- One element of technomage society is a group known as
the Circle. It's unclear whether there's just one, but individual
technomages appear to be accountable to the Circle.
- How long has the Thieves' Guild operated on Babylon 5?
Garibaldi clearly learned about it at some point. Was he aware of
it while he was head of security on the station? Has he told Zack
- The jump points formed by various Alliance and Drakh
ships looked different than earlier in the series. Was there an
advance in hyperspace technology in the five years since the founding
of the Alliance?
At least one advance in hyperspace technology (Earth's, anyway) was
in evidence: Sheridan ordered the Excalibur to move off the hyperspace
beacon to slip around the Drakh fleet. Perhaps improved hyperspace
navigation is a benefit of the Minbari or Vorlon components of the
Excalibur's design; Earth-built ships were previously unable
to navigate in hyperspace without using the beacons
("A Distant Star").
Whether the rest of Earth's fleet has been upgraded with improved
navigation systems remains to be seen.
- What was the null-space effect that took the Excalibur
from Daltron 7 to the Drakh fleet? Do the Drakh have the ability to
set up an instantaneous link between two points in space? If so,
that's a capability that's beyond anything the Shadows were seen to
have; Shadow ships traveled in hyperspace regularly.
- The Shadow plague may be nanotechnological rather than
biological in nature. The fact that it's known to be actively
adapting to Earth's biology implies that it possesses at least
rudimentary analytical powers; if it were simply mutating at
random there would be no way to give any kind of estimate of
how long it'd take to affect humans.
Does each individual germ or nanodevice act autonomously or are they
in communication with each other? Perhaps the plague as a whole is
a sentient being of sorts, its component parts exchanging information
as neurons do but on a much larger scale.
- Sheridan appeared to believe that on some world, there
would be a ready-made cure for the plague; he didn't state the
Excalibur's mission in terms of seeking out new technologies that
might allow a cure to be developed by the Alliance. His assumption
only holds true if the Shadows used their plague in the distant
past; in that case some of the older races might have found a way
to combat it. If, on the other hand, the plague was a more recent
development or it was never deployed, the First Ones might not
have had an opportunity to develop a cure specifically aimed at it.
- Since he seemed to have some knowledge of the whereabouts
of the First Ones
("Voices of Authority")
Draal and the Great Machine might be a logical place to begin the
search for a cure to the plague. Exactly how much information he
has is unclear; he might have only known about those First Ones
who were still around when he took up stewardship of the Great Machine.
- As a key member of the Alliance, Earth is no doubt host
to thousands of alien visitors of various races. Will they be wiped
out by the plague as well? Will it adapt to their respective biologies
at the same rate as humans', or will it leave them alone in favor of
eliminating the dominant lifeforms on the planet?
- Sheridan is probably not terribly popular on Earth. He
mentioned people are still wary of him from "the last time
[he] led a fleet to Earth Space." He is also actively
supporting Mars, which may not be very popular on Earth.
And now, many will probably blame him for the plague the
Drakh unleashed on Earth, as it was revenge for the Shadow
War, a war in which Earth took little to no part. It is
likely that many people will die in the plague, even if
a cure is eventually found (Sheridan said some would
die of it sooner than others).
This may help explain the attitude of the academics 100 years
in the future
("The Deconstruction of Falling Stars"),
who seemed annoyed at the mythology surrounding Sheridan.
- How will the quarantine be maintained? There are
undoubtedly some number of people on Earth who'll want to leave
despite the quarantine -- maybe they don't believe the plague really
exists, for example. How will they be prevented from piloting a
ship off the planet?
An Alliance blockade is a likely possibility; it'd be too risky to
allow Earth to patrol its own skies since the people on patrol might
very well be the ones who decide to leave.
If there are in fact alien ships orbiting Earth shooting down anyone
who tries to leave, that probably serves to make Sheridan even less
popular, even among those who believe the plague really exists. No
doubt some on Earth will use the situation to stir up the same
anti-alien sentiment President Clark was able to tap into. If so,
after a cure is found and the quarantine ends, Earth might not be a
very supportive member of the Alliance. Resentment from the time of
the plague may well be the seeds of Earth's later break from the
("The Deconstruction of Falling Stars").
- Just got clarification and verification:
Thirdspace does indeed air July 19th, and another B5 TV movie airs
November 23rd, and one more on January 3rd.
- Why wasn't the movie promoted heavily?
I am in total darkness when it comes to understanding TNT's
philosophy of promotion. They did little for this, I guess because it
was the last of B5 in someone's view, promoted the hell out of the
Houdini flick, which cost about 3 times more than we did...and we ended
up getting exactly the same ratings. With a little real promotion, we
could've done even better.
- It did 2.8, which was a higher number than they were expecting
(they'd sold the ads at 2.7, which means they made money off it), and
equal to the Houdini movie.
- A Call to Arms isn't a Crusade pilot, it's a B5 movie that
somewhat sets the stage for the new show, but is not a part of it.
- How would you characterize the movie?
It's very different than all the rest; I thought that River would be the
better story of the last two, but Call is a better *movie*, oddly
enough. It rips straight through with the action of ItB, but very
- Why no Mira Furlan in this movie?
Basically, I'm just trying to move around the characters because we
have a huge cast, and we can't afford to have every one of them in
every movie. Mira had big parts in two of the movies, so we gave
some other folks a chance (like Josh Cox, who had not been in any of
them, and Tracy). We even did one without Bruce (River) so we could
again spread things around a bit in an attempt to be fair to
the largest number of cast members.
- When does Crusade take place?
Five years after the events of Season 5.
- About the score by Evan Chen
I suppose we could've stayed with the safe choice, with Chris,
or done a nice, safe, droning Voyager style score that you don't even
notice, but we're looking to take chances, and that means some people
will like what you do, some won't. Some won't like it because it's
different. Neil Gaiman told me that a number of fans of any form,
including his own, say they want something new and challenging that
takes chances...but if they don't like the form of that chance, they
blame you for somehow doing it wrong...and they want the next new thing
to be just like the last thing you did.
I can't tell you the number of people who said "why can't you
just do the John Williams style music instead of this?" Because it's
been done, and it's cliche, and by god we're going to push what's
"expected" to try some new things. Otherwise what the hell's the
"Of course, you've been through this before. I seem to recall a lot
of people complaining when Christopher Franke replaced the composer for
the pilot. I don't doubt that a lot of the people screaming loudest
now are the very ones who complained about Franke when he started."
I don't know about the latter, but I can sure confirm the
former. And that's why I sometimes wish the viewer responses were
logged as much as my own have been. When we brought in Chris to
replace Stewart Copeland, you can't *believe* how much email I got from
people saying to trash him, fire him, it's that "euro-trash techno-
crap" most called it. "He uses sounds and banging instead of music,"
people complained (which he did mainly in the first two seasons), "it's
distracting and it's not appropriate, get rid of him."
But we didn't. I told people to give him time to settle into
the show, and on the other hand to let them get used to a different
kind of sound than what they expected. ("I guess you couldn't afford
to hire a real composer like TNG uses," was another popular line.)
Evan ain't Chris, nor should he be, nor should he *have* to be.
He is a brilliantly talented composer. This is his first shot at a
dramatic series, and as he settles in (as Chris settled in), I think
people are going to be as loyal to what he's doing in Crusade as they
were to Chris in B5. He's a classically trained composer, who threw it
all away to come study jazz under some of the best jazz men in
Chicago...washing dishes to support himself when he had been at the top
of his field in China...because he loves music, and loves to
In the course of Crusade, we're going to see some places we've
never seen before...and thanks to Evan, we're going to hear some things
we've never heard before. He's a find, and a genuine, fresh talent,
and I stand behind him 100%.
And the people who say they are fans of Chris Franke's should
think twice before doing to him what so many people did so rudely to
Chris when he first came aboard.
- It kind of goes to show you how thin the layer of trust
goes...you'd think by now, after doing 5 years of B5, people would
think to cut a little slack and give a chance, assume that there's an
intent here, rather than saying suddenly I'm an idiot for not putting
in the kind of music they expected.
What's most interesting, and in some ways most galling, is the
number of posts I've seen in the last day or so from people who watched
CTA again, and said, "On second viewing, the music didn't bother me as
much, and I kind of like it in places." Maybe they should've been a
little less quick on the trigger and the condemnation.
As for some of the comments I've seen, basically saying he
should be killed (literally, someone suggested putting a gun to his
head and pulling the trigger) to some *very* xenophobic comments about
his being asian and that's the problem, with *that kind* of
music...they do not even merit a reply.
- Actually, Chris Franke is sufficiently impressed with
Chen -- who has never scored a TV show before, this is his first shot
and he shows much potential, we're very happy -- that he's going to
release Chen's score to ACtA and later episodes via his own label.
- "Is Franke gone then with the end of B5 and is Chen
the Man behind Crusade's music? Or is Call an interim step music?"
Yes and no. If there are any other B5 TV movies, or features,
we'll almost certainly use Chris. For Crusade, it's Evan.
- "Submitted for your consideration: sometimes the
music and sound effects became confused - was that a weapons
discharge/hit, or a techno-percussion note? Were the repeated
clashing/crunching sounds at the end of the battle mood conveying
music, or the sound of the Drahk hatches opening to spew out the
bio-weapon? I also thought that the music was occasionally mixed too
The first part of that is a common problem in an action show;
most of the really interesting music happens at the bottom, using the
lower frequencies. But the lower frequencies are also where you'll
usually find explosions, clashing, crunching, banging and the like...so
sometimes the two get muddy. You clear out one or the other as much as
you can, but sometimes it overlaps and you get fuzziness in the track.
As for mixing it loudly...yeah, I've generally done that on B5.
I like my music loud.
- I like the music. I like the edginess of it. I wouldn't do
that particular style on a regular basis, because I think it would wear
thin after a while, but for this movie it was right. He's doing more
thematic stuff for the series, but keeping the approach of using a
variety of styles, including Chinese scales and stuff, which makes the
episodes sound nifty and exotic.
So yeah, I like it...but I also like the kind of edgy, growly
stuff Ry Cooder did for LAST MAN STANDING, so go figure.
- I spot the music on everything, from movies to the
episodes. That means sitting with the composer and saying "music in at
1:07:13 (one minute, seven seconds, 13 frames), out at 2:23:18." When
we did the pilot, I wasn't sure how much music it did or didn't need,
never having done this before, so I went drier than I should have.
In the case of CtA, I knew we were going to have some wall-to-
wall music later, so I held back a bit earlier on, otherwise you do way
too much to fit in, and you over-burden the composer. River was also
spare at the top.
- What's "ramming speed?"
If you are approaching a target at speed X, you still have a
chance to peel away at the last moment. If you are approaching a
target at the top speed your engines can provide, such that you cannot
turn away or be deflected, that's speed Y. Speed Y is ramming speed.
- "Seems an odd order. Why not maximum speed or full
speed ahead? Does EF rules provide for ramming of other starships?"
Because it also implies "...and we're going to HIT that ship."
Ramming speed says both. You could say, "Give me maximum speed, set a
course to RAM the ship," or you could say "Ramming speed." Same exact
content, shorter terms. Brevity is our friend. Pedantry is not.
- Will the disease be totally implausible to
people who know about biology?
We have covered all three of the virus concerns in the way we
built this particular virus, thanks to help from the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, which consulted with us on its design. Trust me, it's
solid, and totally thought-through.
- The novelization says Galen was an apprentice
to Elric. Is that official or just the author's invention?
Yes, that's canonical.