Ever since the show was cancelled in 1998 after five years and 110 episodes, there has been talk of bringing Babylon 5 back to your television set. The fan favorite has a rabid cult following, and for those of you out there who fall into that category, we have some great news for you. Show creator J. Michael Straczynski is working on a new script for a movie. He hopes to get a draft done in 2015, and would like to get the finished product in front of viewers eyes by 2016.
That’s all well and good and exciting, but it’s not as straightforward as it all sounds. TV Wise reports that the story is not a continuation of the events of Babylon 5, but rather a reboot of the entire concept. So what exactly does that mean? Are we going to see the same, or at least similar characters, but played by new actors? It sounds like that is a possibility, though Straczynski did express interest in reusing original cast members, like Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan, if they’re game. He said, “I’d love to see Bruce as the President of the Earth Alliance.”
Straczynski is also aiming bigger in other ways, as well. When he finishes the script, he holds out hope that Warner Bros., who produced the series, will give him the go ahead, and the budget, for a big time theatrical adaptation. If they don’t, however, they’re not the only game in town. Due to the deal he originally signed back in the 1990s, Straczynski, not WB, owns the rights to Babylon 5. So if they’re not on board, he could produce the film through his Studio JMS, which is involved in projects like the upcoming series Sense8 with Netflix and the Wachowskis. The estimated $80 to $100 million-dollar budget, however, may be a bit steep to swing on his own, so we’ll have to wait to see how that shakes out.
You’d think someone might be interested in co-producing a Babylon 5 movie, but this is not the first time JMS has tried something similar. Since 1996, he’s pitched at least three movies, none of which ever got off the ground. And even the passionate fan base isn’t as much of a selling point as we like to think. Take Firefly for example. After Fox cancelled the show, fans clamored for more, and eventually we got Serenity, a full-length feature film. The movie is great, but despite all the interest, it barely made back its original budget. Fans of the show went to see it, but not many others.
Regardless of how this all goes down, the idea of getting more Babylon 5 in any form—movie, TV, TV movie, maybe a Netflix miniseries (he’s got a working relationship with them, so why the hell not?)—is an exciting prospect.