Long time no see! I haven't posted in a while but today I felt like writing a blog post. This time I'll write about the series I have recently watched: Babylon 5.
In fact, I am going to
give my view on the departure of Claudia Christian from the series. It's
an interesting story because JMS (the show's creator) has always been
active on the internet, even though the internet was in its infancy when
he was making this series.
Because of this, different parties gave their side of the story, which has conveniently been archived here: http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/misc/cc-leave.html.
It clearly wasn't an amicable break, but the question just what
happened still remains. Today, I'm going to tell what I think happened.
It's been quite some time, but I've just watched the series and just
want to write down my thoughts about this all.
begin, though, I want to say that if anyone involved ends up reading
this (and I'd be honored) I don't want them to feel offended, I'm
just doing my personal speculation here and I don't by any means think
I'm right. With that out of the way, let's just get started.
the end, what I think happened was a case of miscommunication. JMS
believed it wasn't, but I think he was looking in the wrong place. He
was looking at the communication between Claudia and himself (and the
other cast members). I think the main miscommunication was in a
different place, and because people weren't aware of that, things that
seemed like they had to be very clear involved some miscommunication.
of the things that caught my eye on that page is how JMS's first post
doesn't mention the fewer episodes debacle, as it was not an issue to
him. Then, Christian tells about wanting to do fewer episodes and only
after that Straczynski talks about the whole issue. It is later yet that
he digs up another piece of information: her wanting to get paid for
the episodes she didn't do.
The first thing to note
here is that JMS was offended by Christian not finding his promise
enough to go on; I don't believe JMS is a kind person when he's
offended. The second part is that Christian's agent got a negative on
doing less episodes (she was very adamant about not doing such calls
herself). I am assuming that both are telling the truth, and under that
assumption, it seems it wasn't Christian but her agent who made the
demand for her to be paid for episodes she wasn't in. It's sour to
single someone out like that, but it seems the logical thing if the
people posting in the newsgroups were telling the truth.
course, long before that there was already was the fact they were going
to cable (TNT) and the actors were on the short end of the smaller budget
that entailed. I think this was what caused Christian not to extend the
contract option earlier on. It also seeded the first of the ill will on her part.
Clearly, Straczynski wasn't aware of just how much the actors were
giving up until halfway through the specific thread.
there's another point that jumps out: JMS says the deadline was very
clear, whereas Christian claimed not to be aware of it at all. One of the
reasons JMS believed it was completely clear was because he told her so
himself at a convention. I'd speculate, though, that she didn't make much of this
because she felt that a deadline is something her agent should be contacted about, so she didn't think of it as an official deadline, but as
just a line drawn by JMS. She stepped on his toes yet again, and the
goodwill was being sucked out of the situation very fast. Straczynski
counters by saying that her agent was contacted well in time. Again, if I
assume both are speaking the truth, I can only assume that her agent
didn't do his job and didn't let her know about this.
Jeff Conaway visited Claudia the Monday after the deadline. Because the
deadline had now passed, he was probably very clear about the fact that
this was a deadline set by the studio. However, since Christian hadn't
heard of it from her agent and hadn't understood that from Straczynski,
this was the first time she was really aware of this deadline. That's
why she mentioned this as the only time she had been told about the
There was one more important thing that I
can't skip over: Christian doing other work. I don't this is a direct
cause for all the trouble that led to her not being in the last season
of Babylon 5, but I think it has several tangents with it all the same.
From what she wrote, I think Christian was approached for other roles, she hadn't been actively looking for them. It may have been a part of the
reason why she didn't give the earlier contract extension. It probably was also
the reason why she was looking for a way not to do all episodes.
Finally, this was probably also what the rumor mill turned into "her
looking around for other work", which was an important thing in the relationships
between the different people involved getting strained.
In the end, I think
the situation was just not a simple one and there were some problems
cropping up, but the one who really dropped the ball was Christian's
agent, though. However, I'm just an uninformed kid doing guesswork and
The note I want to end on, is a
more positive one. It's the character that filled the void left behind
by the lack of Ivanova: Captain Lochley. While one may say this was a Suspiciously Similar Substitute,
I personally agree with JMS, she was a different character, had her own
story rather than taking over Ivanova's and fit the role to fill quite
well. The hard thing here is that in both one-on-one replacements he
did, the position in the military structure was a very large of what defined the
character, meaning that they would
automatically become quite similar.
Anyway, as I was going to say, in a way it is ironic that Christian's replacement only did a few
episodes after her departure had at least something to do with her wanting to do less episodes. However, I actually think it was a really good move to have Lochley in so few episodes.
Because of this, it didn't feel like she was shoehorned in or that
we were being told to care about her, but instead as a natural progression
of the situation. As a hole left in the military structure being filled
by the folks back home, which wasn't a main cast member, so didn't get
the center stage.
3/1/2016: I cleaned up some spelling mistakes and improved some sentences to be clearer, as this was rather poorly written.