Why Battlestar Galactica Never Revealed The Cylons' Plan

battlestar galactica bsg

The 2004 reimagining of Battlestar Galactica introduced a brand new generation to the cybernetic Cylons as they chased fleeing humans throughout space. While the Cylons' motivations weren't always easy to understand, viewers were under the impression that they were acting to serve a larger mission. Battlestar Galactica went off the air back in 2009 without ever revealing what the Cylons' grand plan actually was. Now, showrunner Ron Moore has explained why:

There was no plan. It all came about when we were doing the main titles and we had to have what's called a 'precap' as opposed to a recap. So we had a precap before the main title. And David [Eick, executive producer] said we should have a punchy line there at the end...'and they have a plan.' And I was like 'What does that mean?' He said 'It doesn't matter, doesn't matter. It'll be great. The audience will love it.' I said 'But they don't have a plan, David.' He said 'Trust me, this is marketing. We'll figure it out later.' So for the next fourteen years of my life people have asked me 'So what was the plan?' There's no f*ing plan!

Well, that explains why there was never one big expositional episode that detailed the Cylons' plan! Ryan Moore's comments at the recent Battlestar Galactica reunion panel at the Austin Television Festival (via IGN) indicate that he and David Eick did originally intend to deliver on the claim that the Cylons "have a plan," but the story clearly took them in a different direction. Hopefully Moore will be able to rest a bit easier now that he has come clean about the complete lack of a Cylon plan. After keeping that secret for 14 years, I can imagine that admitting the truth was pretty cathartic.

As a Battlestar Galactica fan, I'll admit that I would have liked to hear an explanation of the Cylons' plan, but the news that there wasn't ever a plan in place doesn't really change much for me. The show became so much more than a punchy line in a precap. All things considered, maybe never addressing the Cylons' plan was a good thing for the show. The lingering question of what they were trying to accomplish kept them scary from beginning to end, even as we were introduced to Cylons who didn't actually want to destroy the last vestiges of humanity.

Even if the Cylons did have a plan in mind when they destroyed the colonies, they probably would have had to move on to a new plan as the series progressed. The show went in some pretty crazy directions over the years, with conflicts over politics, religion, and the military splitting the humans into different factions. There's no way that any Cylon plan could have predicted all the terribly human decisions made by the survivors. Besides, the Cylons were more than just toasters. Even if some of them were on board with an original plan to exterminate humans, there undoubtedly would have been outliers. Athena is proof enough of that.

Unfortunately, Battlestar Galactica is no longer available on Netflix, but you can catch it all on Hulu. Drop by our breakdown of the Battlestar Galactica ending with where they ended up, who survived, and what happened next. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news, and don't forget to check out our summer TV premiere schedule to discover all your viewing options now and in the coming weeks. Be sure to drop by our rundowns for cable/streaming and broadcast TV renewals and cancellations as well. If streaming is more your style, our Netflix premiere schedule will help you out.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).