I have some news that must be imparted....

 Posted on 5/20/1994 by STRACZYNSKI [Joe] to GENIE

I have some news that must be imparted. I think that the best way
to convey that news is to start at the end of the story, make my
way to the middle, and end at the beginning.

So: the end of the story.

Everything is okay. Nothing major really changes. All is well.

Now the middle of the story.

I've been asked, several times, what happens if something *happens*
to me, or one of the cast members, during the five year arc, since
this is a fully-worked-out novel. Generally, I blow off the question
with humor. But the truth is, obviously, I've taken every possible
step to make sure that no one is disappointed. In my case, I've
made sure the story is available somewhere.

The trouble, of course, is that unlike writing a novel, where the
characters exist only on a sheet of paper, actors and writers are
some discussion on the best of days). They can get sick, they can
get into contract disputes, they can be hit by meteors, they can
decide to buy a house in Cambridge and raise hedgehogs under an
assumed name. There are, in short, *always* unpredictables in any
such endeavor.

Consequently, in drafting the story for Babylon 5, I made sure to
compensate for any possible changes. For lack of a better term,
there is a "trap door" built into the storyline for every character.
Obviously, you don't want to lose anyone, but in *every* case any
such change momentarily shifts the story about ten degrees to one
side for a little bit, and then you're back on track again.

Case in point: Dr. Benjamin Kyle and Lyta Alexander. Here are the
only two humans who have seen or scanned a Vorlon. This is Very
Important to the storyline. Alas, as later events unfolded, things
did not work out, and the characters were dropped...but their story
remained important, in that it was established that they were soon
afterward recalled to Earth under mysterious circumstances (as noted
in "War Prayer"), which actually *helps* the storyline in many ways.

This is not meant to sound callous. As a writer, and as a producer,
it's my job to tell the story, to be responsible, and to make sure
every possible contingency is covered. To do anything less would be
simply irresponsible.

Now to the beginning of the story.

Over the last few weeks, we've been re-activating our cast, making
the deals for the coming season. One aspect of this has been a
series of conversations with Michael O'Hare. Having produced one
full season, and having learned a lot, and having fine-tuned the
"saga" along the way, it was our goal to expand the show, bring in
some new characters, and take the show in some new directions, which
will prove quite interesting, I think. (One sidelight to all this:
now that we've established the series, we'll be able to spend a bit
more time on personal stories, to let our audience learn more about
the characters, particularly the humans, who kinda got short shrift
this season.)

There is also the question, from an actor's point of view, about
other opportunities, any possible concern about typecasting, the
limitations of a continuing role (and the role of the commander
does have some definite "walls," giving more freedom in many ways
to other characters). Now is the point where one needs to take
a breath and assess one's future, because the deeper we get into
the story, the more problematic it is to change things (though,
again, it's do-able, as noted above).

As a result of these discussions, it has been agreed that we will
have a separation, in the role of the commander. Let me emphasize
this very clearly, so there is no chance of miscommunication: this
is a mutual, amicable, and friendly separation. This isn't a Tasha
Yar situation. Moreover, we will be handling this in such a way
that, down the road, Sinclair could potentially return to the story.

The character of Sinclair will achieve an important destiny, and the
mystery of the Battle of the Line will be explained, both in the
first episode of the new season. His story will still track. And
the series will still track precisely as planned. I take pains to
mention this because both Michael and I want it clear that we both
believe in the show, and want this in no way to interfere with the
series. He has asked me to convey for him his encouragement, his
best wishes, and to emphasize that this is, again, an amicable and
friendly separation.

He has said that he is happy to continue to do the conventions, to
promote the show, because he believes in it, and because he is an
important part of this season's success. We can think of no
finer ambassador for Babylon 5 at conventions than Michael O'Hare.
He is a dynamite speaker, he cares about the fans of the show, and
his compassion shows. We think he's a nifty guy.

On our part, we wish Michael only the very best. We know that
he is very much in demand, and look forward to seeing him in other
projects over the next year. This will also allow us to pursue some
new directions avenues for the show that will help to expedite the
overall story. Sinclair disappearing for an indeterminate period
after the events of "Chrysalis" will allow us to tighten the screws
of the story, and heighten the tension of things going on in the

If I can speak personally for a moment...those of you reading
this on-line know that I've always talked straight with you. If
I thought this in *any* way would interfere with the story, you'd
hear about it from me loud and clear. When problems have arisen in
the past, I've always spoken about them quite bluntly here (much
to the chagrin of some people). This is okay. We're all still
very much friends. I speak frequently to Michael, and consider
him a friend, just as he considers me a friend. This was a hard
decision, but we both knew that it was the right decision, for
very different reasons. We both kinda came to the same place
at the same time from different directions. We've got to do
what's right for the show, and for each other, and in many ways,
this does just that.

So both we on the show, and Michael are served by this mutual and
amicable separation. We will go our separate ways for now, with
the possibility of meeting Sinclair again down the road a piece,
as Gandalf disappeared for a time into Mordor, only to return when
needed most. (We will also be keeping the character of Sinclair
alive in the comic, and some of the planned novels, to keep that
option available to us.)

Once again, let me emphasize that the story continues on the path
that has been set for it, everything you learn this season sill
obtains, the show remains solid, with all of the other cast members
coming back for a new season, and that the saga of Babylon 5 will
continue to reveal itself exactly as planned. And I hope you will
continue to stay with us for that journey.

Joe Straczynski
Creator/Executive Producer