AOL Chat: 6/2/97: JMS and Copeland

Posted by Sara McElroy ( to on June 5, 1997

B5 Online: Folks, we are awaiting our final guest for this evening, so I would like to welcome all of you to our online chat with J. Michael Straczynski, Creator and Executive Producer of Babylon 5, and coming soon, John Copeland, producer of Babylon 5! :D Also joining us through equipment donated to us by Zathras (as opposed to ZAthras) is B5CnC. Through B5CnC, we are able to communicate directly with ANY CHARACTER on the show. For instance, you can ask G'Kar whatever you want... Londo whatever you want... and through the power of The Great Machine, they will answer.

Jms at B5: and the Great Maker

B5 Online: Want to ask Garibaldi what's up? Londo what's next - G'Kar how's the eye? Now is your chance!

OnlineHost: The auditorium consists of two major areas: the audience, where you are right now, and the stage, where the speakers appear. Text which you type onscreen shows only to those in your row, prefaced by the row number in parentheses, such as (2) if you are in row 2. To interact with the speaker, use the Interact icon on your screen.

Jms at B5: They're all waiting out there for your questions... And they will be answered in the character's own "voice" and mannerisms and perspective.

B5 Online: So don't make Garibaldi mad.. please.

B5CnC: Ask away!!!

B5 Online: Our first question is for our own JMS... From NotTheOne...

Question: Did you plan the Sheridan and Delenn relationship or did it just come to mind while writing the episodes??

Jms at B5: If you're not the One, why should I answer? Besides, the One always denies he's the One.. No, that relationship was always going to be there for Delenn.

B5 Online: I notice a trend already Joe... care to make a comment on Season 5 to bypass all of that tonight?

Jms at B5: Okay: 1) no word yet on S5, and 2) videotapes are possible down the road, but not now.

B5 Online: Thanks Joe. :D

B5 Online: Heres a question we've never had before.. from Danmaclea...

Question: I've noticed a lot more freedom in camera movement in scenes which combine CGI and live action. Do you have some new hardware or do you match the CGI by hand.

Jms at B5: Yeah, we've taken to putting targets on the bluescreen, which allows us to "staple" the CGI to the set, and we can thus move around a lot more. John can probably address this better than I can since he just got here.

PigDog13: We've also gotten a lot better at matching movement with live action and CGI. Since we've started doing the FX in house we're trying stuff we were discouraged to do in the past.

Jms at B5: "We can't do it," we were told. Well, actually, we can. So now we do.

PigDog13: Sorry for being tardy, but my ISDN line was acting up.

Jms at B5: (John gets a working ISDN line, I have win 3.1 and only get carrier pigeons.)

B5 Online: Our next question for JMS comes from Earl Prae...

PigDog13: I just threw my ISDN modem across the room, I'm on analog.

Question: JMS, is there any chance Valen will return?

Jms at B5: Return to the present? No. None. Valen lived out his life in the past.

B5 Online: If you have a question for the B5 CHARACTERS, send in your questions now! :)

B5 Online: This question is for JMS from MediaRiot...

Question: JMS, in this weeks Newsweek, you take a swipe at Aaron Spelling and TV in general. Do you feel that most TV is a product of getting ad revenues up, that is, it's just made for marketing products to demo groups?

Jms at B5: Unquestionably. That's the bottom line for TV stations and advertisers .. even Majel once said to me, and openly to others, that they just sold ST as a way to sell soap during commercials, not that that's a bad thing per se, that's just how they think.

B5 Online: Our next question is for G'Kar... from Tannis4U...

Question: G'Kar did you decide to issue the joint statment with Londo for the good of Sheridan's alliance or did Londo's speech actually move you to act?

B5CnC -- G'KAR: There comes a time when one must set aside old grudges. It is not a pleasant prospect, given Mollari, who I still consider something of a war criminal. But he is trying for repentence, and from the perspective of the Universe, I suppose this is a good thing.

Jms at B5: I agree with G'Kar.

B5 Online: A personal question for Lt. Corwin from Karen Eve....

Question: For Lt. Corwin: If you could send any one personal message home, what would it be?

PigDog13: Hmmmm. Corwin's got fans out there?

B5CnC -- CORWIN: Dear Mom, Dad and Uncle Sherman: Don't believe everything you hear about Babylon 5 (well, except the parts about Ivanova) We're working hard to do the right thing, and sometimes that's hard to figure out, but we believe in the direction the captain's taking us, and we're sticking with it. (Remind me when this is over to tell you about my date last year, it was...something I'll never forget.)

PigDog13: Boy, that Corwin is an eloquent fellow.

Jms at B5: John: yeah, who writes his stuff?

Question: Question for JMS: I've been impressed with the richness and depth of all the characters...except Dr. Franklin, who still seems relatively one-dimensional to me. Do you find that character harder to write, or is it just harder to fit him into everything?

Jms at B5: It's always a task to get a doctor into the action, and it's easier for other kinds of more action-oriented characters. But that aside, he's a lot of fun to write.

PigDog13: I didn't know the characters were going to be this chatty tonight, did you?

Jms at B5: They're always chatty, you just have to know how to listen.

B5 Online: Question for Vir from TWandCrew... although this may be too personal...

Question: Vir....are you going to marry Lyndisty??

B5CnC -- VIR: Oh, my... Oh, this is embarrassing, I didn't expect's so personal how did you find out?... Well, I...I think...perhaps yes, I mean...I know she has some...well, some problems, you see, and we have to work on those, but you know, she's a great kisser, and I can work around a lot that comes between us...not that anything would, I mean, let's not get graphic here...are we still on?

B5 Online: John, maybe you can answer this... from Johnldloa...

Question: Howard Stern is a big fan of the show. Any chance of having on or a cast member being on his radio show. This is not a Stern joke question. He always talks about how he loves the show.

PigDog13: We've actually talked with his show about having Claudia on, but he's never set anything definite with us. We'd love to have someone on with Howard.

B5 Online: For Marcus.. from Lightman2....

Question: To Marcus- Why on Earth are you dancing around Ivanova? Go for it, man!

B5CnC -- MARCUS: Dancing? Go for it? What are you TALKING about? I have no idea what's going on anymore (entering private mode) Are you crazy? She's standing right behind me, you're giving away the game. Don't ask about this in front of her, or I"ll have to give you a good thump...well, her first then you.)

B5 Online: Londo... from MJButkus...

Question: Londo, are you staying in contact with Centauri Prime,as of now (s4) or rather staying....away?

B5CnC -- LONDO: Well, you see, this is not an easy question, my friend. The Regent seems to have things very well under control, you see, and I...well, I serve a greater purpose here, on Babylon 5, than I could serve back home just now. So I am content to stay here. It is frankly quieter. And several more of the lower court have reported to me that the regent is acting most strangely lately, perhaps he has begun drinking, I hear of him wandering the palace late at night, telling people, "There is something important I must tell you..." then suddenly he stops, and walks off. Very strange. But he has always been a bit..odd, don't you think? Go ahead...or as the humans say, GA

B5 Online: For John and Joe...

Question: for joe or john -- there have been a lot of rumours going around regarding the new 2 hour TNT films including which actors will be involved, which characters, etc. Anything you can divulge without giving anything away? And will Michael O'Hare be a part of it?

Jms at B5: The budget doesn't have enough in it to fly Michael out from the Coast and pay him the salary he deserves. And in the story he was really a basic-level squadron pilot, and the story deals with the larger parties. John?

PigDog13: The first film - I think is one of the best things that Joe has written and I think that you viewers will be surprised at how all of these characters from B5 fit into how the saga begins. The second film is a different type of story than you usually see on B5 and we think tha it will be a pleasant diversion for you viewers.

Jms at B5: The films also have Shari Belafonte, William Sanderson, Theodore Bickel, others. (How informative, John.)

PigDog13: Rheiner Schone will be back.

B5 Online: Theodore Bikel played Rabbi Koslov I believe, correct?

Jms at B5: Why not tell them that everyone dies, I mean really, we can talk about that.

Jms at B5: Different part now.

Jms at B5: GA and save us from ourselves.

PigDog13: You mean the big funeral scene. I thought you wanted that to be a surprise.

B5 Online: For Lennier... from Philberto.

Question: to Lennier- Are you ever going to tell Delenn how you feel?

B5CnC -- LENNIER: Because Delenn has stepped out for a moment, I will answer your question. though it does seem to me rather feelings for Delenn are only of the highest and noblest form. It would be unseemly of me to confess any such feelings, or any variations on those feelings, to Delenn. So no, that would not be appropriate.

B5 Online: Lennier, if you can find Delenn.. I have a question for her.

Question: Delenn: what are your plans now that Minbar is settling down and the Gray Council is set?

B5CnC -- DELENN: I am here. I have a greater obligation now that must be pursued with the League Worlds and Earth...I could not pursue those goals for as long as my home was in turmoil, but now my people are on the path again, and I can devote my time to forging a new alliance, a new future, for all of our worlds. (Can someone tell me why Marcus and Lennier are looking so embarrassed? I just got here, and assume I missed much.)

B5 Online: A question for Joe and John from Managarm...

Question: We haven't heard anything about the telepaths Franklin helped hide from Psi-Corps. Is that going to change any time soon?

B5 Online: (BTW.. thank you Delenn)

B5CnC -- BESTER: Bester here, breaking into the com line: I would like an answer to that as well.

PigDog13: You'll see something about the frozen teeps in the next couple of weeks

B5 Online: Whoa whoa whoa! Whats going on here?

B5 Online: Bester?

B5 Online: Um.. ok...

Jms at B5: Captain: don't tell him, he'll find out soon enough.

B5 Online: GA Bester.. what's on your mind?

Jms at B5: For the rest of us, yeah, you'll find out stuff very soon.

B5 Online: (no pun intended)

Jms at B5: Oh, for crying out loud, don't bring him into this, it was going so well.

Jms at B5: Next question? (Ignore him and he'll go away.)

B5 Online: Ok.. quickly.. Londo from GotMilk96...

Question: Londo... Do you like the idea that you are turning into a nice guy?

B5CnC -- LONDO: My good fellow, I have *always* been a nice guy, whatever has G'Kar been telling you, hmmm?

B5 Online: Here is a ratings question from Ranger1a for Joe and John....

Question: How are the recent ratings for B5? Do we have to worry about B5 being cancelled?

PigDog13: Our ratings have been up all across the board this season. But the future is never assured.

Jms at B5: The ratings are good; solid. The renewal depends on available station berths, primarily.

B5 Online: Paging Zack... From LdyRangrB....

Question: Zack?? are you going to persue a relationship with Lyta?? you make a good couple..or are you just going to stick to pizza?

B5CnC -- ZACK: Yeah, ain't like I haven't thought about it, y'know...but she's a teep, how do you...make a move on someone who knows what you're going to do before you do it? Y'know the old "arm around the shoulders at the scary part of the movie" bit? C'mon, the ladies hardly fall for that NOW... with a teep, she'd break my arm. And I'd miss, which would be really embarrassing. Not that... I'd mind trying, of's a challenge. I like challenges. Especially red-haired ones.

B5 Online: Here is a GREAT question from Guru4Win9...

Question: Delenn said that the center of the new grey council was for the 'one to come'. That was what Zathras called Sheridan. Are they both references to the same person ?

B5CnC -- DELENN: How do you know what happened in the Grey Council? Well, that aside...and I must look... further into our security...the place set aside might be for someone like John, yes. But.. only time will determine that. The universe knows what it is doing. B5 Online: Heres an industry question for you guys from GSSFC... Question: JMS... From a drooling fan, of course... From your own feedback in the 'biz', what do you see as being the future in terms of other shows? Do you think there will be attempts to do a B5-type arc story from non-affiliated sources?

Jms at B5: I think that others are watching us, and we know that there are other arc-shows... that are in the works, or have started to change toward arcs; it's been a gentle... revolution, and over time I think more will go this way.

PigDog13: It will be interesting to see what happens. In the wake of "Dark Skies" not working, others may be cautious in the near term.

B5 Online: We have another question for Vir from Hardestad...

Question: Vir, what were you writing when woke up from your nightmare?

B5CnC -- VIR: I was writing out the Ambassador's shopping list for the day, it's nothing terribly interesting... fresh spoo, hot jala (5 bottles), ladies undergarmen...I mean, clothing... and some small amount of alcoholic beverages, nothing much to speak of. B5 Online: Ok, it's time for a moment of truth here. Mr. Garibaldi... a question from BJSDebora.

Question: Garibaldi--have you wondered at all about the changes in your own thinking and attitudes? Are you aware that you are feeling and doing things not like you?

B5CnC -- GARIBALDI: Look, we all go through changes. It happens. It's part of life. Yeah, I think I've changed... haven't you? To continue a relationship like we have here you have to trust that the other guy's doing the right thing. I ain't convinced. I see things a little clearer now, that's all... I'm on my own, but y'know, I always have been. It's nothing new.

B5 Online: Folks, I'm going to try and keep the comm systems open until the top of the hour. I'll keep the channel open as long as I can. :)

B5 Online: From WandaJH.. for JMS and John.

Question: Joe: You've indicated that you will take ideas which resonate with a particular actor and weave them into the storyline. Was the civil war on Minbar always in the story or is it a detail that you added after you learned of Mira's personal ordeal? Jms at B5: This is a case where I knew there would have to be conflict and division on Minbar...but the specific shapes of that conflict, the specific icivil war elements, I chose in order to tie into her own background, knowing I'd get truth behind her eyes during those scenes. It's manipulative, but it's in a worthy cause.

B5 Online: From Sudibelle, for my favorite telepath... Lyta.

Question: Lyta, did you really explore all the options before going along with Bester? Didn't the station give you any kind of support?

B5CnC -- LYTA: I don't know...maybe I should have looked into it more, but I was *tired*.... and even though I know the folks who run this place like me, there's just so much they can do.... even if they did let me stay in the larger quarters (and that wasn't really the issue)... I had to start working again, had to be a commercial teep again, and what that requires is not theirs to give. I had to think in the long term. No, it wasn't something I wanted to do but I just didn't see any other way around it. I'm just being sure to stay healthy.

B5 Online: Well folks, it seems the comm system is starting to experience some problems, and the crew needs to get ready for another Voice of the Resistance broadcast. I want to thank Joe, John and the B5 crew for participating through us with the help of Draal and The Great Machine! Thanks guys!

B5CnC -- BESTER: Nobody ever has questions for me.

PigDog13: Thanks, it was a pleasure being here.

B5CnC -- SHERIDAN: Sheridan to AOL: Thanks for having us.

B5 Online: Be sure to check out our new downloadable calendars at keyword: B5 and also visit the official websites at and