Thursday, March 13, 2008

Galactica Log 002

Time for another log entry!

The premier of the new season is still almost a month away, but I thought I’d post another column and chew over some fan speculation. A show like BSG generates more interesting ideas per season than most programs do in their entire run and, seeing as its many unresolved plot lines have only twenty more episodes in which to get resolved, it’s a given that fans are going to start putting forth ideas about where things will end up. Today I am going to look at the speculations of one fan (yours truly) on a couple of important questions: who is the last Cylon and when are they going to reach Earth?

We all know they are going to reach Earth this season. That’s not what I meant. The original Battlestar Galactica was created at a time Chariot of the Gods theories were all the rage. Was mankind’s development influenced by alien encounters? Did they build the pyramids of Egypt? Probably not. But at the time books and TV “documentaries” were everywhere. On the new show, the thirteenth colony made its way to Earth thousands of years ago, leaving only a cryptic trail behind them. Are they our ancestors? Did they join our ancestors, settling down to have human-… human children? If we really want to take the most realistic approach, everything on the new show must take place thousands of years from now. We left Earth, founded a colony on Kobol, abandoned it, and saw one group return and the rest go on to found the Twelve Colonies. This would leave our actual history intact, without alien encounters. Of course, with the show’s great cycle of history premise, it’s possible that the Earth they return to will technically be in the future, but civilization will have been turned over and society will have started again. Maybe it’s reached a stage not unlike our current twenty first century world. That’s if the show tries to take our history into account. It may well ignore “our” reality all together and opt for its own version of Earth. If that’s the case, we’ll just have to wait and see. Whatever solution is chosen, other questions will have to be resolved. Why did they lose contact with this colony? Did Earth give up star travel?

The other question I want to address is: who is the last Cylon? We learned right from the start that there were twelve altogether, but in the first two years we only saw seven. Last season we learned there had been a split and the other five were a group apart. We don’t know why. In the series finale we were introduced to four of the five: Tory Foster, the president’s chief aid, Samuel Anders, resistance leader, Viper trainee, and husband to Starbuck, Chief Tyrol, and Colonel Tigh. The last one was the biggest surprise. With the timeline we’d been given, he should be too old. They didn’t have humanoid Cylon during the war. Or did they?

The big question for season four is: Who is the final Cylon? I can only think of one person who is important enough to have the proper impact: William Adama. This is not a new idea. Leoben said Adama was a Cylon back in the first season. The proof? There isn’t any. But I think I have a reasonable theory. To start, let’s look at the premise of the show’s unmade spin off series, Caprica:

"Caprica is a proposed television series set in the fictional Battlestar Galactica universe. It is described as "television's first science fiction family saga." The show will be set on the fictional planet Caprica, approximately fifty to seventy years before the events depicted in the re-imagined series. It will tell the story of the Twelve Colonies at peace and living in a society not unlike our own. But high technology and a startling breakthrough in robotics brings to life the age-old dream of marrying artificial intelligence with mechanical bodies to create the first living robots — the Cylons. They are researched and built, ultimately leading to the First Cylon War."

The series will revolve around two families: the Adamas and the Graystones. Joseph Adama, father of future Battlestar commander William Adama, is a renowned civil liberties lawyer who becomes an opponent of the artificial intelligence/Cylon experiments wrought by the Graystones, owners of a large computer corporation that builds the first Cylons."

Now, what if the humanoid Cylons are the breakthrough mentioned? What if William Adama was a prototype stolen by Joseph, who objected to a race of human slaves being developed and raised the boy as his own son? The Cylons are mechanical tools, essentially, but human Cylons would be a new form of slavery. Not the sort of thing a civil rights lawyer would want to tolerate. Okay, that’s a couple of big ‘what if’s, but we now know that Tigh is a Cylon and he is a veteran of the original Cylon war. That means the humanoid Cylons predate the war and strongly suggest, to me anyway, that humans and not Cylons are their creator. At least, we’re the creator of the Five. Maybe it was their creation that precipitated the war. The only argument against this idea is an article in Entertainment Weekly. The magazine published a photo of the cast modeled on Da Vinci’s Last Supper. One of the seats is empty. The reporter asked if it was for the final, unnamed Cylon. Adama is seated. Executive Producer Ron Moore replied, "You ferreted that out pretty slyly, I didn't want to give that away." And that’s it? I can’t believe, and I don’t believe, he was serious. Would he really just give it up that easily?

Well, those are my theories. I look forward to seeing how right, or wildly wrong, there are.

Other stuff. There won’t be a review of the Season Three DVD set any time soon. It has FIFTEEN hours of extras! Obviously someone was busy during the long break. My big find since the last column is this interview, by Concurring Opinions, with creators David Eick and Ron Moore. The talk about all the important things that make the new show so relevant: politics, ethics, torture, the military, and Cylons. Some great stuff to chew over.

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