fantasy: Babylon 5 – Shaal Mayan

Babylon 5: Shaal Mayan

Mayan (Nancy Lee Grahn) was a childhood friend of Delenn and, like her, a member of the Minbari Religious Caste. She was considered one of the most gifted poets among the Minbari, earning the title Shaal (master poet). She traveled extensively, studying the other races in the galaxy, and coming to believe that a common, defining aspect about all races was their ability to love.

In the episode ‘The War Prayer’ she travelled to Babylon 5 to give a series of public readings before going on to Earth. Upon arrival Security Chief Garibaldi offered her a security escort, but she refused, unable to conceive why anyone could mean her harm. After her first performance she was stabbed by a masked assailant and her forehead was branded with a Homeguard mark. Although the brand could have been removed she decided to keep it to ‘remember the lesson’.

The makeup

The makeups for Babylon 5 were originally designed by John Vulich and Optic Nerve Studios; Everett Burrell was the makeup effects creator (seasons 1 & 2); Jeff Farley was the special makeup effects supervisor (season 5 & the TV movies); Mike Measimer was shop supervisor and also an on-set makeup artist.

They explicitly set out to lift the bar for Sci-Fi TV shows: ‘not just a forehead’. They largely succeeded – setting a standard only beaten by Farscape in the 1990s.