In 1978, Glen A. Larson launched his ambitious space saga Battlestar Galactica. It was a grand story of a clash of civilizations and battle for survival. But its ratings could not justify its enormous production expense, and the show folded. A brief return in 1980 offered hope, but that came to nothing. For a generation, Battlestar Galactica fans lobbied for a revival and their efforts finally came to fruition in a re-imagined version of the show in a 2003 miniseries, followed by four seasons of storytelling. Here are eleven facts that you might not know about that latter series.
1. Laura Roslin’s swearing-in ceremony as the President of the Twelve Colonies was modeled after that of Lyndon Johnson onboard Air Force One after the assassination of President Kennedy.
2. Grace Park initially auditioned for role of Dualla. She was turned down, but told by directors to audition for the role of Starbuck. She did so, but was instead offered the role of Boomer.
3. At 22, Katee Sackoff was much younger than what the directors had in mind for Starbuck, but she aced the audition and was given the role. The decision to make Starbuck a woman although the original Starbuck had been a man was deeply controversial among BSG fans. Dirk Benedict, the actor who played Starbuck in the 1978 series, strongly and repeatedly objected to this change. But eventually he and Sackoff came to an understanding that allowed them to work together.
4. Sackoff has a tattoo of the Latin words bona fiscalia, which means "public property." It’s a reminder to her that she is a role model to people and that this entails a high responsibility.
5. Producers wanted Lucy Lawless to audition for the role of Colonel Tigh's adulterous wife. She turned them down, but was interested in the role of the Cylon agent D'Anna Biers.
6. Paul Campbell, who played Billy, was killed off in the episode “Sacrifice.” Producers wanted Campbell to take a 5-year contract, but he wouldn’t. Since they couldn’t be sure that his character would be in the story in the long run, they decided to kill him off so that they didn’t have to worry about Campbell leaving the show and disrupting the story arc.
7. Chief Tyrol’s pro-union speech in “Lay Down Your Burdens” is a partial paraphrase of Mario Savio’s 1964 speech at the Berkeley Free Speech Movement.
8. At the end of “Maelstrom,” Admiral Adama wrecks a model ship in a fit of rage. This was one of the most expensive scenes in the show because that action was ad libbed. The model ship was a high-quality one borrowed from a museum. Olmos didn’t know this and treated it like a cheap prop -- a decision that had expensive consequences.
9. Bill Adama’s office features a painting of a battle scene. It depicts the First Cylon War and was composed by Ken Rabehl.
10. The deadly accident scene in the Galactica hangar that takes place in the episode “Act of Contrition” was inspired by the terrible fire that almost sank the USS Forrestal in 1967.
11. One minor detail that sets BSG apart from other shows is that the main characters dress like ordinary people in the Western world of the 21st Century. Deborah Everton, the costume designer, made this decision to help viewers relate to the characters easier.
Sources: Bassom, David. Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion. London: Titan Books, 2005. Print. Storm, Jo. Frak You!: The Ultimate Unauthorized Guide to Battlestar Galactica. Chicago: ECW, 2007. Print. Images: Cecil Stoughton, British Sky Broadcasting, NBC Universal, Propworx, US Navy.