White Star (Babylon 5)

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For other uses, see White Star (disambiguation).
White Star
Babylon 5 - White Star.jpg
A White Star firing weapons.
First appearance Matters of Honor
Affiliation Interstellar Alliance
Launched 2260
General characteristics
Class Medium Cruiser [1]
Fighters 4 Nial fighters
Armaments 1 Neutron Cannon [1]
4 Twin Fusion Cannon [1]
Defenses Vorlon Bio-armoured hull
Gravitic Tractor beams
Minbari stealth device
Propulsion Stalasha Gravimetric Engine [1]
Length 475.6 meters

The White Star is a fictional starship in the science fiction television series Babylon 5.

First appearing in the season three episode, Matters of Honor, the computer generated 3D model was designed and built by the Emmy Award winning co-founder of Foundation Imaging, Ron Thornton. As with a number of other ships he designed for the television show, Thornton took inspiration from nature when creating the White Star, explaining that “The animal I based it on was the pelican. I am still amazed to this day as to what masters of the air these seemingly clumsy birds are. Beautiful fliers.” [2]

Originally intended by Thornton to be a small and cramped vessel much like the Millennium Falcon, with the small bridge being the only habitable area, when he was asked to create “something that was a Minbari ship only more predatory and with Vorlon influences”. He quickly realised it would have to be a larger vessel after seeing the original sets that were designed for it. [3]

As the series progressed, further sets were included to show additional areas of the ship, such as hallways and sleeping quarters as more stories took place on the vessel. After a previously unseen and un-referenced docking bay was added in the season 5 episode, Meditations on the Abyss, this resulted in Tim Earls (the Art Director for visual effects who joined in season 4) to size the design at 475 metres long as part of a set of size charts he drew up towards the end of season 5, in order to accommodate all the internal areas which had been added by the writers since the designs original conception two years earlier. [4]


The White Star class was designed and built through a collaborative effort between the Minbari religious caste and the Vorlon Empire. With the reorganization and revitalization of the Rangers as a force with which to fight the Shadows, it was imperative that they be provided with a warship that would not be inherently recognized as either Vorlon or Minbari. As such, the ship was designed and built in secret and in large numbers by the Minbari worker caste. These vessels proved devastating during the Shadow War and the subsequent Earth Alliance Civil War. After the dust had settled, they served as a vital part of the Interstellar Alliance's military assets.

The White Star commanded by John Sheridan was thought to be unique until near the end of the third season (in "And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place"), where it was revealed that the first wave of 40-50 White Stars had entered service. White Stars continued to be built and they were used extensively thereafter. The original White Star was vaporized as Sheridan crashed it into the largest city on Z'ha'dum while detonating two 500-megaton nuclear warheads.[5]

While they are powerful ships featuring Vorlon and Minbari technology, Earth Alliance Omega class destroyers proved they could lock onto a White Star and destroy it, breaking the Minbari "stealth" advantage they had had previously (in the episode "No Surrender, No Retreat" Captain John Sheridan and Marcus Cole confirmed weapons lock on the White Stars). The advanced Omega class destroyers from the EarthForce proved to be a match for the White Star task force during the Battle of Sector 300, although the whole fleet of Omega class destroyers was obliterated.

Unlike most other large ships in the series, White Stars were numbered rather than being given unique names—Enrique Montoya's Maria (White Star 27) in Season 5 is the only known exception. At least 90 White Stars had been constructed by the end of the series.

The White Star was amongst the smallest ships in the Babylon 5 universe that still possessed the capability of opening its own hyperspace portals (known as "jump points") rather than relying on stationary jump gates or upon jump points created by larger allied craft.

The heavy losses suffered in the conflicts of the Shadow War and subsequent liberation of Earth led to the design of the larger and more powerful Victory class destroyer, an Earth-Minbar joint project based on Vorlon designs. The first results were two prototypes completed five years after the events of the television series. The White Stars were the best ship class of that size of cruiser, but the Interstellar Alliance had been forcing them to face heavy destroyers which highly outclassed them in one-to-one combat. The White Stars were no match for any heavy destroyer of any of the major races in a one-on-one combat (such as an Earth-Alliance Omega class destroyer that completely out-gunned a White Star one-on-one). The only way the White Stars could win would be in groups, as by themselves they were too weak to succeed against a destroyer. The Victory class was an attempt to create a new backbone of dedicated heavy destroyer class vessels for the Interstellar Alliance fleet.


  1. ^ a b c d The Official Guide to Babylon 5 (CD ROM)
  2. ^ Ron Thornton. (2008-03-22). "B5Scrolls interview extract. Explaining origins of the design.". B5Scrolls. Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  3. ^ Ron Thornton. (2008-03-22). "B5Scrolls interview. Describing relationship with the Art Department who designed the sets.". B5Scrolls. Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  4. ^ Tim Earls. (2008-03-22). "B5Scrolls interview. Describing origin of size charts and issues surrounding the White Star.". B5Scrolls. Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  5. ^ "Z'ha'dum". Babylon 5. 

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