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About Delenn in the gathering


Ok. I was thinking about it for a long time and then I've decided to bring here to the high council :).

In the gathering, Delenn appears as a very UGLY Minbari. After that in the show the B5 team made the wise decision to make her look more... soft and less angled.

Any one knows why? what was the first concept of the appearance of the minbar race? anything that can explain that?

O. and what about those rings she had in her room, she uses one of them against G'kar, do we see them again later?

I do believe is that one of the reasons she looked so "ugly" as you put it (butch is how I would have described "her") was because one of the original ideas was that she was going to be a MALE Minbari, and at the end of Chrysalis she was to change into a FEMALE Minbari of sorts.

I do know that was one idea discussed, I do not know if it was changed by the time the pilot was filmed, but I remembered hearing about that, then thinking back to how gruff and masculine Delenn sounded in that pilot. She talked like she was trying to be more like a male, even the way she moved and walked around sometimes stuck me as more male than female.
They tried to make her voice sound more masculine through various techniques and nothing worked. So they dropped the idea, but I think the makeup had to stay as they'd already shot everything.

The result? A considerable improvement between "the Gathering" and "Midnight." Although the best had yet to come.

About the rings -- y'know, I'd forgotten where I'd seen that, and I wondered about it too. I don't think they were ever mentioned again, and never explained at that. Something that fell by the wayside, like the backup copy of Talia's personality.
I believe that the minbari were orginally supposed to be an androgenous race, which is why Delenn looked like a butch in the Gathering.
Actually, I think Recoil pegged it. IIRC JMS himself has said that Delenn was to transform into a female human/minbari when she went through her change. He wanted her to go from being masculine to feminine, too. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

I think it worked out much better the way it was done.

About the rings, I don't ever recall hearing JMS comment on those. But he did kind of have a habit of making extremely powerful tools and then casting them aside later. Drall, for example, and Talia's old boyfriend who transformed, the rings, etc, etc.

Anyhow, Lurker's guide probably has a lot on these subjects.
But he did kind of have a habit of making extremely powerful tools and then casting them aside later. Drall, for example, and Talia's old boyfriend who transformed, the rings, etc, etc.

To be fair, it isn't always a case of "casting things aside". After all, it is well established that things in the B5 universe can take many episodes (or seasons even) to pay off.

The backup of Talia's personality and Jason Ironheart's "gift" became completely redundant when Andrea Thompson chose to leave the show, so it was logical that they be quietly dropped.

My guess is that she would have been transformed by the hidden personality as seen in "Divided Loyalties", but somehow the "backup" would have been restored by Kosh and she would have stayed on the 'right' side and perhaps even acted as a double agent, spying on Psi Corps.

Likewise, Draal became a problem when John Schuck (understandably) signed up for a long term run on Broadway. Being on stage every night in New York makes it kind of hard to take a few days in LA to film B5. I seem to recall JMS saying that he considered recasting Draal but, having done it once already, decided against it - thereby pushing Draal into the background.

As far as Delenn is concerned, I think the idea of having a male Minbari transformed by the Chrysalis into a female Minbari/Human hybrid is very interesting, and could probably be pulled off more easily now with digital FX.

That opens up the entertaining possibility that it was actually Ivanova that went back 1,000 years into the past and became Valen.

Right, Delenn was supposed to be male in the pilot. The Minbari were supposed to have an androgynous look, but still have two definite sexes. That's why the Minbari assassin looked just as ugly and was played by a man of fairly slight build. This was done to disguise the fact that a woman would be playing a man for the first 22 episodes. (JMS wanted Mira to play the character for all five years, rather than casting a male actor for S1 and then bringing her in later, which is what led to the whole Minbari look. This was an idea he came up with somewhere between the original pitch and the pilot, because in all the early B5 material, Delenn is a "he" and the drawings are conventionally male, not androgynous.)

At some point JMS posted a message on the internet saying that he'd just had a wild idea, something that had never been done on television with a major character. I think Delenn's sex change was that idea. This would also indicate that in his earlier conceptions of the story, there was no plan to mate Delenn with the station commander.

The post-produciton electronic fiddling with Mira's voice did not produce a sound that anybody was really happy with, and they were concerned that they could never sustain the altered voice over a full season. It would stand out as artificial and distract people.

So they dropped the idea, went back and looped the one line where someone referred to Delenn as "he" to "she" and never looked back.

I think Delenn's "Rings of Power" got dropped because people were already starting up with the Tolkein comparisons right after the pilot, and JMS decided not to give the critics any more ammunition than he had to.


Delenn was going to be androgenous or masculine during the whole first season until Chrysalis. It was partly the inability to get the voice right that brought about the decision to make the change, which IMO was certainly an improvement.

I think there is quite a good writeup about this in the Lurker's Guide to B5 if anyone wants to check it out.
Mira felt more comfortable playing a female Minbari.

But this had nothing to do with the decision to let her play one in S1. If the voice alteration had worked Delenn would have been male, regardless of Mira's comfort level. She signed up for The Gathering knowing exactly what the role called for. That she preferred the way things turned out is nice for her, but had nothing to do with the issue.


I have been considering various ways to bring in a new convert, and I'm beginning to think that the best way to handle "the Gathering" is to summarize the events for her and never, ever show it.
No, it's not like the Gathering is poison

I have respect for an artist who can say "hmm, that isn't working, let's try something else".

It's not like it's a crime. /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif
Well. Three things.
1. Deleen was indeed to be male. That's why the rudeness of her/his face.
2. No one had ever known a Minbari. So, they imaginated that way and later they changed it. Just like that. JMS did that a lot of times during the 5 years arc, sometimes forced by circumstances.
Remember when the blonde telepath (I can't recall her name... damn) was given some superior telepath powers in the first season. That was supposed to be a sub-plot and later JMS changed it with Lyta.
Or Sinclair -- Sheridan, etc.


3. When I just figure out Deleen as a male, I feel sorry for Sheridan. WACALA !!!

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