Pretty much since the day the new Galactica ended (Badly) rumors have been spreading around about how the original series creator, Glenn Larson, is trying to do a theatrical Galactica film that’s unrelated to the re-imagined series. Initially, these rumors were a tiny bit unclear as to whether he was going to try to continue the Original 1978/’79 series story, or if this was going to be a completely new story, revisiting the original premise with the hindsight of 30 years. A kind of ‘same people, different story’ kind of thing like Leiji Matsumodo has done repeatedly with his Captain Harlock character, and more recently with his Space Battleship Yamato series.
To my surprise, I found that I was completely on board with this. I mean, yeah, I felt as though the finale of the new BSG had kicked me so hard in the wedding vegetables that it ruined the entire series for me, but Galactica was a huge part of my life as a kid. While I don’t have a lot of faith in Mr. Larson’s ability to pick up where he left off - he already tried and failed with “Galactica: 1980” and his late-90s attempt to do an IMAX Galactica spinoff film sounded pretty dreadful
http://www.battlestargalactica.com/outside_docs/bg_outdoc0016.htm - but I’d actually be pretty excited to see what he’d do if given the chance to reboot the series.
Alas, it quickly turned out that he was looking to continue the original story. http://www.trekweb.com/articles/2009/02/21/Rumor-Mill-Glen-Larsonnbspto-... and http://login.vnuemedia.com/hr/login/login_subscribe.jsp?id=Qdl1svpWW4UWr... and, well, let’s face it: I immediately lost interest. I probably would have dug this 20 or even 15 years ago, but half the cast is dead, the other half are really old (Though I admit Hatch looks great for his age), and I just don’t have much faith in the concept at this late date. If it doesn’t have Lorne Greene, Lloyd Bridges, John Colicos, and the voice of Johnathan Harris involved, it’s just not the original Galactica in my book, so what’s the point? Sorry.
However, this got me wondering about what a “Galactica 3.0” would be like, you know? I mean, despite the fragmentary open-ended nature of the original saga, and despite the utter betrayal of the last hour of the new series, it’s a great root story, one that resonates very clearly with western civilization as a whole, and American society in particular. It’s one of those stories that people will continue to haul out and modify and re-tell in wildly divergent versions over and over and over again, like the King Arthur myths. Or, for that matter, Captain Harlock. Hell, we’re right in the middle of TOS-Trek 2.0 right now, or as Republibot 2.0 calls it, “Neoclassical Trek,” and how many times has the Bond franchise been rebooted now? Or Batman? So why not a Galactica 3.0?
The question is: what would you do? How would you tell the story? What elements from both versions of the series would you keep, and what would you throw out?
Here’s what I’d do:
First of all, assume a straight 110-episode, 5-season Straczynskian arc structure, with no movies or webisodes or any such claptrap. Secondly, I don’t think we’d actually *See* the fall of the colonies and stuff like that. I think we’d start out in episode 1 immediately after that, and we’d have extensive lost backs to show where all our main characters were when things fell apart, and what they were doing and how they interacted and what their dirty little secrets are. It’s a good device, and if it’s mostly a ship-based show, it’ll help to fight the claustrophobia of it all. I also like that space is mostly empty and hostile.
I like that there’s no aliens, I like that the humans made the Cylons, so we’ll keep that, *but* I really missed the Thousand-Yahren war from the original, so the Cylon revolt was a millennium ago, and it’s constant fighting, though fairly far-removed from the Colonies. People tend to just accept it as a part of life, or did before the end came.
The first season would actually be pretty close to the one season of the original Galactica, complete with odd clothing (Though hopefully not quite so disco-ey), and odd “Colonialisms” (Frack, Felgercarb, Pogees, Cubits, Metrons, you name it). Most of the stories from TOG (“The Original Galactica”) would be revised here, complete with Baltar the Traitor commanding a Cylon Base Ship, Lucifer his Cylon XO, an Imperious Leader, and so on. The Pegasus shows up, recompiles Galactica, and disappears again. The Ship of Lights makes an appearance, too. They would occasionally come across small, forgotten human colonies here and there, including Terra. It ends the same way the first season did.
Season 2 would have Adama discovering he’s got Space Cancer and is dying. He’s in a mad rush to find earth before he dies, as is his destiny, or so he believes. Meanwhile, Baltar (Captured midway through the first season) is tried, and actually manages to exonerate himself by playing to the fleet’s increasing discontent over the Adama dictatorship. He then runs for election and wins the presidency, and we have an increasing conflict between Adama/Apollo/Starbuck/Etc and Baltar and the Council, which actually turns out to be fairly useless and misdirected because despite the fact he’s an evil, evil, evil man, Baltar actually turns out to be a fairly good leader once he got what he always wanted: Undisputed leadership of all humanity. The Pegasus would show up again, with Baltar’s Base Ship alongside, trying to explain to Adama that something is up with the Cylons, and they need to form an alliance, but Adama wont’ listen, and so Pegasus leaves again. The season would end with the Galactica discovering earth, and Adama dying in orbit, never having set foot in the promised land. That’s the fate of Moses, after all.
Season 3 is our intermezo - it’s present day earth, 2009 or whenever they actually make the show. We deal with how life changes with 3 million human refugees from alien worlds, the influx of colonial technology, philosophy and so on. This could be a lot of fun if done correctly, with lots of intrigue and no attempt to hide the Colonials, and so on, along with their attempts to set up a defense from the Cylons who will - eventually - get here, and of course President Baltar’s scheming to take over the world. There’d be Lostbacks through all of this, of course, and the season would culminate with the Cylons - now organic - attacking and conquering Earth.
Season 4 involves the Galactica under Commander Tigh, and the few ships that were able to get away meeting up with Commander Cain and Lucifer. They plan an attack to rescue earth. Turns out what Cain was trying to warn Adama about previously was that the Cylons were evolving to biological forms, and getting rid of the older models as ‘obsolete.’ Lucifer et al didn’t really like that, which began a Civil War. This is why the Cylons didn’t bother the Galactica much in season 2 or 3, but now that the Organics won….well, bad stuff happens. Cain rescues as many people as he can from occupied earth, but numbers are now down to “Reimagined BSG” levels of population.
Back in Starlog magazine around 1979 or 1980, Harlan Ellison said that the problem with Galactica was that it wasn’t at all noble - that they’re just running away from their problems. I think he’s right, frankly. So I’d have Cain move his flag to the Galactica and with his fleet launch a war to retake the Colonies. Baltar would of course betray him, and switch sides to the organic Cylons again, hoping to become the new Imperious Leader.
Another thing: Prior to discovering earth, all ships travel at light speed or less, there’s no hyperspace jumping. Hyperspace technology is discovered by the Organic Cylons so they can go FTL, and gradually incorporated in to human ships after the Battle of Earth. Of course there’d be lost backs all through this season, even some of the cylons, organic and otherwise.
In Season 5, the war would reach it’s peak, and we’d gradually lean that Baltar’s betrayal was part of a larger scheme he’d worked out with Cain in advance which devastates the Organic cylons when he changes sides yet again. The Colonies are re-taken under Emperor Baltar the First, the Cylons are defeated and go running off in to space in small numbers, chased by the mostly-insane Commander Cain, and humanity survives under the yoke of an extremely bad man that they all practically worship by this point, and whom they believe is a messiah despite the fact that he’s responsible for the deaths of 78 Billion people.
Oh, yes, and the Seraphs from the Ship of Lights would be involved, too, but I admit I have no idea how. They don’t count as aliens, since they are a more evolved form of human.
Anyway, at this exact moment that’s what I’d do, and I really like the idea that Adama had them all chasing a fools’ errand rather than facing up to their problems.
That’s what I’d do.
What would *you* do?