John Sheridan Character Profile
Note: This is a complete biography of Captain John Sheridan. Therefore, it contains spoilers for Seasons Two through Five of Babylon 5. The biography is written in chronological order, so if you are watching Babylon 5 for the first time you can safely read the early parts of this article and stop before you reach the sections that would reveal events that you haven't seen on the show yet.
John Sheridan was born on Earth in 2215. His father, David Sheridan, was a diplomatic envoy for the Earth Alliance, and his mother was named Miranda. He had a sister named Elizabeth. Sheridan often argued with his father about their principles until they finally agreed to accept their differences. However, even during their worst disagreements, they never stopped talking.
In 2236, the 21-year-old Sheridan attended the installation of the new Dali Lama in Tibet and shared a meal with him. Later that year, he joined the EarthForce academy.
Shortly after graduation in 2239, Sheridan married Elizabeth Lochley, another recent academy graduate. They soon discovered that their marriage would never work because they both wanted to be in charge all the time. They had an amicable divorce three months later.
Sheridan's first assignment was the Moon-Mars patrol where he served under Jack Maynard and earned the nickname "Swamp Rat". Lieutenant Sheridan joined the crew of the Lexington in 2241. He wisely turned down a prestigious assignment as executive officer on the Prometheus for its mission to contact the Minbari in 2245. Sheridan was not surprised when the undisciplined Captain Jankowski triggered the Earth-Minbari War.
In 2247, Captain Sterns was killed during a battle with Minbari ships in the asteroid belt, leaving Lieutenant Commander Sheridan in command of the Lexington. Sheridan hid in the asteroid belt and mined the asteroids with nuclear warheads. He sent a fake distress signal to bait the trap. The Black Star, the Minbari Flagship, was destroyed. The humans hailed Sheridan's action as the only real victory during the Earth-Minbari War and awarded him the Star of Valor. The Minbari felt that Sheridan's actions were dishonorable and named him "Star Killer".
Sheridan joined Dr. Stephen Franklin on a covert mission to meet with Lenonn, the Minbari Ranger One. Centauri Ambassador Mollari became suspicious because Narn Ambassador G'Kar was acting as an intermediary. Fearing that the Narn were making a weapons deal with the Humans, the Centauri bombed the meeting site and destroyed the Narn ship that had brought them there. Lenonn was mortally wounded, but he was able to tell Sheridan a phrase that, when repeated to Delenn after his capture, caused the Minbari to release him.
At the conclusion of the Earth-Minbari War in 2248, Commander John Sheridan took command of the EarthForce base on Io. Susan Ivanova served under him there in 2250.
In January 2249, John Sheridan married Anna, a friend of his sister. Anna was an archeologist, and their demanding careers often kept them apart.
In early 2251, Sheridan assisted with suppressing the food riots on Mars where he worked with Jeffrey Sinclair. After the riots, Sheridan was transferred to the Orion Command District. On March 2, 2253 Sheridan was promoted to captain.
In 2255, John Sheridan saw his wife in person for the last time. In 2256, he began a three-year patrol on the Agamemnon. He was forced to cancel his plans to meet Anna on Centauri Prime for their anniversary in January 2257. Unknown to him, she was also planning to cancel because she had accepted a position on the Icarus for its mission to Za'ha'dum.
When Sheridan heard that the Icarus had been destroyed, he was consumed with grief because he had not told Anna that he loved her the last time they spoke. The Agamemnon continued its deep space patrol, and made first contact with an alien race called the Tikar.
The Commander of Babylon 5
When Commander Sinclair was recalled from Babylon 5 after President Santiago's death, Sheridan was appointed its new commander by President Clark. He took command on January 8, 2259. Sheridan immediately promoted Ivanova to the rank of Commander. He also joined with Dr. Franklin in powering the alien healing machine to save Security Chief Michael Garibaldi. Garibaldi was surprised to learn that Sheridan still wanted him to keep his job.
Sheridan had been interested in conspiracies and secret programs for years. He enlisted Garibaldi's help in his search for the truth behind the mysterious Bureau 13. Sheridan himself secretly became part of General William Hague's conspiracy to investigate President Santiago's death. He eventually enlisted Ivanova, Garibaldi, and Franklin in his Conspiracy of Light.
While a prisoner of the Streib, Sheridan was contacted in a dream by Ambassador Kosh. This began an association between the two in which Kosh prepared several lessons designed to teach Sheridan how to fight legends.
Sheridan grew increasingly close to Minbari Ambassador Delenn. In fact, when the Vorlons sent an inquisitor to test her, Sheridan risked his life on her behalf.
Sheridan sympathized with the Narn during the Narn-Centauri War and provided aid to their refugees. After Narn's surrender, Sheridan granted asylum to Citizen G'Kar. When he provided aid to a Narn cruiser, a Centauri cruiser attacked Babylon 5, forcing Sheridan to destroy it while defending the station. In retaliation, a Centauri placed a bomb on a core shuttle in which Sheridan was riding through the station. When Sheridan jumped from the exploding core shuttle, Kosh was forced to reveal his angelic form in order to rescue him.
As Sheridan's Conspiracy of Light evolved from a movement against President Clark into a movement against the Shadows, his forces began to grow. Draal placed the Great Machine of Epsilon 3 at his disposal, and Delenn pledged the Rangers under her command to him. Marcus Cole brought the prototype White Star to Sheridan as a gift.
In March 2260, Sheridan learned that Earth had uncovered a Shadow vessel on Ganymede. In order to keep the technology out of President Clark's hands, he took the White Star on a covert mission to Ganymede to destroy the Shadow ship. Sheridan found himself opposed by an Earth Force ship for the first time, and it was his previous command, the Agamemnon.
When President Clark declared martial law in April 2260, the Nightwatch was ordered to take control of Babylon 5. With help from Zack Allan and G'Kar's Narn volunteers, Sheridan captured the Nightwatch members. Following the lead set by Proxima 3 and Orion 7, Sheridan declared that Babylon 5 was seceding from the Earth Alliance on April 14, 2260.
Sheridan stopped wearing his Earth Force uniform and found himself fighting against his former comrades for the first time. Fortunately, Earth Force assaults on Babylon 5 ceased after the first battle when the station received Minbari protection.
Fighting the Shadow War
With a temporary stalemate in the Earth Civil War, Sheridan turned his attention to the more pressing Shadow War. His arsenal continued to grow, adding the full forces of the Rangers, a White Star fleet, and ships from the Non-Aligned Worlds. Sheridan's most surprising ally was Psi Cop Alfred Bester from whom he learned that telepaths could disrupt Shadow ships. This prompted Sheridan to recruit telepath volunteers.
Encouraging cooperation among the Non-Aligned Worlds was Sheridan's greatest challenge. Most wanted to keep their ships to defend their homes, and some were taking advantage of their weakened neighbors. Needing a victory against the Shadows to solidify Non-Aligned support, Sheridan confronted Kosh and demanded Vorlon intervention. He shamed Kosh into committing a Vorlon fleet, even though Kosh knew that the Shadows would kill him in retaliation. Kosh appeared to Sheridan as his father in a dream to apologize for his reticence and stored a part of himself in Sheridan's mind.
In August 2260 Sheridan participated in the mission to steal Babylon 4 and send it 1000 years into the past to help the Minbari in the first Shadow War. During this mission, his time stabilizer failed and he became unstuck in time and stranded on Centauri Prime twenty years in the future. He found himself in a Centauri prison with an older Delenn, who told him that their son, David, was safe and warned him to not go to Za'ha'dum. Sheridan kissed Delenn for the first time, but it was obviously not the first kiss for this future Delenn. Eventually, Sheridan was transported back to 2260 and Delenn quickly gave him her time stabilizer so that he would be safe while she became unstuck in time. As the mission neared its successful completion, Zathras revealed that The One was really three people. Sinclair was The One Who Was, Delenn was The One Who Is, and Sheridan was The One Who Will Be.
Sheridan began to take the offensive against the Shadows. He analyzed their strategy and lunched an assault against them that was costly but effective. The Shadows responded by recalling the vessel controlled by Anna Sheridan and extracting her to use against her husband.
Anna Sheridan arrived on Babylon 5 in December 2260 at a most inopportune time. Sheridan and Delenn were participating in a Minbari pre-marriage ritual in which a woman watches her fiancÚ sleep for three nights. Against Delenn's wishes, Sheridan agreed to go to Za'ha'dum with Anna. However, Sheridan knew that he was being led into a trap. Dr. Franklin had discovered scars on Anna's neck where the Shadow implants required to control a ship had been removed. Sheridan had two thermonuclear bombs secretly placed on his White Star before leaving Babylon 5.
On Z'ha'dum Sheridan met Justin, the head spokesman for the Shadows. Justin revealed that the War between the Vorlons and the Shadows was an ongoing war of ideology, with the Vorlons striving to bring order to the younger races while the Shadows believed that conflict was the key to evolution.
When Sheridan refused to join the Shadows, Justin promised to destroy Babylon 5 because killing Sheridan wouldn't be enough to halt his efforts. Sheridan pulled a hidden PPG and fought his way to a balcony overlooking a huge underground Shadow city. He signaled the White Star to plunge through the ceiling and detonate its warheads. At the last moment, Sheridan heard Kosh's voice urging him to jump, and he plunged into a bottomless pit ahead of the nuclear inferno.
Sheridan's actions had two immediate effects on the war. First, the Shadows recalled their fleet from Babylon 5 in order to regroup and assess their damage. Second, the Vorlons seized the opportunity to begin moving openly against the Shadows, attacking any worlds where the Shadows had influence.
Messiah or Megalomaniac?
Sheridan found himself apparently alive deep underground. There he met a mysterious being named Lorien who claimed that his people were the oldest First Ones - the first sentient species ever. Lorien said that Sheridan was dead but was caught between moments in time. He had to either let go of life or find something worth living for. Sheridan decided that Delenn was worth living for, so Lorien used a piece of his life energy to give Sheridan twenty extra years of life. They left Za'ha'dum and returned to Babylon 5 in Lorien's ship.
With a renewed sense of determination, Sheridan met with Lorien and his staff to plan a confrontation with both the Shadows and the Vorlons. They realized that their actions were limited as long as the Vorlon Ambassador Ulkesh was on the station reporting back to the Vorlons. With help from Lyta Alexander, Ulkesh was led into a trap. The remaining essence of Kosh left Sheridan to battle with Ulkesh.
With Ulkesh out of the way, Sheridan began a series of attacks and movements designed to have both the Shadows and Vorlons meet the Army of Light at Coriana 6 at the end of January 2261. His forces were enhanced by several ships of the First Ones recruited by Ivanova and Lorien. During the battle, Sheridan was contacted telepathically by the Vorlons. The forced them to confess that they were simply fighting a war of ideology, using the younger races a pawns. The First Ones were behaving like parents fighting in front of their children, trying to get them to take sides. Delenn had a similar experience with the Shadows, and Lorien used his powers to reveal both encounters to fleet. With the younger races knowing the truth and refusing to choose sides, Lorien convinced the First Ones to go Beyond the Rim with him.
Sheridan barely had time to catch is breath before turning his attention to the Earth Civil War. First, President Clark tried to frame Babylon 5 for attacking EarthForce ships. Then, he mounted a propaganda campaign against Sheridan. Sheridan was purported to be suffering from a fictitious Minbari War Syndrome that had cause him to fall under alien influence. Sheridan responded by ordering Ivanova to set up the Voice of the Resistance to broadcast the truth and by sending Franklin and Marcus to Mars to ally with the Mars Resistance.
Throughout this time, Sheridan found himself increasingly at odds with Michael Garibaldi. Garibaldi had begun distrusting Sheridan after he returned from Za'ha'dum with Lorien. While Garibaldi's suspicions were amplified by secret Psi Corps programming, the basis for his concern was real. Many people viewed Sheridan as a messiah. He had, after all, died on Za'ha'dum and returned from the dead. He had united the younger races and kicked the First Ones out of the galaxy. However, he had also returned from Za'ha'dum with a sense of purpose that bordered on arrogance.
In September 2261, 10,000 civilians were murdered under President Clark's orders at Proxima 3. Sheridan decided to take military action to liberate Earth from Clark's regime. After freeing Proxima 3, Sheridan began a slow march towards Earth, gathering EarthForce defectors to his forces as he went.
In October 2261, Garibaldi used news of the captured David Sheridan to lead John Sheridan into a trap and betrayed him. Sheridan was held in an EarthForce prison at Solis Planum on Mars where he was beaten and tortured. President Clark wanted a confession from Sheridan, but Sheridan resisted all attempts to break him. He was rescued by Garibaldi, Franklin, and Lyta and reunited with his fleet, where he learned that Susan Ivanova had been mortally wounded while leading the fleet in his absence.
Captain John Sheridan led the final assault on Earth in the Earth Civil War on November 2, 2261. When President Clark committed suicide and turned the defense grid against the Earth, Sheridan led the fight to destroy them before they could fire. After the battle, Sheridan turned himself over to the EarthForce authorities. Sheridan agreed with Acting President Susanna Luchenko that he would state that his actions were performed for the good of Earth, but that he could not remain in Earth Force in good conscience. In exchange for his resignation, he obtained amnesty for those who joined him. Sheridan was then reunited with his father.
President of the Intersteller Alliance
The founders of the Interstellar Alliance selected John Sheridan as its first president. He accepted the position and returned to Babylon 5, which the Interstellar Alliance offered to purchase from the Earth Alliance. It would serve as the seat of government until the facilities on Minbar were completed. On the way back to the station, John Sheridan married Delenn.
Sheridan requested that his ex-wife, Captain Elizabeth Lochley, be assigned as Babylon 5's new commander. He felt that she would be a symbol of reconciliation since she had remained loyal to Earth during the civil war, but he als knew that he could trust her. Sheridan also offered Garibaldi the position of head of the Interstellar Alliance Covert Intelligence Division.
The first major crisis that President Sheridan faced in his first year of office was the telepath situation. Against Captain Lochley's wishes, Sheridan allowed Byron Gordon to use Babylon 5 as a refuge for rogue telepaths. This ended up causing difficulties for Sheridan when the telepaths began stealing secrets from the minds of the ambassadors and demanding concessions from the Interstellar Alliance. In the end, Sheridan was left with no option but to stand by and watch the Psi Corps handle the situation, which ended in Byron's martyrdom in June 2262.
During the Brakiri Day of the Dead, Captain Lochley received a message from Kosh for Sheridan. It was, "When the long night comes, return to the end of the beginning."
Sheridan's second major crisis was brewing in parallel with the telepath crisis and concerned the increasing frequency of attacks on Interstellar Alliance shipping. Sheridan managed to hold the bickering members of the alliance together, but he was forced to make several promises that tied his hands when the culprits were eventually revealed. When evidence of Centauri guilt was presented, Sheridan ordered the White Star fleet to engage Centauri ships to defend ISA ships.
When Sheridan received word from Dr. Franklin and Lyta Alexander that the Centauri ships were controlled by Shadow technology, he realized that the Centauri were being framed. He rushed to Centauri Prime, but he was too late to prevent the devastating attack by the Narn and Drazi fleets in August 2262.
While these crises did not end happily, they were finally over. Sheridan received some good news for a change. His wife, Delenn, was pregnant. In September 2262, Sheridan and Delenn traveled to the completed Interstellar Alliance headquarters in Tuzanor on Minbar. During the trip, Sheridan and a Ranger were caught in a sealed compartment with a deadly coolant leak. Ranger Lennier saw them from the other side of the door, but when Sheridan urged him to open the door, Lennier ran away. Sheridan managed to use the Ranger's fighting pike to break through the door and escape.
When they arrived on Minbar, Sheridan and Delenn were greeted by a visiting Emperor Londo Mollari. Londo offered them an urn that was to be given to their child on his sixteenth birthday. Unknown to them, the urn contained a Drakh keeper. Their son, David, was born on December 15, 2262.
Sheridan's Later Years
In 2266, President Sheridan was contacted by the techno-mage Galen. Sheridan and others who were summoned by Galen learned that the Drakh were planning to destroy the Earth with a Shadow planet killer. Sheridan arranged for fleets to defend the Earth, and he personally took command of the Excalibur, the prototype destroyer based on Vorlon, Minbari, and Earth technology. Sheridan was successful in destroying the planet killer, but was unable to prevent the Drakh from seeding the Earth's atmosphere with a plague.
President Sheridan pledged the ISA to finding a cure for the Drakh plague. The Rangers and the White Star fleet would seek out clues to a cure, and the Excalibur would follow up their leads. Sheridan selected Captain Matthew Gideon as commander of the Excalibur.
In November 2277, the Centauri urn was given to David Sheridan for his sixteenth birthday. Under control of the keeper, David traveled to Centauri Prime. Sheridan and Delenn followed him there to beg for his release. During their imprisonment, Sheridan was briefly replaced with his earlier self from the mission to steal Babylon 4. Delenn secured David's safety, and Emperor Mollari agreed to release Sheridan and Delenn if they promised to rid Centauri Prime of the Drakh.
In January 2279, Sheridan declined to serve another term as President of the ISA. He became Anla'shok Na, the leader of the Rangers.
In December 2280, Sheridan began dreaming of Lorien. He realized that his twenty years of borrowed time were almost finished. The Rangers summoned his friends to visit him one last time on Minbar. They celebrated their memories and their fallen comrades on January 7, 2281. The next morning, Sheridan put on his old Army of Light uniform one last time. He took a personal White Star and made one last visit to Babylon 5. He then traveled to Coriana 6, following Kosh's instructions from the Day of the Dead. There he met Lorien who promised to take Sheridan Beyond the Rim with him.
John Sheridan disappeared on January 14, 2280. The Rangers found his ship, but the air locks were sealed and there was no sign of him.