anyone there
really, and in an hour show you only have so much time, and within our
budget we only can do so much. Every speaking role you add costs
thousands of dollars. Every set costs thousands of dollars.
We're doing the absolute best we can with a budget roughly 1/2
of any of the ST episodes.
If it isn't *absolutely necessary* to the scene, it isn't in.
Yeah, seeing some folks in EA talking back and forth about well, maybe
this isn't a good idea, maybe it is, well, let's get back to
work...it'd be an interesting aside, but in addition to slowing down
the pace of the episode, and this one had to move like a house afire,
it's just not something I felt we could or should do.
- About the boarding party's uniforms
Instead of going for a sinister EA look, I wanted the
uniforms to be something we're used to, "our side," as you say. There
aren't many blacks-and-whites on this show. It's all greys...and
sometimes olive drab.
- Garibaldi wanted to hold up, cut off the boarding party at a bottleneck,
but the Narns, *being* Narns, raced right into the battle. At that
point Garibaldi had to follow them in or let them get wiped out for no
- About the Narn sacrifice
What you also have to bear in mind sometimes is that *this* is
the only way to get things done. When the Allies stormed Normandy
Beach, they knew that German bunkers and machine nests and fortified
positions were right there on the beach waiting for them. But they
stormed out, onto the beach, and the first lines were cut down, one
after another after another, hundreds, literally thousands of soldiers.
But those behind were able to get through, take up position as best
they could. Some of them clung to the edges of cliffs as Germans above
laughed and threw down grenades into their midst.
Sometimes there's no other way. But you do it because those who
command you have the moral authority to say "You probably will not come
back, but the cause is just, and fair, and necessary."
Thus do we go off to die.
- Themes of personal sacrifice
"It's all this stuff that I think really makes the show. The mystery
certainly helps, but the puzzles are no longer my main reason for
Aaron: exactly. This was something I said a lot around the
first part of the second season, that this really *isn't* a
mystery novel, in any conventional sense, no more so than any
novel whose ending is yet to be revealed.
You picked up on exactly the themes that are present in the
show, with some more to come shortly. Personal sacrifice for a
cause -- perhaps a good cause, perhaps not, depending on how
wisely we make our decisions -- is probably the dominant theme
at this point in the story.
It's worth mentioning that this story was initially
conceived in the midst of the Me Generation, the decade of
"I've got mine, jack, screw you all." Since then the culture
has gotten increasingly factionalized, groups of Me's pulling
and tugging at the fabric not only of the country, bvut of the
planet itself. The idea of personal sacrifice, of personal
service to a cause, seems to have become...passe. Old
We have an obligation to one another, responsibilities and
trusts. That does not mean we must be pigeons, that we must be
exploited. But it does mean that we should look out for one
another when and as much as we can; and that we have a personal
responsibility for our behavior; and that our behavior has
consequences of a very real and profound nature. We are not
powerless. We have tremendous potential for good or ill. How
we choose to use that power is up to us; but first we must
choose to use it. We're told every day, "You can't change the
But the world is changing every day. Only question
is...who's doing it? You or somebody else? Will you choose to
lead, or be led by others?
(Y'know, there are moments I look at the preceding
paragraphs, and I realize that it wa said more succinctly, and
better, and more movingly in "Lost Horizon," with this simple
sentence: "Be *kind* to one another.")
- The easy thing to do, the TeeVee thing to do, would've
been to go from Sheridan's line "All ships return to base," to the
exterior with the big ships, and fade out. But I try to keep this show
from doing the easy thing. Yes, you had a victory. Yes, it was
necessary. But what's the cost? We shouldn't glamorize these things.
Even at the end, as you notice, even at the end of the reception...we
go out on an ominous note.
- The older I get, the more I realize there are
things you can do with silence you can't do with words, though I still
love the form of the speech. There was a lot of counterpoint in this
episode, a tool I'm still playing with as a writer; eventually I'll
figure out how to really use it properly. (Though there's an
interesting scene up later this season using another kind of ironic
counterpoint which I think works pretty well.)
In a sense, it's going from one emotion or thematic element to a
very different, but equally strong one, either as bookends or through
intercutting. Going from the high of the victory, to the sudden shot of
the dead troops, is thematic counterpoint.
Here's another...in "Cabaret" you've got a scene where the
performers in the Cabaret are doing the sort of German dance where you
slap your knees and thighs and chest...and they take it a bit further,
slapping one another, it's all for comic effect...but during this,
you're intercutting the owner of the cabaret being beaten to within an
inch of his life by some Brownshirts outside. You go from comic to
brutal and back, with the result that the happy little dance suddenly
takes on ugly characteristics, and the beating takes on the sense that
the participants are having a sick kind of fun, that it's all just
another kind of dance, a ritual.
That's what you have to look at as a writer...how this scene
works, and how it interacts with the scenes in front, behind and
"beside" it (for things happening simultaneously). Sometimes, with the
proper counterpoint, you can add whole new levels of meaning to a
scene, or make the scene much stronger than it would've been on its
- Did the Earth ships recognize the White Star as the ship from
the incident on Ganymede?
- Well, President Clark would know it [the White Star], from the Aggy
records, but the general population wouldn't know it yet, since those
records weren't released. But it does give him a card to play at some
point in the future.
- Any relation between Captain Hiroshi and the Hiroshi on Garibaldi's
No intentional relation, no.
- Why wasn't the boarding party coming up through the floor?
I figured that they'd come in through the outer hull, secure the inner
hull area, then go up in and through a side wall, which would be faster
for purposes of a mass entrance. If you blow a hole in the floor,
everybody has to crawl out one at a time; you blow a hole in the wall,
bunches can come through at once. There was a fair amount of distance
between where they came in, and the hull.
- Yes and no. They came through the "floor" which would be the
outer hull. Like any good ship, the station has two hulls for
protection, an inner hull and an outer hull. Once breaching the outer
hull, they moved into the inner hull, then angled up for a wall they
could blow out.
I figured this would make more tactical sense because if they
just blew through the floor, they'd have to *crawl* out one or two at a
time, whereas if they angled in safely and then came in through a wall,
they could pour in more quickly, en masse, and be less vulnerable.
- From coproducer George Johnsen
We don't really know where the Marines actually penetrated, but their
first hole would be through the "floor". If we assume that they know the
station well, it is likely they would punch through an "unimproved", or
storage area first, as it would be easier than to burn through a fully
habitable area. Then they would go through a wall or a door to get at
the goal. We postulate that they actually were shown entering through
their second burn, and entering the occupied area.
- Was there not much blood in the on-station fight because the guns
were firing plasma?
Correct, PPG bursts, being superheated helium, tend to
cauterize the wounds as they go through.
- No, it's a different scene than the flash-forward in Babylon
- Thanks. That's exactly the impression I wanted...you do the
dolly/zoom move, isolating Sheridan visually...you don't cut back to
the others as they speak, just let the camera stay on him, put the
other voices down under the music and off to the side, just *HOLD*
- I'm always getting this confused in my own mind, but
basically it's using two contradictory moves with the camera. You dolly
in (push the camera toward the object) and push out with the lens (or
vice versa...that's the part I'm forever getting confused about...like
remembering battery connections, is it positive to positive or positive
to negative...?). In either event, you're basically going in and
out/away at the same moment. It's a nifty effect.
- "There is a certain sweetness between Sheridan and his father.
Sheridan's father is certainly the one that I wish I had. Is he yours,
Not by the farthest stretch of the imagination, which is all I'll say on
- Was that Ashan (from
"There All the Honor Lies")
That wasn't Ashan, no.
- Why isn't the Council on Minbar?
We've hinted at it...the Grey Council always stays on its ship, being
part of the universe, giving it an exotic, distant feel for its
people...as though among the gods.
- The Grey Council could've taken a lot more action to be
supportive behind the scenes, getting the warrior caste more involved
with the rangers, giving aid to the non-aligned worlds...there was a
LOT they could have been doing all this time that wouldn't have
required tipping their hand. Instead they sat and did nothing. And
now, with B5 on the edge of falling, to say it's not their problem was
too much. Now is the time they have to start coming forward.
- Basically, the warrior caste doesn't think it's their war;
there's also a certain amount of resentment in it, I think...they *led*
the last war, they *did* their job, and got yanked back and forced to
surrender. That was a terrible blow to their pride, caused in part by
an alien race, so their attitude now tends to be more or less, "Screw
- How did Delenn know B5 needed help?
Real simple. Lennier was still on-station. All she had to do
was check in with him en route and find out. Also, she went to the
council for the purpose of getting military support because she knew
heavy stuff was coming down, in one form or another. Knowing that "the
humans are fighting one another" as she said to the council, it's
evident that if they didn't come to B5 that day, they'd come shortly
She already knew that civil war had broken out between EA ships and
forces, and that B5 had already faced one takeover bid, and that
whether or not it happened today or the next day, it was definitely
coming. That was unmistakeable. Also, bear in mind that Lennier
stayed behind. She would have checked in with him en route and
found out what was going on, or picked up the radio broadcasts of
the battle in progress. I could've shown this, but that would''ve
blown the surprise of her arrival.
- At this point, with the Council broken, Delenn isn't currently
running Minbar...there's a vacuum of power. The system can carry on
for a while, the balance between the castes is pretty efficient, but
this is going to have to be resolved, and some in the warrior caste may
suspect Delenn of doing this so she *can* rise to power.
As part of Valen's covenant, to prevent one caste from taking
over the other, each caste has access to its own warships. This was
done to create trust a thousand years ago, and since then, since there
hasn't been any conflict between Minbari, the three castes own their
own warships still, but in general are assigned to Warrior caste as a
courtesy, which can be revoked. As Delenn noted, the worker and
religious castes control 2/3rds of their forces.
- Each caste populates the ships in their jurisdiction with their
own people. Which is why those on the Minbari warships that came in,
which we'll see shortly, are religious caste, no warriors among
them...but even the religious caste is well trained in combat, as part
of their education in temple. We've seen some of this already in
Lennier's abilities in a fight.
- No, 5 left the council with her. And one can wonder, Did she
turn down the position of leader of the Grey Council, which would be a
balance for that role, in order to eliminate the council and become
primary ruler? (That is what some of the warrior caste are bound to
begin wondering after a while.)
- Was the brief pause as one of the council members left a sign
of a single caste breaking apart?
No, just a member of the warrior caste making sure one he
considered a friend *really* wanted to do this....
- I was living in Delenn's head when she uttered those lines for the first
She wasn't bluffing.
Delenn *never* bluffs.
- Thanks, and yes, there's definitely fire and steel in Delenn,
which she calls upon when she needs it. And nobody crosses her when
- Now that she's gone through her own personal fire,
she's a much stronger character, and very interesting to write.
There's steel, and there's humanity and compassion, and she feels no
need to defend or justify any of those traits. What she is, she is.
- Sinclair survived a battle with Minbari warships.
Her exact line was, "No human captain has ever survived battle with a
Minbari fleet." Sinclair wasn't a captain.
- Dukhat was killed at the start of the Minbari war (that
*caused* the Minbari war), and the Council did without a leader for a
long time. She was taught and sponsored by Dukhat.
- Does Delenn feel responsible for Dukhat's death?
No, she doesn't feel responsible; it's an artifact of the way
they approach certain things. "His word is on my lips, his spirit is
in my eyes." It's almost a way of saying he's speaking through me, back
- About Sheridan asking the Roanoke to surrender
Yeah...the reference was kafuffled. There was so much going on,
so many EFX shots, so much rearranging of shots to make everything work
(we literally delivered this 2 hours before the process for uplinking
started) that this slipped past. I'll assume that Sheridan got excited
and said the wrong name. It'd happen to anyone. Right? Right?
- Roanoke is a place rich with history. Some of it a little
odd, given the colony's disappearance, but rich nonetheless. (Clark
has edged away from giving Omega class destroyers and others names from
Greek mythology and history, toward more conventional names like the
Clarkstown and the Roanoke.)
- President Clark got away from the tradition of using Greek
names. And the Roanoke was a Virginia colony that disappeared in the
- What about the disappearing destroyer?
That would've been killed off-camera. We tried to fit in every
ship getting nailed, but finally realized it would've required another
half an act.
- What did ISN know?
I'm sorry, but we cannot answer your question at this time. We
are experiencing temporary transmission problems with ISN, but hope to
have the situation remedied very soon. Meanwhile, you can direct any
inquiries for information to the Ministry of Peace, and the Ministry
for Public Information, which has been aiding all public information
broadcasts for almost two years now.
At the tone, please leave your name and identicard number.
Don't worry about calling back. We'll find you.
- Clark had inside info that ISN would be going public
soon with info on what was *really* going on on Mars, his planned
attack on B5, and other stuff he wanted quiet.
- I'm looking to find a way to bring Franklin's father
back into the storyline now, to help resolve this. (Note: no
suggestions, please.) I think he would tend to fall on the other side,
and it'd be good to show that some people may think that yes, there's a
problem, but you solve that problem from within, not by breaking away.
Could make for some nice drama....