Earlier this month, Babylon 5 fans learned that The CW was teaming with original series creator J. Michael Straczynski (or JMS) for a "from-the-ground-up" reboot pilot of the original sci-fi drama. Since that time, they've learned from JMS that he was "hip deep" writing the script for the pilot and beginning to lay out the map of the reboot should it go to series. So with that in mind and with a deep appreciation for the love & passion that the B5 fan community brings, JMS wants everyone to know he's got this covered so please don't send him your storyline or series details pitches. He won't use them and for a ton of legal reasons, can't use them. "Just a gentle note that I've had to start blocking folks posting specific story ideas, suggestions for fictional companies, where the show should start, who should be in it and how the story should be structured. No animus, fair notice was given, just in case anyone asks," JMS reminded folks yesterday in a tweet explaining why some are getting unopened mail returned to them and blocked on social media.
Here's a look at JMS's tweet making sure everyone's on the same page creatively as the wheels turn on the reboot:
JMS clarified some things in a series of subsequent tweets- here's a look at some of the highlights:
What Is/Isn't Acceptable: "Saying 'Actor X would be great for the show' is fine; saying 'Actor X would be great playing the brother of character A who just returned from exploring Mars' isn't."
How Pilot/Series Timeline Rolls: "The usual progression on broadcast network shows is that the script is finalized over the Christmas holidays, the pilot is shot February/March, season pickups come June/July, and the show airs that Fall."
How Your Unread Submissions Get Handled: "My assistant screens all mail, and if any kind of submission comes in, jams it into an envelope at once and literally stamps it in red ink RETURNED TO SENDER UNREAD. DO NOT DO IT AGAIN. And yes, we've had to do this more than once or I wouldn't have had to make a stamp for it."
Do Generic Release Forms Work? "No, because then we get into lawyers and agreements and who really tweeted what. How about…crazy idea…one simply honors someone else's requested boundaries? Why should that be so difficult? Do you have boundary issues with others?"
JMS Has Faith in the B5 Fandom to Respect Boundaries: "For 30+ years the B5 fan community has been very respectful of such matters. I've found them to be a thoughtful bunch. The drive-bys here are mainly coming from folks who haven't been following this account. And I like to encourage our better natures."
JMS Wants You to Know This Started Well Before the Internet: "I've been online since '93 and it was going on back then. Prior to that: letters/convention talk. One recent situation involved a guy who cyberstalked me across multiple platforms for two years, print and electronic, *demanding* I read his outline for how 'Crusade' would have ended."
With Straczynski set to write the script and Warner Bros. TV involved, the new series is set to focus on John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner in the original series), an Earthforce officer with a mysterious background who is assigned to Babylon 5, a five-mile-long space station in neutral space, a port of call for travelers, smugglers, corporate explorers, and alien diplomats at a time of uneasy peace and the constant threat of war. His arrival triggers a destiny beyond anything he could have imagined, as an exploratory Earth company accidentally triggers a conflict with a civilization a million years ahead of us, putting Sheridan and the rest of the B5 crew in the line of fire as the last, best hope for the survival of the human race.