SDCC 2016: Straczynski’s BABYLON 5 Film Pushed Back, RISING STARS Officially Announced


Two years ago at San Diego Comic-Con, writer J Michael Straczynski announced that he hoped to have a big screen reboot of his seminal 1990s science-fiction series Babylon 5 in production at some point the following year. Well, 2015 has come and gone and there has been no real follow up news as to what is the status of the project. That is until Straczynski spoke at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and explained that the Babylon 5 movie may be delayed for a bit and its ultimate fate may actually depend on how quickly he can bring some of his other projects to fruition.

Speaking at a solo spotlight panel at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend (via Jan S and JMSNews), Straczynski stated that he was still working on what he called “street cred.” He estimated that he could currently probably raise $60 million for a Babylon 5 film, but that would still be short of the $100 million that he would need to fund a “proper” Babylon 5 film.

To reach that level of “cred” Straczynski figures that he needs to get at least one or possibly two more television shows or another film into production first. That shouldn’t prove to be too big a problem as Straczynki spent a portion of his panel announcing or hinting at new projects and updating on others already known.

RisingStarsStraczynski announced that MGM had just approve an outline for a big screen adaptation of his graphic novel Rising Stars and he should be getting the go-ahead to start scripting this coming week. The film, which would adapt his story about 113 children in a small town who suddenly develop super powers, could possibly become a franchise in order to adapt the entire original 24-issue run of the series.

It is nice to hear some solid news on the Rising Stars big screen adaptation. He first teased this new attempt to bring the series to the big screen back in 2013 at New York City Comic-Con. Previously, an earlier attempt to bring the comic to the big screen actually stalled the publication of the last three issues of the story. Back in the early 2000s, publisher Top Cow had been approached about the film rights for the series. However, due to a misunderstanding on Top Cow’s part, they neglected to keep Straczynski in the loop concerning the deal and he withheld the scripts for the final three issues for the series until things were resolved.

For television work, the writer/producer is currently partnered with the Wachowskis for the Netflix series Sense8 which will have a Christmas special debuting on the streaming service in December with the rest of the second season arriving early in the new year. He also announced that his comic book series Midnight Nation in development for a television series over at Universal with Gale Ann Heard producing. Straczynski also teased a collaboration with writer Neil Gaiman that would involve the work of the late grandmaster Ray Bradybury. Although it hasn’t been officially announced yet, the pair are working on a television anthology series based on Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man short story collection.

Straczynski also noted that for the last several years he had been suffering from both early onset cataracts and a rare genetic disorder called Fuchs Corneal Dystrophy and then current treatments could either be applied towards one or the other but not both. Holding off on making a decision as to which course of treatment he would rather pursue, an experimental treatment was developed two years ago that would allow both conditions to be treated. Stating that he has never seen better in his life, he is already getting back to his old work output and seemed quite happy about that.

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About Rich Drees 7040 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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Carlos M. J. Clavijo Jr
Carlos M. J. Clavijo Jr
May 11, 2017 11:43 am

I am a great fan of Babylon 5 for years. I acquired the 14 volume scripts that Mr. Straczynski had. I wish I could acquire the rest of the volumes, but cost are a limiting factor indeed. Some ideas come forth. 1.I would have loved to see Crusade expanded showing how and where the crew obtained the cure for the Drakh disease. 2. Likewise, how about a movie or shows giving a detailed origin story about The Technomages. Where they came from. How they developed. The world they settled in after migrating from Babylon 5. 3. A good look at… Read more »

June 14, 2017 1:46 am

I still hope there will be a new Babylon 5 sereis or at least one movie. B5 was definitely one of the best sci-fi series ever made.