Babylon 5 Trivia

Babylon 5 trivia


Trivia for
“Babylon 5” (1994)

  • Claudia Christian auditioned for the role of Seven of Nine on “Star Trek: Voyager” (1995). In fact, several B5 actors also did Trek: Andreas Katsulas was a Romulan ship commander; Majel Barrett made an appearance on B5 as the seer who foretells Londo’s ascension to the throne. Majel Barretts character, Lady Morella, was the widow of the recently deceased Emperor Turhan, no doubt an homage to Gene Roddenberry. 

  • When B5 entered production, there were claims that the creators of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1993) had stolen the basic Babylon 5 premise. It was never proven, though both shows share striking similarities. This controversy led to friction between Babylon 5 and Star Trek fans over the course of both series.

  • The Babylon 5 station is an “O’Neil class space station”. Gerard K. O’Neill was a physicist and space visionary who suggested the use of large rotating cylindrical habitats for future space stations.
  • The Medlab was deliberately designed to display few tools and instruments. The designers considered less to be more in guessing future medical technology.
  • The Babylon 5 station is claimed to be operated by an artificial intelligence computer system provided by the Centauri.
  • Babylon 5 filmmakers received informal technical advice on the series from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • According to Usenet posts by series creator J. Michael Straczynski, the term “psi cop” (for the powerful, merciless enforcers of the Psi Corps) intentionally echoes the acronym “CSICOP” – the acronym for the “Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal”, a group of scientists and professional magicians who investigate psychic phenomena and unmask frauds and hoaxes.
  • During the fifth season, Producer J. Michael Straczynski wanted to have actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson do a cameo appearance playing Psi Cops, but the plan fell through.
  • The series was conceived to run for five seasons as a sort of giant video novel. This plan was nearly shelved when it appeared B5 was going to be canceled after the fourth season. J Michael Straczynski pushed forward much of the material he had planned for the fifth season into the fourth, and even filmed the planned series finale for that year. When word came that the fifth season had been granted after all, the series finale was held back and used in its proper place.
  • Cameo: [J. Michael Straczynski] (series creator), as the technician who turns off the station’s lights in the series finale.
  • Series creator J. Michael Straczynski once said that the Earth Alliance military used a “blending” of rank systems, although this was never spelled out in detail on the show. Thus, the exact EA rank structure remains unknown, although most fans assume the different branches (Navy, Marines, Security) each use the appropriate system of ranks for that branch. (Contrary to popular belief, Admirals have been mentioned twice on the show, in “And the Sky full of Stars” and “Signs and Portents”) There are Generals who have been seen wearing the blue Navy uniform, although this could be evidence of yet another branch (Air Force?).
  • During the run of the show, the show’s creator, J. Michael Straczynski, was contacted by NASA officials who asked if they could borrow the design of the show’s fighters – called, ‘Starfuries’ – for use on the International Space Station. NASA wanted to use the ships as a combination tug and forklift, adding, “Your design is the most practical we’ve seen.” Straczynski replied that it was fine with him, but that NASA had to call them Starfuries. NASA agreed.
  • Series creator J. Michael Straczynski made television history by becoming the first person to write an entire 22-episode season of a television series (Babylon 5’s 3rd season).
  • Because of the epic five season “video novel”, ad libs were forbidden on set. Any script changes had to be approved by series creator J. Michael Straczynski.
  • Based on onscreen evidence, the Earth Alliance military appears to have at least three different branches: Marines (brown uniforms), Security (gray), and Navy (blue). We have seen blue-uniformed officers with ‘ground’ ranks (like General); it is unclear what this means, possibly a fourth branch (“Air Force”?). A popular fan theory is that this last branch is for EarthForce officers who work in space but have not yet received flight status (i.e. certification as a starship officer or StarFury pilot).
  • The Omega-class destroyers used by the Earth Alliance military were based on the design of the Russian spaceship ‘Leonov’ from the film 2010 (1984).
  • Walter Koenig plays Psi Cop Alfred Bester. Alfred Bester (1913 – 1987) was a leading science fiction writer, one of whose best works, The Demolished Man, deals with murder in a world where the police are telepathic, as is the Bester character in Babylon 5.
  • During the first season, Commander Sinclair said, “This station created[artificial] gravity by rotation, so the room never stops spinning.” Reportedly, the animating team had the station spinning at a near-Earth gravity simulation. This was determined by a physicist who was also a fan of the show, who determined the approximate size of a human being on the edge of the station and extrapolating.
  • Delenn was originally going to be a male character. The “transformation” at the start of season 2 would have been from a male character to a female character – both incarnations were to have been played by Mira Furlan. This is why, in the pilot, Delenn’s appearance is much more severe and masculine than in the first series. The plan was to electronically modulate Furlan’s voice into a lower register, so her voice would sound male. JMS wasn’t happy with the results, so the male-to-female idea was dropped; Furlan’s unaltered voice was used for the pilot, and her makeup was made more feminine for the series.
  • Ranked #13 in TV Guide’s list of the “25 Top Cult Shows Ever!” (30 May 2004 issue).
  • Captain John Sheridan was ranked #9 in TV Guide’s list of the “25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends” (1 August 2004 issue).
  • The Centauri Celebration of Life, in the episode “Parliament of Dreams”, was shot all in one take.
  • Won two Hugo awards in two consecutive years.
  • Robert Foxworth, who played General Hague during Season 2, was supposed to return for “Severed Dreams”. However he got booked on an episode of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1993) that same week. So they re-wrote the script, killed off his character and brought in ‘Bruce McGill’, Major Ryan. Oddly enough, Foxworths Deep Space Nine character attempted a coup on Earth, whereas his Babylon 5 character was a loyalist fighting against a coup on Earth. Also, in a Stargate SG-1 episode, Foxworths character was nearly the victim of a coup on his homeworld, and in an Enterprise episode, he attempted yet another coup on the planet Vulcan.
  • Claudia Christian was originally scheduled to appear in season 5. According to series creator J. Michael Straczynski, she backed out of the final season due to a contract dispute. However, according to Christian she was fired by the producers.
  • The Vorlon encounter suit actually didn’t fit through the doorways on the set, so the alien was never shown entering or leaving a room.
  • Although Producer J. Michael Straczynski had said several times in public that the series outline was on his computer under a triple-encrypted code lock, the series plans were also in a couple of three-ring binders directly above his desk in his studio office.
  • The actors were never told in advance what was in store for their characters. Each new episode was just as much a surprise for them as it was for the viewers.
  • Originally the character of Jeffrey Sinclair was supposed to continue throughout the series and fight the shadows as well as eventually returning in time to become Valen. At the end of season one it was decided to write Sinclair out because, among other reasons, this amounted to too many plotlines for one character. The back-story involving Sinclair’s fight with the Shadows was transferred to the new character of John Sheridan. Originally the role that Sheridan’s wife played in uncovering the Shadows would have been filled by Sinclair’s on-again/off-again lover Catherine Sakai.
  • Two blooper cassettes were made of various gaffes and mistakes, but they were never commercially released.
  • The inspiration for the design of the Vorlon ships was a clove of garlic.
  • Many of the plot elements and the storyline itself were inspired by the poem, “Ulysses”, by Alfred Lord Tennyson. The poem is mentioned four times throughout the series.

Trivia for
Babylon 5: In the Beginning (1998) (TV)

  • In this TV-movie, Robin Sachs plays Coplann, a member of the Minbari Grey Council. In an episode of “Star Trek: Voyager” (1995), Sachs plays an alien named Valen. In B5, Valen is the name of the Minbari holy figure who originally formed the Council.

Trivia for
Babylon 5: The River of Souls (1998) (TV)

  • The Soul Hunter make-up, first seen in the “Babylon 5” episode “Soul Hunter”, was altered to make Martin Sheen’s face more recognizable.

  • Martin Sheen was originally offered the role of Dr. Bryson but after reading the script, he asked to play the Soul Hunter instead.

Trivia for
Babylon 5: Thirdspace (1998) (TV)

  • When they finished editing the movie for broadcast, the producers found out that they were actually a few minutes short so the elevator scene with Zack and Lyta was added.

  • The artifact was designed in cooperation with Wayne Douglas Barlow, author of Barlow’s Guide to Extraterrestrials.

Trivia for
Babylon 5: The Lost Tales – Voices in the Dark (2007) (TV)

  • There was a third storyline in the original script involving Michael Garibaldi, Jerry Doyle’s character from “Babylon 5” (1994). Eventually it was decided that there should be only two segments, and since his was the most complicated visually and technically, it was postponed for a next time.


Disclaimer: This is a non-profit, fan site for entertainment purposes only. Babylon 5, characters, names, images, and all related indicia are trademarks of Babylonian Productions and Time Warner Entertainment Co. Copyright 1994-2002 by Time Warner Entertainment Co. All Rights Reserved.

Posted in TV Triva and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.