The opening credit sequences to Babylon 5
have, for me, always
been one of the best parts of the show. They changed yearly and did
a good job of setting the mood for the coming year's worth of episodes.
The Gathering (Series Pilot):
Londo Mollari: I was there at the dawn of the third
age of mankind. It began in the Earth year 2257 with the founding of
the last of the Babylon stations, located deep in neutral
space. It was a port of call for refugees, smugglers, businessman, diplomats,
and travellers from a hundred worlds. It could be a dangerous place, but
we accepted the risk because Babylon 5 was our last, best hope for peace.
Under the leadership of its final commander Babylon 5 was
a dream given form. A dream of a galaxy without war when species from
different worlds could live side by side in mutual respect. A dream that
was endangered as never before by the arrival of one man on a mission
of destruction. Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. This is
The music in the pilot, including this opening, was done by Steward
Copeland, whereas the rest of the series' music was composed by Christopher
Franke and performed by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. As such,
the music here has a much different feel and isn't really worth discussing
as part of a progression. As for the monologue...in many ways, the
story of B5 is about the rise and fall of Londo Mollari, and so it
is very appropriate that he opens the series.
Jeffrey Sinclair: It was the dawn of the third age
of mankind, ten years after the Earth-Minbari war. The Babylon project
was dream given form. Its goal: To prevent another war by creating a place
where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's
a port of call; home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs,
and wanders. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million five hundred thousand
tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous
place, but it's our last best hope for peace. This is the story of last
of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon
Michael O'Hare (who plays Sinclair) has an outstanding speaking voice,
and his delivery on the "all alone in the night" line always gives me
chills. The whole sequence, and especially that one line, lends a
tremendous feeling of isolation--as if Babylon 5 is truly a frontier
outpost at the end of the universe, mostly cut off from the rest of civilization.
The music tells much the same story--hopeful, peaceful, but very subdued
John Sheridan: The Babylon Project was our last
best hope for peace. A self-contained world five miles long, located in
neutral territory. A place of commerce and diplomacy for a quarter
of a million humans and aliens. A shining beacon in space, all alone
in the night. It was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind... the year
the Great War came upon us all. This is the story of the last
of the Babylon stations. The year is 2259. The name of the place is Babylon
The monologue is close in content and delivery to the Season 1 opener,
just with Sheridan taking over for Sinclair. The visual shots used
during the monologue are also similar. The musical score is close
to the Season 1 theme, but much stronger--heavier percussions, almost regal
in delivery. It represents the growing influence of Babylon 5 in
the global scheme of things as well as possibly signifying the heightened
power of both the Earth Alliance and the Centauri Republic.
Susan Ivanova: The Babylon project was our last best
hope for peace. It failed. But in the year of the Shadow
War, it became something greater--our last best hope for victory. The
year is 2260, the place...Babylon 5.
And now, a marked change in the opener for the first time. The
extreme sadness in Ivanova's voice denotes how everything is basically
going to hell, with the start of the Shadow War and the growing situation
back home with President Clark (which would lead to B5 seceding from the
Earth Alliance by midseason, in Severed Dreams). The theme music
has been completely changed, heavy on bass and deep percussions to highlight
the growing darkness.
Lennier: It was the year of fire.
Zack Allan: The year of destruction.
G'kar: The year we took back what was ours.
Lyta Alexander: It was the year of rebirth.
Vir Cotto: The year of great sadness.
Marcus Cole: The year of pain.
Delenn: And a year of joy.
Londo Mollari: It was a new age.
Stephen Franklin: It was the end of history.
Susan Ivanova: It was the year everything changed.
Michael Garibaldi: The year is 2261.
John Sheridan: The place...Babylon 5.
This is the first multi-voice opening, which in and of itself signifies
the growing cooperation between the different races on the show.
This is the "fourth act" of the show, where most of the action happens.
As such, 2261 is depicted as being "the year where a lot
of shit went down." The music is a partial return to the basic Season
1/2 theme, but HEAVY on drums and fanfare--almost like a
military victory march, which is exactly what it represents: the triumph
of good over evil. It reminded me a lot of the Star Wars end theme,
when Leia gives the medals to Luke and Han. Anyway, this is by far
my favorite theme out of the five.
Kosh: And so it begins. (Chrysalis)
Minbari assassin: There is a hole in your mind. (The
Jeffrey Sinclair: What do you want? (And the Sky
Full of Stars)
G'kar: No one here is exactly what he appears. (Mind
Jeffrey Sinclair: Nothing's the same anymore. (Chrysalis)
General Hague: Commander Sinclair is being reassigned.
(Points of Departure)
Londo Mollari: Why don't you eliminate the entire Narn
homeworld while you're at it? (Revelations)
Elric: I see a great hand reaching out of the stars... (The
Geometry of Shadows)
Sebastian: Who are you? (Comes the Inquisitor)
ISN Reporter: President Clark has signed a decree today declaring
martial law. (Messages From Earth)
John Sheridan: These orders have forced us to declare independence. (Severed Dreams)
Alfred Bester: Weapons supplies... (Ship of Tears)
John Sheridan: Unless your people get off
their encounter-suited butts and do something... (Interludes and Examinations)
Zathras: You're the one who was. (War without
End, Part II)
Kosh: If you go to Z'ha'dum you will die. (In the
Shadow of Z'ha'dum)
Lorien: Why are you here? (The Hour of the Wolf)
Lorien: Do you have anything worth living for?
(What Ever Happened to Mr. Garibaldi?)
Delenn: I think of my beautiful city in flames...
(Rumors, Bargains, and Lies)
John Sheridan: Giants in the playground... (The
John Sheridan: Now get the hell out of our galaxy! (Into
John Sheridan: We are here to place President Clark under
Not much to say about the dialogue, it's pretty much just a recap
of the last four seasons (and a damn good one at that). The episodes
the lines are taken from are in parentheses. The music is completely
different from past seasons, much less intense than the Season 3/4 themes.
It's kind of regal in nature (similar to Season 2's theme), representing
the rise of the Interstellar Alliance. A good opening, but I got
sick of it really quickly.
You can download all the themes (as well as a shitload of other B5 sounds)
at the Down Below Sound Archive at http://b5.sdvc.uwyo.edu/bab5/
Return to the Babylon 5 Episode Guide.