Battlestar Galactica went off the air eight years ago, but the show’s fandom will still turn out far and wide to receive a transmission from Galactica Actual. At Comic-Con International in San Diego, a handful of cast members joined BSG producers Ron Moore and David Eick to look back on the hit SyFy series and give those in attendance their fix of face time with stars Mary McDonnell (President Laura Roslin), Tricia Helfer (Number Six), Grace Park (Sharon “Boomer” Valerii), Tahmoh Penikett (Karl “Helo” Agathon), Michael Trucco (Sam Anders), and Aaron Douglas (Chief Galen Tyrol).
There was much reminiscing about the good times, like when Penikett actually got hypothermia from filming too long in artificial rain; or when McDonnell nearly got lost within the labyrinthine set on her way to lunch; or how the gooey liquid in the Cylon resurrection tub was so heavy that it actually ripped one of Helfer’s wigs in half; or the time Douglas accidentally learned a huge twist about his character when he took a peek at some secret story outlines and then tried to hide the evidence of his trespass by shoving the notes into his pants when he was caught red-handed. (No, this very convincing ruse did not work.)
Reunion panels are great for looking back. That’s almost entirely what they’re for, listening to fan-favorite actors and showrunners breaking down the minutiae of character details and scene construction and what-could-have-been moments in beloved TV shows and movies. But one question prompted the BSG producers to examine the show in the present-day context. When asked by a fan how Moore and Eick would make the show politically and socially relevant if it were being written now, Eick offered a snap response and said there would definitely have to be a plot involving “the crazy, unqualified captain,” which first drew considerable applause and then a somewhat extended pause before Moore offered a more measured answer.
“It would be fundamentally different, because we wrote the show and made it at a very specific time in the country’s history,” said Moore.
“We were reflecting things that were going on around us, and watching through a science-fiction prism. If you were doing it today, yeah, you would have to take into account this world that we live in now and find a way to not just mock it and not just take an easy shot at it, but you’d try to find some way to have empathy for it, and you’d have to try and find some way to talk about it in a way that was different.” And after that thoughtful, diplomatic answer, Eick chimed in once again with something a little more specific, “Definitely colluding with the enemy would apply.”
Suddenly the narrative arc of Dr. Gaius Baltar getting into bed with the Cylons (literally and figuratively) feels like a story line pulled straight from the 2017 headlines. Apparently it’s true what they say: All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.