Transcript of JMS’ Announcement of a B5 Movie

Jan M Schroeder has just finished a transcript from the JMS announcement. She has encouraged sharing, so I bring it here as well :

Updated 2014-08-10 due to a glitch.

“Whew! Okay, I’ve finally transcribed the relevant portions from my audio recording:

Quote:

JMS recaps what’s coming up and then:

So we’ve been having a really, really good year at Studio JMS. And where that comes in handy – where it’s kind of important involves this (B5 logo comes on screen). So… Fact: When I made the Babylon 5 deal with Warner Bros. it was just short of indentured servitude. Financially, I’ll never seen a dime out of Babylon 5 ever. I have no problems with that; I knew what I was signing when I go into it, but I mention it to piss them off every once in a while. One thing that I was able to withhold was the film rights. I still own the movie rights to Babylon 5. I’ve been pushing Warner’s for the last…ever since the early cretaceous period…to “Let’s do a Babylon 5 movie – a proper big budget feature film.” And they’ve always dragged their feet [because] that’s what Warner Bros. does. They knew that they had the upper hand because I couldn’t take it to any other studio because these days all the studios want all the rights. So if I brought it to say, Sony or Fox, they’d want the TV rights which Warner Bros. controls. Warner Bros. will never give those rights up so we were always handcuffed by that.

Turns out, however, there’s one studio in Los Angeles…Distributors, by the way, don’t care about the TV rights. Distributors just [care] about the movie, they don’t care about the TV part. There’s one studio in town that doesn’t care if it doesn’t have the TV rights…that wants to see this movie made and will do it with or without Warner Bros. (Studio JMS logo comes on screen).
Here’s the plan: We’re going to have, through Studio JMS, at least two, maybe three TV series on the air next year. We’re going to have at least one or two movies going ahead. And we’ll use that to parlay serious investment in the studio. I’m not talking Kickstarter, I’m talking about one hundred million dollars, two hundred million dollars; we already have people who are lined up and interested in doing that.

So in 2015 I will write a Babylon 5 screenplay. I’ll be giving Warner Bros. the opportunity – if they want to step up, “Help yourself”. If they don’t, 2016: We make it. I’m not going to wait around for more of our cast members to die. So that’s the long term plan and those are the current updates on everything that’s going on right now.

Question from a fan: Asked if JMS might crowd-fund for a million of the investment so that fans can be part of it.

JMS: I would rather not. Here’s the reason why, though. I come from the ranks of fandom – I’m as rank as any of you. To me, much as I understand that Kickstarter and crowd-sourcing are a way for those outside to get involved with the process, show their appreciation for the process, I am resistant to that lure because it feels to me like taking advantage of the fans and I have a hard time with that on a moral and ethical basis. I’d rather have an investor come up and say “Here’s a check for a hundred million dollars” – which I would gladly take, by the way; if anyone in the audience happens to have one of those lying around, let me know – than to come to the fans and try to get it. Science fiction fans, and horror fans, to a degree, are the most exploited folks out there. “Line up, buy the merchandise, watch the show.” And I just see this money suck happening. So the answer is no.

Question from a fan: Are you considering a reboot to bring in new viewers or are you thinking of a continuation with the cast and crew from the original series.

JMS: It would have to be a reboot because it’s now been twenty-plus years since we started that show and some of the age ranges wouldn’t always work with some of the characters. So we’d have to move a few people around. But what I want to do is use the original cast one way or the other and move a few things around. I’d love to see Bruce as President of the Earth Alliance; that would be the perfect role for him.

I love playing around with the cast anyway. The one story that I wanted to do for the original B5 and they wouldn’t let me do it was, when Londo was injured and had this dream sequence, I wanted to have different actors play different roles. So Jerry Doyle would play Londo. Claudia Christian would play Delenn and Delenn (Mira) would play Ivanova. Peter Jurasik would play Jerry Doyle’s role. Andreas Katsulas would be the Commander of the Station and Bruce would be G’Kar. They said, “People would be way too confused.” JMS: “They won’t be confused, trust me! Listen, they have the intelligence for this.” It was the only story that they said “No, no, no, no and by the way, no.” The chance to [ ] play around with the cast and have some fun with it could be a good thing.
Any errors are mine. Feel free to share.

Jan “

JMS announces a Babylon 5 movie at SDCC2014

This is the text from Jan M Schroeder regarding her Saturday activities at this year’s San Diego Comicon, brought here with permission. Thanks Jan.

I have my own comments on what could have lead up to this point, but that will have to wait. Please enjoy.

J. Michael Straczynski has bee a very busy bee, as you will see in Jan’s report below :

 

Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con (or the day JMS announced that he’ll do a B5 movie).
I got there at a good time, not long after the con opened at 10:00 AM. A little surprisingly, the mezzanine didn’t really seem too much busier than other days so far except for the food area being busier. I’ve got pre-written letters to WB and NBC/Universal out on the table and a fair number of folks took those to mail after adding a little demographic info. Five or six were left with me and I dropped them off to be mailed.
The big panel of the day was JMS’ of course. First I went to his signing and got a few things signed that will most likely be destined as fund-raisers. I verified with JMS that he wouldn’t mind if I handed out buttons and postcards before his panel. A new friend, Lukas, handed out at the door and I wandered the room where people were already staying from the panel before.

JMS started the panel by reviewing his current projects, both ‘out house’ (not Studio JMS) and in-house and continued with news. We got an introduction to the Sense8 actors. JMS described it as a “…complex, amazing tapestry of stories.”
– Ten Grand: JMS is currently negotiating with a major Studio/Network for a series based on this.
– Shadowman feature film: He’s two to three weeks from turning in the latest draft.
– He couldn’t name it, but he’s working on a project for Universal concerning Rod Serling and working with Carol Serling, Rod’s widow on it.
– Again he couldn’t say much but he showed a title card for a show called “Two Streets” that he’s just made a deal with Universal for that he’ll be working with “Walking Dead’s” Gail Anne Hurd.
– “Titans” is the name of the Feature film/graphic novel project that was just announced yesterday (see movie thread).
So it’s been a really big year for Studio JMS. And due to that, he can now look to doing a feature film for B5. JMS recapped that WB owns everything about B5 except the movie rights and even though he holds the film rights, to take a B5 movie to another studio without holding the TV rights wouldn’t work. There’s one studio in LA that doesn’t care about that – Studio JMS – and in 2015 JMS will write the script. He’ll give WB the opportunity to step up, but if they don’t, Studio JMS will make it in 2016 on their own with a $1-200,000,000.00 budget.

Fan questios:
A fan asked if JMS might crowdfund part of the film so that fans might be involved and JMS said that he resists doing that because it seems to him that SF fans are an exploited group and he doesn’t ever want to do that – he’d rather accept investor money.
Asked about the current situation with streaming Babylon 5, JMS said that it’s all up to Warner Bros. and gave the ‪#‎FreeBabylon5‬ campaign a nice plug, telling of the success in Europe to date and hoping for some movement domestically.

A fan asked if the success of a B5 feature might improve the chances of streaming and even future TV projects and JMS said that it would probably have a significant effect, that a good way to get someone’s (WB) attention is to rattle their cage.

Asked if the film would be a reboot or a continuation:
“It would have to be a reboot because it’s been twenty-plus years since we started that show and some of the age ranges wouldn’t work with some of these characters so we’d need to move a few people around. But what I want to do is use the original cast one way or another but we’d have to move some things around. I’d love to see Bruce as the PPresident of the Earth Alliance; it would be the perfect role for him.”

JMS went on to tell about a story he wanted to do that he wasn’t allowed to in the original show where when Londo was injured, he wanted to do a dream sequence where the actors played different characters but the studio thought the audience would get confused.
A fan asked what’s being made not that would equal B5 for being transformative and JMS replied that TV is having a golden age right now with lots of amazing things. being made.

He concluded with his regular homily for the fans to never surrender their dreams, that with persistance and talent and luck, can overcome your circumstances and follow your passionss and succeed.

Jan
(posting in various places- feel free to share)

 

Overview of Babylon 5 (B5) podcasts.

Starting with the Babylon 5 podcasts known to me now, here is the list :

The Babylon Podcast  :
– 280 episodes
– warning : Massive spoilers in their episode discussion
– Very comprehensive with episode discussions, interviews, discussing books and comics

The Babble On Project  :
– currently running
– essentially spoiler free sections and spoiler sections
– episode discussion, a few interviews.
– sometimes poor audio quality with shouting into the microphones.

Downbelow : A Babylon 5 Introcast  :
– started 2014, currently at episode 30, at the end of season 1
– intended spoiler free, they have succeeded in doing that
– each B5 episode has a discussion episode, some episode commentaries

Braving Babylon 5  :
– started 2014, currently at episode 9
– generally spoiler free, first time viewer of B5
– single host talking about one episode per podcast episode

The Babylon Project Podcast  :
– started 2014, currently at episode 4
– generally spoiler free section followed by a spoiler section
– single episode discussion

The Audio Guide to Babylon 5  :
– started 2014, currently at episode 5
– starting every episode with a generally spoiler free section then a spoiler section present from the beginning
– Single episode discussion

White Star 5  :
– started 2014, currently at episode 4
– spoilers inevitable due to the nature of the discussions
– Discussions of themes, characters etc – no episode discussions

Jumpgate : The Babylon 5 ReWatch Podcast
– Started late 2013 or early 2014, currently at episode 14
– spoilers inevitable due to the re-watch quality
– single episode discussions

SQPN : Secrets of Babylon 5  :
– ran in 2011 for 17 episodes, possibly pod-faded
– generally spoiler free, first time viewer
– two hosts discussing 2 episodes per podcast episode

Wow ! 9 B5 podcasts that I know about, and 6 of them started less than a year ago.
This really looks like a renaissance of the interest for Babylon 5.
That was the quick overview, some more details for some of the podcasts will follow.

 

Podcasts, Podcasts, Podcasts

If you search the net and iTunes – and many other podcast aggregators you can find thousands upon thousands of podcasts in all kinds of categories.

 

I have mainly focused on Science fiction and radio related podcasts, and I am going to tell a bit about the scifi podcasts I have collected. It is so easy to collect more than you have time to listen to, so I have over 1000 un-listened podcasts for later use.

I started my podcast listening when I had had an accident and broke the arm inside the shoulder, and since I was interested in Babylon 5 that is where I started the search, and, lo and behold, there was one : The Babylon Podcast They already had about 40 episodes out, so I got started with catching up. They also had a live recording, so one night (my time) I listened in – and they opened up for a brief talk, so on my first night of listening a podcast recording I could jump in and participate for a minute or two. Just for the fun of it – the episode I was on was number – wait for it – 42. The Babylon Podcast has run its course, and covered all things B5, series, spinoffs, comics, books. More detail on that in a later post. Beware The Babylon Podcast has lots of spoilers.

The Babylon Podcast led me to “Slice of Scifi”, a more general podcast mostly covering TV and films, always with an interview. I enjoyed that one a lot.

From the same group, and with the author MIchael Stackpole (among others, known from the Star Wars X-Wing series) there was “Dragonpage Cover to Cover”, all about books and authors, so I was fairly well covered.

Come 2014 – Babylon 5 podcasts seems to have had a renaissance, last I checked I had 5 (or 6?) more B5 podcasts in my podcast directory. I will give an overview in the next post, because they all have different qualities and different levels of spoilers for possible new B5 viewers.

 

Watching now : Farscape and The Prisoner

A long time ago I saw some single episodes of Farscape.
I had a bit of trouble getting into the “muppet” style.
This year could be different :
At Fedcon in Germany some of the guests were Ben Browder and Claudia Black.
Their panel was a hoot, and, apart from Stargate, they talked quite a bit about Farscape, and how they enjoyed it.
At Phoenix Comic Con, two weeks later, just before the big Babylon 5 Reunion Panel – we had Gigi Edgley and David Franklin – also quite an enjoyable panel. Yes – all (well, mostly) about Farscape.
So, I decided to get started watching Farscape, in the correct order. I can appreciate the characters quite a bit better now, and I have finished the first season.
Very enjoyable season, when it gets going, a bit of single episodes, but still with some good vharacter moments and development.
Now, before I continue with Farscape, I decided to take a look at the old BBC series “The Prisoner”. I have heard a lot of good about it, and, even if I have not seen it, I know a few references in other shows.

Farscape Season 1 : 8/10
The Prisoner : remains to be seen 😉

Fringe re-watch

Since the 5th and final season of Fringe starts airing soon, I have been following the re-watch podcasts by The Fringe Podcast‘s Summer re-watch, re- watched all 4 current seasons.

I was pleased to see that a lot of the apparent “throw-away” lines and plots actually are paying off, sometimes after 3 – 4 years.

This is the kind of story I like. It rewards patience and has some wonderful characters and character development.

I particularly like John Noble’s portrayal of Walter Bishop. He never fails to deliver perfectly, this old scientist with a heavy conscience.

Anna Torv gets to show her range in playing several versions of herself, and does it convincingly.

Given the episode 4.19 glimpse into the future of the story I am very excited to see what the 5th season will bring, as I suspect it will complete its mythology.

Photo a Week #5 Fan model at Fedcon

At a large convention like Fedcon you are likely to find a lot of people having built models (sometimes full size) of science fiction icons.

R2D2

R2D2 rolling around among participants of Fedcon

It is quite amazing how much attention to detail there is. The guy with the remote control told me that he built the whole thing – except for the dome that was machine made. Well done !

The other thing found rolling around was a Dalek from Doctor Who :

Hugo Awards Novellette : “It takes Two” by Nicola Griffith

A very well chosen title for a cautionary tale. Nicely ambiguous. Are we talking about Richard and Cody, or about Cody and Susana.

Going deep into the question of how reliable our memories are, and how we could be influenced to do things we would not otherwise do.

While the idea could be said to be lifted from the “Red Pill/Blue Pill” choice in “The Matrix”, this story has a quite different take on the concepts of memory and reality.

8/10

Hugo Awards Novellette : “Eros, Phillia, Agape” by Rachel Swirsky

Interesting take on the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence evolving into consciousness. In this case involving a robot, or should I say android.

I found the story a bit longer than I would prefer for this relatively simple plot, on the other hand I found the writing itself interesting and somewhat captivating.

Also the relationship between robots/androids takes an interesting turn when the robot is set free to evolve. Maybe a good example why most robot stories abide Asimov’s rules.

8/10

Hugo Awards 2010 Fan Art

Finally I decided to become a “supporting member” of Worldcon2010 (Aussiecon).

This means that I have been downloading the “Hugo Voter Package” with the majority of the material nominated for the Hugo Awards. When unpacked this amounts to a whopping 700MB, including 5-6 each of Novels, Novellettes, Novellas and Short Stories, as well as a fair bit of Fan and pro magazines, fan and pro artworks.

Last year I started out with reading the novels ( the short stories had already been listened to as podcasts ) and I think that was somewhat of a mistake, since I never got to anything shorter than the novels (apart from the short stories) before the time to vote had come.

This year the plan is to go the opposite way, so I started looking at the:

Fan Artist category in the package :

Brad W. Foster,
David Howell,
Steve Stiles and
Taral Wayne

All were nominated for graphics art in different styles, except David Howell who designed the base for the 2009 Hugo award.

David Howell will be my choice of Fan Artist for the Hugo Awards 2010. I like the design a lot and I think he deserves to be recognized for the work he did.

Will I be disappointed if someone else wins ? Not at all, this just reflects my preference.