Babylon 5 influences
Science fiction television series Babylon 5 draws upon many cultural, historical and mythical influences to inform and illustrate its characters and storylines.
- 1 Cultural influences
- 2 Historical and political influences
- 3 Other influences
- 4 Religious references
- 5 References
Babylon 5 is often compared to the Star Trek series. Debates over whether Babylon 5 or the similar Star Trek: Deep Space Nine "cribbed" ideas from each other continue to this day, despite J. Michael Straczynski's extensive knowledge of non-Star Trek science fiction and explanations of his thought processes.
The most prominent influence is presented by the title itself. According to J. Michael Straczynski:
I picked Babylon for the station, because a lot of what happens in the Babylon 5 story comes out of Babylonian creation myth, which says that the universe was born out of the conflict between order and chaos.
Unusual for a television series, this central theme, planned well before the show's production, develops only slowly and takes several seasons to become clear.
The Lord of the Rings
Several elements in B5 are similar to elements in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel (first published in three volumes), The Lord of the Rings. For instance, in the first volume, The Fellowship of the Ring, the Black Riders first appear singly, then in progressively larger groups; B5 repeated this tension-building pattern early in its first season, when enemy forces known as the Shadows appear first singly, and then in vast numbers. These similarities were acknowledged by Straczynski.
Additionally, the Shadows, like the Black Riders, strike a deep primal fear in everyone who sees them. The way the Shadows are spoken of, as the Darkness and the Enemy is reminiscent of how Sauron is spoken of in The Lord of the Rings.
The most obvious reference from the book are Babylon 5's Rangers, who share their name and mission with Tolkien's Rangers of the North. Both are secretive orders that work covertly to protect a populace that is either unaware of or openly hostile to them, and both are led by individuals of mixed race — Aragorn, who had blood of Men, Elves, and Maiar, and the half-human, half-Minbari Delenn. Just as the marriage of Aragorn and Arwen reunited the Humans and Elves, whose blood flowed through them both, the marriage of John Sheridan and Delenn reunited the Humans and Minbari, who both held Minbari souls.
The code of the Rangers, as stated by Marcus Cole in the episode "Grey 17 is Missing", is: "We walk in the dark places that no one else will enter. We stand on the bridge, and no one may pass." This is reminiscent of two scenes from The Lord of the Rings. The first is Aragorn's description of his Rangers during the Council of Elrond in The Fellowship of the Ring: "Lonely men are we, Rangers of the North, hunters — but hunters ever of the servants of the Enemy"; and the second is Gandalf's confrontation with the Balrog over the abyss in Moria, in particular his cry of "You cannot pass!" before he shatters the bridge. Furthermore, Gandalf has previously been warned (by Aragorn, no less) that he will die if he enters Moria (also known as Khazad-dûm); in B5, captain John Sheridan is warned that he will die if he goes to a planet called Z'ha'dum. Both men sacrifice themselves, fall into an abyss, and return in an altered form to unite the forces of good against the forces of evil. Kosh could also be compared to Gandalf, in that both are powerful beings who help gather the forces of Light together and act as a mentor towards the main heroes, Sheridan and Aragorn. Both also die in their duties, and both return, though Kosh's return was brief. In early declarations JMS also mentioned that there would be parallels between the trajectories of some characters.
Also, B5 takes place at "the dawn of the third age", and the defeat of Sauron in The Lord of the Rings is considered to be the ending event of the Third Age of Middle-earth.
The third season of Babylon 5, the Shadow War, is depicted less as a typical science-fiction war than as a conflict between Darkness and Light comparable to the War of the Ring. The Shadows, like Sauron, were defeated before, but over time regained their strength and returned to start a new war. The First Ones were leaving the Galaxy to out beyond the Rim, just as the Elves were leaving Middle-earth to go to Valinor. After the Shadow War, all the First Ones leave for beyond the Rim. Likewise, after the War of the Ring, the Elves leave for Valinor. Both universes have difficulty getting all the various races to work together to stop the Enemy, since many of these races are suspicious and distrustful of one another.
Aragorn was the rightful heir to the thrones of the sister realms Arnor and Gondor. Arnor had long since fallen, and Gondor's own royal line (Aragorn's relatives by blood) had ended. He was hated by the Steward Denethor who ruled Gondor in lieu of a king, and who feared for his position if Aragorn returned to claim his birthright. Sheridan, comparatively, had to break away from Earth and was declared a traitor by President Clark. Both Denethor and Clark committed suicide at their end.
The Shadows, like Sauron, also have many servants and races working for them, which they summoned when they prepared to make war again. Both also infiltrated and influenced other rulers and nations; the Shadows worked through Emperor Cartagia and President Clark, for instance, just as Sauron worked through Saruman and other forces of evil. The Shadows' Mr. Morden is their smooth-tongued advocate, just as Gríma "Wormtongue" was in Rohan for Saruman. Additionally, the Shadows use living beings as the central operating system of their warships. This theme of domination and alteration is similar to Sauron's desire to dominate life in Middle-earth and bend all to his will.
Delenn's role is not dissimilar from Arwen's. Also, the Centauri and the Narns stand at different technological levels, just as Gondor and Rohan do in The Lord of the Rings. Gondor itself is described in Roman-like terms, whereas Rohan is more Anglo-Saxon. Gondor and the Centauri Republic are soldier states with organized standing armies and established government bureaucracies, whereas Rohan and the Narn Regime are more warrior-oriented, having an ad-hoc military and political structure in which the highest leadership is the only constant. The former are older civilizations and the latter are younger civilizations, still imbibed with a spirit of dashing, even reckless, bravery and warrior heritage that is lacking in the former.
Another parallelization that can be made between Babylon 5 and The Lord of the Rings is that of John Sheridan and Frodo: in the end of The Return of the King Frodo appears to carry too much of a burden to stay in Middle-earth, so he is honored by the elves who take him with them to Valinor inside the last ship. At the end of Sleeping in Light, Sheridan goes to Coriana 6 to die where he meets Lorien who apparently honors him by taking him to join the other First Ones beyond the Rim.
The Shadows utilize an "Eye of Z'ha'dum" that has the ability to see across space. The exact mechanics and workings of the Eye are left somewhat vague, and its inner workings were only explored somewhat in the Technomage trilogy novels. The Eye is like a supercomputer which drives "the will" of the Shadows and also oversees the operation of Shadow technology (e.g. planetary defenses of Z'ha'dum), as well as acts as a long-range sensor of some sort. Like the Eye of Sauron, the Eye of Z'ha'dum also has a metaphysical form, as witnessed by Cmdr. Susan Ivanova when she was using the great machine to locate the First Ones. However, unlike the Eye of Sauron which is only one eye, the Eye of Z'ha'dum (like those of the Shadows themselves) has fourteen eyes.
The name Narns might be derived either from C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia, or from Tolkien's Narn i Chîn Húrin in The Silmarillion. The name of Tolkien's heart of elvendom, "Lórien" (or "Lothlórien") is given to the first of the First Ones in B5 (see "Lorien"). The name of the Shadows' agent, Mr. Morden, may also reflect Tolkien's Mordor. The similar nature of the names Khazad-dûm and Z'ha'dum has been noted earlier.
The creator of B5, J. Michael Straczynski (JMS), acknowledges Tolkien when a "techno-mage" loosely quotes The Fellowship of the Ring, where the character Gildor Inglorion says, "Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger."
He often says that B5 is "greatly informed by" but "is not" any particular preceding work of fiction or history.
However, there is strong evidence that the mythology created by Tolkien in The Silmarillion as a whole (and not just The Lord of the Rings) was used by Straczynski as a reference.
It seems that Babylon 5 used Tolkienian myths as a "not isomorphic template" or a "detailed guide".
Within the universe of B5 the story of the TV series has an analogous position with that filled by Lord of the Rings in the context of Tolkien's Legendarium: it is a transitional step between two eras, describing what can possibly be viewed as a "childhood's end", the maturing process of a younger race and its struggle to gain freedom from its predecessors.
Thus the thematical importance of this common element of the two narratives: the pivotal "Third Ages". This is made explicit in a dialogue between Sheridan and Delenn of Into the Fire (Babylon 5). Their words have echoes of Gandalf's speech to Aragorn in The Steward and the King, one of the chapters of the final book of The Lord of the Rings.
Also there are some people that think that Babylon 5 can be viewed as an "atheistic mirror image" of Tolkien's mythology and, more specifically, of The Lord of the Rings.
The story of Sheridan and Delenn bears a great resemblance to the lives of Beren and Lúthien. The story of Arwen and Aragorn mentioned in the previous section repeats several of the same elements presented in Beren and Lúthien's story. However, it is in Beren and Lúthien's tale that there is a dead mortal man resurrected, with a diminished life expectancy and who marries a female of another species who becomes human/mortal in order to stay with him.
The Vorlons, the Shadows, and the First Ones as ancient races of the universe, are quite similar to the Valar and the Maiar; both the First Ones and the Valar/Maiar can present themselves with several appearances/forms to a viewer, as occurred in the case of the Vorlons (and Lorien). The visible forms chosen by the Valar and Maiar were "fánar", or radiant, translucent "raiments" very akin to the "angelic" forms presented by the Vorlons.
The name of the First One, Lorien, is an homage to the Vala of Tolkien's mythology. The true name of the Vala was Irmo. Lórien, strictly speaking, was the name for his habitation, his gardens in Aman the Blessed Realm. The name was given also to the forest of Middle-earth that was the kingdom of Galadriel and Celeborn.
The Centauri God of the Underworld mentioned by Londo Mollari in The Parliament of Dreams is called Mogath, a name that resembles the epithet given to the first Dark Lord of The Silmarillion, Morgoth. Morgoth, in the first stages of Tolkien's mythology, was also a ruler of a particular version of the Underworld.
In Tolkien's books, Morgoth was a rebellious Vala (an angelic guardian of the world that could be seen as a "god") In The Book of Lost Tales, which contains the earliest form of the complex of mythological material that would eventually make up The Silmarillion. Morgoth, with the old form of his name, Melko (preceding "Melkor"), was a ruler/tormentor of the evil spirits of the dead.
Morgoth was banished to the Outer Dark beyond the Door of Night in "The Silmarillion"'s conclusion. And the Outer Dark can be equated both with the darkness of the starry "night" that is outside of Arda, the Earth, or with the Outer Darkness, The Night or Void that is beyond the confines of Time itself. The Galactic Rim of Babylon 5 seems to have a similar function to the Void of "The Silmarillion". Both of them are places of exile to the disruptive forces of the universe: Morgoth in Tolkien's work, and the Shadows/Vorlons in B5. The Galactic Rim is also akin to Aman The Blessed Realm of Tolkien's mythology, as a place of enlightenment, transcendence and the voluntary exile of the elder races.
The Shadow Planet Killers or Death Clouds, giant machines capable of destroying worlds that were created and used by the Shadows, have a strong resemblance to the Unlight. The Unlight is a dark emanation of Ungoliant, an evil creature of The Silmarillion incarnated in the form of a giant spider. She helped Morgoth in a crucial moment of the narrative. Like the Planet Killer's shadow cloak, the Unlight resembles a cloud of inscrutable darkness, capable of strangling the very will of any living thing ensnared by it, and capable of obliterating all light. It can be woven like a web. Ungoliant used it to satiate her infinite hunger for luminous energy, and also to hide herself and Morgoth, making both of them invisible to the Valar. This Unlight was also what provoked the Darkening of Valinor. The cloud surrounding the Shadow Planet Killer has the same attributes, generating opaque darkness and draining the energy of all that are entrapped within it: star vessels, power sources, etc. This dark cloud conceals a "web" or "net-like" matrix of numerous destructive mechanisms which make up the Planet Killer itself.
The "physical" forms of the Shadows and the general appearance of their starships are very similar to spiders, making the Shadows themselves and their technology possible homages to Ungoliant and all her progeny (which includes Shelob of The Lord of the Rings).
Babylon 5: The Lost Tales was the name given by Straczynski to the anthology show set in the Babylon 5 universe. Straczynski has described the stories as ones he had for the Babylon 5 television series, but never had the time to produce. Thus, the name itself, is, probably, an homage to The Book of Lost Tales.
A plethora of Shakespearian quotes and misquotes peppers Babylon 5 dialogue, Macbeth being a notable favorite. Hamlet is also a popular source; the season 5 episode "The Paragon of Animals" takes its name from the play. "The Quality of Mercy (Babylon 5)" takes its name from a quote from the beginning of Portia's oration in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, Act IV, scene one.
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The legend of King Arthur
Two episodes highlight the influence of the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The Battle of the Line is analogous to King Arthur's final battle. Delenn is associated with the Lady of the Lake. Sheridan is unquestionably an Arthurian figure, gathering the disparate alien races under one alliance. Lennier reveals himself as a Lancelot type when he betrays the Rangers over his feelings for Delenn, and Kosh may literally or figuratively be Merlin. Marcus Cole suggests that Kosh, like Merlin, might see the future by remembering it, and that Kosh may have visited Earth and modeled the Round Table after his acquaintances on Babylon 5.
In fact Kosh may not have needed to remember the future through some unusual unexplained means as Marcus theorizes: it is well established that Kosh knew Valen, the Minbari religious leader responsible for founding the Grey Council. Valen was in fact Jeffrey Sinclair, a Human sent back into the past, and Kosh may easily have become aware of future events through Valen/Sinclair, especially since he was a telepath.
Excalibur appears three times in the series: as a ship involved with the battle against General Hague, as an actual sword, and again as the ship charged with finding a cure for the Drakh plague and saving Earth, the second Victory class destroyer (the Victory herself, and the shipyards to construct more vessels of her class, were destroyed shortly after Victory was launched). Note the episode: "A Late Delivery from Avalon".
Subject: Re:Epic Parallels
There's another applicable metaphor for the sword story; you'll see it a little later this season. Very good catch, btw.
- Similarity to La Morte D'artur [sic]: Arthur's and Mordred's armies are poised for battle but make one last attempt to negotiate, but a soldier raises his sword to kill a snake and everyone attacks. Compare this to the emperor's peace overture in "The Coming of Shadows."— jms
The scene described in the post is also the inspiration to the incident in the first contact between the human race and the Minbari that resulted in the killing of Dukhat. The Minbari open their gun ports in a signal of respect towards the humans, which was misinterpreted as preparation for an attack. This fact occurred in Babylon 5: In the Beginning movie.
Some of the supposed Lord of the Ring references could be also applied to the Arthurian myths. However since much of the Tolkien works were heavily influenced by Arthurian legend, the threads of storytelling archetypes are easy to trace.
The Great Machine on Epsilon 3 in the episode "A Voice in the Wilderness" appears to be an homage to the ancient Krell machine in the movie Forbidden Planet (1956), especially in the overhead shot of a narrow bridge that runs through a vast space surrounded by alien machinery. However, JMS said that he did that because it looked right, and it would not have mattered if it wasn't the shot from Forbidden Planet.
The concept of "younger races" like humanity growing past its early, primitive stages and ascending to some higher plane of existence is reminiscent of Childhood's End of Arthur C. Clarke. The fourth-season finale of Babylon 5, "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars", depicts the mankind of one million years in the future as having physically evolved past mortal, "corporeal" bodies into true beings of energy, similar to the conclusion of the book . The first season episode "Mind War" also touches on this theme, through the fate of Jason Ironheart. The novel is one of the favorite books of Straczynski.
Science fiction writer Alfred Bester provided the inspiration for Babylon 5's telepathic Psi Corps in his 1953 novel The Demolished Man. In the novel, telepaths band together under the control of the "Esper Guild", which is very similar to the Psi Corps – with the exception that they are a benevolent society of telepaths, and not sinister like the Psi Corps. Straczynski paid homage to Bester by naming a main telepath character, Alfred Bester, after the author.
The chronicles of Dune
JMS noted in the DVD release of Babylon 5 that one of his favorite science fiction stories is Frank Herbert's Dune. There may be analogies between the Padishah Empire and the Centauri, the Psi Corps and the Bene Gesserit, the Vorlons and the Spacing Guild, and the Narn and Fremen.
Other cultural influences
- The Prisoner - the Psi Corps show many similarities to this British television series, including a modified salute and use of the phrase "Be seeing you".
- The EarthForce Destroyers bear a striking resemblance to the Russian spacecraft Aleksei Leonov from the film 2010.
- The design of the Babylon 5 space station itself appears to be based upon the concept of an O'Neill cylinder, a space habitat design proposed by the physicist and space pioneer Gerard K. O'Neill in his 1973 book The High Frontier. This is confirmed by JMS and the class of space station is the O'Neill class.
- Other book, television, and film influences include Blake's 7, E. E. Smith's Lensman novels, the Cthulhu mythos and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
- The idea of monks preserving technology after a devastating nuclear war on earth as seen in the episode "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" seems to be at least influenced by the novel A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr..
- Several scenes visually refer to other works, usually other TV shows or movies, such as the scene in "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place" in which Lord Refa is killed, which recreates a similar scene from the film Cabaret.
Historical and political influences
Churchill and World War II
Neville Chamberlain at Heston Airport in September 1938. He said:
My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.
"There will be peace in our time", remarks a human diplomat after signing a treaty with the Centauri, who later invade many planets surrounding their own territory.
Sheridan ponders Churchill's Coventry dilemma. This is the classic 'Do I save lives now, knowing that it will give away to the enemy, that we have broken their code/have spies in place and will likely cost lives in the future and extend the war' dilemma. Churchill himself only faced this dilemma generally (he could not know how bad the Coventry raid of 14 November 1940 would be before the event). Unfortunately for Sheridan, this widely believed tale is an urban myth—the truth is that Churchill was made aware that a German bombing raid was planned but it was assumed that the target would be London. It was only minutes before the attack took place that Coventry was identified as the true target.
The EAS Churchill is the rebel ship lost defending B5 during the Earth civil war. Destroyed on 2260-04-15 when her captain rammed her into the EAS Roanoke after taking heavy damage.
In addition, there is a reference in the season 4 episode The Face of the Enemy by William Edgars to a genetically-engineered plague targeting telepaths as a Holocaust; "The telepath prob– the telepath problem.. will finally be over."
Roman history and I, Claudius
The Centauri, with their Latin sounding names, love of high living, aristocratic families, and fading Republic ruled by an Emperor are clearly meant to evoke ancient Rome. For instance, Emperor Cartagia believes himself a god. His demise leads to Londo's unlikely ascension to the throne, and then ultimately to Vir's even more unlikely succession. This parallels the story of Claudius (never seriously considered a contender; a stammering cripple), who is made Emperor of Rome when mad Emperor Caligula (another self-appointed god, and note the similarity of the names) is killed.
Caligula is probably the most obvious comparison, hence why I had that name reflect that sound a little bit. I wanted someone who you would be very much in fear of, not because he was rampaging around screaming all the time, but because he was completely and totally arbitrary.— J. Michael Straczynski, quoted in Jane Killick, Babylon 5: No Surrender, No Retreat (New York 1998), p. 36
Other historical and political influences
- Dark Ages. The idea of monks preserving technology (knowledge) in a Dark Age can also be linked back to real history and the preservation & production of manuscripts in the libraries and scriptoriums of monasteries in the Dark Ages.
- One of the Nightwatch members in the third season quotes Thomas Jefferson: "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom," to support the concept of Nightwatch, whereas Jefferson meant it as a warning against the idea.
- The diplomatic set-up on Babylon 5 is clearly modeled on the United Nations with the five-member Babylon 5 Advisory Council roughly analogous to the Security Council and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds representing the General Assembly.
- The stance of Shadows and Vorlons, as two powers philosophically opposed and vastly stronger than other races, bears somewhat of a resemblance to the position of the superpowers of the Cold War. Both sets (at least initially, in the Babylon 5 plot) avoided direct confrontation with one another, instead seeking allies among lesser powers and assisting those allies in smaller wars.
- Another historical reference is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, pre-figuring the assassination of Earth Alliance President Luis Santiago. Following the assassination, the swearing in of Morgan Clark is designed to re-create the scene aboard Air Force One when Lyndon Johnson was sworn in. Filming of this scene occurred on November 22, which added a layer of somberness to the cast and crew reactions. In fact, the pilot movie, The Gathering, was originally intended to open with a voiceover taken from news coverage of JFK's assassination.
- Abraham Lincoln referred to the United States as "...this last best hope of Earth" in an address to Congress following the Emancipation Proclamation. The opening narration of the first two seasons refers to Babylon 5 as the last best hope for peace. Sheridan quotes Lincoln in his good luck speech in the first episode of season two.
In S02-E04 (A Distant Star) Delenn expresses to Sheridan the perspective that we (all living beings) are created from the same elements that make up the B-5 station, and the stars (i.e., nitrogen, iron, hydrogen, etc). She says we are made of "star stuff". We are the universe itself, become conscious, and trying to figure itself out. This perspective is taken almost verbatim from Carl Sagan's Cosmos (episode 1).
JMS has remarked that B5 doesn't deliberately follow Joseph Campbell's myth-arc but he acknowledges that many of its elements are present.
Throughout the show numerous references are made concerning Sheridan's analogous role in history to that of a messiah. A number of religious phrases are used to refer to Sheridan: messiah, messianic, and The Second Coming. In season four, episode 17, "The Face of the Enemy", When Garibaldi speaks with William Edgars about capturing Sheridan, Garibaldi says "I don't know, but I think the last guy got 30 pieces of silver for the same job" a reference to Judas' betrayal of Jesus.
Another interesting event occurs when Sheridan falls and is caught by the Vorlon Kosh in the season 2 episode, "The Fall of Night". Kosh, not wanting to reveal his true form, appears as a different religious figure depending on the onlookers' homeworld. Because Sheridan is human, he perceived Kosh as an angel. Matthew 4:1-11 reads, "To his heavenly messengers he will give orders about you, and with their hands they will catch you.", which is interpreted as Satan telling Jesus that if he were to fall, angels would catch him and save him from death.
Sheridan was also resurrected twice by Lorien. The first time was on Z'ha'dum in the season 4 episode, "Whatever Happened To Mr. Garibaldi", right after Sheridan asked Lorien "If I fall how will I know if you'll catch me", and the second was on Babylon 5 during a fight with Ulkesh in the episode "Falling toward Apotheosis", further solidifying his parallels with a historical messiah.
Even though JMS is a professed atheist, Babylon 5 contains many references to Christian ideas. Several episode titles refer, directly or indirectly, to elements of the Christian faith, notably the season 3 episode "Passing Through Gethsemane", but also "A Voice in the Wilderness" and "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place" (which is also the title of a lively gospel song). Moreover, the monks led by Brother Theo who take up residence on Babylon 5 belong to the Dominican Order, a Roman Catholic monastic Order. Overall, Babylon 5 strove for even-handedness in its treatment of religions, notably in the multi-faith gatherings in the episodes "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place" and "The Parliament of Dreams", although arguably the appearance of Kosh in the guise of a Christian angel could be seen as subversive even though many religions share the concept of "angels" or "beings of light." However, this assumes that all humans would see the same angelic figure as Sheridan, which may or may not be the case.
- Straczynski, J. Michael. "Chrysalis" commentary, Babylon 5: Season 1, disc 6.
My point of comparison, I suppose, would be The Lord of the Rings, which spends the first several chapters, a LOT of time...on Bilbo's birthday party, dividing up his belongings, bringing in Frodo, the relationships between all the various Baggins's and other relatives, with Frodo waiting around, and finally hitting the Road. You get a *sense* of things happening around the corners, at the edges of the story, but for the most part, it's fairly standard.
Who, you could stop at this point and say, "Well, so what's so special about this? It's just about some dumb birthday party." But it's the *book* (or books) that are truly extraordinary; it's where the road takes you.
Like Tolkien, and Jonathan Carroll, whose wonderful books start out looking very nice and comfortable...and gradually take you to someplace strange and dark and unique...I've tried to apply a similar structure to Babylon 5.
Telestro: certainly one of our characters might go the way of Saruman....and one might go the way of Aragorn...and Gandalf...ah, well, that's always uncertain, isn't it? "Expect me when you see me.
- Babylon 5 "Babylon 5 meets Lord Of The Rings"
- John in the Underworld (13 Nov 1996 21:37:14 -0700)
- Mythic Well. Tolkien's epic creation forms a template for B5, if not as a one-to-one correspondence or specific isomorphic match, at least as a detailed guide
- Sheridan and Delenn Quotes
- "it was in part meant to be an atheistic mirror image of one of the greatest Christian cultural achievements of the 20th century (Tolkien's Lord of the Rings)".Enloe, Tin:An Ode to Babylon 5, or What the Atheist Taught Me About Christian Culture, de-vagaesemhybrazil.blogspot.com
- A Note on Tolkien, Sinclair, Sheridan, and Delenn
- The Mythic Well I: Comparison Table
- Some then she keeps in Mandos beneath the mountains and some she drives forth beyond the hills and Melko seizes them and bears them to Angamandi, or the Hells of hen, where they have evil days. Book of Lost Tales I, "The coming of the Valar and the building of Valinor"
- Encyclopedia of Arda: Void
- Encyclopedia of Arda: Unlight
- Wikiquote:The Merchant of Venice#Act IV
- "JMSNews". JMSNews. 1995-12-06. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- "Articles en ligne : C. Jardillier : Tolkien et la légende arthurienne". Modernitesmedievales.org. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- "Gandalf and Merlin: J.R.R. Tolkien's Adoption and Transformation of a Literary Tradition. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- "Galadriel and Morgan le Fey: Tolkien's redemption of the lady of the lacuna. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- Music by Verlyn Flieger pages 33-44
- "A Voice in the Wilderness". The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5. Archived from the original on 10 January 2006. Retrieved 2006-01-04.
- Pioneering a new frontier in television production: The Making of "Babylon 5"
- "Guide page: "The Face of the Enemy"". Midwinter.com. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- Star Wars origins-Other science fiction contains some images with more possible comparisons.
-  Archived March 16, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- transcript of a formal conference with J. Michael Straczynski
- When Hobbits and Vorlons collide
- I, Cartagia: a mad emperor in Babylon 5 and his historical antecedents