Few TV or film composers can command the attention of the entire cast of the shows they work on. But when composer Bear McCreary and the Battlestar Galactica Orchestra turned up on Comic-Con weekend to play two shows at the San Diego House of Blues, they had a few, shall we say, “special guests.” Specifically, both shows were M.C.ed by Edward James Olmos (Adm. Bill Adama), and he was joined by Grace Park (Boomer/No. 8/Athena), James Callis (Baltar), Michelle Forbes (Adm. Cain—stand back), Nicki Clyne (Cally), Michael Trucco (Sam Anders), and Michael Hogan (Col. Saul Tigh). I was at the Friday night show, but apparently at the Thursday show Hogan brought down the house by growling into the microphone, “Can anyone else hear that frakkin’ music?”
I met with McCreary in the basement of the House of Blues a few hours before the band went on show. He’s not a big man, maybe 5′ 8″ or less. He wears a goatee, keeps his hair long, and he has that pale-skinned pudginess that geeks earn by long hours in front of a keyboard, though McCreary uses a totally different keyboard. But he had none of the geeks’ renowned social awkwardness. Maybe that’s what happens when a composer starts scoring Battlestar at 24, and then held the gig for the whole run. Along the way he became the composer for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Eureka, among others. These days, McCreary is working on Caprica, the Battlestar prequel; he’s even written the Caprican national anthem.
Just out of a Comic-con panel celebrating 30 years of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. Present were Richard Hatch (who plays Tom Zarek in the new series and played Apollo in the original); Bear McCreary (who composes the music for the show, and told us that Ron Moore was very specific, for reasons as yet unannounced but which will become clear, about using Dylan’s “Along the Watchtower” as the background music to the season three finale, in which four humans are revealed as cylons); Kevin Grazier (Battlestar’s science advisor and panelist on DISCOVER’s “Science in Science Fiction” panel later today); and, interestingly, Tom DeSanto (best known as the producer of X-Men and Transformers.)
DeSanto was just weeks away from filming his own TV relaunch of Battlestar Galactica in 2001: set construction had begun and FOX had agreed to a pilot. A confluence of events (including 9/11 and problems with X-Men 2) caused the deal with FOX to fall through. This series was intended to be a continuation of the 1979 show, not a complete re-imagining from the ground up, as happened in Ron Moore’s version. DeSanto sketched out the premise of this version: about five years after the end of the original series, the rag tag fleet had a vote and decided to stop searching for Earth, opting instead to build a giant spacestation near an asteroid field. Before long the Cylons are forgotten in the pursuit of commerce and “pleasure domes.” Until another twenty years pass and the Cylons return… Richard Hatch would also have returned in this version — this time as a human being converted into a Cylon hybrid.
One thing remains constant across all the continuations and re-imaginings: no one appears willing to resurrect Galactica 1980.