Twenty-five years ago Babylon 5 debuted as our “last, best hope for peace.” For an entire generation, Delenn, Garibaldi, Bester, G’Kar, Lando, and many more came into our homes weekly. They taught us how to get along, how to look past differences and find common ground, how to find peace, and how to kick butt. Sadly, we have lost too many of the main cast members in the intervening years, many way too soon.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series pilot/movie debut, the Saturday panel at the Westin started off with a video of the original clapboard and proceeded to some official Babylon 5 music videos—produced by panel moderator John Hudgens. At the conclusion of the videos, Mira Furlan (Delenn) and Walter Koenig (Bester) both joined the Dragon Con panel to discuss their memories of the series and the impact it had on their lives and the larger world.
For Furlan, her role in Babylon 5 came at critical time in her life. She had recently immigrated from war-torn Yugoslavia. Not only did the series give her freedom to be independent and herself, it also incorporated much of her history and experience into her role of Delenn. For these reasons she stated that she has a “deep gratefulness” for J Michael Straczynski, the series, and her cast mates.
Koenig had already been on a long-running iconic science fiction series. However, he expressed that the B5 cast was more welcoming and less hierarchical than other sets he had been on.
Mira also addressed the strong women characters and Delenn as a role model, “It is possible to combine strength and femininity.”
Even after 25 years, the show is still loved and still has something to teach us. Let’s hope that’s still true in another 25 years.