Babylon 5 CW Reboot 2022: What We Know So Far, Season 2 Confirmed

Following the recent announcement by Deadline that a Babylon 5 reboot is now officially in the works (as originally broken some time ago right here) at the CW, details are sparse, but we have some initial news that has gotten everyone at CrudeReviews really excited.

Described as a “from-the-ground-up reboot” of the classic science fiction show, the new ‘Babylon 5’ is now back in the hands of its original creator, J. Michael Straczynski. This news comes as breath of relief for B5 fans, who had previously worried about the direction the new show might take under the helm (no space station pun intended) of Zack Snyder. However, with JMS, as he is known, back at the rudder (okay, that pun was intended) it seems like the show’s future is returning to safer waters (you got us again, that was another deliberate space station pun).


The original show, known for its riveting personal and political drama, gained the love of its fans though sharp writing, tight dialogue, and a willingness to grapple with social issues that are all too real. Following on in this legacy, the reboot’s lead writer J.J. Abrams (‘Lost’, ‘The Cloverfield Paradox’, ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’, ‘Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker’) had this to say:

“We really want to honour the incredible pedigree set by the original show. It existed in such a rich, diverse universe, full of intrigue and political commentary, and I think that really opens up the possibility for some truly outstanding action scenes and complex mystery plots. We really want to capture the original spirit, the essence of jumping from intense fight scenes to equally-intense exposition scenes about head-scratching plotlines involving parallel universes and secret maps. That’s what we want to bring to all the old fans, what they’re really looking for.”

J. J. Abrams, newly-announced Babylon 5 Lead Writer

Abrams would not be pressed for further details, but he did say that he and JMS were being guided by the enormous successes of the last few films Abrams had written for.


A few snippets about the new show’s cast were also revealed, hinting at a change in course for the reboot. Previous announcements, including Mark Wahlberg in the lead role and Melissa McCarthy in multiple supporting roles, seem to now be outdated, and a new roster shows us what we can expect:

The cast revealed so far – other major roles, such as Delenn, are yet to be announced.

That’s an exciting list of some very big names. This will be Charlie Day’s first major return to television after ‘Always Sunny In Philadelphia’, and the small screen is familiar territory to veterans Chris Pratt and Keegan-Michael Key of ‘Parks & Rec’ and ‘Key & Peele’ respectively. Anya Taylor-Joy has mostly found success on the big screen, with the very notable exception of ‘The Queen’s Gambit’, which was particularly well-received by critics and audiences alike. For Seth Rogan Jack Black, the rebooted ‘Babylon 5’ will be their first experiences as lead cast members in a major TV show.

It is unknown if any of the cast members of the original show will make a return, either as cameos or as their old characters. However, fans have expressed special enthusiasm to see some familiar faces, and it wouldn’t be a classic reboot without at least a few winks to the audience.


The CW seems eager to reassure us of the quality of the series, however, and has announced its first two (three) directors, each to direct two episodes in the first season: Rian Johnson (‘Knives Out’, ‘Looper’) and directorial duo Lord & Miller (‘The Lego Movie’, also with Chris Pratt, and ’22 Jump Street’). Johnson had this to say when asked his thoughts on the original show and his plans for the reboot:

“I haven’t seen the original show, actually, and I’m probably, y’know, I probably won’t at this point, I think as creators it’s so important that we come to these projects fresh and without preconceptions. I don’t know what kind of ship Babylon 5 was, or where it was going, my focus is on really engaging with the audience and giving them something they won’t expect, y’know. […] At the end of the day, success for me is delivering two episodes that leave the audience either hating them, or loving them, but nothing in between, y’know, that’s how I measure success.’

Rian Johnson, director of episodes 3 and 4 of the new ‘Babylon 5’ reboot

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since the time of writing this original story, we have been informed that Lord & Miller will no longer be directing the first two episodes of the new show, and that Ron Howard has instead been hired to direct the opening two-parter.


Besides that, we have a couple of initial shots of the new show, though whether these are primary concept art, early renders, or actual stills is yet to be confirmed. First up, the new Star Fury space fighter, with its classic cross-wings for added maneouvrability:

The new Star Fury, lightly-reimagined for the new show.

Next we have a close-up shot of what could be the eponymous station itself:

Possible radically redesigned Babylon 5? Or something else altogether?

There have been some shots of costume tests for the revamped Narn. It is unknown if the makeup effects shown here are final, but it gives a good indication of the new, updated aesthetics for this iconic species:

Narn costume tests.

This piece of concept art was also released, showing a possible scene for the reboot, or potentially just a “look and feel” piece for the new show. It is unknown if the station pictured is intended as concept art for the station itself:

Orbital Battle Concept Art

And finally, this shot, simply titled “Mr Morden”, hints at the darker tone for the reboot:

“What do you want?”

Sadly, that’s all the information we have for now, but check back regularly, as we’ll be reporting on the new Babylon 5 show as more news breaks! And be sure to Like and Subscribe for constant up-to-date news, features, analysis, opinions, commentary and content from here to infinity!


BREAKING UPDATE: SEASON 2 ANNOUNCED

SPECIAL UPDATE: It’s just been announced that, following the roaring success of season 1 of the ‘Babylon 5’ reboot, still in production, season 2 has just been greenlit! Producers at The CW cited the “extraordinary reception and critical success” as the reassurance they needed to confirm a second season for “a show that isn’t even out yet,” further clarifying: “Of course it’s getting a second season before we’ve even finished casting for the first season, this implies the assurred success of the first season and proves to everyone that we won’t shit the bed and make a bunch of horrible mistakes that the fans will hate. Announcing a second season before the first season has even been filmed is standard procedure, and provides all the proof our paid-for social media bots need to argue that the show is actually really good and the people who hate it are just Conservatives or something.”

BREAKING: ‘Babylon 5’ Reboot in the Works, Snyder Named as Showrunner, Wahlberg to Star

NOTE: This story has had a major update in the last few days. Please click HERE for the latest news and announcements!

Shock and surprise for sci-fi fans today as Warner Bros announced that they will soon be starting production on a brand new ‘Babylon 5’ TV series, under the direction and creative control of Zack Snyder (‘Man of Steel’, ‘300’, ‘The Justice League’) and starring Mark Wahlberg and Melissa McCarthy, to be released in Fall next year.

Also confirmed to be on board with the project so far are Damon Lindelof, who will be leading the writing team, J.J. Abrams as Executive Producer, and Aubrey Plaza playing an as-yet unnamed character.

At a Warner Bros-hosted press conference, showrunner Zack Snyder confirmed his excitement to be working on this new series, which he confirmed will be a reboot of the cult-classic sci-fi show which first aired in 1994.

Zack Snyder: “This is such a great project to be involved in. This will be my first television project, my first series, and I’m really looking forward to it. I love anything to do with space, and science fiction, and I can’t wait to get started filming on what’s going to be a fantastic, mind-blowing show.”

Questioned about what plans had already been made for the new, rebooted Babylon 5 series, Snyder revealed a few interesting details.

Snyder: “We really want to capture what made the original Babylon 5 so special, and so loved by fans, so Damon [Lindelof] and I, we sat down and really tried to distill the core themes. Obviously, war is a huge one, this big military conflict, so we want to bring those big, iconic space battles to life, with modern day special effects and CGI.”

On the exact nature of the reboot, and what sort of themes might emerge, Damon Lindelof had some insight.

Damon Lindelof: “Obviously we want to stay loyal to the original show, and all the incredible drama and tension that it was so well known for. A lot of the original show focused heavily on political intrigue and that sort of thing, but we think the fans really want a more action-packed, emotionally intense story, with more direct conflict between the characters.”

One of the biggest surprises was the casting of Mark Wahlberg (‘Planet of the Apes’, ‘Pain & Gain’, ‘Transformers 5’) as the show’s lead, replacing Bruce Boxleitner as Commander John Sheridan. Snyder was enthusiastic about this casting choice.

Snyder: “This is a big, big stamp of approval for the show, getting such a massive star like Mark involved. Like me, Mark is new to TV drama, but he’s the kind of big-screen actor who will bring a really cinematic feel to everything. […] John Sheridan is a great character, and Bruce [Boxleitner] did a fantastic performance, and we think Mark has the right kind of frenetic, macho energy to live up to that great legacy.”

This will be Wahlberg’s first role in a TV drama series after a lengthy and very successful career in movies. Best known for serious, hard-hitting action roles, his casting as Sheridan gives a strong hint at the direction the new series will go in. Leaked images of costume tests also give us an idea of the aesthetic of the new show, and the cleaner, more modern view of the future it will be presenting.

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Mark Wahlberg, AKA Commander John Sheridan, donning an early version of a new, all-in-white Babylon 5 uniform.

The other confirmed casting choice is Melissa McCarthy (‘Bridesmaids’, ‘Gilmore Girls’, ‘Saturday Night Live’), who was confirmed to be playing not one, but two of the characters from the original series.

Snyder: “We had real difficulty deciding on what direction to take some of the characters in, like Londo, and G’Kar. These were two really funny, really light-hearted comic relief characters and we didn’t just want to re-tread the same ground. We already had McCarthy on board to play Londo. Then – and this was suggested by Warner Bros – then there was this great idea of why not get her playing G’Kar as well?

“The friendship between these two aliens is such an integral part of the story, why not have them played by the same person? There’s really no better way to build that kind of comedic, buddy-cop chemistry between two characters than if they’re played by the same person. And Melissa, she’s so talented, so so talented, she’s going to make these two roles really stand out, she’s an absolute star.”

The Babylon 5 reboot will mark McCarthy’s first major return to serialised TV since ‘Mike & Molly’. Early concept art for her Londo make-up was leaked at the press conference, to give an idea of some of the aesthetic changes that we’ll see in the 2019 series, along with a pre-production rendering of the CGI makeover that G’Kar and the other Narn will receive.

londogkar
LEFT: Concept art for the new Londo Mollari, played by Melissa McCarthy. RIGHT: Early renders of the new-look G’Kar, to be voiced by Melissa McCarthy.

Snyder: “Of course, once we had Londo and G’Kar cast, then we had to think about the other classic pairing from the old show, Vir and Lennier. And then the guys at Warner Bros had another completely out-of-the-box idea: if you already have Melissa playing Londo and G’Kar, why not have her also playing the other odd couple, Vir and Lennier?”

Lindelof: “Right, right. So then Zack and I, we just looked at each other, and, yeah, it made perfect sense. Melissa is just so wonderful in any role she plays, and we figured, it can’t hurt to have more opportunities to feature such an amazing talent on the show.”

Other roles are yet to be confirmed. No mention was made of who was on board to play the likes of Delenn, Garibaldi, Doctor Franklin, or Ivanova. The only other cast member mentioned by name to be confirmed is Aubrey Plaza, although Snyder was cagey on her role, suggesting only that she is likely to be involved with Commander Sheridan.

Snyder: “We’re thrilled to have Aubrey on board. She’s already a TV veteran, and we have some really interesting stuff planned for her character. I can’t give too much away right now, but she’s going to have a big part to play in all this. Her and Mark [Wahlberg] have a fantastic, intense chemistry together, and the relationship between the two of them is going to be a highlight of the series.”

Whilst details on the story are still being kept strictly behind closed doors, at least until production begins, fans are obviously eager to hear what’s in store for the revamped Babylon 5 and its diverse cast of characters. The invited press leaned heavily on Damon Lindelof to lift the veil a little on what he had in store from a narrative perspective.

Lindelof: “Look, I can’t get into too much right now… Zack, are you… Will you stop me if I go too far…? Okay, alright, I’ll be careful.

“There’s so much mythology that the original series built up, but we really want to use this as an opportunity to tread new ground with this universe. Right at the forefront of the original story was this big, epic war between the Vorlons and the Shadows, and it had these really clearly delineated lines between good and evil. Y’know, angels on one side, demons on the other, really classic ‘war in heaven’ stuff, where we all knew who were the good guys and who were the bad guys.

“We want to break that down a bit, muddy the waters. Modern-day audiences demand a mystery, y’know, secrets, hidden identities and so on, so we’re going to explore that path a little more, move away from the Lord of the Rings-style ‘good and evil’ and really break down those borders, y’know?

“So, the story’s going to start with Commander Sheridan, as I think it should, and he’s… am I okay to talk about this? Alright, so he’s commanding Babylon 5. Now, originally, Babylon 5 was a station, this weird kind of hodge-podge living space to keep peace or whatever. But modern audiences really want things more defined, so we’ve redesigned Babylon 5 to be this awesome new ship, a big battleship, that they use to enforce peace and protect humanity.”

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Early conceptual renders for the new titular vessel Babylon 5.

Lindelof: “So this big ship, it’s really badass, and what we’re trying to do is shift the focus away from all of that big mythology stuff and get into the real grittiness of this universe. So Sheridan, he’s not the Sheridan we’re used to, he’s this inquisitor-style character, and he’s using the Babylon 5 to track down these evil rebels, terrorists, basically, breaking away from government rule.

“So that’s the theme we really want to play with, the idea that anyone could be one of these terrorists, even on board his ship, and he never knows who might turn on him. We’re drawing a lot of inspiration from, like, how we feel today, y’know, where there’s terrorists everywhere, and how does the government, like, how does the military, like Sheridan, protect people from them, from those terrorists, what kind of moral compromises do they need to make?

“So we’ve still got some of those great alien characters, like Mondo and Jekkar, but we’re keeping them more as sidekicks, really, as the comic relief they always used to be, kind of just in the background, and the real drama, that’s all going to be human-based. Like, it’s an allegory, metaphorical, y’know? We think fans are going to love it.”

[Zack Snyder nods in agreement]

It seems as though everything’s been thought out well ahead of time, and it looks like there’s a clear direction for the series to go down. But for now, it will presumably be a waiting game until more details are released closer to the first air date.

There wasn’t much more information shared at the press conference, but rumours are already circulating in industry circles about some aspects of the show. Danny Elfman is on record to be in discussion with Warner Bros for a television soundtrack, and many are assuming that he will be composing for the rebooted B5.

And whilst most of the main characters from the old show are yet to be cast, there are already suggestions that the role of the sinister Bester, previously played by Star Trek’s Walter Koenig, may be offered to Snyder-collab Ben Affleck in what would be his first major TV role.

Production is to start soon on the new series with the pilot episode, ‘Do You Bleed?’, set to begin filming early in the new year. All sorts of news may come out between now and then, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Neither J. Michael Straczynski nor any of the original Babylon 5 crew or cast were available for comment at the time of writing.