Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Whedon almost did Galactica - Some Spoilers

Man, that would have absolutely rocked - Joss Whedon on Battlestar?

According to the Watcher:
'Battlestar Galactica' stars visit Letterman; Joss Whedon bows out of directing the show

Patience, “Battlestar Galactica” fans. It’s not too long until the fourth season of the Sci Fi show begins April 4.

Battlestarwomen And if you’re really dying to see the “Battlestar” cast, they’ll be reading the Top 10 list on “The Late Show with David Letterman” on Wednesday. Galatica Sitrep has more on who'll be doing the countdown.

I garnered some tidbits about the new season from Ron Moore, the executive producer of “Battlestar Galactica” in an interview last week. I’ll post a full transcript of our hourlong talk in early April, but until then, here are few nuggets of news:

* Moore is directing Episode 12 of the fourth and final season; his first-ever directing gig begins March 25. Because Episode 11 had been filmed before the writers' strike began last fall, Moore’s episode is the first episode that the “Battlestar” staff will shoot when the show resumes production in Vancouver. As it happened, the post-strike shooting schedule “worked out for the best,” Moore said. “I’m up here prepping the episode and no one has anything to do but help me. I’m spending a lot of time with the director of photography walking through the sets and talking about things. If we were in the normal production mode, he wouldn’t have the luxury of spending so much time with me.”
* I asked Moore about the rumor that Joss Whedon had been tentatively lined up to direct one of the final episodes of “Battlestar.” Moore confirmed that “Buffy” creator Whedon, a big fan of “Battlestar,” very much wanted to direct a “Battlestar” episode, but it looks as though he probably will not be able to do so, thanks to his commitment to a new Fox series, “Dollhouse.” “He really wanted to do it, but I’m dubious that it will work out,” Moore said.
* Filmmaker John Dahl, who had been lined up to helm an episode before the strike, is still directing an episode of “Battlestar”: He’ll work on Episode 13.
* Fan favorite Romo Lampkin, a wily lawyer played by Mark Sheppard, will be back for one episode before the first 10 episodes of Season 4 finish airing in June. Lampkin should be back once more before the series wraps up for good, Moore said.
* Moore has no idea when the final 10 episodes of the 20-episode fourth season will be shown. The show’s cast and crew will be shooting episodes until June, and it’ll take until at least fall to finish post-production on the last batch of “Battlestar” outings.
* There is renewed interested from Sci Fi in the proposed spinoff series “Caprica,” but Moore has no idea when or even if that pilot will be greenlit.
* By the way, before the strike, he and fellow “Battlestar” writer Jane Espenson had been working on “Warehouse 13,” a series in development at Sci Fi, but both have exited the project.
* Along with several other film and TV projects, Moore and fellow “Battlestar” writer Michael Taylor have a sci-fi flavored pilot in development at NBC.
* Finally, Moore, who worked as a writer for many years on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” recently wangled a visit to the Los Angeles set of the new “Star Trek” film, which is being directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Damon Lindelof (both of whom are also executive producers of “Lost”).

Here’s the part of our conversation that touched on that experience:

MR: I saw a trailer for the new “Star Trek” film over the holidays and I got excited, just because it was a little glimpse of “Trek” and I realized we hadn’t had anything from that realm in so long. Do you have any feelings about the new feature film? Will you go see it?

Ronald D. Moore: “Oh, I’ll see it. I actually got to go down to visit the set. I actually wangled a set visit that I can say nothing about, other than that I was very excited. It was really a treat for me personally. I was very grateful to J.J. and Damon for making that happen. I saw the sets and thought the production design was just great. I just really liked the visual of it. And the vibe on the set was incredibly positive and very up. People were feeling good and confident and happy. It was really great for me. It was great to be back at Paramount and to walk into a stage where there was a Federation starship.”

MR: Did you think Paramount did the right thing by going outside the “Trek” family, so to speak, for this film?

RDM: “Absolutely. I think that was a very smart decision. God love all of us that did all the series and the movies during those years, but that’s a long time. There were a lot of tired people. A lot of tired blood. And it’s time to bring in fresh eyes to it all.

“I think it’s akin to when they brought in Harve Bennett to [write the second ‘Star Trek’ movie,] ‘The Wrath of Khan.’ [Creator] Gene [Roddenberry] had lived and breathed ‘Trek’ for a long time. He did [‘Star Trek:] The Motion Picture,’ and ‘The Motion Picture’ is what it is – I certainly went to see it and loved it at the moment, but it was bloated and [had] overruns and there a sense of it not really finding its feet yet.

“Then they brought in [writer] Harve Bennett, who had no connection to the show, and [director Nicholas] Meyer, who had never seen the show, and they reinvented it. They started over. They went at the costumes differently, the storytelling, the vibe of it, the style of story that they were going to do. They rescued the whole franchise. ‘Wrath of Khan’ makes all the subsequent ‘Star Trek’ projects possible.

“And I think that’s where they are with the franchise now. They’ve brought in someone new, someone with no connection to the what’s come before, who cares about it and says, ‘Wipe the slate, let’s make this version.’”

MR: Have you seen the script?

RDM: “No, I didn’t even ask. I didn’t ask anything about the plot. I just wanted to take a look and be nostalgic.”

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