Speaking at San Diego Comic Con last week, Straczsynki announced that he would soon be sitting down to write a Babylon 5 feature film, which is envisioned as a reboot of the iconic sci-fi series. JMS said that he plans to get the script locked down by the end of 2015 and the film would then enter production the following year in 2016.
Next to nothing is known about the plot for this Babylon 5 feature film, beyond the fact that it is a reboot of the concept seen in the series. That said, J. Michael Straczynski has stated that he would like to use cast members from the series, such as Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan, in new roles in the feature film. “I’d love to see Bruce as the President of the Earth Alliance”, he said.
The hope is that Warner Bros, who produced the Babylon 5 television series, would step up and green-light a “big budget” feature film once the script has been completed. But owing to the nature of the deal that Straczysnki inked with the studio to produce Babylon 5 in the early 1990s, he, rather than Warner Bros, owns the feature film rights to the show. Should Warner Bros. choose not to greenlight a B5 movie, Straczynski would still proceed with the feature, which would then be funded and produced through his Studio JMS banner on a budget of $80 – $100 million.
This marks the first piece of solid news for a potential Babylon 5 feature film, which Straczysnki has been trying to produce since the 1990s. The writer/producer/director now has the option to proceed without Warner Bros. thanks to the financial success of Studio JMS, whose diverse slate of projects include the upcoming Netflix series Sense8.
Straczynski has previously pitched at least three Babylon 5 feature films. The first was in 1996 and was to tell the story of The Telepath war; while the second, tentatively titled Babylon 5: The Motion Picture, told the story of President Sheridan investigating when the entire crew of a White Star are found dead. It was the third film pitch, The Memory of Shadows, which came closest to fruition in 2004/2005. The project fell apart, however, when funding for the film could not be secured.