Battlestar Galactica is being rebooted again, this time as a movie, so we had five fans discuss what they want to see from the latest vision - and version - of a classic space saga. With suggestions like a straight-forward sci-fi tale (rather than another trilogy), to Terminator in space (so we can finally have a BSG war movie), to nothing at all (because there's no beating the 2004 reboot), who do you agree with?
“You just can't remake the 2004 series – it's too perfect ...”
In games, as in film, the spiraling, multi-million dollar cost of AAA blockbusters has led to a terrifyingly risk-averse culture of sequels and nostalgic retreat – even when the statistics suggest there's no guarantee of success. The Spider Man series is entering its third reboot in 15 years, after five movies of accelerating box office decline. The Terminator series recently rebooted-the-reboot; with a scheduled Terminator Genisys sequel recently pulled from Paramount's calendars.
After several reboots the Batman (seven movies since 1989) and Superman (six movies since 1978) franchises have re-re-rebooted as Batman *versus* Superman. In days of yore, uniting rival franchises in the same arena used to be a fan fantasy thwarted by licensing and finance. In the modern era, it's a last-chance saloon – two anachronistic, warring, crooners propping the Las Vegas undercard as their career trajectories intersect in mutual desperation. In 1993 a Mario and Sonic game seemed unthinkable. In 2007 they played table tennis at the Olympic Games.
Star Trek. Planet of the Apes. Logan's Run. Fantastic Four. Dredd. It goes on and on… a myopic circle of reinvention. Shatner meets Nimoy. Shatner becomes Pine. Pine meets Nimoy. A sequel-verse with Michael Keaton… Val Kilm… no… George Clooney. Prequels. Sequels. Reboots. An Attack of the Cloons. So, yeah. I'm not that keen on a BSG reboot. You just can't remake the 2004 series – it's too perfect and, yeah, I loved the ending, they’d earned it.
Dan Dawkins, Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+
"I want a new Battlestar Galactica movie to be a complete story all on its own."
Not to be glib, but I want a good ending. That’s not to say I want an ending that will make up for the catastrophically stupid, hamfisted ending that capped SyFy’s fascinating take on the Humans-vs-Cylons saga. (SPOILER WARNING: Frankly nothing can wash away the bad taste of Gaius Baltar and Six pontificating as they wander around modern day New York City, declaring the whole series a dumb version of our own history.) When I say I want a good ending, I mean that I want a new Battlestar Galactica movie to be a complete story all on its own. Don’t set up a trilogy. Don’t set up a new universe. Just tell one, contained tale about space fighter pilots trying to keep humanity alive as they confront an intelligent, robotic scourge across the universe. If that story happens to be good enough to warrant a continuation, let’s talk sequel after the fact. For once I’d just like to see a single Battlestar Galactica, full of philosophy, politics, sex, and action, that manages to also stick the damn landing.
And what better format for a contained narrative than a feature length movie? It’s only been in the past ten years that Hollywood has become obsessed with episodic releases. Sure there were serials back in the long, long ago, but each new release wasn’t three hours long like the average Marvel or Maze Runner or Insert-Teen-Foreign Market-Friendly-Fantasy-Title-Here. Battlestar Galactica could both redeem the series and reconnect with its stylistic roots in the 1970s by telling a story that begins at the title screen and ends with credits.
Nothing would excite me more than a first act that establishes why Cylons hate human beings, a second act where the humans are nearly destroyed, and a third act when they find a way to survive in a post-Cylon galaxy. Even if they’re on the run. The contained structure will also limit any need to try and match the scale of the cast. I love Romo Lampkin as much as the next guy with a penchant for rakish Irish lawyers, but a BSG movie will be best with a focused core of three or four primary characters. Give me an Adama, give me a Starbuck, give me a Six, give me a Baltar. The rest are support. It will be magic. Space magic.
Anthony Agnello, Senior Social Editor, GamesRadar+
“Give me a movie with tension, grime, and fear...”
What always made Battlestar Galactica special for me was how grubby it was. Even in the original series, humanity was the underdog, racing away from the better armed, better equipped Cylons towards a goal that might not even exist. The human race was screwed, and more than likely doomed, but we were going to give it our best shot and go down swinging anyway, because that’s what we do.
That spirit is captured perfectly in the classic BSG episode “33”, where the fleet is frantically making FTL jump after jump, only to have the Cylons find them 33 minutes later, every single time. Everyone is exhausted, terrified, and confused, fleeing from an implacable and unknowable enemy. All the fleet can do is keep running and watch the clock, hoping maybe this would be the time the Cylons didn’t find them. Give me a movie with that kind of tension, grime, and fear, and I’ll be a happy little nugget.
Susan Arendt, Managing Editor, GamesRadar+
“I can't see the point of going back to it now...”
Battlestar Galactica always had potential – that the original series slightly missed the mark was more down to its kitsch tone and the fact it splurged all the budget on the first few episodes than any weakness in the premise. But even so, I can't see the point of going back to it now when no remake has a chance of matching the majesty of Ronald D Moore's rebooted TV series. Sorry Babylon 5, Firefly and Star Trek, but BSG mark II is the pinnacle of space-set TV drama.
How can the new movie hope to match the complex character arcs, the real-world allegory, and consistent quality that made sure it was frequently mentioned in the same breath as The Wire and The West Wing on lists of best shows of the era. It's obvious why Universal are looking back to BSG – let's ride in the slipstream of Star Wars and have our own space opera franchise! – but that's not a reason to do it. I love space movies, and would love to see more, but let's see something original.
Besides, the rebooted Battlestar is now the definitive version of the story, and anything based more closely on the original series runs the risk of feeling like a spoof. And it won't be as popular as Star Wars either, because, well, it's not Star Wars.
Richard Edwards, Editor, SFX Magazine
“Maybe an all-out war movie?”
The BSG TV reboot is now the canon version. In much the same way that I can’t take Anthony Hopkins seriously as Hannibal Lecter after Mads Mikkelsen, any childhood love I had for the clunky space opera of the original has dissipated, turning to nothing more than wistful nostalgia of the Old Times of screen sci-fi. We cannot go back to that, no more than I can comprehend a remade Silence of the Lambs centred around anything other than Mikkelsen’s quiet, underplayed intensity and seductively sympathetic psychological layers.
So we need to find a new way to interpret Battlestar. It still feels too soon after Moore’s quintessential telling of the story, but if this BSG is going to have any chance, it needs to find a third prong of the story fork, clear and distinct from either that have gone before it. Maybe an all-out war movie, then? The Terminator’s future-set sequences, but in space? We’ve still never had a decent version of that tantalising time put on screen for an entire feature, so a BSG that took such an angle is one I could just about get behind. Let’s take the brutal desperation of the reboot, but wrap it around the fast-paced, chunky, broader-strokes action of something like Starship Troopers (only without the satirical goofiness). Stir a slug of Edge of Tomorrow in there too, for good measure. Make it intense, bloody, affecting, yet smart (Verhoeven, we have never needed you more), and we might just get the incendiary starting point to a worthwhile new vision of the series. Just.
David Houghton, Features Editor, GamesRadar+