By Kelas Lloyd

For years, J. Michael Straczynski has been trying to get the chance to make more Babylon 5, as documented on his Twitter and at his frequent convention panels. I attended one of the screenings at San Diego Comic Con for the new animated movie and had the opportunity to ask him a few questions as well, and I can tell you the movie feels like, well, coming home.

More than anything else, Straczynski has always focused on telling good stories, and this is a good story. The characters and their voices have never left him, which you can feel as they show up again in the movie. Londo is especially true-to-form; of the returning cast, he felt the most seamless. There’s one particular exchange he has with Sheridan that was for me the most satisfying part of the entire movie. Then again, like director Matt Peters, my favorite character is Londo. I’m a bit biased.

The new voice cast members did a fantastic job of bringing legacy characters to life in their own way, but the standout for me was Phil LaMarr. From the second Stephen reappeared he felt and sounded right. Others took a little adjusting to, but you could tell the actors cared and connected with who the characters were. It’s touching to know that JMS emailed all of the original cast before starting this project to make sure they were okay with having new voice actors replacing those from the original cast who have passed on, and to know that every single one was okay with this. The movie serves as a great new point of entry as well as an homage to those who have gone on before.

Plotwise, jokewise, musicwise, this feels like another Babylon 5 episode, just an extended one. There aren’t gaps that need to be filled in, or jumps that are hard to follow. There’s ties to past episodes that have fantastic impact when you see them. You can tell that Strazcynski’s heart is still in this, and that Peters is on board as well.

One question I had going in to Babylon 5: The Road Home, after seeing the cast list, was where Vir was. Straczynski unfortunately couldn’t find a way to fit him in organically. Considering how many characters he did manage to put in there, main and bit alike, it’s understandable. Should he get the opportunity to make more, Straczynski said characters that were missed will find their way back. The movie even sets up the opportunity for any characters at all to return; as noted in the previews this isn’t just about being lost in time and that other place (you know where, also has Bill Mumy), it involves alternate universes. The possibilities are pretty much endless, which means here’s the spot where I mention the movie releases on August 5th this year. If the animated movie does well, we get more Babylon 5. What ‘well’ means wasn’t ever quantified as far as I know, but at least there’s some idea of what can help. It’s a welcome change from the years of the Free Babylon 5 campaign.

Straczynski during a panel at SDCC. Photo: Kelas Lloyd.

Straczynski and Peters have said they’re both looking forward to doing more in the animated realm. The results of their first team-up are fantastic, and I’m looking forward to them getting more opportunities to show off what else they can do.

Babylon 5: The Road Home will be available tomorrow, August 15th, on Blu-ray and on Amazon, Apple TV, Vudu and YouTube.