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Battlestar Galactica: New Movie in the Works — Is It What Fans Want?

New Battlestar Galactica movie?Fans of Sci Fi’s popular Battlestar Galactica TV show are looking forward to the last episode, but they’re also dreading the void that the series’ absence will leave. Though the network is moving ahead with the prequel series Caprica, it will take place 50 years before the current show so the traditional characters won’t be part of it. News has now leaked out that a Battlestar Galactica movie is in the works. Curiously, it won’t be based on the current series. Why? Well, that’s a bit complicated.

Created by Glen A. Larson, Battlestar Galactica (BSG) centers around a colony of humans from a distant star system. They’re constantly under attack from warrior robots called Cylons that had been created to fight a war, and never programmed to finish it. Eventually a group of survivors escape and begin searching for a mythological planet called Earth. The series features performers like Richard Hatch, Lorne Greene, Dirk Benedict, Herb Jefferson Jr., Laurette Spang, Terry Carter, John Colicos, Tony Swartz, Maren Jensen, Noah Hathaway, David Greenan, Patrick Macnee, Anne Lockhart, Sarah Rush, Felix Silla, and Jonathan Harris.

The show began in 1978 as a big budget series on ABC. Capitalizing on the success of the film Star Wars, the pilot was given a record-setting budget. Though BSG had a huge debut, viewership waned as the series progressed. Though it often won its timeslot, the ratings weren’t likely high enough to justify the production costs and it was cancelled in April 1979. Fans protested and a theatrical version of the pilot was released in May 1979.

After its cancellation, an impressive write-in campaign took place, and Larson crafted a sequel series. The spin-off Galactica 1980 is set several years after the original series. Several familiar characters were written out of the story to help control costs. Interestingly, only one of the stars who were included signed on. Greene returned but Benedict was unavailable and Hatch read the script and declined. Utilizing unused footage from the original series, Benedict’s Starbuck character returned in a flashback episode but it wasn’t enough to save the show. Production was halted midway through episode 11 and only 10 episodes of Galactica 1980 aired.

Hatch wasn’t done with BSG by any means. He began writing novels based on the original series, disregarding the 1980 sequel. These were well-received by fans, leading him to then craft his own sequel series, The Second Coming. Hatch produced a trailer to drum up support in the late 1990s. While he had the support of fans, Universal Studios wasn’t interested.

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Larson also didn’t approve as he still had his own ideas for the BSG franchise. The movie rights had reverted to him. The TV rights remained with Universal but the studio wasn’t interested in producing a new series just yet. Around the time that Hatch was originally trying to sell his idea, it was announced Larson was planning his own $40 million film, sending Larson and Hatch into a war of words. Interestingly, Larson also wanted to abandon the 1980 version and was crafting the movie as a continuation of the original series.

Eventually, Universal moved ahead, without involvement of either Larson or Hatch. BSG returned to TV as a miniseries and then a regular series on the Sci Fi Channel. As a reimagined show from Ronald D. Moore, the concept and character names remained but none of the original actors returned. Both Larson and Hatch were openly critical of the series but Hatch eventually came around and accepted a recurring role as political leader Tom Zarek.

Because the original concept was his, Larson felt he deserved a credit on the new version and went to arbitration at the Writer’s Guild. Moore agreed with him but the studio didn’t. Ultimately, Larson was credited on the miniseries under the pseudonym “Christopher Eric James” and is credited as a consulting producer on the current series.

As the reimagined show is ending after four seasons, 71-year-old Larson apparently feels the time is right for a return to his original vision. He’s in talks with Universal to do a movie, based on the original series and not Moore’s current cult favorite version. It’s unknown if any of the surviving original castmembers would be invited to take part.

Though this news has produced a lot of strong feelings among the fan community, it still remains to be seen if this new movie will ever get off the ground. Though Universal would potentially profit from the project, the studio hasn’t been very supportive of his revival ideas in the past. Having two very different versions of BSG coming out at the same time would be confusing to casual consumers to say the least.

Still, it may end up being a gamble that the studio is willing to take, eyeing the success of the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast or the upcoming prequel blockbuster. By working with Larson on this movie, it could pave the way for a feature film franchise based on Moore’s reimagined version.

What will become of the BSG franchise? Time will tell.

 

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff March 1, 2011 at 8:34 am

Come on..the original show was so hammy it was rediculous. Lorne Greene and his bad toupe’s…the horrible last couple of seasons set on earth…that annoying little robot…and that kid. thank god it was cancelled and put out of its misery. Now the remake..much more dark and gritty and serious…much better drama. Great actors..and they even brought back one of the old original guys. I grew up on the original series..but the reboot was so much better!

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Millennian August 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I want (and I think the post war boomers want) a BSG REVAMPED with more of what we liked about the original. Pangea, Eden and The Fall of Lucifer. More intrinsic charecters and memorable dialog.

Something like finding the cup that Lucifer once bore light in to the gods and even to God.

Narration continues for pilot,

TNENT speaking,

“Captain! We are inside the first asteroid cave, sir. We have identified the device as a hydrogen oxygen engine of some kind, that utilzes helium/tritium radiance, and converts silicon to what appears to be any element we know about…”

SILK speaking, “And then Some!”

TNENT continuing, “It’s over twelve stories high and the electrodes are still visible, though corroded… the metalic substance appears to be an alloy of, uh? Silk! Do you have the alloy data set ready to send yet?”

Silk exclaims,
“A cup! It’s a cup!”
“It’s a giant cup of light!”
“A Light bearing cup!”
” MY GOD! IT’S A LIGHT CUP! WE’VE FOUND IT!”

TNENT continues, “One moment, Captain.”

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Skyler August 17, 2009 at 6:40 am

I can only hope that a continuation of the Original 1978 Series (barring the events of Galactica 1980) will take place this time. Nothing against the Ron Moore series, but fans have been waiting a long time to finish this story. Please Keep the Original Cast, Characters and Themes alive in this movie. Finish the story we never got to see. Include a cast of younger actors to take the story to the next generation, bring back any original actors that want to return to bring the story full circle. If they do not want to return, give them a end befitting a Colonial Warrior.

If you need ideas, watch Battlestar Galactica the Second Coming to see what a lot of the Fans want….

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ManWithSword August 16, 2009 at 9:44 pm

I think if this film doesn’t have the involvement of Ron D Moore, David Eike, and the cast from the reimagined series, then its going to be an embarassing flop. Bryan Singer’s last attempt to revive a franchise was Superman Returns which was frankly lifeless and banal. Ron D Moore has given Battlestar Galactica some much needed depth and subtlety in its writing and characterization. Glen Larson, famous for the original BSG, Airwolf, and Knight Rider, only brings swathes of cheesyness to the science fiction table, and that, coupled with the ‘talent’ of Bryan Singer, can only result in a loud, explosive, glossy, but ultimately shallow cinema outing for the BSG franchise.
What I would like to see is Universal buying the cinema rights from Glen A Larson, and the BSG franchise, with the cast of the series, returning to the big screen. Ron D Moore’s BSG, and judging by the pilot, Caprica also, was and will continue to be the best drama on television to date.

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Jean Williams August 13, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I would love to see the continuation of the original BSG A show based on the original actors and their children…something along the lines of The Second Coming would be wonderful. But i know they have other ideas….please at least bring back the original Actors who fought so long and hard for BSG fans. Give us Starbuck and Apollo…please!

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Diane August 13, 2009 at 11:57 am

I would be first in line to see a continuation of the original!

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Jackson August 13, 2009 at 8:58 am

The article says “Though it often won its timeslot, the ratings weren’t likely high enough to justify the production costs and it was cancelled in April 1979.”

Kronus, your quote says, “the show went down due to cost overruns.”

The bottom line is that the cost was too high compare to what ABC was making back.

If the show got bigger ratings, they would have continued to air it, no matter if the executives understood it or not. The networks are businesses that are looking at the bottom line, nothing more.

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Kronus August 13, 2009 at 8:38 am

Necron2.0…BANG ON! Keep the truth alive! I remember this when I was a kid. For some reason many are wanting to play down ABC’s true intentions as to why BSG was cancelled. Here is a quote from http://www.tvparty.com/70battlestar.html :
“The series eventually was shot down in its infancy by penny pinching on the part of the network, despite the fact that its ratings were healthy. As actors began to settle into their roles, and writers had a better handle on the characters, the show went down due to cost overruns.”

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Shawn H August 13, 2009 at 8:32 am

You know it’s funny because no matter how much the sci fi channel will tell that the original Galactica fans don’t exist, when it counts, we come out of the wood work in a pretty good number. :)

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Mike August 13, 2009 at 7:30 am

I wold love to see the oriiginal BG back on but same actors & sets, costumes and up dated special effects other than that the formula worked great. I have heard of it coming back before.It did’t happen I just wish they would go back and redo the special effects for the original dvd’s

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monolith21 August 13, 2009 at 12:44 am

I can’t wait to see this film! Brian Singer and Tom DeSanto really are the right people for the job. Heck, most of the defining moments of the Ron Moore series came from their continuation ideas! I’m sure they’ll go in a new direction though. Its about fracking time this movie got made!

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Necron2.0 August 9, 2009 at 6:06 pm

One thing that should be noted about Ron Moore’s remake is, despite all the media hoopla and viral campaigning, it never garnered enough ratings to beat out even an animated sponge. Even on SciFi, it could only MATCH the ratings of a show that had already been running for several years – a show that had become stale.

By comparison, the original BSG had rewritten the map of television, quite literally. Despite what has been suggested in the article above, it was not cancelled for ratings or production costs. It was cancelled for no more indepth reason than that the executives at ABC were biased against Science Fiction and did not want to be known as the network for geeks. This is documented in the magazine “Fantastic Films” (issue #29, June 1982) in the article entitled “Who Killed the Battlestar.”

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