fantasy: the Minbari of Babylon 5

other Minbari

Fantasy makeups: The Minbari of Babylon 5

The Minbari were one of the main alien races in the Babylon 5 universe. Their homeworld is Minbar. Although they are considerably younger than the ancient First Ones, they are among the oldest of the younger races. The Minbari are more advanced in technology than humans, and have had spaceflight capability for over 1,000 years. The Minbari are humanoid in appearance but unlike humans, Minbari are bald, and have a large external bone structure on the back of their heads. Minbari have a slightly longer life span than humans – some have been known to live as long as 150 years. Minbari society is structured around three quasi-ethnic hereditary castes (Worker, Warrior, and Religious): unlike caste-based societies on Earth, each caste has equal representation on the governing Grey Council.

The Minbari makeup was not as complex as the Narn makeup, although as first visualised it was much heavier and more androgynous. It was toned down considerably between early makeup tests and the pilot and still more for the TV series.

The makeups were originally designed by John Vulich and Optic Nerve Studios who explicitly set out to lift the bar for Sci-Fi TV shows: ‘not just a forehead’. They largely succeeded – setting a standard which only Farscape has beaten.