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  • B5: the original story?

    Having just rewatched Season 1, what's really interesting is seeing how the original story was apparently going to develop, before the character of Sinclair had to be replaced by Sheridan.

    To me, it looks as though the original plan was to have Babylon 5 destroyed, and have the remaining characters flee to Babylon 4 and use that as for their last stand against the shadows.

    The destruction of B5 is prophesied in "Born to the Purple" - we even see it happen. In "Babylon Squared" this appears to be underlined, perhaps with Garibaldi dying to allow Sinclair to escape to B4. In the same episode, the warnings of Zathras and Sinclair's reflection both appear to drive that point.

    Possibly this was all envisaged for the end of Season 3, when Sheridan was asked to go to Z'ha Dum.

    This is suggested because Sinclair's fiancee, Catherine Setai, who appears in a number of Season 1 episodes, is not only a deep space explorer, but also becomes entangled with alien tech. IMO it's clear that Setai is effectively playing the role that Anna Sheridan would later take over.

    The difference being, having Setai disappear, then re-appear as an agent for the Shadows, would have presented a clear tragic plot arc. Because of the need to bring Sheridan in, we already begin with his wife having disappeared, so elements of that arc remain.

    This all possibly also explains why Kosh says that Sheridan going to Z'ha Dum has "opened an unexpected door". Simply a reference to the original plan for Sinclair's arc being replaced.

    If all this is true, then J Michael Straczyski did an amazing job in adjusting the overall plot arc to accommodate Sheridan instead of Sinclair - obviously, Sinclair couldn't go to the past as Valen if he needed to remain and defeat the Shadows. And he did well to effectively insert Sheridan into what had been - until that point - Sinclair's story arc, without actually disrupting it.

    Anyway, just thinking aloud.

  • #2
    JMS has often stated that he had "trap doors" for all major characters, so an actor could be replaced (with another character) if necessary. That is the brilliant part of JMS' writing - he was making room for changes in characters.
    Jan from Denmark

    My blog :

    http://www.babylonlurker.dk

    "Our thoughts form the Universe - they *always* matter"

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Brian G Turner View Post
      Having just rewatched Season 1, what's really interesting is seeing how the original story was apparently going to develop, before the character of Sinclair had to be replaced by Sheridan.

      To me, it looks as though the original plan was to have Babylon 5 destroyed, and have the remaining characters flee to Babylon 4 and use that as for their last stand against the shadows.

      The destruction of B5 is prophesied in "Born to the Purple" - we even see it happen. In "Babylon Squared" this appears to be underlined, perhaps with Garibaldi dying to allow Sinclair to escape to B4. In the same episode, the warnings of Zathras and Sinclair's reflection both appear to drive that point.

      Possibly this was all envisaged for the end of Season 3, when Sheridan was asked to go to Z'ha Dum.

      This is suggested because Sinclair's fiancee, Catherine Setai, who appears in a number of Season 1 episodes, is not only a deep space explorer, but also becomes entangled with alien tech. IMO it's clear that Setai is effectively playing the role that Anna Sheridan would later take over.

      The difference being, having Setai disappear, then re-appear as an agent for the Shadows, would have presented a clear tragic plot arc. Because of the need to bring Sheridan in, we already begin with his wife having disappeared, so elements of that arc remain.

      This all possibly also explains why Kosh says that Sheridan going to Z'ha Dum has "opened an unexpected door". Simply a reference to the original plan for Sinclair's arc being replaced.

      If all this is true, then J Michael Straczyski did an amazing job in adjusting the overall plot arc to accommodate Sheridan instead of Sinclair - obviously, Sinclair couldn't go to the past as Valen if he needed to remain and defeat the Shadows. And he did well to effectively insert Sheridan into what had been - until that point - Sinclair's story arc, without actually disrupting it.

      Anyway, just thinking aloud.
      Joe's original arc was summarised in Vol. 15 of the script book series. As that's very much out of print, you can find a rough summary at the link below. It's by no means exhastive, but it gives a nice overview. You're pretty close to what JMS had intended:

      http://www.trekbbs.com/threads/synop...poilers.53739/

      I think JMS did a superb job of changing it up with the departure of Sinclair / O'Hare. He still managed to preserve the core of the story, and I think what we got was far more interesting.
      Last edited by Ubik; 09-19-2016, 03:48 AM.
      Captain John Sheridan: I really *hate* it when you do that.

      Kosh: Good!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Brian G Turner View Post
        This is suggested because Sinclair's fiancee, Catherine Setai, who appears in a number of Season 1 episodes, is not only a deep space explorer, but also becomes entangled with alien tech. IMO it's clear that Setai is effectively playing the role that Anna Sheridan would later take over.

        The difference being, having Setai disappear, then re-appear as an agent for the Shadows, would have presented a clear tragic plot arc. Because of the need to bring Sheridan in, we already begin with his wife having disappeared, so elements of that arc remain.
        While that's a common theory, it's denied by JMS and doesn't match at all with what was in the 'arc memo' written between the pilot and season one.

        Originally posted by JMS
        Sinclair was never intended to go to Z'ha'dum.

        And it wouldn't have worked for Sakai to be the one who awoke
        the shadows and "died" at Z'ha'dum because *they were already awake* in
        the first season. People who try to lay the one line atop the other
        tend to forget this. We also get Garibaldi's mention of crawling out
        of the Martian desert in the very first episode...which tied into the
        whole Messages From Earth thread, putting the shadows at work for at
        least 2-3 years.

        jms
        http://jmsnews.com/msg.aspx?id=1-9903

        And in the arc memo, Sakai is 'mind-raped' and loses all memory of Sinclair. The only way to restore her would be to effectively do the same again to her and Sinclair can't do that. That's when Delenn works to get closer to him.

        This all possibly also explains why Kosh says that Sheridan going to Z'ha Dum has "opened an unexpected door". Simply a reference to the original plan for Sinclair's arc being replaced.
        I've always thought it was Sheridan's actual confrontation of the Shadows, which had always been avoided.

        Glad to see you here!

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

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jan View Post
          I've always thought it was Sheridan's actual confrontation of the Shadows, which had always been avoided.
          Wouldn't the "unexpected door" be Lorien? The Vorlons and Shadows had been fighting via proxy for millennia without one side or the other satisfactorily proving their philosophy clearly enough for the other to back down. By bringing Lorien out of "retirement," Sheridan found the one entity that both sides would respect who then lent gravitas to "the Intervention at Coriana 6."

          If we can't get father and mother to stop bickering, maybe grandfather can at least help us get them out of the house so our siblings aren't being killed in the crossfire...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JasonDavis View Post
            Wouldn't the "unexpected door" be Lorien? The Vorlons and Shadows had been fighting via proxy for millennia without one side or the other satisfactorily proving their philosophy clearly enough for the other to back down. By bringing Lorien out of "retirement," Sheridan found the one entity that both sides would respect who then lent gravitas to "the Intervention at Coriana 6."

            If we can't get father and mother to stop bickering, maybe grandfather can at least help us get them out of the house so our siblings aren't being killed in the crossfire...
            Good point. Except that when Kosh Vader said that, nobody knew if Sheridan was still alive. That was part of the point, that Delenn wanted to go look for him.
            "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jan View Post
              Good point. Except that when Kosh Vader said that, nobody knew if Sheridan was still alive. That was part of the point, that Delenn wanted to go look for him.
              If I recall correctly, Ulkesh was in Z'ha'dum space when Sheridan jumped. It's been a while since I last read Invoking Darkness, but it was quite the gathering with John (and the remains of Kosh), Justin, Morden, Anna, Galen, Ulkesh, Elizar, Wierden, Lorien and whoever else I'm forgetting all coming together to ruin all the various status quos.

              Comment


              • #8
                Ah. I barely even remember that series. Buncha busy-bodies!
                "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This always felt weird to me.

                  The idea that Galen actually sent a message to Sheridan (if i remember correctly) just after he started running, telling him to delay calling the White Star until he had disabled the eye, the fact that we're told that Sheridan saw the Galen-Elizar fight from the balcony before jumping.

                  In the episode, the whole thing is very fast and i have a hard time imagining that so much time passed /stuff happened offscreen in what seems like minutes.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ubik View Post
                    Joe's original arc was summarised in Vol. 15 of the script book series. As that's very much out of print, you can find a rough summary at the link below.
                    That's superb - many thanks for that.

                    Originally posted by Jan
                    While that's a common theory, it's denied by JMS and doesn't match at all with what was in the 'arc memo' written between the pilot and season one.
                    That's really interesting - thanks again.

                    Originally posted by JasonDavis View Post
                    Wouldn't the "unexpected door" be Lorien?
                    That makes total sense. For some reason I always forget Lorien's involvement - but as you point out, that was always key to the conflict resolution.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The original impression I got from the show was that the "unexpected door" was simply Sheridan badly damaging the Shadows by destroying their capital city. The rules of engagement between the Shadows and Vorlons seemed like more of a cold war by that point and when the balance was upset the Vorlon felt able to break them and attack the Shadow forces more directly.

                      I think the point that events like this seemed "unexpected" perhaps hints at one of the big strengths of having a strong plan? that is if you have that existing story then its actually easier to subvert it. If you only have a very basic outline of your plot then I think your storytelling will tend towards things developing in a more obvious fashion. If on the other hand you have a much stronger outline of where you might go then getting there in a less expected fashion becomes easier.

                      After the first season one of the strongest impressions I get with B5 is the sense of events spiralling g out of control. Plots like the Narn/Centuari war, trying to expose Clark, Kosh teaching Sheridan and the end of the Shadows/Vorlon war all seem to be setup to be much longer and more predictable plots but end up having much more supprising and dramatic resolutions.
                      Last edited by moreorless; 09-29-2016, 12:38 PM.
                      Who are you?
                      What do you want?
                      What is the average inflight speed of an unladened swallow?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JasonDavis View Post
                        If I recall correctly, Ulkesh was in Z'ha'dum space when Sheridan jumped. It's been a while since I last read Invoking Darkness, but it was quite the gathering with John (and the remains of Kosh), Justin, Morden, Anna, Galen, Ulkesh, Elizar, Wierden, Lorien and whoever else I'm forgetting all coming together to ruin all the various status quos.
                        Wednesday December 18th. Z minus 3 days. After collecting his flyer, Galen arrives at the edge of the Alpha Omega system and is intercepted by a Vorlon vessel. Docking with it he goes aboard and is restrained by Ulkesh, because of the Shadow tech within him. Only then does he tell Galen how to circumvent the Eye and land on Z'ha'dum. Galen is returned to his flyer and Ulkesh's ship moves away.

                        The Passing Of The Techno-mages:Invoking Darkness.

                        I think after Ulkesh gave him the skinny on how to get past the Eye he returned to the station.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Brian G Turner View Post
                          Having just rewatched Season 1, what's really interesting is seeing how the original story was apparently going to develop, before the character of Sinclair had to be replaced by Sheridan.

                          To me, it looks as though the original plan was to have Babylon 5 destroyed, and have the remaining characters flee to Babylon 4 and use that as for their last stand against the shadows.

                          The destruction of B5 is prophesied in "Born to the Purple" - we even see it happen. In "Babylon Squared" this appears to be underlined, perhaps with Garibaldi dying to allow Sinclair to escape to B4. In the same episode, the warnings of Zathras and Sinclair's reflection both appear to drive that point.

                          Possibly this was all envisaged for the end of Season 3, when Sheridan was asked to go to Z'ha Dum.

                          This is suggested because Sinclair's fiancee, Catherine Setai, who appears in a number of Season 1 episodes, is not only a deep space explorer, but also becomes entangled with alien tech. IMO it's clear that Setai is effectively playing the role that Anna Sheridan would later take over.

                          The difference being, having Setai disappear, then re-appear as an agent for the Shadows, would have presented a clear tragic plot arc. Because of the need to bring Sheridan in, we already begin with his wife having disappeared, so elements of that arc remain.

                          This all possibly also explains why Kosh says that Sheridan going to Z'ha Dum has "opened an unexpected door". Simply a reference to the original plan for Sinclair's arc being replaced.

                          If all this is true, then J Michael Straczyski did an amazing job in adjusting the overall plot arc to accommodate Sheridan instead of Sinclair - obviously, Sinclair couldn't go to the past as Valen if he needed to remain and defeat the Shadows. And he did well to effectively insert Sheridan into what had been - until that point - Sinclair's story arc, without actually disrupting it.

                          Anyway, just thinking aloud.
                          Babylon 5's destruction was shown in "Signs and Portents". According to the original arc memo Garibaldi survives if I recall.

                          Delenn's original transformation was to go from male to female.

                          Catherine undergoes a serious telepathic assault that wipes her memory, allowing Delenn to become close to Sinclair.

                          Because the Minbari gene pool is in decline it is the offspring of Delenn and Sinclair that is the saviour of the Minbari race.

                          Most of all, in the original arc memo there's no mention of Sinclair becoming Valen.

                          The myth of Catherine's story arc being given to Anna Sheridan may have it's roots in the original series proposal where it mentions Sinclair is a widow.

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