Babylon Podcast #15: Interview with Walter Koenig / Deathwalker (Season 1)

Welcome to Show #15!

Interview: Walter Koenig (“Alfred Bester”)

Walter Koenig

Tim, Summer, and Jeffrey talk with Walter Koenig about his time on Babylon 5 and his experiences interacting with the various cast members. Walter recounts when he first joined B5, and how not being cast for “The Sky Full of Stars” led to his having a larger role in the series, and his tendency to play practical jokes no matter what set he’s working on.

Next, Tim and Summer discuss “Deathwalker”. This is the first episode where we see Kosh interacting with members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. We also find out a little more how Earth and the League first began working together, and a twist in how the Vorlons really feel about telepaths.

Voicemail: messages from Brandon, Brian, and Arthur about how much they enjoy the show, and some opinions on how we handle the guest appearances.

Your feedback does matter, and is welcome! You can call and tell us what you think… and likely hear it played or read on the show.

Babylon Podcast Social Communities:
Twitter: @babylonpodcast

Promo: Tracy & Laura Hickman’s Dragon Hearth Productions
Promo: Slice of SciFi

Comments

  1. Excellent! I have to say, when I first saw Koenig on B5 I did think “ah, stunt casting”. But wow! That thought lasted all of 5 minutes – he was so amazing and elevated the character of Bester into one of my favorites on the show. Great character, great actor, and another great show. Thanks guys!

    Walter from LA

  2. Wow–Walter Koenig! When I saw that he was the guest, I felt that you had hit the Big Time! 🙂

    Anyway, what I liked about Bester is that he illustrates that bad guys don’t usually think of themselves as bad. Bester really thinks that he stands for something good & moral. This is why he is shocked when telepaths work against him. Bester is another multilayered character in the B5 universe. He is not a stock, cardboard character.

  3. Fantastic show guys. Walter was wonderful. Can you imagine what the B5 universe would have been without Walter as Bester? His character was huge.

    Thanks so much for the show — they are not only great fun, but informative as well.

    Sandy

  4. Thanks all, for your kind comments and support. Sandy, that’s been one of the great aspects of doing this show – we’ve been learning so much about the story behind the story. Walter’s story on how he landed the Bester role is just amazing.

  5. I agree with your comments concerning the B story in Deathwalker.

    It is even more disappointing in hindsight because we know it has no pay off later in the series.

    I always assumed that this lack of payoff was due to Andrea Thompson leaving the show. Had she remained then she would have taken a more active role in the Shadow War in the third and fourth season and this B story would have been explained.

    When Pat Tallman returned as Lyta she went to Vorlon Space where she was adjusted directly by the Vorlons and there was no need for another meeting between Kosh, Abbut and Lyta.

  6. Wonderful show. Koenig is a witty and talented man, and you asked very good questions.

    I had a thought about the “surprise guest” dilemma. I like the idea of a surprise guest– it keeps the interview and reactions spontaneous. It’s sometimes hard for an interviewer to avoid overpreparing and reciting a dry list of questions.

    On the other hand, it’s hard to think, on the spot, of those questions that you’d really, really like to ask somebody; you’re always going to think of something afterward that would have been great to ask.

    How about making a list of people that are likely to show up as (major) surprise guests, and writing down questions that you’d like to ask them? That way the element of surprise gets preserved, but you’ve done your preparation.

    Anyway, just a thought. I’m listening eagerly.

    Oh, and if I can plug, briefly: Stephen Furst will be appearing at BayCon in San Jose, CA, May 26-29. (Full disclosure: I’m on BayCon staff.)

  7. It was great to hear the interview with Mr. Koenig. The B5 podcast rocks. I was wondering if everyone recognized Mr. Koenig’s character name when he was first introduced on B5. Alfred Bester, also one of are great sci fi writers with “The Stars My Destination” and “The Demolished Man”. Dare i not forget his contribution to the modern day Green Lantern oath. It amazed me, when the writers decided to pay hoage to Alfred Bester, by creating the character that Mr. Koenig played so greatly.

  8. Terry – oh yes, we knew the homage contained in the Bester name. 🙂 “The Demolished Man” is an obvious source for the Psi Corps. To complete the circle, Greg Keyes in his Psi Corps trilogy has the novel pop up in the narrative. Telling more would be spoiling it… 🙂

    Stephen – I’ve got a list of must-ask questions in my head. Sometimes they get asked: my question to Bruce Boxleitner on how it was to step into the Sheridan role, my question to John Iacovelli regarding the production improvements in Year 5. Sometimes they don’t get asked – John Iacovelli answered the rest on his own without knowing it; Pat Tallman engaged us so readily that it became a discussion and not a Q and A session.

    As for writing them down- I keep losing the paper.

  9. I was very excited to listen to this, since I do find Bester was such a fascinating character but knew nothing of the actor.

    Unfortunately, it was sad to hear his comment about the current (well, now former Bush) administration being corrupt or whatever. There’s no evidence for anything of the sort, and it sure was out of place. It’s sad that even in something fun like a sci fi program people cannot leave politics out of it. Instead, they expect their entire audience to think as they do.

  10. If by “no” you mean “piles that can be seen from space”…

  11. Arkle: please don’t poke a stick in the cage.

    Mo: I hope you can set that bit aside and enjoy the interview overall. FWIW, I think there has been very little injection of personal politics in the Babcast. As far as Mr. Koenig’s statements, I don’t know that he “expected” the audience to think as he does. It was simply an expression of his opinion.

    And to that point: the comments expressed by any and all guests on the Babylon Podcast are their own and do not necessarily represent the position or opinions of the Babylon Podcast, hosts, producers, editors, listeners, children, cats or action figures arrayed around the desk.

  12. I have to hand it to you guys, how do you not squeal like a schoolgirl when you’re introduced to the special guest? I guess it shows you who is professional and who is just a fangirl–like me. Thanks again for another great interview!

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