Babylon 5: The Scripts of J. Michael Straczynski, Volume 2.5
Publication Date: January 24, 2013
Retail Price: $39.99
A completely different version of the Season 2 premiere episode, "Points of Departure."
A NEW BABYLON 5 EXPERIENCE
Featuring the teleplay and an audio-photo re-creation of the "lost" version of Sheridan's debut episode...illuminating new facts about BABYLON 5's storylines, characters and canon.
While we were aware there were two very different scripts of Babylon 5's Season 2 premiere, "Points of Departure," we never thought we'd get to publish the original. Here's why:
In the early 2000s, J. Michael Straczynski's hard drive suffered a fatal crash and the original script was thought lost forever. That's why, when Volume 3 of Babylon 5: The Scripts of J. Michael Straczynski was released, JMS included the shooting script for "Points of Departure" instead of an earlier draft of the teleplay, as he'd done with most of his other scripts.
Enter Editor Jason Davis – former feature writer for Creative Screenwriting magazine (and resident Indiana Jones) – somehow, secured the original version of the "Points of Departure" script.
Surprised by the differences between this original script and the shooting script, and aware of some "classified" reshoots early in Season 2, we realized that this original draft was actually produced and edited before the episode was rewritten and scenes were re-shot.
Unable to reach JMS, we found proof of our theory in the Babylon 5 storage vault: a VHS video tape — the Season 2 opener as written in the ORIGINAL teleplay.
When J. Michael Straczynski resurfaced, he was thrilled that we now had the original teleplay and the tape and suggested we put together a "re-creation" of the original episode by using screenshots from the VHS tape and lining them up with the dialogue in the original script, since we would not be able to get permission to release the actual video. (See samples below).
For a more holistic experience, JMS had us pull the audio track from the VHS cassette, have it professionally remixed and included on an audio CD. This way, you can listen to the original episode's dialogue as you read the script and view the accompanying 300 images.
All of which makes the point: if we had then what we have now, all of this would have been included in Volume 3, which is why we are inserting this book between volumes 2 and 3 -- a moment of transition, if you'll forgive the phrase.
✔ ANNOTATED SCRIPT
The complete ORIGINAL draft of the Season 2 premiere, "Points of Departure," with editor's annotations for every page indicating the differences between this draft, the director's cut, the producers' cut and the final version of the episode that was aired and released on DVD.
100 pages total. (See samples below).
✔ VIDEO IMAGE RE-CREATION OF "POINTS OF DEPARTURE" AS ORIGINALLY SHOT
Using nearly 300 screenshots, we have re-created, scene-by-scene, the original episode as it was originally filmed BEFORE J. Michael Straczynski decided to extensively alter the episode. The 100 pages of this re-creation are formatted so that each frame matches up to the dialogue being spoken on the audio CD. (See samples below).
✔ AUDIO CD OF THE ORIGINAL CUT
This is the complete audio portion of the original episode. This means you can pop in the CD, open the book to page 106 and follow along with the script and video screenshots for a retro "multimedia" experience. (Added bonus: You and your friends can lip synch the dialogue for added fun at your next party.)
✔ POSTCARD AND BOOKMARK
Featuring never-before-heard quotes that didn't even make it into the version of "Points of Departure" re-created herein. (See images below).
The spine for Volume 2.5 lines up with previous volumes
in the series for a cohesive look.
Postcard with Sheridan and Ivanova quote
Bookmark with Sheridan quote
AUDIO CD OF THE ENTIRE ORIGINAL EPISODE
Exhaustive analysis of how the two versions of "Points of Departure" differ and the story behind how the episode evolved from one of the few "lost episodes of BABYLON 5."
- How "Chrysalis, Part II" evolved into "Points of Departure."
- Storylines for Delenn, Londo Mollari, G'Kar, Anna Sheridan and the Rangers that were sidelined from the season premiere to focus on Sheridan's arrival.
- Lord Refa's first name (both of them)...and the writer who named him.
- The original "telling" title for an unproduced episode of season 2.
- How the Psi Corps would have figured prominently in an earlier concept for "Points of Departure."
- Why Director Janet Greek's cut of the original episode left little wiggle room for JMS and John Copeland to make their producers' edit.
- Why the Agamemnon was featured in the familiar version of "Points of Departure" -- as seen on DVD -- but not in the original version of the episode. (Hint: The reason relates to a set used in a later episode.)
- The complete dialogue spoken by the ambassadors and merchants in the Zocalo that was drowned out by Ivanova's voiceover.
- REVEALED: the Jarvis 2000 -- what is was, who it was named after and why it's not mentioned in the episode you have on DVD.
- The Ivanova line scripted as a "whisper" that Claudia Christian delivered with "force."
- The arcane history of Lt. Corwin's credited name across the first three seasons of B5.
- Why a C&C tech referenced the "station's destruct codes" in the original version of the episode.
- Why J. Michael Straczynski replaced President Morgan Clark with General William Hague during the reshoots of scenes 8 and 9.
- The scene cut from the original "Points of Departure" that continued to appear briefly in the Season 2 title sequence.
- Who said the line (which was eventually cut), "We never have any trouble here."
- How a scene cut from the original "Points of Departure" reappeared thematically in "No Compromises."
- The convoluted history of an unnamed character: how he was nameless in the teleplay and resulting episode (both versions), named in the credits of the episode and eventually renamed (after a member of B5's production staff) because footage of him was re-used in a TV Movie retroactively naming the originally unamed (within the episode) character. (Trust us; it makes sense after you've read the editor's note.)
- The deleted comment from Sheridan that established an interesting aspect of Minbari Warrior Caste culture.
- How key introductory scenes with Captain Sheridan were rearranged and strategically re-shot to strengthen the character's entry into the series.
- Sheridan's amusing quip about Earthforce that was cut from every edit of the episode.
- The scenes shot for "Points of Departure" that were reused in "In the Beginning" and how this led to a continuity error that Editor Jason Davis has explained away in the best tradition of fan rationalization.
- An alternate explanation for how Sheridan knew the Minbari cruiser would be waiting in hyperspace.
- A fact about the Minbari that was cut from the episode, but later reappeared as a "standard procedure" for the Psi Corps in "The Corps Is Mother, the Corps Is Father."
- The ad lib by Bruce Boxleitner about Sheridan's speech that was featured in the producers' cut but deleted from the final episode.
- The dialogue exchange that was deleted, making Sheridan's speech in the empty C&C funnier.
- Which character from the pilot received an unexpected mention in the original version of "Points of Departure" that was deleted in the final version.
- How Warren Keffer's introduction would have changed dramatically if Director Janet Greek's original edit of the episode had remained intact.
- How Bruce Boxleitner's actions with the orange in the episode's final scene differed from what was scripted, and why Director Janet Greek fought with the studio about the scene's execution.
To round out Volume 2.5, J. Michael Straczynski also gave us permission to include something else we'd recently discovered: the complete outlines for the "Legions of Fire" and "The Passing of the Techno-Mages" novel trilogies.
Adapted into three novels each by Peter David and Jeanne Cavelos respectively, and published by Del Rey Books between 1999 and 2001, these outlines answer many questions including (1) "What was from the mind of JMS, and what elements were added by the authors?" and (2) "How might these books have differed if JMS had written them himself?"
- JMS's original name for the governess from "In the Beginning" and why was it changed to Senna.
- Which techno-mage had a sex change from the outline to the novel.
- Which of Londo's wives was inserted into the Centauri books by Peter David.
- What JMS told Peter David about the then-ongoing story of CRUSADE.
- Who created the concept of techno-mages having differing spell languages.
- The note at the end of the techno-mage outline that was NOT given to writer Jeanne Cavelos. (Hint: It was headed "Future CRUSADE Series Note.")
- And much more...
PAGE 9 OF THE VIDEO RE-CREATION
(100 PAGES TOTAL)
PAGE 19 OF THE VIDEO RE-CREATION
PAGE 24 OF THE VIDEO RE-CREATION
PAGES 16 AND 17 OF THE
ANNOTATED ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
(click to see bigger image)
PAGES 18 AND 19 OF THE
ANNOTATED ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
(click to see bigger image)
Adams, Mary Kay – page 70
Agamemnon, EAS – page 6
alien healing device – page 4
"Atonement" – page 30
"Babylon Squared" – page 30
bazaar (set) – pages 24, 26
"Blockade, Part I" (unproduced Babylon 5 episode) – page 2
Cavelos, Jeanne – page 2
"Changing of the Guard" (unproduced Babylon 5 episode) – page 3
Christian, Claudia – pages 12, 68
"Chrysalis, Part II" (unproduced Babylon 5 episode) – pages 2-4, 30, 96
Clark, Morgan William – pages 14, 16
"Coming of Shadows, The" – page 4
Copeland, John – pages 3, 5, 30
Coplann – pages 30, 46
"Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father, The" – page 90
Cortez, EAS – page 6
Corwin, David – page 68
Cox, Joshua – page 68
David, Peter – pages 2, 4
DeathWalker's anti-agapic – pages 3-4
Del Rey Books – page 2
Delenn – page 3
Delgado, Kim – page 14
DGA (Directors Guild of America) – page 5
"Distant Star, A" – pages 3, 5-6, 14
Downes, Robin Atkin – page 30
Drazi – page 26
editing – page 5
exo-skeleton – page 3
Foxworth, Robert – page 16
Franklin, Stephen – page 3
G'Kar – page 3
Garibaldi, Michael – pages 3-4
Garibaldi's aide (Jack) – page 3
"Geometry of Shadows, The" – pages 4, 26
Gordon, Byron – page 30
Greek, Janet – pages 5, 100
Hague, William – pages 14, 16
Hedronn – pages 30, 46
In the Beginning (Babylon 5 TV Movie) – pages 30, 64
Jarvis, Jeff – page 10
Jarvis 2000 Toilets – page 10
Keffer, Warren – pages 70, 98
Kosh – page 4
"Legacies" – page 44
Legions of Fire (novel trilogy) – pages 2, 4
"Long Dark, The" – pages 3, 5
Maday, Gregg – page 3
Mollari, Londo – page 4
Morann – page 30
Na'Kal – page 30
Neroon – page 44
Nils, William – page 20
"No Compromises" – page 26
O'Hare, Michael – pages 1, 3
Optic Nerve – page 30
oranges – page 100
Passing of the Techno-Mages, The (novel trilogy) – page 2
"Points of Departure" – pages 1-5
Psi Corps – page 90
PTEN (Prime Time Entertainment Network) – page 1
Rangers – page 4
Refa, Antol – page 4
re-shoots – pages 12, 14, 16, 24, 26, 32, 34, 74, 76, 86, 90
"Revelations" – page 4
Robertson, Marianne – page 68
Rusler, Robert – page 70
Sachs, Robin – page 30
Santiago, Luis – pages 3-4
Sheridan, Anna – page 4
Sheridan, John – page 4
Sinclair, Jeffrey – page 3
"Sleeping in Light" – page 20
soul – page 66
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – page 16
Sternlicht, Suzanne – page 5
Stratton, Albert – page 30
Strider, John – page 3
Takashima, Laurel – page 18
Tech #1 – page 68
Thompson, Andrea – page 3
Tragati – page 4
TV Guide – page 10
Warner Bros. – pages 1, 100
Warrior Caste – page 44
Winters, Talia – page 3
Woronov, Mary – page 70