John Sheridan (Babylon 5)

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Bruce Boxleitner as John Sheridan in Babylon 5

John David Sheridan1(?? - 2281), played by Bruce Boxleitner, is a fictional character in the universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5.

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Early Life and Career

Sheridan, born on Earth, was the son of an Earth Alliance diplomat. Having enlisted in EarthForce, Sheridan rose to the rank of lieutenant commander. Sheridan was offered the first officer position on board EAS Prometheus, but he turned it down because the Captain had a reputation for recklessness. EAS Prometheus was the ship that fired on the Minbari ships during Earth's disastrous first contact with that race.

Sheridan served as first officer aboard the EAS Lexington during the Earth-Minbari War. Following the death of Captain Sterns in a sneak attack, Sheridan orchestrated Earth's only military victory of the war by mining an asteroid field and luring the enemy flag ship, The Black Star, in with a fake distress signal.

Following the war, Sheridan went on to command the EAS Agamemnon in the mid-2250's, leading exploratory and diplomatic missions. He was one of the candidates to command Babylon 5, but was rejected by the Minbari in favor of Jeffrey Sinclair. But President Santiago had kept him as his first choice in the event something happened to Sinclair.

His First Year Commanding Babylon 5

When Sinclair was reassigned as ambassador to Minbar in January 2259, Sheridan was tapped to command the station. His first mission on Babylon 5 involved the Minbari ship Tragati, which had disappeared during the Battle of the Line. Sheridan was not well received by the Minbari at first, he was still called "Starkiller" by many in the warrior caste.

Over the next year, Sheridan was thrust into one crisis right after another. The Narn - Centauri relationship deterioated into warfare. He had to deal with Drafa Plague which Markab residents had brought to the station. The Shadows had returned and were beginning to move again, and aided the Centauri in defeating the Narn and using mass drivers on the Narn homeworld.

If the above crises were not enough, Sheridan found that Clark was slowly turning the Earth Alliance into a dictatorship. Sheridan found that Nightwatch - a Gestapo like organization - had recruited most of his security forces. When Sheridan tried to help a Narn vessel, the Centauri attacked Babylon 5. Given the choice of either apologizing to the Centauri or losing his command, Sheridan decided to apologize. The Centauri tried to assassinate Sheridan, but Sheridan was saved by Vorlon Ambassador Kosh and the formality of the apology was dismissed in view of the event.

After the fall of Narn, Minbari Ambassador Delenn revealed the presence of the Rangers on Babylon 5 to Sheridan, and offered him shared command of the Rangers on Babylon 5. Sheridan vowed that the Rangers would hold the line against the darkness, no matter what the cost was.

Sheridan's Second Year in Command

At the beginning of his second year as Commander of Babylon 5, Sheridan was presented with the new Minbari White Star class starship. In his first mission as Captain of the White Star, he helped Rangers stationed at a training camp under Centauri blockade escape before being captured by the Shadows. He managed to destroy the Shadow vessel by blowing up the jumpgate at the Markab homeworld. At the same time, he had to keep an Earth Alliance official snooping around the station unaware of that mission, and their knowledge of the Shadow vessel.

Other problems surfaced during the first few months of 2260. A serial bomber had set off a number of explosives on Babylon 5. This resulted in the deaths of a number of people, and more were injured. Delenn's aide Lennier was in a coma for several days as a result of an explosion. After finding the bomber, Sheridan went to reason with the bomber, and kept him from setting off an explosion that would have destroyed the station. Also, Brother Edward, a Catholic monk, came to the station. This monk had been a serial murderer known as the Black Rose Killer. He had been captured and sentenced to Death of Personality, which was a total mindwipe of the person and replacement with a different personality. After the mindwipe, he escaped from the facility where he was being held, and eventually joined a religious order. Due to manipulation by relatives of the women Edward killed, the mindwipe began to break down. Sheridan helped Edward's superior Brother Theo find out who he truly was. Unfortunately Sheridan wasn't able to stop Edward from being killed.

Proof surfaced that Clark had arranged for President Santiago's assassination through a transmission that President Clark had made. When Sheridan found that Clark had people trying to adapt Shadow technology from a Shadow vessel found on Ganymede, he destroyed that ship in order to keep Clark from learning about Shadow technology.

This led to Clark declaring martial law throughout the Alliance. After martial law was declared, Sheridan defeated the Nightwatch forces by luring them into a trap by passing information that a Narn transport was bringing in replacements for the Nightwatch forces. He was able to then arrest the Nightwatch forces and confine them to quarters. Sheridan revealed that he had buried a lie inside the truth - he had gotten Ambassador G'Kar to recruit replacements for the security forces from the local Narn population.

The EAS Alexander, under the command of General William Hague, was leading the efforts against Clark. Hague was killed in an attack on the Alexander, but the ship escaped and went to Babylon 5. The EAS Churchill joined the Alexander at Babylon 5. The Churchill brought information that an attack force was a few hours away, and that the force was going to arrest Sheridan and his staff.

Mars had decided not to implement martial law. In response Clark had his forces bomb civilian targets on Mars. In response, Proxima VII and Orion III left the Earth Alliance. Sheridan joined them and declared Babylon 5 an independent state.

But a few minutes after Sheridan declared independence, an attack force arrived. The attack force inflicted heavy damage on Babylon 5. An assault force that had boarded the station caused many casualties among the security forces on the station. The Churchill, which was on fire, destroyed one of Clark's ships by ramming it. However, Clark's attack force was defeated.

Unfortunately the reinforcements for Clark's attack force arrived then. Sheridan realized that they were at the edge of defeat - that there was no way they could endure much more. But Delenn came to the rescue at the last minute, leading the White Star and several War Cruisers to the station.

Soon afterwards, Delenn was kidnapped by the remaining Nightwatch forces on the station to force the Minbari government to withdraw their ships. Sheridan was able to rescue Delenn from the Nightwatch forces, but one Nightwatch member seriously injured her by stabbing her in the back with a large knife. Sheridan tracked down the man and knocked him cold, yelling that he wouldn't have anymore of the Nightwatch on his station. At that moment, he became aware of just how much Delenn meant to him.

Sheridan also learned that he had a role in the disappearance of Babylon 4. He went to sector 14, where the station had disappeared. Sheridan, Delenn, Marcus Cole, Ambassador Sinclair, Lennier, and Ivanova went back in time to intercept Shadow allies who were on their way to destroy that station. They were able to detonate the fusion bomb the Shadow allies were carrying, but the explosion damaged the time stabilizer Sheridan was wearing to protect himself from the effects of time travel. As a result Sheridan drifted 17 years into the future. He found himself on a devastated Centauri Prime, about to be put to death by Emperor Mollari. During this time he also learned that he had married Delenn and had a son, David. Mollari then summoned him and Delenn. Instead of executing them, Mollari let them go, and provided a ship for his escape. While on the way to the ship, Sheridan was pulled back into time, and back to Babylon 4. He helped attach the time shifting equipment to the main reactor. After a power surge caused him to drift through time for a while longer, eventually Delenn put her stabilizer on him, which caused him to stop drifting through time. They were able to send Babylon 4 into the distant past where it was used to fight in the last Shadow war. Sinclair stayed on board, and transformed himself into the Minbari religious figure Valen.

For the remainder of 2260, Sheridan's attention was directed mainly against the Shadows and the upcoming war. He began to build the alliance of races up for the larger fight. G'Kar joined the War Council, and it was learned that Shadow vessels were vulnerable to telepathic interference. Sheridan was able to successfully test that theory, and the Shadows ran before they lost anymore ships. Sheridan then led a large multi-species attack force against the Shadows. While the force was able to drive off the Shadows, the allies lost a lot. For every Shadow vessel they killed, three of their ships had been destroyed.


The Shadows found that Sheridan's wife Anna was still alive, and that she was acting as the CPU for a Shadow vessel. The Shadows pulled her out as soon as they made the connection between her and Sheridan. Because of her time in the Shadow vessel, her original personality had died some time ago. A new personality had developed, which was totally loyal to the Shadows. They sent Anna to Babylon 5 to bring Sheridan to them on Z'ha'dum.

Sheridan was once told by Kosh that if he went to Z'ha'dum he would die. During his vision of the future, that version of Delenn told him not to go to Z'ha'dum. During his vision of the future, Centauri Prime had been devastated. He began thinking that originally perhaps he had listened to Delenn and did not go to Z'ha'dum. He reasoned that if he did go to Z'ha'dum that the vision of the future he had seen would not occur. So he accompanied Anna on the White Star to Z'ha'dum. What he did not tell her or anyone else was that he had hidden two fusion bombs on to the ship.

While on Z'ha'dum, the Shadows attempted to co-opt him to their side. Sheridan refused to cooperate. He revealed that he considered Anna to be dead, the Anna he knew never would have cooperated with the Shadows. Sheridan also revealed that he knew based on scarring on the back of her neck that she had been plugged into a Shadow vessel. They said that he was right. The first humans on Z'ha'dum were given a choice by the Shadows. Either work with the Shadows, or face enslavement or death by them. Anna refused to cooperate, and was thus enslaved by the Shadows. Sheridan escaped from the Shadows, and went to a balcony overlooking the capital city. He then activated the bombs, and put the White Star on a collision course with the city.

Meanwhile, a group of Shadow Vessels had surrounded Babylon 5. Delenn was listening to a recording that he made. Sheridan explained his reasons for going to Z'ha'dum in the recording, and that he loved her.

Anna tried one last attempt to get Sheridan to cooperate with the Shadows. He refused, and jumped off the balcony into a pit that was miles deep. At that moment, the White Star crashed into the city, and a huge nuclear explosion destroyed the capital city.

When the capital city was destroyed, the Shadow vessels left Babylon 5. Sheridan's colleagues realized that he was now dead.

The Aftermath of Z'ha'dum

In the weeks following Sheridan's visit to Z'ha'dum, the war paused. There was no major Shadow attacks during this time. The alliance made by Sheridan had started to fall apart. Many governments felt that if they did nothing the Shadows would leave them alone. Delenn realized that this was wrong, that the Shadows would attack anyway. During this time, Delenn was shown one of Sheridan's recordings, in which he said if someone fell they might as well try to fly. With that, she began to organize a large Anla'Shok attack on Z'ha'dum.

Meanwhile, Sheridan had died on Z'ha'dum. But somehow, Sheridan had become trapped on Z'ha'dum in between life and death. He met Lorien, who was the very first intelligent being in the galaxy. Lorien tried to talk him into letting go, that no matter how important the cause, that death could ultimately not be denied. Sheridan learned to let go of the world of the living, but he could not let go of Delenn. Lorien agreed to try to help him. Lorien did not know if he would be successful or not, but Sheridan knew he had to leave the state he was in. Lorien was able to help bring him back from the dead.

An alien ship was approaching Babylon 5. When the ship began using the station's codes to begin the docking sequence, Commander Ivanova thought they were being invaded. Garibaldi, who had returned to the station shortly before, insisted on going to the docking bay to see who was boarding the station. When the car used to transport Sheridan and Lorien opened, Garibaldi said, "Well I'll be dammed."

Some of the alien ambassadors had arranged a protest on the Zocalo against Delenn's attack. She tried to convince them of the folly of doing nothing. When some bystanders tried to attack Delenn, her aide Lennier responded, and the situation began to degenerate into a large fight. But Sheridan entered the Zocalo. Everyone stopped fighting as Sheridan made his way to a ramp to address the crowd. When an Ambassador said that they all thought he was dead, Sheridan replied by saying, "I was. I'm better now."

Sheridan told the assembly that the Shadows were not Gods, nor were they indestructible. He had fought them, and many Shadows had died at his hands. He told the crowd that Delenn was on the right track. Sheridan asked the assembled Ambassadors to help build the largest fleet ever assembled. He told them that if their governments balked, Sheridan said for them to tell their governments that as the only man to have returned from Z'ha'dum that the Shadows could be defeated, and that the Shadow threat could be ended "not just for now, not just for the next thousand years, but forever". And the hostile mob was forged into a cheering crowd ready to follow Sheridan.

Later, he briefed his staff on some of his experiences on Z'ha'dum. Sheridan revealed the truth of the Shadow War. At first, two races of First Ones, the Shadows, and the Vorlons agreed to remain when most of the other First Ones left. The two races would guide the developing younger races. For a while, the two races abided by rules that had been set down. But eventually, the two races began to have their differences. The Vorlons believed that strength and evolution only came from order. The Shadows believed that the only way for races to evolve and become stronger was through conflict. Over time, the two races became diametrically opposed to each other. Eventually, hostility broke out between the two races and their respective allies.

With Delenn, he led an alliance of races against the Shadows, ultimately leading to the departure of the First Ones from the galaxy in early 2261.

Campaign Against Clark

When Earth Force ships destroyed two refugee ships, Sheridan began a campaign to topple Clark's administration. He first led a task force to Proxima VII to break the blockade of the planet. Following the breaking of that blockade, Sheridan then headed towards Earth. Sheridan's old ship, the Agamemmnon showed up and joined with his forces. While touring the Agamemmnon, Sheridan received a message from Michael Garabaldi that his father had been captured by Clark's forces, and asked him to come to Mars.

That turned out to be a trap. Right after arriving on Mars, Sheridan was captured by Clark's forces. For the next week he was interrogated and tortured by Earth Force interrogators. Sheridan was able to successfully resist them despite intensive drug and psychological pressure. Sheridan was rescued by Garabaldi after Bester released Garabaldi from his telepathic conditioning.

Captain Sheridan returned to the fleet. He and the fleet then went on to the final engagements of the campaign. Sheridan was able to use Shadow modified telepaths to disable most of Clark's ships at Mars - this saved many thousands of lives on both sides. Sheridan then took the fleet to Earth. Seeing that their fortunes had changed, the resistance on Earth had went to arrest Clark, but Clark committed suicide before he could be captured.

In a last spiteful act, Clark turned the planetary defense system back on to Earth. Earth Alliance Senator Crosby was able to contact the fleet and communicate what Clark had done. The fleet then proceeded to destroy the defense platforms before they could fire on the planet. But the missiles fired by the platforms damaged or destroyed many ships in the process. One last platform was operational and was ready to fire. Sheridan's damaged ship was the only one in range - his ship had no weapons. Seeing no other choice, Sheridan ordered the Agamemmnon ram the platform, which would narrowly avert the destruction of the Eastern Seaboard of North America. At the last minute, however, one of the ships previously disabled over Mars, which had managed to repair the damage done to it, enters orbit and destroys the battery, saving the Agamemnon and Earth.


Under political pressure, Sheridan resigned his EarthForce commission. Even though Sheridan had done the morally correct thing, the President felt that Sheridan had to pay some sort of price for his actions. She offered amnesty for all who followed Sheridan, as well as allowing Sheridan to retain his military pension and leave with full honors. After the President put the amnesty in writing, Sheridan agreed to resign. The next day, the President gave a press conference. Sheridan announced that he could not remain in EarthForce - his remaining would only continue the divisions in EarthForce.

During that same press conference Delenn and G'Kar addressed the gathering. It was at this press conference that she announced that the members of the League of Non-Alinged Worlds had voted to dissolve themselves, and enter into a new Interstellar Alliance. She invited Earth to join the Alliance. The Alliance offered to show humans how to create artifical gravity, which would allow for more efficent space vessels and installations that did not require rotating sections. Earth agreed to join the Alliance, and also agreed to grant Mars independence. Sheridan was named the first President of the Interstellar Alliance. Sheridan and Delenn returned to Babylon 5. The couple were married at this time. He promoted Susan Ivanova to Captain as one of his last acts as an EarthForce officer. Still grieving over the death of Marcus Cole, Ivanova decided to leave Babylon 5 and take command of a new Warlock class ship.


After returning to Babylon 5, President Sheridan began the process of leading the new Interstellar Alliance. The first years of the Alliance would bring about numerous problems that would shake the Alliance to its core. Sheridan had to work to keep the Alliance together, despite forces that were working to tear it apart.

President Sheridan brough Captain Elizabeth Lochley to the station to take command of the station. Even though Sheridan described her as Ivanova's replacement, she was really a replacement for both him and in part Ivanova. Lt. Corwin took over some of Ivanova's other duties. Sheridan gave her a free hand to run the station's affairs, reserving only the political course of the Alliance to himself.

Right after returning to the station, Sheridan began preparing for his formal inauguration. At about the same time he had to deal with the first assassination attempt to be made against him. Former EarthForce Major Clemens had run the Beta 9 prison system under President Clark. After Clark died, warrants were put out on Clemens on charges of torture and murder of dissidents on Beta 9 and elsewhere. Blaming Sheridan for what had happened to him and not having much to lose, Clemens came to Babylon 5 to kill Sheridan. Clemens also was a trained infiltrator. Sheridan was saved by a telepath from being shot by Clemens in the reception hall, who had disguised himself as the new Gaim ambassador. The inauguration ceremony was moved to the observation dome. Clemens tried to destroy the dome with a Starfury, but was intercepted by Garibaldi in his own fighter. Garibaldi managed to use the Starfury's robtic arm to grab Clemens' fighter, and threw it clear of the station. Clemens was killed when the station opened fire on him.

Telepath Crisis

After his inauguration, Sheridan gave shelter to a group of refugee telepaths led by a man named Byron, and allowed them to form a colony on Babylon 5. He felt that with Psi-Corps preparing to eventually overthrow the government that it would be beneficial to have telepaths friendly to the Alliance.

In addition to helping save Sheridan's life, Byron himself learned that the Drazi - who were members of the Alliance - were using raiders to harass the Enphili. This helped end the harassment of the Enphili - who were being bombed to the point of extinction by the raiders. It also illustrated that the Alliance was quite willing to act against those who would commit violence against others. Afterwards, Sheridan took the opportunity to let Garibaldi form a covert intelligence unit from several of these telepaths.

PsiCop Bester came to the station with the intention of taking the telepaths back to Earth. His group managed to arrest all the telepaths, and were about to depart. But Captain Lochley and Dr. Franklin came up with a way to delay the removal of the telepaths. Dr. Franklin found that he had the right to quarantine newly arrived people for two months, and Lochley backed him up. This gave the telepaths a respite in order to figure out a long term solution.

Soon, Byron fell in love with Lyta Alexander. The telepaths then learned that the Vorlons had created them to fight the Shadows. Byron was quite angry over how the telepaths had been used. He decided to demand that the telepaths be given a homeworld. Byron had his telepaths spy on the various Ambassadors, and learn secrets from them. In an Alliance meeting, Byron made his demand, and revealed that they had spied on the Ambassadors.

The PsiCops arrived soon afterwards to disband the telepath colony, and take the telepaths back to Earth. Despite attempts by Sheridan to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis, the PsiCops interfered. Byron and a small group of telepaths committed suicide rather than allow Bester to take them back to the Psi-Corps.

Later Years

Sheridan led the Alliance from Babylon 5 for the first year. When the Alliance headquarters in the Minbari city of Tuzanor were complete, Sheridan moved to Minbar. He led the Alliance from there for over a decade. In 2279, Sheridan declined reelection to the Presidency. His wife Delenn became the second President of the Alliance. Afterwards, Sheridan focused his efforts on leading the Anla'Shok.

Just before moving to Minbar, Sheridan and Delenn learned that Delenn was pregnant. Despite the fact that the baby's human heritage could lead to danger, Delenn was able to carry the baby to term. The couple named their son David.

In 2281, Sheridan knew that the 20 years he had been given by Lorien were almost over. He had his friends - Ivanova, Garibaldi, Franklin, and Centauri Emperor Cotto - come to his home for one last party. Just before the party, Franklin found that Sheridan only had a short time left. The next morning, Sheridan left his home and his wife for the last time. He traveled alone to Babylon 5 to see the station one last time. He learned that the station was about to be shut down and demolished. Zack Allan - who he had also invited to the party - came to visit with Sheridan. Sheridan learned that Allan had reenlisted a few months ago and returned to Babylon 5, which resulted in the Ranger carrying his invitation being unable to find him on Earth. Sheridan realized that he was coming to the end. He then traveled alone to the Coriana system, where he was taken beyond the galactic rim by Lorien. His empty ship was later recovered, but his body was never found. Some Minbari believed that he would eventually return, but neither his friends or family ever saw him again.

1In "And Now For a Word" Sheridan's middle name is given as David (his father's name, the name he eventually gives his son, and also the middle name of Jeffrey Sinclair). In later episodes he is, however, referred to as "John J. Sheridan. According to J. Michael Straczynski, the J. initial is a slipup, and his real middle name is David.

John Sheridan is the descendant of the famous Civil War general Philip Sheridan (Babylon 5) pl:John Sheridan


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