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.
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.
(posting in various places- feel free to share)
I feel respect for JMS for rejecting the crowd funding route, I agree with his views on the matter – people would feel to give to the project whether they can really afford it or not.
Sci Fi fans are a passionate lot in general (not a bad thing) but sometimes this passion can lead to making not-so-rational decisions regarding money. So if JMS feels he can get money from investors, it’s all the better.
As for the movie, and I have said this, I intend to watch it, no matter what it is, and make an informed and fair judgement only after this occurrence. There are a lot of people rallying against recasting (which may or may not happen – I can’t yet tell), and I do see their point. Many of the characters in Babylon 5 are so brilliantly portrayed by the actors who play them, it is hard to imagine another filling the same role.
However, just because it is difficult for me to imagine, there is still a lot of talent out there in younger generations of actors and they could possibly do a good job too. And as a Babylon 5 fan, I think it is only fair for me to continue my support of it and at least give the new movie a fair chance with no preconceptions, no matter what it is about and whether it will be recast or not.
Also a new movie, could inspire new watchers to go and watch the older Babylon 5 series and movies, which could be a good thing in any case.
Thank you for the blog post – it gives me a bit more room to express myself properly as opposed to twitter. 🙂
I like that about crowd funding, too. It shows JMS as an honest man and I have heard him say that before.
In essence JMS is a fan just like us, only difference is that he is writing, producing and directing *as well*.
Also, he has stated that if he would do a reboot he would *not* tell the same story again. The surprise would be gone, too. I suspect that he will tell another story in the B5 universe, and also that he, if the opportunity arises, will make it a series of movies where each of them can stand alone, but when you combine them a greater story emerges. He has done such things in comics.
He has explicitly stated that G’Kar will *not* be replaced by any other actor. Ambassador Ta’Lon (as he becomes) is a possibility since Marshall Teague could be available. Different character, yet not too different …