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A Question on The Gathering: Special Edition




I'm new to this site, so I apologise if this has already been asked.

Is The Gathering Special Edition avaliable to buy anywhere? I have seen The Gathering avaliable on DVD but is it the 1993 version or the SE version? How do I tell?

Many Thanks and again apologises if the has already been answered.

Hi and welcome aboard! /forums/images/icons/cool.gif

The Gathering on DVD - on both the R1 single-disc two-movie DVD and the R2 separate edition - is the 'new' or 'producer's' or 'special' edition, i.e. not the 1993 original. I don't know if there's much on the box that says so, but it's not the original version.

Hope that helps. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

yeah, the box doesn't say much - in fact the credits on the back make it look as if it is the 1993 release. But it IS the special edition (and it says so at the start of the movie).

When Warner Bros. first licensed the film to Columbia House for VHS release, they provided a master of the original version. CH quickly sold out their stock, and Warner Bros. (doubtless at JMS's urging) provided them with a master of the revised version to use thereafter. But I'm not sure they ever fixed the box copy. I'm pretty sure that when Warner Bros. released their own VHS version, also the revised edition, they still had the box copy for the original.

The 1994 re-edit is JMS's approved version of the film, and the only one he wants released on home video (or broadcast) from now on.

When it came time to do the DVDs, Warner Home Video once again started to master the original version. JMS caught the error and convinced them to do the 1998 edition instead, at a cost of several tens of thousands of dollars. But the box copy (which was likely prepared in advance) still referred to the 1993 version.

Maybe they'll do a DVD special edition one of these days, and one of the "features" will be correct liner notes that credit Chris Franke instead of Stewart Copeland with the music. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif


It sounds like I should digitize my video of the original airing of the pilot and press it to DVD so it never degrades! Even the VCD released internationally is of the special edition.
Just a few more noticable ones I remember off-hand:

<ul type="square"> [*]The music (score) - by Stewart Copeland in the original, Chris Franke in the SE.
[*]The 'alien zoo' (living quarters of lots of weird aliens) was dropped.
[*]When G'Kar & Lyta spoke in the original version, he made a 'cone of silence' or sth like that around them to prevent anyone from overhearing them; this was dropped.
[*]Kosh's thought/greeting "Entil'Zha Veni" was added to the SE. [/list]

You can read more about in the Lurker's Guide Gathering episode guide - there's a bit in the end where JMS also brings some examples.
it's re-edited to fit more with the rest of B5. Seeing as how The Gathering was a pilot was made without the series.
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
'cone of silence'

I would have laughed my butt off if a "cone of silence" had come up. (Or down, as the case may be.) Anyone here remember a silly old show called "Get Smart"? /forums/images/icons/laugh.gif

the cone of silence was funny, if a bit predictable. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
I have never seen the special edition and I only have the original on VHS. I have heard rumours that B5 actually had the cobra bays fitted on the Special Edition, whereas they are missing on the original.

Despite the cut scenes, I heard it reported somewhere that there were about 20 minutes of footage not in the original, most of which were going to be added... is this correct?
The running time of the new version is virtually identical to that of the old one. It had to be to fit into the same two-hour (with commercials) time slot. The original was written with nine act breaks, so that PTEN could fit in more commercials, rather than the standard six acts for a "two-hour" TV movie. However, by 1998, when the revised edition appeared, cable channels like TNT were running about the same number of commercial minutes as PTEN had wanted in 1993, so JMS didn't get any "extra" running time with the re-edit. What he did get was the chance to re-edit the film into six acts, since TNT fit their commercials into the standard number of breaks and just had each of them last longer. This reportedly did wonders for pacing, as now you have a dramatic climax and a break every 12 minutes or so, instead of every eight.

JMS ended up with about 14 minutes of "character stuff" that ended up on the cutting room floor. He was able to put that back in by cutting out 14 minutes from the original version. While this sounds like a huge amount, it really isn't. Many of the cuts were 30 seconds of a long panning shot from the top of one scene, 10 seconds of an overly long reaction shot from the end of another. Shots of characters walking silently through the corridors between on place on the station and another also fell victim to the editor's scissors.

Essentially they pulled out a lot of stuff that the director liked and JMS didn't. (The aforementioned "alien zoo" and "cone of silence" - both derrogatory names applied to these elements by fans, not so-called in the movie - long, lingering camera pans, inferior CGI "establishing" shots that went on too long, that sort of thing.)

Then they put back a lot of stuff that JMS did like, but which hadn't made the original cut. The whole dust dealer/hostage incident at the beginning of the film wasn't in the original version, for instance. Switching to a six act structure let JMS drop certain scenes that were only there to hold the audience through a commercial break, and rearrange the order of others, which helped clarify the narrative. He was able to put more "character" moments back in, like Takishima's cofffee plant (an element later grafted onto Ivanova since it was never seen in the original version) and Kyle's use of stims.

A number of new CGI FX shots were also put in, often replacing the original FX. Since the entire movie was re-edited to one degree or another, a new score was mandatory. The original score had been written for the original final edit. Rather than try to get Stewart Copeland back, JMS just had Christopher Franke write a new score.

The other major change was all of Takishima's dialogue. A Warner Bros. executive had disliked the character, and thought she was too "harsh". So they made Tamlyn Tomita come back and "loop" all of her dialogue to "soften" it. Not only did this change the performance, but it added that odd, flat quality that automated dialogue replacement always had, like a bad English dubbing job on a foreign film. In the course of prepping the revised edition, somebody happened upon Tomita's original voice tracks, and these were restored to all of her scenes. I've heard people who saw the original version and didn't like the character at all say that they liked her a lot better in the revised edition.


</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Joe, wasn't the dialogue in a scene between Lyta and G'kar changed?


If such a thing happened it can only have been done by using alternate takes, shortening a scene, or adding previously cut material to one. There were no reshoots and the only new dialogue recorded for the revised edition was Kosh's single "thought balloon". (In the original Kosh had no lines at all.)

I don't have a definitive list of changes. (Although I know a guy who posted a scene-by-scene comparison between the two versions and posted it on his website. Unfortunately I lost the URL when my old computer died.) I've never seen the original version of The Gathering. So everything I know about what was done comes from BBS posts and things JMS has said. My post above was as much of that material as I could remember off the top of my head. I'm sure there's fuller information on the Guide page for the movie (or the "episodes") on The Lurker's Guide


re the lyta g'kar thing

just re-editing

in the original when g'kar was making his 'offer to lyta' she said something about how disgusting the ideas was - it was a long time since i watch the original - but in the SE version you just saw the look on her face /forums/images/icons/tongue.gif