Due to the fact that Babylon 5 was cancelled by the network after season 4, they were forced to have a logical ending point for the series in season 5. What would have happened if it hadn't been canceled and they were able to spread out the plot more? Here are some points (I didn't make this multiple questions because this still falls under the same question, just different points in that question):

  • How long would the Shadow war have been the main plot for season 4?
  • Would Byron and the telepaths would be introduced during the shadow war, to give more power when they eventually committed suicide in the fifth season, or introduced in the fifth season?
  • Would Lorian have been introduced immediately after Sheridan's fall into Z'Ha'Dum?
  • What about the Shadow allies that only appeared in one episode (each) in season 4? Would they be there to assist the Shadows or only after the Shadow war ended?
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    ...but...weren't there in fact, 5 seasons as originally intended? The series was planned as a 5 season arc
    – NKCampbell
    Jun 4, 2021 at 1:53
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    @NKCampbell I don’t have the quotes on hand but JMS has spoken of how he had to cram more things into season 4 than he wanted to. The Earth Civil War would not have ended in season 4 was the biggest thing I remember. They did not get confirmation of season 5 soon enough to avoid changes to season 4. Jun 4, 2021 at 3:20
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    The plan was always to have 5 seasons; no more, no less; but when it looked like the show would not get the fifth season, Straczynski decided to wrap up as much as possible in the fourth to get a real ending. The ultimately final episode, "Sleeping in Light", was shot then to end the series, while also shooting "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" to end Season 4 in case the show did get a fifth season, which it fortunately did. Jun 4, 2021 at 7:42
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    @NKCampbell the series plan was five seasons - but as season 4 started production the network decided that would be the final season. This forced JMS to condense the Shadow War and Earth Civil War storylines. At the last moment (around the time the series finale was filmed), the network changed their minds again and ordered a fifth season - a new season 4 finale was filmed, and JMS had to stretch out his plans for the final season to fill the episodes.
    – HorusKol
    Jun 4, 2021 at 9:46
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    Regarding Byron - I'm sure the source can be tracked down by someone more ambitious - but my memory of JMS comments is that the telepath refugees were originally going to have an active role in the Shadow War as Shadow jamming devices - which we saw Minbari telepaths doing. However Byron was pushed to Season 5 and Sheridan gave them sanctuary on principle that the Vorlons created them for the war and he has used Telepaths to disable the enemy Earth fleet. So he owed them in a Karma sense not in a direct payment sense. Jun 4, 2021 at 21:07

1 Answer 1


There is some information in the book Season by Season #4 - No Surrender, No Retreat. Without reproducing enough to infringe copyright (I hope), here are some of the highlights, starting with an (abridged by me) quote from J Michael Straczynski:

So what I had to do, therefore was to move over those four or five episodes that would be hanging over into Season Five resolving Season Four threads. Initially, Season Four would have ended with 418 ['Intersections in Real Time'] because that's a good cliffhanger, you've got Sheridan sitting in the box. You've got him sitting there until the next season begins and you get him out of the box and you then begin the process of starting the movement that gets the Earth thread going. I had to move that forward in the storyline so that 421 ['Rising Star'] would be a clear break... If it did end on Four, viewers would walk away feeling satisfied, because we had enough material to end the storyline and the main threads have been resolved...

The book continues that resolving the Shadow War in the first six episodes was rushed, that:

The original plan was to conclude the war in two and a half episodes. This was reduced to just the on, 'Into the Fire', in order to make room for events coming up later in the season.

There's not too much detail about specific episodes, but this suggests that the Shadow War would preferably have wrapped up just before halfway through the season, giving a brief break before rolling into the conflict with Earth, possibly similar to how the conflict with Earth came to a head in 310 Severed Dreams before the Shadow War became the more important arc for Season 3. That is not explicitly stated, just my interpretation of lots of little quotes. As for your other 3 dot points - no information that I can find.

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