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Lawrence G. DiTillio


High Treason Prevention Officer
Does anyone know what happened to him? Did he leave or was he sacked?
It just accured to me yesterday: In all the Episodes he wrote: Not one time did Delenn appear
Whenever Lennier appeared in one of his episodes, Delenn was not on the Station at the Moment
(Eyes, Deathwalker). Whats the deal there? Did he not like the character? Did he and Mira Furlan not get along?
Unlike other shows, Babylon 5 didn't have a writing staff with regular writers that could be hired and fired. It wasn't written by committee, like Star Trek or sitcoms. JMS was the main writer, and occasionally he hired out on a freelance basis - DiTillio was one of the people who was hired on a contract/freelance basis, to do a couple scripts here and there. That was my general impression. I don't know. Am I right? I could be wrong.

As a writer, you know that when a story doesn't call for a character, you don't put that character in. Eyes and Deathwalker did very well without Delenn; they didn't need Delenn. Therefore, they held off on putting Delenn in. Why muddy the water when you have a perfectly clear stream?

As for personal stuff between DiTillio, JMS, and Mira Furlan, if there was the only people who really know about that stuff are those involved. Even if there was, they're professionals; and professionals know that personal stuff has to be subjugated to the greater good of the show, that you can't let outside stuff like that rule the story, as the story will suffer because of it. Occasionally you'll get your divas (and you'll get a lot of those in theater and Hollywood), but professionals usually can swallow it and move on.

At least, in my experience.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Does anyone know what happened to him?

He basically left to write for Transformers: Beast Wars and there is a interview up at bwtf.com that says some stuff about why he left.
DiTillo did have a staff position - he was story editor in S1 and was promoted to Executive Story Editor in S2. A Story Editor usually works with freelance writers to keep an eye on things like story continuity and consistent characterization during the script-writing process. Sometimes the SE will do some uncredited rewriting on freelance scripts to fix problems in this area.

It is unlikely that Delenn's absence from most of DiTillo's scripts (she does appear in "GROPOS") had anything to do with his relationship with Mira. Actors don't have that kind of clout on most series, and you don't have to like the person playing/writing a role in order to do your job - these people are professionals. By the time a script gets to the stage, the writer isn't usually that involved with it anyway. He/she is off writing the next script or (in DiTillo's case) reviewing the next two or three scripts in the pipeline.

The lack of Delenn in most of these stories is probably due to a combination of factors: 1) These tend to be "stand-alone", non-arc episodes, focusing on aspects of the station not related to the Shadow arc. Delenn is mostly tied to that aspect of the show, so she isn't necessary in these stories. 2) Mira and other actors were sometimes written out of episodes so that they could pursue outside projects. 3) With 12 major regulars it becomes difficult to give each his due if everybody is in every episode. To focus on one for an episode, you need to leave some of the others out. (There are actually very few episodes where all of the characters in the opening credits appear. And some characters - like Lyta and G'Kar - are almost never on-screen at the same time.) 4) DiTillo may not have found the character of Delenn (as opposed to the actress playing her) all that interesting, so he preferred to concentrate on characters he liked better.

I don't really know why DiTillo left, although I vaguely recall some talk of bruised feelings at the time. Part of it may have been JMS's decision to write all of S3 himself, which, to his mind eliminated the need for a story editor. I'm not sure he was right in this respect. It might have been very helpful to have someone else go over his scripts, to save him from some of his own weaknesses and bad habits as a writer.


I seem to start a lot of my posts with the words "I seem to remember reading somewhere that ... " [fill in part recalled item of your choice], so here goes.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that JMS and LDT parted company for two reasons.

1. The aforementioned reasoning that as there would be no input from freelance writers in S3 a Story Editor was not necessary. Although of course we did later get Fiona Avery to look over the continuity stuff.

2. JMS' opinion was that, as Story Editor, LDT's own scripts should have been totally at one with the style, feel and impact that JMS was trying to achieve with B5, and that they just didn't measure up to that benchmark.

Not sure I've explained point 2 particularly well, but I think you get the gist.

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr> He basically left to write for Transformers: Beast Wars and there is a interview up at bwtf.com that says some stuff about why he left. <hr></blockquote>

I checked out that site, but couldn't find the interview. Do you have a direct link?

Also, IIRC, DiTillo was to write one of the Crusade scripts for the latter part of its first season. An episode about Gideon, Matheson and the Apocalypse Box. Thus if there were personality issues involved in his departure from B5, they must have been resolved later on.

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