Peter David Interview

I had the opportunity to speak with writer Peter David at Dragon*Con 2000.

Peter David is the author of two Babylon 5 scripts, a Crusade script, and Legions of Fire, the Centauri Prime trilogy. The first two books of the trilogy chronicle the Drakh's control over Londo and the Centauri Empire. In these books David also develops Vir from his naive beginnings into a resistance leader who must make and live with some disturbing decisions.

"That wasn't easy for me to do because the character is very much an innocent, but Joe already set that into motion. Joe Straczynski had Vir be the one to kill Cartagia. He also had Vir taking great delight in the fact that Morden's head was sitting up on a pole. So Vir was not a blushing bride as it were by the time I got a hold of him. All I was really doing was continuing the progression that Joe had already started. So, in that respect, I thought that I was just simply being consistent to Joe's overall vision of what the character should be and where he should go."

J. Michael Straczynski provided David with an outline for the books, but David did not feel constrained by the creator's input. Straczynski's overall outline ran seven or eight single-spaced pages for each book. [See Clarification] "He gave me a great deal of latitude to work with, to bring my own spin into things. For example, he talked about information gathering activities, but he wasn't specific. So I chose to bring in the character of Mariel, whom I created - well, didn't create; Londo was already married - but who I gave name and personality to in 'Soul Mates' and made her a central player in the story. I did some things a little bit differently that he suggested. The outcome remained the same, but it was different from the actual execution. And that was fine. So the bottom line is I accomplished what he needed me to accomplish, but did so with my own voice and giving it my own spin."

Peter David at Dragon*Con 2000
Peter David, author of Legions of Fire.

Peter David has consulted with Jeanne Cavelos, who is writing the techno-mage trilogy. They have worked to ensure consistency in their portrayals of the mages. "I spoke to Jeanne regarding the use of the techno-mages, and two of the characters I came up with for my series - two techno-mage characters - Jeanne is going to wind up using in her own book." The techno-mage books will take place in an earlier time period than the Centauri Prime books. "She's going to have them as young mages."

The conclusion to David's trilogy, Out of the Darkness will be released in November 2000. "All of your questions will be answered. People want to know if David Sheridan is going to be in it. Yes. Will we find out what happened with the little present that Londo left for David. Yes. Are we going to see the final confrontation between G'Kar and Londo. Yes. All of these things are in there. All the future sequences you saw in 'War Without End Parts One and Two', they're in there. Everything. So, ideally you will come away from the book with a great deal of satisfaction that everything you wanted to know has been answered."

I asked Mr. David if he'd like to write in an area of the Babylon 5 universe other than the Centauri. "I'd love to do the Telepath Wars," he quickly responds.

David is looking at other avenues for more Babylon 5 work as well. "I've been talking to Julie Caitlin Brown about the possibility of doing something, a book that focuses on Na'Toth. She'd be working on it with me." David cautions that it's too early to say any more about this potential project, but he hopes it will come about.

Let's keep our fingers crossed!


I originally reported that J. Michael Straczynski's outline totaled seven or eight pages for the entire trilogy. Peter David has contacted me with this correction. My apologies for the misunderstanding.

"I didn't want anyone to get the idea (as some fans seemed to have garnered) that Joe gave any less than 110% in creating the storylines for the three Centauri Prime novels. I should have made it very clear that I was talking about seven to eight pages single spaced for each book rather than the entire series (in fact, Joe's outlines were around 3500 words each so, depending upon formatting, it might have been more pages than that.) Glad I had the chance to clarify that."
-- Peter David