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B5:TLT -- just the news. And we mean that.

From the Babylon 5 Scripts Team:

From J Michael Straczynski

For those who signed up for the mailing, a bit of an inside update on where things stand on Babylon 5: The Lost Tales (whose production was hailed just this week in the new TV Guide under the "Cheers and Jeers" column) (and yes, we got the "cheer" part of that, wiseass)...

I'll be flying back up to Vancouver toward the end of the month to supervise the dialogue looping and to start reviewing the finished CGI shots being created by Atmosphere.

We've also designed a brand new title sequence for Babylon 5, which incorporates all of the major characters, and emphasizes the interconnectedness of the characters seen over the show. There will also be a separate set-piece placed just before the main title sequence that will tie back visually to our series finale, "Sleeping in Light," in kind of a tribute to the end of that volume and the starting of this one.

We're also finishing up the director's blogs and behind- the-scenes pieces, which will show Bruce, Tracy, Peter and our new cast members, with the former group commenting on both the future of B5 and their own memories and reflections on Babylon 5. There will also be meditations and tributes to the passing of Richard Biggs and Andreas Katsulas from their fellow cast members.

The director's blogs will follow production from script through prep and shooting...though in some cases with a bit of an unusual approach. (I can never do anything serious with a straight face.) You see, there was something innovative and new and unusual and artsy that I wanted to do with this movie, but did the studio get the majesty, the novelty, the innovativeness of that idea? No, no, of COURSE not. But by gosh you'll get a preview of it here...and the world of SF will never be the same again....

P.S. We've updated the photo collection with 5 more photos.


Edited to remove tags
Jan posted a link to this article over at JMSNews. It has Boxleitner talking about TLT at a panel promoting something for Hallmark (they don't say in the article, but pretty sure that is Pandemic). To quote the relevant part:
‘Babylon’ is back

The latest Babylon 5 adventure, Babylon 5: The Lost Tales — Voices in the Dark, won’t air on TV — at least not right away — but will instead by released as a direct-to-DVD movie in late July, timed to coincide, promotionally, with the annual Comic-Con in San Diego.

Bruce Boxleitner returns as Interstellar Alliance President John Sheridan, who returns to Babylon 5 for the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Alliance. The only other returning series regulars in this first of the proposed series of Lost Tales DVD movies are Elizabeth Lochley (Tracy Scoggins), now a Colonel and still commanding Babylon 5, and Galen (Peter Woodward). A third story featuring Michael Garibaldi (Mike Doyle) was dropped due to time constraints on the production but may be used in a future installment. J. Michael Straczynski, the series creator, returned to write and direct this production, which was filmed on virtual sets in Vancouver.

“We had two old pieces,” Boxleitner said after a panel for an upcoming Hallmark Channel film he stars in. “Two Star Furies they found somewhere on a back lot and dusted them off.

“In one way it was a great reunion, and in one way, it felt like we had never shut down production. It’s a great script. Joe is one of the finest television writers I’ve ever worked with and he gave me material I haven’t seen the likes of since the show, really juicy stuff to delve into — aspects of Sheridan we had not played before.”

Sheridan will be more of an elder statesmen, Boxleitner said. “He’s a man who’s more likely to weigh things instead of being so action-oriented. We used to joke he was John ‘Nuke Em’ Sheridan. He’s much wiser now and more seasoned.”

Some things stayed the same, much to Boxleitner’s delight: “They found the original wardrobe and I proudly say I still fit.”

Boxleitner said the company that produces visual effects for Sci Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica will do the FX for this new Babylon 5 production.

“The ships, the station, they’ll all be recognizable but new. There are some additions and some of the original ships will have things added to them just like we do nowadays, new weaponry, things like that,” Boxleitner said.

The film will also include mentions of the whereabouts of characters that will never be seen again because the actors who played them have died: Richard Biggs (he played Dr. Franklin) and Andreas Katsulas (G’Kar).

“The way Joe handled the loss of those [actors] who are no longer with us, how he did it, I thank him so much,” Boxleitner said. “Their characters’ futures are revealed and I get to do it in a very loving way. They’re still around. It’s a way to give a nod to Andreas and Richard, an homage to them.”
It might be good to explain to him where the comments should go. :)

There is another thread for the conversation on this topic.
I think we can count on JMS to handle the deaths of the actors (and thus missing characters) far more smoothly and competently than most television shows do.
I don't understand the change in Lockley's military rank. She was previously a Captain (military pay grade O-6), as in the Navy, and now she's a Colonel (military pay grade also O-6). So she's now in the Army? Somebody clear up this dichotomy for me, please.
Everyone, please do remember the purpose of this thread: to be a thread of news only, no discussion. For any discussion regarding TLT whatsoever, please attend the link that GaribaldisHair posted.
Atmosphere Visual Effects seems to have put out a press release:
Atmosphere Visual Effects Joins Mission to Bring "Babylon 5: The Lost Tales" Direct to Video

DMN Newswire--2007-1-25--Atmosphere Visual Effects has begun VFX work on "Babylon 5: The Lost Tales," a made-for-video movie produced by Warner Home Video and Warner Bros. Television. Atmosphere's Andrew Karr is serving as VFX Supervisor.

Entitled "Voices in the Dark," the movie will feature two all-new stories written and directed by the original creator of "Babylon 5," Executive Producer J. Michael Straczynski. Doug Netter returns to the "Babylon 5" franchise as Executive Producer.

The sci-fi adventure story follows events transpiring several years after the conclusion of the original story and will reunite TV cast stars Bruce Boxleitner (President John Sheridan), Tracy Scoggins (Captain Elizabeth Lockley) and Peter Woodward (Galen).

"The original Babylon 5 series was a truly groundbreaking show," said Atmosphere VFX Producer Jeremy Hoey. "It heralded the beginning of the CG revolution in television visual effects. At Atmosphere, we feel tremendously privileged to have been chosen to continue that proud tradition. We're already hard at work creating what we hope fans will agree are truly exciting, cutting-edge visual effects."

For more information on Atmosphere Visual Effects, please visit: http://atmosphere-vfx.com

About Atmosphere Visual Effects Located in Vancouver, B.C., one of the most beautiful and vibrant hubs in the world for film and broadcast production, Atmosphere Visual Effects is a dynamic, artist-driven studio with the creative skill and passion, fused with state-of-the-art technical expertise, to tackle the most ambitious and challenging VFX projects and deliver a high quality product with creative mastery and flair. Atmosphere's credits include: "Battlestar Galactica" (NBC Universal), "Stargate Atlantis" (MGM), 'The 4400" (USA Network), "Andromeda" (Sci Fi Channel), "Air Buddies" (Disney), "Chestnut" (New Line), "Wrong Turn II" and "Last Days of Planet Earth" (Hallmark).

And I will again mention the nifty demo reel on their website at http://www.atmosphere-vfx.com/ which is still worth checking out. If it doesn't load in the website, use this direct link to the 22mb quicktime video: http://www.atmosphere-vfx.com/video/Demo_Hi.mov.
There's a small mention of TLT in JMS' latest post..

jmsatb5@aol.com said:
Folkses --

Sorry for the long absence, but I've been a) up to my tuchis in work
and b) when I switched over to a new system I went for aol open ride
which massively fubar'd my online capabilities, and I've had to log on
via explorer and it's a pain.

Anyway...I wanted to give folks a heads-up on my NYC comic con

Friday the 23rd: signing at 5, solo spotlight at 7:30 with some video
blogs from the TLT shoot.

Saturday the 24th: 1:30 panel on world building, signings at 3.

Sunday the 25th: 3:00 is me telling people everything I know about
writing. What I'm supposed to do from 3:10 on is anybody's guess.



Hope this qualifies as news, if not please feel free to delete it....

Keep :)
By request, I'm reposting part of the report I did from the New York Comic Con here:

After some confusion over the schedule, JMS had his spotlight this evening at NYCC. He brought some great goodies. There were 5 (I think) blogs he brought. The first was on his role as director, another about the sets, one with the 'reunion' of Bruce Boxleitner, Tracey Scoggins and Peter Woodward "together again for the first time", one featuring Keenan MacIntosh, the Centauri Prince Regent. One of them showed all of the 'respect' that the cast and crew affords JMS as he reported on the first day of shooting. I'm trying to remember if the one where JMS goes to his 'happy place' in the starfury was a separate one. Jeff? John? Somebody, help me out here. There were some instances of 'placeholders' where some CGI isn't complete in the blogs yet. And there was a shot of JMS taking a photo of Bruce holding a piece of paper...somthing about a jacket. <g>

Next was a look the tribute to Andreas which was stunning. I believe that this is both the set-piece that JMS spoke of before and the tribute. JMS showed two versions, one had the score complete but some effects not finished and another with the effects finished but the score not in. It features G'Kar's speech that begins "I believe that when we leave a place, part of us is left behind. Go anywhere on the Station when it is quiet and you will hear all of the conversations..." It works well as both and it'll be stunning when it's finished.

I asked JMS when we might see the second Lost Tales disk (I know, I know...haven't seen the first one yet, assuming that the first one is a runaway success and the reply was possibly early 2008. Sounds like some attention will be being paid to pre-orders. JMS confirmed that the release date for this one is July 27.

And a slightly more detailed description of the set-piece that I'd posted to the newsgroup:
A little more detailed description since I don't think JMS said that that it
shouldn't be described online:

It opens with the last shot from SiL (that CGI shot he released) where the honor
guard leaves and the Station explodes. Then the explosion reverses and time
counts backwards while Andreas makes his speech, then there're shots of
characters. A group shot of Franklin, Lochley and Garibaldi (and somebody
else?) with the Station, of Londo, then Vir with Centauri Prime, G'Kar with
Narn. Probably not more that a minute and a half, if that.

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Spoilers; see edit below for details

Jan has kept us up to date wonderfully during the NYCC about what JMS said at his panel. But for those that feel like listening to the man himself, the NYCC has just put a podcast version of his spotlight panel online, here. It's worth a listen.

"There's free cocaine in this room!"

edit: OK, Just finished listening to the entire thing, and there are some small spoilery bits regarding the nature of a certain centauri and some other little things (although most of that was in Jan's descriptions). Plus you get to hear the blogs and the intro sequence, which maybe not everyone wants to hear yet. So a heads a up for those trying to completely avoid spoilers.
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