Contents: Overview - Backplot - Questions - Analysis - Notes - JMS
Galen joins an Earthforce intelligence officer investigating an unknown force that is unleashing Shadow technology on the galaxy. This B5 theatrical movie was underway for filming in 2005, but the financing couldn't be worked out and the production was halted.
Written by J. Michael Straczynski Directed by Steven Beck
PLOT SPOILERS BELOW.
We could almost certainly do a high-quality theatrical feature for about $35-40 million.
The average going price for a feature these days is $55 million.
The only thing I can say is that phase one of the new project is a go, hence the furious writing schedule at this end of things, which is why I've been silent until deciding to kick up some dust on the political discusion. I've been writing my little brains out.
I know the immediate result of this will be speculation, but if we could keep that to a low roar on the nets to avoid precluding anything, that would be a wonderfulness. But trust me: I wouldn't go on about something in this way if it wasn't a significant development. Just trust me on this one for a bit and hold fire until further word.
(Longtime followers of the various news groups know that an eep means that something significant has happened, but that I can't talk about it...the eep is just a way of saying, on the QT, that something has, indeed, happened and it's real, not just speculation or maybe-gonna-happens. So on that basis, you may consider this an eep.)
Writing on B5:TMoS is complete, and as soon as the powers that be sign off on everything, it can be turned in and we can start moving. At that point, I can say more about this.
Figure another couple of weeks.
Your point could not possibly be more incorrect.
Movies are green-lit because the studios think they can make money from it. Period. If it's a quality movie, great, but that's secondary to: will we get a profit out of it? Frankly, it's *harder* to ge a quality movie made these days than ever. It took "Secondhand Lions" ten years to get made, as just one recent example.
But commercial movies that can get cranked out and pull in the money, regardless of the actual quality of the product, are simplest of all to put forth. Freddy vs. Jason, Alien vs. Predator, the last couple of Batman movies...80% of what gets pumped out to movie theaters is awful. What we remember are the stellar 20%, but those are the ones that were hardest to get going, that took years and blood and shouting to get made...but for which everyone subsequently takes full credit.
Your assumption, and the truth, dine at totally separate tables.
The only things I can say right now about B5:TMoS is that now that all the correct agreements have been signed, sealed and delivered, the draft has gone in, met with great enthusiasm all around, notes have been received, and the next draft is in process and has to be delievered within two weeks so that certain other steps can be set into motion.
I still can't tell you what it *is* because that has to come from the proper people through the proper channels at the proper time...but I can tell you a few cases of what it *isn't*...it isn't a novel, or a short story, a comic, an animated series, a radio drama or a stage play. Beyond that, deponent sayeth not.
Except to say that it's pretty cool.
So every day is a case of "Are we there yet?" and being told yes...almost.
I swear, it's the kind of thing that could lead a monk to murder.
Thing of it is...there's a LOT happening right now in the B5 universe, on a multitude of fronts, some of it in response to TMoS, some of it coming up completely on its own. All I can say at this moment is that if you've been waiting for new stuff in the B5 universe, you may be getting your wish in spades very soon.
Soon, I promise, all will be made clear. I don't like being Mr. Mysterioso on this, but if I say too much, the-powers-that-be will use my head to make a 2.35:1 sized hole in the wall.
A little over a year ago, I was approached by a company that wanted to make a Babylon 5 movie. They optioned the rights, and commissioned a script. (It's worth mentioning that I, not WB, own the rights to a B5 movie. When we were negotiating the original B5 deal -- by whose terms I will never see a dime in profit -- the one thing they did let me have were the movie rights, figuring they'd never be worth anything in the long run.)
Anyway...on December 27th of 2003, the script for "The Memory of Shadows" was turned in, and the process began of trying to make the deal work with all the various forces involved. It is, to say the least, a very difficult process on any movie where the studio does not directly take the financial reins. In terms of B5, Warner's position was esssentially, "We only do big-budget movies with big names, so you're on your own." If there were big-name movie actors in the film, they'd get behind it; without that, things become very problematic, especially as far as the financing was concerned. You much have to put together a consortium of international interests and business plans rivaled in complexity only by the Allied invasion of Normandy Beach.
Nonetheless, every attempt was made by the people involved to get this deal in place. This was not being done by Doug or myself, but rather by the company/individuals who approached us and optioned the rights. At times, it seemed we were inches away from a deal...stages were reserved at Elstree, actors were contacted, a director was in place, the script went through many revisions, a few key staff were hired, again not by me...it was really a year-long roller coaster ride. During that time, the people involved, with every good intention, tried very hard to pull the necessary pieces together on the deal. The option expired in late December 2004, but I renewed it without cost, to give those involved more time to try and make things work.
In the end, however, the deal could be put together, and it did not look as if that was going to change at any point in the foreseeable future. So the option has reverted, and to all intents and purposes, the project has dead ended. Nor do I think this particular incarnation will arise again at any point in the future, though prognostication has always been a tricky art, especially if you have to do it without the benefit of hindsight.
This was not the first time someone's taken a run at a B5 feature film, and it will not be the last. Eventually it will happen, because such things are simply inevitable. If they can do a Brady Bunch movie, you can be sure that sooner or later, somebody's going to do a B5 movie. The only thing I can say without equivocation is that when that day comes, as the rights-holder, I will make darned sure that it's done right, because I'd rather have no B5 movie than one that doesn't live up to what fans and I myself would want to see.
To that end...I can wait.
Anyway, just thought you should know the story.
My own feeling is that, after all that's gone on, best to let it rest for a year or two, then see what happens. Gearing up for sometehing like this takes a lot of time, energy and visceral material, and when something like this happens, it's best to just take a breather for a bit. Besides, there are other fish in need of frying now, and I have to turn my attention to them.