For the last six years, I've been asked repeatedly -- in email and at
conventions -- "Are you ever going to make the original B5 series writers'
bible available?" My general reaction was to simply say...maybe someday.
After considerable reflection, and as a Solstice present to B5 viewers...we're
finally going to make it available.
TWO such *its*, to be precise.
First: The original Babylon 5 Series Treatment
This is the 23 page document, written in September 1988, that was used to sell
the series for the five years it took to find a buyer. It has different
characters than were ever seen in the show, such as Dr. Chakri Mendak (a role
that later became Dr. Stephen Franklin) and more background on Vice-Commander
Laurel Chang... Sinclair's background is also quite different from what we
eventually ended up with (including the fact that he was widowed, a piece I
pulled away from his character for the series and held for someone like
Sheridan)....the Vorlons were warlike, squabbling aliens....
This was the first attempt to put B5 down on paper, in a process that would
change and evolve over the next 5 years. Ideas that were never used,
characters who would never be seen again, the first stirrings of the Minbari
War story (including a never used alternate explanation for why they
surrendered), Delenn was a male character... Kosh had a mate who came with him
to B5...on and on and on.
Second: The original Season One Babylon 5 Writer's Bible
This massive tome weighs in at over 60 pages, with comprehensive backgrounds on
all the characters as well as guidelines for writing SF for TV in ways that
would be different than all of our predecessors. It lays out the first year of
the arc and warns potential writers away from areas we plan to explore in later
years, has additional backgrounds on regular characters never actually used in
the series (such as a strange fellow named Mr. Jones who would have been
alternately a bane and ally to Garibaldi), stories that would eventually be
filmed, other stories that would never be used, information on the the history
and technology of the B5 universe, Psi Corps, Earthforce, the various
governments, and other areas...this is the Big One, the Grail of the B5
fictional world. The table of contents alone covers 2 pages.
This bible was ONLY given to prospective writers, who were in turn asked to
keep the material totally confidential. The treatment was ONLY given to
network/studio. heads and others in a position to buy the series.
In addition, BOTH of these documents will be peppered with the original
illustrations by Peter Ledger used to sell and visualize the series in its
earliest stage, including the original keyhole logo, many of them reproduced in
full color, others b&w. Some of these images have shown up in various places,
but others will be seen here by the world at large for the first time.
(Note: the page counts given do NOT include the pages of artwork, which expand
the length further.)
I debated long and hard about whether or not I would ever make these available,
but finally decided to give in to the many requests for the release of this
This material will shortly be made available at www.thestation.com and via
phone orders. I don't know how long we'll make them available, but I suspect
it may not be very long.
In reading through the documents, it's like taking a trip back through time to
what was, to the very beginnings of the series, what would be, what might've
been, what never was...what got abandoned on the side of the road, what was
kept. At times the material is coy, informative, deliberately misleading in a
couple of places where I wanted to avoid leaks, rude and sometimes it actually
makes a rough kind of sense.
They're going to cost a bit more than the scripts, because at 60+ pages in the
case of the bible, and with the color illustrations, they're more expensive to
produce, and we're only doing a limited number of these.
Expect the full info to go up on thestation.com in a few days.
B5 Official Fan Club at: