As you may have heard, Universal is talking about making a Battlestar Galactica feature film. Now I know that complaining about remakes is technically Erika's territory here at redblog, but I have a big emotional investment in this one.
On the surface this news isn't a big deal. Since the critical success of the Ron Moore's mid-'00s remastering of the old '70s TV show, there has often been talk of doing new Galactica TV films. But the catch here is that this new project would not be headed up by Moore.
You see, seven or eight years ago there were two separate Galactica relaunches being proposed by two different groups. One was created by Moore and eventually became the current (utterly amazing, staggering, brilliant) television series on the Sci-Fi Channel (which is part of the NBC/Universal media family). The other Galactica project was spearheaded by the original Galactica creator Glen A. Larson. (Richard Hatch, who played Apollo in the original series, was also trying to get his own relaunch off the ground. But then Moore gave Hatch a meaty role in his new series–that of former human terrorist/revolutionary Tom Zarek.)
Well now Moore's Sci-Fi Galactica is winding down to its last few (amazing, staggering, brilliant) episodes. And all of a sudden Universal says it's talking with Larson again about a Galactica feature film that would have nothing whatsoever to do with Moore's TV version. No human-looking Cylons, no female Starbuck, no heady discussions of religion, torture, terrorism, or civil rights.
Now on the surface, that's a good thing — Larson created a fun, cheesy Star Wars substitute back in the late '70s–I personally loved it as a kid, filled my room with Galactica plastic ship models. But it's a good bet that anything Larson does today with the Galactica concept is err on the side of safe, silly trash again — certainly nothing approaching the moral, political, and theological complexity of Moore's new series. So the good news is Larson won't be mucking around in the genius work Moore has done.
(And to be fair, when Moore's Galactica mini-series first appeared in 2003, I was just sure it was going to be awful–just another silly remake. Then five minutes in the Cylon Caprica Six snapped the neck of a human baby just to see how it felt, and I was hooked.)
The bad news is that for the past five years, us fans of Moore's new Galactica have had to patiently put up with folks chiding us about how bad the old Loren Greene Galactica was. And then we have to carefully explain how much better and smarter and more powerful this new Galactica is. And then we look like obsessive, pedantic geeks.
Whenever people get all worked up over a remake, I always tell them the same two things: 1) you'll still always have the original, and 2) sometimes remakes actually turn out to be pretty great (as in Zach Snyder's Dawn of the Dead and, well, Moore's Galactica).
But if Universal and Larson go ahead with a feature film that is not connected in any way to Moore's vision, and if–as I fear–that film is a dumbed down, goofy special effects spectacle that goes nowhere near the intelligence of Moore's version, then us fans of the Moore Galactica are going to be stuck right back where we started. Having to explain again and again that the Sci-Fi Galactica is really, really frakkin' good, despite what most folks will have seen or heard about other versions.
And we'll still look like obsessive, pedantic geeks.