Babylon 5 – one of the best sci-fi series of all time – is getting a reboot on The CW. Variety reports that J Michael Straczynski, the original creator of the TV series, is writing and producing the new iteration.
Details are light on their feet right now, and Staczynski says he’s “hip deep” on the pilot script at present. In a Twitter thread, he talks about how this is an opportunity for him to redo the original show but as an older, wiser storyteller and producer. “If I were creating Babylon 5 today, for the first time, knowing what I now know as a writer, what would it look like?” he explains. “How would it use all the storytelling tools and technological resources available in 2021 that were not on hand then?”
He makes it clear this is “a reboot from the ground up rather than a continuation”, and that they won’t be we “retelling the same story in the same way”. The original ’90s show ran for five, pre-planned seasons, as a “novel for television”. Back then, that structure was incredibly forward-thinking, now it’s relatively common, leaving a lot of room for further experiementation.
An obvious Star Trek riff, Babylon 5 followed the crew of the titular space station as they went about a period of increased diplomatic relations between species. That may not sound all that exciting, but the characters, led by Michael O’Hare’s Jeffrey Sinclair, Bruce Boxleitner’s John Sheridan, and Claudia Christian’s Susan Ivanova, truly made it what it was.
So we will not be retelling the same story in the same way because of what Heraclitus said about the river. There would be no fun and no surprises. Better to go the way of Westworld or Battlestar Galactica where you take the original elements that are evergreens and —
— J. Michael Straczynski (@straczynski) September 27, 2021
Having five years to dig into their lives and examine the human condition through the lens of the future creates an affecting narrative that’s aged remarkably well. Now, Staczynski gets to do that for another generation, taking the lessons learned from his time on Netflix TV series Sense8 and other projects.