Friday, June 15

Battlestar Galactica: Q&A in L.A.

Source UGO.COM, By Jenelle Riley

Last week, Battlestar Galactica fans turned out in droves for a special event at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. After screening highlights from the third season, a Q&A was held moderated by Lucy Lawless, who plays cylon D'Anna Biers. Afterwards, Lawless revealed it was her first time hosting such a panel. "They called and asked me," she explained. "I figured, 'Why not?'" Appearing on the panel were stars Edward James Olmos (Admiral William Adama), Mary McDonnell (President Laura Roslin), Katee Sackhoff (Captain Kara "Starbuck" Thrace) and Jaime Bamber (Captain Lee "Apollo" Adama). Also present were showrunners David Eick and Ronald D. Moore, the latter enduring many a good-natured jibe from the former about not needing Battlestar, as he has plenty of Star Trek money to retire on.

Lawless, looking tan and stunning in a black evening gown, kicked off the night by asking about "the elephant in the room"... the recent announcement that season four of Battlestar would be its last. Asked how he felt about it, the always frank Olmos summed up the feelings of many fans with one word: "Terrible." Following the thunderous applause, Olmos continued, "To be very, very candid about this, I don't think the powers-that-be will understand exactly what this show is doing until 20 years from today when they look back and start to realize what kind of a mirror Ron and David created. This kind of thing happens every once in a while. We are very gifted and lucky to be a part of a situation that was able to comment on our society today. And we took it to the fullest." Olmos went on to dismiss the Nielsen ratings system (Battlestar suffered from low ratings that didn't reflect its passionate fan base) and noted, "We're not doing a dramatic series to sell Cheetos."

Asked how she felt, McDonnell, beaming in a form-fitting green dress, laughed, "I always have to go after him." She went on to reveal her sadness for the show ending and how passionate everyone involved was about the series. "It's a hard one to contemplate giving up," she stated. "And it's been a luxury as an artist to do. On the set yesterday there was an electricity that was new."

Jamie Bamber, speaking in his native British accent, revealed how he was at first hesitant to sign a six-year contract, thinking, "Who wants to work with the same stupid people for six years?" Bamber went on to joke, "And I say that every year, every time they deprive me of my illustrious career path that is laid out before me in theaters and movies and I have to come back and be Ron and David's bitch for another year, I resent it heartily. Then when they told me this was the last year, I'm moaning and complaining. And reading my mortgage bills, which I haven't had to do for the last four years."

Also a hot topic during the discussion: the death (and rebirth) of Starbuck, which was kept so secret from the cast and crew that they actually threw Sackhoff a going-away party. Sackhoff, looking very un-Starbuck in a simple white dress, let slip that she felt underused during the beginning of season three. She had called Moore and Eick around the second episode crying, asking, "Are you trying to get me to quit the show? I don't know what's going on?" She added, "It didn't help matters that during the hiatus I got a phone call that started out, 'We just want you to know we love you. But... we're going to kill you. But wait! We're going to bring you back, you just can't tell anyone. This is going to be the biggest cover up ever! You cannot tell a soul, not even your mother!"

Apparently, Sackhoff, who confessed that she actually broke down and told her mother the truth, was so convincing, that her co-workers felt awful for her. Sackhoff recalled Eick phoning her. "He said, 'Katee, you took it too far! I didn't tell you to lie!' I said, 'I'm an over dramatic actor and you told me to sell it!'" Sackhoff recalled. Ronald D. Moore added that even the network got involved. "When the studio calls you at 8 o'clock in the morning, the studio doesn't even wake up until 9, when they call you at 8, it's bad. They said, 'Your entire set in Vancouver is on the verge of mutiny. They think that you're killing Starbuck." At the time, Moore's response was, "That's great, they're buying it!"

Also brought up frequently during the night, particularly from audience members, was the question of whether Adama and Roslin will consummate their relationship. Or, as Lawless so bluntly asked Olmos, "Is Admiral Adama ever going to get laid?" While everyone was cagey about revealing too much, McDonnell implied something might have happened on New Caprica in the episode "Unfinished Business," where audiences saw the pair smoking marijuana under the stars. "Yeah, but doesn't that just make you crave Taco Bell?" Sackhoff asked.

The panel ended with a preview of the upcoming TV movie, Razor, which premieres in November and focuses on the Battlestar Pegasus under the command of Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes). Moore dashed hopes of a Battlestar feature film, however, saying the story "has a beginning, a middle, and an end."

After the Q&A, a VIP party followed where Moore and Eick elaborated on plans for season four, premiering in 2008. Moore said we will see the return of the strange relationship between Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callum) and Six (Tricia Helfer), who is visible only to him. "We sort of played it down in the last season," he noted. "But we'll be returning to it and showing it in a new light." The producers also confirmed that audiences will see Earth this season, though they teased that it might not be "exactly what you expect." One thing Eick could confirm, that should console fans entering the final season: "I just know that season four is going to kick some almighty ass."

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