BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: Galactica 3.0 and 4.0

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON 9/7/09

I dunno. Could Galactica end up being the first completely viral franchise? Probably not, but damn if the whole thing doesn’t always seem to be on the verge of spiraling out of control.

A bit ago, once the new RDM iteration of Galactica was over and done (Save for the final TV Movie and the pointless prequel series), I posted a thing about how Galactica wasn’t done yet, and was one of those legendary type stories that people will just keep hauling out the concept, and re-tooling it for their own times, keeping whatever bits and pieces of the previous versions they liked, and adding a ton of their own original crap as well. (You can read that article here if you’re interested http://www.republibot.com/content/monday-morning-quarterback-galactica-3... ) I also mentioned that original series creator Glenn Larson was once again working on his own cinematic version of Galactica, though it was entirely unclear if this was a continuation of the original story, or yet another reboot. (Frankly, I’d have been more interested with another reboot than a continuation at this point).

So we have Larson’s hypothetical “Galactica 3.0” smoldering along, and now we find out that there’s yet another project floating around which is considerably more likely to see the light of day, or at least the light of a movie projector. But what is this “Galactica 4.0” you ask? Bear with me, this takes some explaining:

Well, back in the late-1990s, there were two, count ‘em, two dueling, unofficial Galactica revival projects. There was Richard Hatch’s fanfilm/fan trailer attempt to revive the franchise and continue the original story, and then there was Glenn Larson’s own Battlestar Pegasus-based movie. Both these productions were duking it out, trying to be the first to get official backing, but frankly Universal didn’t seem terribly interested in either of them, or at least wasn’t paying much attention. Of the two, the Hatch project appears to have gotten farther - he financed and shot a 30 or 40 minute film, and edited together a completely unofficial trailer that he showed at SF Conventions, hoping to get a groundswell of support for the project (Which you can watch here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybIyzTO4zhU ) whereas it’s unclear if Larson ever had a full script for his project, and the last I heard about it was that it was intended to be a 40-minute IMAX short subject.

Along came Brian Singer, fresh off his success with X-Men. He told Universal they were sitting on a gold mine that could easily be bigger than Trek if only they’d take it out and use it. He pitched them the idea of reviving Galactica as a TV series, and continuing the original story, with as many of the original actors as would sign on for it, and have a whole bunch of new characters as well. The gist of the story was that Adama died shortly after the events of “The Hand of God,” which aired in 1979, and the fleet apparently made good their escape from the Cylons. They abandoned the quest for Earth, settled down in an asteroid field, and built Las Vegas, more or less. Twenty years later, the Cylons return, having evidently been busy fighting a civil war in the interim, and evolving in to a more biomechanical direction. (Elements of this are quite similar to both the Sci Fi channel version of Galactica and the Richard Hatch version). They attack the colonials, again, and the survivors go running off in to the night, again, under the protection of the Galactica, which had been mothballed in the interim. It’s commander is Boxey, Apollo’s adopted son from the original show. You can find more details on the “Singer/DeSanto” version of Galactica here http://en.battlestarwiki.org/wiki/Battlestar_Galactica_(SDS)

This version of Galactica was well in to pre-production - sets were built, props were made, a script was written - and would have aired as a TV movie on Sci Fi in 2002, but something happened. Details differ, some say Singer had to pull out to focus on Superman V, others say the network was too freaked out by 9/11, others say the script was simply crap, and they lost faith in it. Who knows. Probably a combination of all of these elements, honestly. In any event, Sci Fi pulled the plug on the Singer/DeSanto version before the cameras rolled, and slapped the Ronald D. Moore version together quickly to take it’s place.

Though no one in any camp is willing to say so, some elements of the RDM version seem to be highly derivative of the Singer/DeSanto version - a prominent female president with her own ship, a long ‘time out’ between the first and second Cylon wars, the fact that the quest for earth had been abandoned and the colonials set up shop in a place called “New Caprica,” and so on. I can only assume RDM and his crew pulled some ideas from the unused script, figuring no one would ever see it, but that’s my own theory, and I reiterate that no one who actually would know one way or another has stated anything like this.

Anyway, Mr. Singer has somewhat fallen from glory, but Mr. DeSanto is big h’wood mojo right now, and it appears that there’s a studio out there which is interested in turning his 8-year-old unfilmed script in to a Major Motion Picture.

So there’s your Galactica 4.0 right there.

More details about the movie deal: http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/2008-12-6-motion-captured/posts/bryan-singer...

More details about the aborted 2001 version: http://www.battlestargalactica.com/newfilms.htm

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UPDATED: 6/4/2011

IMDB and Wikipedia both list the Bryan Singer production as being an ongoing concern, but I can't find any additional information about it. Evidently, however, both the Larson and Singer projects have been folded into one. If anyone knows anything, please drop me a line at three@republibot.com

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