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SYFY WIRE J. Michael Straczynski

The CW's 'Babylon 5' reboot won't move forward in 2022, but Straczysnki assures fans there's still hope

It didn't work out in 2022, but 2023 could be Babylon 5's year.

By Matthew Jackson
J. Michael Straczynski GETTY

Earlier this month, The CW announced several pilot scripts had been put into production as possible future series for the network, including Supernatural prequel The Winchesters and DC Comics-based series Gotham Knights. Notably missing from that list was Babylon 5, the updated version of the sci-fi classic that was put into development last year under the leadership of original B5 creator J. Michael Straczynski

Most of the time, if your pilot script doesn't get picked up and put into production, your series is dead in the water and has to exist as nothing more than an unrealized idea, but in a recent post on his Patreon page, Straczynski set out to assure fans that is not the case here. Writing earlier this month, shortly after The CW announced its pilot orders, Straczynski said that even before the pilots were announced, he received a call from network president Mark Pedowitz about the status of Babylon 5

"Calling the pilot 'a damned fine script,' he 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 said. 

According to Straczynski, the impending sale of The CW had a role to play in which projects the network chose to move forward with this year, given "pre-existing deals and commitments" during the transition. That unusual in-between status, and Pedowitz's own love for Babylon 5 (Straczynski emphasized that he's "a long-time fan" of the show), meant that the series got a reprieve from being tossed on the dead pilots pile, and was basically just put in stasis for a year. Here's how Straczynski broke it down:

"Yesterday, Babylon 5 was in active development at the CW and Warner Bros. for fall 2022.

"Today, Babylon 5 is in active development at the CW and Warner Bros. for fall 2023.

"That is the only difference."

Announced back in September of last year, the new Babylon 5 was described as a "from the ground up" reimagining of the original series, which debuted in 1993 and went on to become one of the most important sci-fi series of its era. We still know very little about what the reimagining actually means, as Straczynski has kept plot details close to the vest throughout the process, but now we know that there's a still a chance we'll get to see it happen eventually. We just have to hope that the 2023 pilot season is a little less chaotic than the 2022 one.