David Eick Talks Battlestar Galactica Past, Present, Future

It’s never been easy for the Battlestar Galactica gang. Ever since the Cylons launched a brutal nuclear assault on the humans, the remaining survivors of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol have been on the run and desperately searching for the mythical thirteenth colony known as Earth. All their hardships and tragedies were momentarily forgotten when their goal was finally in sight, only to discover the Earth in nuclear ruins. Now with only half a season left, executive producer David Eick took some time to discuss the past, present, and future of the Emmy and Peabody Award winning series, Battlestar Galactica.

Newsarama: David, this is Internet age of information, how have you managed to keep such Battlestar Galactica twists as the four Cylons a secret?

David Eick: I’ve always felt any publicity is good publicity so I don’t see it as a difficulty. If there has been one thing we learned in the recent years from companies like the Spielbergs that have gone to great lengths to hide material is that if people want to get a hold of something, they are going to get a hold of it. You can put labels on scripts and have them sign releases but so what? I just finished a rewrite of a pilot I am about to go into production on and by that Tuesday, it was already in several agencies and I didn’t send it to any of them. It’s just the nature of our business.

I try not to pay too much attention in our efforts to cloak things in secrecy. What I usually hear in the rumor mill is more often wrong than it is right so as long as the disinformation remains a constant, there is still a large portion of the audience that will be surprised in the way we want them to.

NRAMA: In addition to the regular episodes, viewers can apparently get their Battlestar Galactica fix in another way.

Eick: Yes, we are doing webisodes but when they are premiering I am not positive. Like the webisodes we have done before, they will continue on the story threads that don’t make the cut. I don’t want to give too much away but they are going to follow the same paradigm as we’ve done before.

NRAMA: The mid season cliffhanger ended on a depressing note and with Starbuck so obsessed with finding Earth, how will she handle its current apocalyptic state?

Eick: Not giving anything away, let’s just say it will represent a profound change in her character and outlook on life.

NRAMA: Season 4 has seen some dissention in the ranks when it’s come to the Toasters too.

Eick: Just like human beings, despite whatever their design, they don’t all think alike or feel the same things. We saw in the first half of season four, those differences can lead to as violent of a reaction as with human beings.

NRAMA: Can you confirm the rumors the second string of episodes will be longer as well end on a two hour series finale?

Eick: Honestly, we are still working on the season finale so we don’t know the answer yet.

NRAMA: With Battlestar Galactica pushing the boundaries in terms of politics and social issues, would the series have had a different tone if it had landed on HBO instead?

Eick: I don’t know what the difference would have been. We had a pretty good rapport with the network and there weren’t many things, certainly not in the last few seasons, that we wanted to do that we weren’t allowed to. I wouldn’t know how to measure that sort of comparison.

NRAMA: Are you planning a sequel to the Battlestar Galactica direct to DVD movie Razor since it proved extremely successful?

Eick: I believe there was a piece in the L.A. Times announcing it so it is official. It is going to take place from the perspective of the Cylons and explore a story the fans will be familiar with.

NRAMA: What has surprised you the most about Battlestar Galactica’s rabid fanbase, especially since there was such uproar early on about the character changes?

Eick: Once again, any publicity is good publicity so when people complained, I thought the more the better because it would only serve to elevate the profile of the mini-series when it premiered. Nothing has changed in my mind. It continues to be talked about and has its critics or people who are still upset it’s not more like the original show. I would suspect those people continue to watch it in order to fuel their rational for complaining so either way we win. As for Comic-Con, it’s the one day a year Ron and I get to feel like Paul McCartney. Suddenly, it’s a shock that we are not doing a 20 rating because everyone knows and cares about it. It’s a very gratifying one day a year.

NRAMA: At one point, it didn’t seem like the Battlestar Galactica spin off Caprica was going to go into production. What was the turning point?

Eick: In a small way, I do think the writers’ strike was a help only because there were fewer pilots being written so the network might have had fewer options at their disposal. That being said, I know they had kept Caprica alive and kicking even prior to that. That may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

NRAMA: How tough was it finding the perfect cast for this series?

Eick: It was difficult but our casting director was prepared. It went much faster than I expected. When Eric Stoltz became available, Polly Walker landed in our lap, and Esai Morales came in to audition, we were continually surprised by our good fortune. Eric, who plays Daniel, is an established computers science and robotics expert who you might think of as a Bill Gates-type character and a family man.

NRAMA: Now that you are in post production, how pleased are you with Caprica?

Eick: It looks great. I am very excited. Everyone seems to be cool with it. There’s been no indication of it being picked up as a series yet but we are hoping.

NRAMA: Lastly, is there any news on your Children of Men series?

Eick: Yeah, Children of Men is a pilot at NBC that is still awaiting word and I am working on another series for them called The Philanthropist which is a 13-episode order premiering in March. It is about a billionaire world traveler who uses his unique access and power to help people in need. It is a very unusual show we will be shooting in three different continents all over the world.

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