Babylon 5 Pilot Still in Active Development, Rolled to Fall 2023: JMS
So remember earlier this month when The CW was announcing a number of pilot orders, including the Jensen Ackles-produced "Supernatural" prequel The Winchesters, the Jared Padalecki-produced "Walker" prequel Walker: Independence, and the DC series Gotham Knights? Well, it didn't take long for fans of Babylon 5 to notice that J. Michael Straczynski's "from-the-ground-up" reboot pilot wasn't on that list. Turns out the network passed on the pilot for this cycle- and that's an important point that JMS emphasizes on his Patreon, with The CW President Mark Pedowitz speaking with him to confirm that the pilot was not dead but was being moved into active development for Fall 2023.
JMS began his update by referencing the biggest news surrounding The CW over the past few weeks and how it would play a factor in "how many pilots, and what sort, could be picked up during this transition." That transition? The rumored sale of the network by WarnerMedia and Paramount Global (previously ViacomCBS) to Nexstar. As JMS writes, "pre-existing deals" and prior "commitments" would then play heavily into the decision-making.
After realizing that the Babylon 5 pilot had not been picked up, JMS writes about the outreach that Pedowitz did to explain the pilot's status. "I received a call from Mark Pedowitz, President of The CW. (I should mention that Mark is a great guy and a long-time fan of B5. He worked for Warners when the show was first airing, and always made sure we got him copies of the episodes before they aired because he didn't want to wait to see what happened next.)," JMS revealed. "Calling the pilot 'a damned fine script,' he [Pedowitz] said he was taking the highly unusual step of rolling the project and the pilot script into next year, keeping B5 in active development while the dust settles on the sale of the CW."
So while JMS readily admits that it would "have been wonderful if we'd gotten the green light" already, JMS made it clear that this was a pause in the process and not an end. "Yesterday, Babylon 5 was in active development at the CW and Warner Bros. for fall 2022," JMS wrote, breaking down his update to the basics. "Today, Babylon 5 is in active development at the CW and Warner Bros. for fall 2023. That is the only difference." As he sees it, the extra time "will give B5 fans the opportunity to express their passionate support for the series to the new owners of the CW."
Straczynski's series proposal focuses 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.