REVIEW OF

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: THE SECOND COMING


Spoiler alert!

I'm going to go into great detail about Richard Hatch's movie trailer that I saw at the GoMainline convention in August 1999, so if you don't want to be spoiled, stop reading immediately. Okay, you've been warned.

I have to admit that I was one of the skeptics when it came to Richard Hatch reviving Galactica. I doubted that he could put together anything that could live up to the original show. I was wrong. This 3-minute trailer was magnificent, even moreso when you consider the limited funds he had to make it with. I'm going to write down quotes as best as I can remember, just realize that some of it will be paraphrasing.

It begins with a shot of outer space, and a voiceover by Hatch: "It is the seventh millenium of time. Twenty yahrens have passed since the destruction. I must prepare my people for the second coming." (That's not exactly right, but it was something along those lines). We see the foot of a Cylon step onto the screen, and then a group of Cylons. They all looked great, very similar to the originals. The one in the center says, "It is done, Imperious Leader." Then we see the face of Baltar wearing a hood (which made him look cool). He says, "Hello." Moments later, he continues. "There has been a Cylon civil war and a new breed of Cylon has emerged. And only I can lead you to safety." We see shots of Colonial warriors battling Cylons, and an Imperious Leader with a new look. We then see Dr. Salik (yes, played by George Murdock, the original actor) treating Apollo in the life station. Salik says something to the effect of, "Surely the Cylons have forgotten us by now," and Apollo answers, "No. They have evolved."

There are shots of Colonial Warriors training, doing one-arm pushups. Colonial vipers hang above them, which also looked good. Bojay says to Apollo, "Your son, Troy, will make a fine warrior." And, of course, we see a close-up shot of Troy, who is not played by Noah Hathaway. Ironically, the name of Troy was borrowed from Galactica 1980. Athena is played by someone new, and she looks similar to Maren Jensen. She tells Apollo he's leading everyone the wrong way. There is a shot of an entire planet exploding. There is a brief shot of Apollo standing next to Tigh, but no words are said. We see a Colonial city on a planet, so apparently the Colonials have settled. The futuristic city looked really well designed.

What is really magnificent are the space battle scenes with Colonial vipers and Cylon raiders. These shots easily blow away all of the space battles we saw in the original series. There is a Super Cylon basestar (it's about six times larger than the regular Cylon basestar) which looks incredible. The vipers and raiders look very close to the originals, much better than the upgrades from the Maximum Press comic series. We do see a few upgraded vipers, but they still look great.

We see a hologram of Adama speaking to Apollo. He says, "We're in a life and death struggle for survival. We need heroes." (This was from The Living Legend episode) There is a great shot of Colonial vipers shooting out of the Galactica's launch tubes. The Gemini freighter is destroyed (which also happened in Galactica 1980), and there is a space battle between vipers and raiders among ships of the fleet that we recognize.

Near the end, Baltar appears again and says, "I don't see Starbuck. Surely he must be dead by now." Apollo challenges Count Iblis who is played by Richard Lynch (the same actor who played Wolfe in Gun On Ice Planet Zero and the time-traveling villain Xavier in Galactica Discovers Earth; yet another parallel of Galactica 1980!). Apollo says, "You care about no one but yourself in your lust for power!" Moments later in antoher segment, Apollo tells Athena he believes Starbuck is alive, and she says that if he leaves, she will take command from him. There is a great new version of the Ship of Lights. We see Colonial vipers launching toward a large phalanx of upgraded Cylon raiders which look very cool. One of the pilots says that they're going to save Starbuck. In what is perhaps the best moment of the entire trailer, we see the Galactica destroy a Cylon basestar which was absolutely awesome. Again, these battle scenes are far and above anything seen in the original series. It all ends with close-up shots of the main characters, and then the words, "Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming." The crowd gave a standing ovation.

After the trailer played, Richard Hatch talked about the revival and answered questions. He talked about how tough it is to be an actor and how tired he is of doing roles that don't interest him. Everyone thought he was crazy when he told them the kind of trailer he wanted to do. They said he would need several hundred thousand dollars to do it, but he did it for only a fraction of that amount ($20,000, I believe, and he mortgaged his house to get it). The reason he was able to do it was because of all the people from all over the country who volunteered their time and services. Not only did fans come to help, but so did the big special effects companies such as WonderWorks (which did Titanic) and Dreamscape (Jurassic Park, ID4). None of these companies charged him for their time.

Richard introduced Sophie LaPorte who was a co-producer and writer for the trailer. He said, "Just so no one thinks I'm a pervert, Sophie is 32 years old." (They're both dating.)

Hatch said his decision to start the revival came about 4 years ago when he attended a Star Trek convention as a guest. He thought that no one would recognize him, but he was blown away when he got a standing ovation. He never realized so many people remembered and cared about a show from 15 years ago that only lasted one season. He had heard that a lot of people were going to revive Galactica, but nothing ever happened. Finally, he got tired of waiting and decided to take action and do it himself. He says he has raised $40-60 million from various investors. His plan is to make Universal an offer they can't refuse. All the studios who have seen the trailer have been shocked because no trailer has ever been this well done before. It doesn't matter if Galactica comes back as a movie or as a TV series. He doesn't have a problem with Glen Larson and Todd Moyer's plan to do their own Battlestar movie. While he doesn't agree with their decision to feature Commander Cain and the Battlestar Pegasus, he believes there is room for everyone. Richard insists there is no rivalry or fighting going on between each side. He gives them his blessing and hopes they make a wonderful movie.

John Colicos and Terry Carter had very small roles in the trailer because they were only available for one evening at the 20 Yahren Reunion last September. Their scenes were shot in front of a blue screen. Noah Hathaway (Boxey) was not available to be in the trailer, so they found someone else, Mickelean Cormack (Mickelean is Irish for Michael), to play the role of Troy.

Hatch said he would like to have Adama appear occasionally throughout the new movie or series, as a recorded hologram delivering Kobollian wisdoms. With digital technology, it is possible to create words with people's recorded voices and have them speak them. Of course, permission would have to be obtained from Lorne Greene's family to do this.

Hatch is currently negotiating not just to write a third Galactica book, but to get another 3-book deal. He also plans to put the uncut Galactica episodes on DVD, including the entire uncut pilot episode. The trailer will be for sale eventually, but for now they can't make money off of it or allow any copies of it or pictures to get out. He wanted all the original cast members to be in the trailer, but some of them couldn't do it for either personal reasons or other obligations. They all have expressed interest in doing another Galactica movie or series, but circumstances at the time would likely dictate whether they become involved.

To sum it up, before seeing the trailer I didn't really believe Richard Hatch had much of a chance to revive Battlestar Galactica. After finally seeing it, I believed he had a very good chance. Although Bryan Singer is the one who has managed to revive the show, Hatch should certainly be proud of what he has accomplished. If you ever have a chance to see this trailer, do it! It is awesome!


To read my account of the rest of the GoMainline convention, click here.


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