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What's up with this guy? He's in the opening credits for a whole season and all he does is nothing. Well, he was stupid enough to go looking for the Shadows. IMO, the best use of the killing off of a main character. Too bad he was reincarnated in Crusade as the same character with a different name.
Are you thinking of the young shuttle pilot guy from "War Zone" (I think)? It's not the same actor.

The actor that played Keffer also played "Seether" in the Wing Commander 4 computer game, that's the only other place I remember seeing him.
Maybe ElScorcho meant "same type of character", i.e. young semi-attractive flyerboy with no real reason to be a part of the series? /forums/images/icons/confused.gif

The explanation I've heard is that Keffer was supposed to be a "main character" (in the beginning credits and all) so that the emotional impact on the viewers would be greater when he met his untimely end. Unfortunately I don't think that succeeded very well.
I liked him in "Gropos" or whatever the title was with the soldiers coming to B5. But he just wasn't given enough to do. There are a lot of characters and plot lines in B5, after all.

I almost get the feeling that JMS was planning to kill of more regulars, but decided not to later. Then came Marcus and Keffer, who were brought in effectively to be there for a bit and then killed off.
Keffer was supposed to be there to represent the "grunt's eye view" of the station, as opposed to the command-level characters that we usually spent time with. This was the same notion later explored in 'A View from the Gallery". But JMS never really got a handle on the guy and it showed in the writing. (And JMS has said as much.) Keffer was also supposed to be killed, eventually, so JMS just got rid of him at the end of the season, since he had served his purpose.

With his trap-doors and flexibility in using characters (with one or two exceptions), JMS has said that as he got to the end of each season he'd consider killing off pretty much any of them, to see what that might do for the overall story. So almost nobody was "safe".

But it is interesting to note that when JMS was struggling with what to do about Sinclair as S2 approached (since he had realized that having the commander have a close, personal connection to the Shadows was too much to sustain) he briefly considered using Keffer in that role, which would have kept him alive for another season or so. (His other candidate was Garibaldi, one reason we were introduced to Lise Hampton early on.) Ultimately he decided to introduce a new character for that purpose, who became John Sheridan when the decision was made to replace, rather than augment, Sinclair.


Kribu hit my point right on the nose. I was referring to the "stock character" quality of the role, not the actual person.

Also, I can see why JMS had such a heard time writing for him as the "grunt's eye view" since the role was cast to a fratboy looking type.
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Zach was almost a Grunt's eye view. He pulled it off pretty well in Seasons 3 and 4.


Right, Zach was very much the "everyman" character. Keffer was supposed to specifically humanize the otherwise anonymous guys and gals in all those CGI StarFuries we see blowing up in episode after episode. The idea (which didn't really come off because he was such a bland character) was to remind us that every exploding ship represented the death of a real, warm human being. JMS felt that the fighter wings were under-represented in dramatic terms, since the only real characters we ever saw with them (especially after S1) were Ivanova and Garibaldi. (I think Sheridan went out in a StarFury twice, but then he didn't have a death-wish like Jeff Sinclair did. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif)

Hot-shot pilot Trace, the guy from Crusade, was added on the specific orders of TNT. Either they didn't understand what a disaster Keffer had been (as a character) or their taste in drama is so bad that they actually thought Keffer worked and wanted a similar character to "jazz up" Crusade. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif


Don't forget, Robert Rusler, the actor who played Keffer, was also Robert Downey's Jr's meathead sidekick in the fabulous and ridiculous film Weird Science. He was also in Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2. So he's done a bit more than Wing Commander! ;-)

Zack was a much better everyman than Keffer; Gropos was his only episode where Keffer got to grow at all. I still love the line from the teaser of Fall of Night after he messes up the training exercise... I knew at that moment what would happen on first viewing.
Zack was a better "everyman" character because he was written to be. Think of the interesting plot lines that involved him.

I honestly don't see why Keffer couldn't have taken Zack's story line. As others have said, JMS always kept his plans flexible, with many alternates available.

But somehow Zach just wouldn't have worked in that roll, would he? But I did like Keffer in "Gropos". I think it does show that if JMS did know what to do with him, he would have done well.

And if Monty Python knew what to do with their female cast... /forums/images/icons/rolleyes.gif
yeah, Lou Welch wasn't bad, quite similar to Zack. I though Welch's demise in the Centauri trillogy was a bit of a dissapointment, but i guess he wasn't a main character so its ok.
talking of people in the credits who were barely in any eps, I wish Na'Toth had been captured in "Chrysalis" by the Centauri instead of Mary Kay Adams coming in in s2. ok, sure, it probably wasn't possible because Caitlin Brown hadn't decided she wasn't returning or whatever, but hypothetically it would have been better.

It would have added to G'Kar's character I think, particularly if it was his fault or something. Anyway, as I understand it MKA also couldn't handle the prostheitcs so wanted out. Could she not have decided this before she started? Not that I'm blaming her. I never like the same character played by two (or more) different actors. Also, I dont think it was mentioned on screen what actually happened to Na'Toth until that s5 episode. She just dissapeared after s2, no?
Hm, I don't think MKA had a problem with prosthetics - IIRC, it was more that JMS didn't really like the way she chose to portray Na'Toth since it was rather different from Julie Caitlin Brown's Na'Toth. So she just quietly disappeared.

I think the only mention of her before S5 was in And the Rock Cried Out... - just enough to let us know she had been captured.
ok then, JMS didn't like the way MKA portrayed Na'Toth, I think I agree. Anyway, I think its allways better to write the character out than replace them with a different actor. I'm sure there are several reasons why it was not possible in this case though, but still it would be better if Brown's Na'toth just quietly dissapeared instead of bringing in MKA. Just my opinion.
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But it is interesting to note that when JMS was struggling with what to do about Sinclair as S2 approached (since he had realized that having the commander have a close, personal connection to the Shadows was too much to sustain)


Sinclair had a close, personal connection to the Shadows? Do you mean the Minbari, or am I missing something?
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Sinclair had a close, personal connection to the Shadows? Do you mean the Minbari, or am I missing something?


No, Sinclair didn't have a close, personal connection to the Shadows. That was JMS's problem.

Whoever took the lead against the Shadows beginning in S2 would have to have such a connection, for dramatic reasons. All of Sinclair's story up to that point tied him to the Minbari. As JMS prepared the heat up the Shadow War in S2, he looked for ways to connect Sinclair to it. (He probably had some rough ideas in his outline.) But everything he considered seemed forced and contrived. He finally decided it would simply be too much for Sinclair to have the destiny already laid out for him (and already much-hinted at in the show) and be the military and political hero of the final Shadow War. That's when he started casting about for some other character who could handle that aspect of the arc, considering and rejecting both Garibaldi and Keffer. He finally came up with a character "like Sheridan", who would ally himself to Sinclair and handle that aspect of the story. When the decision was taken to replace Sinclair this character was re-written so that he could be the station commander and a man of destiny as well. Aspects of the "original" commander arc were now divide between Sinclair and Sheridan.