Thursday, October 16, 2014

Third Age Thursday 5

"It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth-Minbari War. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call, home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night."   - Jeffrey Sinclair

Welcome back to Third Age Thursdayan ongoing feature here at Unfettered Brilliance! Along with Ensley, who's posting the wonderfully-named "Tuesdays with Mollari" over on his blog (click here for the latest!), these posts are written to keep you up to date on the writing and publication of Dreams Given Form: The Unofficial Companion to the Universe of Babylon 5. Please feel free to comment, re-post, tweet, plus-one, pin, and use all sorts of other ways to pass along the news that a comprehensive Babylon 5 book is in the works with publication ETA sometime in 2016. And remember that you can always search through these posts to find all the "Third Age" posts by using the search feature on the right. Just use "Babylon 5" or "Third Age" as your search term.

For this "Third Age Thursday," I wanted to talk about conflict. Sure, we hate it in our everyday lives (well, most of us do), but without it, drama gets pretty darned dull. As I've been known to tell my film and theatre students, "Yes, we like calm in our personal lives, but I'm not paying out good money to watch people get along." So a key way in to any piece of drama is to figure out the "versus" of the piece - whether that's "Man v. Shark" (Jaws), "Luke v. Darth Vader" (Return of the Jedi), "Frodo v. All the Hordes of Mordor" (LotR). You get the idea.

There's no worry about running out of conflicts on Babylon 5. While there are many, many, MANY conflicts we can discuss here, let's just take a teensy glimpse at one of the core conflicts that will play out over five seasons. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to direct your attention to the Council Chamber, where you can view two ambassadors, both working for the benefit of their people and hating each other with a fiery passion, G'Kar of Narn (played by the late Andreas Katsulas) and Londo Mollari of the Centauri Republic (played by Peter Jurasik).

The Narns had been slaves of the Centauri Republic for many years and many Centauri still view the Narn race as primitive, barbaric, and less-than. As far as the Narn are concerned, the Centauri are a race of bloated, privileged, cruel people who can never be trusted. As the story of Babylon 5 slowly unfolds, viewers see that there is much more to this two incredible characters, who are gradually revealed to be foils to one another. In fact, their stories are so intertwined that it's impossible to imagine the show without this anchoring conflict.

JMS saw this all-important relationship as being central to the story of Babylon 5 as well. He's claimed that he would look at the filming schedule to be sure that he was present for scenes that involved both of these two intense characters, knowing that he'd be certain to see something extraordinary.

Yes, there are many other conflicts that are worth talking about on Babylon 5, but this is where it all starts.

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