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J. Michael Straczynski: No More Babylon 5 Projects, But Interested in Feature-Film

Babylon 5 creator, J. Michael Straczynski, has written a note on his moderated newsgroup (and his official site) that he is no longer interested in making any more straight-to-DVD movies.  JMS basically feels that the DVD movies do more harm than good, saying that they take away some of what made the original TV series so special.  However, he’s not against the idea of doing more Babylon 5 material, it’s just that he will no longer doing any more low-budget DVDs, TV movies or computer games and that he’d only be interested in a big-budget feature-length movie.  JMS notes that the budget was only $2 million and that they did the best they could with it.

It’s hard to fault him really, I mean $2 million is not nearly enough to do justice to the series.  Heck, the two SG-1 direct-to-DVD movies had considerably larger budgets ($7 million each).

Here’s JMS’s complete note to fans on the subject:

One final note re: recent discussions on TMoS and more Lost Tales.

B5:TLT was commissioned at a $2 million budget to, yet one more time, “test the waters” for B5. We did what we could with that, and that was that. As we did with Rangers, which also suffered from not having a lot of money because of concerns about “is there really a B5 audience?” Which is, of course, a foolish question from a studio that has never really understood what it has in B5.

Of late, there have been more discussions from WB about doing more DVDs, again at a low cost, or a cable thing, again with minimal investment.

So for the last few months, I’ve been giving this whole subject a lot of quiet thought. And I’ve come to a conclusion.

B5 as a five year story stands beautifully on its own. If anything else is to be continued from that story, it should be something that adds to the legacy of B5, rather than subtracts from it.

As well intentioned as Rangers and TLT were, as enticing as it was to return to those familiar waters, in the end I think they did more to subtract from the legacy than add to it. I don’t regret having made them, because I needed to go through that to get to the point where I am now psychologically, but from where I sit now, I wouldn’t make them again.

So I’ve let everyone up here know that I’m not interested in doing any more low-budget DVDs. I’m not interested in doing any low-budget cable things or small computer games. The only thing I would be interested in doing regarding Babylon 5 from this point on is a full- featured, big-budget feature film.

It’s that or nothing.

And if it’s nothing, I’m totally cool with that because the original story stands on its own just fine. I’m not lobbying for it, I’m not asking fans to write in about it (nor should you) because such campaigns never really have much impact…that’s simply the position I’ve taken up here. Lord knows I don’t lack for other things to do these days. I’m busier on more prestige projects with terrific people and great film-makers than at any other time in my career.

At the end of the day, for me, it’s not just a matter of getting more B5. It’s a matter of getting more *good* B5 that respects what came before it and doesn’t have to compromise visually or in terms of
action. The original show deserves better than that, the surviving cast members deserve better than that, and the fans who have supported it over the years definitely deserve better than that. A lot better.

So I’ve drawn that line in the sand, and I’m happy living on whichever side of that line the universe puts me. Just thought you should know, ’cause it’s your show too.


Source: J. Michael Straczynski

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