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    From: STRACZYNSKI [Joe]
 Subject: There's a fair amount of the backstory...
      To: GENIE  
    Date: 4/26/1992 10:12:00 AM  

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There's a fair amount of the backstory behind B5 that will make it into
the pilot, but not near as much as later. The problem with ANY pilot for ANY
television show is that you're going to have breadth, but not depth. After
you subtract the commercials, you have well under two hours in which to: 1)
Establish 9 major, recurring characters; 2) Establish four minor characters;
3) Establish the history of the Earth/Minbari war; 4) Establish the
relationships between the various ambassadors, 5) Establish exactly what B5 is
and how it works, 6) Establish the physical operations of a station like this
who don't know from SF (gravities, atmospheres, technology and the like); 7)
Establish the main plot for this particular movie; 9) Set aside some amount of
time for action as well as the exposition needed to establish 1-8; 10) Set up
the series to follow.

That's an *awful* lot to establish in about 100 or so minutes.
Especially when you're dealing with a story as potentially complex as
Babylon 5.

It also has to be done in a fairly accessible fashion, so that non-SF
fans can Get It, and then slowly be led into the more esoteric stuff in the

Which is why I've always tried to maintain here that you should hold
diminished expectations for the movie, and build up from there. It ain't
gonna have ALL this stuff in it (being the context and content discussed here
over the last several months) simply because there isn't time to do all that
AND establish our characters, situations, etc.

What the movie is designed to do is to build a platform or foundation
upon which we then build the series. So I'm in the position of a real estate
developer who's been promising you this bright, gleaming, architecturally
gorgeous art deco building, and I call you to tell you that Phase One has been
completed, and you hurry down to the site to see what is, in essence, a great
big hole in the ground. Where's the art deco? Where's the gleaming steel and
glass? Where's the elevators and murals and...and....

They will come. But you've *got* to start with a solid foundation first.
And often it ain't pretty. But if it isn't there, your building is gonna fall
over in the first good wind.

And if that prolonged reply doesn't metaphor all of us right into a coma,
I don't know what will.


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