While the White Star was introduced in the third season of Babylon 5, for most of it, only the prototype was seen. It wasn’t until season 4 that we began seeing scenes set on multiple different White Stars. The set for the White Star bridge was also redesigned and rearranged for the fourth season, and the new design seemed to take into account that there would be times when different characters would be seen on different (but identical) ships in the same episode.
From what I can tell, there were four main ways to redress the White Star bridge to represent different specific ships. There were lights in the supports for the railing around the commander chair that were changed to different colors, the large light panels on the aft bulkhead had their color changed, some of the computer screens on the aft bulkhead were changed out, and a lit plaque above the main door to the bridge would be changed. For now, I’ll just be going into that last one.
These plaques consist of a simple black geometric shape (circle, triangle, or diamond), with a lit line framing the border of the shape and, within, a design similar to a celtic knot, with a single line going around and around weaving above and below itself. The outline and knot are usually in two different colors. I’ve been cataloging reference for the White Star’s interiors, and I decided to put up a quick post on these celtic knot insignia, since I never saw them discussed before. I could do a more comprehensive look at the sets, and I probably will at some point, but let’s stay focused for now.
By my count, there were five different knots during the run of the show (plus one non-knot plaque).
The first plaque we saw on the show was in the episode “The Long Night” (4×05)1We saw inside White Stars in two earlier episodes in season 4, but in the premiere, “The Hour of the Wolf,” the new White Star set was unfinished and there was no plaque, and in “The Summoning” (4×03) the plaque isn’t visible, if there is one on the set., on the bridge of White Star 14, commanded by Ranger “Bryan Cranston?!” Ericsson. Even though White Star 14 was destroyed at the end of the episode, the plaque comes back twice (the only one that definitely represented multiple ships, though it is oriented differently every time). It’s on the White Star Delenn and Lennier are piloting when they’re ambushed by the Centauri in “Movements of Fire and Shadow” (5×17), and on White Star 90 in the telemovie A Call to Arms, making this the first and last White Star insignia we ever see.
The next plaque we saw was at the end of “The Long Night,” where it’s present on the White Star 2, the individual White Star used most often during the fourth season.
In “No Surrender, No Retreat” (4×15), White Star 2 had several Babylon 5 sword-and-shield insignia added to its exterior, to distinguish it as Sheridan’s flagship. At the same time, the plaque above the bridge doorway was replaced with the same insignia, which remained in place until the ship was destroyed in “Between the Darkness and the Light” (4×19).
The third plaque debuted in “Into the Fire” (4×06), on Ivanova’s White Star. The same insignia (and lighting scheme) was seen on the bridge of the White Star Marcus was flying in “No Surrender, No Retreat” when he was scouting in advance of Sheridan’s attack on Proxima III, so these were probably both the same ship. The plaque was also used on Sheridan’s Blue Star2Also known as a “Snub-Nose White Star,” if you’re being paid to write about it. in “Sleeping in Light” (5×22), where it was definitely not the same ship.
The fourth plaque was seen in “Meditations on the Abyss” (5×14), on White Star 273Also known as the Maria, if you’re Captain Montoya. This was the plaque’s only appearance. Maybe it’ll be more legible on the blu-rays, but it’ll still be out-of-focus, so probably not.
The last new plaque we saw was on Sheridan’s White Star in “The Fall of Centauri Prime” (5×18)4While the ship and the bridge were seen in the prior episode, “Movements of Fire and Shadow,” the plaque was not. It also appeared on the ship that took Sheridan and Delenn from Babylon 5 to Minbar in “Objects at Rest” (5×21), which, again, is probably the same ship again (though the design was slightly recolored). This was the first plaque we saw off the bridge, as well. In “Objects at Rest,” the plaque is seen above a door to a weapons control room on the ship, and the design is frosted into the glass door itself.
|↑1||We saw inside White Stars in two earlier episodes in season 4, but in the premiere, “The Hour of the Wolf,” the new White Star set was unfinished and there was no plaque, and in “The Summoning” (4×03) the plaque isn’t visible, if there is one on the set.|
|↑2||Also known as a “Snub-Nose White Star,” if you’re being paid to write about it.|
|↑3||Also known as the Maria, if you’re Captain Montoya.|
|↑4||While the ship and the bridge were seen in the prior episode, “Movements of Fire and Shadow,” the plaque was not.|