This year’s Dragon*Con has had no shortage of Battlestar Galactica panels. While this reporter missed Mary McDonnell and Michael Hogan’s early Friday panel, I managed to catch the Friday evening and Saturday morning panels with cast members: Luciana Carro, Aaron Douglas, Michael Hogan, Alessandro Juliani, Kandyse McClure, Mary McDonnell, Michael Trucco, Kate Vernon, and science advisor Dr. Kevin R. Grazier. Now that’s a fleet mouthful!
The lively banter of Battlestar Galactica panels never disappoints the fans. While the number of interesting quotes is too large to fit in this article, I will do my duty to give you, fair reader, the meatiest and mightiest of the bunch for each participant.
Luciana Carro spoke about Kat’s final episode in the series. She had her shot to prove herself, and showed up Starbuck as the Top Gun. When asked about how Kat and Starbuck, the female pilots, had shown up the men standing on the sidelines, she responded, “Right on. It’s like that in real life.” Her favorite quote that her character spoke on the show, “Starbuck, my cup runneth dry.”
Aaron Douglas arrived late to the second panel and so didn’t have much opportunity to speak. On the subject of his reaction to learning that Tory had murdered his wife, he realized that the Chief’s only realistic reaction was to kill Tory. Though at first, the director wondered if the fans wouldn’t support the reaction, he said, “No, the fans will love it.” Though he mentioned his many favorite quotes from the show, he chose, “Let’s get the old girl in the fight and kick some cylon ass.”
Michael Hogan, a last minute addition to the guest list for Dragon*Con, spoke with charm and enthusiasm. Part way through the Friday panel, he called Edward James Olmos on his cell phone and gave the Admiral a chance to address the crowd with a resounding, “So Say We All.” Hogan spoke of how he and Michael Rhymer worked through the Tigh character during the miniseries. “The miniseries was safe ground, like rehearsals for a play.” Because Rhymer took his time shooting the miniseries, the characters were able to spread their wings and be ready for new writers and directors in the first season and beyond. When asked why Tigh spent so much time chatting with Six in the brig, he noted that she was the only cylon on the ship who he could talk to, about what it was like to eat, to think, to feel as a cylon. Tigh was likely one of the most seasoned, dangerous members of the surviving fleet, so when he learned he was a cylon, Tigh’s biggest fear was that he would kill Adama. Hogan added, it was an “incredible gift to me that they made me a cylon.” His favorite quote from the show, “It’s in the frakin’ship.”
Alessandro Juliani spoke of his character’s struggle with the loss of his leg and his subsequent mutiny against the fleet. In one episode, at the end of the scene where he was singing to his stump, he had to look right at the camera. In that moment, he hoped he would be the final cylon. Instead he, “just took over the ship and got bitter.” Although he read the script for the final episode ahead of time, when he watched it on television, having not been a part of the making of it, he said it was, “so emotional for me,” and “really satisfying.” When asked if Gaeta was a traitor or hero, he said, “Hero. Tragic hero.” His favorite quote from the show, “If you drink enough ambrosia, it doesn’t hurt.”
Kandyse McClure spoke of how the writing for her character paralleled her own journey as an actor working on the show. Dualla started, “in a high place,” and the dark material permeated her, turning her into a tragic character with a, “graceful and necessary end.” She also spoke of Duala’s less-military roles on the ship, making her the “great crossover between two lives: military vs. normalcy.” When asked how Duala could marry someone who was in love with someone else, she said, “With limited numbers [of humans left] in space, you take love the way you can get it.”
The multi-talented and renowned Mary McDonnell spoke of how she had spent four years preparing for the eventual death of Roslin. When asked about her body of work on television, she said, “Battlestar Galactica and The Closer are two of the nicest, most professional sets,” she had worked on. The scripts that posed hard questions on the show, “made [her] think a little sharper about what’s going on in the world.” She spoke well of her relationship with Olmos, both in character and as fellow actors. On Roslin’s relationship with Ellen Tigh, she said, “Laura and Ellen should’ve had a big drunken night together. But the women in Battlestar Galactica were isolated.” Her favorite quote from the show, “I’m coming for all of you.”
Michael Trucco spoke of the “job security” that came with his reveal as a cylon. Originally, his character was written for two episodes. But as the series progressed, he returned for two here, or three there, until he became an integral element of the series. He also spoke of the polarity between Anders’ and the Chief’s reaction to their new personas as cylons, in that Anders became more confused and paranoid whereas the Chief suddenly felt as though his new life made complete sense. On the topic of Starbuck, he said that the last line he spoke to her, “See you on the other side,” summed up their on-screen relationship, “something they were in on that nobody else knew.” His favorite quote from the show, “Lighten up, it’s only the end of the world.”
Kate Vernon thanked Michael Hogan’s character for “killing [her] off because [otherwise, she] never would’ve been the fifth cylon.” Hogan answered with a heartfelt, “My pleasure.” When asked how she could have hid the “big surprise” of her death from the crowd at Dragon*Con right before the airing of the third season, she iterated the importance of keeping such secrets to give the viewers the full impact of the moment. She chatted about how with each draft of an episode’s script, the plot and dialogue would get deeper, darker, and richer. “This concept of television,” she said about Galactica, “they blew it right out.” When Ellen downloaded into the essence of her true and real character, her return was “about healing, about coming together. She just wanted to get back to her husband.“ Her favorite quote from the show, “I have my ways.”
Dr. Kevin R. Grazier spoke about some of the more difficult science aspects on the show, including what would happen if a raptor jumped before it left the landing bay. This conundrum helped him to develop in more detail the precise workings of the FTL drive. He spoke of the perverse sense of pleasure that he got out of the words he made the actors say. On his discussions with the writers, he said they weren’t doing their jobs unless at least once an episode they would make the audience ask if they were cheering for the wrong side.
So say they all!