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The CW is heading to space.
The younger-skewing broadcaster is teaming with original series creator J. Michael Straczynski for a reboot of Babylon 5.
Described as a “from-the-ground-up reboot” of the original, the script for a new potential version of the former syndicated drama from Warner Bros. TV will be penned by Straczynski. The new take revolves around John Sheridan (originally played by Bruce Boxleitner), an Earthforce officer with a mysterious background, who is assigned to Babylon 5, a 5-mile-long space station in neutral space, a port of call for travelers, smugglers, corporate explorers and alien diplomats at a time of uneasy peace and the constant threat of war. His arrival triggers a destiny beyond anything he could have imagined, as an exploratory Earth company accidentally triggers a conflict with a civilization a million years ahead of us, putting Sheridan and the rest of the B5 crew in the line of fire as the last, best hope for the survival of the human race.
The potential series hails from Warner Bros. TV. Straczynski will exec produce via his Studio JMS. Warners originally developed Babylon 5: The Gathering as a one-off movie that aired on its former Prime Time Entertainment Network in 1993. After launching to strong returns, Warners picked it up to series. The drama starring Michael O’Hare, Boxleitner, Claudia Christian, Jerry Doyle and Mira Furlan went on to run for five seasons and 110 episodes. When PTEN folded in 1997, the drama moved to TNT for its fifth season. The series spawned a spinoff, TNT’s Crusade, as well as seven feature-length movies as Straczynski charted the years from 2245 to 2281, when the Babylon 5 station was decommissioned. The franchise was a lucrative one for Warners and also extended to a series of novels, short stories and comics, among other revenue streams.
Straczynski earned a number of genre prizes, including a Hugo, Saturn, the Space Frontier Foundation Award and the Ray Bradbury Award.
More recently, Straczynski created, wrote and served as showrunner on Netflix’s Sense8 (alongside the Wachowskis). His other credits include Changeling, Underworld: Awakening, World War Z and Thor. The TV, film and comic book writer most recently published his new novel, Together We Will Go. He’s repped by A3 Artists Agency and Gendler-Kelly.
Should Babylon 5 move forward, it would provide another key franchise revival for The CW and Warners at a time when well-known IP has become increasingly important for networks and streamers looking to break through a cluttered landscape. Building franchises has also become imperative while linear ratings — and ad revenue — shrink as viewers flock to streaming.
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