The hiring of Boxleitner

 Posted on 9/3/1994 by to

For what it's worth, Sheridan is neither a "space cowboy" nor a
"gung ho type." This description has nothing to do with the character,
and I'm not quite sure where you got this. Certainly I never said or
implied it.

Captain John Sheridan is a war hero, of sorts; he squeaked out the
only real victory of the Earth/Minbari War. (Which means the Minbari
don't generally like him a lot.) He did what he did because that's his
job. He's a professional soldier. For the last two years, he's been
commanding the Agamemmnon, a high-visibility Earthforce starship on deep
patrol. As such, he has had to learn to work with a number of different
races and species.

In some ways, his character is somewhat more well-rounded than was
the case with Sinclair, over whom a general sense of doom often seemed to
hang. Sheridan is often very thoughtful and introspective; at other
times, he can be just a bit eccentric; he leads by respecting those who
work under him, and giving them room to grow; like any career officer, he
HATES the bureaucracy with a passion, and this is the one thing that can
drive him nuts; he knows that commanding B5 is a great opportunity, but
he also knows that his presence brings certain complications with it, and
he's very ambivilant about that aspect; he's the son of a diplomatic envoy
who disappeared on his 21st birthday, running off to see (of all things)
the new Dali Lama being installed; he has a very easygoing manner, and a
great sense of humor. He quickly re-forms a friendship with Ivanova, for
whom he has great respect and professional admiration. (For a time she
served under him at Io.)

He is, actually, a fascinating and intriguing character with a lot
of different shadings...none of which have *anything* to do with being a
"space cowboy" or "gung-ho type."

Anyway...point being...when it was announced that there was going to
be a new Lieutenant-Commander, a number of folks went ballistic and said
the show would now be ruined. I said, in essence, look...I created
Takashima; I can create an interesting character to replace her. And I
thunk up Ivanova, who according to the rec.arts.b5 poll is the most
popular character on the show. When it was announced that Sinclair would
be STAYING with the show, after the pilot, a number of folks said this
was bad, he was wooden, he stunk, get him off...and ended up being very
enamored of him. My only reply now about Bruce...give him, and me, a
chance. I genuinely think you will like what you see a *lot*.

In the course of the first season, Ivanova, Garibaldi, G'Kar, Londo,
Delenn, others...they've exploded into strong characters. You need an
equally strong character designed to hold his own, and be memorable, in
that august company. Sheridan was designed knowing we had a much
elevated playing field around the character.

Obviously, clearly, and irrefutably, an actor brings a *lot* to any
role. No question. But it tends to begin with what is created. I've seen
it said here, repeatedly, that none of the characters are uninteresting;
they all have lives, and agendas, that make them fascinating to watch:
Londo, Morden, G'Kar, Delenn, Garibaldi, Ivanova...what those characters
are came out of my head, in terms of who they are, what they say, what they
believe, where they came from and where they're going. Why would I invent
a new character that was any less involving, or interesting, o
multifaceted? Particularly knowing that he's going to be a central

Speaking as someone who's been in fandom a long, long time, I know
there is always a tendency for panic, to assume the apocalypse is upon
us, that something is never going to be the same again. I heard this after
the Enterprise was destroyed in "The Search for Spock." I've heard this
a lot over the years. It's generally over-reaction and worry before anyone
has even seen a frame of film.

Bottom line being...wait and see, then judge. I've tried very hard
not to let you down, and I think so far I haven't done so...I have no
intention of starting now. Bruce is doing an absolutely *brilliant* job
as Captain Sheridan, bringing a thoughtfulness and intensity and
charm and intensity to the part that is a joy to behold. Give him a