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Feature: Farscape: Peacekeeper War

The Saga Continues…

Happy family… Did you think Farscape had finished? Were Crichton and Aeryn lost? We reveal that the series has a new lease of life in the upcoming mini-series…

It was a moment that Farscape fans won’t soon forget. In the closing moments of the aptly-named fourth season-ender Bad Timing, reluctant space hero John Crichton (Ben Browder) finally proposes to his now-pregnant Peacekeeper love, Aeryn Sun (Claudia Black), on the tranquil waters of an ocean planet. But their happiness is short-lived, as an alien spacecraft suddenly appears, blasting the couple into countless glittering fragments.

A stunning cliffhanger made all the more dramatic by the fact that viewers didn’t know when or indeed if the story would ever be resolved. During final days of filming on Bad Timing, the producers of Farscape got word that Sci-Fi Channel in America had abruptly cancelled plans for Season Five. Not only was it too late to make any last-minute changes in the final episode, but, with production officially shut down, there was no way to wrap things up.

Until now, that is. In recent months, the Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment announced their plans for Peacekeeper War, a four-hour mini-series that airs on the US Sci-Fi Channel around October, followed closely by other international markets during the fourth quarter of 2004. Written by series creator Rockne O’Bannon and head writer David Kemper, and directed by executive producer Brian Henson, Peacekeeper War resolves the cliffhanger events of Season Four, as well as several major story points from the entire series. “Having said that,” adds Henson, who’s still wrapping up post-production work on the mini-series, “it’s still very much a stand-alone story. It picks up with all of our characters having the history they have, and it does pick up where season four ended, but it is its own big event TV movie.”

After the sudden cancellation of Farscape’s fifth season, a follow-up vehicle was by no means certain. There was talk of a possible mini-series, a feature film, even an animated version, but all of these incarnations depended on getting the right deal set up. “My position about anything,” jokes star Ben Browder, “is when the cheque clears the bank, I’ll believe it! Productions always fall apart, so until you’re doing it, you can’t believe it.

“In television or film production, you’re talking about mobilizing a small army. There are countries in the world that spend far less on their national defence than it costs to make a typical Hollywood movie, so you’re talking about a massive mobilization of forces. With Farscape, number one, I never believed anything until it happened. I was that way when I got the job, I was that way about the pick-ups for each season, but having said that, when I was saying goodbye, it didn’t feel finished.

“A few months after I got back to the States [from Australia, where the series was filmed] I went over to see Brian, and one of the things we discussed was the mini-series. He asked me if I’d be interested in doing it if he got the money together, and I said absolutely, so it was just a matter of waiting for him to make it happen.”

by Joe Nazzaro

Get the full feature in
TV Zone #178

Photo © Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #178
July 2004
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