SDCC 09: CAPRICA/ BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: THE PLAN Panel

SDCC 09 - Caprica- Battlestar Panel

The past and future of the Battlestar Galactica franchise were laid out Friday in Ballroom 20 at Comic-Con International: San Diego. Two generations of Adamas were in attendance sitting side-by-side, Esai Morales (Joseph Adama from Caprica) and Edward James Olmos (William Adama from BSG), as well as co-creators/exec producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick and the writer of The Plan and Caprica showrunner Jane Espenson.

Olmos, who received a monstrous ovation from the crowd, starred and directed The Plan, which arrives on DVD/Blu-ray October 27. The trailer for the TV-movie was screened, along with the by-now familiar trailer (for BSG fans anyway) for Caprica, which debuts on the Syfy Channel Friday, January 22, 2010.

Moore says a ‘re-edited’ version of the pilot will be aired, with some ‘extra goodies’ in place that weren’t in the DVD release. Those goodies won’t include any nudity. Syfy’s still basic cable, kids!

If you’re one of those fans who weren’t happy with the soap opera elements of the Caprica pilot – and there were more than a few who were disappointed – don’t expect the show to be much different.

“It would be a mistake to try and do Battlestar again. If you embrace this [Caprica] I think you’ll have a really good time,” Moore said.

Moore described Caprica as a family drama that’s ‘definitely set in the sci-fi universe.” He added that the producers are going out of their way to make the show accessible to non-BSG fans.

Espenson says Caprica will also introduce other cultures from other planets during its first season.

Eick, who urged fans to get those people who couldn’t get past the Battlestar name to give Caprica a shot, added that the show would offer up the same type of moral dilemmas that were BSG hallmarks.

“It leads you to ask yourself if you’re rooting for the right side. It’s really Rome before the fall. And some of that is really fun to watch, because of the decadence involved,” Eick said.

Moore and Eick stressed that the mandate for the production team was to give the show a completely different look than BSG. It is 58 years before the events of BSG, a different time, so the environment needed to reflect the difference between the eras.

Morales called it a “more classical setting than Battlestar.” He says period elements like the Fedora he often wears gives him a sense of nostalgia, a “what’s old is new” again feeling.

“Sci-fi or not…this is the most intelligent show I’ve ever worked on. And when you work on television a long time, you know that’s not easy to say,” Morales said.

Getting back to The Plan, Espenson said it developed much faster than she anticipated.

“I was writing this really crazy puzzle script [which fit into BSG continuity],” she said, “and then Eddie [James Olmos] and I met and went into production rather quickly.” Since much of the film involves previous moments already seen on BSG, Espenson pointed out that she had to watch a lot of the old episodes again to get all the details right.

Olmos, who says he was asked to direct the stand-alone film, credited the writers, especially Moore, for making ‘Battlestar’ such an incredible experience.

Olmos also referenced his only other science-fiction experience, Blade Runner, saying the world in Ridley Scott’s film, and his character Gaffe, fit like a glove with how BSG ended.

Once he came onboard, Olmos said they had to work on fleshing out script. “At first it was ‘they had a plan, they did this and this and this…it felt like a clip show,” he said. “Then we started to look deeper and ultimately that’s where we found the story we told.”

Olmos also joked that once you see The Plan, you’ll have to go see the entire series again on Blu-ray, a sales pitch joke he brought up numerous times during the panel.

Grace Park, one of several original BSG cast members who co-stars in The Plan, showed up and described Olmos as an ‘awesome’ director, who was always looking out for the other actors on BSG.

Morales joked that he’s lobbying the producers to have Park portray one of her Cylon ancestors on Caprica.

Espenson says fans may be surprised by the amount of dark comedy in The Plan. She cited one particularly tough joke to write that had the punchline “Let’s get this genocide started”

Morales was then prodded to do his impression of Admiral Adama, which was pitch-perfect. “My baby,” Morales joked as he playfully hugged Olmos.

So is “The Plan” the final act for Battlestar Galactica?

Eick said it ultimately depends on how the fans react to the film. Moore added that “it would help if [the fans] started building their own sets and making their own costumes.”

Olmos however, was much more adamant. He guaranteed that The Plan wouldn’t be the last you’ll see of Admiral William Adama.

“I’m on board for the rest of my life,” he said.

And really, who better to have the final word on BSG than the man who saved the human race?

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