Koenig: Straczynski Negotiating To Bring Back Babylon 5 + Walter Compares Bester To Chekov [UPDATED]

Appearing at the Las Vegas Star Trek convention over the weekend, Star Trek’s Walter Koenig broke some news for another franchise: Babylon 5. Koenig says that B5 creator J. Michael Straczynski is currently in negotiations to develop more Babylon 5. Walter also compared working on B5 to Star Trek, details below. [UPDATE: Straczynski denial]



After TrekMovie.com reported on Koenig’s comments about Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski took to Twitter to respond, saying:

@straczynski: Walter misspoke: I am not in negotiations with WB to develop more Babylon 5


original article

Koenig: Babylon 5 May Be Coming Back

Speaking at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas on Friday, Walter Koenig, who played the Psi Cop Alfred Bester on Babylon 5, said that just last week he had dinner with B5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. And according to Koenig there may be hope for the future of the Babylon 5 franchise. The actor said:

He told me that he is in negations to re-acquire the rights to Babylon 5 and it looks pretty good. Now what that portends I am not entirely sure. It could be a new series or it could be a feature film, but he was quite animated about it. He seemed very excited and Warner Brothers is dealing with him in good faith. So you might see another Babylon 5 in the not too distant future.

Walter Koenig at Star Trek Las Vegas Con

Since Babylon 5 went off the air in 1998 Straczynski has been involved in a few short-lived B5 spin-off projects, the most recent of which was the direct-to-DVD "Babylon 5: The Lost Tales" in 2007. In 2008 Straczynski said there would be no more "Lost Tales" releases, but he would return to B5 for a feature film. Since that time Straczynski has been very busy writing comics, graphic novels and a number of feature films, including the story for this year’s Thor and adapting the Max Brooks novel for the currently filming World War Z.

Koenig also talked about how much he enjoyed playing the character of Bester on Babylon 5.

I had a great time doing it. It was just terrific…I loved performing the character and investigating the character and discovering new things about him with each script.

Bester was a lot more fun [compared to Chekov on Star Trek]. It was more dimensional and it was more complex. He was always pivotal to the story. It was a challenge. I felt more creative doing the role. Bester was a more substantial character. Of course I hasten to add that I am enormously grateful for the opportunity [on Star Trek] and I will say it again and again.

Walter Koenig as Bester on "Babylon 5"

More from Vegas coming up

TrekMovie will have more from Koenig and all the vents at Las Vegas Star Trek con coming up

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Sounds great, I’d be excited for a new B5 series!

A quality continuation of the B5 story would be great. When Straczynski delivers, he really delivers! I’d more been hoping over the years he’d get his RISING STARS on screen, preferably a quality mini-series. One day.

While I love B5, I would really like to see Straczynski finish the Forbidden Planet remake his name is attached to first. I love the original, and I see great potential in a remake, if done well. Some of the story ideas, including a trilogy, sound outstanding.

I’ll take more *quality* B5… but honestly, I don’t know what more can be done in that universe, and I certainly DON’T want a reboot of it.

Chekov was designed in the mid 60s to be a supporting role, not a main character, so it only makes sense that Bester would be a deeper & more interesting character to play.

I hope so. The graphics were pretty poor even for the 90s but the story, battles and music were all amazing. And Bester was one of those villains you loved to hate.

Be it B5 or maybe bringing back Crusade, if JMS can swing it and get full creative control with no more meddling, I’m in! TCB Joe!

Babylon 5 , amazing series…
And , Alfred Bester was a villain I loved to “hate” .

Not that excited. His run with Wonder Woman pretty much killed my interest.

“… amazing. And Bester was one of those villains you loved to hate.”

Hey! I already said that!!!


Yes! I hope JMS will be able to bring back some B5. I only discovered B5 just over a year ago on Netflix and fell in love with it. A wonderful 5 year story arc and some great world building with different cultures and political conflicts. Not to mention also having some nifty space battles. :)

I really liked Koenig’s portrayal of Bester on B5, definitely a fascinating person with a lot of subtext that came through in his performances. It was a joy seeing Koenig playing against type, and he really was able to pull off that slimy, smiley, stab you in the back character that Bester was. He reminded me a bit of Weyoun in that respect.

If JMS gets B5 back, I hope Bester shows up in some capacity. That quiet antagonism between him and the B5 crew was always amusing to watch.


Last I heard JMS refused to ever re-cast the B5 characters so I’m curious where he would go with it.

I am cautiously optimistic. JMS says a lot of things. I remember when he talked about a spin off series that would be about the Rangers (Anlashok) but when “CRUSADE” arrived it wasn’t about the Rangers at all. I liked Crusade for what it was but I would have preferred the original idea. Then he made that awful “LEGEND OF THE RANGERS” as a pilot for a new series on SCIFI but not only was it bad, he got screwed over by SCIFI and that’s about the time the SCIFI CHANNEL started going down hill. Next up, Babylon 5 meets Megacrocosharktopus!

I wish him well though. If he has his head on straight this time around maybe something good will come out of it.

P.S. ‘Lost Tales’ was a good idea but he got no support financially. I liked the 2 episodes on it.

I’m pretty sure that this refers to the project that JMS was in negotiations for pertaining to a new distrbution system that WB was trying to coordinate. That new system failed to materialize and so did the B5 (and other shows) project.

What I liked most about Babylon 5 were some of the character/actor interactions, like between Londo and G’Kar. The chemistry was wonderful even when the scripts were weak. Maybe that’s why some of the JMS’s projects didn’t match up, lack of chemistry. Makes me wish Andreas Katsulas was still around.

More B5? Oh yes please! I love that show.
And i’ll repeat what i’ve said before about Walter’s performance in it- quite superb. Menacing at time’s, vulnerable at others. Quite excellent acting from Mr K.

More B5! YES! More “realistic” science fiction on TV is preferred an appreciated.

Way to go, Michael!

Koenig was great as Bester, and showed that he really had the acting chops we hadn’t seen from some other TOS stars…

But really mixed feelings about B5, which I consider the biggest flame-out in scifi tv history. The first few seasons were just great, some of the best scifi ever on TV. But then JMS got all paranoid about not getting his final season, and ended up crunching everything into season 4, and basically ruined it. Season 5 then became a tacked-on wasteland, although I do seem to remember JMS trying to tell everyone that he’d planned it that way all along, which no one believed.

And then those movies plus Crusades… ugh. By then, the memories of the great first 3 seasons were just gone.

B5 was by far the best Trek series of the 90’s

Maybe the best written continuing saga SciFi series ever

B 5 is one if my all time favorites, the writing was excellent. I liked the way the story line built up. And if you watch it over again you pick things up you missed the first time, I really liked that part of it. The draw back for people who have never seen it is you have to start at the beginning. If you catch a random episode you will have no idea what is going on. People who spend the time to see the whole thing are rewarded for the most part.
If Crusade was given a chance I think it would have been good too. Legend of the Rangers was ok up until they had to use the ships weapons. That was the most rediculous idea. I admit it’s been a while since I seen that one, but the ships weapons is what I remember most.
Most of the movies were good. I don’t know if bringing B 5 back is a good idea. Sometimes leaving us wanting more is the best way to leave it. By the time people say enough, it might be ruined. Pick a new aspect of the B 5 universe. Bester was always a fun cherecter.
Some other sci fi shows to remember: Firefly, and Space Above and Beyond.

So much for B5 not being a franchise.

JMS is a one-hit wonder.

Sorry about my bad typing up there.

Nice to see all the B5 love on this board … I too became a mega-fan of B5 and of all things JMS when I bought the whole series on DVD a few years back. The whole 5-year story arc riveted my entire family night after night for almost a year. Haven’t seen the follow-up TV movies or Crusade yet, but soon, I hope.

Anything new in the B5 universe would be terrific, whether a new series or a feature film – as long as JMS has full creative control. He’s been brilliant to insist on that.

I don’t know how many readers here know that, in the wake of the cancellation of Enterprise, there was some speculation at Paramount about where to go next – and JMS was actually one of the “bidders” to return TOS to the TV screen in a reboot series. What, I wonder, would he have done with the Star Trek universe? Might have been astounding.

I found all the B5 versions to be excellent, with the exception of that ‘Rangers’ deal. I’d love to see him do it again and complete that “Forbidden Planet” script, too.

Remember when JMS said DS9 stole his ideas? B5 was already stealing from TOS and TNG.

Babylon 4 disappearing in a time warp and becoming embroiled in a war? See TNG’s Yesterday’s Enterprise and the Enterprise C.

The Shadows were clearly Borg-like. A destructive, mysterious force at first, revealed to be a cybernetic, insect-like race with ships that use cutting beams.

The entire arc of B5 basically amounts to TOS’s Who Mourns for Adonais.

A Call to Arms: Sheridan steals the Excalibur from space dock (Star Trek lll) to fight a space cloud-machine thingy heading for Earth (Star Trek: TMP).

And there are other examples.

B5 was an awesome show, but all the spinoffs and tv movies that followed it have pretty much sucked. I would rather they go back to square one and reboot B5 and start a new series.

Gary Makin:

Jeffrey Sinclar was Chosen One because he was Valen.

Sisko was chosen One, because he was a Sinclair clone.

+ Frontier spacestation, wormhole, temperament first officer, detective security chief, religious allience, starship and swordsman in the third season

I like DS9 characters too, but the B5 has a story and a finale too.

Sorry for my English, i’m from the Gamma Quadrant.

Do you think they would rehire Harlan Ellison as a creative consultant, or would that quadruple the budget?

I would love to see a TOS-Remastered style HD remastering of B5. One of the problems with B5 is that the live action shots were done in widescreen, while the special effects were NOT and this is very evident, even on the DVD’s! I would love to see him go back and to a blu ray HD remastering with Battlestar Galactica quality effects. If he did that I think that it would hold up well against modern favorites like BSG and Lost! Add more special features to the sets, maybe even do commentaries on EVERY episode like Stargate does!

Also, it should be a complete release including ALL the TV movies from Thirdspace through to The Lost Tales and Crusade!

Harlan Ellison would sue them for hiring Harlan Ellison.

#24 – Oh, but Star Trek stole its ideas from Forbidden Planet. Fitting that JMS is attached to that reboot/remake project. He gets to rewrite what Trek was based on, which means that, with quantum flux theory, he formed Star Trek.

Or, to put it another way, past about 1950, most science fiction, even good science fiction, resues concepts from elsewhere… and often blatantly.


And Forbidden Planet “stole” from Shakespeare!
It’s pretty much The Tempest… in space.

@ 22 Frank–

JMS’ proposed treatment for a TOS reboot was made available on the web some time before the release of the 2009 movie. I’m guessing you can find it with a minimal amount of googling. Don’t expect too much, though, or you’re bound to be as disappointed as I was. It’s not so much a detailed description of what JMS would do with Trek himself as a summary of what he thought worked about the original show, what was missing from the spinoffs, and what updated concepts producing a new take on such a cultural icon might entail. It’s pretty thin gruel for the most part; and when he does get into specifics (e.g. a secret mission behind the five-year mission of exploration, somewhat reminiscent of Gary Cole’s secret orders in Crusade) I thought his ideas were pretty much at odds with anything Gene Roddenberry would have done or approved of.

(But by all means, bring on some more B5, even if the first segment of The Lost Tales had me wondering if Straczynski was smoking crack when he wrote it.)

@ 27, good one :-)

I’ll certainly give any B5 a look. Of course, so far it’s been like trying to re-catch lighting in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal . . . all alone in the night.

Good luck!!!

I say bring back DS9, that’d be 10 times better than B5.

I am a Big time B5 fan. Only Star Trek beats out B5 to me. I would love to see another B5 series or a Feature Movie. Get Bruce Boxlitner and Claudia Christian to reprise there roles. B5 was the first series to use Cgi in the 90s and now everyone uses it. So B5 broke a lot of ground. Love keonig as bester.
My all time fave line from bester .
Ivonava. So how did you find out about these weapons.
Bester. I’m a Telepath. Work it out.

What they can do for B5 is have a series with Phalon back 1,000 years ago during the Shadow war and how Cmdr Sinclair as Phalon saves the Minbar and defeted the Shadows.

How would he explain away G’Kar and Dr. Franklin not being around if he doesn’t recast the roles.
There is no way Andreas Katsulas can be replaced.

It would be a reboot ala Trek kids

Ooooo…B5 was a big favorite of mine back in the day. Mostly because I have huge crush on Bruce Boxleitner, though…after “Get the hell out of my galaxy!!! (best sci-fi line EVER, btw),” what’s left? I only ask because nothing after the original series has impressed me. But after that, what could? Hmmm?

B5 doesn’t hold up very well. Sorry if this hurts feelings, different strokes, but to me it doesn’t stand the test of time. JMS’s Thor run was mostly good though.

no g´kar,
no dr. franklin,
no. zack…..

But, I also hope for more b5…….as Londo would say ´´ ohh yes´´…….

´´mr. garabaldi ´´………………Just the way he could say, said it all……..

´´mr. morden´´…..

but, let´s see………

Loved B5, but considering how many of the performers have passed or aged considerably, not sure that new content or a re-boot is advisable. JMS re-acquiring control may mean nothing more then that, he’s re-aquired control. WK really was speculating about everything else.

I’m just doing a full rematch of B5 (I’m currently on the second episode of Crusade) and I’m amazed how well it has stood up to the test of time. Probably the greatest TV show ever!

I’m re-watching the whole series, and am just about done with Season 3. What a wonderful story. What dreadful dialogue!

“Last I heard JMS refused to ever re-cast the B5 characters”

here’s a pic from last weekend:

there’s at least 1 character that needs no re-casting (;

@44 Agreed! Loved the story! Winced at a lot of the dialogue!

Babylon 5 was a wonderful series and eagerly watched each week more then I was interested in the Star Trek spin offs, which frankly had become bland and predicable.
A new retooled rebooted series or transformation on to the big screen might prove interesting if done correctly and carefully.
I could see it’s epic story arch working in a 3 motion picture deal.
A recast of course would be needed and hope that any B5 fans realize that would have to be done.
I know Star Trek fans throw fits over such ideas, but JJ proved it can be done when working with such larger then life characters and epic backgrounds.

Babylon 5 is to Star Trek as…

“Vicki the robot” from Small Wonder is to Data.

Enough said-

Recast Sinclare as Phalon from 1,000 years ago and show how he helped the Minbari fight off the Shadows.

Yes. I was demoted. Long story.