|Babylon 5 character|
|First appearance||War Zone|
|Last appearance||Each Night I Dream of Home|
|Portrayed by||Gary Cole|
Captain Matthew Gideon is a character in the fictional universe of the television series Babylon 5, played by Gary Cole. Gideon was the lead character in the B5 spin-off show Crusade, which ran for 13 episodes in 1999.
Prior to Excalibur
Due to the unintended short run of Crusade, little information came to light regarding Gideon's history. The earliest event shown occurs 10 years prior to the first episode of the series when Gideon, then an Ensign serving aboard the Omega class destroyer EAS Cerberus. During an attack by a shadow vessel of previously unseen design, Gideon was despatched outside to conduct repairs to the hull. While outside, the Cerberus attempted to escape into hyperspace but was destroyed by the intruder, leaving Gideon adrift in deep space. Seemingly by chance, a fleet of small ships passed him, and he was saved by one of them, piloted by a technomage named Galen. During his debriefing by EarthForce, Gideon reiterated his claim that the Cerberus was destroyed by another ship - however, the official version released was that the ship was lost due to a malfunction with its jump engines.
Some years after the loss of the Cerberus, Gideon obtained possession of an alien artifact in a poker game. The item, known as an "Apocalypse Box", is capable of providing answers to questions, but which are not always truthful.
Between obtaining the Apocalypse Box and the release of the Drakh virus on Earth, Gideon is appointed as the captain of an Explorer class starship.
The search for a cure
Following the events of A Call to Arms, in which the Drakh infect Earth with a bio-genetic plague, Gideon's ship is recalled to Earth. There, he is appointed as the captain of the brand new starship IAS Excalibur on the recommendation of President John Sheridan of the Interstellar Alliance, with a mission scour the galaxy to find a cure for the virus before it wipes out all life on the planet.
Gideon was chosen to command the Excalibur by Sheridan because he has the qualities required for this type of mission - he is "obstinate, difficult, independent, not prone to following orders from home, not politically astute...but he'll get the job done". He enjoys feeling the wind on his face whenever he is planetside, something that is not possible while on a starship. This is until he finds a spot in the Excalibur's "core tube" transit system where the air pressure of the cars passing simulates the wind. While he is committed to the mission he has been assigned to, he has also been engaged in trying to find out why the Cerberus was destroyed, even going to the lengths of diverting the Excalibur away from its search. Gideon engages in a sometimes flirtatious, sometimes aggressively intimate relationship with Captain Elizabeth Lochley, the commander and military governor of Babylon 5.
The plan for Crusade would have seen a story arc, similar to that of Babylon 5, begin approximately halfway through the first season. Three episodes had been fully scripted and were ready for shooting when the series was cancelled. Two of these (To the Ends of the Earth and End of the Line) were planned to focus on Gideon and his search for the truth regarding the loss of the Cerberus. The episode End of the Line was intended as the season one finale, and would have ended on a cliffhanger with Gideon shot by a sniper before he can expose a conspiracy that the government of Earth has continued experimenting with Shadow technology in contravention of various laws passed after the overthrow of President Clark in 2261. JMS revealed in the audio commentary to Racing the Night that after being shot Gideon would have actually died "for a time" but would have ultimately been revived because his consciousness had merged with the Apocalypse Box.