||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (July 2012)|
|Babylon 5 character|
Babylon 5: In the Beginning (chronological) (last airdate),Babylon 5: The Gathering (airdate)
|Last appearance||Interludes and Examinations, Falling Toward Apotheosis (chronological)|
|Portrayed by||Ardwight Chamberlain (voice) and Jeffrey Willerth (puppeteer)|
|Home planet||Vorlon homeworld|
|Affiliated with||Babylon 5, Vorlon Empire|
Kosh Naranek is a character within the fictional universe of the science fiction television series Babylon 5. The voice for the character was provided by Ardwight Chamberlain, and he was physically played by producer Jeffrey Willerth.
Depicted as one of the older members of his species, Kosh Naranek was well regarded by the Vorlon Empire. The plot of the series pilot hinged around Kosh's arrival, humanity's first contact with a Vorlon, and an attempt on his life by a member of the Wind Swords, a militant section of the Minbari warrior caste. Disguising himself as station Commander Jeffrey Sinclair, the would-be assassin poisoned Kosh. The Vorlon government prohibited opening Kosh's encounter suit. The Vorlon Government seemed to assume he would die, and demanded that both his body be returned and Commander Sinclair be sent to the Vorlon Homeworld for trial.
With Sinclair's prompting, Doctor Benjamin Kyle decided to risk treating Kosh, which meant opening the encounter suit. Determining that a cure would be impossible without knowing where the poison entered the Vorlon, Dr. Kyle convinced newly arrived Psi Corps telepath Lyta Alexander to scan the Vorlon. Despite the very strict Psi Corps rules in such cases, Lyta performed the scan. Kosh's recovery was assured as the Minbari assassin was cornered.
Until John Sheridan's arrival as commander of Babylon 5, Kosh had shown little interest in council meetings and was seldom seen. Once Sheridan arrived, Kosh started attending Council meetings with more regularity. One noted absence was when the last surviving person from the former Dilgar Empire came aboard Babylon 5. She was called "Death Walker" by members of other races that were subject to her medical experiments. She arrived with the promise of a drug that would give eternal life to anyone who took it. Initial investigation by the medical staff at Babylon 5 confirmed the drug seemed to be able to do what it was purported to do. After much debate among the security council and the League of Non-Aligned worlds, she was allowed to leave for Earth to deliver the drug. While all of this had been happening, Kosh had contacted the Vorlon government, who sent a ship that destroyed the Dilgar's transport ship shortly after leaving Babylon 5. When asked why the Vorlons had destroyed the ship, Kosh replied "You are not ready for immortality."
Sheridan had a fascination with the Vorlons and Kosh in particular. He asked Kosh if he would teach him about Vorlon culture. Kosh told Sheridan that he could not teach him if he did not even know himself. He did offer to teach Sheridan about himself and give Sheridan lessons on "fighting legends." He would also warn him later in the series that if he went to Z'ha'dum, he would die and later told Sheridan that when he went to Z'ha'dum, he would not be there to help. Kosh consistently frustrated Sheridan with his seemly vague and mercurial answers, such as "You have always been here," and "The avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote." In fact, Sheridan once said that Vorlon answers are always "completely accurate and totally useless."
Unlike some Vorlons, Kosh cared about the younger races on some level, in particular Sheridan. He left his encounter suit to save Sheridan's life after a terrorist assassination attempt. This was a great personal risk to Kosh as he had said that if he were to ever reveal himself "everyone would recognize me". This became apparent during Sheridan's rescue: to humans he appeared as an angel; to every other being that saw him except Londo, he appeared as a commensurate holy being in whatever religion that individual's race practiced, due to the Vorlons having tampered with those races' evolutions.
The Shadows would later break into Kosh's chamber and murder him in an act of reprisal for Vorlon assistance (requested by Sheridan) during the Great War. When Kosh died, Sheridan had a dream in which Kosh represented himself using an image of Sheridan's father. Most of Kosh perished in the attack, but Kosh managed to break off a piece of himself and place it within Sheridan, which would later be revealed during Sheridan's resurrection.