If you follow the news about “Battlestar Galactica,” you already know that the series will come to an end next year. What’s a little unusual about this move is that the producers were the ones to ask for the show to conclude—and we think this is a fantastic way to go. Don’t you think it’s about time “Lost” had a bit more payoff? Wouldn’t some of our past favorite shows, say “The X-Files,” have left a better legacy if they’d ended while they were ahead? We’ve seen so many shows continue past their prime, just for the sake of bringing in money to the networks, and we applaud SciFi Channel and the crew at “Battlestar Galactica” for bucking the trend.
Here’s how it came about, according to executive producer Ronald D. Moore in a recent press conference about the news. “There was discussion of how long it should go on,” he says. “To [SciFi Channel’s] credit, they were very sensitive to what we wanted to do creatively on the show. It came from David [Eick, executive producer] and I approaching them and saying, look we feel that the show has reached its third act. It’s about the resolution of the series; we feel like the storyline is sort of propelling us toward the conclusion. They asked us questions about why we felt that way and they understood the reasons. They wanted us to think about it for a while and make sure this is what we wanted to do, but they didn’t really fight us on it. And they expressed concern that the show might be able to go on longer, and they wanted make sure we weren’t passing up opportunities to continue telling stories with the series, but they were very accommodating. When David and I were very clear this is what we really definitely wanted to do, they supported it.”
This means they’ve got a lot of story to complete in the next 20 episodes. Moore says the show will have a definitive end—there is no intention currently to produce a follow-up feature or miniseries, although Eick still hopes the spinoff series “Caprica” will someday make it to the air. Moore adds a caveat, though: “It’s also the kind of thing where you never say never, because who knows how we’ll feel when we actually write the conclusion. Will there be a plotline or a story or something that springs to mind or is created on the page that then opens a later door--it’d be foolish to say absolutely not, but right now the plan is for a definitive end.” But, when pressed about whether or most relationships and plots point would have their conclusion, he noted, “I think there’s value in leaving some things open to the imagination and having some things that are sort of tantalizingly unresolved, but the intention is to move toward what is the final chapter.”
The current plan is for a two-hour prequel to air in the fall, and the fourth season won’t begin until early 2008. No times have been finalized yet. The two-parter will feature Admiral Cain and the Pegasus and take place during the second season. Says Moore, “Essentially what the history was, we were approached by home video in between the seasons who expressed an interest in releasing a couple of episodes on DVD for domestic and foreign distribution. As we talked about that internally, we realized there was no way we could pick up the cliffhanger in that form and we would preserve that for the official begin of the fourth season. The way it made the most sense to all of us was to sort of go back in time a little--not before the series began, but sort of back a season or two ago, say in the second season of the series, and tell a story there. And we found a way to connect the events of that story to things that will happen in the fourth season so it sets up some things that will happen in season four.”
We did get a few hints about what might happen during this final season. For example, Earth will figure into the conclusion. Moore says, “I don’t want to be that definitive about it, but the show has always been about a search for Earth, and I think to end the series without getting to Earth or a version of Earth or something we call Earth, or having at least somebody say ‘Earth,’ would be unsatisfying.” Eick, when pressed about whether or not we’d actually see what life was like on Earth, added, “I think there’s a good chance. I’m being deliberately vague…not just for surprise but also because we haven’t written that show yet.”
Naturally, the stories of the four newly-revealed human sleeper Cylons will be continued as well. Moore says, “You can see from the end of this third season that they all are still the same people. They’re still the same characters. They didn’t switch over and become robots suddenly. Essentially you’re going to see an extension of that initial moment, where they try to figure out, what does this mean to them. If they’re Cylons, when did that begin and what are their true backstories? What are they meant to do? What are they supposed to do? Are they dangerous to each other, are they dangerous to the ship, can they trust any of the people around them, should they keep this secret only among themselves? That’s essentially where their stories are going to pick up.”
And by the way, Eick jokes that those Cylons were chosen in a random manner: “There is a big dartboard in the writers’ room and a picture of all the cast members on it.” Moore clarifies, though, giving us some true insight into the decision. “We gravitated kind of quickly to these four names, for various reasons. Tigh was the sexiest…he had all these completely human qualities…Anders had participated in two resistance movements and was drawn to Kara Thrace for reasons unknown. And she had a specific destiny within the mythos of the show. Tyrol was the everyman, in some ways one of the most human characters and there was something amazing about finding about [him]. He was just very unexpected, to believe that he was a Cylon…And then Tory--Tory was a wild card. Tory was the one that we knew the least about and we could have more fun with, because we weren’t locked into as many choices with her as we were with the others.”
In addition to those possible fourth season developments, there’s talk of bring Lucy Lawless back as Cylon D’Anna, and both Eick and Moore joked (we hope) about putting a few flying motorcycles (see “Galactica 1980”) into the final season.
For many folks, the series end will be a sad event. This is especially true for the cast, some of whom may have thought the show had a few more years of life left. But Eick noted that he intends to use the talent he and Moore have discovered in future projects, such as “The Bionic Woman” and a possible midseason replacement for Fox called “Them.” So with any luck, the actors and crew won’t be completely out of work. Moore says, “I was up in Vancouver on the set just a week or so ago, and the best way I could describe it was, it felt like the beginning of senior year up there. Everyone was very aware that this was the last time, you know right down to this is the last first day of shooting, this is the last time we’re going to do this, and everyone’s starting to think about signing each other’s yearbooks and all that kind of stuff.”