Ron Moore’s reimagining of Battlestar Galactica broke the mold for sci-fi when it premiered in the early 2000s.
Moore and the cast reunited for the closing night of the ATX Festival in Austin on Saturday night to share with an audience of fans what it meant to them to be part of a revolutionary show.
“You could tell by the writing,” said star Edward James Olmos, who played Admiral Adama. “It was brilliant from the first page…I hadn’t seen anything like this since — well, not even Bladerunner was this well crafted.”
For many of the stars, they were roped in by the mission statement Moore included in the first script for the Battlestar Galactica mini-series that eventually lead to the critically acclaimed drama on Syfy (then Sci-Fi Channel). That statement was a call to action to revolutionize science-fiction television.
Picking up where Moore’s message left off, Olmos famously herded the cast into his trailer during the first week of filming to explain how important the show was and the responsibility they owed to the crew and themselves to take the project seriously.
“Eddie sat us down and told us, ‘This show is going to run for five years. Five years. Every episode is going to be like a movie. Keep your powder dry. We are here for the long haul. No one is to make fun of this. There will be enough people anyway who want to cut the swathe or rubbish the idea. They’re not going to be fully on board because you have this title Battlestar Galactica…It’s a bit of a poison chalice. No one needs to take this as seriously as we do,'” James Callis, who played Gaius Baltar, recalled.
Throughout the show’s run, Olmos and Mary McDonnell, who played President Laura Roslin, were like their characters in real life and lead the cast into a series that changed science fiction on television.
“The thing that I really did get was the passion and the commitment,” Callis continued. “For all of us, we were really lead through example by Eddie and Mary. These two incredible professional who gave us everything. That speech in the beginning from Eddie, who is Admiral Adama, was really galvanizing. At the time you don’t realize how important that is.”
For McDonnell, the core message of Battlestar Galactica is something that continues to live on and is still relevant in 2017. “I think that the idea that humanity could be reduced to 55,000 people all of a sudden forces that collective group of people to have to see each other as one,” she said. “It is, to me, the thing that continually resonates for me about this show,” she said. “We are living in a time where the powers that be are trying to create as much difference between us as their pocket books will allow…Perhaps we can stop dividing each other and seeing each other as the other.”
So say we all, Mary.
Battlestar Galactica is currently streaming on Hulu.