For the 20th anniversary of “Babylon 5”, a good chunk of the remaining cast, plus creator J. Michael Straczynski, took the stage at the Phoenix Comicon over the weekend. It’s a far smaller number than you might expect, since a statistically improbable proportion of the cast has died since the show went off the air. Perhaps surprisingly, the leading cause of death has not been being accidentally trampled by uncontrollable mobs of teenaged fans.
Straczynski apparently got annoyed by the questions and the moderators and summarily dismissed the lot of them in order to conduct his own conversation with the cast. In the process of this, Straczynski gave a gorgeous monologue about Michael O’Hare, the actor who played the commander of Babylon 5 for the show’s first season, and who died last November. Straczynski revealed that O’Hare had been unable to continue with the show because of terrible mental illness, and had asked Straczynski to tell people after he was gone.
It’s easy, especially with our jaded trade news cycles, to gloss over the actors as people. And while the big names with the million dollar contracts might live in another world entirely, many of the most memorable of the characters on our little screens are brought to life by people who in their day to day lives really still are normal people.
Here is the rest of the panel in two longer clips, if you’re interested: