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Battlestar Galactica Q&A with Ron Moore including Alternate Ending and the meaning behind the Toy Robots

by Joey Paur

Yes, people are still not finished talking about the ending to one of the best shows ever to grace our entertainment systems. People are still asking questions and Ron Moore is answering them. We recently told you about one alternate ending to the series that did not happen. Ron Moore got on the Syfy channel message boards recently and started talking about another alternate ending they had in mind, he also goes on to discuss the whole robot toy ending and what it meant.

It looks like one ending that could have taken place involves landing the Galactica on earth only to be discovered thousands of years later, instead of sending it into the sun. Moore says:

There was a point in the development process where we discussed the idea of the Galactica not being destroyed, but having somehow landed on the surface more or less intact, but unable to ever get into orbit again (the particulars here were never worked out, so don't ask how she made it down without being torn apart). We talked about them basically abandoning the ship and moving out into the world. Cut to the present-day, in Central America where there are these enormous mysterious mounds that archeologists have not been able to understand (it may have been South America, I can't recall the exact location, but these mounds really do exist). Someone is doing a new kind of survey of the mounds with some kind of ground-penetrating radar or something and lo and behold, we see the outlines of the Galactica still buried under the surface. It was an intriguing idea and we bandied it about for a while, but ultimately rejected it as a little too cute and also felt that it would violate our contemporary reality, in essence 'branching off' the BSG story in 2009 into a parallel reality, where a Battlestar was discovered in Central America. I wanted the end of the show to directly relate to us, not to a world where that event had occurred.

Yeah, it's a good thing they didn't go with that ending. I can see how it might be cool and interesting, but ulimatly it just wouldn't work. I would not have been rational. Moore goes on to answer fan question such as why they spent so much time with the trapped bird. The thing is Moore doesn't even know.

The image of the bird was just than - an image. I had no idea what it meant or symbolized, but just saw this picture of a man (didn't even know it was Lee) trying to chase a bird out of his house with a broom. We put it up on the board and then folded it into the story of Lee without trying to define exactly what it meant. I still don't know exactly what it meant. I don't want to.

Then he defends his toy robot ending, the alleged anti-technology message that many people didn't really care for. That robot montage threw some people fro a loop.

I wanted to say that I really wasn't trying to make some grand anti-technological statement at the end of BSG. Far from holding Luddite tendencies, I'm actually quite taken by techno-whiz-bang and tend to stop in stores and stare at all kinds of devices that go ping. The end of Galactica's story had to do with human choices, human ethics, and the human heart. The conversation between Head Six and Head Baltar was a discussion of what mankind would choose to do this time through the cycle of time that had repeated itself several times already - that is, would they follow a similar path of destruction, escape, rebirth, etc. There's nothing in the scene to imply that technology is, in and of itself, an evil or pernicious force in our world or any world, rather that man's relationship with his own technology had led to ruin because of the choices and decisions made once that technology reached a certain advanced state of affairs.

Moore then lets us know why they got rid of the ships, the technology, and spread the themselves across the globe.

What Lee saw was that it would be all to easy for the people in the fleet to simply repeat the mistakes they had made before, most recently on New Caprica, where they had attempted to restart Colonial civilization with unhappy results even before the Cylons arrived and began their occupation. The Baltar administration had been a disaster, the social problems of the colonists had become profound and the entire enterprise was on the verge of chaos before the first baseship jumped into orbit. While Lee himself had made a leap of faith with D'Anna and agreed to work together toward a common goal, it was too much to expect almost forty thousand people to have made a similar leap and to begin anew if they literally brought all their baggage with them. His solution was to wipe the slate clean, remove as many temptations as possible to repeat their past mistakes, disperse the people and try to bring the best part of themselves to this new world they'd found.

Think for a moment of the temptations available to people of the fleet armed with all their technology as they start a new life on a world whose natives are literally living in caves and carrying spears. Would there be any way they would not be gods in that setting? Would they ever be able to avoid playing god and ruling over the indigenous peoples? As it is, he was asking a tremendous amount from the people in the fleet, asking them to bring ideas of literature, art, justice, and so on to the new world, and hoping that they would be embedded either in oral traditions or perhaps in the collective unconscious and survive down through the ages. Asking people to avoid using the massive firepower and amazing technological advantages at their disposal would be asking too much. Would any of the indigenous peoples even survive in that scenario? Is that the gift the people of the 12 Colonies would give to their new home? Complete displacement, possibly annihilation?

Lee's idea, while somewhat idealistic, was at least worthy of survival, and that after all, was really at the heart of the show from the very beginning.

On Battlestar Galactica being a religious show dressed up as science fiction he says:

I said since the initial pitch that BSG was a character drama first and foremost, one that happened to be set in a science fiction setting and I stand by that description. Religion and the metaphysical have been part of the human experience since time immemorial, and I decided early on that they would be part of our characters' lives as well. If the fact that the drama decides to include the notion that something else exists beyond what the characters could rationally perceive means that it's then categorized as a "religious show" then so be it, but I do find that to be somewhat of a simplistic definition.

As far as Head Six being an Angel, that was something that developed over the course of the show. Moore had not planned that from the begining.

My initial thinking was that Head Six was a hallucination, that she was a manifestation of Baltar's unconscious in reaction to the realization of his guilt and participation in the genocide of his own race. Basically, he was driven mad by what he'd done and this was the way his mind tried to soothe and comfort himself with notions that there was a God who said everything he'd done was not only all right, but actually serving some greater plan.

My thinking on this notion evolved over time and I decided that I didn't want the journey of Gaius Baltar to be that of a crazy man, but rather that simply of a man. I'd always thought of him as the most human character of all of them and there was something appealing to me of having the most human character -- or the most loathsome, depending on your point of view -- be the one challenged by and in direct contact with some other energy or being or deity or whatever. I began to see as the story evolved that Baltar's journey was a fascinating one and I didn't want it to ultimately be for naught.

As for weather or not Kara knew who or what she was in her final moments with Adama and Lee. Moore says:

I don't think she knew much more than what she said, which was that her journey was done, her destiny complete, she wasn't staying and she was happy at last.

If you want to check out some of the other question and answers you can click here to read through them.

I like how Moore really stands by the decisions he made with Galactica, showing no regret. Sure he didn't know the way everything was going to end in the long run while making the show, but as the show evolved the story and characters evolved. Again, I liked the way it ended. If you had some of these same questions about it I hope Ron Moore's answers help you gain a little bit more understanding and appreciation for what he was going for.

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