Earlier this month, the CW network announced several pilot scripts picked up for production for their upcoming fall 2022 lineup. The lineup was promising for fans of the network’s popular retired series, as CW announced the Supernatural prequel series The Winchesters and an animated Smallville reboot. However, one fan-favorite from the network was noticeably left off. The beloved cult science fiction series, Babylon 5, was not among the pilots picked up for 2022 despite being announced in 2021 to be receiving a reboot on the CW.
Babylon 5 was announced last year to be receiving a reboot. Original creator J. Michael Straczynski was set to be helming the project. However, fans of the space soap opera were heartbroken when the CW didn’t announce the series premiere for the upcoming fall lineup. To ease the minds of fans Straczynski took to his Patreon account to offer a promising outlook for the future of the Babylon 5 reboot. To sum it up, Straczynski is adamant that the reboot will still happen, just a bit later than fans had expected. The showrunner even made mention of the implicit canning that usually follows pilots not being picked up by a network. Saying that while most of the time something like this usually marks the end of the road for a project, he is certain the series reboot will be rolled into 2023’s fall lineup.
To further explain his belief, Straczynski revealed that the CW’s CEO, Mark Pedowitz, further iterated his sentiments, as he alleged the CEO himself vowed Babylon 5 would get its reboot. Straczynski wrote, “I should mention that Mark is a great guy and a long-time fan of B5. He worked for Warners when the show was first airing…Calling the [reboot] pilot ‘a damned fine script,’ he said he was taking the highly unusual step of rolling the project and the pilot script into next year, keeping B5 in active development while the dust settles on the [prospective] sale of the CW.” The show creator went on to further calm the nerves of fans saying the “only difference” would be the year in which the reboot will land on television.
Calling the series a from-the-ground-up reboot, Straczynski will once again write and executive produce the reboot of Babylon 5 via his Studio JMS in connection with Warner Bros. Television. With no casting announcements for the under-wraps reboot, we do know that the series, if picked up, will follow John Sheridan, an Earthforce officer with a mysterious background, who is assigned to Babylon 5, a five-mile-long space station in neutral space. Sheridan was a character from the original show and was played by Bruce Boxleitner. However, the reboot isn’t expected to bring the actor back, and the studio is likely to recast the role. According to the plot, Sheridan’s arrival triggers a “destiny beyond anything he could have imagined” when an exploratory Earth company accidentally triggers a conflict with a civilization a million years ahead of us.
The original Babylon 5 aired as a Sci-Fi drama on the WB. The space soap opera ran for five successful seasons spanning from 1993 to 1998. And while it didn’t have quite the following as the Star Trek franchise may have, it was praised for top-notch writing. The original series followed the military staff and alien diplomats aboard the Babylon 5 space station. The space station was built following the aftermath of inter-species space wars to serve as a neutral ground for galactic diplomacy and trade.
Over the years, Babylon 5 has continued its growth among sci-fi lovers. In 2007, TV Guide named the series one of the top cult shows on television. The drama also boasted plenty of Emmy nominations over its time on the air, winning two Emmys including one for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects. While the news from Straczynski remains promising for B5 fans, the very large elephant in the room may say otherwise. After all, the CW is currently up for sale, and the future of the network remains unclear. However, given the vast cult following of the beloved sci-fi, and the state of affairs in popular television reboots, Babylon 5’s future remains promising.