JMS and Coincidences

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Mon Oct 30 06:36:49 EST 1995

Subject: JMS and Coincidences
+  1: Oct 26, 1995: Jim_Mann at
   2: Oct 26, 1995: fordat at (FordaT)
   3: Oct 26, 1995: Morgan <Morgan at>
   4: Oct 26, 1995: bhsmith at (Benjamin Hugh Smith)
   5: Oct 26, 1995: mcriley at (mcriley on BIX)
   6: Oct 27, 1995: epawtows at (Eric Pawtowski)
   7: Oct 27, 1995: gordol at (Jeffrey Kaplan)
   8: Oct 27, 1995: doc at (James J. DiBenedetto)
   9: Oct 27, 1995: Jim_Mann at
  10: Oct 27, 1995: pem4958 at (Petrea Mitchell)
  11: Oct 27, 1995: kerslake at (Mr J P Kerslake)
  12: Oct 27, 1995: wellsj at (WELLS  JAMIE)
  13: Oct 27, 1995: matt at godzilla.EECS.Berkeley.EDU (Matt Austern)
  14: Oct 27, 1995: danwood at (Dan Wood)
  15: Oct 27, 1995: klr at (Kurt Reisler)
  16: Oct 27, 1995: Robert Holland <rholland at>
  17: Oct 28, 1995: Mike Hopkins <mike100000 at>
+ 18: Oct 29, 1995: kingpin at (Michael J. King Sr.)
* 19: Oct 30, 1995: straczynski at


From: Jim_Mann at
Lines: 30

I was just reading over part of the Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5, in
the section on literary references. In this section, it says "The
interior of the machine in "A Voice in the Wilderness" looks like a
visual reference to the 1959 film Forbidden Planet, but according to
JMS it's a coincidence." 

Coincidence? Hell, even some of the camera angles are the same. And
it's very, very close in appearance to the Krell labs, from the narrow
bridge extending over a wide space in the machine to the devices
moving up and down the walls fhof the machine. It's really stretching
it to believe that this is a coincidence.  There are two possible
answers that I can see: 

1. JMS is deliberately misleading fans about this. It is a reference
   but for reasons to be revealed later (perhaps a further
   Forbidden Planet like plot twist) he doesn't want to admit to
   the reference at this point.

2. He really didn't consciously remember the Krell labs when he
   made the reference (though I'm certain that, in that case,
   his unconscious memory of Forbidden Planet influenced the

Any guesses as to which it is?

Jim Mann				jmann at
Transarc Corporation			
The Gulf Tower, 707 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219  (412) 338-4442 
WWW Homepage:


From: kingpin at (Michael J. King Sr.)
Lines: 40

In article <46rkn4$bo4 at> Robert Holland <rholland at> writes:

>Jim_Mann at wrote:
>>Morgan <Morgan at> writes:
>>> How about if you're filming mile long shafts of machinery with a 
>>> small bridge going over, you're rather limited on angles?
>>> (I mean, it was the first thing I thought of, but really, people
>>> can have independent thoughts and come up with the same idea.)
>>But it's more than that. The shot is framed the same way. There are
>>also things going up and down the walls exactly the way they did in
>>Forbidden Planet.      
>>And it's not as if Forbidden Planet is some little known SF movie that
>>JMS is not likely to have seen. It is widely considered one of the
>>very best SF movies ever made.

>I guess you can argue coincidental camera angles, but the idea of a huge,
>powerful, self-defending machine buried deep in a planet, and left behind by a
>long-gone race is a plot device straight from Forbidden Planet. Add the fact
>that visitors will discover the power hidden below, learn its awesome power,
>and come to understand the ancients who created the machine. Seen it before?
>You're gonna see it again.

>We don't have the invisible id monsters, and the women aren't scantily clad. So
>there are a few bones that still have meat.

>This ain't no coincidence, friends.


Here we go again the gospel according to Robert!!! Joe has responded to the 
Forbidden Planet similarity on numerous occasions and IMO quite 
satisfactorally. You have a right to your opinion Robert but you make 
everylittle coincidence seem like a blackbag operation! Why can't what jms 
tells us be the truth? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Just my thoughts and 


From: straczynski at
Lines: 22

     It's real simple.  Ron Thornton showed me three variations on the
Great Machine shot.  Because you're looking at a composite shot, you have
to shoot either sharply angled down, or dead across, and full-figured,
since you have to put them into another piece.  That meant either a
horizontal shot, or a 3/4's vertical shot.

     Two of the shots on the storyboards were horizontal; one showed our
characters way off in the distance on a ribboned path lined by crystals.
It'd be pretty, but it looked like another tunnel shot, and I wanted to
show something that wasn't claustrophobic.  Also, we'd be limited in the
camera move, and our characters would look kinda like peanuts.  Not
terribly dramatic.  The second shot just didn't work for me, I don't
entirely recall the reason now.  The third possibility seemed the most was a high angle shot, it had depth, it would let us start
on our characters and do a camera move/pullback in post production, it
worked on every level.

     My second thought was, "Shit, somebody's going to gig us on the
Forbidden Planet thing."  Nonetheless, it was the right shot, for the
right reasons, and we chose to go with it.


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