Starbuck’s got a death wish. All right, actually actress Katee Sackhoff has a death wish for her character Starbuck, who remains one of the central players in SciFi Channel’s “Battlestar Galactica,” which started its fourth season last week. Not that this is news to anyone who’s watched Starbuck over the years—but with the show ending at the end of the next 20 episodes, fans are waiting with bated breath to see how everything will end.
When asked how she’d like her character to go out when the show ends during a conference call with the press, Sackhoff has a one-word answer. “Die,” she says. “I don’t think that there is any way to end it with her being happy. What I do wish for her is peace, in whatever form that comes, I’ll be happy with it. I want her to finally have a sense of calm in her life.”
Not that Sackhoff knows what’s coming for her character. Even 14 episodes or so into filming the 20-episode final season of the series, the actors have no idea how the series is going to end. “I am no closer to being able to have any questions answered from last season than I am now,” Sackhoff says. All she knows is that some shocks are in store—and there probably won’t be a happy ending (which fans may already have guessed).
And yet, fans have so many questions. After all, the cliffhanger episode of the third season did pose some fascinating questions with the revelation of four of the final five Cylons. This revelation, apparently, discombobulated some of the show’s stars, who weren’t expecting their characters to have such a radical change in their motivations and actions. Sackhoff says, “It’s kind of like you get the wool pulled over your eyes for four years, and then lo and behold, your character’s something completely different.”
Not that she’d change Starbuck at all. Sackhoff has loved playing the character. “I think that her strength and her convictions are pretty interesting,” Sackhoff says. “I would like to be able to emulate that….Something I’ve learned from Starbuck is that there are no stupid questions, there are only stupid answers. That’s what my mom used to say.”
Starbuck is a character that has clearly evolved during the show, thanks to volatile interpersonal relationships with practically everyone around her—and, like most of the Colonial survivors, more than her share of tragedy. But watching her evolve is part of the fun. “I think that she’s finally someone you can depend on,” Sackhoff says. “What keeps her going is her desire to love and her desire to have people love her.”
And what’s in store for Starbuck in season four? Sackhoff says, “We’ve never seen Starbuck so alone and so lost. And she’s a little distressed, not only because of the way that people are treating her but because of the questions that her coming back has raised in her own mind.” Sackoff adds, “She’s putting so much weight on this one task that she believes is her destiny, that I think she wouldn’t let anything stand in her way—anything. Which when that is the case, you’ve got a very scary person on your hands.”
When the re-imagined “Battlestar Galactica” first debuted in 2003, the idea of a female Starbuck was greeted by fans of the old series (including this editor) with a resounding roar of skepticism. Today, Sackhoff can say she’s conquered that particular battle. “What made people accept Starbuck as a woman was that she was just such an interesting character,” Sackhoff says. She adds that once they let go of preconceived notions and just saw “BSG” as good science fiction, they began to like the character.
It’s become clear over time that creating a female Starbuck wasn’t the only groundbreaking thing the new “BSG” did. “We never relied on the science fiction of the show to drive the show,” Sackhoff says. “We relied on the drama and the human condition and those really important questions. I think it kind of opened doors in science fiction to realize that science fiction is just a setting.”
She adds, “I didn’t know the show would become as iconic as it’s become. It’s taken on a life of its own and become something completely different than what I ever thought it would. I thought it would be just a paycheck.”
So how does the up-and-coming actress, who finds herself regularly recognized on the street these days, plan to continue getting an income? “I’m looking for things that are completely opposite from (Starbuck and Sarah Corvus, the character she played on “Bionic Woman”),” Sackhoff says. “Whether or not people give me the opportunity to do that, I don’t know. But what’s interesting is that five years ago I couldn’t get anyone to think I was tough. And now I can’t get anyone to think of me as the way they did five years ago.”