This past weekend, the cast of Battlestar Galactica joined Ronald D. Moore for their first full reunion in years. It’s only been 8 years since the show concluded its run, but given the excitement surrounding the reunion at the ATX Festival in Austin, you’d think it had been decades since we last saw the cast. Edward James Olmos, Katee Sackhoff, Tricia Helfer, Mary McDonnell, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Grace Park, and Michael Trucco all took the stage to join the show’s creator for the event, and over the course of the show they reflected on everything from the weight that comes with adapting a classic property, to the ways in which it remains relevant to the world we live in today. Here are a few highlights from the jam-packed session:
Better than Blade Runner?
For many, Edward James Olmos is and always will be Admiral Adama. But, before the actor took on that iconic role, he’d already graced the genre of science fiction in a much smaller, but equally memorable role as Gaff in Blade Runner. The Ridley Scott movie is still considered one of the finest works of science fiction ever made, but Olmos argues that Battlestar Galactica might actually have been better crafted than the synth-heavy big-screen blockbuster.
Olmos revealed he initially said no to the role of Adama, but went on to say that he swiftly changed his mind when he dug deeper into the construct of the show.
“I think what got us all was the writing,” Olmos said. “It was brilliant from the first page.”
Olmos went on to discuss how he used Blade Runner as a target for the show’s visual and narrative design, something he feels that Ronald D. Moore and co. far surpassed.
“Not even ‘Blade Runner’ was this well crafted,” Olmos said. “Because the story was so deep.”
Not Everyone Loved Their Characters
At one point during the event, the actors revealed how they got the roles we now all know and love them for. Katee Sackhoff revealed she had to audition no fewer than six times to secure the role of Starbuck, going as far as to cut her hair and read pages upon pages of BSG forum discussions on the internet, all in an effort to gain that cutting edge. Naturally, Sackhoff was delighted to secure her role, but Grace Park revealed she was initially less than happy with the character she was given.
“When I was told I got Boomer, I was pissed,” Park said. “I was like, ‘Who the F is Boomer?’”
Playing a hotshot pilot like Starbuck required Katee Sackhoff to spend rather a lot of time in the cockpit of her character’s Colonial Viper spacecraft. By the end of her time on the show, that ship would feel like a second home to the actor, but she revealed how her first visit to cockpit left her feeling so overwhelmed that she couldn’t even remember her lines. Her solution? Write the lines on the cockpit’s front screen:
“So, I wrote them on the screen,” she said. “All of my dialogue in the cockpit was on the screen…. I couldn’t remember the science stuff.”
Apparently, if you watch the early episodes Sackhoff refers to, you can just about make out this novel solution in action.
Military Leaders Loved BSG’s Admiral Adama
If you tried to count how many scenes were stolen by the performances of Edward James Olmos over the course of the series, you’d probably be struggling to keep up by the first few episodes. But, those scenes didn’t just contain powerful acting, they also served as a truly accurate representation of how military leaders would cope with tricky situations down here on present day Earth. Olmos revealed he was contacted by a number of high ranking military personnel, all of whom wanted to thank him for his performances.
“I remember getting phone calls from military leaders, thanking me,” Olmos said. “They were never able to see themselves for who they really were until they saw me [in ‘BSG’]. They couldn’t let anyone know they had a nervous breakdown because they were part of the military. But that’s what they did.”
**Spoilers for Battlestar Galactica Follow**
Moore admitted that he did have a few regrets about certain elements of the production, noting one specific event in particular: Starbuck’s death. While this was kept as a surprise for many viewers, Moore admitted that he initially tried to keep it from the cast, which would eventually prove to be a mistake.
“This was one of the stupidest things [David Eick] and I have ever done,” said Moore of the fact that they only told Sackhoff that Starbuck would be dying and returning in a different form. Despite the secrecy, the rest of the cast caught wind of Starbuck’s death, but didn’t learn of the full picture until later, causing some serious concern and anger.
“We were just trying to keep a secret on a TV show,” Moore continued. “[But] we were getting calls from the set, like ‘People are really upset. They’re freaking out you’re killing Starbuck.’ And I thought, ‘Hey, it’s working.’ [Then] someone said, ‘Eddie’s pissed! He’s saying it’s the death of the show!’”
Moore revealed that he felt if Olmos found out the full story, he’d end up telling the entire cast. And that’s exactly what he did at a Maxim photoshoot where he stood up on a chair to inform the cast that Sackhoff wasn’t leaving the show after all.