Babylon 5: In the Beginning

  (Redirected from Earth–Minbari War)

Babylon 5: In the Beginning is a 1998 American made-for-television film set in the Babylon 5 fictional universe. It was written by J. Michael Straczynski and directed by Michael Vejar.[1]

Babylon 5: In The Beginning
TNT promotional poster for Babylon 5: In The Beginning
Created byJ. Michael Straczynski
Written byJ. Michael Straczynski
Directed byMichael Vejar
StarringBruce Boxleitner
Mira Furlan
Richard Biggs
Andreas Katsulas
Peter Jurasik
Reiner Schöne
Michael O'Hare
Theme music composerChristopher Franke
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Douglas Netter
J. Michael Straczynski
Producer(s)John Copeland
Susan Norkin (associate producer)
CinematographyJohn C. Flinn III
Editor(s)Skip Robinson
Running time94 minutes
Production company(s)Babylonian Productions
DistributorTurner Network Television
Original networkTNT
Picture formatColor
Audio formatDolby
Original releaseJanuary 4, 1998 (1998-01-04)

The film originally aired on January 4, 1998 on the TNT cable network, a couple of weeks before season five of the series began.


Fifteen years before the initial setting of the television series Babylon 5, Earth becomes involved in a deadly conflict with the just-discovered Minbari race. This war nearly leads to the extermination of the human race, but it is mysteriously halted at the last moment by the Minbari leadership for reasons that remain secret for over a decade. This near-destruction of the human race leads to the Earth Alliance commissioning the Babylon space stations as a means of preventing further wars.

In 2278, Centauri Prime is in flames. A man surveys the destruction from a window of the Royal Palace. Two children, Luc and Lyssa, are later seen playing in the throne room and looking out the window. Their governess finds them and tells them that it is the Emperor's window and that only he can look out from it. The Emperor hears them and tells them to come in front of him. The Emperor is an aged Londo Mollari. Mollari allows Luc to be Emperor of the Centauri Republic for five minutes, during which time he may give any order he wishes. Luc asks for a story of great battles and heroes and villains. Lyssa wants to hear a true story. Mollari decides to give them both what they want. He tells them the story of the Earth–Minbari War that took place 35 years prior while he was ambassador to Earth.

The human race, feeling cocky following their defeat of the Dilgar, is rapidly expanding into space. Word reaches them of the mysterious Minbari race. Though they are warned by Londo to leave this race alone, they seek to research the species first-hand.

The Minbari Grey Council, led by Dukhat, have become concerned that the Shadows may have returned to Z'ha'dum in fulfillment of Valen's prophecy. They are taking a roundabout route to investigate when they encounter Earth ships, led by EAS Prometheus, seeking to investigate the Minbari.

The Minbari ships turn toward Prometheus and engage their long-range sensors to gain more data on the unknown Earth ship. Unknown to the Minbari, the intense EMP field generated by their sensors disables Prometheus' jump engine, preventing the Earth ship from retreating. As the Minbari ships draw closer, they open their gun ports – a sign of respect in their culture. The interference from the Minbari sensors also prevents Prometheus from determining whether or not the Minbari ships are charging their weapons. The captain of Prometheus, with his jump engines disabled and the Minbari ships approaching with the apparent intent to attack, opens fire. The Minbari ships are heavily damaged, and Dukhat is killed. In retaliation, the Grey Council declares a holy war against humanity, and the Earth–Minbari War begins.

The war lasts three years and countless humans are killed, their forces overwhelmed by superior Minbari technology. Lieutenant Commander John Sheridan, first officer of EAS Lexington, is part of a battlegroup engaging the Minbari. After a Minbari ambush, Sheridan's commanding officer is killed. He assumes command of the damaged ship and lays a trap for the enemy, seeding the local asteroids with nuclear mines. The Minbari flagship Black Star closes in to finish off the ship, but is itself destroyed by the mines. This is Earth's only real victory during the war, and the Minbari faction that feels the war has caused enough senseless bloodshed uses this as an opportunity to engage in peace talks with Earth. However, the Centauri intelligence division discovers that the humans are having a secret meeting on a neutral planet that is being brokered by the Narn. Fearing the meeting is intended to secure a shipment of advanced arms, the Centauri bomb the peace conference, with neither the humans nor Minbari suspecting their intervention. All hope for peace is lost, and humanity's losses at the hands of the Minbari continue.

In a last, desperate effort, the President of Earth orders all available ships to form a "line" around the planet in an attempt to delay the Minbari to give some humans time to flee in transports. During the battle, Satai Delenn, a member of the Grey Council, captures a human pilot, Jeffrey Sinclair, ostensibly to learn about Earth's defenses. The Grey Council is startled to discover that he possesses the soul of the revered Minbari religious leader Valen. After examining several other humans, the Grey Council concludes that Minbari souls have been reincarnated in whole or in part in humans.

Since Minbari do not kill Minbari, they surrender to the defenseless Earth forces. Because of the damage this revelation could do to their own culture, they keep the reason for the surrender a secret.

In the wake of the war, Earth builds a space station that can serve as a kind of "United Nations in space", with the intent of preventing future wars. This is the Babylon Station, destroyed by terrorists during construction. Various fates befall later iterations of the station, until the completion of Babylon 5.

After the children leave him, Londo views Delenn and Sheridan being held captive in the Centauri palace, as previously seen in "War Without End". Toasting them as his friends, Londo drinks massively to put his Keeper to sleep so that he can let them escape.

Babylon 5 TV seasons and films

In order of series chronology:
2245–48 • In the Beginning (1st film)*
2256 • Babylon 5 station commissioned
2257 • The Gathering (Pilot)
2258 • Signs and Portents (Season 1)
2259 • The Coming of Shadows (Season 2)
2260 • Point of No Return (Season 3)
2261 • No Surrender, No Retreat (Season 4)**
2261 • Thirdspace (2nd film)***
2262 • The Wheel of Fire (Season 5)
2263 • The River of Souls (3rd film)
2265 • The Legend of the Rangers (5th film)
2266 • A Call to Arms (4th film)
2267 • Crusade (spin-off series)
2271 • The Lost Tales: Voices in the Dark
2278 • In the Beginning (1st film)*
2281 • Babylon 5 station decommissioned

* The framing story is set in 2278.
** The final episode of the season includes scenes of future events up to 3262 and beyond.
*** The story is set between the two wars in season 4.
The final episode of the series is set in 2281.

Story arc and continuityEdit

In the first-season episode "And the Sky Full of Stars", a member of the Minbari Grey Council tells Delenn that Sinclair must be killed if he remembers his missing 24 hours at the Battle of the Line. J. Michael Straczynski has stated that this is not a contradiction, as unlike Kosh and Ulkesh (AKA Kosh II), the Grey Council did not know of Sinclair's destiny to travel back in time and become Valen, rather believing that it was the other way around. They had concluded that rather than see Minbari society destroyed, as they were not prepared for the truth about Valen at the time, it would be necessary to kill Sinclair if he remembered.[2]


  1. ^ "Babylon 5: In the Beginning". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  2. ^ Straczynski, J. Michael (1998-01-15); "In The Beginning Archived 2011-06-14 at the Wayback Machine"; The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive.[clarification needed]

External linksEdit