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Old October 31 2012, 09:15 PM   #1
Deranged Nasat
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Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

Unless you're a big fan of Babylon Five this won't mean anything at all. However, I know there are several posters here who have extensive knowledge of the series, not just in terms of the content but also in terms of its production. One point in particular has bugged me for some time in that niggling, unimportant way, and so now I'm finally going to bring it up for discussion here.

It's the characters Na'kal and Na'Tok. Can anyone tell me: were they supposed to be the same guy? They're both played by the same actor and not only is there no good reason why they couldn't be the same character, there's actually a very good reason why they should have been. I know these shows often reuse actors for the heavy-makeup roles, and B5 is often confusing when it comes to actor/character relationships regarding the secondary aliens (apparently, the Brakiri ambassador in season 3 is the same guy as the familiar Brakiri ambassador in seasons 4-5 despire looking nothing like him, but the Brakiri ambassador in "Day of the Dead" is not that guy despite being played by the same guy who plays the usual ambassador. Or something).

Basically, Na'Kal is the captain of the Narn cruiser G'Tok, who appears in the season two finale and then again in season three. In season five, the same actor shows up as a Narn general named Na'tok (Hmmm...Did they just confuse his name with that of his ship?). The thing is, as Na'Kal was the highest-ranking Narn military officer left after the Centauri disbanded/executed the Narn leadership, it makes perfect sense to me that he'd now be a general - that in the post-war climate he'd wind up highly placed in the new, rebuilt Narn military. There's also more weight to the character and a bit of a thematic arc (if it is the same guy) given Na'tok's general attitude in the episode he appears in.

So does anyone know if it was intended to be the same guy, and they confused his name with his ship's or something?
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Last edited by Deranged Nasat; October 31 2012 at 10:05 PM.
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Old October 31 2012, 09:58 PM   #2
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Re: Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

^ Were the episodes written by different people? If so, the character name might have had to be changed to avoid royalty payment issues.
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Old October 31 2012, 10:07 PM   #3
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
^ Were the episodes written by different people? If so, the character name might have had to be changed to avoid royalty payment issues.
I did wonder if it might have something to do with that, but apparently all relevant episodes were written by Straczynski.
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Old October 31 2012, 11:00 PM   #4
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Re: Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

Seems to make sense within the story that they are the same. I think it's probably likely that the ship and character names were confused when the fifth season script was written. The director of the fifth season episode was indeed under the impression that this was the return of that same character.

As for royalty payments, Babylon 5 did make those where appropriate. Larry DiTillio was payed for every appearance of Zack Allan!
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Old November 1 2012, 02:48 AM   #5
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Re: Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

I had wondered about this too back when I was trying to disentangle the actor/character relationships between the Brakiri & Drazi ambassadors (don't ask!) The only thing I could think of was that they were indeed supposed to be the same character and the names just got confused. It happens. Of course this is just speculation as off the top of my head I don't think I ever tracked down JMS mentioning this one way or the other.

For anyone that has the script books, it might be worth seeing if there are any script notes for "Movements of Fire and Shadow" regarding this character which may clear things up a little.

Actually, IIRC I think there's a similar confusion around some other roles played by Robin Sachs. I think he played one--or possible two--members of the grey council. The one called Hedronn that turned up in the first episode of season 2 and Coplann who appeared in 'In The Beginning'. It's possible they're the same person since Hedronn was posing as a minor functionary or some-such and that might have included travelling under a false name...on the other hand Delenn managed to keep her real name without anyone outside her own government knowing she was a Satai so...perhaps not?
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Old November 1 2012, 11:38 AM   #6
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Re: Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

I think that it was the same character and had always assumed so and in fact didn't even realise that the names were different until now. Silly so called B5 fan that I am, call myself a nerd I dunno...

Maybe Na'kal had a twin brother who looked and sounded exactly the same but held a higher rank? After all if a Cardassian Gul shared a resemblance with a Starfleet Admiral from over 200 years before his time then anything is possible.

Also Na'Kal might have overindulged on Swedish metal balls in between seasons three and five leaving him incapable of serving in the military of the Narn Regime.
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Old November 1 2012, 01:15 PM   #7
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Re: Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

The Narn characters of Na'Kal and Na'Tok were both played by actor Robin Sachs.

Coincidentally, Robin Sachs also portrayed two distinct members of the Minbari Grey Council: Hedronn and Coplann (probably twins too :P ).

http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Hedronn
http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Coplann
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Old November 1 2012, 05:45 PM   #8
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Re: Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

Loki Entek wrote: View Post
Also Na'Kal might have overindulged on Swedish meatballs in between seasons three and five leaving him incapable of serving in the military of the Narn Regime.


Personally I've always liked to assume that they were the same guy, but I wondered if something else was going on behind the scenes. Thanks, all, for the answers. My in-universe explanation would have to be that Na'kal changed his name to honour his ship. We know that Narn aren't always born with the name they hold, instead choosing a name that reflects their chosen path in life once they've survived childhood (or the first part of such). G'Kar is an example. Perhaps a similar tradition allows them to be "remade" periodically by assuming a new name after passing through equally dangerous trials? So Na'kal decided he was reborn in the fires of the war and assumed a new name, incorporating his honoured ship's name into his own? The man and the ship are one legend, or something like that...
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Old November 1 2012, 06:34 PM   #9
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Re: Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Loki Entek wrote: View Post
Also Na'Kal might have overindulged on Swedish meatballs in between seasons three and five leaving him incapable of serving in the military of the Narn Regime.


Personally I've always liked to assume that they were the same guy, but I wondered if something else was going on behind the scenes. Thanks, all, for the answers. My in-universe explanation would have to be that Na'kal changed his name to honour his ship. We know that Narn aren't always born with the name they hold, instead choosing a name that reflects their chosen path in life once they've survived childhood (or the first part of such). G'Kar is an example. Perhaps a similar tradition allows them to be "remade" periodically by assuming a new name after passing through equally dangerous trials? So Na'kal decided he was reborn in the fires of the war and assumed a new name, incorporating his honoured ship's name into his own? The man and the ship are one legend, or something like that...
ooh, I remember that, now that you mention it. but, was simply the act of surviving childhood? Or was it choosing whose teachings to follow, once you grew out of childhood? If so, he could have merely changed his Religion from G'Quon to G'Lan, for example
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Old November 1 2012, 09:44 PM   #10
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Re: Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

Ensign_Redshirt wrote: View Post
The Narn characters of Na'Kal and Na'Tok were both played by actor Robin Sachs.

Coincidentally, Robin Sachs also portrayed two distinct members of the Minbari Grey Council: Hedronn and Coplann (probably twins too :P ).

http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Hedronn
http://babylon5.wikia.com/wiki/Coplann
Another fun fact: Sachs played a character named "Valen" in ST:Voyager.
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Old November 2 2012, 08:37 PM   #11
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Re: Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

Sindatur wrote: View Post
Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Loki Entek wrote: View Post
Also Na'Kal might have overindulged on Swedish meatballs in between seasons three and five leaving him incapable of serving in the military of the Narn Regime.


Personally I've always liked to assume that they were the same guy, but I wondered if something else was going on behind the scenes. Thanks, all, for the answers. My in-universe explanation would have to be that Na'kal changed his name to honour his ship. We know that Narn aren't always born with the name they hold, instead choosing a name that reflects their chosen path in life once they've survived childhood (or the first part of such). G'Kar is an example. Perhaps a similar tradition allows them to be "remade" periodically by assuming a new name after passing through equally dangerous trials? So Na'kal decided he was reborn in the fires of the war and assumed a new name, incorporating his honoured ship's name into his own? The man and the ship are one legend, or something like that...
ooh, I remember that, now that you mention it. but, was simply the act of surviving childhood? Or was it choosing whose teachings to follow, once you grew out of childhood? If so, he could have merely changed his Religion from G'Quon to G'Lan, for example
No, you're right. Because of a historically high infant mortality rate, Narn pouchlings are given temporary names so *if* they survive to come of age, they get to pick a permanent one. One assumes this occurs around the on-sent of whatever passes for the Narn version of puberty.

If the similarities between those characters is all that troubleing, one can always just pretend they're both pouch brothers.
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Old November 2 2012, 10:11 PM   #12
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Re: Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Loki Entek wrote: View Post
Also Na'Kal might have overindulged on Swedish meatballs in between seasons three and five leaving him incapable of serving in the military of the Narn Regime.


Personally I've always liked to assume that they were the same guy, but I wondered if something else was going on behind the scenes. Thanks, all, for the answers. My in-universe explanation would have to be that Na'kal changed his name to honour his ship. We know that Narn aren't always born with the name they hold, instead choosing a name that reflects their chosen path in life once they've survived childhood (or the first part of such). G'Kar is an example. Perhaps a similar tradition allows them to be "remade" periodically by assuming a new name after passing through equally dangerous trials? So Na'kal decided he was reborn in the fires of the war and assumed a new name, incorporating his honoured ship's name into his own? The man and the ship are one legend, or something like that...
I think that this is one of the most logical explanations of what was probably a writer mix-up. It makes sense, story wise, and solves the dilemma.
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Old November 2 2012, 10:36 PM   #13
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Re: Very minor Babylon Five question: Na'kal and Na'tok

I used to be heavily into the card game. HEAVILY.. I spent thousands till the shops rant out of cards and I had a monopoly and no one else could play me or attempt an interest... The two characters had their own distinct trading cards but were the same person at different stages of development. In many cases, following the story of the show ,a charcter would level up and be replaced with a more advanced version of him or herself if they fufilled some criteria or paid for the transformation in '"influence". other changes were just automatic like replace Na'Toth replacing Ko'Dath becuase she's a really shitty character who needs to be spaced...

http://bureau13.narod.ru/ccg/premier/p265.jpg

http://bureau13.narod.ru/ccg/weel/f052.jpg

In Rome when a general won a big battle, their name changed, to reference their victory.

Maybe the sweedish meatballs rant was about how he changed his name on some level?
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