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Old 05-09-08, 02:13 PM   #1
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Babylon 5 - The original arc finally revealed (Spoilers)

The fifteenth and final book of JMS's Babylon 5 scripts has been released. And, as a very special bonus, the final book (you had to buy all fourteen previous volumes to get it) contains an outline of the entire five year saga, as it existed between "The Gathering" and the first season. With Sinclair in place for all five years.

It has long been speculated just how events would have unfolded if Commander Sinclair/Michael O'Hare had not left the series after the first season. And most of that speculation has been wrong.

You see, there was one plot element that everyone had assumed was always in place since the very beginning that actually wansn't. (But Very cAreful readers shouLd bE able to take a hiNt. WhAt StraNge Thing could it be? SomethIng uNexpeCted, a LAst minute change, or an Ingenious tRrapdoor built in plain sight?)

And there was one major bit of information that NOBODY knew about going into the five-year arc that was eventually mooted.

Just as an example of how differently things would have shaken out, the final episode of the fifth season of Babylon 5 would have ended with
Spoiler:
the Minbari attacking and destroying the Babylon 5 station as Sinclair, Delenn, and their child escaped on a shuttle. (As seen in the prophecy in "Signs and Portents".) The Shadow War would have been left unresolved, and the "flipside" of "Babylon Squared" would not have been shown. The end.


No shit.

If you've read the spoiler text, you're probably feeling a bit astonished and confused. Maybe even a little frightened and betrayed.

But... there's a catch.

It's quite interesting to go back and look at the events of the first season (particularly "Signs and Portents" and "Babylon Squared") and it's really obvious that, at that point in the production, the plot was leading down the path outlined in the book. Particularly "Babylon Squared." ... Once you've seen the whole picture that was in place at the time it was produced, "Babylon Squared" will look very different.

(But wait... but didn't I say that was left unresolved at the end of the series in the spoiler text?)

(Heh heh heh)

In the book (I recently received mine, and I have all fifteen volumes lined up on a very special shelf in one of my bookcases), JMS says that he's always maintained that the Babylon 5 saga was essentially unchanged, but much of it depends on how one chooses to define "essentially."

The themes are still there. So are the major plot points. Some events unfold the same way they did in the series we saw. Others take a different path. The ending to the larger saga is still sort of the same...

What was to become of Catherine Sakai?
What was this "Third Age of Man" business really about?
Why did Delenn really undergo the change in "Chrysalis?"
What was the older Sinclair trying to warn his past self about in "Babylon Squared?"

All are answered.

Unfortunately, it doesn't reveal how Sinclair got the scar, or what the context of Garibaldi's "last stand" flashfoward in "Babylon Squared" was, but that one shouldn't be too difficult to figure out...

But I'm not going to say anymore.

heh heh heh

Spoiler:
Fortunately for you cheap bastards who didn't buy the books, this guy is willing to spill the whole thing.
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Old 05-09-08, 02:18 PM   #2
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Weak. Give up the answers!

It's been about 3 years since I watched the series, so even what you did post (first spoiler) is a little foggy for me. Perhaps more importantly, does he state that these changes were due to the cast switch between S1 and S2?
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Old 05-12-08, 11:50 AM   #3
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The thing is, this was written before the show went into production, so none of first season events were laid out yet. "Babylon Squared" was, I believe, made after they knew Sinclair was being, so already the plan had changed by the time that episode was written.

That "Sinclair" outline is an interesting curiosity, but I suspect that JMS' long term plans had changed by the time the first season went into production. He's always says he never works from an outline so I suspect that this outline, which was written for the studio execs, was never intended to be an absolute blueprint for the rest of the show.
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