Crusade was a spin-off of Babylon 5. The TV movie A Call to Arms serves as a lead-in, linking from the original series. J. Michael Straczynski noted in the DVD Commentary to A Call to Arms that Crusade was intended to have a five year story arc, just like Babylon 5, however he also noted that the Drakh plague storyline would have been wrapped up by the end of the intended second season and the show would have moved on to other story arcs. However, conflicts arose between the producers and executives at TNT, and production was canceled before the first episode was broadcast. Thirteen episodes were made and broadcast by TNT, with at least four more scripted. The Sci-Fi Channel attempted to pick up the show and continue production, but was unable to find room in its budget. There have also been three different running orders of the episodes, with the third final chronological viewing order authorised by J. Michael Straczynski as it appears in The Babylon 5 Historical Database as published in Across Time and Space: The Chronologies of Babylon 5.
- "Who Are You? Matthew Gideon, Captain. Attached to the Earth Alliance Starship Excalibur. What do you want? To find a cure to the Drakh plague before it wipes out all life on Earth. Where Are You Going? Anywhere I Have To. Who do you serve and who do you trust? Who do you serve and who do you trust?"
- – Galen Questioning Captain Gideon
- Number of Episodes Produced: 13
- Original Network: TNT
- On Air: June 9, 1999 - September 1, 1999
- Created By: J Michael Straczynski
- Executive Producers: Douglas Netter & J Michael Straczynski
- Producer: John Copeland
- Director of Photography: Frederick V Murphy II
- Production Designer: John Iacovelli
- Edited By: Jeff Hodge, Michael B Hoggan & Skip Robinson
- Music By: Evan H Chen
- Gary Cole as Captain Matthew Gideon
- Tracy Scoggins as Captain Elizabeth Lochley
- Daniel Dae Kim as Lieutenant John Matheson
- David Allen Brooks as Max Eilerson
- Peter Woodward as Galen
- Marjean Holden as Dr. Sarah Chambers
- Carrie Dobro as Dureena Nafeel
The series starts just after the events of A Call to Arms, in which the Drakh infected Earth with a bio-genetic plague that will wipe out all life inside of five years. Captain Matthew Gideon is summoned to Mars, where he is to take command of the Excalibur to begin a mission to find a cure for the Drakh plague somewhere in the depths of space. Captain Gideon was handpicked to command the Excalibur by ISA President John Sheridan, due to the fact that Gideon has proved that he is willing to take chances and will not let diplomacy interfere with completing his mission. The first challenge Gideon faced was assembling his crew; there was some reluctance about bringing Dureena Nafeel onto the crew as she was a member of the Thieves Guild. However, Gideon was able to get her on board. She then informed him of Galen. Galen met with Gideon on a planet and after questioning Gideon, he agreed to join the crew. With his crew assembled, Gideon left in search of a cure.
Hiatus: New Sets & Uniforms
On September 22, 1998 JMS revealed that production of Crusade would be put on a brief hiatus. This was to build new sets and to bring in newer uniforms. Production was due to start up again on October 19. During The Hiatus TNT decided that rather than Crusade's first season beginning months after the Drakh attack, the first episode should instead be a "coming together" episode (this would become War Zone). TNT wanted the new sets and costumes in place for all new episodes. The Black Uniforms as first seen in War Zone were TNT's new Uniforms however were the original uniforms in the chronology of the series. As such an episode was written where "new" uniforms would be introduced, these would in fact be the original "bellhop" uniforms, after this episode the five episodes that were originally produced would air. Then there was a planned episode in which there would be a "laundry accident" and the crew would switch back to the old uniforms (TNT's mandated new uniforms).
Second Hiatus & Cancellation
Prior to a second hiatus, a further eight episodes were produced. At some point, TNT discovered that viewers who watched Babylon 5 were not watching the network's other shows, and vice versa. The decision was made to halt production of Crusade before the first episode aired. The Sci-Fi Channel then began negotiations with Warner Brothers to obtain the series and perhaps fund further episodes. However, it could not afford this as it had already allocated the majority of its operational budget for 1999. JMS soon announced that the show was cancelled. The Sci-Fi Channel eventually obtained the show, and aired all thirteen episodes in April 2001. They also gave JMS the opportunity to restructure the order in which the episodes were to be aired.
Background to Crusade
In 2267, six years after the end of the Shadow War, the Drakh - former followers of the Shadows - attempt to destroy the Earth with a leftover Shadow Planet Killer. Interstellar Alliance president John Sheridan takes command of the Excalibur and Victory and leads the Earthforce and ISA fleets to victory. Despite defeating the Drakh Sheridan's fleet was unable to prevent the Drakh from releasing a nanovirus weapon into Earth's atmosphere, infecting everyone on the planet. Within five years the plague will destroy all life on the planet. The Victory was destroyed in the battle, but the Excalibur survived.
After the Earth Alliance Civil War in 2261, Earth joined the Interstellar Alliance. As promised by John Sheridan, Mars was granted independence since ISA laws required members to free any colony where the majority of colonists want independence. There is still resentment between the two sides. Earth controls most of the information systems and resources in the solar system and Earth based corporations control much of the Mars economy. As a result there is some hostility among Mars-born humans towards Earthers and many in Earthforce do not feel obligated to risk their lives to help Earth fight the plague.
At some point between 2262 and 2267 a civil war broke out on Earth between the Psi Corps and mundanes, assisted by a group of rogue telepaths. As a result of the war, the Psi Corps was disbanded and telepaths were given limited rights and allowed back into society. Few telepaths have advanced very far due to how recent the war was and common fear of telepaths. Telepaths are still banned from scanning others without consent and are required to be deep scanned by powerful telepaths on a regular basis to ensure that they are not violating any laws.
13 episodes of Crusade were produced before TNT canceled the series.
All 13 episodes have been released on DVD with some limited special features. For More Information see:
- J. Michael Straczynski wrote 10 of the 13 episodes.
- The first eight episodes aired were actually the last filmed. The final five episodes with the "new" uniforms were the first filmed before TNT halted production to completely redesign the show's set and costumes. The gray and red uniforms were going to be "accidentally" destroyed in a "laundry accident" in the second-to-last episode of the first season.
- J. Michael Straczynski tried to remove his name from the writer credits. He registered the pseudonym "Eiben Scrood" with the WGA, but the WGA caved to pressure from Warner Bros. and would not allow the pseudonym.
- Part of Gary Cole's costume was a class ring for "Earthforce Academy". He kept the ring and wore it in his next role, as Lumberg in Office Space.
- The cliffhanger ending of the first season was going to be a view through a sniper scope focused on Captain Gideon (Gary Cole) with a fade to black, and the sound of a gunshot.
- The script for the last episode of the first season was going to be the beginning of a rift between Gideon and Galen and called for Gideon to discover that techno-mages were actually former Shadow agents who had rebelled.
- The script for the second-to-last episode of the first season called for a battle between the Excalibur and the rogue spaceship which destroyed Captain Gideon's first ship.
- Patricia Tallman, who played Lyta Alexander in Babylon 5, was originally scripted to be in "The Path of Sorrows" in a flashback with Lt. Matheson. But the deal fell through and they had to revise the script without her.
|Babylon 5 franchise|
|Babylon 5 & Crusade Episodes by Season|
|Signs and Portents • The Coming of Shadows • Point of No Return • No Surrender, No Retreat • Wheel of Fire • Crusade: Season 1 • Unfilmed Episodes|
|The Gathering • In the Beginning • Thirdspace • River of Souls • A Call to Arms • The Legend of the Rangers • Voices in the Dark|
|Novels • Comic Books • Short Stories • Reference books • Magazines|
|DVD Releases • VHS Home Video • The Official Guide to Babylon 5 • Babylon 5: Into the Fire|
|"<<< A Call to Arms" • "War Zone" • "The Long Road" • "The Well of Forever" • "The Path of Sorrows" • "Patterns of the Soul" • "Ruling from the Tomb" • "The Rules of the Game" • "Appearances and Other Deceits" • "Racing the Night" • "The Memory of War" • "The Needs of Earth" • "Visitors from Down the Street" • "Each Night I Dream of Home"|
|"To the Ends of The Earth" • "Value Judgements" • "End of the Line"|