Destiny 2

Destiny’s plot is basically Babylon 5

destiny2 4 - Destiny’s plot is basically Babylon 5

I’ve been talking about this subject with clan mates for a few months now, as the parallels and similarities in story elements between Destiny and Babylon 5 seem to keep building up, and I’m now beyond convinced that a large part of the overarching story of the main conflict between The Traveler and The Pyramids is essentially the same as that presented in The Shadow War story arc of Babylon 5.

For those of you who never watched it, the story of Babylon 5 (which itself is heavily influenced by The Lord of the Rings) involves various space-faring civilisations – including Humanity – who co-exist in a state of near war. One race, The Minbari (essentially space elves/awoken) once had a devastating war with Humanity which nearly wiped out Humans, only for them to pull back at the last moment, and surrender. Now an uneasy peace exists between the various races. The Minbari have a super-enigmatic ally in a race called the Vorlons, who seem to have an interest in aiding certain races with their hyper-advanced technology.

As the show’s story develops, we learn of another ancient race who appear to be the mortal enemy of the Vorlons. We learn that this race (called The Shadows) has also been surreptitiously assisting some of the other younger space-faring races with their own creepy, dark technology. Eventually this proxy-Cold War spills over into outright conflict between the two sides, and a major war is fought which also reveals their particular motives.

We learn that The Vorlons and The Shadows are the last two remnants of a group of the earliest races to gain sentience, who stayed behind to act as ‘caretakers’ or guardians of the younger races. They each have a different perspective on how best to achieve this: the Vorlons believe that strength comes from order and unity, whilst the Shadows believe conflict and strife is essential to develop. Historically these two perspectives were in balance, but ultimately they each came to believe their way was the right way, and so they fought a terrible war thousands of years ago, with the younger races as proxies. The Vorlons ultimately won this war, but the Shadows weren’t entirely defeated, but rather retreated to bide their time until the events of the show take place.

Compare this with the lore entries for
book unveiling - Destiny’s plot is basically Babylon 5

The Unveiling, and particularly the concepts of the Gardener and the Winnower. In it we learn through metaphor of the Traveler and ‘The Darkness’, as two god-like agents of order, through creation and destruction:

In the morning, the gardener pushed seeds down into the wet loam of the garden to see what they would become.


In the evening, the winnower reaped the day’s crop and separated what would flourish from what had failed.

This balanced relationship ultimately broke down, as The Gardener sought to change the rules of the game, and so they fought, and in the process triggered the Big Bang:

And still we fought. We brought down the tree of silver wings and left the stump to smoke amid the meadows. We left prints of our splayed feet and our straining backs in the clay.

Our trampling feet made waves in the garden, which were the fluctuations around which the infant universes coalesced their first structures. The dilaton field yawned beneath existence. Symmetries snapped like glass. Like creases, flaws in space-time collected filaments of dark matter that inhaled and kindled the first galaxies of suns.

Whilst a lot of Destiny’s story pays homage to common tropes and themes in sci-fi, there are other parallels to Babylon 5 which feel notable too. For example, The Minbari have a secretive ruling group called The Grey Council which comprises… 9 members (this too is a Lord of the Rings reference, The Fellowship of the Ring having 9 members, mirroring the 9 Black Riders). In the show, The Grey Council have a traditional greeting which we often hear spoken:

I am Grey. I stand between the candle and the star. We are Grey. We stand between the darkness and the light.

The Darkness and The Light. Hmm! It’s also curious how The Nine in Destiny don’t seem to have a direct affiliation to either perspective either, being distinctly morally grey. This seems to apply to characters like The Drifter too, so I’m interested to see whether any future parallels between his story and that of The Grey Council emerge.

I suspect the direction that Destiny’s story ultimately takes will be very different to Babylon 5’s conclusion, but it still feels very interesting to see the similarities that may have influenced Bungie’s writers. I’m excited to see where it heads next!

Edit: I forgot to include the most recent examples of parallels between the two stories, the decoded fragments from The Pyramid ship on Io, which suggest the Darkness feels we are overly protected; this mirrors the motives we hear from agents of The Shadows, saying how Humanity’s potential has been ‘bottled up’, and they want to unlock it.

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