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  • #31
    Originally posted by alex_t
    Lucky one! You have the bible!
    <irresistible brag> No, I have the bible autographed by JMS. </irresistible brag> Sorry....

    Okay, here's the part that seemed to transfer from Lyta to Talia:

    Not to put too fine a point on it, Lyta is wrapped pretty tightly. And could well unravel if pushed too far in the wrong direction. We will do a little of that, and play with an unexpected expansion of her abilities.
    "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization we're seeing now.


    • #32
      Erm, maybe a silly question but I've always wondered where the heck Takashima disappeared to? The series itself, as far as I've noticed, didn't explain why Ivanova replaced her (not that I'd be saying she shouldn't have or anything, just wondering the lack of explanation of any kind)? And looks like a part of Takashima was carried on to Ivanova, with the "unauthorized" coffee bean growing and such. A quick search on the subject didn't really give an answer, so can some B5 sage enlighten me?


      • #33
        Originally posted by tvih
        Erm, maybe a silly question but I've always wondered where the heck Takashima disappeared to?
        I have a vague memory of JMS noting how 'interesting' it was that most of the folks involved in the Gathering and who might have knowledge of what was inside Kosh's encounter suit had been transferred/called back to Earth. Except Sinclair, of course, who we later learned had been chosen as commander by the Minbari.

        Can't say I can find it right now myself, though. I'll keep an eye out.

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


        • #34
          Originally posted by tvih
          A quick search on the subject didn't really give an answer, so can some B5 sage enlighten me?
          While the coffee bean business was a transplant from Takishima to Ivanova, there was a point when JMS had envisioned both characters being on the show at the same time, much as he thought of adding a Sheridan-like character beginning in season two to serve alongside Sinclair and divide the hero role between them, somewhat like Frodo and Aragorn do in The Lord of the Rings. Ivanova would have been Takishima's junior, in something like the role later played by Lt. Corwin, before being promoted as her replacement.

          (JMS knew that Tamlyn Tomita was seriously pursuing a career in film, and assumed that he wouldn't be able to keep the actress more than a season or two, so he intended her to be the one with the artificial personality implant and the one who shot Garibaldi - or at least arranged the shooting. Ivanova - "a rather dour Russian woman" - would have been waiting in the wings to replace her.)

          When Warner Bros. failed to come to terms with Tomita (as with Pat Tallman) JMS made a virtue of necessity and activated Ivanova sooner and introduced Talia and Franklin (in the case of the doctor because JMS and WB agreed after screening the pilot that a younger doctor would work better.) As Jan noted that meant that all three people who had seen the "real" Kosh were transferred off the station within weeks, adding to the mystery. (Sinclair himself never did see the real Kosh, since it was the assassin, not Sinclair, who greeted him at the airlock.)

          It is true that Takishima's departure was never directly addressed in the on-screen dialogue as Dr. Kyle's (heading Xenobiological Research on Earth and advising the president) and Lyta's (returned to Psi Corps HQ Mars) are. (The closest anyone comes to talking about Takishima's absence is Garibaldi's remark to Ivanova when she's looking for Sinclair, "Oh, that's right. You're new.") I don't think this was deliberate, just a matter of time pressure and where/how to establish her absence for an audience largely made up of people who had never seen the pilot in the first place. JMS may well have written a line or two somewhere that ended up being cut, either at the script stage or in the final edit of an episode.

          He did post a message at some point about Laurel being assigned to a secret mission and his hope that they'd be able to have her return for a story involving what she was up to after she left B5, but that obviously never happened. I suspect he planned to get her mixed up with Earth's efforts to exploit and reverse-engineer Shadow technology, perhaps the creation of the hybrid Shadow ships that Ivanova later encountered, or even the Warlock-classs ships derived from them. Since the original plan was for Ivanova to choose command of B5 instead of command of the destroyer Titans , it is possible that JMS's first idea for what became the short story "Hidden Agendas" involved Capt. Takishima of the EAS Titans rather than Capt. Ivanova.


          Joseph DeMartino
          Sigh Corps
          Pat Tallman Division


          • #35
            I don't know how many watch the Nu Battlestar Galactica but EJO's Adama reminds me alot of Sinclair.
            Battlestar Pacifica:



            • #36
              Originally posted by Kloreep

              Edit: And now that I've got to the end, don't get me started on the common, and mistaken, statement that JMS collapsed a whole season in to 4 and threw things together for Season 5. It was just 4 episodes, people... if the Byron arc is bad, it's simply because it's bad.
              Um, you are wrong on some of this.
              I remember reading in a JMS post, that if he had known he would have had 5 years, then the resolution of the taking back Earth thread, and possibly the minbari civl war, would have happened in S5. If you think about it, the last half of S4 is pretty intense, there are no fluff episodes in there. That is usually not the case. He spaces out the arc episodes with non-arc episodes.
              Compare any of the other season and how they are constructed.

              He also pulled out all the stops to resolve everything, so that if there was no S5, the story was resolved. How many loose strings were dangling at the end of S4? Knowing JMS, he would have kept them going through S4 and into S5.

              EDIT: OK, he did move the Earth Civil War resolution from S5 to S4
              JMSNews is an archive of messages posted by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS)
              Last edited by NotKosh; 03-15-2005, 11:21 AM.
              "I am not a number! I am a free man!"


              • #37
                Here we go
                JMSNews is an archive of messages posted by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS)

                __________________________________________________ __________

                There's been a fair amount of speculation and concern about the fifth
                season, and how the story is laying out to handle the possibilities of
                renewal vs. no renewal. Though the ratings have continued to improve
                despite the shifts and changes in the syndication marketplace -- it's a
                very different market than it was when we first debuted -- nothing is
                certain yet about a fifth season. Some at WB say yes, some say no. My
                job is to pick my way through this minefield and make it all work, and
                assure the story ending where is was meant to end. So how does one do

                Here's the skinny.

                First, you have to understand that writing is a *process*, and that
                process is constantly changing. Ask any writer, and they'll tell you
                that many times they've been working on a short story, or a novel, and
                they have to edit for space. This applies to both fiction and
                nonfiction writers. Sometimes it's done by the writer, sometimes by
                the editor. On my second novel, the editor told me at the halfway mark
                that we'd have to keep the book down to 100,000 words, which was about
                75-100 pages less than I'd been planning on, so the story had to be
                adjusted to fit. As a journalist, I've often walked into the office
                with a story in hand and been told, "Okay, you've got 15 column
                inches," or 25 column inches, or 10 column inches...and you just learn
                to write to fit. Every writer goes through this.

                And in most cases, the average person never knows. Done properly, it
                should be seamless. Look at Stephen King's The Stand, cut by almost
                25% by the editors at first, then later released with all the ancillary
                material replaced. I've read both, and the latter is not appreciably
                better than the former...if you didn't know the material was there, you
                would never have missed it.

                This also happens on a per-episode basis. At LosCon, I showed a
                finished scene from 405, and the daily of the master shot of the same
                scene, which had another minute or so of material cut from the finished
                scene. We cut material all the time; if you added up all the material
                cut from the third season, you'd have enough for almost two episodes.
                And we often slide material from one episode into another; we slid
                Ivanova's scenes in 402 into 403, and another scene from 405 into
                406...we've done that in prior seasons as well. Sometimes you go back
                and you *add* material. Again, it's all part of the process.

                (Interestingly enough, I just bought the new laserdisk of "Young
                Frankenstein," which has about 15 minutes of material cut from the
                movie for time. I watched it the other night, and of those 15 minutes,
                13 were easily expendable...only one scene was fairly interesting, but
                not really necessary.)

                Okay, so how does all this relate to B5?

                My obligation as a storyteller is to get to the end of the story in a
                satisfying way. So after we got the year 4 renewal, and knowing that
                the PTEN business situation had the potential to impact us (when the
                network that supports you is no longer there, so now your entire
                structure is shot out from under've got a problem), I looked
                at the structure for the story, and began planning adjustments so that
                it could go either way without padding anything, and without
                shortchanging the story.

                First thing I did was to flip out the stand-alones, which
                traditionally have taken up the first 6 or so episodes of each season;
                between two years, that's 12 episodes, over half a season right there.
                Then you would usually get a fair number of additional stand-alones
                scattered across the course of the season. So figure another 3-4 per
                season, say 8, that's 20 out of 44. So now you're left with basically
                24 episodes to fill out the main arc of the story.

                Now, that arc is very intensive, and has three primary threads: the
                resolution of the Shadow war, the situation regarding Earth, and a
                series of smaller sub-threads that feed off those main threads. But if
                you charge right from one to the other, it's going to feel rushed,
                you're going to need some breathing room between major movements,
                particularly after the shadow war. Not so much stand-alones as episodes
                that let you begin to rearrange your pieces for the next major
                movement. So now you're back up to about 27.

                Okay, so *now* what do you do? The solution to that came in several
                unassociated pieces.

                First came the word of the two B5 TV movies for TNT, which were
                envisioned as taking place within the arc of our main story. Suddenly
                I had 4 hours into which I could slide some of this material. One
                sub-thread I'd been planning on was a 3-episode arc that would look at
                how the Earth/Minbari War started, and Delenn's situation at the start
                of the war, joining the Council, that sort of thing. Now I was able to
                split that out. So in the series I can, in an episode, get into
                Delenn's role in the war and go into the background of how she got to
                know Dukhat, how she got into the Grey Council, and so on...all the
                stuff you'd need to see prior to the war. Then the two hours covering
                the rest, the progress of the war itself, could be covered in the
                two-hour movie.

                With the *benefit* that we'd have a little more money for the movie
                than we would for two conventional hours, so we could do *more* in the
                way of EFX, production value, and so on, which you're going to need to
                really sell the E/M war. So strangely enough, and as tends to happen,
                this has put us in the position of doing it *better* than if I'd
                dropped it into two standard-budget episodes, as was my original plan.

                Another sub-thread wouldn't have been introduced until late in year 5,
                in part to set up the possibility of a sequel (which, as I've stated
                from the very earliest days of the show, was always in the back of my
                head) and which would stand on its own in any event; a thread designed
                to illustrate the notion that the duration tends to be a lot longer
                than the war. (You'll understand that one later.) That sub-thread
                would've filled about 3-4 episodes.

                Now, again, having the second 2-hour movie lets me slide that piece of
                story into that category and cover nearly all of that ground in doing
                so. The remaining material could (and will, one hopes) be covered in
                the actual sequel itself. (If the sequel never ends up going, the
                material will be sufficiently stand-alone to still work on its own.)

                Then, finally, you take the stand-alones you pulled out earlier (which
                nobody would miss, not knowing what was in them), and the final couple
                of sub-threads (not yet introduced or implied in the main series) and
                slide them into the sequel series, CRUSADE.

                So if we *had* to collapse everything into a fourth year, it would all
                fit perfectly. If word came that there *was* going to be a fifth year,
                you commission some scripts early, drop some of the stand-alones back
                into the slot, and bring up the sub-threads that would otherwise have
                been transferred into the sequel.

                Bottom line're covered either way. You end up where you
                wanted to end up, the main threads get dealt with, secondary or
                tertiary threads have other venues in which they can be dealt
      're solid.

                There's nothing particularly extraordinary or amazing in this...this
                is how all writers work, since there are always going to be varying
                constraints in length or venue. Writing is a process, and that process
                is such that it is infinitely variable while still proceeding where you
                want it to go.

                So that's where I am currently. If I know the fate of the fifth year
                by late February or early March, I can then flip either way and get out
                cleanly. Worst case scenario is that I might have to write alternate
                scenes or alternate endings for scenes in the last few episodes if the
                word comes much later than that, just to give me the flexibility to
                adjust the story in editing, which would definitely take place after we
                wrapped, at which time we have to have word by contract.

                None of this could've been done in three seasons...we had to have a
                minimum of four to give us the flexibility of cutting either way.
                There's no point to reading a book that leaves you hanging for an
                ending, and B5 was meant to have an ending. At this juncture,
                finishing off script 15, I feel very comfortable with the way all this
                is laying out. The flow is there, and I know we'll get where we need
                to. No matter what happens, we're covered. We can handle year 5
                without padding, and handle year 4 without shortchanging the
                storyline. Granted it took only slightly less planning than the
                invasion of Normandy, but it works, and that's the crucial thing.

                Anyway...I've gone on for longer than I'd intended. I hope that this
                will answer some of the questions and concerns raised about the
                situation, and explains how you do some of the planning for this kind
                of thing. Again, this online experiment is about letting people
                understand the process of telling a story like this, and of making a TV
                show in general. As I've noted before, telling a story of this nature
                for television, with all the exigencies and real-life surprises
                involved, is like doing an elaborate step-dance while people are
                throwing live chickens and chainsaws at you...but I knew that would be
                the situation going in, and it was only a matter of whether or not the
                story was worth the grief involved in telling it.

                And it most definitely has been.

                "I am not a number! I am a free man!"


                • #38
                  Originally posted by NotKosh
                  Um, you are wrong on some of this.
                  Actually, we're both right. Yes, as you say and link to, he's stated the resolution of the Earth Civil War would have been moved to the fifth season, ending on a cliffhanger.

                  And as I said, he only moved things up by four episodes to reign the conclusion back in from S5 to S4; if he had known there would have been a fifth season, the S4 finale would have been Intersections in Real-Time, what become the 18th episode of Season 4 rather than the 22nd. See
                  Schlock Mercenary: comic space opera