Babylon 5's New Movie Could Use Time Travel to Resolve Its Biggest Cliffhanger
It's not a reboot! But the new take on 'Babylon 5' is more than just fan service.
The last best hope for peace is back. This year, Babylon 5 will be reborn as a one-off animated feature, which will reunite surviving cast members from the beloved ‘90s sci-fi series. But there’s an interesting twist. The new movie — called Babylon 5: The Road Home — will find John Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) — getting unstuck in time, and traveling the B5 multiverse. This approach also means that we’re getting some new voice actors taking on the roles originated by beloved actors who have sadly passed away. In this story, Sheridan will see Garibaldi, Delenn, G’Kar, and Stephen Franklin, who will all now be voiced by new actors.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story of Babylon 5: The Road Home will focus on John Sheridan as he hits up different timelines and alternate realities. The officially released synopsis from Warner Bros. Animation reads:
Travel across the galaxy with John Sheridan as he unexpectedly finds himself transported through multiple timelines and alternate realities in a quest to find his way back home. Along the way he reunites with some familiar faces, while discovering cosmic new revelations about the history, purpose, and meaning of the Universe.
Interestingly, John Sheridan has become “unstuck in time” before. In the excellent Season 3 two-parter, “War Without End,” Sheridan briefly traveled into his own future. Because the new movie is written by series creator J. Michael Straczynski, the specifics of Sheridan’s timeline are clearly well-known to him. Will this movie focus on Sheridan while he was still in command of Babylon 5? Or is this when he’s the president of the Interstellar Alliance? Perhaps, because there’s time travel involved, the answer is simply yes.
What the Babylon 5: The Road Home cast could mean for the movie
The Hollywood Reporter confirms the following people are in the cast:
- Bruce Boxleitner as John Sheridan
- Claudia Christian as Susan Ivanova
- Peter Jurasik as Londo Mollari
- Bill Mumy as Lennier
- Tracy Scoggins as Elizabeth Lochley
- Patricia Tallman as Lyta Alexander
- Paul Guyet as Zathras and Jeffery Sinclair
- Anthony Hansen as Michael Garibaldi
- Mara Junot as Reporter and Computer Voice
- Phil LaMarr as Dr. Stephen Franklin
- Piotr Michael as David Sheridan
- Andrew Morgado as G’Kar
- Rebecca Riedy as Delenn
There’s a bit to unpack here. First of all, the fact that the character of Jeffery Sinclair is appearing is really interesting. Fans will remember that Sinclair was the lead of Babylon 5 in Season 1, but was replaced by Bruce Boxleitner as Sheridan when Michael O’Hare left the show. O’Hare later returned in Season 3, when it was revealed that Sinclair was part of a predestination paradox that resulted in him traveling back in time and becoming the messiah for the Minbari race, 1,000 years prior to the series starting. Because “War Without End,” completed Sinclair’s journey, could this be one of the alternate timelines? One in which Sinclair was never reassigned from Babylon 5?
We also see that Susan Ivanova and Elizabeth Lochley will both appear in this movie, which implies that we’re visiting B5 during the time Susan was still part of the command staff, as well as the later era, in 2262, in which Captain Lochley took over day-to-day operations of the station. Because Claudia Christian did not appear in Season 5 (other than the finale), this will be the first Babylon 5 installment in which she will appear with Tracy Scoggins at all.
Finally, and most bittersweet, Mira Furlan, Andreas Katsulas, Jerry Doyle, Michael O’Hare, and Richard Biggs, will all have their characters reprised by new voices. The fact that the movie is animated and deals with time travel and alternate timelines, is easily the most delicate and kind way to bring these characters back. Using new voice actors will allow us to see these characters again, but also honor the memory of what the original actors looked like when they were alive.
The Biggest B5 cliffhanger — resolved?
Perhaps the most interesting name in the cast list is that of “David Sheridan.” In the series, David was the name of John’s father (played brilliantly by Rance Howard) but also the name of Sheridan and Delenn’s unseen son. In both “War Without End” and “In the Beginning,” Delenn tells John that their son “is safe,” but we never really get to see what he was doing. From what we know, he eventually joined the Rangers, but for the most part, save for a few details here and there, we know very, very little about David Sheridan.
Assuming Piotr Michael is playing Sheridan's son and not his father, this will be the first time B5 fans will actually see this mysterious, and pivotal character.
On Twitter, J. Michael Straczynski has made it clear that this animated film is separate and apart from the in-development full reimagining of Babylon 5. And yet, because this upcoming movie touches on a multiverse, who knows? Although Straczynski has made it clear that there is “no umbrella” of a larger shared universe, and the in-development reboot and the new animated film are very separate, it’s still fascinating that the new animated film will have alternate timelines. Any way you look at it, the beginning of the Babylon 5 renaissance could start right here.
Babylon 5: The Road Home release date
Babylon 5: The Road Home does not yet have an exact release date, but J. Michael Straczynski confirmed on Twitter that it will come out this summer, 2023.