Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
Susan Ivanova (Claudia Christian)
On cult sci-fi series Babylon 5, Susan Ivanova’s relationship with Talia Winters was never explicitly shown on screen, but only implied. In interviews, the Babylon 5 creator Michael J. Straczynski and actors Claudia Christian and Andrea Thompson made it clear that there was always intended to be a romantic relationship between the two characters. Straczynski told Sci-Fi Universe (March 1996): “We had it growing since the very first episode of the first season. The relationship was about all of that mutual antagonism that really means they’re attracted.” Regarding a kiss that was never showed, Straczynski added: “I didn’t show a kiss because, in my experience, it’s easier on all around if one steps into the shallow end of the pool first, and walks into the deep end rather than diving in and splashing everybody in the process.”
Susan’s second main relationship on the show, with Marcus Cole, started off badly, as Ivanova regarded Marcus as reckless and annoying. While he fell in love with her early on, she did not begin a romantic relationship with him, possibly because of pain from her previous failed relationships. However, they eventually became uneasy friends, and when he sacrificed his life to save hers at the end of the fourth season, Ivanova was devastated and mourning the loss, she requested that his body be preserved in cryogenic suspension, in the hopes that he could someday be revived.
Christian suggested in several interviews that if Thompson hadn’t decided to leave the show, the relationship would have been developed further, over a longer period of time. Because Thompson wished to leave, it was escalated relatively suddenly and brought to an end in Divided Loyalties.
“I think that if Andrea Thompson had not left, we would have definitely explored the relationship further. That was the intention, but because she wanted to get out, we had to wrap it up quickly” (SFX, July 1997).
Both actors spoke positively about the relationship. Christian told The Official Babylon 5 Magazine (Dec 1997):
“I’ll be quite honest, I was like the lesbian poster child; I got a lot of people writing to me from the armed forces and so forth, who loved the fact that they thought I was going to be gay. I’m not gay in real life, and I don’t think I’m gay on the show, but I definitely think she had some kind of thing with Talia. I think a lot of gay women were hoping for that, and I didn’t want to disappoint them; I thought it would be fun… Then Andrea left the show, so that’s why it never came to fruition. The only reason it didn’t go further is because we had to get rid of the character because Andrea wanted to leave. It could have been a long relationship.”
In Signs and Portents, she described the bar scene in the first episode:
“I think it was good in showing [Ivanova’s] very tough facade slowly etched away by this person who has such insistence in talking to her. It was one of the nicer moments in Babylon 5, one of the most tender. And it was heavily laced with sexual overtones when we were shooting it because Andrea and I were just joking around so much”.
Thompson also stated: “Once I started thinking about it, the more I thought it could be really, really interesting if they actually explored it as though two women are in love, instead of doing it gratuitously… It doesn’t bother me at all and I would happily do a love story. Those relationships certainly should be recognized, and it’s ridiculous that we’re still dickering around with the issue” (Starlog, Dec 1994). “There was a sexual relationship between Talia and Commander Ivanova. It was edited so that it was not blatant. But that was exactly what happened. It had been talked about from the very beginning” (The Creating of Babylon 5).
- 88 episodes. Main cast between S1-S4. In the fifth and final season, she appears only once, in the series finale.
Female love interests:
- Talia Winters 💀 (Andrea Thompson, main cast, S1, S2)
Relationship story arc with a woman: Subtext
Male love interests:
- Marcus Cole 💀 (Jason Carter, main cast S3, S4)
- Malcolm Biggs (Tristan Rogers, guest, 1 episode)
Relationship story arc with a man: No
Filter Relationship Arc:
Storyline during sweeps? No
 A relationship story arc is defined as explicit, developed on screen, and lasting more than 3 episodes. It is listed as questionable or subtext if romance is only implied, mentioned instead of shown on screen, part of a dream sequence, or otherwise not explicit for the viewer.
 Sweeps episodes air in February, May, July and November, the periods when advertising rates are set. A character is marked as "sweeps" when there is a very limited number of episodes that address their sexuality, all air during sweeps period, and the storyline is otherwise ignore/dropped.