While Straczynski will never get the rights to the series back from Warner Brothers for television, one thing he has always owned is the rights to a feature length film. What does that mean for him? Well until now, not much. Most studios don’t want the rights to only a movie when a TV show could interfere with it. Thankfully, though, with Studio JMS (J. Michael Straczynski) having successfully launched, it looks like the movie may come to fruition after all!
Here is his exact statement:
“So we’ve been having a really, really good year at Studio JMS. And where that comes in handy – where it’s kind of important involves this (B5 logo comes on screen). So… Fact: When I made the Babylon 5 deal with Warner Bros. it was just short of indentured servitude. Financially, I’ll never seen a dime out of Babylon 5 ever. I have no problems with that; I knew what I was signing when I go into it, but I mention it to piss them off every once in a while. One thing that I was able to withhold was the film rights. I still own the movie rights to Babylon 5. I’ve been pushing Warner’s for the last…ever since the early cretaceous period…to “Let’s do a Babylon 5 movie – a proper big budget feature film.” And they’ve always dragged their feet [because] that’s what Warner Bros. does. They knew that they had the upper hand because I couldn’t take it to any other studio because these days all the studios want all the rights. So if I brought it to say, Sony or Fox, they’d want the TV rights which Warner Bros. controls. Warner Bros. will never give those rights up so we were always handcuffed by that.
Turns out, however, there’s one studio in Los Angeles…Distributors, by the way, don’t care about the TV rights. Distributors just [care] about the movie, they don’t care about the TV part. There’s one studio in town that doesn’t care if it doesn’t have the TV rights…that wants to see this movie made and will do it with or without Warner Bros. (Studio JMS logo comes on screen).
Here’s the plan: We’re going to have, through Studio JMS, at least two, maybe three TV series on the air next year. We’re going to have at least one or two movies going ahead. And we’ll use that to parlay serious investment in the studio. I’m not talking Kickstarter, I’m talking about one hundred million dollars, two hundred million dollars; we already have people who are lined up and interested in doing that.”
While fans of the series would love it to continue, he did say that they would have to go the reboot route. That makes sense to have a reboot because it’s now been twenty-plus years since the premiere of the show and some of the age ranges wouldn’t always work with some of the characters. With actors having aged, passed on, or being busy, mixing in alien life spans to compliment them could prove difficult. However, don’t for a moment think that Straczynski is the kind of person to not include some one-offs for the fan base. What I would like to see is an appearance from the original cast one way or the other. I’d love to see Bruce Boxleitner as President of the Earth Alliance –that would be the perfect role for him.
If Straczynski is working on funding, one thing he might look to do is bring on his recent partners from ‘Sense8’, The Wachowskis. They always do a good job at putting together a huge budget for their visions and it could be quite feasible that they would love to be involved as well. They also have an in with Warner Bros. as the studio released ‘The Matrix,’ ‘Cloud Atlas‘ and ‘Jupiter Ascending‘ (which is set to be released next year) which they were involved in.
Straczynski has a lot of things on his plate right now, but if you want to hear the words coming directly out of his mouth, you can listen to the clip below!
Are you excited for a fresh start of ‘Babylon 5’? Would you be OK with a cinematic reboot of the entire series as long as Straczynski is in charge of putting it together?