Delenn Character Profile
Delenn was the Minbari Ambassador to Babylon 5. Mira Furlan played the role.
Note: This is a complete biography of Delenn. Therefore, it contains spoilers for all five seasons of Babylon 5. The biography is written in chronological order, so if you are watching Babylon 5 for the first time you can safely read the early parts of this article and stop before you reach the sections that would reveal events that you haven't seen on the show yet.
Delenn was born in the Earth year 2222 on Minbar. Her family name was Mir, and they were members of the Religious Caste.
Delenn's family traveled to the temple regularly, and Delenn's father carried her on his shoulders during their visits. When Delenn was five years old, her mother joined the Sisters of Valeria religious order. This was a great honor for their entire family.
In 2235, Delenn left the temple and became an acolyte serving the Grey Council, the Minbari's nine-member ruling body. She studied under Draal, Rathenn, and Dukhat, the leader of the Grey Council.
Delenn became Dukhat's personal aide, and by 2245 he selected her to fill an open position on the Grey Council. This was a surprising decision because she was still so young.
When Anla'shok Na Lenonn, the leader of the Rangers, requested additional funds to strengthen their ranks, several members of the Grey Council were doubtful of the Rangers' usefulness. The Rangers were intended to guard against the return of the Shadows. Delenn suggested that an expedition be sent to Z'ha'dum to learn if the Shadows had returned. Dukhat decided that the entire Grey Council would go on the expedition.
Dukhat learned of an upstart young race called the Humans and asked Delenn once again for her opinion. She said that the Minbari should contact the Humans, so Dukhat planned to travel near their border during the trip to Z'ha'dum. Delenn began studying everything the Minbari knew about the Humans.
In July 2245, Delenn formally joined the Grey Council and earned the title Satai. During part of her investiture ceremony, Dukhat placed a triluminary on her forehead. The triluminary was a piece of alien technology that had been passed down through the Grey Council from Valen, the original founder of the Council. The triluminary glowed briefly when it touched Delenn's forehead. This was not a normal occurrence.
The Humans had sent Captain Jankowski in the Prometheus on a first contact mission to the Minbari. As the two fleets approached each other, the Minbari ships opened their gun ports as a sign of respect. To the Human culture, this gesture meant something entirely different, and the impetuous Jankowski opened fire.
After a brief engagement, the Humans fled. The Minbari had been taken by surprise, and their flagship was damaged. Dukhat was mortally wounded. As he lay dying, he told Delenn that the triluminary had glowed because she was a direct descendant of Valen. However, the events of the next few moments caused her to suppress this memory for many years.
The Earth-Minbari War
The other eight members of the Grey Council took a hasty vote on their response to the Humans. The vote tied, and they came to Delenn for the deciding vote. In her grief she voted to pursue the Humans and wipe them out, showing no mercy.
The Minbari also had to fight off Soul Hunters who tried to board their ship and capture Dukhat's soul.
Over the next few years, the Earth-Minbari War raged across space. Delenn felt the burden of responsibility for the many deaths that resulted.
In 2247, Lenonn and Delenn entered Dukhat's sanctum. Inside, they found two Vorlons, Kosh and Ulkesh. Kosh played a recording for Delenn that Dukhat had made before his death. In his message, Dukhat warned them that they would need the Humans on their side during the coming war against the Shadows. Delenn and Lenonn conspired to open secret peace talks with the Humans.
Centauri treachery ruined the peace talks and killed Lenonn. The Minbari captured the Humans emissaries, John Sheridan and Dr. Stephen Franklin. Lenonn had given Sheridan a phrase to repeat when he was captured. When Delenn heard it, she realized that it was a message from Lenonn indicating that his death was not the Humans' fault. She released Sheridan and Franklin.
In 2248, the Grey Council's ship participated in the final assault against Earth, which the Humans called the Battle of the Line. Delenn suggested that they take a prisoner for interrogation. Another Council member suggested that she choose quickly since the Humans were being decimated. Delenn selected a Starfury that was on a kamikaze run against their ship. Jeffrey Sinclair was its pilot.
The Minbari brought Sinclair onboard their ship, tortured him, and interrogated him. At one point they examined him with a triluminary. The triluminary glowed so brightly that they could only interpret it as meaning that this Human pilot had Valen's soul. The Religious Caste members on the Grey Council believed that Minbari souls were being reincarnated as Humans. They called an immediate halt to the war and surrendered to the Humans. They did not explain their action to the Warrior Caste. This caused a rift between the castes that would fester for over a decade before reaching a breaking point.
In 2250, Delenn's father died. She believed that the war against the Humans had broken his heart.
In 2251, Delenn accepted an ambassadorial position while secretly retaining her position as Satai. She left Minbar to work abroad, and considered this part of her atonement for her part in starting the Earth-Minbari War.
When the Minbari funded the construction of Babylon 5, they demanded the final say in the commander. Delenn arranged for all of the candidates to be rejected until Commander Sinclair's name was reached at the bottom of the list.
Delenn arrived on Babylon 5 in 2256 to serve as the Minbari Ambassador. She continued her studies of the Humans and of Jeffrey Sinclair in particular. The Grey Council ordered her to kill him if he remembered his interrogation at the Battle of the Line.
While studying Earth records after arriving on the station, Delenn discovered images of Babylon 4, which had mysteriously disappeared. She recognized it as the station that Valen had brought to the Minbari 1000 years earlier during their fight against the Shadows. Realizing that some form of time travel had taken place, Delenn kept her knowledge secret.
During the events surrounding the assassination attempt on Ambassador Kosh in January 2257, Delenn maintained Minbari neutrality by abstaining from the vote to extradite Commander Sinclair to the Vorlon homeworld. Privately, however, she took more direct actions to further her agenda. When Narn Ambassador G'Kar approached her for an alliance and revealed too much knowledge about the Minbari surrender at the Battle of the Line, Delenn threatened his life with a gravity ring to ensure his silence. She aided Sinclair and Security Chief Garibaldi during their chase of the Minbari assassin. Later, she unofficially gave Sinclair some of the information that the Minbari had about the Vorlons.
In March 2258, a renegade Soul Hunter attacked and captured Delenn. He had decided to take matters into his own hands by killing people for their souls rather than waiting for them to die. Jeffrey Sinclair rescued her, adding more strength to the friendship that was already growing between them.
Later that month, Lennier arrived on Babylon 5 to serve as Delenn's aide.
The Minbari and others on Babylon 5 had to deal with growing anti-alien sentiments among portions of the Human population. In April, members of a group know as Home Guard brutally attacked Shaal Mayan, a friend of Delenn who was visiting the station.
Shortly thereafter, members of another covert Human group kidnapped Commander Sinclair and interrogated him to learn what had happened at the Battle of the Line. When the drugged Sinclair escaped from them, he was deranged. He staggered about the station, reliving his capture ten years earlier. Delenn was the only person who was able to calm him down. Sinclair recognized her as a member of the Grey Council, but he didn't tell her.
In June, Draal visited Delenn on Babylon 5. When the station's crew learned that Varn, the caretaker of the Great Machine on Epsilon 3, was dying, Draal volunteered to take his place. Delenn recruited Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari to pilot them to the planet's surface so that Draal could save the Great Machine.
A Bridge Between Species
In June 2258, the Grey Council summoned Delenn to meet with them. They offered her the position of leader of the Grey Council, a post that had been vacant since Dukhat died. Delenn refused the position, believing that she had a destiny to help fulfill the prophecy that Humans and Minbari would work together. She acquired one of the triluminaries and returned to Babylon 5 where she began constructing a chrysalis device.
The next month, Mr. Morden visited Delenn to ask her, "What do you want?" This alerted her to the return of the Shadows. She continued building her chrysalis device for several months until December when she sent Lennier to confirm her suspicions with Ambassador Kosh. Lennier asked, "Have the Shadows returned to Z'ha'dum?" Kosh replied, "Yes." Delenn realized that the time of the next Shadow War that had been foretold by Valen was upon them. She felt it was her duty to help fulfill prophecy by building a bridge between the Minbari and the Humans so that they could work together to defeat the Shadows. She used the triluminary to activate the device she had built, and it entombed her in a chrysalis.
Delenn spent the first few weeks of 2259 in the chrysalis. Through mysteries not even understood by her, the chrysalis changed her body into something neither Minbari nor Human. She was a bridge between the two races. When she emerged, she had many physical characteristics of a Human woman.
As expected, Delenn's actions were not universally accepted. Many individuals - both Minbari and Human - considered her transformation to be an insult to one species or the other. The local Minbari questioned Delenn's leadership, and Human reporters chastised her on a public news broadcast. In July, the Grey Council summoned her again and cast her out from their ranks. They allowed her to remain the Ambassador to Babylon 5. Neroon, a member of the Warrior Caste, replaced her and upset the balance of the Grey Council.
Delenn did not understand her new Human feelings yet, but a spark developed between her and Captain John Sheridan. When Delenn went into the quarantine zone to aid the dying Markab people, Sheridan was worried for her.
Ranger One Jeffrey Sinclair placed the Rangers passing through Babylon 5 at Delenn's command. She made them available to Sheridan when necessary.
In December 2259, the Vorlons sent an Inquisitor to test Delenn. Sebastian actually turned out to be Jack the Ripper, who had been kidnapped from Earth by the Vorlons and artificially preserved until they needed him. The Vorlons wanted to ensure that Delenn was not operating on ego, and Sebastian went to inhuman lengths during her interrogation. Again, Sheridan was concerned for her. This time he came to her aid, and they faced Sebastian together. Delenn's willingness to die for Sheridan helped convince Sebastian that her motivations were satisfactory to the Vorlons.
Working with John Sheridan
At the end of 2259, Sheridan was nearly killed by a terrorist bomb. He jumped from a core shuttle and was suspended in the station's hollow interior, slowly drifting towards the rapidly rotating sides. With airborne rescue units unable to reach him in time, Delenn urged Kosh to save him. Kosh complied and revealed his angelic appearance to fly to Sheridan and rescue him.
In January 2260, Delenn joined Sheridan's War Council. She suggested contacting other First Ones for help and invited Draal to participate as well. When Psi Cop Alfred Bester visited the station, Delenn arranged for Minbari telepaths to ensure that Bester did not scan the command crew and learn about Sheridan's conspiracy or the Rangers.
Delenn supported Sheridan in his covert actions during this period. She accompanied him when he took the White Star to Ganymede to destroy the Shadow vessel there. When Babylon 5 seceded from the Earth Alliance in April 2260, Delenn went to visit the Grey Council uninvited. The Grey Council had decided to not participate in the Shadow War. She convinced the Religious and Worker Caste members that they were wrong and broke the Council, leaving the Warrior Caste members alone. She returned to Babylon 5 with three warships, arriving just in time to protect the station from the second wave of President Clark's assault that would have captured it.
Delenn realized that the Humans would not want to wear their Earth Force uniforms while they were opposed to Clark, so she had new uniforms made for them.
Delenn invited the captains of the Minbari ships to tour Babylon 5. During their visit, covert members of the Nightwatch kidnaped Delenn and Fleet Captain Lennan. One of their captors stabbed Delenn, and Sheridan, who had become very attached to her by this point, chased the man down in a rage.
After providing aid to Babylon 5 for several months, G'Kar demanded admittance into the War Council. Delenn confessed to him that the Grey Council had known of the Shadows' return and had stood by as the Shadows helped the Centauri devastate Narn. If the Minbari had helped, the Shadows would have acted openly much sooner and destroyed the Narn utterly. G'Kar understood that some had to be sacrificed if all were to be saved. However, he was unable to forgive Delenn at this time. Delenn welcomed him into the War Council.
In August 2260, Delenn received a letter from Valen that had be stored in a temple on Minbar for nearly 1000 years. It provided information about the necessity to travel through time, protect Babylon 4 from a Shadow attack, and then send it into the past to support the previous Shadow War. Delenn participated in the time travel mission. Before leaving for the distant past, Zathras revealed that Delenn was "The One Who Is", indicating that she would become Ranger One following Sinclair but preceding Sheridan.
Building the Third Age
In November 2260, Zathras' prediction came true when Delenn was appointed Ranger One. Neroon challenged her appointment, saying that a member of the Warrior Caste should lead the Rangers. Marcus Cole championed Delenn and fought Neroon. When Neroon saw how Delenn inspired a Human to lay down his life for her, he understood that she was the best choice to lead the Rangers.
The next month, Delenn learned that the White Star fleet was ready. She encouraged the League of Non-Aligned Worlds to contribute ships to their fleet. The combined forces of the Army of Light drove the Shadows out of Sector 83 and achieved their first real victory.
As her relationship with John Sheridan grew more serious, Delenn asked him to perform a Minbari ritual. They would spend three nights together during which the woman watched the man sleep. On their first night together, Anna Sheridan interrupted them. Despite Delenn's pleas, Sheridan went to Z'ha'dum with Anna.
Sheridan's apparent death at Z'ha'dum hit Delenn hard. The alliance with the other races began to unravel without Sheridan's leadership. They believed Delenn's decisions were based on her grief over Sheridan's loss rather than proper strategy. She mounted an unsuccessful rescue mission to Z'ha'dum in a White Star with Susan Ivanova and Lyta Alexander.
Delenn was overjoyed when John Sheridan returned but was distraught when she learned from Lorien that he would only have twenty years to live. Sheridan asked Delenn to marry him, and she agreed.
Delenn and John Sheridan stood on the front line of the ideological conflict during the final battle of the Shadow War at Coriana 6. While Sheridan debated with the Vorlons, Delenn presented the case of the younger races to the Shadows. Lorien permitted the others present to witness the debates, and they learned that they were merely pawns in an ideological dispute.
After the departure of the First Ones with Lorien, Delenn returned to Babylon 5. She once again faced discrimination from both Humans and Minbari. In April 2261, Human news reporters discredited her in a news broadcast as part of President's Clark's propaganda campaign. Then, Delenn's clan recalled her to Minbar because they were concerned that her relationship with Sheridan violated Minbari customs. Delenn underwent the Dreaming, a process that allowed her to recall her repressed memories of Dukhat's death. She remembered that Dukhat had said she was a descendant of Valen. Minbari genealogical records confirmed this. Since they now knew that Valen was actually Jeffrey Sinclair - the Minbari not born of Minbari - Delenn and thousands of other descendants already had traces of Human DNA. Her union with Sheridan would make little difference. Delenn's clan allowed her relationship with Sheridan to continue in exchange for her keeping Valen's Human origins a secret.
In May 2261, a Minbari named Forell tricked Delenn into accompanying him on a mission to investigate mysterious raider attacks on the Minbari border. The Drakh were behind the attacks, but Forell hoped to form an alliance between the Drakh and the Religious Caste against the Warrior Caste. The Warrior Caste had already been responsible for countless deaths on Minbar as the planet approached open civil war. Forell had no idea of the consequences of bringing Delenn. She instantly recognized the Drakh emissary as an agent of the Shadows, and he instantly recognized her as one of those responsible for making their Shadow masters leave the galaxy. A battle ensued, and the Minbari had to fight their way to safety.
As the Minbari Civil War reached its climax with fighting in the capital city of Yedor, Delenn plotted with Neroon to find a peaceful solution. Their solution was based on the fact that the Warrior Caste had returned to the old ways. By tradition, disputes could be resolved in the Starfire Wheel challenge. Delenn and Shakiri, the leader of the Warrior Caste, entered the Starfire Wheel, a ring of light that caused intense pain. Shakiri fled the Starfire Wheel first, thus yielding the Warrior Caste's claim to leadership. However, Delenn did not follow him out. When Neroon realized that she would die, he entered the Starfire Wheel and threw her out. He renounced his membership in the Warrior Caste and claimed membership in the Religious Caste before dying.
After recovering from her injuries, Delenn reformed the Grey Council. However, instead of including three members from each caste as Valen had, she included only two members each from the Religious and Warrior Castes. The other five members all came from the Worker Caste.
During the climax of the Earth Civil War in October 2261, Delenn led a fleet of Minbari and other ships in support of Sheridan and Ivanova's main fleet. Following Sheridan's wishes, they did not participate directly.
After President Clark's death, Delenn returned to Minbar where she drafted plans for the Interstellar Alliance. She asked Londo and G'Kar to support her plans, knowing that the Non-Aligned Worlds would follow suit if the Centauri and Narn agreed on something. With the other races on board, she journeyed to Earth to secure the Humans' participation. Delenn became the head of the Advisory Board that included Londo and G'Kar, and they elected John Sheridan to be the first ISA President.
During their return trip to Babylon 5 over the turn of the year to 2262, Delenn married John Sheridan in a private ceremony.
Over the years, Lennier's devotion to Delenn had grown into a romantic love. He could not bear being around the newly married couple, so he resigned his position and joined the Rangers.
The Interstellar Alliance
Although Delenn was still Anla'shok Na of the Rangers, she deferred most of the day-to-day operations to others. However, she still had input. For example, she suggested training the pak'ma'ra recruits for infiltration and intelligence. Delenn also made helpful suggestions for the Interstellar Alliance. She asked Dr. Franklin to build a cross-species medical database to help avoid catastrophes like the one that befell the Markab people.
The first bump in Delenn's marriage came in May when Sheridan finally confessed to her that he and been married to Captain Elizabeth Lochley when they were younger.
As the string of untraceable attacks against Alliance ships continued through the summer, the ISA delegates insisted that the Alliance take stronger actions to identify and punish the culprits. Delenn began to suspect the Centauri. She asked G'Kar to accompany Londo to Centauri Prime as his bodyguard, fearing that there were radical members of the Centauri court who would love to take Londo's place. She sent Lennier, the Ranger who knew the most about the Centauri, on a secret mission to the borders of Centauri space to collect evidence on their fleet movements. Delenn did not tell Sheridan because she knew he would forbid sending a friend. At the end of July, the Advisory Board presented the evidence against the Centauri to the rest of the ISA. Delenn knew that war was inevitable.
Several days into the war between the Centauri Republic and the ISA, Sheridan came up with a plan to build a destroyer class White Star. It would be a cooperative effort between the Minbari and Humans. Delenn traveled to Minbar to present the plan to the Grey Council, and Lennier accompanied her. Their White Star was attacked by Centauri forces in hyperspace and left to drift out of range of the jump gate beacons. Later, with their situation grave and another Centauri fleet closing in to finish them off, Lennier confessed to Delenn that he loved her. When the Centauri ships rescued them instead of destroying them, Delenn pretended that she hadn't heard Lennier's proclamation. The ships brought her to Centauri Prime where she was reunited with Sheridan.
After returning to Babylon 5, Delenn discovered that she was pregnant. The only people more surprised than her were John Sheridan and Dr. Franklin.
Delenn traveled to Minbar to oversee the final preparations of the new Interstellar Alliance headquarters at Tuzanor, the traditional home of the Rangers. She returned to Babylon 5 to collect her husband and belongings when the work was complete. Lennier accompanied them on their final journey to Minbar. During the trip, Lennier took advantage of an accident to leave Sheridan for dead. He recovered from his moment of madness, but Sheridan had already saved himself. Lennier was consumed with shame and disappeared in a stolen fighter. He contacted Delenn once to tell her that he would not return until he was able to redeem himself.
When Delenn and Sheridan arrived on Minbar, Emperor Londo Mollari was waiting for them. He gave them a Centauri urn as a gift for their unborn child, instructing them to give it to him on his sixteenth birthday. During his visit, Delenn barely caught a brief glimpse of his keeper, but she didn't understand its significance.
In December 2262, Delenn gave birth to a son named David.
In November 2277, Delenn and John Sheridan gave Londo's gift to their son, although Sheridan noted that he was getting it early, being sixteen Minbari years old but not sixteen Earth years old. That night, the keeper that the Drakh had hidden in the urn emerged and joined with David Sheridan. It compelled him to go to Centauri Prime. Delenn and Sheridan followed him and were imprisoned upon their arrival.
Londo met with Delenn in her prison cell in January 2278 and agreed to free David. In exchange, she told him the story of the Earth-Minbari War from her point of view.
When the guards returned Sheridan to their cell, she realized that this was the younger Sheridan from their mission to steal Babylon 4. She told him that they were ultimately successful in their goals, but there was a terrible cost. She stopped herself from giving him a warning that could change his future.
Londo summoned Delenn and Sheridan to his throne room and revealed his keeper to them. He asked for their help in saving Centauri Prime in exchange for their freedom. He then sent them to a ship where David had been placed. Realizing that this was her last chance, Delenn ignored her logical instincts and warned the Sheridan from the past to not go to Z'ha'dum. They returned to Minbar, and David was eventually released from the keeper's control.
In January 2279, Sheridan declined to serve another term as ISA President. Delenn became the President, and Sheridan took over her duties as Ranger One.
Two years later, Delenn's husband knew that the second life given to him by Lorien was almost finished. Sheridan's friends gathered for a final dinner with him. During the toast to absent friends, Delenn remembered Lennier. That night, she asked Susan Ivanova to take over Sheridan's job as Ranger One.
The following morning, 8 January 2281, Delenn said her final goodbye to her husband, John Sheridan. Every day for the rest of her life, Delenn rose early and sat outside to watch the sunrise. She could feel her husband's presence whenever she did this.
After leaving public office, Delenn went into seclusion. She emerged on 2 January 2362 to visit Earth and interrupt a news broadcast. Analysts were discrediting John Sheridan's work and calling him a megalomaniac. Delenn set them straight, saying that John Sheridan was a good man. She returned to Minbar and died a short time later.