39 thoughts on “Earhart’s: “War Without End” Spoiler Space”

  1. If you want extra points on top of your homework, read “To Dream In The City Of Sorrows” by Kathryn Drennan alongside both episodes.

    No, really. You can thank me later. Best of the B5 tie-in novels by miles and miles.

  2. I take the Vorlon on Minbar at the beginning of the episode to be a new person we’ve never met before, based on the following: Translator lights up in a different pattern, voice is different (both the English and the Vorlon chimes), and Ulkesh was on B5 in the preceding episode. I’ve seen some people argue (“assume” might be a better word) that it is Ulkesh, though.

    What say you, comment-section?

    1. I always thought that it *was* Ulkesh, which is why I didn’t think that “Walkabout” made sense being slotted before WWE (though we don’t know how much time has passed between “Walkabout” and “War Without End”, so it’s not like it’s impossible that Ulkesh didn’t make it to Minbar in time to see Sinclair before he leaves for B5).

  3. This is huge episode and I haves lot to talk about but my 1st thought will be that lately when I thought about this episode I thought how this was better version of two captains working together than Star Trek generations.
    I really loved seeing Sheridan and Sinclair in the same episode I love that JMS made sure that we the fans will enjoy seeing our Sinclair alone w/out Sheridan for long minutes..

    SINCLAIR IS VALEN WE CAN SAY IT!!!

    1. “Better than Star Trek: Generations.” Yes, I do think we can say that, and not just in the handling of the two commanding officers. 🙂

        1. I realize it’s because you’re having to write outside your native language (which I think is German?).

          But “never forgave them for generations” is a great play on words.

  4. This may be somewhat controversial, but I think Sheridan’s flashforward in WWE2 was one of the most ill-conceived small parts of the show.

    From a production standpoint, it was a horribly bad idea because it would have required a huge amount of footwork to get around in the event any of the four main actors had left the show after WWE2 was aired.

    From a narrative standpoint, the flashforward voided any sense of relief that the viewer should have felt from seeing the protagonists win over the Shadows and, given how the post-war phase of the show was written, made Sheridan look foolish by giving him foreknowledge of the future but not giving him the wisdom to use it appropriately.

    There isn’t much relief to be had from seeing the protagonists win over the Shadows and Vorlons when the reward they’re going to get for it, 17 years later, is nearly being killed by the Centauri/Drakh and almost losing their son in the process. High narrative tension needs decompression to feel a payoff, and having that kind of threat hanging over the protagonists for most of Sheridan’s ‘happily ever after’ means there is no scope for decompression.

    As for making Sheridan look foolish, there’s no way to get around Sheridan being told what he was and then obliviously marching into the trap of letting the Centauri fall to the Drakh and, again, also nearly losing his family, without him looking irredeemably negligent.

    Sheridan only have/be two of: advance knowledge of the Shadow minions, act as he did in season 5, or be a competent leader. It’s not possible for him to be/have all three.

    Finally, the flashforward is unfair to the viewer because it sets up plot threads that are never resolved in the show. The Centauri situation is only resolved in spinoff novels of rather dubious quality and that looks an awful lot more like sleazy marketing than storytelling.

    Maybe I’m over thinking this (it wouldn’t be the first time) but that’s my impression as it stands.

    1. I think you’re right: that will prove a controversial opinion 🙂

      But that’s not a bad thing. Here are a couple of quick responses, more-or-less off the top of my head.

      – First up, a partial positive case for the flash-forward. WWE is mostly about paying off mysteries from S1 (and also about writing Sinclair out elegantly, but anyway). The flash-forward obviously plays its part in that by resolving Londo’s vision of G’Kar and he killing each other. In doing so, it sets up a new mystery, because it establishes a future in which Londo and G’Kar become close friends – which at this point in their relationship does not seem terribly likely.

      Which is, I think, an important role of the flash-forward in general: it gives the viewer a fragment of the future, but one that raises a bunch of new questions that are there to keep the long-time viewer watching to see what the answers are.

      The other thing under this heading is that because it’s a very partial picture of the future, the flash-forward creates false expectations. The thing is, Sheridan & Co. *are* rewarded for their victory over the Shadows.

      Delenn’s “terrible price” turns out to be the shortening of Sheridan’s life to 20-odd years – which is then followed by being taken beyond the rim. It’s a good bit less terrible than it sounds here, and Sheridan himself (as distinct from Delenn) is not at all bothered by it. It’s also made clear in Sleeping in Light that their son is OK in the long run (at least if I’m remembering correctly) and that Centauri Prime is OK too, with Vir as Emperor.

      On the other side, freeing Earth, glorious founding of the Interstellar Alliance, being remembered for a million years as a hero, the happy lives depicted in Sleeping in Light (etc.) WWE makes it seem as if Sheridan won’t be rewarded – the viewer has to watch to have that expectation frustrated.

      Personally, I’m not so invested in characters being rewarded for doing the right thing, and I’d be fine if the dark vision of WWE was the truth – it would more elegantly pay off the point of Comes the Inquisitor. But then one would want to create the opposite expectation in the viewer, that the future will be happy.

      Secondly, how much does it matter that there’s a lot of this that will never be shown onscreen? I don’t have a problem with it. Babylon 5 is heavily indebted to the “future history” strain of midcentury literary SF, and this is part of that: you signal that history goes on, there will be new problems to be dealt with, etc. This is most obvious in The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, and while I have my problems with that episode, I don’t have a problem with this aspect of it.

      Third, does this make Sheridan an idiot in S5? I have to agree with you here to a certain extent. I’d wonder if it might better be described as a problem with S5, though, and one that in part results from the usual: S5 was never meant to exist in its current state.

      At the time when WWE was written and produced, there were only two apparent possibilities on the table. One, the series would end with S4. We know what that would have looked like, with pretty much all of what bothers you about S5 left conveniently unaired, allowing the viewer to imagine any sort of Drakh takeover of Centauri Prime that was needed to match the scenes in WWE.

      Two, much of the events of S4 would have been in S5. The events in S5 to which Sheridan should have responded more astutely would have happened much more quickly. It’s an open question how many of them would have happened at all. The flash-forward in WWE makes it seem like Centauri Prime has only suffered violent destruction comparatively recently, and that may have been the original plan.

      Finally, I’ll add my own problem with the flash-forward scene: JMS’s use of the information that Sheridan gets here to motivate Sheridan’s actions in Z’ha’dum makes very little sense.

      Sheridan says that he went to Z’ha’dum because he was afraid that the dark future resulted from him not going to Z’ha’dum because he was told by Delenn not to go- although it is clear from what Delenn says that she tells him this because he did go in that future.

      I wonder if JMS injected this idea that Sheridan might be somehow changing the future by going so that he would have it available if an actor became unavailable as you suggest might have happened.

      1. With regard to the flashforward setting up future expectations in order to foster continued viewing, that is one of my problems with it. It sets up expectations for answers that are never given in the show. The closest we get to getting answers is in the finale, where all we see is ‘oh, by the way, everything turned out fine.’ In my mind, that’s bait and switch.

        With regard to character rewards, my problem with the setup here is that we’re being told one thing but being shown another. We’re being told that the protagonists won the but we’re being shown that what they really won was the booby prize of fighting the Drakh for the rest of Sheridan’s life. Tension has to wind down after the climax but the show doesn’t do this.

        With regard to the strangeness of Delenn’s plea and how it motivated Sheridan later in the series, I did notice it but didn’t say anything because my rant was already long enough. 🙂

        I agree the way Sheridan responded to her plea makes very little sense as depicted and just comes off as sloppy thinking on Sheridan’s part.

        What I’ve long wondered is did Delenn said what she did in the knowledge that Sheridan would do the exact opposite –thus preserving the timeline by sending Sheridan to his death at Z’ha’dum–or if she was trying to change the timeline to save his life.

  5. As I said a lot to talk about lol
    About the future scenes, I think Voord has a point here that the troubles JMS had w/Season 5 is effecting the rest of the story w/Sheridan future and Centauri prime.
    JMS answered when he was asked about Sheridan thinking about his future jump in Centauri prime, he said Sheridan didn’t really understand what happened when he was there, so he can’t really realize that the events that are happening in season 4&5 around him means the fall of Centauri Prime he witnessed in his time jump in Babylon4.
    Sheridan only thought of Delenn’s last words “do not go to Z’ha’dum” that’s all he thought of and he went there in the episode ” Z’ha’dum”. so in Sheridan thinking he stopped the fall of Centauri prime.. Stupid thinking maybe but he couldn’t know that Delenn thinking was her not wanting to lose him so soon and not really prevent the events. in my thinking I don’t think there was really way to stop it, this is Londo fault.
    Oh yea in this episode we see londo saving the the man that Is already dead Sheridan.

  6. Replying to Voord 99 from the no-spoiler thread re: combining Sheridan and Sinclair into one character in a hypothetical reboot.

    One problem with merging Valen, Sinclair and Sheridan into a merged-Sinclair character is that it would be difficult to do the Lorien subplot (to end the Shadow wars for all time) before merged-Sinclair went back in time to become Valen. If merged-Sinclair knew enough of the truth about the Shadow conflict before he went back in time to became Valen then some explanation would be needed for why he didn’t wake up Lorien a thousand years early and end the Shadow wars then.

    One solution might be to send merged-Sinclair on a time detour to become Valen before meeting Lorien–send him back in time then bring him back to the present–but this is a little awkward and opens up the can of worms of the protagonists potentially having access to casual time travel.

    An other problem is that merging all three characters would make the Space Jesus/messiah!Sheridan problem even worse by making the merged character even more important. Being remembered for a million years is excessive as it is.

    1. I think that’s definitely true if you keep to the same plotline in that much detail. The fact that Sinclair was originally going to be the central character for the whole show is a pretty clear indication that even in S1, the envisaged story for S3-5 was going to be quite different.

      (The Babylon Prime thing, obviously, is very different, but I don’t think we know how much of that was intact by the time JMS wrote S1.)

      But my view would be that if you’re going to make a film, the plot is going to have to be altered radically to make for a satisfying 2 -hours-ish viewing experience. And in any case, I’d hope that JMS is not the same person now that he was in the 1990s and would make a somewhat different version in whatever context he remade it, simply to keep it fresh and interesting.

      It remains for me a flaw in B5 as a story that it has to replace its main character after the first fifth – there’s a reason why stories don’t generally do that, and all other things being equal, it’s better not to. Obviously, there are reasons why all other things were not equal in this particular case. But taken solely by itself and without taking anything else into consideration (e.g. the difference between the two actors or ways in which one might prefer Sheridan to Sinclair as a character), it’s a flaw.

      1. Yeah, for a big-screen movie, all bets would need to be off to construct a plot that would fit into two hours and be simple enough to pass muster with Hollywood and the contemporary movie-going demographic.

        Given industry realities, a movie reboot would need to be an action movie, and that means no Sinclair.

        As far as JMS not being the same person he was in the 1990s, I’m just going to say two things: 1. The Lost Tales and 2. Star Trek didn’t reach its zenith until after Roddenberry was kicked upstairs.

        I’m really not hopeful that a movie reboot would be worth watching.

    2. Another bit of reasoning that could be applied is that Sheridan’s success in Into the Fire depended in part on being able to argue that the “younger races” were now mature enough to chart their own path. I think you could make the argument that the most recent thousand years was crucial to them making that jump. Remember 1000 years before the Minbari were 2 castes in near constant conflict and a third caste that were considered completely subservient to the other two. Humans didn’t even have electricity. I think we can assume the Narn were pretty primitive. I’m not sure about the Centauri but based on their tech relative to both the Minbari and Humans I am guessing we can place them at industrial or early computer age but not much beyond that.

  7. Listening to the episode, I wanted to riff a bit further on Chip’s issues with the alternate timeline. I don’t want to get all Star Trek with it (though you’re welcome to read Christopher L. Bennett’s “Watching the Clock” and come back for a digression on how his concepts of when and how time travel can alter history could justify Lady Ladira’s vision of the future of a parallel timeline in “Signs and Protents” and Garibaldi’s in “B^2”), but I’d just like to explore what the universe looks like in a timeline where Babylon 4 didn’t appear a thousand years ago.

    Apparently, it has less of an effect than you might expect, but we only have three pieces of information: Garibaldi and Ladira’s flash-sideways visions of it, and Ivanova’s distress call. It’s entirely possible than anything we don’t explicitly see is totally different. It seems unlikely that the implication given by most of the episode is true, and the present day is exactly the same except the Shadows attack Babylon 5 a couple months earlier and don’t bother trying to co-opt it or Sheridan when they do.

    Here’s what we know. A thousand years ago, the Minbari are part of an alliance which fights against the Shadows. The war ends, and the Shadows have a substantial stockpile of matériel. Based on what we learn later, it’s entirely possible that the Shadows lost or surrendered intentionally, since an anthill won’t be rebuilt if you don’t stop stomping on it for a while. A thousand years pass, and Earth builds the Babylon Stations. The first four are destroyed while under construction, but the fifth one stays. By 2260, Babylon 5 has associated itself with the Rangers (which we know from Ivanova’s uniform). Ivanova is second-in-command, Garibaldi is security chief. Oddly, Garibaldi has rigged the station for self-destruct, but the Shadows seem to destroy the station in their attack anyway rather than trying to capture it (though it’s possible that the blast we saw only destroyed the Observation Dome and left more of the station intact, and the final explosion was because of Garibaldi’s sabotage).

    What we don’t know: Who commands Babylon 5? Ivanova says “the Captain” is dead, but doesn’t use a name. It’s possible that Sinclair was promoted to Captain, and is killed after Garibaldi sends him away without reaching the last shuttle off. If he’s not the captain, why is Sinclair on the station? He’s dressed in the armor of station security, and not as a Ranger. Indeed was Sinclair ever even assigned to Babylon 5 in this timeline? He only got the job because the Minbari insisted, but the Minbari wouldn’t care about him in this version of reality. Indeed, without Sinclair “opening the door,” there wouldn’t be any human pilots with Minbari souls to convince them to surrender at the Battle of the Line (unless Delenn’s theory about the cause of the Minbari slowly dying off and their souls moving into humans was wrong, and it didn’t really have anything to do with Sinclair’s transformation and would’ve happened anyway).

    That’s the big question; how is there a Babylon 5 at all? If Sinclair isn’t Valen, then there’s no reason for the Minbari not to exterminate humanity as planned. If the Minbari War didn’t happen at all, there’s no need Babylon Project. Whatever other incitement there is has to thread a needle of causing enough people to hate aliens enough to sabotage the Babylon stations three times (or four times, since in this timeline, the Shadows wouldn’t recognize Babylon 4 from history and destroy it), and enough people who are scared of galactic war to build them five times. The simplest solution probably is to say Delenn was wrong about Sinclair causing the soul migration, so things happened pretty much exactly as we saw. Sinclair might even have an actual, generic Minbari soul in addition to Valen’s DNA, which would explain how a relative nobody ended up on B5 (and how Garibaldi ended up there, since he only got the job because Sinclair wanted him) even if he wasn’t the Minbari second coming.

    So that’s an explanation for how the universe ends up more-or-less the same for the younger races (though it depends entirely on a radically different version of Minbari society doing essentially the same things for the same reasons as the Valen-founded government we know, even though everything that happened in the Minbari War depended strongly on Dukhat and the Gray Council being in charge). It’s possible the alternate Shadow war had been far bloodier to that point than the one we saw. Perhaps the Shadows had openly attacked or conquered Earth, and that’s why alternate-Ivanova calls B5 an Earth Alliance station while wearing an Independent B5 uniform. They might not be renegades in this timeline, but exiles or survivors, like the refugee pilots in the RAF during World War II. That idea also fits in with a personal fanon, that a trailer for the abortive Babylon 5 video game was depicting the Shadow attack on the alternate-B5 from this episode. The game’s plot involved a lot of history-altering time-travel shenanigans, so it’s possible the player could’ve end up in the War Without End bad-timeline. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCTyQAB1NPo

    Also, while we’re on the subject of changing history, it occurs to me there’s another reason for Sheridan to think not going to Z’ha’dum led to the destruction of the Centauri; earlier, in the cell, Delenn is very strident with him that there’s absolutely no way he could do things differently and reach a better outcome. She’s clear that when he goes back, he has to act exactly as he did in her version of history, or they risk losing the war entirely. After all that, it makes sense that her warning about Z’ha’dum wouldn’t be seen as her changing her mind in a moment of weakness facing his impending premature death, but an emphatic direction about the key moment of that version of reality. Sheridan ran himself in circles trying to figure out which was which, but based on what he knew at the time, it’s a reasonable interpretation that Delenn was telling him not to go to Z’ha’dum because him not going was critical to defeating the Shadows in that future. Of course, it also means Sheridan thinks he knows better than Delenn and seventeen years of hindsight, but no one ever accused him of being humble.

    1. I always thought that Delenn last words to Sheridan when he was in the future “do not go” wasn’t about changing what happened to Centauri prime but more about changing Sheridan future, preventing Sheridan’s death and him living only 20 more years, I thought Delenn line was more about her selfish wishes not losing him. In my thinking I think Delenn knows that what happened to Centauri can not be changed its their fault and Londo fault, either way they were screwed. Let’s see if Sheridan didn’t go to Z’ha’dum the shadows base wouldn’t be destroyed so they wouldn’t need a new base in Centauri prime BUT they still were allies of the Shadows, they would still be in the risk bc maybe the Shadows would want the Centauri ships to help them in the war and there for her hurt in the war between Chaos and order.

      I think either way there was no way to prevent what happened.

    2. Agree that if Babylon 4 doesn’t go back in time, Minbari society probably doesn’t change too much. While Sinclair is a revered leader and prophet, there are limits to how much one person can change an entire world in ways that the majority are not comfortable with. I’d expect that without Valen the Minbari would still progress along very similar lines, especially with the Vorlons meddling. In particular, they’d still be isolationist, not wanting to interfere with other species. Which means Earth, Centauri, Narn etc don’t progress differently either.

      As to impact on the Shadow war, suppose it would change not past episodes, but the near future?

      Delenn says that without Babylon 4 the Shadows would survive the previous war with a much bigger fleet, or even have won. She doesn’t know (at this time) that as David points out, the Shadows aren’t fighting to win. What happens if the Shadows, having caused sufficient chaos, withdraw with their full fleet?

      I’d suggest seasons 1,2, and almost all of 3 play out the same. The early Shadow attacks are all using the minimum number of ships to get the job done, because they want to gradually stoke the fighting. If they have a bigger fleet and reveal it early on, the other species are much more likely to unite against the common threat. They don’t need more ships.

      The big change comes in “Shadow Dancing”. Assume Sheridan and Delenn still convince the other species to combine their ships into a single force. Which then runs into a Shadow battle fleet that’s four times bigger than the one we actually see. Instead of a costly victory, the proto-Alliance gets crushed and breaks up.

  8. I went and looked up some of the paraphrased synopses of Babylon Prime…no. Just no. No no no. I like things much better the way they played out, with the major exception of the real life reasons for Michael O’Hare leaving the show, which I wouldn’t wish on anyone. B5 as it played out due to the myriad recastings and resulting rewrites (say that five times fast) is better for the changes.

    By the way, I totally punched the air when your guest this week talked about Frank Herbert’s son relentless over-exploiting his father’s work, and again when she momentarily switched “B7” and “B5” (I do that too…life was hard enough before we had to add “BSG78” and “BSG03” to the mix).

    I envy Steven for going through this utterly cold. I’ve mentioned before that I worked at the Fox/indie station in my area in the ’90s, in the promotions department, so in addition to the neat tchotchkes that PTEN/Warners occasionally sent out, I’d get bundles of detailed episode synopses ahead of time, which you’d have to read to write stuff like end-credit voice-overs for the show immediately before B5 (say THAT five times fast)…and so…you name it, Chrysalis, Fall Of Night, Z’Ha’Dum, Endgame / Rising Stars…they were all massively spoiled for me…because it was my job to know what was coming up. Gah. I envy anyone going through this cold with the surprises intact.

    BTW, not sure anyone noticed this little thing hinted at between the lines, but Sinclair is Valen. 😉

  9. In regards to Erica’s comment about the 5 chances of Londo to avoid his fate, and talking about the one of “You must not kill the man who is already dead”. I seem to recall she thought this was referring to Lord Refa. I don’t think so. I’m 99.99% sure this is talking about Mr. Morden. Let me explain:

    It’s previously established in the episode with Sheridan and Morden, that “he’s already dead, he has no rights”. This line is a key plot point for the entire story arc of that episode. So we already have a character dubbed “The man who is already dead.” And what happens when Londo kills Morden? Morden goes insane, and rants about how “Centauri Prime will pay for what you did here today!” If he hadn’t killed the Shadow vessels on Centauri Prime…they still would’ve left. And the Vorlon’s still wouldn’t have destroyed the planet. That entire act by Londo, as awesome as it was, was ultimately pointless. The Shadows were about to all leave for Beyond the Rim anyway, once the results of Sheridan’s actions were resolved, and the Vorlon’s still pulled off from blowing up Centauri Prime, because they were called to the front lines in Sheridan’s battle. So if Londo had basically done nothing. Just waited, the Shadow’s would’ve left, WITHOUT the glaring insult to the Draak of him blowing up hundreds of their masters. There would’ve been no need for revenge on Londo, no Keepers, no enslaved Centauri Prime, and no retaliation by the League against Centauri Prime, because of the actions of the enslaved Centauri to the Draak.

  10. Having listened to the podcast:-

    So, the Babylon Prime thing. I’ve never seen the original, but I’ve read the online paraphrases.

    One point I’m not clear on, though, is whether the plan was still substantially the same at the time when S1 was made, or whether the published outline represents what the outline looked like at the time of The Gathering and earlier. Some rewriting definitely took place between The Gathering and Midnight on the Firing Line, and I don’t think we know how extensive it was.

    Pointless B5 Kremlinology, of course. But it’s a point about which I’m curious. If anyone has solid information about it, I wouldn’t mind hearing it.

    1. The “original arc” in the script book #15 is not the “original” story as written after the shower, but more like a short summary that JMS used to test whether the plan worked as a story. According to the introduction, it was written after The Gathering, around the time the production on the first season was beginning. It’s very vague, only about seven pages long (for comparison, supposedly JMS’s outlines for the novel trilogies were around 50 pages). It has some scenes in staggering detail, such as almost a full page on Kosh’s reveal in the second season finale, which is almost exactly as it appears in the finished product, only without Sinclair. Babylon Prime takes only one page out of that seven, and that includes barely the mentions of the end of the wars (against Shadowmen and the new Earth-Minbari war) and the description of the final scene (not Delenn on Minbar). So the detail on the so-called original story is very light.

      I completely agree that worshipping the “original” version of any story is stupid. Usually changes happen because writer just gets better ideas, not all of them are practicalities forced by circumstances. The “original” plan feels quite a bit more cliched, and would have ended in a cliffhanger after five years. I think that the changes were mostly for the better.

      First of all it was basically a plan for a ten-year show in two parts, which is utter madness in the television world where most shows don’t last even two years. I believe that the first season as produced might be quite close to the plan JMS had at the time, and that slower pace of the arc would have gone on longer. Then the biggest change was to arrange major points from the ten-year story to five years, possibly even after it was already known that O’Hare would be leaving. Or perhaps during the first season it was clear that the show wasn’t big enough hit that it could last ten years and it would be nice to have closure in five years. Then again, JMS was talking about his five-year story already way before The Gathering, so go figure.

      But seeing how the old plan is essentially the same story elements with different tone and emphasis it might be possible to do a reboot in the vein of Battlestar Galactica, that would take the basic concepts and tell the story differently enough that it wouldn’t have to be compared to the original directly. But only if there’s ever another chance to do B5 in series form. Track record with movie-length B5 stories has been varied, to say the least. JMS’s strength is in carrying the big story, and shorter stories that try to stand on their own just aren’t that good, and I’m afraid that the possible movie plan would be the same.

      1. What I’ve wondered is if there was always a bit more flexibility, and the plan for two series wasn’t a plan so much as a “best-case” option if the show really took off.

        (As well as something to entice TV executives. Pure speculation on my part, but it is worth remembering that what was not so much the gold standard for successful televised SF at the time as the *only* standard, TNG, was a sequel. It would not have been insane to build into any proposal an element which suggested that this was a chance to acquire an intellectual property that could continue to be lucrative indefinitely.)

        As you say, the “five-year arc” isn’t something that JMS started talking about late in the day . I wasn’t watching at the time of The Gathering, but I started lurking on rec.arts.sf.babylon5.moderated during S2, and it was clear that no-one had ever been any conception of anything other than a 5-year story. To the extent that when Crusade started to be mooted, it demanded some explanation from JMS (IIRC) to the effect that the story of B5 would still be complete. (That’s IIRC, mind – I haven’t tracked it down on the Lurker’s Guide.)

  11. That should be “no-one had ever been *given*”. Just to keep it clear that JMS had such a conception at some point, but he kept it to himself.

  12. B5 That Was

    I think this is the point at which to talk about the original plan for B5. Obviously things had to be changed over the years as actors left, but I still think we can find something of the original intention. I love the series, but I still wonder how it might have turned out with the initial vision. (it might have been worse, but I still would love to see it.)

    Clearly Sinclair was designed as the primary character for a full five-year arc (or maybe even more). He was the only main human character to survive the pilot aside from Garibaldi. Catherine Sakai and him grew closer, after a long, but distant, relationship, and finally decided to be married.

    The stage was set for his lover to be lost at Z’Ha’Dum. She worked for Interstellar Expeditions, and had already risked her life once in “Mind War”. For Sinclair to lose her, after them being married, would have carried a greater impact than the introduction of Sheridan’s former wife.

    When old Sinclair shows up in Babylon-Squared, I don’t think he’s suffering from a time “anomaly”, I think he’s just old, and that’s the timeline he’s in. This is clearly betrayed by the fact that they give Ambassador Sinclair a scar when he probably shouldn’t have received it yet.

    I think the epic of Sinclair (and possibly Delenn as well) travelling back through time was intended to happen at the end of the series, not during the middle. Because of real life problems, this wasn’t possible, and the fact that JMS even managed to fit this in is amazing, and I love it. But that’s not what was supposed to happen.

    After Catherine was lost, maybe a couple years, Sinclair and Delenn may have grown closer, as happened with Sheridan. They would have gone through the same trials and tribulations, but they were already closer together than Sheridan and Delenn. Imagine Sinclair and Delenn, sleeping soundly, as Catherine showed up in the doorway and said “Hello!” I can see Sinclair here, deciding to go to Z’Ha’Dum, and perhaps leaving a message for Delenn.

    That’s not to mention all the flashbacks in Babylon-Squared about the fighting on B5, and Garibaldi and Sinclair fighting for their lives against what was essentially an incursion after a breach. This could be the Shadows, or it could also be Earth forces. (which they could not imagine at the time.)

    I also regret seeing less of Talia, whose character was just starting to be more developed. After Ironheart, and her relationship with Ivanova, I would have liked to see more, despite the great job done by Lyta Alexander.

    Ultimately I think the vision of the Centauri profit given early in the series about B5 blowing up and only a small shuttle surviving was not a tease, but that’s how JMS thought to end the show. The story about B4 would follow that.

    1. At the time of WWE, JMS claimed that Sinclair was always going to be Valen. (In the Lurker’s Guide for WWE 2 he says that the Sinclair=Valen thing was set up in the first season.)

      That, admittedly, may have been a lie to preserve the illusion of a planned 5-year arc. (He also said that Valen had no children, which was almost certainly a lie told to preserve the mystery in Atonement).

      But if not, Sinclair becoming Valen presumably would have happened at the end of the series, after the Shadow War was done. (I have an idea that JMS said that at some point, but I’m not sure.)

      What’s always fascinated me about that is that it – if it is true – implies a different resolution to the Shadow War – in which the Vorlons are not revealed as just as bad as the Shadows, and the right choice is to reject both. Because that’s clearly not something that Valen should know.

      This is, admittedly, another reason to believe that JMS was probably lying.

  13. I can’t really add anything after ask the. Well done. Maybe a bit of flash fabric?Londo spies Sinclair back on the station, greets him, “Yes I’ve heard from Vir he and you spoke several times on Minbar.” Londo looks at Sinclair’s greying hair and adds, “he does take some looking does he not?”

  14. Regarding the old/dead Kosh’s “bra” on his shoulders, if you look at it knowing what’s inside the encounter suit, they kind of look like wings.

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