- We've finished the producers' cuts of the two TNT
Movies, and have come through without notes. Everyone loves 'em, and
agrees that while Thirdspace is very cool, In the Beginning is the
best thing we've ever done. On every level: acting, writing, the
directing, sets, costumes...everything. This one's got Hugo written
all over it. (Which makes it hard to look at, but there you are.)
Maybe even Ace.
- It's a very moving and emotional movie in a lot of
places, which was the goal. If it doesn't touch you, there ain't much
point to doing it.
- How much did it cost?
If "it" means the series, it's always been under $900 thousand per
episode. If "it" means ItB, the production cost was just a tick under
three million bucks.
- TNT will show the pilot movie. The theory is to do the
prequel first, then the pilot, then the series through one run at
least, then the second original TV movie to freshen the cycle, then
- In the Beginning will air in January, on a Sunday, in
a 4 hour block the other half of which is the original B5 pilot, and
then it will go to daily M-F runs of the first 4 seasons at 6 or 7 p.m.
- TNT is a commercial cable network, so there will be
commercials. As I recall, the running time to which I wrote the
scripts was 94 minutes 10 seconds.
- We got the ratings, and I can't release them yet,
that has to come from TNT, but suffice to say they're dancing in the
aisles over at TNT. Again, I can't give specifics yet, but they had a
very specific rating in mind that they felt was the best we would
probably get, which we beat handily, and they felt that the pilot, being
a rerun, wouldn't do that well...and it ended up doing as well as the
maximum they'd hoped the prequel would get.
- Turns out we virtually tripled our regular audience, and
*built* each quarter hour, which means folks were jumping in all
through, and those who came, stayed.
- There were a number of big fans of the show in TNT
programming who kept bugging management to pick up the show, do the
movies...and whose necks were on the line if it didn't work...who are
now dancing in the aisles.
- Is "In the Beginning" a linear story?
Never said it was linear, only that it predates B5.
- No, the movie won't be linear per se, but broken up by
Londo's narration, which will collapse some events together so we can
cover the whole history of the war in about 2 hours.
- Plans are to have Dukhat in the B5 prequel.
- Will Delenn's makeup be the version from the
No, we're using the series makeup, rather than add one more
- It made more sense to put it in line with the series, since
there's 22 of the first season, and only 1 of the pilot.
- You may not find out who built the Great Machine in
the series, but that will be one of the features of one of the planned
TNT movies. And there will be more on the Valen/Sinclair transformation
- ItB contains surprises and turnarounds for many of the
series veteran fans, and it does a great job of laying the foundation
for the first two seasons for the newbies.
It's a most elegant dance...and I'm actually kinda proud of it.
- Will ItB spoil some of season one's
That's an interesting question. When I sat down to write In the
Beginning, my feeling was that I should look at the long term. Would
the hole in Sinclair's mind be the same mystery it was in season one,
or would it be kind of known thereafter? If so, then do you want to
play with the mystery, or set up what actually happened? I figured,
okay, let's go for the latter...let's let the audience know (which will
mostly know by now anyway), and set up the background, with the
characters not knowing the first season. I took basic greek tragedy as
my model, with ItB functioning more or less as a Greek chorus that sets
If you want to play it as a strict mystery, then no, probably
don't go near ItB...but frankly, if I were going to start someone off
on B5, I'd definitely want to start with ItB, which sort of skims in
and out of the overall storyline in a beautiful fashion.
- "I know you probably couldn't have made a movie about the
Earth-Minbari War without giving away the ending, but I was kind of
hoping the details would be left more vague than they were for the
benefit of new viewers."
I came to that part of my decision-making process, and realized
that in 2, 5 or 10 years, the secret ain't gonna be secret anymore...so
why not play into that, and make the audience aware up front, which
adds a different kind of tension, like seeing the bomb under the table
when the characters eating dinner don't know it's there.
- Sheridan and Franklin had already met when Sheridan
arrived on B5.
Yeah, in my notes on Sheridan I had him meeting Sheridan before,
but never did much with it at the time...we never see the first time
Sheridan and Franklin meet in the second season, and when we do they're
hanging out pretty casually, as people who've met each other before
might. Bear in mind, also, that there's about 11 years between the two
incidents, and at best they were casual acquaintances on one mission.
- From coproducer George Johnsen
The Nova Class Dreadnaughts have been around for quite a long time, but
are getting a "sprucing up" for further development. As we discovered in
our own navy, there is a need for several classes of ship of varying
The Omega Class are the next development in that series. The habitat
section was added, as well as more armored sections. There is a further
development of that class under discussion. You can also see some
design elements of the class contained in the Cortez.
The newer ships under development are all of smaller classes, like the
Olympus Class Corvette, the Badger heavy fighter, and the Cotten Class
Deep Penetration Tender. We will see these participate heavily in the
second of the TNT movies.
- How long between the war and Londo's recounting of
It's 35 years from the time in which Londo is speaking, and Anna and
Sheridan weren't married during the war, they were married after.
- Didn't you promise no cute kids or robots?
Hello...is anyone there...? I always said that in relation to SERIES
REGULARS AND RECURS. Every time we have a kid on the show, and we've
had several, somebody throws this at me without once remembering that
this applies to series regulars/recurs, like Wesleys or the bots from
And then somebody gigs me for something I didn't say.
- Spoiler for "War Without End
The Londo scene in question
is the one that takes place moments before Sheridan and Delenn are
brought in, and then allowed to escape. (War Without End.) He can't
exactly see to their execution since they outlive him in story
continuity, now can he?
- The karmic point of no return is the whole of his
[Londo's] life, from ItB's events through the bombing of Narn,
which led to the death of hundreds of thoudands or more.
- Londo's first wife was a dancer, who he was forced to
divorce by his family.
Adira reminds him of her a lot.
- "But that still doesn't explain the "cared for them
all deeply" part in relation to the other three..."
We remember what, and how, we choose to remember.
- "Did you consider putting the scene of the hunter
confronting the Minbari at the battle of the line into the movie?"
(Ed. note: not the Battle of the Line, but the initial attack
on the Grey Council ship, as mentioned in
Yeah, for some time, in fact...but the logistics involved in
staging a full-scale assault, dozens of soul hunters, the fight itself,
would've taken up about 10-15 minutes minimum, which would have had to
come out elsewhere, and I can't find 15 minutes in that movie that's
expendable. One can only do so much in the amout of space, and time,
and money, one has.
- There wasn't time to do it in the movie...it would've
taken about 10-15 minutes to set it up and pay it off properly, and I
couldn't find 15 expendable minutes in ItB. There's a brief window
after the body's death where the soul hunters can still move in, so
there was time...we showed their ships moving in in Atonement, and to
do so again here would get in the way and really confuse new viewers.
- About Kosh and Ulkesh, the other Vorlon
No, I wouldn't call them friends. They had a certain respect
for one another, but Ulkesh always thought Kosh was soft, and Kosh
always worried that Ulkesh was dangerous. In their own ways, both were
- It wasn't so much a case of Ulkesh turning against the
effort, but finally hitting the end of his patience with the humans,
and his predecessor's decision to let the "natives" get out of control.
- Were Kosh and Ulkesh near the top of the Vorlon power
It's not a hierarchy as you or I would understand it...and the
weird thing is, though I kinda know how it functions, I'll be damned if
I can figure out how to explain it in words.
- Zha is the usual reference for the future, whose meaning
changes depending on whether it's a suffix or a prefix, and what it's up
against. Isil-zha usually means change, changing the future, coming of
a new age; entil-zha is the one who creates or guides the forces
creating the future; and z'ha'dum (with the broken zha) is the death of
the future, or the dark future.
Kosh and Ulkesh were contemporaries, though Ulkesh was
the more military of the two, very isolationist, while Kosh was the
curious one, interested in the younger races, and more willing to
extend himself (with sometimes unfortunate results). Kosh always
worried what Ulkesh would do without his moderating presence...and
ultimately had to be the one to take him down to allow the younger
races to step forward.
- About the sequence leading up to the Battle of the
Yeah, I'm real happy with that sequence, starting with the top
of the act and straight through to the President's speech...I think
it's one of those moments when we committed art.
- "In the "2 years" montage in "In The Beginning", we
see an Earth Alliance ship ram a Minbari cruiser amidships, blowing a
hole through its middle. Does this mean that Sheridan's was not the
only ship that destroyed a Minbari battleship during the war?"
Sheridan was the only one to score a *victory* against a Minbari
war cruiser. Meaning he survived. Ramming one, and dying in the
process, ain't a victory...at best it's a draw.
- "I nearly cried when the President asked the military
to "hold the line" so that a pitiful few hundred could escape. In that
single moment, you feel that even if the Minbari had done it, those few
refugees would have sired a people who, eventually, would have made it.
Just at that moment, you see the echo to the ball of light flying into
the encounter suit a million years hence."
It's a very moving scene, even for me. There's something in
particular about a female president making that request, and giving
those orders, that is especially strong. I don't know why that should
be, but somehow it is. We as a people tend to forget our own strength,
and as Londo says, our stubborn nobility. We only seem to remember it
when we stand on the edge of the abyss, when it's almost too late to do
anything about it.
"I always have felt this show is about him."
Yeah, in many ways, it is.
- Will Sinclair even be mentioned?
Nobody said he wouldn't be mentioned; using the footage we shot from
"And the Sky Full of Stars," he's in the last part of the movie. Bear
in mind that at the time he was a squadron leader assigned to Earth as
part of the defense network there, so didn't have a great deal to do
with the larger parts of the war.
Basically, each character (with the exception of one or two) gets one
or two scenes in the movie (we have a lot of them, remember). To
bring Michael out from New York, at first class airfare, plus
accommodations, salary, for one or two scenes (one of which we already
*had* him for) was impossible under the budget, much as we discussed
it and would've been interested in doing so.
- How do you work out using footage of an actor
from one episode in another episode?
You just call up their agent and work out an arrangement.
- I think if you add up all the footage from other episodes,
it's probably less than about 5 minutes total.
I figure, if we shot it right the first time, why redo it? Also, if we
take the position that this "happened," it should be identical, and a
restaging wouldn't be identical.
- Did Sinclair undergo a "preliminary psi probe" as
assumed by Delenn in the novelization?
I don't have the book in front of me, but if that refers to the one
after his capture, then yes.
- "There was one notable flashback scene [from
"And the Sky Full of Stars"]
that did not make it into the movie, in which Sinclair rushes Delenn and
pulls her hood off. Also we never saw Sinclair surrounded by the Grey
Council and blasted by the staff. Given how "In the Beginning"
progressed I'm not sure how those scenes could have fit in."
This happened shortly after the events shown.
- "That would be the only place they would fit, but then
I wonder why a Grey Council member would blast Sinclair after they
already know he has Valen's soul."
Remember that Sinclair was going for them at that moment, and
the blast didn't hurt him, only knocked him out...they were
deliberately *not* trying to hurt him.
- About the novelization
Peter did a fine job with the book. He added a few bits here
and there, for which he should get the credit, and overall did a very
good job of it.
- I think that most of the inconsistencies you note are
primarily due to the translation from script to print, prior to Peter
seeing any of the actual footage (it's never stated in the script, for
instance, that any of the Grey Council have seen Valen).
While Entil-zha has a vague translation, which is what is stated in
"Dream," we've translated isil-zha ever since Marcus appeared in the
show...Franklin asks while they're in medlab, if you recall, and he
points to the center stone and says it's called isil-zha, meaning the