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While the late, (mostly) great Syfy hit Battlestar Galactica is gearing up for a revival of sorts, which will eventually air on Peacock, people are still very much in love with what was the second iteration of the concept. Airing for four seasons from 2004 through 2009, Battlestar Galactica got wonderful attention from critics with its gritty, space-faring survival story, and viewers eventually jumped on the bandwagon and helped the drama become a modern classic that fans just can't stop thinking about. But, the show might have been very different if executive producer Ronald D. Moore hadn't decided to work on the series, and now we know why he almost didn't, as well as what changed his mind.
Ronald D. Moore, who's currently one of the masterminds behind the Starz romance / time travel hit Outlander, recently spoke with Collider about his long career, and revealed that he had some reservations about stepping up to help bring a new Battlestar Galactica to the screen when he was approached about it in the early 2000s. And, it was his career history at that point which was actually holding him back. Here's what he had to say:
David Eick had called me in, I think, January or February 2002 and said, ‘Hey I have this deal at Universal and they’re looking for somebody to come in with a new take on Battlestar Galactica. Are you interested?’ I said, ‘Huh, hmm, maybe. Let me think about it.’ You know, I was in space for a long time, I had gotten out of space and I didn’t know if I wanted to go into it. But I hadn’t watched it in a long time.
Oh, I think this makes total sense, if you know anything about what Ronald D. Moore was up to prior to helping to develop Battlestar Galactica. By the time Moore got the call to figure out how to develop the show (which had two seasons on ABC, and was even briefly cancelled between those seasons, from 1978-1980) for a new era, he had already become well-known as someone who could help make a show set in outer space connect with sci-fi fans, and do it with an established property.
From 1988 through 1999, Ronald D. Moore had written and produced on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. It sounds like Moore had been so deeply entrenched in stories of space exploration for so long that he still felt like he needed a break from that specific area of science fiction by the time 2002 rolled around. Plus, he hadn't even watched the original series for quite a while, and likely didn't remember enough about it to make a firm decision.
So, what did Ronald D. Moore do? Lucky for us, he didn't just make a snap decision and say "no thanks" to the opportunity. Instead, he did some research, and that was the turning point that convinced him to take on Battlestar Galactica. As he told it:
So, I tracked down the pilot at Blockbuster and rented it on VHS and watched it over a weekend. That viewing, I had an epiphany. That was just a couple of months after the 911 attacks. So, I’m watching the original Battlestar in that context. And I realized immediately that if you redid that show at that moment in time, it would have a whole different resonance for your audiences. The idea of an apocalyptic attack from your enemies, you know, destroying the human race. And it’s about the survivors who are running away, pursued by their enemies into the night. That’s a completely different show than it was in 1978. It was an opportunity to really comment on the times we were in...I just got excited by it.
Well, there is a lot to be said for timing with regards to trying to get a TV project off the ground, and it looks like Ronald D. Moore was able to merge some horrible real world events to his ideas for Battlestar Galactica in a way that worked in the show's favor. Didn't think I'd be saying this in 2020, but, thank goodness for Blockbuster. So say we all!