JMS will be in Phoenix this weekend to speak at the Phoenix Comicon as part of the 20th Anniversary of Babylon 5. You can get more information at www.phoenixcomicon.com
We are posting selections from our interview, the full interview will be available in our June magazine.
(Site is under updates and reconstruction following a site hack, please excuse our mess during this time).
Do you find it hard to believe that it has been 20 years since Babylon 5 aired and looking back what would you say are your fondest memories of the show?
I find everything hard to believe. Except the impossible, that I believe at once. It’s a little stunning, yeah, but not hard to believe. Probably my fondest memories are contextual rather than specific: it was the process of creating a production where people actually enjoyed coming to work every day. Ask anyone who was there — cast, crew staff — and they’ll tell you to this day that the atmosphere we created at the B5 stages represented the most fun they’ve ever had working in television. I’m very proud of that part.
Do you ever see a day when the untold stories for Crusade and T.M.O.S. may be seen by fans in books or other formats?
TMOS, no…to go back to that would be the wrong story to tell. To the rest…I dunno. There are no plans for it, and in some ways I wouldn’t want to go back to those stories for the same reasons noted above: the writer I am now wouldn’t tell those same stories in those same ways.
A few years back it was reported that you had scrapped your work on a new “Forbidden Planet” film and started anew, can you update us on where you are with this?
It wasn’t scrapped. What happened was that the script was written in concert with Jim Cameron, who was to help produce and/or direct it, but got caught up in the massive success that was Avatar. When he moved away to do Avatar 2, it kind of fell into limbo at Warner Bros, then got caught up in the split between WB and Joel Silver (who had obtained the actual rights to FP), and there it remains, caught in limbo.
Have you ever given thought to doing more directing and what do you think of the newer 3D format that is being used in film?
I do want to do more directing, and I’m slated to direct my first feature film soon, though I don’t want to direct full-time as that means getting up early every day. As for 3D, I’m not convinced yet that the technology as we experience it right now is the right way to go. I think there’s at least one more technological paradigm shift ahead of us before we get to what 3D is actually supposed to look like.
As a fan of comics and one who has worked in the industry, what are your thoughts on characters and franchises being rebooted and what have your thoughts been on the recent and pending Hollywood offerings of beloved comic series?
Every generation requires a rethinking of popular myths. Shakespeare continues to be reinterpreted on a constant basis, which keeps it fresh. Comic stories are our contemporary myths, and if we don’t continue to reinvent them, to make them fresh and vital and most of all relevant to the next generation coming onto the stage, they will die. As for the Hollywood iterations…where they succeed is when the folks making them actually understand and respect the art of the comic book. If they see it only as a franchise, a money-making engine, they fail. As they should.
As a follow up, if given carte blanche, which would you like to take on next as I thought “Thor” was a prime example of how to bring a comic to the screen.
I’d love to do Dr. Strange as a movie, or The Flash.