JMS on CompuServe (Jan 07, 1998) *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* (1/2)

bbarrett at bbarrett at
Thu Jan 8 01:45:17 EST 1998

 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WARNING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 The following posts may contain SPOILERS for
 upcoming Babylon 5 episodes.

 Continue at your own risk.

 Note that JMS has expressed his public permission 
 that all of his messages may be reproduced freely.

 I give permission for my summaries to be reposted in
 any form, however I reserve all rights to them and
 the right to revoke this permission at any time.
  Archives of this material may be found at:


 [ Summary of subjects in this section: ]
    Sb: #13537-#Claudia
    Sb: #13595-#JMS in NY
    Sb: #13644-Claudia promo
    Sb: #13515-#Kosh (Spoilers to ITF)
    Sb: #13514-#<TG> Zoo Scene
    Sb: #13591-Earth Firsters and Truth
    Sb: #13626-The Joy of Resonance
    Sb: Gathering re-edit
    Sb: #13590-#<<In the Beginning>>
    Sb: #13579-#<<ItB - Zowie!>>

 #: 13537 S2/Bab 5: General
    06-Jan-98  17:29:09
Sb: #13522-Claudia


There is one last thing I've always wanted to ask you.  I can't remember his 
real world name(sin of sins, I know), but when Seridan replaced Sinclair, was 
that planned from the beginning? I mean, did the actor leave the show, for 
some reason?  I was impressed when Sinclair turned up as the ambassador to 
Minbari, then was the one who boarded Babylon 4 to go back into time and 
become Valen.  It's hard to think this WASN'T planned, but I have to ask.  
Y'all did a great job setting up Claudia's character to leave, so that made me 
wonder about the change in captains.

M. Wonch

 #: 13628 S2/Bab 5: General
    06-Jan-98  21:23:08
Sb: #13537-#Claudia

      No, that's something that developed over time.


 #: 13595 S2/Bab 5: General
    06-Jan-98  19:54:10
Sb: JMS in NY

Hi Joe,

I recall a while back that you mentioned somewhere that TNT was going to be 
dragging you to New York this month for some promotional events.

If any of these are going to be public events where you and they would like to 
have fans showing support, I'd very much like to be there.

Is this trip still on, and if so, do you have any info about it?

-- Marty     PPG

 #: 13629 S2/Bab 5: General
    06-Jan-98  21:23:09
Sb: #13595-#JMS in NY

      I'm having to buckle down and finish writing S5 and getting the third 
movie written, so I'm stuck out here.

      It's a curious thought...I just turned in 519, which means with just 
these last 3 scripts, I'm done writing the Babylon 5 series.  (The third movie 
is outside the series in terms of one-hour episodes.)  After ten years, I'm 3 
scripts away from being done with this thing.


 #: 13644 S2/Bab 5: General
    06-Jan-98  21:42:02
Sb: #Claudia promo
Fm: DR. G


When were the Ivanova promos that run at the end of the season 1 shows filmed?  
Before or after the contract difficulties?  If after, does this mean we really 
might see some guest roles for Christian?  If before, do you have to get 
additional permission (?) or pay actors for these promo spots in addition to 
their contract?

Dr. G
Elvis is alive and well in down below!

 #: 13684 S2/Bab 5: General
    07-Jan-98  02:05:06
Sb: #13644-Claudia promo

      Those promos were shot during the end of the fourth season.


 #: 13515 S4/Seas. 1-4 SPOILERS
    06-Jan-98  15:43:13
Sb: #12546-Kosh (Spoilers to ITF)

The Vorlons are gone now, so perhaps you will be a bit more forthcomming about 
a few little loose ends.

1) Is Naranek a title and if so what does it mean?
2) Is Kosh a title and if so what does *it* mean?
3) Why are all Vorlon Kosh?
4) What was the relationship between Kosh 1 and Kosh 2 (they always seem to be 
together, as on B4, in Dukhat's quarters, backing each other up on B5), and if 
they were close, it that why Kosh 2 was such a hardass in the aftermath of 
Kosh 1's death?

Finally, a language question. We have entil'zha, itzil'zha, and z'ha'dum. 
Lot's of zha's. My take on this is that this is an example of Vorlon patois 
and that they mean something like "creator of the future", "the future" and 
"future's doom", respectivly.

Am I close?


 #: 13630 S4/Seas. 1-4 SPOILERS
    06-Jan-98  21:23:09
Sb: #13515-#Kosh (Spoilers to ITF)

      Zha is the usual reference for the future, whose meaning changes 
depending on whether it's a suffix or a prefix, and what it's up against. 
Isil-zha usually means change, changing the future, coming of a new age; 
entil-zha is the one who creates or guides the forces creating the future; and 
z'ha'dum (with the broken zha) is the death of the future, or the dark future.

      And yes, Kosh and Ulkesh were contemporaries, though Ulkesh was the more 
military of the two, very isolationist, while Kosh was the curious one, 
interested in the younger races, and more willing to extend himself (with 
sometimes unfortunate results).  Kosh always worried what Ulkesh would do 
without his moderating presence...and ultimately had to be the one to take him 
down to allow the younger races to step forward.


 #: 13514 S4/Seas. 1-4 SPOILERS
    06-Jan-98  15:43:13
Sb: #13230-<TG> Zoo Scene

>>      Thanks...always hated the Zoo scene myself.

I noticed you recovered your 16 minutes from scenes that never amounted to 
anything, like invoking privacy and the like.

Had Delenn had proper makeup, and the uniforms and PPG's been the same, I 
could not have told this one from an ep of Season Two.

Also, the reworking of Sinclair's narration of the Battle of the Line, with 
Requiem for the Line and the battle transmissions was just gripping, it really 
showcased Michael O'Hare's strengths as an actor.

Christopher Franks' rework of the score was about a million times better than 
Copeland's. I am pretty certain that had you continued with him, you would 
never have gotten a second season, the music is *that* important for this 

I wish you could reedit Grail.


 #: 13632 S4/Seas. 1-4 SPOILERS
    06-Jan-98  21:23:10
Sb: #13514-#<TG> Zoo Scene

"Also, the reworking of Sinclair's narration of the Battle of the Line, with 
Requiem for the Line and the battle transmissions was just gripping, it really 
showcased Michael O'Hare's strengths as an actor."

      Yeah, that was an experiment I wanted to try.  When we did the audio 
spotting (me sitting with the sound folks, Chris, others), I explained what I 
wanted done with that scene, and they kinda got it but were a little dubious 
as to whether or not this could or would work.  When we came to the day of the 
audio mix, it was kind of a I worked with the music and the voices 
to basically fill in the gaps between Sinclair's words.  Then I backed up and 
chose the ones that most related to what he had just said, or was about to 
just say.  It took about half an hour to get that 30 second piece down pat.

      One of the least visible things I do is mess with the music and how the 
music lays out on the track.  I'm often at the front of the mixing room, 
working with the mixers, bringing up one instrument (percussion, for 
instance), bringing down the horns for one piece, up in another.  In "In the 
Beginning," for instance, there was percussion all through the Battle of the 
Line itself...and we had big EFX of guns and explosions going off, and the two 
muddied together.  So I went with the explosions for the first of it, then 
replaced some of the gunfire/explosions with percussion, then ducked down the 
SFX altogether and just let the music take it.  You kind of have to be a 
conductor in these instances.

      (Which is why the astute will notice a slight change in the main title 
music starting with 507.  I was down sick when they had to do the main title 
mix, and couldn't get into it.  When we had to modify some voice stuff for 
507, I went in and pulled out all the music stems and rebalanced stuff to 
bring out the themes more, which kind of got buried a little in places.  All 
the same individual pieces are there, but in different perspectives.


 #: 13591 S4/Seas. 1-4 SPOILERS
    06-Jan-98  19:49:01
Sb: Earth Firsters and Truth


	I was thinking about the first season stuff the other day and how it 
related to what we've learned on the show and something struck me.  The Earth 
Firsters and the Homeguard weren't really all that far from being right.  They 
proclaimed that we needed to get rid of alien influence, and to a certain 
extent, they were right.  We needed to get rid of the Vorlons and Shadows.  
They were just too fanatical about their belief.  They thought we needed to 
get rid of ALL alien influnce and put Earth first.  The funny thing is, that 
by B5 (ie. mostly humans) leading the way, we DID get rid of the alien 
influence that we needed to AND put humans, in conjunction with the Minbari,  
forward as leaders of the Younger races.  They were so close and yet so far 
from having it right.  That's what I called multi-layered storytelling.
	BTW, I also noticed a cute line from Sinclair in Soul Hunter today.  
He says "There's always time."  Pretty funny coming from someone with his 


 #: 13631 S4/Seas. 1-4 SPOILERS
    06-Jan-98  21:23:09
Sb: #13591-Earth Firsters and Truth

      Any organization like that has to proceed from a stance that either has 
the potential to make sense, or can sound reasonable.  So yeah, one can make 
an argument for their position.


 #: 13626 S4/Seas. 1-4 SPOILERS
    06-Jan-98  21:16:12
Sb: #The Joy of Resonance

jms -

Reactions to ItB and the re-editing tG are pending, since I saw them on the 
last day of vacation after a day spent at Kennedy Space Center -- picking up 
the pieces at work and at home crowded out consideration of the thought due 
B5.  Except for a quickie reaction -- revamping Delenn's makeup after tG 
struck me as wise in a way I've not seen mentioned before:  the early Delenn 
makeup seems like a diluted Narn -- the later revision really helps to clarify 
the Minbari as a separate race/civilization.

Watching "Soul Hunter" tonight reminded me of the first joy of reading SF: 
SFlit is not necessarily an absolute predictor of the future, but does prompt 
one to think about basic human questions, because the familiar corrals of [how 
things are supposed to be] are torn down.  The first Soul Hunter we are 
prompted to see as abhorrent, both from the Minbari-determined station 
viewpoint and the viewpoint of his own people.  But the visual connection 
between the Soul Hunters and Lorien forces several questions (now, mind you, 
I'm not claiming you intended some direct genetic connection between Lorien 
and the SH, but the visual similarities necessarily might imply similarities 
worthy of exploration):

Are the Soul Hunters (as a civilization) actually *wrong* in "preserving" 
souls?  The only opinion we have is that of the Minbari. The rebelling 
encapsulated souls were rebelling against the renegade Soul Hunter, not 
necessarily the general soul-preservation ethos as expressed by *orthodox* 
Soul Hunters.  The reports from beyond the soul-rim don't seem to have been 
registered with the local press bureau.  So, is Lorien's "preservation" of 
Sheridan really that different?  The beauty, of course, is that there is 
probably not a single, perfect answer (although, emotionally, there seems to 

The Soul Hunters, in their own way, *do* seem to be asking the "Who Are You" 
question -- they're not interested in collecting souls as a generic category, 
but they're seeking the "limited editions."  They ignore the "What Do You 
Want" question to the souls they capture, but,again, we don't have reports 
back from the soul-front to confirm that the Soul Hunters' version of soul 
preservation is necessarily counter to what the disembodied soul actually 

So -- Soul Hunters/Lorien -- resonance (whether or not it was your intention).

-rje- The best thing we can do is to make wherever we're lost in look as much 
like home as we can. -- Christopher Fry

 #: 13685 S4/Seas. 1-4 SPOILERS
    07-Jan-98  02:05:06
Sb: #13626-The Joy of Resonance

      That's the question I wanted to ask in writing it a Good Thing, 
or is it a Bad Thing, to retain these essences?  So yeah, that was always a 
part of it...and as for the resemblance, that's a valid point also, since when 
I met with the costume and prosthetics divisions, I mentioned that I wanted a 
soul-hunter sort of feel.


 [ Summary: Asks why TNT didn't promote the additional footage in the re-
   edited pilot movie. ]

 #: 13635 S4/Seas. 1-4 SPOILERS
    06-Jan-98  21:23:11
Sb: Gathering re-edit

      I've no idea why they didn't promote that aspect of it.


 #: 13590 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    06-Jan-98  19:49:00
Sb: #13526-<<In the Beginning>>


	<And the thing is..."In the Beginning" cost us a tick under $3 million 
bucks, which is almost nil in terms of budgets for TV movies.  It looks like 
it's a $12 million feature film.>

	I take it TNT is VERY pleased about the bang for the buck you're 
providing them.  I don't think I've ever seen a show get treated as well, 
promotionwise, as B5 has been by TNT.  It get the feeling that they're more 
interested in what B5 will do for them as a "flagship" series than how much it 
makes in direct commercial least for now.  I'm sure they're 
looking for income from commmercials in the near future.


 #: 13634 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    06-Jan-98  21:23:10
Sb: #13590-#<<In the Beginning>>

      We got the ratings, and I can't release them yet, that has to come from 
TNT, but suffice to say they're dancing in the aisles over at TNT.  Again, I 
can't give specifics yet, but they had a very specific rating in mind that 
they felt was the best we would probaby get, which we beat handily, and they 
felt that the pilot, being a rerun, wouldn't do that well...and it ended up 
doing as well as the maximum they'd hoped the prequel would get.

      They're stunned.


 #: 13579 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    06-Jan-98  19:34:14
Sb: #<<ItB - Zowie!>>

Joe, I just had a flash of insight...
Joe, this msg is *long*, and I know you must groan when you see 'em like this, 
but *please* read it. I think you will find it worthwhile, as I do not 
remember seeing quite this take on Kosh before.

I was watching Dust to Dust over again. You may recall in the distant past 
that that ep prompted me to ask if Kosh's entire dialoge G'Kar did not simply 
sum to "Die for us." and you basicall agreed, but did not answer my question 
straight out. You basically said I was accurate vis-a-vis the *Vorlons*. I 
believe the exact words you used were something like "yeah...what have the 
really *done*."

Of course, we know the score now, but something struck me, a lesson from 
history so to speak.

David Brin dedicates the Postman to Benjamin Franklin, a devious genius. He 
postulates that Franklin was *the* motive force behind the Revolution, and the 
birth of the United States. This is interesting as while he is a very great 
American, he tends to play second fiddle to all the guys who got to be 
President. On analysis, however there are things to consider.

1) He was pro English until they summoned him to Parliment ostensibly to speak 
to the most famous American in the world (member of the Royal Society, 
inventor of the stove, discoverer of electricity in lightning, etc.) about the 
problems in the colonies. They used the session to humiliate him publically, 
harraunging him and not allowing him to speak through the seven hour session.

2) After this, Franklin, using his *many* newspapers, started to organize 
things. He was instrumental in the calling of the Secon Continental Congress.

3) Franklin signed all four of the most important documents in American 
History (Declaration, Articles, Constitution, Treaty ending the War), the 
*only* American to do this. He pressed for Jefferson to write the Declaration 
(and just happened to be on the committee), and did the same with Madison.

4) Franklin brokered the deal between North and South in *both* Declaration 
debates, and Constitutional Conventions, even though he founded the first 
anti-slavery society on the Continent.

5) He wore the same suit to the signing of the Treaty of Peace between England 
and America, that he wore before his humiliation in Parliment.

Yet, Franklin seems forever in the background, "he had *always* been there".

Thus, my question.

Did Kosh set the Vorlons *and* the Shadows up?

Was he sick of the conflict and so arranged events, that he was *certain* that 
the outcome would be a final end to it all?

My evidence.

1) He encouraged G'Kar on a course that *expressly* told him to organize *with 
other races*. While there were coalitions in the past against the Shadows, the 
Minbari, arguably the most influnced by the Vorlon were rabidly xenophobic, 
which would tend to indicate that that is how the Vorlon like the lesser 

2) He taught Sheridan "to fight Legends", and as Sheridan observed, he was a 
Legend too.

3) He told Sheridan not to go to Z'ha'dum in *just* the way he needed to, to 
*insure* that he would go, and left a part of himself in Sheridan to tell him 
*exactly* how to find Lorien.

4) He sacrificed himself, when he could have *simply gone home*. The humans 
would have paid the price, but he led by example. He *left* in just the same 
way that the First Ones should have left centuries ago. 

He even said it. "When you've lived as long as I have, you get kind of use to 

Lorien said almost the same thing "Now that it is time I find I don't want to 

I am led with the inescapable conclusion that Kosh (and no matter what he said 
the second one was *never* and will *never be* Kosh) was appaled by the waste, 
and resolved to end this thing once and for all, and fould the perfect means 
in humanity.

Now waddaya say to *that*.


 #: 13633 S5/Seas. 5 SPOILERS
    06-Jan-98  21:23:10
Sb: #13579-#<<ItB - Zowie!>>

      You're right, as far as it goes...I think Kosh came late to the table. I 
don't think he came to B5 with that intent, but it grew in him over time that 
this cycle had to end, and he could be instrumental to that.


 [ Continued in next section -- BB ]

-*** B5JMS SUBSCRIBERS: Replies to messages go to the list maintainer,
-*** <b5jms-owner at>.  If you want to reply elsewhere, adjust
-*** the "To" field.  See for all
-*** other information about this list.

More information about the B5JMS mailing list