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Old March 11th 14, 13:43   #1
Psi Cop
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Telepath War

Why did JMS tease us all series long about the telepath war and then not devote any episodes to it? Or a movie? It would have added more to the story than what Thirdspace or River Of Souls did. In fact, apart from In The Beginning, I have tried to jettison the 'movies' from my B5 consciousness altogether. And I don't want to know about books - I wanted to see - on the screen!!
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Old March 11th 14, 14:40   #2
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Re: Telepath War

The general consensus is that JMS was saving the actual telepath war for a feature film. Whether that's true or not, who knows?

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Old March 11th 14, 14:55   #3
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Re: Telepath War

JMS reportedly held that back in the hope that there would eventually be a Babylon 5 feature film ( oh how young and naive we were). With a proposed budget of $30-35 million, the cost of an entire season of B5, JMS felt he could deliver a high quality, action driven product while also rewarding the actors with movie-sized paychecks for all their years of service in the hot tub factory. Even though we can pretty much figure how things turned out, along with the fates of some specific characters, it would have been something to see.
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Old March 11th 14, 17:01   #4
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Re: Telepath War

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Why did JMS tease us all series long about the telepath war and then not devote any episodes to it? Or a movie? It would have added more to the story than what Thirdspace or River Of Souls did. In fact, apart from In The Beginning, I have tried to jettison the 'movies' from my B5 consciousness altogether. And I don't want to know about books - I wanted to see - on the screen!!
Well, I don't think there's much disagreement that the Telepath War thing ended up being handled badly in retrospect. [Annnnnnd cue disagreement] It seems like he intened to flash back to it much like B5 flashed back to the Minbari war.

The idea of a movie was mentioned several times, but I don't know how serious it was. The only script for a film that I've ever heard was "The Memory of Shadows," which involved Franklin and some new character running down shadowtech. That doesn't appear to have anything to do with the Telepath war.
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Old March 11th 14, 17:33   #5
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Re: Telepath War

A script treatment (a partial one, really, just the set-up) appeared in one of the B5 script books, 'War of the Mind' I think it was called. After Lyta's Resistance stepped up their campaign against Psi Corps with terrorist attacks and abductions, the Corps retaliated. The conflict was spreading, and growing out of control. After staying out of it as long as he could manage, Sheridan arranges a peace conference aboard Babylon 5. Both sides have forces in place to wreck the conference and bring the war to B5. Mysterious alien attacks in deep space, too, all the usual good stuff you would expect.

Working out a decent timeline of the war is tricky, from the bits and pieces of information floating around in the series, the books, JMS' comments, etc. So many elements to work with, much more complex than the Earth-Minbari War. Lies, betrayal, sleeper agents, implanted control personalities, secret deals and alliances, alien involvement, Corps motherships, nuclear weapons, concentration camps, a coup in EarthDome, looming genocide... It's quite a vicious cauldron he was constructing, with Earth as the central battlefield.

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Old March 14th 14, 14:14   #6
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Re: Telepath War

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Originally Posted by Raw Shark View Post
A script treatment (a partial one, really, just the set-up) appeared in one of the B5 script books, 'War of the Mind' I think it was called. After Lyta's Resistance stepped up their campaign against Psi Corps with terrorist attacks and abductions, the Corps retaliated. The conflict was spreading, and growing out of control. After staying out of it as long as he could manage, Sheridan arranges a peace conference aboard Babylon 5. Both sides have forces in place to wreck the conference and bring the war to B5. Mysterious alien attacks in deep space, too, all the usual good stuff you would expect.

Working out a decent timeline of the war is tricky, from the bits and pieces of information floating around in the series, the books, JMS' comments, etc. So many elements to work with, much more complex than the Earth-Minbari War. Lies, betrayal, sleeper agents, implanted control personalities, secret deals and alliances, alien involvement, Corps motherships, nuclear weapons, concentration camps, a coup in EarthDome, looming genocide... It's quite a vicious cauldron he was constructing, with Earth as the central battlefield.

Raw Shark

"Everyone here knows that the first casualty of war is always the truth."
Capt. Sheridan
Huh. I'd heard a paraphrase of that outline before, but had no idea where it originally came from. Thank you!

Chronolgywise, Lyta left the station in 2262, and said she'd have her forces in place in 2 years, so, 2264. Crusade starts in 2267, and the conflict was said to be 'recent'. So: no more than three years in duration, probably less. Legend of the Rangers too place in 2265, and G'kar describes Lyta as "Gone." There's no sign or mention of war in that movie, so it must have run between 2262 and 2264/65 at the latest. It appears to have been a fairly breif (But obviously pretty bloody) conflict.

Incidentally, I've always questioned the 2267 date for Crusade. In "A Call To Arms," they say the attack took place five years to the day from the formation of the ISA, but the ISA was formed in the end of 2261.
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Old March 14th 14, 18:06   #7
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Re: Telepath War

I think I'm the one who summarized it before. 'Wars of the Mind' was intended to be a feature film. Looks like there’s a short story in the ‘TV Movies’ script book I didn’t see before.

Patricia Tallman was supposed to be in the Crusade episode 'The Path of Sorrows,' which was to depict Lyta's death, self-detonating using her super-telepath abilities to destroy the hidden Psi Corps headquarters. She wasn't available, so they got someone else to play the captured telepath, and the base appears to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon. Is it known if Lyta was killed during this incident, or was this part re-written because Tallman was unavailable? I think JMS said somewhere that Lyta did not survive the war, but I would think he would want her death to be an on-screen and memorable event.

Although the episode makes it looks like this attack is the final nail in Psi Corps' coffin, I think it's the breaking point, after which the shit really hits the fan. With the Corps' leadership largely eliminated, someone has to step into the role of leader, namely Bester. And then the gloves really come off. Bester would do whatever he felt was necessary to protect the Corps and get the situation back under control. And Bester's solutions tend to be very ugly. One of my absolute favorite parts of B5 was in 'The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father.' The ending, where Bester's latest protege volunteers to push their prisoner out of the airlock into hyperspace was so chilling, such a perfect example of the cold-blooded nature of the psyche of a Psi Cop. That episode was so weird in its format, kind of clunky, but it really came together at the end. I tend to remember season five for its good parts, of which there were many.

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Old March 14th 14, 19:25   #8
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Re: Telepath War

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Is it known if Lyta was killed during this incident, or was this part re-written because Tallman was unavailable? I think JMS said somewhere that Lyta did not survive the war, but I would think he would want her death to be an on-screen and memorable event.
It's certain that she died during the Telepath war and it *seems* conclusive that this was the incident since in the Crusade Writer's Bible, JMS wrote that she and Lennier die during the TW and the original draft of the script that featured her has a back view of a Minbari fighting with a pike and she calls Lennier's name just before the explosion. That said, since it wasn't actually seen onscreen, if JMS changes his mind, the option's still open.

Quote:
Although the episode makes it looks like this attack is the final nail in Psi Corps' coffin, I think it's the breaking point, after which the shit really hits the fan. With the Corps' leadership largely eliminated, someone has to step into the role of leader, namely Bester. And then the gloves really come off. Bester would do whatever he felt was necessary to protect the Corps and get the situation back under control. And Bester's solutions tend to be very ugly. One of my absolute favorite parts of B5 was in 'The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father.' The ending, where Bester's latest protege volunteers to push their prisoner out of the airlock into hyperspace was so chilling, such a perfect example of the cold-blooded nature of the psyche of a Psi Cop. That episode was so weird in its format, kind of clunky, but it really came together at the end. I tend to remember season five for its good parts, of which there were many.
In the unproduced script "Value Judgments" by Fiona Avery, I think there are some flashbacks to Bester's trial for war crimes (or am I thinking of the Psi Corps trilogy? Not certain). I don't recall any details at the moment but the script was published in 'Crusade: Other Voices Volume 2' along with some other goodies.

Jan
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Old March 15th 14, 15:22   #9
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Re: Telepath War

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Incidentally, I've always questioned the 2267 date for Crusade. In "A Call To Arms," they say the attack took place five years to the day from the formation of the ISA, but the ISA was formed in the end of 2261.
A Call to Arms may have taken place in 2266, but don't forget that Racing the Night was set 6-12 months after the attack, which would take us into 2267. It was only after TNT interfered that the first half of Crusade would have taken place in 2266.
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Old March 15th 14, 22:19   #10
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Re: Telepath War

"Don't write off the Goose until you see the box going into the hole!"
Mad Max

Once the script is changed, then I would say yes, all bets are off. Lyta was written out of the series after 'The Gathering,' with Harlan Ellison joking that she must not have been a very good telepath because she didn't know she was being replaced. But life happens, and Andrea Thompson had to be replaced too, so they got Pat Tallman to come back, thankfully (although I liked them both). With a main character like Lyta, the driving force behind the Telepath War, I would expect her death to be something momentous, and thus captured on film. And most likely, still going out with a bang. To not do so would be a wasted opportunity in storytelling. I thought it was really strange in 'No Country for Old Men' when Josh Brolin's character was suddenly <spoiler alert> killed off-screen. It was confusing and kind of ineffective.

And it still puzzles me that people think the Psi Corps base being destroyed in 'The Path of Sorrows' is on Mars, even though it is surrounded by grass, trees and water! Most human telepaths live on Earth, and the bulk of the Corps' assets and administration would be there as well.

Jan, I think the flashbacks you're referring to are in both 'Value Judgments' and the Psi Corps trilogy. It is mentioned at least once that Bester is considered the worst and most notorious of the Psi Corps war criminals, the one with the most blood on his hands, the hardest one to capture or kill. Once Lyta returned from her adventures with G'kar to launch her campaign to topple Psi Corps, Bester's broad experience would make him the natural choice to lead the Corps' crackdown. And from there, other opportunities would arise for such an ambitious and loyal operative and commander during an ongoing crisis. Corps telepaths would be deserting to the Resistance or being killed off by Resistance terror attacks, intricate organizational systems would be coming apart, new security and combat units needed as never before. Psi Corps would be in chaos, scrambling to adjust. Given its devotion to discipline and hierarchy, it would turn to a strong leader to solve its problems. And they would find Bester, ready and willing to take over the world.



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