Saturday, October 01, 2005

Cylons: Not about Destruction

Nowplayingmag has this article with Ron Moore about the Cylons:

Moore’s Cylons: “Just Not About Destruction”

Written by Scott Collura
Friday, 30 September 2005
Battlestar Galactica may have had its mid-season finale last week, slipping into reruns now until January, but that doesn’t mean that the red-eye of the Cylons isn’t continuing its slow but steady pendulum swing as showrunner Ron Moore preps the remaining 10 episodes of the season. In the final part of our discussion with Moore (read part one
by clicking here, part two by clicking here, and check out our Galactica cast video interview by clicking here), the executive producer of the hit show explains that he has plans for those red-eyed toasters – and their more evolved, human-like brethren.
“Overall the Cylons are just not about destruction. They have their own civilization and their own ethos. What are they doing with the Colonies?” asks Moore, referring to the decimated human planets of the show. “They left a lot of the buildings intact; they’re cleaning up the bodies. I think they’re intent on using the Colonies for themselves. The question is for what.”
Part of that answer no doubt lies in the breeding and reproduction experiments that Starbuck encountered in the episode “The Farm,” but Moore says that there is more to the story than that, and he expects that, despite Starbuck and Helo having escaped from Caprica recently, we will see more of the devastated Colonial planet in future episodes.
“We will probably go back,” he says. “We’ll be away from Caprica for a good chunk of the season, but we’re talking about heading back there. I think part of the show will always have one foot on Caprica in some shape or form. It just feels like that’s part of our tale as well. What happens back at the Colonies now that the Cylons have taken over? Who’s left, who’s not? What are the Cylons doing with the Colonies? What’s their structure? What’s their society? Why did they want the Colonies? I think it will always be a kind of interesting story to tell.”
Another potential storytelling device that has been thrown around by the writers of the show is to do an all-Cylon episode, wherein the humans, who are typically our heroes, would be portrayed for the audience through the Cylons’ eyes. In that light, Commander Adama and company may look a lot less noble and civilized than they typically do.
“That’s not written, but it’s something we’re talking about,” explains Moore. “I always wanted [the Cylons] to be complex. I always felt one of the problems of the original Battlestar was the Cylons were just bad. They were just evil. They were just out to conquer the galaxy – they just wanted to shoot you. And I thought that this series was going to be much more complicated than that and that our opponents would have much more interesting sides to them. That they would have humanity, for lack of a better word. They have feelings and emotions. They have a theology. They have a belief system. They worship a loving God of salvation. They’re complicated opponents, which I think makes them more formidable opponents. It’s like, ‘These guys scare me.’ You may not know what to do with these guys exactly, or how to outmaneuver them, or what their weak point is, or how you defeat them, or how do you just survive against the Cylons… Because they are sort of much more fully formed beings than you are typically ready to encounter in this genre.”
Which is not to say that Moore is changing what the core of Battlestar Galactica is. Throughout the run of his show, he has always managed to reference key points and elements from the original while also modernizing them or otherwise adapting them to fit with his new take on the Galactica universe. Whether it’s the arrival of the Battlestar Pegasus in “Pegasus” or Adama taking the offensive against the Cylons in “The Hand of God,” whether it’s giving us a true “rogue” in the person of Katee Sackhoff’s Starbuck or fitting the death of Apollo’s brother Zak into the main story (an obscure event in the original series’ pilot), the new Galactica maintains the through-line of its predecessor despite its very different tone.
“Searching for Earth… I think that will always be part of the show. I think it is one of the fundamental ideas of what the show is,” says Moore. “I always wanted this to be Battlestar Galactica, just a different version of it. There are certain things that make it Battlestar Galactica and without them it would be something else. It’s an aircraft carrier in space, shepherding a bunch of civilian ships, and looking for a place called Earth. That is kind of the logline of the series. Now, that doesn’t mean they can’t find Earth. That doesn’t mean you can’t find Earth and then have problems, or do some different kind of storytelling. But I don’t know that I ever really want to yank the fundamentals away from the show. You never say never. You want to be able to say, ‘Well, wait a minute, we’ve got this great space station idea. Let’s do that for a season.’ I mean, you never know. But basically, I don’t think so.”
Of course, another way that Moore has kept the torch of the original show burning is by casting that series’ star Richard Hatch in the recurring role of sketchy politico Tom Zarek. After two appearances in season one, the character has shown up for a string of episodes already in year two – and it’s not just because of Hatch’s affiliation with the original Galactica that he keeps returning.
“We’re going to continue to reprise Richard,” says Moore. “He just works really well for us. He’s a good character, a good actor, and he works well in the show. We don’t have a lot of people that are recognizable faces out there in the civilian fleet, and [Zarek’s] one of them, so it helps us connect with that population outside of Galactica.”
As for bringing back other actors from the old show, Moore says that he’s not opposed to it, but that it would have to be for the right reasons.
“You never know as far as the original players,” he says. “It’s sort of like Richard was a unique case. He and I talked and then we sort of came up with a great character that was a good match for him. Hopefully if we were to bring anyone else back from the original show, it would be similar: that we would have a great character that was a good fit as opposed to just a walk-on or a stunt or something like that.”
And at the rate that Moore and his writers kill off characters on the series, they may very well need to start utilizing some of those casting resources.
“[The network’s] concerns are things like, ‘How high is the body count this week?’” laughs Moore. “‘Do we have to kill all these people?! How about we kill half these people?!!’”


MCINC said...

A series which has been praised despite the mishandling of it in Australia has finaly reached a point where ones breath must be held. "The best series ever", Battlestar fans however will be disapointed to know that the rest of an abruptly interupted episode of suspence will not be aired until January next year according to This has upset me greatly as a repeat of the first season is pointless to a true fan who owns the box set. I wish to voice my great dissapointment in the great missuse of the chanels power. "Just because the fans will wait does not mean you make them". New viewers will be lost and those of us not as commited may forget "so help us". Therfore I must suggest that the season continue giving it is in the middle of an episode and not near the end. I find this to be a resonable request.

Andrew said...

It's not an uncommon thing from the SciFi channel. Mid-season breaks are common, and have been for the past two years or so. My understanding is that it's to regain viewers, because the new season starts at the middle of the summer- not a very commom time for new shows to be starting. This way, they can avoid the first couple weeks of new shows and seasons, and at times, get better ratings.