The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive


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    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Keffer and Corwin
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/23/1996 3:29:00 PM  

Message 1 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> What's the point in having Corwin and the ex-Keffer as
> characters? basically useless characters that moves the story
> along and dies at the end?

Not at all. Yes, a character dies...after a season of getting
to know him. To say, "Well, you just put in a character to kill him,"
and citing red shirts, is really...well, a red herring and a
distortion. A redshirt, by definition, was usually a security guard
who was introduced in the same episode in which he was killed, we knew
*nothing* about him, he had maybe 2 minutes of screen time, maybe a
word ("look out!", and then he was dead.

By the definition you apply, anyone who dies in a novel is a
redshirt, since the author knew he was going to be killed off. If you
do a novel about the Civil War, and Lincoln dies halfway through, is
that a redshirt? Many of the characters in The Stand don't make it to
the end...are they redshirts?

I hate to break it to you, but *everybody* dies sooner or later.
For the purposes of this show, some die on camera, some die off, some
die during the story, some die afterward.

Nor was Keffer's character useless; through him, we got to see
the Starfury pilots and learn more about them, we got our first close
look at the shadows, we met the Gropos, and the primary incident that
began to unravel the whole thing -- Keffer's gun camera footage -- came

And Corwin's character is still very much alive, and useful in
the story, so that kinda disqualifies *that*.

    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: Keffer and Corwin
      To: CIS  
    Date: 5/24/1996 12:22:00 PM  

Message 2 in thread 

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(blocked) asks:
> I meant is he just another "unimportant" character that's going
> to get killed off in the end?

But see, not every story has to be about the Important People.
We've got that in our nominal "heroes." What tends to get omitted from
SF are the grunts and the blue collar guys, the pilots who have to fly
the missions called on by the Big Guys. To say "are they important"
is, I think, really a question that proceeds from a skewed perspective.
Are *you* important to the overall arc of this nation, the history of
this country? Am I? Probably not; I'll never sign a constitution or
discover radium or walk on the moon, I just write stories for phosphor
dot screens; can there be anything more ephemeral? But the
repercussions of history are written on the faces and the lives of
those who *can't* change it, who have to live with the decisions made
by those above. Showing those people is as valid as anything else.

It ain't just the heroes that make the future, Edwin. It's the
carpenters and the plumbers and the dockworkers we showed in the first
season. Now, you may think they're unimportant. I don't.


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