In the Tigris Sector in the year 2257, the gigantic space station Babylon 5 has entered service and is preparing for its first major official duty, hosting the ambassadors of the Minbari, Vorlon, Centauri and Narn governments who will, along with station Commander Sinclair, the Earth representative, begin down the uneasy path toward interstellar peace. The station’s first officer Takashima and security chief Garibaldi are both officers with career records that are, in places, less than exemplary, giving the impression that the Earth Alliance isn’t going to send the cream of its crop to Babylon 5 – especially not since Babylons 1, 2 and 3 were sabotaged and destroyed, and the fourth station in the line vanished without a trace within a day of becoming operational. There are also questions about the alien representatives: Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari spends a good deal of his time in the diplomatic pursuit of drinks and winnings in the station’s casino; Minbari Ambassador Delenn, whose people once waged a vicious war with Earth and suddenly stopped all attacks just moments before wiping out the human race, is secretive and speaks in riddles. Ambassador G’Kar of the Narn Regime is ill-tempered and makes no secret of the fact that he seeks power and prestige for his own people and himself, no matter what the cost to other individuals or governments. And last, but not least, Vorlon Ambassador Kosh Naranek, who, when he arrives, will be the first Vorlon ever encountered by any of the above species, travels incommunicado. This proves to be a problem when Kosh, in a life-sustaining encounter suit, is found unconscious moments after his ship docks at Babylon 5. The crew swings into action and discovers foul play, which infuriates the Vorlon Empire. Matters are made no less critical when it is discovered that the culprit is at large on Babylon 5, and Commander Sinclair is framed for the attack on Kosh. His crew must fight to uncover the truth to prevent the Vorlons from extraditing Sinclair – or to prevent them from simply declaring all-out war on the Earth Alliance…
written by J. Michael Straczynski
directed by Richard Compton
music by Stewart Copeland
(music in 1998 TNT special edition by Christopher Franke)
Cast: Michael O’ Hare (Commander Jeffrey Sinclair), Tamlyn Tomita (Lt. Commander Laurel Takashima), Jerry Doyle (Michael Garibaldi), Mira Furlan (Ambassador Delenn), Blaire Baron (Carolyn Sykes), John Fleck (Del Varner), Paul Hampton (The Senator), Peter Jurasik (Ambassador Londo Mollari), Andreas Katsulas (Ambassador G’Kar), Johnny Sekka (Dr. Benjamin Kyle), Patricia Tallman (Lyta Alexander), Steven R. Barnett (Eric), William Hayes (Traveler), Linda Hoffman (Tech #2), Robert Jason Jackson (Tech #3), F. William Parker (Businessman #1), Marianne Robertson (Hostage), Dave Sage (Businessman #2), Ed Wasser (Guerra)
Notes: Three of the main characters – Takashima, Dr. Kyle and Lyta – were replaced by the time the weekly series began, as was Sinclair’s girlfriend Carolyn; the sets also changed between the film and series, primarily due to the production moving to its own custom-built facility, necessitating some redesigns, although the series sets are very much like the movie’s. Almost all of the alien makeups were also altered for the series, most notably Mira Furlan’s Delenn makeup, which originally was much more gaunt and had several “bumps” on the head, as well as light blue spots and blotches; the makeup for G’Kar also changed, notably with the addition of redder contact lenses and a more rounded-off chin than was seen in the movie.
Another curiosity: close examination of the station in the pilot film reveals that the cobra bay doors from which the fighters launch in the series are not present. You may also notice Ed Wasser, later much more recognizable as Shadow agent Morden, playing a technician on the station’s observation dome.
The “special edition” of The Gathering shown after the world premiere of TNT’s Babylon 5: In The Beginning restored several dropped scenes, including a brief hostage scare (taking place after Lyta’s arrival), and additional dialogue with Takashima and Kyle, Sinclair and Delenn, and others. Delenn also takes a much more active part in the climactic hunt for the saboteur.
LogBook entry by Earl Green