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  • Thinking about War Without End

    I did a quick search but didn't find a thread that addressed this as far as I can tell, so if this has been talked about already, I apologize.

    I was just wondering why we had War Without End during Season Three.

    If I recall correctly, the original plan with Sinclair remaining throughout the series was for him to head back to the past as Valen 20 years after the series, which is why he was shown as so old in Babylon Squared. Once Michael O'Hare departed the show, it became necessary to devise an alternate reason for his appearing aged, hence the contrived 'the closer I get to our own time, the older I get' thingee.

    Now, my question is this: Why was it necessary to place it in season three? My first thought was that if Sinclair went back in time too late, he'd know the truth about the Vorlons and the Shadows and Valen's prophecies would be too insightful, but I came up against this problem: if he was going to be going to the past in 2281 originally, why then would this be okay in terms of his knowing the future?

    Or am I remembering incorrectly?

    It just seems odd to me that we get the Great Machine introduced in Season 1 and then used in Season 3 but then ignored for the rest of the series and sort of sitting there like the giant elephant in the room that no one will mention.
    Last edited by TurkishZath; 02-08-2008, 12:29 PM.

  • #2
    OK, this is just my spontaneous reply.

    One reason might be, because Sinclair predicts as Valen that the Minbari have to unite with the other half of their souls, us. At the point of WWE, Sheridan and Delenn had become close, though not formally. But their feelings for each other were showing through by the way they looked at each other or touched each other casually.

    If I remember correctly, there is a scene aboard the White Star enroute to B4 where Sinclair witnesses exactly that.

    So maybe _one_ reason, among others, to put in WWE so late was to give the relationship between Sheridan and Delenn time to develop. There had been no other Earth/Minbari couples (that we know of), so Sinclair had to witness that there was actually a chance of the two species to overcome the past war and become close to make the prediction.

    Just my 2 cent
    Last edited by *Starstuff*; 02-08-2008, 12:52 PM. Reason: typos
    It's easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have something worth living for?
    Rule TwentyNine (Blog about B5, politics, environment and much more)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TurkishZath View Post
      Once Michael O'Hare departed the show, it became necessary to devise an alternate reason for his appearing aged, hence the contrived 'the closer I get to our own time, the older I get' thingee.
      This wasn't a contrivance made for season 3 -- recall that the first person they find in sector 14 in season one in "Babylon Squared" died of old age.

      Originally posted by TurkishZath View Post
      Now, my question is this: Why was it necessary to place it in season three? My first thought was that if Sinclair went back in time too late, he'd know the truth about the Vorlons and the Shadows and Valen's prophecies would be too insightful, but I came up against this problem: if he was going to be going to the past in 2281 originally, why then would this be okay in terms of his knowing the future?
      I think it was in Season 3 so we wouldn't be wondering what the heck happened to Sinclair for all 5 years. Also, if the Shadows had already been defeated, and then Sinclair went back, where would the threat of the Shadows destroying Babylon 5 have come from? Hopefully we'll learn some of how the plot threads were interweaved with Sinclair in Volume 15!

      Originally posted by TurkishZath View Post
      It just seems odd to me that we get the Great Machine introduced in Season 1 and then used in Season 3 but then ignored for the rest of the series and sort of sitting there like the giant elephant in the room that no one will mention.
      The Great Machine wasn't entirely ignored -- Ivanova used it in Season 4 for her Voice of the Resistance broadcasts. I think the main reason the Great Machine didn't feature so prominently after season 3 was the unavailability of John Schuck.

      jms from script book Volume 3 n "The Long, Twilight Struggle":

      The actor we cast in the role after already making one change in cast ended up getting a plum role in a Broadway revival of "Hello, Dolly" and was consistently unavailable.
      ...

      It was a bitter disappointment, to be honest about the whole thing, because I had some interesting plans for Draal and Epsilon 3

      ...

      I had to let something go, and while the Draal storyline would have been interesting and a great deal of fun, my primary concern had to be with our main characters and Babylon 5 itself

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JoeD80 View Post
        This wasn't a contrivance made for season 3 -- recall that the first person they find in sector 14 in season one in "Babylon Squared" died of old age.
        Thanks; I'd forgotten that. OTOH, he aged only internally--his organs all aged but he didn't look older whereas Sinclair aged in general.


        I think it was in Season 3 so we wouldn't be wondering what the heck happened to Sinclair for all 5 years.
        That's also an good point, but given the sparing use that we saw of Michael O'Hare before his eventual departure to the past in season 3, isn't it plausible that there could have been an agreement to have similar messages sent to update the viewer on Sinclair vaguely as someone who is working on the 'front lines' of information gathering during the Shadow War? Since O'Hare was seen on television as late as 2000, I think JMS might have been able to talk him into getting a few shots in, heck he could even pre-record a good deal of the material for future use.


        Also, if the Shadows had already been defeated, and then Sinclair went back, where would the threat of the Shadows destroying Babylon 5 have come from? Hopefully we'll learn some of how the plot threads were interweaved with Sinclair in Volume 15!
        I would ask that question of the original plan of having Sinclair (as the final B5 commander) head back to the past in 2281. Perhaps there would be similar messages from an alternate future in which the Shadows were still there they were still fighting the war? I'm at a loss to find an acceptable answer to this, but I'm fairly certain that the original plan was for Sinclair to do just that as evidenced by the constant "Ulysses" references and other foreshadowing.


        The Great Machine wasn't entirely ignored -- Ivanova used it in Season 4 for her Voice of the Resistance broadcasts. I think the main reason the Great Machine didn't feature so prominently after season 3 was the unavailability of John Schuck.
        True it wasn't TOTALLY ignored, but considering the AWESOME power it exhibited early in the series, it's sorta disappointing for it to be used as a power plant and nothing else. John Schuck's unavailability explains a lot of it I guess, although it's always unsatisfying when actor unavailability influences plot-lines.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TurkishZath View Post
          True it wasn't TOTALLY ignored, but considering the AWESOME power it exhibited early in the series, it's sorta disappointing for it to be used as a power plant and nothing else.

          edit... Maybe it served some function we were unaware of, after all other than Earthforce, B5 never really got attacked by any large alien force.
          Last edited by glindros; 02-09-2008, 02:55 AM. Reason: Because Jan said so.
          What a wonderful world you live in. -
          Yeah, well, the rent is cheap, the pay is decent and I get to make my own hours.

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          • #6
            [moderator reminder]
            Please keep in mind that we don't discuss story ideas here...

            Thenkyouverymuch
            [/moderator reminder]

            Jan
            "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by TurkishZath View Post
              True it wasn't TOTALLY ignored, but considering the AWESOME power it exhibited early in the series, it's sorta disappointing for it to be used as a power plant and nothing else. John Schuck's unavailability explains a lot of it I guess, although it's always unsatisfying when actor unavailability influences plot-lines.
              Wow. Thanks for that info on YoYo's unavailability. Not knowing that, I thought JMS intentionally avoided using the Great Machine. I recall him talking about not wanting it used/overused as a panaceic plot device.
              Last edited by NotKosh; 02-08-2008, 11:07 PM.
              "I am not a number! I am a free man!"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JoeD80 View Post
                Also, if the Shadows had already been defeated, and then Sinclair went back, where would the threat of the Shadows destroying Babylon 5 have come from? Hopefully we'll learn some of how the plot threads were interweaved with Sinclair in Volume 15!
                It ha always been my belief that the Shadows would have won the war (or at least destroyed B5, as seen in Sinclair's flash-forward in time) in the original plan, and Valen's journey back in time from 2281 would have reversed/revised that.

                Can't wait for Volume 15 to see how much/little my belief is correct.
                I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

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                • #9
                  Another reason to have WWE within season 3 would be the time flashes for the following reasons...

                  1.In order to get the most out of the Londo and G'kars sections the Narn/Centauri war needed to play out.

                  2.If it had happened too early then the revilation that the shadow war was won would draine much fo the tension from that storyline.

                  3.It needed to happen before Sherridan went to Za'Ha'Dum in order for the destruction of Centurari Prime to be a motivation.

                  4.In order to get the most out of the revilation that Sherridan married and had a son with Delenn were relationship needed to be at the right stage.
                  Who are you?
                  What do you want?
                  What is the average inflight speed of an unladened swallow?

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                  • #10
                    This is a pretty interesting discussion when you consider the fact that, while it's one that's come up from time to time throughout the years with no definitive answer, we're only a couple months away from probably finally getting some answers, in the form of Volume 15's Sinclair outline.

                    I would suspect though that War Without End, as originally devised with Sinclair, might have been a very different story, with a similarity only in the very end. I agree that the poem Ulysses and Sinclair's age in Babylon Squared are great arguments towards much of it happening at the end of the series. (I'm with the original poster, Sinclair's aging in Season 3 is an insert to getting him older artifically, and the pilot in Babylon Squared who only aged internally, not outwardly, is great proof of that)

                    The one big thing that hinders those arguments, however, is Sinclair's flashback in Babylon Squared where he sees Garibaldi's last stand, seemingly during the time of the Shadow War.

                    In either event, here's to hoping we'll finally get some answers soon

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kevin View Post
                      .
                      In either event, here's to hoping we'll finally get some answers soon
                      Just remember to put up the biggest SPOILER signs possible when you guys discuss it ... for those of us who still struggle through the first books
                      It's easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have something worth living for?
                      Rule TwentyNine (Blog about B5, politics, environment and much more)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by glindros View Post
                        edit... Maybe it served some function we were unaware of, after all other than Earthforce, B5 never really got attacked by any large alien force.
                        You don't think the alien attack force in A View from the Gallery was large ?

                        -Dip

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                        • #13
                          True dipper, I was thinking in the context of the Shadow War.

                          Although did we ever actually see the whole main fleet of the enemy in "A View...". B5 was only being attacked by an advanced force for that fleet.
                          What a wonderful world you live in. -
                          Yeah, well, the rent is cheap, the pay is decent and I get to make my own hours.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kevin View Post
                            (I'm with the original poster, Sinclair's aging in Season 3 is an insert to getting him older artifically, and the pilot in Babylon Squared who only aged internally, not outwardly, is great proof of that)
                            jms 5/19/1996:

                            The aging was done pretty much as intended.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TurkishZath View Post

                              It just seems odd to me that we get the Great Machine introduced in Season 1 and then used in Season 3 but then ignored for the rest of the series and sort of sitting there like the giant elephant in the room that no one will mention.
                              Yep that's been an annoyance amongst many B5 fans I've met over the years. They made such a big thing about the great machine and its power and did fuck all of substance with it...

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