I never really understood this.

Jeffrey Sinclair disappeared after Season 1 due to the actor departing the show. When he returned it was as a Minbari.

The predestination time travel paradox and him becoming a different species never made sense to me.

Can anyone give an explanation?

  • 8
    Actually, it wasn't due to the actor leaving the show. This was pre-planned from the start by the showrunner, J. Michael Straczynski. He wasn't sure just when Sinclair would leave B5 at first, but then decided to do it at the end of season 1. So Sinclair's disappearance was fully intentional.
    – Tango
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 3:06
  • 6
    In this case, there's no paradox - it's the best example of a Stable Time Loop I've ever seen.
    – Izkata
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 5:15
  • @TangoOversway Ahh OK. I just knew that the actor had wanted to leave the show and Straczynski was OK with that, so thought it was a nice way to write him out.
    – RC Toaster
    Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 9:25
  • @Izkata How so? It seems to be a predestination paradox. Sinclair is only be able to become Valen because he was recognized as Valen, and thus spared. There is no clear beginning.
    – RC Toaster
    Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 9:26
  • @RCToaster Sorry, I misunderstood the exact paradox you mentioned. More specifically, the timeline never changed, and objects that went back in time weren't the same objects from the first time (the Triluminaries came from the planet, for example, not the Minbari homeworld). See the references to Stable Time Loop on the TemporalParadox TVTropes page, for more examples.
    – Izkata
    Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 11:57

4 Answers 4


He did not reappear as a Minbari. He came back as his original human self. He did not change into a Minbari until 3x16 - 3x17, the "War Without End" two-parter.

They were the ones that caused the disappearance of Babylon 4, and took it back 1000 years into the past to use as a base in the last Shadow war. During the journey back in time, he used a Triluminary from the Great Machine to become Minbari, which would later become the same one Delenn had used to become human. He became Valen, a Minbari not born of Minbar.

  • Thanks for the edit. I tend not to think about spoilers when I post.
    – BBlake
    Commented Feb 27, 2012 at 14:08

He was human with a Minbari soul. It's a bit of a paradox but stable, it requires a closed time loop that can't change and has no initial beginning. He went back in time and merged human and minbari, causing minbari souls to be born to humans, which caused him to exist, which caused him to be able to go back and become Valen, closing the loop.


Ohare left the show on an ending the season agreement due to increasing effects of mental illness that eventually claimed him in 2010 or 2011. It is said to have not been preplanned.

There's some more information here.

And a quote from the same article;

In 2012, Michael O'Hare, who played the original Commander of Babylon 5, Jeffrey Sinclair, passed away. During his life, however, fans were unaware of the fact that he suffered from delusions and paranoia due to mental illness.

That was the real reason he left the show after only one season. Straczynski explained how O'Hare struggled, how he was barely able to come back for a two-parter to close his character's story, but above all, that O'Hare wanted people to know the truth after his death.

  • Welcome to the site, and thanks for your answer. Can you bring any sources or citations to back up your claim? Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 6:33
  • Joe revealed the Michal O'Hare had had a mental illness at the Phoenix Comiccon last year, and that this was the reason why he left when he did. However there is no indication that this lead to his death. (I've tried to find a transcript of the announcement, which I'm sure I've read, but come up blank - plenty of Youtube)
    – Dan Kelly
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 10:06
  • I've edited to include a link to an article which also has a link to the YT video you mentioned. RIP Commander Sinclair.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 6, 2014 at 18:46
  • 2
    This is quite correct, but it doesn't answer the question asked, which is: What was the mechanism behind the character returning and changing into a Minbari? Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 0:20

There was a device found on the planet that B5 orbeted. He used this device to change himself into a Minbari. Delenn also used a similar device to change herself into a half Human half Minbari hybrid. Also found on this planet were the time warp devices Sinclair and the other B5 crew used to travel though time.

  • Although this isn't wrong, it does largely replicate the info in an earlier (and high voted) answer.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 20:05

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