In the early spring of 1993, a year before the series was launched, the two-hour movie and series pilot Babylon 5: The Gathering appeared. This proto-Babylon staked out the initial territory for the series (some of which would change by the first episode), introducing primary characters and sketching out the alliances and rifts in interplanetary diplomacy. Some of the primary characters bowed out after their initial appearances (Tamlyn Tomita's Lt. Commander Laurel Takashima and Johnny Seka's Dr. Benjamin Kyle never returned; Patricia Tallman's telepath Lyta Alexander made periodic revisits beginning in the second season, eventually rejoining the cast permanently). Set on the first anniversary of the Babylon 5 (none of the first four stations survived even a month), the central story involves the attempted assassination of the newly arrived Vorlon, the mysterious Ambassador Kosh, at the hands of (perhaps) Commander Jeffrey Sinclair (Michael O'Hare). Security Chief Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle, a smart-aleck tough guy in the Bruce Willis vein) investigates and uncovers a web of conspirators, a portent of things to come. When TNT picked up the series for the fifth season Straczynski reedited the pilot, weaving back in a dropped subplot while cutting the rest of the film more tightly, tweaking special effects, and commissioning a new score from Christopher Franke. This is the cut released on video, a stronger, more engaging film, but still a broad first stab at characters that would redefine themselves through the course of the show's run. --Sean Axmaker
Ambassador Londo Mollari:
I was there at the dawn of the third age of mankind. It began in the Earth year 2257, with the last of the Babylon stations located deep in neutral space. It was a port of call for refugees, smugglers, businessmen, diplomats, and travelers from a hundred worlds. It could be a dangerous place, but we accepted the risk because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace. Under the leadership of its final commander, Babylon 5 was a dream given form. A dream of a galaxy without war, where species could live side-by-side in mutual respect. A dream that was endangered as never before by one man on a mission of destruction. Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. This is its story.
There was a time when this whole quadrant belonged to us! What are we now? Twelve worlds and a thousand monuments to past glories. Living off memories and stories, and selling trinkets. My god, man! We've become a tourist attraction. "See the great Centauri Republic - open 9 to 5 - Earth time."
I wonder if they'll ever find that transmitter you slipped in G'kar's drink.
No they won't. Because there is none. If I had put one in, sooner or later, they would have found it. This way, they'll keep looking.
Are you aware of the tests they'll perform and the things they'll do to him?
Yes. Come on.
There are some days I love this job.
By the way, there is something I've been wondering. Why Babylon 5? If the prior four stations were lost or destroyed, why build another?
Plain, old human stubbornness, I guess. When something we value is destroyed, we rebuild it. If it's destroyed again, we rebuild it again. And again, and again, and again - until it stays. That, as our poet Tennyson once said, is the goal: "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
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