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JMS's Collected TMoS sayings


JMS\'s Collected TMoS sayings

JMS's Collected TMoS sayings

I am glad to see he can spot a poisoned chalice.

Following are all of JMS’s posts and other public comments on the project that became B5: TMoS beginning with his first hint as to what it was – and wasn’t – in September 2003:

Moderated newsgroup 27 Sep 2003

I know I've gone to ground a bit lately, so I thought I'd pop out with some bits and pieces for folks. (One of the reasons I've gone quiet is that I’ve undergone a bunch of little surgeries, including some dental work from hell, but the majority of that is done now so I'm well on the mend. I won't go into the surgeries, but suffice to say from now on I shall be known as Dorothy. (Now let's see who actually falls for that one.)

Meanwhile, I'm in the midst of pitching new shows and picking up projects. There's some interesting possibilities in the works, about which more when they go from possibilities to realities.

In terms of what's coming up...ibooks/Simon and Schuster has put up thesolicitation for the first of my novels they're going to be reprinting, starting with Demon Night. You can check out the book at http://ibooksinc.com/catalog/htm/scifi/straczynski_j_info.htm And for those who've been wagering on this...I've decided to keep Buddy. The problem isn't so much that I've bonded to him, though I have, as he's utterly imprinted on me as the guy who saved his life and he just goes nuts when I’m gone. (It's a great scam, and he plays his part well.)

So Buddy the MiracleCat (or Buddy TMC as he's known to his rap friends) is here to stay. The second season of Jeremiah will debut on Showtime on October 10th at 10:00 p.m. (a much better time slot than 10:45) with "Letters from the Other Side, Part One," and I commend you to this season whole-heartedly. I think it’s stronger than the previous season. There's more of a clean through-line to the story, less in the way of stand-alones, there are a lot of changes awaiting our characters, and the show looks great. Of the 15 episodes this season I wrote13, so there's a real sense of continuity there. And this year we're joined by Sean Astin, currently appearing in the Lord of the Rings movies. (As stated, I've opted not to return if there's a third season, but a) that has nothing to do with the quality of this season, which is terrific, and b) what some people, from the postings I've seen, don't seem to quite get is that thesis more the norm than not. Lots of people come on, create a show, get it up and running, and either leave after the first season or the second, sometimes even just launching the show and moving away in the first season. That's the nature of TV. You generally do a couple of years here and a couple of years there. There are exceptions to this of course, situations where creators opt to stick around for the duration, but in most cases people move on. So this ain't a big deal.)

To the many questions that have arisen here of late...yes, as I mentioned before, there is the possibility of something Babylon 5 related on the horizon, but again I don't want anyone getting excited until we know if either one of these two projects is going to actually come to fruition. We should know where this lands in the next few weeks. The only thing I will say is that they’re not print projects, so if you were to assume it's for TV or film you wouldn’t be too far off...but that neither of them are series. And that's all I'm going to say about them for now.

On the comics front... The next Supreme Power, issue 3, comes out in a few weeks, either the 1st or the 8th of October. There's a preview at:


The cover for SP 4 is at –


and there's a funny in-joke on the cover for issue 5 of SP, which you can find at: http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/0309/22/supremepower5.htmAnd no, I didn't know about this until I saw it on the net. The latest Spidey, part two of the three-part arc leading to issue 500, hit the stores on Wednesday last, and the coming finale is 38 pages of story with a guest series of pencils by John Romita Sr. as well as the inimitable JR JR.

(Having gotten a bit ahead on Spidey and well ahead on SP -- #2 just came out and I'm about to turn in the script for #7 -- I'm in talks with Marvel to do anew title for them, so we'll see how that turns out.)I *think* that's it for now...as always, I'll probably remember something else ten seconds after sending this, but I'm pretty sure that's all the news that’s fit to print.

Moderated newsgroup 30 Nov 2003

On the B5 front, there has been something of rather substantial proportion that's finally gone from talk to money, such that I'm now working frantically to meet some deadlines, but there's nothing I can say about this until after January 15th, probably closer to the end of that month.

The only thing I can say is that phase one of the new project is a go, hence the furious writing schedule at this end of things, which is why I've been silent until deciding to kick up some dust on the political discussion. I've been writing my little brains out.

I know the immediate result of this will be speculation, but if we could keep that to a low roar on the nets to avoid precluding anything, that would be a wonderfulness. But trust me: I wouldn't go on about something in this way if it wasn't a significant development. Just trust me on this one for a bit and hold fire until further word.

(Longtime followers of the various news groups know that an eep means that something significant has happened, but that I can't talk about it...the eep is just a way of saying, on the QT, that something has, indeed, happened and it's real, not just speculation or maybe-gonna-happens. So on that basis, you may consider this an eep.)

And on the topic of fans for a moment...I'm happy to mention that we've included a thanks to Steve Grimm (Lurker's Guide) and our resident moderator Jay Denebeim on the Season 5 DVD. Just a way of saying thanks for years of help and support.

Oh, yeah...and next year you can expect two new DVD sets that a) include all of the TV movies in one package (with commentaries from me on "The Gathering" and "In the Beginning") and b) package all 13 of the Crusade episodes into one box.

Moderated newsgroup 30 January 2004

It's taken longer than hoped for to be able to talk about this, because it's taken longer than hoped for to go through all the machinations of the deal. Depending on the nature of a given deal, it can take a few weeks to a couple, three months to actually cut the deal and finalize the language in terms everybody can agree with. We only literally finished the deal last week. Writing on B5: TMoS is complete, and as soon as the powers that be sign off on everything, it can be turned in and we can start moving. At that point, I can say more about this. Figure another couple of weeks. jms

Here's the latest (as of Thursday, February 26, 2004 12:26 PM EST)

Y'know, if there's anything more annoying than having to sit on good news, I can't think of what it might be. (Well, okay, being staked to an ant hill at high noon is a pretty obvious one, but you get the idea.)

The only things I can say right now about B5:TMoS is that now that all the correct agreements have been signed, sealed and delivered, the draft has gone in, met with great enthusiasm all around, notes have been received, and the next draft is in process and has to be delivered within two weeks so that certain other steps can be set into motion.

I still can't tell you what it *is* because that has to come from the proper people through the proper channels at the proper time...but I can tell you a few cases of what it *isn't*...it isn't a novel, or a short story, a comic, an animated series, a radio drama or a stage play. Beyond that, deponent sayeth not.

Moderated newsgroup 23 March 2004

The trade paperback containing the first six issues of Supreme Power hit the
stands this past week, for those who want to jump on.

Oh...and starting around the Ides of May, look to the wrong side of the river
for word from Harry, Jack and Albert.

Not that I'm enjoying this, of course....


In a mini-interview over at IGN dated 4/12


on page 3 of the interview:

IGNFF: What do you think is the lasting legacy of B5

The creation of the five-year arc, and a story that has touched millions of people around the world in ways that in many cases actually changed their lives. It's a story that says the average person has power, that we CAN fight city hall and win, that one person CAN make a difference, and in a society and a culture that marginalizes and trivializes and factionalizes us, I think that's a desperately important lesson.

IGNFF: What is the future of the B5 universe?

Wait about a month and you'll find out. The clue is in the opposite of can't.

Moderated newsgroup 29 Apr 2004

I know I've been absent for a while now, but there are reasons, especially in regards to B5:TMoS. In a project of this nature, and this size, there's stage one (let's do this) stage two (let's make everybody's deal) and stage three (making it). We're hip-deep in stage two just now, and it's taking a freaking long amount of time to get through it all. Stage two is also the most unnerving and nerve-wracking stage when there's a lot of money involved, as there is in this situation. So every day is a case of "Are we there yet?" and being told yes...almost. I swear, it's the kind of thing that could lead a monk to murder.

Thing of it is...there's a LOT happening right now in the B5 universe, on a multitude of fronts, some of it in response to Toms, some of it coming up completely on its own. All I can say at this moment is that if you've been waiting for new stuff in the B5 universe, you may be getting your wish in spades very soon. Soon, I promise, all will be made clear. I don't like being Mr. Mysterioso on this, but if I say too much, the-powers-that-be will use my head to make a 2.35:1 sized hole in the wall.

On other fronts.... Ibooks/Simon and Schuster just delivered the final production galleys on Straczynski Unplugged (originally called JMS Unplugged, which I recommended over Straczynski Unplugged because I couldn't imagine anyone Asking For It By Name without blowing out an incisor or two, but who listens to me). It includes some stories from my Twilight Zone anthology, plus "Say Hello, Mister Quigley," "Cold Type," "We Killed Them in the Ratings" and "The Salvation of Lyman Terrell," which have appeared in various publications but have never been gathered together before in one book, plus a new introduction. I think it should be hitting stores sometime in the coming month. Books/Simon and Schuster are going to be putting together a whole line of JMS books, including a shared universe series of novels and other stuff...more when I can talk about it.

For those who've been considering getting into the Supreme Power series, Marvel published a graphic novel containing the first 6 issues last month (it ended pat #3 out of the top 100 titles). It's a good jumping-on point for the series, which I'm eminently proud of. (I know, a dangling participle, what can I say?)I'm doing two other books for Marvel, one of which I think they should be able to announce soon. The other is the Dream Police book, which I brought over from Top Cow. Mike Deodato is doing the art, and it's just beautiful. (Mike is also doing the art on Amazing Spider-Man during John Romita Jr's leave of absence, and it's very nice indeed.) The first scripts are in on both the new project, and for the Doc Strange miniseries, and artists have been selected, but it's up to Marvel to release that info.

Finally...for those who want to support a worthy cause...recently I heard about a high school in Hawthorne, New Jersey (not far from Paterson, where I was born) which was having a small comic convention to raise funds for its art program. The high school arts program for the coming year had to be cut entirely due to lack of funds, to the point where this past year people literally had to scrounge in junk yards for wire for sculpture classes. Initially, I was going to just donate to the cause, but the more I looked into this, the more it became clear that I had to kind of do something. So I’m going to be flying out for the day to be at the fund-raiser convention for the school. (I know, I know...I pass all the big conventions that pay big bucks and I do this instead...I'm not wired up right, I admit it, but...sometimes you just gotta do what's right, you know?)

It's not an alma mater for me or anything, but in hailing from Paterson (also Newark and Matawan) when I was a kid I probably got in fights with kids from Hawthorne, so I figure I owe something, right? I got my real start as a writer in high school, through teachers who saw in me something more than a kid from the streets. Those teachers -- specifically Rochelle Terry and Joanne Massie at Chula Vista High -- gave me the support I needed to start following my dreams, so it's a crucial time for others as well, a time that needs our support, particularly at a time when so many schools are suffering from similar cuts. The convention is May 8th, Saturday, and I'll be there to talk, answer questions, and sign autographs. Now, we usually try to limit signatures to 5or so per person, but I'm taking the cap off...and in another break with tradition, in which I never ask for a fee to sign stuff, this time I'll be charging one buck per autograph, with all of the money going to the high school.

So for those of you in the area with twenty copies of various comics or books or whatever...this is your chance to stock up. There will also be an auction to further help raise funds. Details about the fund-raiser and the other fine guests can be found at: http://www.newsarama.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=12223This is the first appearance I've made at any kind of East Coast convention in years, and the first time I've been in New Jersey in over 30 years, so there’s no way to know how long it'll be before I get into town again. And admission is only $3, so how can you go wrong? It’s a worthy cause. So if you're in the vicinity, stop by, step up, and do some good. If you can't make it, and can't help, check into your local schools and see if they need help. Because odds are they do.

On Saturday 22 May 2004 Marvel comics released the following information at the Wizard World convention in Philadelphia:

Straczynski will be writing a Doctor Strange series, set to begin in September. It is adapted from a movie screenplay for the character that Straczynski had written.

The link:


Moderated newsgroup 14 Jun 2004

My apologies for the prolonged absence, but the loss of Richard Biggs kind of took the wind out of our sails and it's taken a while for me to feel up to saying anything about B5. This has also had the effect of slowing up anything to do with B5: TMoS (which as some of you have guessed or inferred does indeed stand for The Memory of Shadows), because in the writing we/I never imagined he wouldn’t be here to be a part of it. More on that another time.

The funeral itself was a very moving ceremony. It was a point of some pride that, although Richard had worked on a variety of shows, and all of them we represent to varying degrees, the largest contingent was from Babylon 5. The B5family gathered in full strength, because whatever internecine hassles may have come up between anybody, there wasn't one person on that show who didn't think Richard was just a nifty, nifty guy.

There were many crew members present, from art department to camera and office staff...DP John Flinn, directors Tony Dow and Jesus Trevino, and literally all the major or minor cast members with the exception of Jeff Conaway (who was out of town and couldn't make it), Peter Jurasik (who was attending another funeral on the other side of the country) and Joshua Cox (ditto...it was a bad week for a lot of people). So from the cast we had: Bruce, Jerry, Mira (and Goran), Andreas, Claudia, Walter, Bill, Pat, Marjorie, Tracy, Stephen, Jason, Caitlin, and others I may have missed or forgotten. From the writing/producing side it was me, Kathryn, Larry DiTillio, Doug, John Copeland, Kevin Cremin, Skip Beaudine, others.

Out of respect for the privacy of the family, I won't go into details of the ceremony itself. Suffice to say that he was dearly loved by all, and his family is held in that same affection by everyone who was there. I was going to go into more stuff here in general, but I don't seem to have it in me at the moment.

More later, then.

Moderated newsgroup 15 Jun 2004

Okay, let's try this again. Best to break the ice by just sort of doing a round-up of what's going on and what's coming and suchlike. I’ll try to address some of the questions that have come up about what's coming up.

On the movies DVDs, and what's inside: the main thing is that we've got commentaries on literally every one of them. Mike Vejar and I did a commentary on In the Beginning, I did one with John Iacovelli on The Gathering, and another with Janet Greek and Tracy Scoggins on River of Souls. I can’t remember now if I solo'd on A Call to Arms or if Mike was there as well (it all blurs after a while...I've done something like fifteen of these things by now). There’s a separate cast commentary on Thirdspace with, I think, Pat, Jeff, Jesus Trevino, and one or two others. On the Crusade DVDs, there's one commentary I did on the original pilot (once WB and I came to a meeting of minds, to wit, "I'm gonna say what happened to the show, what *really* happened...you got a problem with that?").
There's a second commentary track with Fiona, Janet, Peter Woodward and Carrie Dobro.

(We interrupt this message with a coded message for our friends in England and
Australia: keep your eyes on the horizon.)

One oddity...constant readers will remember a while back when I was asked what TMoS was, and I provided a list of things it *wasn't*. The aforementioned oddity is...one of those things has come up as an adjunct to TMoS. Also, expect word fairly soon-ish about a new series of B5 novels. Elsewhere on the prose front...Straczynski Unplugged is out now, and Tribulations will be coming out in December. I've turned in all three final Rising Stars scripts, and the first issue of the last arc comes out in October, I hear. Next week a new arc and a new artist starts on Amazing Spider-Man, and it's a stinking cool issue. You can read a preview of the whole issue for free at:


On other projects...I'm making sudden progress with the medieval play I've been twiddling with for the last few years, and may have it done in the next couple of months. Once that happens, my plan is to do a limited, small production for two weeks or so here in LA, just to see how the text works with an audience, then take it away for another few months, twiddle with it some more, then go for a larger venue. I may do something similar in London, since I may be spending a bit amount of time there fairly soon.

And for those who've asked, I won't be in attendance at San Diego Comic Con this year due to a variety of commitments. Oh...and I've been offered an EP position on a network series, and while I don’t usually do that on shows I don't create or develop, when I heard what this project was, I had to get on board. We still have to negotiate a deal, and work out how that will interface with the stuff that'll be going on later in the year, but fortunately the start date for the series should work out, at least at this point.

Moderated newsgroup 15 Jun 2004 16:22

Now, I don't normally go in for this "piecing the clues together" stuff, but... it *can't* be Doctor Who, can it?

Negative. It'd be a dream come true, no mistake, but no, it ain't that.

Moderated newsgroup 17 Jun 2004

John W. Kennedy wrote:

Over on one of the British B5 groups, they've been speculating that you're about to take over "Enterprise", but unless you've suddenly started using the word "series" in the British TV sense (i.e., what US TV calls a "season [of a series]"), that's out.Enterprise has already been taken over by Manny Cotto. And why would jms go and work for Star Trek?? Manny Coto is, I believe, show runner; not EP.

No, just to clarify, though I got a call last year about coming onto Enterprise, offering an EP position, and declined, the series I mentioned has nothing to do with any current series, it's a new show. As for Manny, he's a good writer, and left to his own devices, I think he could be a big help over there without the other powers that be impeding the process. Amusingly enough, on the Trek front, Bryce Zabel (the creator of Dark Skies) and I got together and wrote a treatment earlier this year that specified how to save ST and develop a series that would restore the series in a big way. I actually think it could be a hell of a show. Whether that ever goes anywhere with Paramount, who knows?

End of quotations

Andrew Swallow

[ADMIN NOTE: This post was edited strictly for typograpical reasons, to more clearly mark the beginnings and ends of jms's various posts. The changes were made with the permission of Andrew Swallow)[
Re: JMS\'s Collected TMoS sayings

"Trumpets will sound from the wrong side of the river,
The three brothers, Harry, Jack and Albert go forth.
Into a hole seven wide by three high his head fits,
When the ides of May pass slowly."

-- [/i] Quatrain 1, 25, The Prophecies of Nostraczynski



Re: JMS\'s Collected TMoS sayings

Strange are the medicine men in magic light,
That bad dreams fight,
And alone in the night jump the gate.