On a conference call Friday, producer David Eick talked about Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, where the first two webisodes went online Friday. And he wasn’t too happy about the characterization that it was a “failed pilot”.
“I feel like there’s a certain record to set straight which was a little bit frustrating to me a few months ago when I saw the headlines that the Blood & Chrome project had somehow been rejected or was a failed pilot or wasn’t going to make it on the air,” he said. “It was never intended to be a traditional pilot, so to speak, such that Syfy not picking it up in a traditional manner to an episodic series was some kind of a rejection or failure. It was always developed at least from my point of view as a project for an online environment. And there’s something that we would develop and structurally, narratively build as a ten-part sort of a series.
“Kind of like the Raiders of the Lost Ark style, adapted to the 1930s style movie serials where you have ten minutes of story and a cliffhanger followed by ten minutes of story and the cliffhanger. And then after ten of these episodes, it would all kind of resolve itself in a pre-act structure as a whole movie. And so when I set out to develop this, my thinking was to design a mission, so to speak.
“Of course, once the characters and the overall idea had been approved by the network, a mission that could be, as missions often are, in the military sense divided into ten smaller missions. And that’s really what we wound up with and what the audience is going to see. I think where the confusion in is that for a moment the network after seeing the script said, ‘Gee, we don’t want to rule out the possibility of just advocating the online venture altogether and throwing this up as a pilot for a traditional series to Syfy.'”
So, will there be more missions? Maybe…but there is definitely an idea for a second one. “As an exercise, which is not uncommon with these things we, myself, Michael Taylor, David Bradley and – I’m sorry, kind of David Weddle and Bradley Thompson got together and with Jonas Pate, our director, hatched a next mission. Sort of what the next leg of this character study would involve and should we be fortunate to go forward. There was absolutely the kind of very organic kind of evolution of where we leave the characters at the end of this story and what we would pursue as our next tale. And I’m very hopeful and optimistic that we’ll be doing that soon.”
Presumably that decision will be with Syfy and Machinima based on the success of this one.
As for where the idea for another prequel came from: “I was asked by the network to think about a concept that would be under the umbrella or the rubric of the Battlestar Galactica cannon that would make sense as an online series. And I was on an airplane and I was thinking about the character William Adama and the fact that we had seen him depicted as a very stoic, strong and very uncompromisingly anti-Cylon admiral and commander in Battlestar Galactica.
“And then we’ve seen him as a child being exposed to an alternate, immoral world on the show Caprica. I though it might be interesting for an audience to see what that character might’ve been like when he was Lee Adama’s age, the character that portrayed his son in Battlestar when he was the young, crackerjack hot-gun pilot, fresh out of the academy.
“Where did this hatred of Cylons come from? Why was this man that we will later meet as Edward James Olmos in Battlestar Galactica so uniformly and uncomprisingly committed to the utter eradication and disillusion of this race of robot people? Where did that come from? Was it because he was a prisoner of war? Was it because he was involved in some horrible conflict?
“He wants to incinerate them, but why? And, the more I thought about it, the more I finally came up with an answer that I thought was emotionally driven..
“That came from a very personal place. Through that experience, came to feel that the Cylons were [an] unforgivable race of creatures that, of course being responsible for our genocide and being responsible for attacking us, needed to be gotten rid of. But beyond that there was something much more deep and personal driving him and that was the sort of nucleus of the genesis of it. And I just proceeded from there.”
Other tidbits from the call:
- They did not approach this differently because it was a web series; the only thing they did differently was to depend heavily on green screen. But they are doing it so well, it looks no different from shows or movies with 10 times the budget. Gary Hutzel and Mike Gibson returned as the visual effects guys (Hutzel also works on the upcoming Syfy series Defiance).
- If the show continues, Eick would like to delve deeper into what happened to William Adama to bring him to this point – and perhaps even get glimpses of his father, played by Esai Morales in Caprica.