LATEST NEWS BELOW: (Babylon 5 Movie Ramping Up)
more at: the crusade news archive
more on Jeremiah and the B5 casts at: The Zocolo Today (new link)
Save Crusade : ONLINE PETITION is still active
With the amazing amount of dis-information floating out there about
this topic I've been hesitant to throw in anything, adding to the
flames, until something concrete was actually there. There are a
number of cast speculation websites brewing and even someone creating
movie posters and claiming to be in the know who has nothing to do with
the pending project. With that said, here is what we know about
Nothing. Well, not really. All that is known for sure is that a movie sized project has been written and as of this update has passed or is about to pass its final draft. Pre-produciton on this (in some form) is taking place in England (at least) which basically means effects, writing and organization is ramping, and the working title is Memory of Shadows. Also what we do know is that writing was held up for a period due to the passing of Richard Biggs (see below).
Now onto the pure speculation, and I will make it as educated as possible. The plot of this feature film will almost certainly revolve around the barren worlds of the Shadows and the Vorlons or the Rim, pretty much what Crusade was initially trying to do in the first place, but in an entirely new direction. JMS speculated before B5 even ended that he wanted to do a movie like this. If this is the case, I would not be surprised to see one or two Crusade characters involved. Also, it can be assumed that this project is being ramped up to be a commercial success first overseas and secondly in the U.S. Normally if there are major holdups on projects like this in the movie industry, they are scuttled. In this case, we've seen the investors have infinite patience, which tells me that there is something different going on behind the scenes. This is either not a movie meant for wide spread theater U.S. release, or we are dealing with a totally different horse.
TV PROJECT: Despite what anyone may have heard, as of now there is no proof or news of any kind that there are any B5 television projects in the works.
CRUSADE NEWS: I think this is more excited than TMoS at this point. JMS has said that the upcoming crusade DVDs will include a commentary track of the series pilot in which he tells what really happened to the series (in respect to TNT) from his point of view. A reportedly no-holds-barred lashing. You think you know what happened. Just wait. It gets better. Kudos for WB for figuring out that putting icing on the cake doesn't work with B5 fans.
Babylon-5 Movie in the works: We have been holding off an any speculation, as we have been shot down so many times, it is hard to announce things without a grain of salt. But all indications at this time are that a Babylon-5 Motion Picture (at least) of some kind is under developement. JMS has been hinting for months (actually 6 and counting) of a project called B5: TMOS. The best title we have heard is The Master of Shadows.
At first, we believed this to be a series, however, the extreme hush atmosphere over the project and the way things are being handled suggest strongly that this is in fact a movie and a major one at that. The largest hint came from JMS a few days ago when he mentioned he could not say anything and went on to suggest the people at WB had him looking through a pinhole that just happened to be the widescreen format of a major film. Never heard JMS say things in that way, ever, so the reference was intensional by all accounts.
This project is also way past TALK stages. Money has exchanged
hands, JMS is altering his schedule, and at least two script drafts are
done and some casting may already be going on. More info when we
Of course, we would love to be wrong. A series is what we want here, but hey, wow......JMS has also stated that several major B5 things are rolling so this may just be the start. The successful sale of the DVDs may be the main push for this. In fact, at current sale rates, even a movie that did fair at the box office would profit greatly just from DVD sales.
WB will release ALL of the B5 movies including A Call to Arms on DVD together this fall.
Some really interested stuff is brewing, and from multiple directions. A recent and detailed article by Film Force with Jerry Doyle indicated that something is going on with the original cast and discussions at Warner Bros are underway, or at least moving in a forward direction. The article describes significant interest in bringing at least part of the original cast back in a continuation of the B5 and/or Crusade story. Whether or not JMS would back this is unknown.
Now, this is something we have heard from Jerry Doyle before.
He is the most public backer of B5 and now has his own production
company. However, the article illustrates for the first time in
public the many factions that are going on within the B5 franchise like
we've never seen it before. Many of the actors involved in B5
were quite upset when B5 ended after just five seasons, because it was
pretty much guarenteed that TNT would have bought a sixth season if
they were offered it. The whole five year arc scenario seemed to
close the door prematurely. In any event, if we get more news on
this we will let you know.
Add to this the incredible sales of the B5 DVD sets. The first
season alone is said to have made over 20 million dollars (equivalent
to the production costs of a B5 season)! The sales have Warner
Bros thinking hard, and why shouldn't they be thinking.
After citing problems with the powers that be, JMS has decided not to return to do a thrid season of Showtime's Jeremiah (second season finally goes on this Fall after a long delay). He is still shopping around Polaris.
Very nice article on B5's longevity. Guess press never comes too late huh? No news on Polaris. Either the project is dead, still in the works, in hold, or has turned into a very smart toaster. Who's to say.
Some tidbits. Claudia, Bruce and Jerry Doyle do commentary on one of the episodes on the second season DVD. In so they state that each of them thought that is was a bad idea to end the series in five years, that the characters could still evolve. Although this is general knowledge, its interesting to hear them state it in a DVD. The ship was rocked again when they stated certain plot points such as "Lockley's marriage to Sheriden" didn't fly. Certainly worth a listen to. And applause for WB and everyone for letting them speak their mind. Claudia also mentioned that in 4 years on B5 she had only one or two scenes alone with Londo. Might want to test that theory.
And PS...speaking on the season two DVDs. The transfer looks much sharper, with few artifacts that plagued season one.
: Thanks to Warner Bros, we and our sister site Paraseek.com, are able to fill your holiday wishes a little early. Enter our season one DVD give-a-way now. Thanks once again to the great people at Warner Bros! Contest is closed 3/03.
All we know is that it is a type of science fiction television that has never been made before. It will be produced and made in an entirely new way, and may change television forever. Sound familiar? Sounds a lot like B5. JMS has announced a new project for the Scifi channel and will not say anything except that it exists and that it is called Polaris. Currently in its second draft, it is slated to be made into a 2-hour pilot if the green light is given. And since the Scifi Channel will own it entirely that green light is looking real good. We may not get any more B5 anytime soon, however, from what we are hearing Polaris may be something all B5 fans may appreciate and may be the B5 of this decade. Stay tuned. We will cover Polaris fully if it does happen.
Are you desperate for more B5? Well, we all are not too happy that the B5 universe is on eternal hold, however, it is still being marketed like a first run series. Go figure. Warner Bros has just released what may be the Christmas present of a lifetime: a complete season one DVD set of B5, with commentary and making of features that will probably make most hardcore fans tear up. I know when I listened to the trailers and music I got pretty misty.
Why do you want the season one DVD collection? The music has been remastered and it is in true letterbox form. Worth the price. A must own. Trailers will be available in the priceguide for a limited time.
Tidbit on the demise of Rangers. JMS, in discussing Polaris, has stated that is the Scifi Channel owned Rangers fully it may well have went into production despite the ratings it got, noting that the ratings were not bad considering the NFL playoffs. Since Warner Bros owns B5, Scifi would not invest in it unless they were sure.
Crusade will be re-aired AGAIN on Scifi starting October 2nd at 5pm. Scifi is using is as a bookend to the end of their B5 runs. This might be your last chance to see it, so please take advantage of it.
JMS has hinted that he may be writing a few books to fill in the Crusade story. Our hope is that he tolds off on this a while. The Crusade story definitely does not deserve to be told quickly in book form.
JMS' new showtime series Jeremiah is a smash hit and he will likely be concentrating his efforts there for a few more years. As far as Scifi's interest in B5, even though it is their highest run repeat series in history at both the 7 and 5pm slots, we do not believe they are interested in doing anything else B5 related at this time now that they have merged with Universal. They will be developing series almost exclusively from Universal's archives, like Quantum Leap (which we applaud).
It has been a hard couple of months. The LEGEND OF THE RANGERS was in our opinion the single worst piece of Babylon-5 production in its history. And although it acheived substantial ratings, the NFL playoffs crushed any higher numbers it might have acheived, killing any chance of a pickup.
However, was a pickup even warrented? In our opinion, no. The concept was flawed. The characters were underdeveloped and nothing what we would expect from B5 or JMS. The cgi was lacking. Ship design was horrible. We were told the main ship would be like nothing we have seen before in Scifi...that was not the case and furthermore you could not run a series on that ship. We were told that this was one of the best movies B5 Productions had made. It was definitely not even close. Later on, it was discovered that the creation of this piece may have been a rush job, put in before the actor's strike took place. Furthermore, it came to our attention that "unbelieveably" almost all of the original CGI for the original series was lost. They had to create everything from scratch including jumpgates, ships, etc. On top of that the original first perspective shooting technique which was supposed to be a breakthrough in TV was revamped due to time and budget concerns and turned out horrible. In no way did this feel like B5, except for the excellent music. In all, information coming before the release proved to be unwarrented hype. This definitely did not deserve the hype.
The whole Rangers experiment just goes to show how well put together Crusade actually was and what a shame it is that Scifi did not continue it. It was a solid piece of writing heading in a great direction. And it will continue to be one of those shows that we will remember, unlike Rangers. The publicity Scifi spent on Rangers could have been used to construct an entire partial Crusade season. What a waste of money and time.
Can B5 ever recover from this? I do not know.
Just to warn you, there may be a slight spoiler below.
Well the movie, LEGEND OF THE RANGERS, is complete and we are gearing up for a launch on the Scifi Channel. The target date for launch has been pushed back several times. We anticipated the movie would be out by Fall but that was not the case. There seems to be a leisurely attitude toward its launch and we don't know precisely how to take that. In any event, originally slated to air January 2nd 2001, it has now been pushed back to January 19th. Actually, we think not placing it in the Fall was a good thing due to the WTC attack. The push-back may be due to a related spring board factor. You see, JMS is currently in production of another series on Showtime called "Jeremiah". That launches on the 11th. Scifi may be hoping that Jeremiah helps launch Rangers instead of the other way around. It would make perfect sense. The final cut of Rangers is already in hand so this is not a production delay. Also, Scifi's new season typically begins around the 1st of the year so they may want to include Rangers deeper in that for ratings reasons.
As far as the cast goes, they are under no contract to do a series if one develops from this movie, basically because you can't contract someone for a series that does not yet exist, legally. However, we do have one tid-bit of good casting news. Whom we anticipate to be the star of any series, Dylan Neal (aka David), has expressed willingness to leave Dawson's Creek to devote full time to Rangers if it goes to series, despite the face he could still do both. One B5 cast member will appear in the movie, Gakar. It is assumed that other B5 cast members will make appearances if we go to series.
On another front, there is some controversy concerning the funding of a new series. Both WB and SCIFI want the other to pay for the majority if it goes to series. This may be a sticking point and may be why things are going slow.
As far as the plot goes, it involves (on the most simply level I can put it) a ship full of Rangers, small in size, protecting the frontier. Humans, Minbari and Drazi are set to play key roles. Most importanly, it has strategically been positioned time wise three years before Crusade. And this is no accident. It is clear that JMS put Rangers here so that if the series becomes successful, three seasons down the line, when no exec can say no, he would use Rangers to resolve Crusade's plot points in whatever way he wants. Thus any Rangers series would almost surely include threads from Crusade eventually. We have also learned that there will be some kind of new super race in the cards, perhaps even stronger than the First Ones. Yes the concept puts us for a loop too, but JMS has been quoted roughly as saying that the First Ones only came from a small fraction of the universe, hence there are most definitely other things out there. This comes with applause here. We did feel almost a let down after Kosh died and the First Ones left during the B5 series. Frankly, having some powerful force out there that is a mystery is quite OK by us. Theory: could this new super-race be eventually tied into the BOX on Crusade. Certainly that would be a nice path to take the thread into.
Lastly (for now), Aint It Cool News is involved in a controversy concerning Rangers. It seems a nasty review of the movie was posted and JMS got quite hot about it. We, for one, don't blame him. AICN, in our opinion, has devolved over the past two years. We used to look to it often for news and insight. We don't anymore, and I think there is a reason we don't. Anyway, everyone has the right to say what they want to say. More to come.
An announcement on several fronts indicates that a television movie deal has been signed in the B5 universe for the Scifi Channel. The two hour project, tentatively code named "Rangers" is rumored to be a pilot for a possible series. No air dates or cast signings have been announced, however, it has been confirmed that filming will take place in Canada (a location where many of former Netter employees originally hailed from and where many of Scifi's projects originate including the High Definition Jules Verne). The Canada news is actually quite good because it makes the movie and potential series eligible for Canadian broadcast through any of those outlets, an indication that Scifi may once again be looking to share the costs of a project. No time table has been set but it would seem that mid-Fall would be a good guess taking into account the strike and the reformation of the production team after Netter's demise. Theory: could the new JMS team be working with some of the other production companies Scifi works with? IE, the Jules Verne imaging team is considered to be one of the strongest out there. The term "Rangers" indicates basically anything and ironically Crusade's original premise involved the Rangers heavily until TNT ordered that all references to B5 be pulled wherever possible to make Crusade an entirely separate series.
In a move that may prove Scifi's decision process concerning the B5 Universe is more in flux than once thought, Scifi has pushed up the showing the Crusades 13 episodes to April instead of this summer. Crusade will be reshown for the first time ever. As of now it is planned for showing in Prime Time! This may indicate that several possible B5 universe series are still on the table and that Scifi wants to know ASAP what the status of its fan base is. An online petition in support of Crusade is showing quite strongly the fan base is still here. In its first four days it has been signed almost 500 times. Add your name at the link above.
Lots of major news. Its has been announced by JMS today via the newsgroups (1) A television deal of some kind has been closed and finalized (2) up to two more mystery projects may be closed to being finalized (3) B5 will finally be available on region one DVD starting in July with some of the movies and then the series. The aspect ratio of the DVDs will most likely be widescreen since the quirks are worked out. As of this time no commentary is planned but we hope WB will change their minds. What the television deals could entail are anyone's guess, but JMS expects to be able to talk about at least one of them next week.
Lastly, the 13 episodes of Crusade have been picked up for airing this summer on the Scifi Channel. It is not known for sure whether they will convert these to widescreen as well. It will likely depend if one of the new projects will involve Crusade. If this is NOT the case, then Scifi would be less apt to spend the few thousand dollars on the widescreen transfers.
Through the past year Save Crusade (see our Crusade news archive), as well as other organizations and individuals, have fought hard to move Babylon-5 back into the limelight after the fiasco that was its run on TNT. In early 2000 the franchise hit rock bottom with the cancellation of the Babylon-5 video game and several slaps in the face by TNT's scheduling department. In the view of many, including this author, the only chance the B5 universe had was to get it on the SCIFI channel where ratings would hopefully give it a chance at a new series. And as always a writing and promotion campaign began.
No one in Save Crusade thought that things would pan out as well as they have. As of this date Babylon-5 reruns (in at least their 6th run) have produced sustained 1.0 ratings and have spiked as high as 1.2, beating at 7pm many of SCIFI's original series which are shown in prime time and of course are not reruns. Suffice to say this success has started a chain reaction which is beginning its first domino falls.
As of yesterday the first confirmed media announcement came that talks are in fact in the works to bring Babylon-5 back to television in some form. Right now the following is known: JMS and Douglas Netter, at minimum, are involved in such high level talks with SCIFI. Bonnie Hammer, head of SCIFI programming, has stated that as of this date she is open to considering anything when it comes to the B5 universe. JMS has commented on-line that several important announcements concerning Babylon-5 and its universe are to come in the next few weeks.
Currently rumored talks between SCIFI and the powers that be specifically concern a Babylon-5 television movie. This in itself would be a major accomplishment for everyone involved in the universe; however, it is the opinion of this website that a new series of some kind is under consideration at this time. With the current B5 rerun ratings it does not make financial sense for the SCIFI channel to create a single television movie. It would not help B5's ratings in a significant way since the show is doing so well already. So, it is very possible that the proposed movie will be used as a warm-up for a possible new series. A pilot? Or perhaps just a way to bring a crew together?
It takes a very special team to create the Babylon-5 universe and
over the past two years that team has been ripped apart. Most
significantly Netter Digital went into Chapter-11. Since Netter
is involved in these talks it is assumed that a new production company
would be formed to handle what is to come. And then there is the
question of the cast. Should B5 go on as a continuation of the
sliced and diced Crusade series or should it go into another direction
entirely? We will know soon enough. Stay tuned.