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|Babylon 5 character|
|First appearance||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)|
Jeffrey Willerth (puppeteer)
|Affiliation||Babylon 5, Vorlon Empire|
|Home planet||Vorlon homeworld|
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 entailed Kosh' 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' 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' 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. After this point, Kosh started attending Council meetings with more regularity and became more visible about the station.
Unlike some Vorlons, Kosh showed a degree of concern about the welfare of the younger races. He had a particular interest in Sheridan. Kosh was a mysterious character and Vorlon culture was a mystery to most races. As revealed in the pilot episode, no alien being had ever been to the Vorlon home world. When Sheridan 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".
Kosh seldom spoke, but on rare occasions would speak in vague riddles. His voice usually had a soft, breathy tone and was accompanied by ethereal musical notes. On occasion he would speak sharply with anger. Sheridan was often frustrated with Kosh's enigmatic responses to questions put to him. At one point Sheridan said that Vorlon answers are always "completely accurate and totally useless."
Kosh had told Sheridan that if he were to ever reveal himself "everyone would recognize me". This came to pass in the final episode of season 2, “The Fall of Night” when Kosh was forced to leave his encounter suit to rescue Sheridan from an assassination attempt. To all younger races, bar the Centauri, outside his encounter suit Kosh appeared as a holy being of light from each race's own particular religious pantheon. Humans saw an angel, Minbari saw Valeria, the Narn saw G'Lan while the Centauri saw nothing. This revealed that the Vorlons had tampered with the younger races during their evolution to see a holy being whenever they saw a Vorlon. The Centauri, however, had not been so manipulated.
After Sheridan pleaded with Kosh for help against the Shadows, Kosh finally authorized the Vorlons to intervene, albeit in a limited capacity. Even so the Vorlon involvement turned the tide of that battle. The Shadows later broke into Kosh's chamber and murdered him in an act of reprisal. As Kosh was dying, Sheridan had a dream in which Kosh appeared to him in the form of Sheridan's father. As the dream ended and Sheridan woke, he realized that it was Kosh speaking to him and that he had been attacked. While most of Kosh perished in the attack, a small part managed to break off and hid within Sheridan. This portion would later be revealed during Sheridan's resurrection on Z'ha'dum.