Syfy debuted a show in 2004 that would become a classic of science-fiction with Battlestar Galactica. Although technically a reimagining of the 1978 series of the same name, the new Battlestar Galactica would delve into matters of faith, theology, and awareness in a way that few sci-fi projects ever had. As it turns out, however, BSG was originally going to be quite different from what audiences eventually saw. Showrunner Ron Moore recently appeared on a Battlestar Galactica reunion panel at San Diego Comic-Con, and he had this to say about how the show would have been different if everything had gone according to plan:
I liked the improvisational nature of the show. There were so many things about the show that we did discover along the way. We had different ideas at the beginning about what the series would be... [but] we quickly realized we couldn't afford to do that.
Apparently Battlestar Galactica could have been drastically different if Ron Moore and Co. had a bigger budget to play with during production. Perhaps there would have been more grand space battles or explosions or interiors of spaceships other than Galactica. For all that Battlestar Galactica was a fantastic series that can stand up against pretty much any sci-fi TV project ever produced, it's limited budget did show at times.
That said, the fact that Galactica wasn't a gleaming starship that could engage in constant grand space battles or survive endless explosions might have played in the show's favor. We were following the stories of refugees fleeing Cylons who wanted nothing more than to finish the destruction of the human race that they started when they destroyed the Twelve Colonies. The characters were running out of resources the longer the show ran, and Galactica was already so old that she was on the verge of being decommissioned anyway. The improbable victories ultimately felt all the sweeter for how the fleeing humans cobbled together solutions mostly out of courage, creativity, and spare parts.
Ron Moore wasn't the only member of the Battlestar Galactica team who was expecting more variety out of a higher budget. Mary McDonnell played Secretary of Education-turned-President Laura Roslin on the series, and she revealed one way she expected the show to be different:
One of the ships that was promised was going to have a mall. So I thought Roslin was going to have more than one suit. But it never happened.
Alas, poor Roslin had to deal with the pressures of an unexpected presidency, the burden of cancer, a contentious early relationship with Adama, and a very limited wardrobe. The fleet of refugee ships was pretty small to begin with, and the Cylons (with their eternally ambiguous plan) took out many more ships as the series progressed. Maybe that shopping mall ship really did exist but was destroyed before Roslin got a change of work clothes.
Mary McDonnell and Ron Moore weren't the only ones to reveal what might have been different on Battlestar Galactica. Executive producer David Eick and other members of the cast recently weighed in on what they would change about the series if they could, and one of the actors shared the hilarious way he discovered that his character was secretly a Cylon.
If you're now in the mood for a re-watch of Battlestar Galactica, you can catch the whole series streaming on Hulu. If you're a little fuzzy on the details of how the series ended, swing by our breakdown of how the Battlestar Galactica finale left off for our characters. Check out our summer TV guide for your current viewing options as well.