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Battlestar Galactica

Frank Ockenfels/SCI FI Channel

Since so many of you Battlestar Galactica fans are still reeling from the mind-frakking news that the upcoming fourth season will be the show’s last, I thought I’d share with you the full exchange that just went down between reporters and executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick. Read on for the deets on why they decided to announce the end (Damon Lindelof and these guys should really grab a beer sometime—they have a lot in common!), what’s in store for the end and the status of the spinoff (please, oh please), Caprica.

Also, I’m going to a Battlestar event this week (where we’ll be shooting the next WWK Vine show on location!), so if you have any questions for the producers or stars, please email them to me at tvdiva@eonline.com. All for one and one for all, right? So say we all!

It’s funny to hear the news that this will be Battlestar’s last season, because we talked to [Sci Fi network vice president] Mark Stern recently and he said it wouldn’t be. Why do you think there's the disconnect on his part?
Moore: This is a decision that took some time to arrive at, and like all decisions this large, there were a number of questions that we had internally. And we all collectively decided when it was time to be definitive about it, and that time is now.

Since Battlestar is so highly rated, was there any pressure from Sci Fi to try and drag it out for a fifth season or beyond?
Moore: Well, there was a discussion as to how long it should go on, and to their credit, they were very sensitive as to what we wanted to do creatively on the show. It came from David and I approaching them and saying we felt the show had reached its third act and that it’s about the resolution of the series—and we feel that the storyline is propelling us toward the conclusion. They asked us questions about why we felt that way, and they understood the reason and wanted us to think about it for a while and make sure that this is what we wanted to do, but they didn’t really fight us on it. They expressed concern that the show might be able to go on longer and they we wanted to make sure we weren’t passing up opportunities to continue telling stories with the series. They were very accommodating, and when we, David and I, were clear that this is what we definitely wanted, they supported it.

Was there a specific moment from last season that trigged the idea for you that it was time to bring the series to a close?
Moore: I think it was somewhere around the midpoint of the season, when we were working on the story where they discovered the temple. The temple gave Deanna a glimpse of the final five, and that triggered the beacon that’s pointing toward Earth. Those events made it feel like we were promising the audience that we were moving toward revelations, and indeed, by the end of the season, we had taken that moment and had revealed four of the final five Cylons. And one of our characters had been to Earth and seen it and that was probably the moment when we started feeling that if we don’t start paying off—if we don’t really reveal the secrets and start moving in that direction—you get to a place where you feel like you are jerking off the audience or you’re just treading water, and we never wanted to be in that position. We always wanted to be striving forward and pushing the show to its limits and not being afraid to move onto the next part of the story.

I understand that the first episode of season four will be a two-hour prequel?
Eick: It’s two episodes that are not really a part of the fourth season and are not connected to the cliffhanger where we ended season three. Essentially, [marketers] expressed an interest in releasing a couple episodes on DVD for domestic and foreign distribution. As we talked about them internally, there was no way to pick up the cliffhanger in that form, and we would preserve that for the official beginning of the fourth season. So, the way that made the most sense to us was to go back in time. Not before the series began, but back a season or two ago, say, the second season of the series, and tell a story then. We found a way to connect the events of that story to things that will happen in season four.

And this will air also?
Eick: It will air on Sci Fi channel. I don’t have a date for you, but the plan, from what I understand, is to air those on Sci Fi and then release [them] on DVD either the next day or two days later. The extended episodes, as we are calling them, will be broadcast in the fall and the official start of season four will begin in early ’08.

The relationships of the characters are so important. Do you think you will have time to bring closure to these relationships: Baltar, Adama, Number Six, Roslin?
Moore: That is the plan. That is how we approached the storylines as we were breaking them out for the season, and the intention is to concentrate on the characters and their relationships and to bring them all to an end point. I don’t know if we will resolve every single thing about every single relationship. I think there is value in leaving some things open to the imagination and having some things that are tantalizingly unresolved, but the intention is to move toward what is the final chapter.

Is the show going to be divided up again for season four—is it going to be 10 and 10?
Moore: At the moment, the network has not set up a definitive schedule yet, and I double-checked that with them today. All we can say definitively is that the show begins in early ’08.

The whole "reaching Earth" thing—is that something on tap for the beginning of the season or the last shot?
Moore: I don’t want to be that definitive about it, but the show has always been about the search for Earth, and I think to end the series without getting to Earth or a version of Earth or something we call Earth or at least someone saying "Earth" would be unsatisfying. So, it will definitely figure into this year's storyline.

There have been talks about Caprica as a series, and I wanted to find out if that is on the radar anywhere?
Moore: We are certainly tremendously excited and enthusiastic on what we are able to develop into a prequel launching point for a new series called Caprica. It would take the stories that we came to discover on Battlestar Galactica and go all the way back to their embryo and the discovery of the technology that will link to the Cylons specifically. It’s a tremendously arresting idea that was really beautifully executed, and we're anxious to have any opportunity to pursue it because we really think it’s a special project.

Is Sci Fi still considering Caprica, or has it passed on it?
Eick: I don’t think we know the definitive answer for that. It’s not on the immediate front burner, but I don’t think anyone has said to us that it is definitively dead. And we continue to hope that there will be an opportunity in the forum and a programming need for it. It is certainly something we believe in and something we think would not only capture the Battlestar Galactica fans, but would open up a whole new audience to this mythology because it’s a very different show.

Can you talk about any upcoming storylines for the recently revealed four Cylons?
Moore: You can see from the end of the third season that they are all the same people, that they are still the same characters. They didn’t switch over and become robots suddenly. So, essentially you are going to see an extension of that initial moment where they try to figure out what this means to them. If they are Cylons, when did that begin, what are their true backstories, what are they meant to do, what are they supposed to do, are they dangerous to themselves, are they dangerous to the ship, can they trust the people around them, should they keep the secret only among themselves? That’s essentially where their storyline is going to pick up.

When you plan on wrapping up the series at the end of the fourth season, do you plan on keeping it open-ended to do a feature film like Firefly's Serenity, or do you want a closed ending?
Moore: The plan is to end the show. The plan is to bring us to a definitive conclusion. There are no plans or thoughts in our heads really of them doing a follow-on feature or series beyond that. But it’s also a thing where you never say never because who knows how we’ll feel when we actually write the conclusion? It would be foolish now to say absolutely not, but right now the plan is for a definitive plan.

Now, don't forget to email me your Q's for the BSG cast and crew to tvdiva@eonline.com, and I'll gladly get to as many of them as possible at the big event this week.