Speaking in a conference call to promote the release of the first two episodes of the Battlestar Galactica prequel Blood & Chrome, producer David Eick took the opportunity to explain the genesis of the latest story in the Galactica universe.
“I feel like there’s a certain record to set straight,” he said, “which was a little bit frustrating to me a few months ago when I saw the headlines that the Blood & Chrome project had somehow been rejected or was a failed pilot or wasn’t going to make it on the air.
“It was never intended to be a traditional pilot, so to speak, such that Syfy not picking it up in a traditional manner to an episodic series was some kind of a rejection or failure. It was always developed, at least from my point of view, as a project for an online environment. Something that we would develop and structurally, narratively build as a ten-part sort of a series, kind of like the Raiders of the Lost Ark style, the 1930s style movie serials, where you have ten minutes of story and a cliffhanger, followed by ten minutes of story and the cliffhanger. And then after ten of these episodes, it would all resolve itself in a three-act structure as a whole movie.
“And so when I set out to develop this, once the characters and the overall idea had been approved by the network, my thinking was to design a mission, one that could be, as missions often are in the military sense, divided into ten smaller missions. And that’s really what we wound up with and what the audience is going to see.
“I think where the confusion in is that for a moment after seeing the script the network said, ‘Gee, we don’t want to rule out the possibility of just advocating the online venture altogether and throwing this up as a pilot for a traditional series to Syfy.’ And there were discussions about that, but for a variety of reasons, I think not the least of which was because there was a genuine feeling that we had really designed something altogether groundbreaking from a visual effects standpoint, [we decided] to stick with the original plan.
“Its future may be online, may be on air, maybe DVD in terms of subsequent future episodes or stories—who knows? But it was never any kind of rejection or failure that this didn’t wind up as another Syfy pilot. It was always designed to be something much more unique and special than that, and I’m thrilled that it’s finally reached its distribution and it’s going to be seen by the people it was intended for.”
Eick also explained the genesis within the fiction of the show: “I was asked by the network to think about a concept that would be under the umbrella or the rubric of the Battlestar Galactica canon that would make sense as an online series. I was on an airplane and I was thinking about the character William Adama and the fact that we had seen him depicted as a very stoic, strong and very uncompromisingly anti-Cylon admiral and commander in Battlestar Galactica. And then we’ve seen him as a child being exposed to an alternate, immoral world on the show Caprica. I thought it might be interesting for an audience to see what that character might’ve been like when he was Lee Adama’s age, when he was the young, crackerjack hot-gun pilot, fresh out of the academy.
“Where did this hatred of Cylons come from? Why was this man that we will later meet as Edward James Olmos in Battlestar Galactica so uniformly and uncompromisingly committed to the utter eradication and disillusion of this race of robot people? Where did that come from? Was it because he was a prisoner of war? Was it because he was involved in some horrible conflict? He wants to incinerate them, but why? And, the more I thought about it, the more I finally came up with an answer that I thought was emotionally driven.
“That [his hatred] came from a very personal place. Through that experience, [he] came to feel that the Cylons were [an] unforgivable race of creatures that, of course being responsible for our genocide and being responsible for attacking us, needed to be gotten rid of. But beyond that there was something much more deep and personal driving him. That was the nucleus of the genesis of it. And I just proceeded from there.”