Babylon 5 is going to be rebooted. According to The Hollywood Reporter, The CW is developing a “from-the-ground-up reboot” with series creator J. Michael Straczynski, which will follow Earthforce officer John Sheridan as he is assigned to the titular station—and the destiny that he faces after Earth finds itself locked into a war with an ancient civilization.
Straczynski created the original Babylon 5 in the early 1990s, and it ran from 1993 through 1998. It followed the crew of the Babylon 5 station, which was built after a devastating war between humanity and an alien civilization known as the Minbari, as a place where alien races could figure out ways to resolve their differences peacefully. The station was the fifth of a series (its predecessors were destroyed in various accidents or acts of sabotage), and served as a centerpoint in the midst of a variety of galactic conflicts.
The original show has been hailed for its five-year story arc, in which we follow the crew of the station and its inhabitants as they contend with various (at times genocidal) wars, and find themselves in the midst of a bigger struggle between dark and light in the galaxy.
Over the years, there have been calls to bring back the series in some form, and Straczynski noted that the decision was out of his hands: Warner Brothers held the rights and just wasn’t interested in doing anything with the property. But serialized and streaming television has grown in the last decade, and it seems as though the studio has taken another look. Earlier this year, it brought Babylon 5 to HBO Max, introducing the series to a new generation of viewers.
What is a little surprising is that Straczynski and The CW appear to be going back to square one with the show, rather than building off of the original to some degree. The first show has a decades-long following, and it’ll take a lot of work for them to convince viewers that a second take on the story will be worth watching. The five-year story is particularly noteworthy, addressing issues big and small over its run, from the rise of fascism and prevalent nature of racism, to friendship and principles. A potential new series would have to figure out how to retell the story while also making it their own.
On the other hand, it represents a good opportunity to address some of the show’s charming oddities that haven’t aged well, like the costume and set design, as well as the CGI, all of which have a very ’90s aesthetic.
The CW doesn’t appear to have greenlit the series yet, but THR notes that The CW has a good track record of reviving franchises. We’ll have to see how that plays out for this one.