J. Michael Straczynski on Babylon 5 Reboot/The CW: "We Ain't Dead Yet"

Earlier today, news hit that Nexstar Media Group had formally closed its deal to acquire 75% of The CW (with Warner Bros. Discovery & Paramount Global each retaining 12.5% ownership stakes). Along with that news also came word that Mark Pedowitz had stepped down as Chairman/CEO of the network after 11-1/2 years in charge, leading many to believe that was the final move in what will be a major programming overhaul of the networks. As we wrote earlier today, that leaves the statuses of a number of series in limbo and left wondering about their futures. One of those projects is J. Michael Straczynski's "from-the-ground-up" Babylon 5 reboot, and now JMS is offering an update to fans who were left wondering. "We ain't dead yet."

J. Michael Straczynski Gives Slight Tease For The Return Of Babylon 5
Image: SYFY Screencap

"There are still a lot of discussions going on behind the scenes, and no decision has yet been made about #B5onCWin23. As we await that decision, fans eager to see a new 'Babylon 5' series should continue to voice their support to [Nexstar Media Group] and [Warner Bros. TV]," JMS added in a tweet updating fans on where things stand. Following that, he had some kind words to share about Pedowitz, adding, "And though Mark Pedowitz is now on a new path into the future after leading the CW for 11 years, I want to thank him for his dedication to and support of Babylon 5 during all of this, right through to the events of today. He's a stand-up guy."

A Brief History of JMS's Babylon 5 Revival Project

JMS first revealed that the pilot had not been picked up but that Pedowitz spoke with him to confirm that the pilot was still in active development back in February of this year. 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 Warner Bros Discovery and Paramount Global (previously ViacomCBS) to Nexstar. As JMS wrote, "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 shared 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."

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.

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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