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Thanks to its space theme, Babylon 5 is often lumped together with nerdy science fiction efforts like Stargate SG-1, Farscape, Buck Rogers and Star Trek. Given the fanbase, some of that is obviously fair, but most of the genre’s biggest advocates would agree Babylon 5 was always at a different level. In many ways, it pioneered the obsession with linear storytelling to come, and now, in honor of all its glorious achievements, it might get its own movie.
Don’t get too excited though, Babylon fans or Babylonians or whatever you call yourselves. Creator and writer J. Michael Straczynski is looking to reboot the brand, not provide a two hour update outlining where all of your favorite characters have gone since the show left the air back in ’98. Besides, even if he wanted to, a lot of the cast members have been lost in the years since, and it would seem almost sacrilegious to do the show without its best character. Sorry, Londo Mollari. You’re gonna have to be content holding down the runner-up spot.
The news came out at Comic-Con thanks to the always thoughtful J Michael Straczynski. Fortunately for those of us who weren’t in attendance, TV Wise was on hand and was able to get the story. Apparently, he’s already started working on the draft, which is a reboot, and is hoping to have it done for 2015. If all goes according to plan, he would like WB to pick up where it left off all those years ago and write a check for the production budget, which the creator is hoping to set between $80 and $100 million.
Now, let’s be realistic. For Warner Bros to hand out a check for that kind of money, they would need an A-list cast and a script they felt could be mass-marketed to a wide group of people. Those conditions were met with Star Trek, but considering J Michael Straczynski owns the rights to the show and would likely want to keep the basic tone of the original material, he may have to fund it through his Studio JMS banner.
Or, perhaps more likely, he would have to accept a greatly reduced budget. It’s entirely possible Warner Bros and company could get enough fans inside the title O’Neill Cylinder to justify a $20 million budget, but anymore than that is a tall order. The average person who goes to the movies wants explosions, sex appeal and something easy to follow, not a morally complicated commentary on religion, authoritarianism and Vorlons.
Still, given how badass Babylon 5 was, we here at Cinema Blend are rooting hard for the money to come together. We’ll keep you updated as the picture becomes clearer.