Wednesday, January 17

Major change awaits ‘Battlestar Galactica’

Source: Pop Matters

Speculation about a major character death has been rampant in the “Battlestar Galactica” world of late. (By the way, stop reading if you don’t want to know more about upcoming “Battlestar” plots.)

Rumors abound that a character will die in the second half of the Sci Fi drama’s third season, which kicks off Jan. 21. And much of the “who will it be” speculation centers on hotshot pilot Kara “Starbuck” Thrace.

In an exclusive interview, executive producers David Eick and Ron Moore say that a “profound” event involving Starbuck does occur in a pivotal Season 3 episode called “Maelstrom,” which is scheduled to air March 4. In fact, Moore says it “will be one of the most surprising things that’s happened in the history of the show so far.”

What happens to Thrace “will jump out and grab you,” Moore says.

The producers confirmed what Katee Sackhoff (the actress who plays Starbuck) said in a recent interview: that as of the March 4 episode, she had completed her work on the show’s third season, even though three more episodes air after “Maelstrom.”

So the actress finished her work on the season early, and something major and surprising happens in the last episode that Sackhoff filmed. But Eick and Moore don’t want to use the word “death” when describing what happens to Starbuck in “Maelstrom.”

“I think people will have to watch that episode and judge for themselves what happens,” Moore says. “I can say that Galactica will suffer a shocking loss in that episode, and Kara is a key member of the crew.”

Just to add fuel to the fire of “Galactica” bloggers, Moore adds that after the March 4 episode airs, the name of a major cast member will disappear from the show’s opening credits. They won’t say whether Sackhoff’s name is the one that goes that’s missing. But they do make clear that what happens to Starbuck points the way to a major shift in the show’s direction.

“It’s a fundamental and permanent change in the makeup of the show’s cast and of the show itself and how the show operates and what the show is about. It’s a very dramatic change of direction,” Moore says.

“What we’re doing with Kara Thrace is profound and is major, and yet it doesn’t necessarily translate as simply as you might think,” Eick says. That makes sense when you consider that in the world of “Battlestar Galactica,” the Cylon characters, who are locked in an epic battle with the humans, are able to die and be reborn, or “downloaded,” into new bodies.

Of course, Moore won’t say whether Thrace is a Cylon and if she gets downloaded. Eick and Moore also won’t say if Gaius Baltar, a canny survivor who’s spent time with both the Galactica crew and with the Cylons, is in fact a Cylon. But they will say Baltar’s character undergoes a trial for his crimes against his fellow humans, and they add that a photo that surfaced online of Baltar in a Cylon resurrection tank is from a dream or fantasy sequence and not something to be taken literally.

“Some of the speculation (regarding Starbuck and others) sounds so cut and dried, `Oh, this is going to happen and that’s that,’” Moore says. “And it’s really not that simple. There are different layers that we’re trying to protect and that we want to be able to deliver to the audience at the appropriate time.”

Eick and Moore confirmed that they are developing a two-hour stand-alone “Battlestar Galactica” film, which may be released between Seasons 3 and 4. If there is no Season 4, then the film, which would be released on DVD and air on Sci Fi, would not go forward.

In any case, the DVD movie would not be a conclusion of the show’s third-season cliffhanger finale, which they say will once again take the show in a shocking new direction.

“If you think about the end of Season 1 and the end of Season 2, both of those cliffhangers—they weren’t just of the `Who shot J.R.’ ilk. They actually turned the storytelling in a new direction.” Eick says. The end of Season 3, he says, will be no exception. “So what we’re doing at the end of this year, which involves Kara Thrace and others, is (taking the storytelling) in a different and unique direction from what’s come before.”

“Whether the fans of the show like what we do at the end of this year or find themselves aghast at what we do, they can rest assured it’s not what they’re expecting,” Eick says. “Whatever they think is going to happen, think again.”

by Maureen Ryan
Chicago Tribune
16 January 2007

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