Bad news (and some good news) for fans of Babylon 5, who were eagerly waiting for updates on the upcoming series reboot: while the pilot hasn’t been picked up for 2022, it is still on the cards for 2023.
The announcement was made last night by Babylon 5’s creator, J. Michael Straczynski (JMS), following the news that the CW – the American network where the reboot is set to air – has picked up several shows for its Fall 2022 season, with Babylon 5 not being one of them.
“Yesterday, Babylon 5 was in active development at the CW and Warner Bros. for fall 2022″, JMS wrote on his Patreon page. “Today, Babylon 5 is in active development at the CW and Warner Bros. for fall 2023″.
Meanwhile, there’s some more bad news for UK fans of the show – as the series has been removed from IMDb TV, where it was available to stream for free.
Babylon 5 is a science fiction series that first aired in the US in 1994 (following a pilot movie in 1993). It is set far in the future, and mostly takes place on a space station – Babylon 5 – where humans and alien diplomats are stationed.
Some of the show’s stars included Michael O’Hare, Bruce Boxleitner, Mira Furlan, Claudia Christian and many others.
Babylon 5 was known for its 5-year story arc, which was planned from the start. That was highly unusual at the time, as most shows in those days did not have major season-long story arcs (let alone five seasons-long) – something we take for granted with drama series these days.
Despite a rocky start (the show was almost cancelled several times, and moved between networks), Babylon 5 did manage to complete its 5-seasons run, and gathered a growing and loyal fan base over the years.
In the UK, the show aired on Channel 4 alongside the US (with some episodes even airing before the US) and was quite popular at the time.
Babylon 5 Reboot Postponed
Last year, it was announced that a Babylon 5 reboot was in the works, helmed by original series creator J. Michael Straczynski, who was set to write the pilot (and subsequent episodes).
As explained later by JMS, the show was not going to be a sequel. Instead, it was going to be a ‘reimagining’ of the original series, following Earthforce officer John Sheridan (one of the original show’s main characters), with some aspects being similar to the original, and many being new.
The reboot’s development has been ordered by The CW, an American network geared towards young audiences, which is mainly known these days for its Arrowverse shows.
As reported a few weeks ago on his Twitter account, JMS finished writing the pilot, and the creators – and fans – were waiting for The CW to pick up the pilot, which would have then premiered in the fall of 2022.
The pilot script is done and approved, no more revisions. The CW likes it a great deal. We should get a formal yes or no on the production order by the end of the month. https://t.co/h8GnicJOLH
— J. Michael Straczynski (@straczynski) January 12, 2022
Yesterday, however, Deadline published a list of the pilots that The CW picked up for the upcoming season, including Supernatural prequel series The Winchesters, Gotham Knights, Walker: Independence and more.
The Babylon 5 reboot, unfortunately, is not on that list – which led to JMS posting an explanation on his popular Patreon page.
The reason for the current setback seems to be the possible sale of The CW. ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia currently own the network, and the two are reportedly looking for buyers who would take The CW off their hands.
Until new owners are in place, some future projects can get postponed or even cancelled – which is the reason for Babylon 5 not being picked up for 2022, according to JMS.
However, JMS says Babylon 5 still has a major backer in the network – Mark Pedowitz, President of The CW, who worked for Warner Bros. (who produced the show) when Babylon 5 first aired.
“Calling the pilot ‘a damned fine script’. he said he was taking the highly unusual step of rolling the project and the pilot script into next year, keeping B5 in active development while the dust settles on the sale of the CW.”
Therefore, while the Babylon 5 reboot will not air in 2022, it’s still in active development for Fall 2023.
Of course, if and when The CW gets new owners, things may change yet again – but at least the reboot is still on the cards, for now.
Where Can I Watch Babylon 5?
You can also purchase individual seasons to stream on Amazon’s Prime Video in the US.
In the UK, Babylon 5 was available for a short while for free (with adverts) on Amazon’s IMDb TV Prime Video Channel.
Unfortunately, it seems the show has been removed from IMDb TV (we approached Amazon to clarify this), is therefore only available for purchase at the moment.