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Thursday,  July 17 12:01 AM EDT

Did Lord of the Rings Rip Off Babylon 5?

By Alan DeHaan

Wellington, New Zealand - Babylon 5 fans have long felt they've been neglected and sometimes even persecuted. As a group they have a history of being very vocal whenever they think something is ripping off their beloved television show. From almost the second it
premiered there was an ongoing flame war between Babylon 5 fans and Deep Space 9 fans as to which show ripped off which. Since Babylon 5 has been off the air, and it's spinoff canceled, the rancor of the fans has died down. Until now.

"This is a complete and total rip off," screams out Babylon 5 fan James Gretous. "How can Peter Jackson expect to get away with something so blatant?!"

It's been half a year since the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was released, but now the complaints are beginning to reach a crescendo pitch. They believe that Lord of the Rings has ripped off Babylon 5 in several instances. The one that is repeated on various message boards and chat sessions constantly is how Gandalf fell, died and came back at Khazad-dûm.

"That's when I first noticed how much these movies are ripping off Babylon 5," says Richard Thompson. "Back at the end of Season 3, Sheridan fell and died at Z'ha'dum. Z'ha'dum, Khazad-dûm, it's completely obvious. Jackson didn't even try to hide it. And look at the elves. Could they be any more Minbari like? They even have Arwen choosing to go mortal, as Delenn used the chrysalis to become part human. What next...Gandalf is revealed to be the great Elvish philosopher-warrior Velan from a thousand years back?"

Several message boards about Babylon 5 have been in an uproar over this. According to one moderator that wishes to be nameless there has been a huge boost in posts since Fellowship of the Ring came out. He also claims he has led several flame attacks on various Lord of the Rings message boards and chat rooms. The flame attacks consisted of multiple topics that viciously attack Jackson over the alleged plagiarism.

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Babylon 5's usually outspoken creator, Joe Michael Straczynski, has remained oddly silent on this issue. Fans have clogged the Babylon 5 usenet forum, where Mr. Straczynski resides, with questions about this issue. The questions have recently turned into demands for a statement, but all Mr. Straczynski answered the demands with was this comment: "I personally have not seen the movies and cannot comment on if they plagiarized my work."

Peter Jackson was unavailable for comment.

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