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It's been almost two years since Battlestar Galactica fans found out that the still-fairly-new streaming service Peacock was planning to return to the world of Cylons and nearly extinct humans for a revival of the series. While there have been a lot of questions about what, exactly, the show would entail, we did know that it was being spearheaded by Mr. Robot mastermind Sam Esmail, who was working hard to bring viewers something exciting and new. Now, however, that process seems to have hit a big setback behind the scenes as another of the creative players involved has now dropped out.
According to Deadline, Michael Lesslie (AMC's The Little Drummer Girl), who was set last May to create, write, and executive produce the new Battlestar Galactica series, along with acting as showrunner, has now left the still-developing project. While no specific reason was given as to why Lesslie decided to remove himself from the revival, he has picked up the reigns on a different series, and has now boarded Hulu's adaptation of Magaret Atwood's novel, Maddaddam, where he's set to pen the pilot and executive produce.
Basically, even though this is good news for Michael Lesslie and Maddaddam, it's terrible news for our Battlestar Galactica revival / reboot fun. The show will now need to find a new person who knows the world and can take what we've seen previously and turn it into something different, which will amaze as much as that 2004-2009 gem (mostly) did.
There's already been a bit of a twisty road when it comes to this proposed new Battlestar Galactica. Those who still love the SyFy series (which was itself already a reboot of a short-lived ABC show from the late '70s to early '80s) are still a bit baffled at the desire to revisit something that still has a lot of fans. But, when word came down that it wasn't going to be a strict reboot, but more of a revival which would somehow be set in the same dangerous world and cover new ground, people got a bit more excited for it.
Of course, this doesn't mean that there wasn't a lot of work to be done behind the scenes. In fact, it might mean that there was actually more work to be done. Revealing that the plan was to set a new Battlestar Galactica-style show in the same universe, but with different characters and in a way which "reimagined" the world, meant that the showrunner and writers would have to understand what came before so that they could build something brand new, but similar, out of it.
It was just in mid-January that Sam Esmail indicated they were committed to taking their time on the series, so that they could get it right. Esmail noted that they were still plugging away on the pilot, and that the goal was to honor the previous versions with the new story, even saying that he'd personally spoken with Ronald D. Moore, the man behind the SyFy show, so as to "make sure that it’s all kosher with him," and not "step on his toes" by actually rebooting any aspect of the world he created.
That is certainly the kind of thing which sounds as though it will take more time to work out, as opposed to simply coming up with all of your own details for a new(ish) concept.
Of course, now Esmail and the rest of his established team will have to work through all of those details without a showrunner at their side, and I imagine that finding someone who's ready to plant both feet in the Twelve Colonies and stay for a good, long time might hold the new Battlestar Galactica up for a while.
While we wait to hear more on the development of the Peacock series, be sure to take a look at our guide to early 2021 TV premieres, so you have something to watch in the meantime.