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JMS Lost Tales/Movie decision

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  • JMS Lost Tales/Movie decision

    Here's part of a post from JMS that just appeared on the moderated newsgroup"

    One final note re: recent discussions on TMoS and more Lost Tales.

    B5:TLT was commissioned at a $2 million budget to, yet one more time,
    "test the waters" for B5. We did what we could with that, and that
    was that. As we did with Rangers, which also suffered from not having
    a lot of money because of concerns about "is there really a B5
    audience?" Which is, of course, a foolish question from a studio that
    has never really understood what it has in B5.

    Of late, there have been more discussions from WB about doing more
    DVDs, again at a low cost, or a cable thing, again with minimal

    So for the last few months, I've been giving this whole subject a lot
    of quiet thought. And I've come to a conclusion.

    B5 as a five year story stands beautifully on its own. If anything
    else is to be continued from that story, it should be something that
    adds to the legacy of B5, rather than subtracts from it.

    As well intentioned as Rangers and TLT were, as enticing as it was to
    return to those familiar waters, in the end I think they did more to
    subtract from the legacy than add to it. I don't regret having made
    them, because I needed to go through that to get to the point where I
    am now psychologically, but from where I sit now, I wouldn't make them

    So I've let everyone up here know that I'm not interested in doing any
    more low-budget DVDs. I'm not interested in doing any low-budget
    cable things or small computer games. The only thing I would be
    interested in doing regarding Babylon 5 from this point on is a full-
    featured, big-budget feature film.

    It's that or nothing.

    And if it's nothing, I'm totally cool with that because the original
    story stands on its own just fine. I'm not lobbying for it, I'm not
    asking fans to write in about it (nor should you) because such
    campaigns never really have much impact...that's simply the position
    I've taken up here. Lord knows I don't lack for other things to do
    these days. I'm busier on more prestige projects with terrific people
    and great film-makers than at any other time in my career.

    At the end of the day, for me, it's not just a matter of getting more
    B5. It's a matter of getting more *good* B5 that respects what came
    before it and doesn't have to compromise visually or in terms of
    action. The original show deserves better than that, the surviving
    cast members deserve better than that, and the fans who have supported
    it over the years definitely deserve better than that. A lot better.

    So I've drawn that line in the sand, and I'm happy living on whichever
    side of that line the universe puts me. Just thought you should know,
    'cause it's your show too.

    I can't say I'm sorry. It's about time that WB put up or shut up as I said in my rant a few months back.

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

  • #2
    Good for Joe. WB needs him more than he needs them, and it is high time he made them realize it.
    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.


    • #3
      I totally understand and second that decision, even though I think it's likely to be the end of B5.

      I can't see WB giving JMS full creative control in a big budget feature film (looking at the recent Trek movies, I guess that would mean at the very least $ 40 million), mainly because he said he won't recast G'Kar and Franklin (again, I think that's the right decision), and G'Kar along with Londo was easily one of the most popular characters especially with the not-so-hardcore fans. With no G'Kar and Londo/G'Kar interaction, there is a possibility the movie won't draw the casual viewers into the theaters, which seems a risk for a big budget film. Given WB's attitude up to now, I can't see them taking that risk.

      So maybe it's time to just let go of it.
      Last edited by ; 07-14-2008, 05:51 AM.


      • #4
        First of all: Jan, thanks for posting.

        And I am - on the one hand - glad that JMS drew this line. It really is better to have good content and less of it than more of poor quality. It makes me kind of sad that even after all this time, WB still hasn't realized the full potential of B5.

        But on the other hand I am really sad because I fear this will truly be the end of any B5 related endeavors and I just love the characters and the story so much (then of of course, what I wrote above even more so applies).

        There's this tiny little bit of hope though that after the work JMS has done recently with "The Changeling" and the projects he's working on now, the studio will be more willing to do things the JMS' way and give him the feature film. Hopefully the fame pays off (not that it should have to).
        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)


        • #5
          While saddened by Joe's decision, I completely understand where he is coming from. As much as I liked Lost Tails you can tell that it was done on the cheap. Hopefully Joe's new found fame will make WB realize what they have and give him what he wants in order to continue the story.
          Co-host of The Second Time Around podcast


          • #6
            I think this is important enough to warrant a thread of its own so I've moved the post and comments over here.

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


            • #7
              I know a lot of people are probably going to be saddened by that post, thinking it's probably better to get some cut-rate, bargain basement B5 than none at all, but I've got to go with JMS on this one. As he mentions, the rationale for Rangers and TLT is that the studio doesn't think there's a market out there for B5, so going into it, you've got a studio that basically has no confidence in the product. Now that Joe has become an A-list writer, there's going to be no shortage of studios wanting to business with him. Does he really want to have a meeting with studio A that wants to do a 100 million dollar film, or Warners, who wants to do a crappy B5 project for two million that they think isn't going to sell? At some point, Warners can man up and realize they should be doing a big-budget B5 film, with a pre-established audience (as Paramount does on a continual basis with Star Trek) or they get left in the dust. I'm really glad that Joe has finally made this decision and I'm with him 100%.


              • #8
                I'm with Joe on this one, too. I think I even said something about this on the "More Lost Tales?" thread last week. I love the 5-year series. The series is perfect as it is. It stands alone, and it will endure forever. It ain't going anywhere, and we can always watch it again, whenever we want.

                I have not, however, loved all of the other B5 projects. And I don't think that "Lost Tales" had the potential to be as good as the series, either, simply because it is short form, and that's not the series' strength. Its strength was telling this massive, long story, of dropping plot points and weaving them back in five years later, of details that never meant nothing.

                Personally, I don't even need a movie, big-budget or otherwise. I don't think anything we ever get in the short form will, or can, stand up to the series. I actually breathed a huge sigh of relief when I read that post on the moderated ng.


                • #9
                  I would love to see a B5 movie and I'm confident that a good story could be told if the film were allowed to be two hours or more in length. I don't really agree that B5's main strength was in the complex arc, either. I think it was in the characters and the way that JMS wasn't afraid to write the moments that made those characters real to us. I'm confident that JMS could do a movie script that would do justice to those characters.

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


                  • #10
                    There are so many things we havent seen, but have heard about in the B5 timeline that would be wonderful to see on the big screen.

                    Come on WB - you know it makes sense - especially now.
                    Duracell Bunny is arrested and charged with BATTERY!!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AmyG View Post
                      Personally, I don't even need a movie, big-budget or otherwise. I don't think anything we ever get in the short form will, or can, stand up to the series. I actually breathed a huge sigh of relief when I read that post on the moderated ng.
                      Hear Hear Amy, I completely second these thoughts.

                      I have said in the past, I would like to see Joe do more Sci-Fi, because a) it is a genre I like and b) JMS is a real good writer. I would not like it to be more B5.
                      Last edited by Macbeth; 07-15-2008, 05:56 AM.


                      • #12
                        Whatever side of that line Joe finds himself on, I'll be there with him. I liked "Lost Tales" alot, but it did suffer a bit from being done on the cheap. When the show constantly exceeds Warner execs's expectations, shouldn't they start adjusting what they expect then? If this is the end of B5 as a franchise, so be it. The execs have only themselves to blame. While I will miss not knowing more about the Telepath War, the fates of the Excalibur crew, etc., I think I can live with what we have been lucky enough to have gotten already.
                        Got movies?


                        • #13
                          I hate to play devil's advocate, but if there was a feature film, it's entirely possible that a couple of those storylines could be explored, or at least addressed. Personally, I think the most reasonable scenario is that when the next Star Trek film comes out and makes a s**t-load of money, the bean-counters at Warner Bros will say, 'Gosh, it's too bad we don't have our own sci-fi franchise that we could exploit!' Somebody digs out a copy of a B5 DVD, and suddenly they realize that not only do they own it, it's also created by the A-list screenwriter who just did The Changeling, as well as whatever big feature projects are in the works at that point. THAT'S when something will finally happen.


                          • #14
                            I'm glad, frankly. While I liked the second story a bit TLT seemed really cheaply done, which is impressive considering how much of the original series relied on cardboard and duct tape. Besides, if JMS was still a moderately successful TV/DVD producer/writer it would make sense to work for chump-change to do a DtDVD movie or two. He can also expend the same amount (or probably less) effort to write something original and take home a seven figure paycheck. Throw in how WB has treated him on B5 and residuals and what's the draw to take the time?

                            Besides, while I'd love to have the conclusion to Crusade I'd rather see a novel or novel series although, again, how WB treated those makes that unlikely as well.

                            Finally, as a guy who has contributed to the various game systems, it's nice to have stuff locked down and not worry about which random detail from a DVD will derail several thousand words of writing/fluff!



                            • #15
                              If Hollywood can put out movies like Get Smart, and Meet Dave there is room for Babylon 5 in the Multiplex.

                              As jms says "Faith Manages". Given his current popularity, I really feel good about the chances of a potential movie. His commitment to the original actors and to the existing storyline are also a relief.

                              Just don't take too long, ok Joe?

                              I just don't get WB. I don't want to rant, but what does this franchise have to do to get a little respect?
                              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.