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SYFY WIRE Babylon 5

Babylon 5 reboot from original creator J. Michael Straczynski in the works at The CW

By Matthew Jackson
Babylon 5

One of the most important and influential sci-fi series of all time is primed for a return. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski is writing a reboot of the classic 1990s space drama for a potential new run on The CW, setting the stage for a new generation of fans to come aboard the title space station and meet the many human and alien beings who walk its corridors.

The planned new series is what THR calls a "from the ground up" re-imagining of the original series, which ran for five seasons from 1993 to 1998 and spawned a still-growing series of spinoffs and tie-in stories. This time around, the series will reportedly begin with the arrival of Earthforce officer John Sheridan (played by Bruce Boxleitner in the original series) on Babylon 5, and the resulting chain reaction of events that will eventually launch an unimaginable conflict with an advanced alien civilization, and lead to a destiny Sheridan never imagined.

Though Sheridan was a key player in nearly the entire run of the original series, he was actually a replacement commander on the station, stepping in for Jeffrey Sinclair after original series star Michael O'Hare backed away from his starring role due to health concerns. This time around, it sounds like Straczynski will start the action with Sheridan, and while that might sound familiar, when combined with other reboot elements it could create an entirely different perspective on the series.

Scripted primarily by Straczynski with contributions from genre luminaries like D.C. Fontana, Harlan Ellison, Peter David, and Neil Gaiman over the course of its run, Babylon 5 was defined by a carefully engineered approach to long-term story arc planning. Though there were plenty of episodic adventures on the station — described as a "port of call" for all manner of alien races in a tense galaxy that always seemed on the brink of conflict — the show was always sowing the seeds of a bigger story that rewarded weekly viewers, and eventually spawned one of the most devoted fandoms in science fiction.

Still remembered today for its ambition and creativity within the budget parameters of '90s genre television, and instantly memorable characters, Babylon 5 ranks among the most important sci-fi shows not just of its era, but of all time. Following the original series run, Straczynski and company continued the story through seven TV movies, a spinoff series titled Crusade, and various novels, comics, and other tie-ins. Now, it seems Babylon 5 will get the opportunity to meet a new generation of fans with an updated story.

It's just a question of when, and if, the proposed new version will go forward at the network.