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December 10, 2001

Legend of the Rangers

THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS

LEGEND OF THE RANGERS

AN EXCHANGE WITH JMS REGARDING LEGEND OF THE RANGERS

Below is an exchange JMS had with a few members of the B5 newsgroup. I think it provides quite a bit of information on the ships in the new movie.

Q1. What was with the Valen--not only was it ugly, it didn't even look Minbari.

A: As Dulann mentioned in his talk with David in the hall, it was influenced by human military designers. David also made fun of it earlier.

Q2: And where were the White Stars anyway?

A: The 80 or so surviving whitestars were either on station at Minbar or doing larger more important work. This was considered a milk run.

Q3: The Ship - This looks nothing like the Minbari ships that fought on the line. It did not look Minbari.

A: The Liandra is a Ranger ship. The Rangers, if we recall our history from In the Beginning, were not directly involved in Earth related hostilities during the Minbari War. The EM war was under the aegis of the Warrior caste.

It is also, by design, a small, fast (crew of maybe 20) patrol ship designed to go on the edge, it's not meant to go out there and pulverize fleets. It would have been instantly outgunned and destroyed in the EM war's bigger battles.

(One thing I'm curious about is the assumption that we've seen all of the Minbari ships. We've literally seen only a handful. Go to Jane's books on military weapons, planes in particular, and you get all *kinds* of variation...from ospreys to f16s to cargo jets to hovercraft...why should there be less variation in a more advanced society like the Minbari?)

Q4: The Valen - A flying brick that someone apparently forgot to add weapons.

A: Yes. That was the intent. That's why David made fun of it on the balcony. Nobody likes it, it was a compromise between Humans and Minbari (which Dulann also mentions), more politically motivated than structurally sound. We won't be seeing its kind again.

Q5: Trained and experienced officers were in VERY short supply.

A: Exactly, and after the shadow war, a lot of higher ranking/experienced rangers were dead, leading to getting promoted earlier.

Also, the Liandra isn't like the Enterprise, it's more like a PT boat, and there's a huge difference between the captain of a PT boat and a captain of the John F. Kennedy, though both are technically captains on their vessels.

Q6: The Enfali is in a firefight with some raider fighters. Since when have raiders ever been able to do serious damage to a Minbari vessel, and why are no Nials around?

A: Even a lion can be brought down by a pack of smaller predators. The Enfalli was alone and the pursuit was a long one, and they just kept taking hit after hit.

Q7: Since when do raider fighters have aft guns?

A: Raider fighter craft come in as many variations as human fighter craft. The error is in thinking monolithically.

Q8: or why we only saw Nials and Whitestars at Minbar, and possibly at B5.

A: Bear in mind that there were only ever about a hundred, maybe a hundred and fifty whitestars built during the Shadow War. A LOT of those got wiped out during said war, so now you've got maybe 80 or so. You conserve your best ships for big jobs, you don't have them doing this kind of grunt work.

Q9: Tannier? The same Tannier from Learning Curve? I'd have double checked the actors name but every airing of TLaDiS had scrunched credits

A: Meant to be the same character, but it's not the same actor.

Q10: I think hyperspace looked better in Lightwave. Also, the new jumppoints seem to persist much longer than usual, before collapsing.

A: Hyperspace is now *much* more complex than it was using lightwave, with more levels. It was always meant to look pretty hellish, but we could never quite pull it off with lightwave, it always looked 2d. This is more what I originally had in mind.

Q11: In Dulann's vision (when he was in the hallway of the Liandra, checking systems before they took off), he saw Minister Kafka, the right side of his face already beaten up. This hadn't happened yet.

A: Recheck your tape...that shot ain't there.

Q12: Liandra is 20 years old in 2264, so it was built in 2244, before the Earth-Minbari war. It's a small vessel and yet it *has* jump engines. Seems odd, since Sheridan thought it was a big deal when he found out that the Whitestar, another small vessel, had jump engines (2260).

A: He also didn't know everything about Minbari ships and classes.

Q13: The Valen has weapons, so why were they never fired? Maybe they were fired but we never saw them fired.

The Valen never had time to fire; they were hit within a second of the hand ships coming out of hyperspace (actually *as* they were coming out)...the hits disabled most of the systems on the new ship (you can see eruptions all over the bridge). The weapons systems were intact elsewhere, but the control mechanisms were down. That's why they kept hammering the Valen, to make sure it wouldn't be able to fire.

Q14: Why enter the tail of the comet? Why not just put the comet between you and the enemy ship. You don't have to be *in* the tail.

A: Two-dimensional thinking. Only works if the comet is directly between you and the enemy. If it moves at any other angle, you're revealed.

Q15: How is it possible to lose people for any amount of time at all on that small of a ship?

A: Given the small ins and outs and access hatches and panels and sub-halls and the like...real possible.

Q16: The Liandra, a 20 year old ship, hit the enemy ships, several times with her fireballs (why no traditional Minbari green slicer beams?)

A: Not a big enough ship with a big enough power source.

Q17: I can't see the Liandra making any headway against a Shadow Battlecrab. "Seems" inconsistent.

A: It wasn't a shadow battlecrab. It was tough, but it wasn't one of those. The hand wouldn't give out that kind of power to flunkies.


JMS ON LEGEND OF THE RANGERS
Here is a recent note from JMS into the B5 newsgroup. As we all know, the fans and the ratings will decide the fate of "Legend of the Rangers". We all need to get out and make sure people know the show will air on January 19.

Date: 12/4/2001 7:24 PM Eastern Standard Time

One thing I've always tried to do was to avoid obvious promotion; I like talking about the writing of a show, the making of a show, what I liked (or didn't) like about the end result...going out there and blatantly saying "Hey, watch our show!" is something I've never been comfortable with, only because I think people are smart enough to make up their own minds. If it's something you want to see, you'll see it; if it ain't, you won't. ("If you like that sort of thing, it's the sort of thing you'll like." Abraham Lincoln.)

One thing, however, is self-evident about the coming broadcast of The Legend of the Rangers: if enough people tune it, there will be a series. If enough don't, there won't.

At conventions, I'm asked constantly when more B5 stuff will be coming down the pike. I've always said it's in the hands of the networks and the studios. This time, it's the fans who have the power to make that decision. If every B5 fan tunes in, it happens. It's really that simple and straightforward.

The rest I leave happily to your own disrection.


LEGEND OF THE RANGERS WEBSITE

Legend of the Rangers

There are new materials up at www.scifi.com/b5rangers. The second digital trading card is now available for Sarah Cantrell. Both cards are great and I hope you can download the short videos and flyers.

A few people have volunteered to help out in spreading the word. I'll be contacting you soon to see what we can do.

I found a new site this morning that has the "Legend of the Rangers" trailer in a number of formats, including Quicktime, Real and Windows Media Player. Go to http://www.hollywood.com/multimedia/detail/media/1097976 and pick the player that best suits your connection to the internet. The trailer is terrific -- but only if you can see it!

AIN'T IT COOL NEWS REVIEW:

Here's a review from website Aint It Cool News:

Captain Christopher Pike here.

I've been plugged up to this computer for seemingly ever without writing you Knowles. You betrayed and left me to be mutated by those bulbous headed makeup dudes and usually I'd squat and squeeze to feed you what you deserve, but I just saw Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers. It's a movie scheduled to air early January on Sci Fi. It is really bad.

It is better than Crusade, which...to me at least...pretty much represented how low Babylon 5 could go. But it's still no good. Mike Vejar...usually a very talented B5/Trek director...brings nothing interesting or inventive to the table here. In fact, his work feels hurried and unrefined.

The FX are somewhat improved over Crusade, but there's nothing particularly *special* about them. Far too much over-reliance on FX simulating a rumbling, shaking camera when ships fly past, land, etc. Nearly every substantive FX in the movie employs the shakycam, diminishing the impact of the conceit, and frequently distorting the image so severely it's often difficult to see what's actually happening on-screen. Which totally removes the viewer from the action.

Spaceship designs are very poor but Hyperspace now looks more like a PC screensaver than the red "hell" we saw in B5 & Crusade); jumps into & out of hyperspace look different (more swirly/swishys in the toilet bowl effects); the spinning centrifuge of Babylon 5 (the station is seen in the last shot of the movie, although we never board it) is considerably slower; and the cities of Minbar now look more like Blade Runner than the crystalline sprawls witnessed in the series set a few years earlier.

A lot of old, old, ineffective clichés. The main ship is haunted: the people (old crew) haunting it look like dorks dressed-up as a Scooby Doo zombie for Halloween. The characters feel like the line-up from some defunct Glen A. Larson series: a young, maverick captain & a slightly renegade crew of loyal-but-irregular Rangers. Including: a warrior vixen (think Tasha Yar, or Worf's woman from Trek: TNG); a big, loveable oaf Drazi, a mousy ship's doctor, and a guy whit a holosuit which allows him to imitate any character. We've seen all of this...or variations of all of this...before. Joe Straczynski (B5 over god) used to rail against SF clichés, but he seems to have has no problem slathering them on this time around.

Andreas Katsulas (reprising his role as G'Kar) does nothing but dispense sagely advice, which often is so oblique it's meaningless. He repeatedly interrupts Grey Council meetings (!?!?!?!?). He's generally a pest, and even annoying at times. His character is pushed sloppily through the plot, allowing him only a few opportunities to say something which passes as "important". And when he says "important" stuff? It feels like a tedious lecture, or a tiring pontification. A waste of a great actor and character. His presence feels tacked-on.

In one of the dumbest ideas seen on TV in some time: the ship's gunner-babe has to dive into a VR bubble to operate her vessel's defensive systems When she does this, we see her flying through VR-sim space like Superman (one arm back, one arm, thrust forward), hurling balls of flame out of her hands and feet (representing her ship firing at its opponent). We almost never cut away too see her ship actually *doing* anything in battle. It's all told from her point of view. This chick is flailing about (with poor wire work), discharging fireballs from nearly every orifice of her body, blowing-up stuff we can't see clearly. A really bad way to draw viewers into the tension of battle.

One interesting new "approach" for the series: the show tries to convey much of its action in a slightly pumped-up way. Christopher Franke's score...usually cacophonous & atmospheric...is very up-front in this movie. Reasonably strong melody lines roll throughout action sequences, like Michael Mann employed in Last of the Mohicans, or Jerry Bruckheimer utilizes in many of the movies he produces. But there's not enough visual energy (often due to a decided lack of coverage) to support what they're trying to accomplish. Speaking of Bruckheimer: there's a scene in this movie who is almost exactly like a sequence in Armageddon: the Rangers are flying through the tale of a comet & it looks just like the approach to Armageddon's asteroid (swishy blue tendrils of shit coming at them, etc).

Acting in the movie is all over the place. A few performances might have worked with better writing, but Joe gives 'em nothing to do. And, many performers are just plain *bland*. The K/S people (a contingent of Trek fans believing Kirk and Spock were gay lovers) will have a field day with the two leads in B5: LOTR (notice how LOTR = Legend of the Rangers, *and* also Lord of the Rings I mean Minbari. It's *very* Trek. In fact, the whole show is *very* Trek. Anyone who thought Crusade was inspired by its competition ain't seen nothing yet.

New villains show-up. They're called The Hand. The show melodramatically informs us these guys are tougher & more bad-ass than The Shadows we saw in B5 ("They make The Shadows look like insects!"). Maybe The Hand looks good on paper, but they're stupid as hell. It doesn't take much to blow-up their ships (silver/blue starfish), and they're easily tricked. I'm not quite sure how these folks made it through kabillions of years of galactic history if they've always been this dumb. And, for serious B5 junkies, it's never explained whether this "The Hand" is the same "The Hand" referenced in the Sheridan/Ivonova dream of the original series, or is in any way related to "The Hand" which ran around trying to kill Michael Caine in a 1981 feature film (the only hand really needed here is the one which should be slapping Joe). .

There are a few flashes of cleverness or coolness throughout the movie, which suggest...somewhere down inside...Joe still has a bit of "B5 spark" left in him. But the entirety of the work doesn't do much to convince me he's the person to be mastering the franchise right now. I think there are many B5 stories still waiting to be told, I'm just not sure if he's the person to be telling them anymore. Maybe he's blown his wad. Or, maybe his muse ain't pulling her weight. This movie has been in the can for some time now but they've said nothing about picking-up Legend of the Rangers.

Now that I've seen it, I'm not surprised.

Captain Christopher Pike unplugging


Here's JMS' response from the B5 newsgroup:

Subject: Re: LOTR review up at aint it cool news (SPOILERS)
Date: 10/18/2001 3:14 AM Eastern Daylight Time

>A not so ringing review has been posted for the upcoming movie. I'm hoping >the reviewer has a strong bias against B5. I unfortunately have a very >strong bias against Crusade.

Let's see...a reviewer who goes under the handle Captain Christopher Pike (a classic Star Trek character), compares everything in B5 to Star Trek, and is subbing for another so-called reviewer called Herc who is a bigtime B5 hater from way back...AND he posts a negative "review" of B5: Rangers?

I'm shocked...shocked, I tell you.

Lemme give you a heads-up here...there is a qualitative difference between an actual reviewer and the kind of jumped up fanboy who posts a message on this kind of system specifically for the purpose of trashing something out of the usual fanboy feud shit we've seen over the last seven years. (And then, from what I've heard, pops on over to b5lr.com to get reactions because he wants to get his jollies.)

This is not a review. It's not even close to a review, and this kind of crap is what totally destroys and has destroyed any hope of legitimacy that aicn has, which is why just about everybody in the business now totally writes them off. It started off as a news site, now it's a fanboy site with clearly distinguished biases.

They don't like that I say this? Tough. It's my review of their performance.

Look, how about we actually *see* the thing? I think it may be one of the best things B5 we've ever done. WB had NO NOTES on the thing. SFC had ONE note, to make one word (entil'zha) a bit louder because it's kind of a plot point. Both places referred to it as stunning and beautiful and maybe our best work to date.

So for some cretin as this to come out and try to torpedo something out of the same crap feud that's been out there for seven years, and for people like you to actually *fall* for this crap and post things like....

>If this telefilm tanks, I'd honestly be open to the idea of someone else >taking over the universe from Joe.

...demonstrates a degree of credulity bordering on the mind-boggling.

This happens every time we do anything B5 related, it happened every season of the show ("We've seen scripts for season three and it's going to be just action, no more character stuff") and you'd think sooner or later people would learn not to fall for the okeydoke especially when a piece like this is SO obviously a plant by someone with an anti-B5 bias (a prior aicn review that slipped in, from someone WITHOUT any B5 bias, LOVED the film and this was before the EFX were even in the damned thing).

Jesus, Jonathan, get a grip and use a little critical thinking once in a while....

jms

HELP PROMOTE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS

Legend of the Rangers Babylon 5 Fans,

The SCI FI Channel has teamed up with J. Michael Straczynski to create a new BABYLON 5 movie, THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS. The movie will air on SCI FI in January 2002, and you can find more information about it on our newly relaunched RANGERS Web site at http://www.scifi.com/b5rangers.

As most of you know, RANGERS is both a stand-alone movie and a pilot for a potential series. That means the better the movie does in the ratings, the better chance there will be for an ongoing RANGERS show. SCI FI will be launching a traditional marketing campaign in the coming months to support the movie, but we’d also like to try something that’s never been done before: we’d like to add you to the RANGERS support team.

We know BABYLON 5 fans are among the most passionate fans on the planet, and we also know that you want what we want: to see more BABYLON 5 on the air. So we’d like to enlist BABYLON 5 fans who want to help us with a grassroots effort aimed at attracting new viewers to Rangers. Here is how you can help:

YOUR IDEAS

->Send us your ideas about how fans could best help promote/support the movie, keeping in mind that the goal is to reach sci-fi fans who would not ordinarily tune into a BABYLON 5 movie.

OUR IDEAS

->Let us now if you think invitations, T-shirts and downloadable flyers (that can be printed and handed out and/or posted) with tune-in information would be useful for B5 fans to give out and/or wear in order to get other people to watch the movie.

CAR WRAPS

->If you are a fan who owns a car and frequently drives in the New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Washington, Detroit or Atlanta metropolitan areas, and you would be willing to have your car “wrapped” in advertising for RANGERS, please let us know. The types of cars most suited for wrapping are:

Plymouth - P.T. Cruiser
Volkswagen - Beetles, Jettas
Lincoln – Navigator
Ford - Explorer, Expeditions, Excursions, F-150, Dulies, All Vans
GMC - Jimmy, All Vans
Chevy - Astro Vans, Conversion Vans, All commercial Vans
Dodge - Durango, Ram Trucks
Nissan - Pathfinder, Extera, Maxima
Honda - Civic
BMW - M-3

Please send your ideas to b5rangers@www.scifi.com and/or indicate your interest in having your car wrapped by Wednesday, Oct. 24.

And please visit http://www.scifi.com/b5rangers for the latest news and updates on the series.


JMS has a new graphic novel coming out soon entitled "Delicate Creatures". In talking with Prevue Magazine, JMS said, "I wanted to write, for lack of a better term, a fairy tale, but one with teeth for grown-ups. It takes a lot of the tropes and motifs of the fairy tale and turns them into a more sophisticated, darker point of view." You can read the entire interview over at http://www.prevuemagazine.com/Articles/Flash/190.


Over at B5LR.COM, Warren T.Takeuchi-"Kitaro Sasaki" in the Legend of the Rangers, recounts a very special moment for him and other cast members. They were included in a private screening of the final telemovie on August 27 at Sharpe Sound Studios located in North Vancouver, B.C. YES!!!! January 2, seems very far away!


While the clock is counting down (slowly) the time toward the January 2 air date of "Legend of the Rangers", behind the scenes work continues on completing the project. Mark Savela, visual effects supervisor on the project is sounding pretty positive about his responsibilities on the coming pilot. Check out his posting over at B5LR.com.


Dylan Neal talks about his role as Captain David Martel in the "Legend of the Rangers" at http://www.prevuemagazine.com/Articles/Flash. The interview gets a bit more play over at Cinescape.com. That's terrific.


There is a good article/interview with JMS out at www.prevuemagazine.com/Article/Flash. It provides some terrific background material on the new Legend of the Rangers telemovie.

Ranger Cast SCIFI.COM has unveiled the official Web site for the upcoming SCI FI Channel original telefilm Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers. The site contains preliminary information about the movie, message boards, a cast and crew list and the first Rangers trailer.

Later this summer SCIFI.COM plans to create a more expansive site for Rangers that will include weekly updates, exclusive on-set photography by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski, interviews, feature stories, sketches, images and more.

Legend of the Rangers at www.scifi.com/b5rangers. Bookmark it!

INFORMATION UPDATE

Q: One of your characters recently underwent a name change. Why did you choose Kitaro?

A: It was one of many influences; Kitaro as a name has a long legacy in many places, though the musician Kitaro (and yes I do have some of his albums) is currently the best known. Sasaki came from a Zen master of that name.


UPDATE FROM VANCOUVER

Date: 5/21/2001 8:49 AM Eastern Daylight Time

Well, all of last week I was in Vancouver for the first week of shooting on the two-hour TV movie BABYLON 5: LEGEND OF THE RANGERS. (I'm back now for a while.) It's been a terrific experience to date. The dailies look great. Mike Vejar is on board to direct, and is keeping the look and feel consistent with what we've done before, but at the same time (in collaboration with our new Director of Photography Henry Chan) is taking the look even a step further. The sets (courtesy of production designer Steve Gaeghan and his band of artistic types) look more detailed, more textured, more realistic than much of what we've done before on B5. (This is in no way to diminish what we did in B5 on sets, it's just a different approach.)

Andreas Katsulas showed up mid-week as G'Kar, and despite having been away from that makeup for three years, was instantly back in character starting with the first shot and straight on through.

The cast have proven themselves excellent. It's natural to take some time to find your character, and find the lines...but from the moment they landed on set, they had their lines letter perfect, and the chemistry is there between them. SFC has seen the dailies and they're absolutely enchanted with what's on film.

I wish I had colorful stories to tell, but we're talking here about a bunch of dedicated professionals who appreciate the legacy of B5 and are doing everything they can to make this next installment the best possible. (About the only negative thing to happen all week was my losing my California state ID midweek, which I'll have to go in to replace this week at my local DMV.) It's a very elaborate production, with everything from pyros to wire works and other stuff, in addition to the usual glut of CGI we tend to do, but so far it's all going quite well.

I've been taking digital pictures of the production which will soon be available on the SFC website...and there are some beauts there. I'll let you know when they're up.

In the interim...know that the show is going extremely well, and I think that people are going to like the cast a lot. They're good, well-trained, dedicated people.

I think it's going to go over very well indeed.

jms

A little on the cast:

Just off the top of my head and in no real order... Dylan Neal is playing David Martel, our lead character, a Ranger who's come through some especially rough times; Alex Zahara is Dulann, a Minbari, his second; Myriam Sirois is Sarah Cantrell of Mars Dome One, weapons specialist; Enid Raye Adams is Firell, Minbari, a healer; Warren Takeuchi as Kitaro Sasaki of Earth, communication and translations; Dean Marshall as Malcolm Bridges, covert intelligence and infiltration; David Storch as Tafeek, Minbari, a political and first contact guy; and a Narn, Na'Feel (played by Jennie Hogan) and a Drazi, Tirk (played by Gus Lynch), both recent recruits/ members of the Rangers.

Northwest Fan Wins B5 Contest

Babylon 5 fan Bart Gregg of Moses Lake, Wash., won SCIFI.COM's B5: Be in the Movie Contest to have a character named after him in The SCI FI Channel's upcoming original television movie Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers. A starship captain will carry Gregg's name.

Gregg was one of more than 15,500 fans who entered the contest for a chance to be immortalized in the upcoming movie, which began production in Vancouver, B.C., on May 14.

B5: The Legend of the Rangers comes from the original creative team behind B5. Douglas Netter and creator J. Michael Straczynski will executive produce the movie, which Straczynski wrote and Michael Vejar will direct. Rangers picks up the story of the Ranger fleet as it attempts to restore order to hundreds of civilizations devastated by the Shadow War. Rangers will serve as the pilot for a potential SCI FI Channel series.

CHRISTOPHER FRANKE - B5's MUSIC MAN

In a brief note to the b5 newsgroup, JMS announced that Christopher Franke will be doing the music for "Legend of the Rangers". When I say brief, I mean brief. He said, "...did I mention that Chris Franke is doing the music for the new B5 project?"

RANGER CAST

Here are some sites where you can find more information about the individuals who will be involved in "Legend of the Rangers":

Dylan Neal - http://broadcast.webpoint.com/khtv/hyperion/who.htm#Neal

Alex Zahara - http://maxcode.homestead.com/Profiles.html

Myriam Sirois - http://204.97.147.42/art-myriam.htm

Warren T. Takeuchi - http://www.geocities.com/m_keller63/wtakeuchi.htm

David Storch - http://www.globalserve.net/~crimpix/cast.html

Enid-Raye Adams - http://www.comedyfest.com/evening.htm

Mackenzie Gray - http://www.mackenziegray.net/

RANGERS CAST MEMBERS ANNOUNCED

This announcement came from SCIFI on Friday:
The SCI FI Channel announced casting for its upcoming original television movie Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers. Dylan Neal, Alex Zahara (Dark Angel), Myriam Sirois (Babylon 5), Dean Marshall, Warren T. Takeuchi, Jennie Rebecca Hogan, David Storch, Enid-Raye Adams and Gus Lynch will join Mackenzie Gray and Andreas Katsulas (G'Kar) in the movie.

Legend of the Rangers begins production May 14 in Vancouver and Toronto, SCI FI announced. Rangers, from the creators of B5, is the pilot for a possible SCI FI series.

The Gathering in Vancouver

The official Event time will be Sunday, May 27th, 2001 - 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM. Venue is Simon Fraser University. JMS will start around 6:30. You must be a subscribed member of nw-b5 in order to attend. Please visit the website at http://www.nw-b5.com in order to attend. The event is open to subscribed members of nw-b5 and their guests.

At this time, I request all people wishing to attend the Gathering subscribe to the list and send a note to mailto:nw-b5@iname.com clearly stating they are attending and how many guests you will be bringing. All responses must be in no later that Midnight, Wednesday, May 16th, 2001. Pre-booked seating at the Gathering will not be held past 5:15 PM the day of the Gathering. Responses will be sent out to each subscribed member to print and bring to the event. We are going with this format to keep a strict control on numbers and attendance. If by next Thursday, there is capacity remaining, we will open up that seating to the public provided they contact by phone at 604-875-1129 or email mailto:nw-b5@iname.com.

TELEMOVIE LISTING:

The BC Film Commission web site http://www.bcfilmcommission.com/whatsnew/filmlist_1.htm has the following information about the "Legend of the Rangers":

BABYLON 5, THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS
Legendary Films Inc.
Exec. Prod: J. Michael Straczynski, Douglas Netter
Prod: Ron McLeod
Director: Michael Vejar
DOP: Henry Chan
PM: S. Lily Hui
PC: Carol Schafer
PD: Steve Geaghan
Casting: Lynne Carrow, Sue Brouse
Cast: Dylan Neal, Andreas Katsulas, Alex Zahara
Sched: May 14 - June 6/2001

** For a look at Dylan Neal, from the soap "Pacific Palisades", go to http://people.aol.com/people/interactive/transcripts/n/neal.html.

***Alex Zahara is a Vancouver actor that has appeared in Stargate SG-1; Andromeda, Dark Angel and a host of other productions. To see what he looks like, go to http://maxcode.homestead.com/Profiles.html at the bottom of the page. His character's name is Johannessen on Dark Angel.

SPECIAL EFFECTS HOUSE CHOSEN

Emmy-nominated Gajdecki Visual Effects (Total Recall 2070) will provide the computer graphics and other effects for The SCI FI Channel's upcoming original television movie Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers, SCI FI announced. Production begins this month in Vancouver, B.C.

The Canadian-based effects house provides full effects supervision, including a library of stock effects, a motion-control camera package, a model shop and Silicon Graphics workstations for compositing and animation. Gajdecki received an Emmy nomination and a Gemini Award nomination for its work on Showtime's Stargate SG-1. The company also won Gemini Awards for the miniseries The Arrow and the television series TekWar.


More from JMS on the new series:

"Sets are being built even as I write this. Designs have been worked out that take the B5 look to a new level, including a ship unlike anything we've ever done before, very ambitious, very different appearance.

"Most of the cast has been set, there are only two roles left to be cast and those should be locked down in a couple of days. It's starting to pick up considerable speed and momentum. SFC and WB are *extremely* pleased with the script.

"There are some comments here and there about the B5 actor who will appear in the TV movie, and the director, but I can't comment pending a press release from SFC, which should be out shortly.

"I think people are going to be pleased and surprised by the look and feel of the show...it has an energy that feels a lot like S3 of B5...by turns funny, intense, weird, with action and some very nice character stuff.

"It's gonna be very cool...."

Schedule/Workload

We shoot the Rangers MOW May/June. The other (still TWCBN*, alas) series would begin prep July/August, and (labor relations permitting) shoot right after Labor Day (I just realized how appropriate that is...that's damned funny).

Shooting the 20 hours involved in The Other Project will take us through January, maybe into early February. If Rangers goes as a series, we'd probably start shooting in February/March. We've even discussed having crew going from one project to the other, and just rotating between them.

*That Which Cannot Be Named

B5 Team On Board Rangers

The original creative team behind Babylon 5 is on board to produce The SCI FI Channel's upcoming original television film Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers. The two-hour film begins production in Vancouver on May 14.

Douglas Netter will return to executive produce along with B5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. Straczynski wrote the script, and B5 director Michael Vejar ("In the Beginning," "A Call to Arms") will helm. Original cast member Andreas Katsulas will reprise the role of G'Kar.

SCIFI MOVING AHEAD - B5 RANGERS

Press Release

SCI FI Channel Hitting Its Stride

Now in 70 Million Homes -- Adding Original Miniseries & Movie Events to Development Slate

NEW YORK--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--March 20, 2001--SCI FI Channel continues to pump up its original programming slate while aggressively adding homes to its distribution count. This month, the Channel reaches nearly full distribution by hitting the 70 million home mark -- up 47% in distribution since the company was acquired in February '98. Already the largest provider of original primetime scripted series on cable -- basic or premium, SCI FI has broadened its focus to include a brand-new slate of original movie and miniseries projects.

Upcoming projects include:

BABYLON 5: The Legend of the Rangers -- The original creative team behind the popular science-fiction Babylon 5 television series and movies are on board to produce the all-new full-length action adventure Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers, to premiere exclusively on SCI FI later in the year. The two-hour telefilm will be executive produced by Douglas Netter and executive producer/creator J. Michael Straczynski, and is scheduled to begin production shortly. Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers takes up the story of the legendary Ranger fleet as they attempt to restore order to hundreds of civilizations devastated by the Shadow War. This new chapter in creator Straczynski's fascinating universe finds the elite and mysterious Ranger force -- a combination of male and female humans and alien Minbari trained in space warfare, the unique alien philosophy of the rangers, and every conceivable form of martial arts -- faced with deadly challenges in their attempt to create peace out of the war's destruction. Babylon 5 series cast members may also appear, with the movie serving as the pilot for a potential SCI FI Channel series.

JMS on the new project:

Well, that's at least ONE weight off my chest....

To those who've heard the news already, and those just now finding out...the SciFi Channel today announced that we have a new Babylon 5 TV movie going into production that will also serve as a pilot for a likely new series.

The movie (and the series) is under the heading of BABYLON 5: THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS. The specific title for the 2-hour movie's story is "To Live and Die in Starlight."

There isn't much I can tell you about the story because we're kinda keeping the details under wraps as much as possible for the time being. What little I can say....

It's set in the B5 universe just under 3 years after the events of "Objects at Rest." At this point there's one major character from the B5 universe in the script (a fan favorite). Where B5 was a heavy drama with some adventure/action elements, this one is a little more skewed toward adventure with underlying drama (which is about what you'd expect from the Anla-Shok).

We've been sitting on this information for a while now...such that we're already well into pre-production. We'll be shooting this movie around mid-May, well in advance of any potential actor's strike (the script is done and so far everybody likes it a LOT).

We've already got designs coming in on a new ship, and a new *kind* of ship...and we're going to be getting more into Minbari aesthetics, technologies and philosophy.

It's got some great characters, and it's a lot of fun.

I have other news to announce on other fronts...have since the end of the year, in fact...but I'm still sitting on the details awaiting another press release from another studio. What I *can* say is that I have a firm GO order to executive produce a new series (nominally SF) that will go into production after the potential SAG strike. When that's finally over, if the strike indeed happens, we pull the trigger and go into principal photography and it's an order for a full season's worth of episodes.

I can't give you any details right now on the subject, title, studio or network. That will have to await the studio's release...so don't even ask.

As far as doing both projects at the same time is concerned...it's actually quite common, as testified to by folks like John Wells and Aaron Sorkin and David Kelly and others. So there won't be any conflict.

More later.


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