The new "Battlestar Galactica" (BSG) prequel film “Blood & Chrome” is out on DVD and Blu-ray today. So far, the feature-length film has earned positive reviews, but its road to success has been bumpy to say the least, transitioning from potential series, to Web series, to TV movie and now going full circle to a potentially ongoing series.
“The metrics are invisible to me. I don’t know where the measuring stick is,” said "Blood & Chrome" Executive Producer David Eick to Yahoo News in a phone interview. “We have to see what the parameters are.”
I also had a chance to ask Eick about some of BSG’s seemingly endless, and endlessly fascinating, trivia. But first, a look at what might be happening next in the beloved saga.
Lest he be misunderstood, Eick wants to keep telling stories set in the world of the first Cylon War, which follow a young William Adama (Luke Pasqualino) in the role first made famous by Edward James Olmos. But creating the pilot was such a strange and arduous process that Eick isn’t sure all the pieces will come together, even if the Blu-ray sales match the impressive viewership of the Web series.
Along with the strange programming shuffle that Eick and the other creative powers behind "Blood & Chrome" have endured, they also produced the film under considerable duress, having to make due with some serious budget constraints. For example, scenes that take place aboard the Galactica were all filmed using captured CGI footage taken before the original BSG set was dismantled in 2009.
Nonetheless, acting in front of computer generated sets has created problems on other past productions. Even so, the show looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-ray. In fact, it has a sharper and more engaging visual style than nearly anything that has come before it in the BSG universe.
“They did groundbreaking work,” Eick said of the "Blood & Chrome" effects team. “Still, it was a tremendous struggle. I certainly wouldn’t want to go backwards on a technical scale, even if the show had the chance to move forward story wise.”
But even with those budgetary limitations, "Blood & Chrome" works as a story.
Actor Ben Cotton, who plays Coker Fasjovik, the film’s foil to Adama’s optimistic character, told Yahoo News that the show’s creators did a masterful job of setting the stage for a unique story that could tie into the larger BSG ethos.
“I would draw a lot of parallels between my character and Colonel Tigh,” Cotton said. “I thought that was clever in the sense that a character would help Adama learn to deal with Tigh later on.”
Eick was also a driving force behind “Caprica,” the first attempt at a "Battlestar Galactica" spinoff series. That show has its fans but was largely considered a disappoint due to its more dramatic themes that many people felt drifted away from what made the reimagined 2004-2009 series such a success.
Unlike the often benevolent, sentient creatures in BSG, the Cylons in "Blood & Chrome" have no interest in understanding the spiritual makeup of their human adversaries. It is, simply put, a war.
“I think it’s important that we say that the Cylons are at a place where they are angry,” Eick said. “Otherwise, there’s no transformation to where we find them at later on.”
"Blood & Chrome" is more rooted in the forward-moving action stories from the BSG series, though Eick says that a long-term show would have plenty of drama and intellectual storylines to consider as well.
“It definitely would have gotten darker as we moved forward,” Eick said. “We’d be exploring all kinds of aspects of religion and psychology. But for this initial story, we were harkening back to the more strategic and war game aspects of the series.”
For his part, Cotton was also excited about the prospect of digging deeper into the darker themes that defined BSG.
“I imagine there would be a lot of drinking and some destruction involved,” he said of how Coker and Adama might interact in future storylines. “I think Coker was so jaded and so weary by the whole thing. I think he’s seen it all.”
And, of course, we’d find out exactly how Adama goes from a brash young pilot into the jaded and often ethically compromised, but always passionate, leader we see in his later years.
“It must have been a pretty profound journey,” Eick said when asked if he is still excited to tell that story.
Once we finished discussing the still uncertain future of "Blood & Chrome," I asked Eick a few random questions that have always intrigued me as an unrepentant BSG fun.
For example, despite his serious gravitas, many BSG fans have wondered how the show would explain Edward James Olmos’ prominent facial scaring. Well, rest assured, that question is addressed in "Blood & Chrome."
During a battle with the more primitive Cylons that we see on display in the film, the fresh-faced Adama (Pasqualino) is hit with a splash of what appears to be battery acid.
“It started as realism,” Eick said with a laugh, acknowledging that the “mystery” of Adama’s skin quality had come up in creative discussions. “It was just in my head. I thought, this could be an explanation for how some of that facial scarring started.”
I also had a chance to ask Eick about one curious incident involving the show’s neologism “frak.”
Throughout the BSG saga, there are literally hundreds of times where a character says the word "frak” in place of dropping an actual f-bomb. It was a playful wink at the show’s science fiction roots while simultaneously staying within basic cable’s PG-13 language requirements. But there was one moment when frak was replaced by the real thing–and it apparently got by the watchful eyes of broadcast censors.
In Part 1 (“Daybreak”) of the "Battlestar Galactica" series finale, Gaius Baltar (James Callis) is having an argument with his father, during which the actor lets forth with the four-letter word.
“Well, I was on the set, so it certainly was noticed,” Eick said. “Maybe that one just made it past the censors and most of the viewers.”
Finally, I asked Eick if "Blood & Chrome" would follow the path of other prequel attempts by showing any other established characters like Saul Tigh, Number 6, or Tom Zerek in their earlier years?
“You never say never, but you don’t want to get too cute with the referencing of ‘Battlestar’ characters,” he said.