|Production number: Pilot|
Release Date: 22 February 1993
| Written By: J. Michael Straczynski|
Directed By: Richard Compton
Executive Producer: Douglas Netter
Co-Executive Producer: J. Michael Straczynski
Producer: Robert Latham Brown
Co-Producer: John Copeland
Production Designer: John Iacovelli
Director of Photography: Billy Dickson
Editor: Robert L. Sinise
Music By: Stewart Copeland
Christopher Franke (Special DVD Edition)
|Story Date: January 3–8, 2257|
|Preceded by: In the Beginning (narrative)|
|Followed by: Midnight on the Firing Line|
|Followed by: Midnight on the Firing Line|
- Michael O'Hare as Jeffrey Sinclair
- Tamlyn Tomita as Laurel Takashima
- Jerry Doyle as Michael Garibaldi
- Mira Furlan as Delenn
- Blaire Baron as Carolyn Sykes
- John Fleck as Del Varner
- Paul Hampton as The Senator
- Peter Jurasik as Londo Mollari
- Andreas Katsulas as G'Kar
- Johnny Sekka as Dr. Benjamin Kyle
- Patricia Tallman as Lyta Alexander
- Steven R. Barnett as Eric
- Billy Hayes as Traveler
- Linda Hoffman as Tech #2
- Robert Jason Jackson as Tech #3
- F. William Parker as Business Man #1
- Marianne Robertson as Hostage
- David Sage as Business Man #2
- Ed Wasser as Guerra
- Greg Aronowitz as Minbari Assassin
- Ardwight Chamberlain as Ambassador Kosh
- Haley McLane as Voice of the Computer
Alien envoys come to the giant space station in the pilot that launched the five year TV Series.
In the earth year 2257, a multitude of humans and non-humans gather deep in neutral space at a new station, Babylon 5. Some of them are members of the station crew, including Commander Jeffrey Sinclair, Lieutenant Commander Laurel Takashima, Security Chief Michael Garibaldi, and Medical Officer Benjamin Kyle. Others are ambassadors from major alien governments: Ambassador G'Kar from the Narn Regime, Ambassador Delenn from the Minbari Federation, and Ambassador Londo Mollari from the Centauri Republic. Still others are refugees, smugglers, businessmen, diplomats, and travelers from a hundred worlds.
Babylon 5 is the fifth in a series of space stations dedicated to the dream of a galaxy without war, a dream that species from different worlds might live side-by-side in mutual respect. The dream of peace between the five federations is constantly in danger; the first three Babylon stations were sabotaged and destroyed, while the fourth disappeared without a trace twenty-four hours after it became operational. Significant tensions still exist between the major species, especially between the Earth Alliance and the Minbari Federation (they had fought a brutal war), and between the Narn and the Centauri (the Narn had been slaves of the Centauri for a hundred years although they are now free). Babylon 5 represents the universe's last, best hope for peace. It will be the base of operations for an Advisory Council, containing representatives from each of the five major federations, similar to the United Nations on Earth before it was dissolved. Commander Sinclair will represent the Earth Alliance on the Advisory Council, while ambassadors from the four major alien governments will comprise the other four members of the Advisory Council.
As the crew awaits the arrival of the fourth and final alien ambassador, Ambassador Kosh from the Vorlon Empire, a transport ship arrives from Earth, bearing Lyta Alexander, a human telepath who joins the station crew, and Del Varner, a civilian. As Lyta is settling in, Commander Sinclair receives a visit from an old flame, Carolyn Sykes. Ambassador Kosh arrives two days ahead of schedule, and is on board the station less than a minute when he suddenly falls ill, apparently from poisoning. Dr. Kyle conducts a medical investigation and seeks to prevent Kosh's death, while Security Chief Garibaldi conducts a security investigation. Ambassador Londo Mollari quickly becomes a suspect in the case, as he had failed to show up at the appointed time with the other ambassadors to welcome Kosh aboard. As a security precaution, Commander Sinclair seals off the station, allowing no one to board or disembark. Worried that, if Kosh dies, the Vorlons will attack and destroy the station, Dr. Kyle and Lt. Cmdr. Takashima persuade Lyta to perform an unauthorized mind scan on the unconscious Kosh. As she conducts the scan, Lyta sees what Kosh saw as he boarded the station: Commander Sinclair welcoming him aboard, shaking his hand—and poisoning him. Lyta accuses Sinclair of attempting to murder the ambassador.
Upon receiving word that Sinclair has become the primary suspect in the case, Earth Central removes Sinclair from the Advisory Council, and puts Takashima in his place. The Advisory Council considers a motion made by Ambassador G'Kar to turn Sinclair over to the Vorlon Empire, to stand trial for attempted murder. Lt. Cmdr. Takashima votes no; Ambassador Delenn abstains; Ambassador Mollari votes in favor. Ambassador G'Kar reveals that he has received a proxy vote from the Vorlon Empire—a "yes" vote, which seals Sinclair's fate. Sinclair is told that he will be deported to the Vorlon Empire in twelve hours.
Following various leads, Garibaldi comes to suspect Del Varner might have been involved in Kosh's poisoning. When he enters Varner's quarters, however, he discovers Varner dead in a fish tank. Stumped, Garibaldi begins to doubt that he will ever solve the case. Meanwhile, Dr. Kyle discovers an antidote to the poison, and begins to apply it on Kosh. Later at a bar, Londo apologizes to Garibaldi for voting in favor of Sinclair's deportation and tells him that G'Kar had pressured him to vote as he did, using evidence of his grandfather's activities on the Narn homeworld back when the Centauri occupied it. G'Kar meets with Lyta and tells her that there has been a complication. Lyta heads for the medical lab, where she begins adjusting some of the settings that are keeping Kosh alive; when Dr. Kyle realizes what she's doing, he tries to stop her, and she attacks him. At that moment, a second Lyta enters the room—the real Lyta. Lyta's double manages to escape.
Garibaldi leads Sinclair to an area of the station that has been breached by a small ship, and tells Sinclair that another dead body has been found on the station. The person has been dead for sixteen hours, but he was also reported as having been seen, alive, since then. Upon further investigation in Varner's quarters, Garibaldi learns that Varner had been smuggling illegal items between systems, and that he most recently had gone to the Antares sector to acquire a changeling net—a device that can make an individual appear to look like somebody else. The crew realizes that Kosh had not been poisoned by Sinclair when he arrived at the station, but rather that he had been poisoned by someone who was using the changeling net to look like Sinclair. Since the use of such a device would put out a lot of energy, Takashima uses her scanners to pinpoint an area of the station with a high concentration of unidentified energy use. Sinclair and Garibaldi head for that part of the station, just as a Vorlon squadron arrives in the vicinity of the station to pick up Sinclair for his voyage to the Vorlon homeworld.
Sinclair and Garibaldi confront the mysterious assailant. Garibaldi is injured in the firefight. Sinclair finds himself fighting against a station technician, then against Del Varner, then against Lyta, then against himself. Finally, the changeling net is disabled, revealing the assailant to be a Minbari assassin. The assassin is a member of the Minbari warrior caste, and wanted to discredit Sinclair as retribution for Sinclair's role in the Earth-Minbari war. Sinclair asks the assassin why he did it; the assassin replies, "There is a hole in your mind." Sinclair, realizing that the assassin has triggered an explosive charge, manages to get away just before an explosion rips a hole in the station's hull, throwing the station off its axis, and beginning to tear the station apart from the inside. Takashima uses the station stabilizers to reestablish the station's axis.
The Vorlon delegation, now satisfied that Sinclair is innocent, drops all charges against him. Garibaldi recovers from his injury, Kosh recovers from his poisoning, and the crews sets to repair the breach in the station's hull. Delenn regrets that it was a Minbari who was responsible for Kosh's poisoning. Sinclair confronts G'Kar, whom he now believes to have been connected with the poisoning incident. The plan, Sinclair believes, was that the assassin would have arrived at Babylon 5 on G'Kar's ship, but they missed connections, so the assassin had to find another way in—namely, on the small ship that discretely breached the ship's hull. The assassin killed Varner and took the changeling net. Sinclair tells G'Kar that he is now implanted with a nanotech location tracker that Sinclair had slipped in G'Kar's drink. G'Kar is furious. Sinclair sternly warns him, "What you do here is your own business. But if you ever endanger this station again, my people will find you, and the results will be most unpleasant." Sinclair later reveals to Garibaldi that there really is no location tracker, but since G'Kar thinks there is, he will keep looking, and looking, and never find it.
Ambassador Kosh, fully recovered, assumes his position as the Vorlon Ambassador on the station. In the station's garden, Sinclair reveals to Delenn what the Minbari assassin had said about the "hole" in Sinclair's mind. Delenn says that is just an old Minbari insult. Sinclair, however, tells her that he had fought in the climactic battle of the Earth-Minbari war, and that there is a twenty-four hour period in the climactic battle, just before the Minbari surrendered, that he can't account for.
Takashima declares Babylon 5 open for business.
"The Gathering" was nominated for the 1994 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, which was ultimately won by Jurassic Park.
Original and Special EditionsEdit
There are two versions of this film. The original version premiered as the series pilot. When the series moved to TNT for a fifth season, the network commissioned a Special Edition cut to introduce their viewers to Babylon 5.
Differences Between EditionsEdit
- Several scenes were shortened or added.
- Londo's opening voice over was shortened to remove his lines about Sinclair being the station's final commander.
- Sinclair dealing with the "tourist problem" and his confrontaion with the dust smuggler were not in the original version.
- Footage was removed from Sinclair's tour of the alien sector because fan complained it looked like a zoo.
- The meeting between G'Kar and Lyta was shortened to remove a "privacy mode" technology that JMS didn't like and a reference to G'Kar's mate.
- Takashima's lines about the coffee beans were not in the original cut, and consequently, an illicit coffee plant was also used by her replacement, Lt. Commander Ivanova, in the series.
- Carolyn's meeting with Delenn was added.
- The scene when Sinclair tells of the Battle of the Line was lengthend to show him finding the medal and throwing at the door. Audio clips of the battle from And The Sky Full of Stars was added.
- When Garibaldi and Sinclair are chasing the Minbari, Sinclair tells Garibaldi to set his PKG to "force 5," implying the PKG is an energy weapon with varying settings. This line was removed because it was later established in the series that the PKG was a projectile weapon.
- A few scenes were added to the final chase, such as Garibaldi being pulled into the alien sector and Delenn helping after Sinclair pulled him out.
- Revised special effects of the space station were added. Kosh's hand when he meets Sinclair was made to glow to match his appearance in the series. The line, "Entil'Zha Valen" was also added to the scene to foreshadow Sinclair's future and explain Kosh's trust in him.
- Music for the original version was a mostly electronic score composed by Stewart Copeland. For the Special Edition, the series composer, Christopher Franke, provided the score that matched the series.
- Tamlyn Tomita's dialogue in the original release was a re-recorded performance to soften her performance. For the special edition, JMS restored the original recordings of her lines.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- Originally, it was to have been eventually revealed that Laurel Takashima was involved with the assassination attempt on Ambassador Kosh. While this never came to fruition, one can clearly read, "Laurel Takashima cleared" on the monitor of Del Varner's quarters, when the Minbari Assassin visits him.
- Long before the 'Babylon 5' went into production J. Michael Straczynski wrote a pilot screenplay to show to the various studios in an attempt to sell the show. This original draft contained a number of significant differences from the final shooting script including Garibaldi attempting to contact his dying father back on Mars, a shape-shifter in place of a Minbari assassin with a changeling net, Londo acting as a part-time pick-pocket, a Dr. Chakri Mendak instead of Dr. Benjamin Kyle, several scenes between Lyta and Laurel Takashima, Delenn and others that were later cut and a discovery about Delenn's 'lifestone' and what that means to the Minbari.
It also featured many more character scenes with Sinclair and Garibaldi and a developing plot in which Sinclair was not put on trial but finds a whole different and more interesting way to solve the mystery of Kosh's would be assassin and the introduction of Kosh's life-mate, Velana, who plays a very important role in the script.
This original 1989 pilot script was published for the first time in October 2005 with Volume 1 of Babylon 5 Scripts.
This TV Movie was released on VHS and later on DVD, both the original aired cut and the TNT commissioned special edition. It was also included in the Region 1 Babylon 5 The Movies Collection DVD and Babylon 5 - The Movies DVD sets as well as the Region 1 and 2 Babylon 5: The Complete Universe DVD.
|Babylon 5 franchise|
|Babylon 5 & Crusade Episodes by Season|
|Signs and Portents The Coming of Shadows Point of No Return No Surrender, No Retreat Wheel of Fire Crusade: Season 1 Unfilmed Episodes|
|The Gathering In the Beginning Thirdspace River of Souls A Call to Arms The Legend of the Rangers Voices in the Dark|
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|DVD Releases VHS Home Video The Official Guide to Babylon 5 Babylon 5: Into the Fire|