Battlestar Galactica: 10 Frakking Cool Behind The Scenes Facts About The Series

Battlestar Galactica The Last Supper with the crew

“The Cylons were created by humanity. They rebelled. They evolved. There are many copies, and they have a plan.” Ok, so that last part was admittedly false, as showrunner Ronald D. Moore and the crew behind the story to Battlestar Galactica firmly admitted that they didn’t plan the entire arc out from frame one. They just kind of made it look that way, which is one of the many behind-the-scenes facts that makes the Sci-Fi Channel series all the more interesting and memorable.

Pull back the curtain on the miniseries and four season spectacular that aired between 2003 and 2009, and you’ll see that the modern reboot of Battlestar Galactica has some really fascinating building blocks in its DNA. Some of which could prove as vital lessons to the folks who are in charge of the legacyquel show currently being developed.

Get ready to learn some frakking cool behind-the-scenes facts about this sci-fi landmark, as we look into the history of Battlestar Galactica. All this has happened before, and there’s a chance it could happen again.

Star Trek: Voyager crew in season 1

Ronald D. Moore’s Work As A Star Trek Writer Influenced His Approach To Battlestar Galactica

Before he became an impelling force in the creation of shows like Battlestar Galactica and Outlander, Ronald D. Moore was an important figure in the Star Trek universe. While his exit from the series Star Trek: Voyager was less than ideal, it sparked a fire in Moore's mind. His experiences in that TV sandbox would influence his approach to reinventing Battlestar Galactica, as a more grounded show about space warfare. Coining the term “Naturalistic Science Fiction”, Moore would outline the tenets of his approach in an essay, which aimed to be something very different than the Trek standard at the time.

Battlestar Galactica paper with the corners cut off

The Cut Corners Style On Books And Paper In Battlestar Galactica Was A Deep Cut Joke

Here’s a fun story that’s grown with time: apparently, in a response to the Sci-Fi Channel’s budgetary pressures on the original Battlestar Galactica mini-series, a choice visual gag was thrown into the mix. Mocking the orders to “cut corners”, it’s alleged that all of the books and papers in this universe literally did that, leading to the unique shape of literature we’d see throughout the entire series run. While the legitimacy of that story has been questioned, what wasn’t open for debate was the fact that this now canon quirk was a real pain to keep in mind.

Battlestar Galactica an angry Starbuck is held back

Frak Is A Long Standing Battlestar Galactica Tradition

When you think of the memorable sayings and phrases from Battlestar Galactica’s four season run, two big outliers stand out. The first is the word “Frak," which is not only a creative replacement for swear words, but it’s also one that originated in the original 1978 series. Though most people associated with the newer series, because it was used way, way more in this variant. And then, there’s that other popular saying we all know so well...

Battlestar Galactica Admiral Adama gives a speech at a memorial

Battlestar Galactica’s Most Memorable Line Was Improvised

Telling the story at a Battlestar Galactica exhibit, Edward James Olmos explained how the origin of the series catchphrase, “So say we all”, was inspired by his getting into character as Admiral Adama. At a memorial service for the Cylon attack that kicks off the series’ chain of events, Olmos defied blocking directions, and dropped that gem as a call and response between the Admiral and his subordinates. It played so well, it was written into the scene earlier, and it became a battlecry for a fandom.

Battlestar Galactica Admiral Adama scowling

Edward James Olmos Had A Rather Interesting Clause In His Battlestar Galactica Contract

While he was open to quite a bit in his time on Battlestar Galactica, there was one thing Edward James Olmos held fast against as an actor: he didn’t want to deal with any sort of weird aliens on the show. His insistence was so great, he actually had it added as a clause in his contract that if he ever saw something of the sort on set, he’d faint in character, and let the writers figure out how he died in the world of the series. One has to wonder if one of Olmos’ competitors for the role would have felt the same way.

Two and a Half Men Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen stand together

Jon Cryer Passed On Battlestar Galactica For Two And A Half Men

At a crucial juncture in his career, Two and a Half Men’s Jon Cryer was going to potentially become a part of the Battlestar Galactica family. He’d auditioned for the role of Gaius Baltar, and from what Cryer himself has said in a past interview, he had it in the bag. But he chose to go with the mega-hit Chuck Lorre sitcom, where he’d co-star with Charlie Sheen and Ashton Kutcher, for a 12 year run. The part would eventually go to actor James Callis, and history would never be the same on either side of the divide.

Battlestar Galactica Original 1978 cast

The Original Battlestar Galactica Theme Played A Very Important Part In The Modern Series

Composers Richard Gibbs and Bear McCreary were crucial to defining the musical sound of Battlestar Galactica, with Gibbs running the music for the mini-series and McCreary taking the composing duties over for the entire series run. While the series would spawn its own slew of memorable orchestral cues from the man who would eventually score films like 10 Cloverfield Lane and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, there was still plenty of room for an old favorite: the original Battlestar Galactica theme from the ‘70s variant, written by Stu Phillips. The iconic music would welcome fans of the classic series in Season 2, when it debuted as the Colonial Anthem for the 12 Colonies of Kobol.

Firefly's Serenity flying high

The Serenity Exists In The Battlestar Galactica Universe

Sci-fi universes love to reference one another in sly, exciting ways. Even former Star Trek writer Ronald D. Moore wasn’t immune to this, as there are quite a few offhanded references to the Enterprise’s 1701 designation thrown around in Battlestar Galactica’s lore. However, an interesting visual easter egg came in the form of another famous spacecraft that would make an appearance: the Serenity from Joss Whedon’s Firefly universe. If you look to the skies of Caprica City early on in the mini-series that started it all, you’ll see that a ship of that make and model is in the air. Let’s just hope they left before the fireworks touched off.

Battlestar Galactica Lee Adama hugs a pilot on deck

Blame The Writer's Strike For Battlestar Galactica's Big Season 4 Gap

The 2007-2008 Writer's Strike couldn't have come at a worse time for Battlestar Galactica, as the series was only about halfway finished with its fourth and final season. While there were apparently already thoughts in the air of splitting that final season into two halves, that particular strike made the decision extremely clear. Fans would have to wait seven frakking months to get to the last half of Season 4's climactic discoveries, with June 13, 2008 marking the end of what was then called Season 4.0 and January 16, 2009 beginning Season 4.5.

Battlestar Galactica Baltar and Six stand behind Ronald D. Moore

Battlestar Galactica’s Contractual Commitment Outlasted The Show’s Run

While Battlestar Galactica would run for only a four season commitment at the Sci-Fi Channel, there was still the potential to let the show go on for, at least, three seasons longer. Apparently, it was said by both series architect Ronald D. Moore and Baltar actor James Callis that the contracts for the mini-series had actors on the hook for a seven year period. Though that contract may have been actually been fulfilled in the end, as the Battlestar Galactica would have started production on the miniseries in 2002 with the show wrapping its run in 2009.

Still, seven seasons of Battlestar Galactica wouldn’t have been all that bad of a thing to have; but the four that stand are still historic triumphs that helped redefine sci-fi in a post 9/11 era. It also helped push other series like Star Wars, and even Star Trek, into evolving towards more modern fare.

Out of one of the greatest tragedies in modern history, and in a period where the most legendary sci-fi series felt stagnant and dated, Battlestar Galactica broke the mold and created a series for the ages. Even if the ending still stands as something fans can quibble over from time to time, you can’t deny the influence that the Sci-Fi Channel hit had on our collective imaginations to this very day.

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Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.