In many ways, the arch of the life of John Sheridan is the broadest, from warrior to diplomat to president and finally to messiah, of any of the inhabitants of the space station Babylon 5. Sheridan started out his EarthForce career as a young man and by 2243; he had risen to the rank of lieutenant commander and is the second in command on the Prometheus. It is the Prometheus that is responsible for sparking the Earth-Minbari War when it fired on a Minbari war cruiser during the disastrous first encounter between the two very different races. Sheridan also achieved a unique distinction in the subsequent war as commanding the only Earth ship that destroyed a Minbari war cruiser. Sheridan had been serving as first officer on the Lexington where it engaged the Minbari cruiser, Black Star. The Black Star had ambushed the Lexington, killed her captain and nearly destroyed the ship. Sheridan took command and mined a nearby asteroid field with nuclear warheads and drew the Minbari in with a faked distress call where he then detonated the mines. This destroyed the Black Star and gives Earth it’s only win of the war. It earns Sheridan the Silver Star from Earth Alliance and the nickname” Starkiller” amongst the Minbari Warrior Caste. Following the war, he was given command of the Agamemnon and the rank of captain. He had also been President Santiago’s first choice to command Babylon 5 but the Minbari refused him, in favor of Jeffrey Sinclair. After Sinclair’s departure, Sheridan took over command of the space station in 2259.
Sheridan found his resolve and diplomacy tested almost immediately. The Trigati, a Minbari ship had disappeared at the Battle of the Line during the war. It mysteriously reappeared in front of Babylon 5 and tried to goad the “Starkiller” to fire on them. Sheridan used calm diplomacy to defuse the situation and this act went a long way to change the opinion of him amongst the Minbari as well as sparking a friendship with Minbari ambassador Delenn which would grow into so much more. Sheridan faced three other challenges from within and without in this first year of his command. On Earth, the mentally unstable President Clark was transforming the Earth Alliance into a dictatorship and had created the Nightwatch, a subversive Para military group that gathered information on Earth citizens and detained suspected dissidents. Sheridan soon found much of his security staff had become members and had to work hard to remove this influence from the station. Secondly, the Centari had declared war on the Narn and in aiding a disabled Narn cruiser, Sheridan was forced to order the destruction of a Centari ship that was firing on the station. The Centari demanded a formal apology or Sheridan would be forced out as Commander of the station. An attempted assassination by Centari spies and the subsequent saving by the enigmatic (and apparently angelic) Kosh made the apology unnecessary. The most daunting of these challenges was the news that the ancient enemy, the Shadows, were again starting to mass power on the edges of the universe and was again turning its eye toward conquest, going so far as to help the Centari defeat and enslave the Narn. It is at this point that Delenn reveals the existence of the Rangers to Sheridan and gives him shared command. The Rangers area Minbari trained race of warriors with a strict code of honor, much like the Japanese samurai. Sheridan vows that the Rangers and Babylon 5 would hold the line against the darkness, no matter the cost.
The troubles on Earth and the troubles with the shadows both came to a head in Sheridan’s second year of command. Proof surfaced that the previous Earth Alliance president Santiago had been assassinated and present President Clark was a part of it. Clark’s administration also was trying to adapt Shadow technology for its own uses and against its own people which forced Sheridan to declare Babylon 5 a separate territory from the Earth Alliance and destroyed the Shadow infused ship that Clark was building. The Minbari awarded Sheridan with his own ship, The Whitestar, which is piloted by Minbari and Rangers. This afforded Sheridan the power to protect and defend Babylon 5 and his allies. Sheridan also rounded up all the Nightwatch members and gave them the choice of quitting or being put off the station. Earth Alliance ships attempted to retake Babylon 5 but the Minbari sided with Sheridan and the EA forces departed when Delenn reminded them that Sheridan is the only man to ever survive against the Minbari. Sheridan had been slowly amassing allies among the various races. In their first engagement with the Shadows, the alliance managed to drive the Shadows off but they suffered two to one losses to those of the Shadows. Anna, Sheridan’s previously thought deceased wife, had been the living CPU for a Shadow ship since her exploration ship, the Icarus, crashed on Z’ha’dum, the Shadow’s home world, many years ago. Once they realized who she was the Shadow replaced her destroyed personality and used her to draw Sheridan to Z’ha’dum. Having been previously told by that he would die on Z’ha’dum by Kosh, Sheridan had Garibaldi load the White star with two nuclear bombs and piloted it alone, with the transformed Anna, to the planet. Sheridan escaped the clutches of the Shadows momentarily and found his way to a balcony high over the city. At the same time, Shadow ships were Surrounding Babylon 5. Anna and the Shadows tried to persuade him to join them once more, but he remotely activated the Whitestar to crash into the capital city. Just before the ship crashed through the dome, Sheridan heard Kosh’s voice telling him to jump. With the destruction of the capital city, the Shadows at Babylon 5 withdrew and his allies assumed he was dead.
One of the other pivotal moments of Sheridan in 2260 was his involvement with Babylon 4. With Sinclair, Ivanova, Delenn, Marcus Cole, Zathros, and Lennier all went back in time to ensure that Babylon 4 was on the front lines in the first battle with the Shadows. Sheridan was separately transferred by accident 17 years into his own future where he found himself about to be executed by Emperor Lando Mallari, the fast emperor of the devastated Centari Prime. Instead, Mollari let him leave and Sheridan was pulled back to Babylon 4. The team assured its position and all save Sinclair and Zathros returned to their own time. This fulfilled Sinclair’s destiny to become the Minbari worshiped Valen.
By 2261, the Shadow war was in full swing. Without Sheridan, the Alliance between races was beginning to fall apart as some of the smaller races began to think that if they didn’t fight, the Shadows would leave them alone. Delenn began planning an all-out Ranger assault on Z’ha’dum. While on the plant, Sheridan had survived the fall but hung between life and death. There he encounters Lorien, the first and oldest sentient being in the universe. Lorien encouraged Sheridan to give up the fight and embrace the light but Sheridan could not give up his love for Delenn. Lorien imbued Sheridan with part of his life force, giving Sheridan 20 more years of life. Sheridan returned to Babylon 5 just as the alliance almost disintegrated. His sheer presence changed an angry mob into a cheering crowd and with the alliance strong; Sheridan leads them against the Shadows and the Vorlons and tells them that the other races no longer need either of them to maintain the balance between right and wrong, order and chaos. With this, Lorien makes the two races leave to join the other First Ones beyond the rim of the universe. With this victory, Sheridan can turn his attentions to Earth and the atrocities that President Clark has committed there and on Mars. Learning that Earth Force ships had destroyed five refugee ships carrying 10,000 people, Sheridan breaks through the blockade and heads toward Mars where he received a call from Michael Garibaldi, who was himself being controlled by the Psi-Cop Bester. Sheridan was captured and tortured but refused to give up any information. Once Garibaldi is released from his mind control, he rescues Sheridan and Sheridan rejoined his fleet and uses telepaths to defeat Clark’s Shadow tech ships, saving thousands on Mars. Sheridan then heads to Earth to confront Clark and end his dictatorship, but Clark kills himself before the Resistance can arrest him.
Because of political pressure with the remaining Earth Alliance government, Sheridan is asked by the new president to give up his commission in EarthForce, but will still retain his pension and honors. Sheridan agrees and at the same press conference that President Luchenko gives amnesty to all who helped Sheridan, Delenn and G’kar say that the League of Non-Aligned worlds is to be disbanded and a new Interstellar Alliance is to be formed. The pair declare that Sheridan with be the first president of this Alliance, much to the chagrin of the Earth Alliance. Delenn and Sheridan left for Babylon 5 and were married there. Ivanova chose reassignment elsewhere after the events of the war, so Sheridan appointed his other ex-wife Captain Elizabeth Lochley, giving her a free hand in running the station.
After a year of running the Interstellar Alliance from Babylon 5, Sheridan and Delenn relocated to the just completed headquarters on Minbar. He led the IA for over a decade, finally declining reelection and allowing the presidency to pass to Delenn, while he led the Rangers. In the last days of his life, he invited all his old friends to meet with him one last time. Later, he said goodbye to Delenn and traveled one last time to Babylon 5, which was about to be decommissioned and destroyed. After that he set out for Corona 6, where Lorien reappeared and took him out beyond the rim. His ship was recovered with no one inside. Some Minbari believe that he will return one day, although it was not in the lifetimes of any of his friends from Babylon 5.
Idealistic, charismatic, stubborn, reckless, fiercely loyal, quick to anger, but equally quick to calm are all ways to describe Captain John Sheridan but his ultimate gift and his ultimate legacy is that he help peoples from vastly different species and cultures realize that when you stand together, anything is possible.