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Feature: Battlestar Galactica (2000s)

Writes of Passage

Battlestar celebrations

Writer/producers David Weddle and Bradley Thompson revisit their work to date and look ahead to the final season

It seems like such a long time ago that many of our heroes on Battlestar Galactica were being tortured, imprisoned and forced to live under Cylon occupation on what was meant to be the rebuilding of the Human civilization on New Caprica. Luckily for them, their comrades aboard the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus risked their lives to liberate them in the two-part third season story Exodus. The creative minds who orchestrated this bold rescue effort were Galactica producers/writers David Weddle and Bradley Thompson.

“When we wrote Exodus it was originally meant to be a single episode,” recalls Thompson, “but as time went on, David and I realized it wasn’t going to fit into one show. Then we went up to the set in Vancouver and that’s when Michael Rymer [director/producer], who had read the script, suggested, ‘This really needs to be two episodes,’ so it wasn’t a big surprise to us when it was decided to do just that.”

Continues Weddle, “It was a pretty phenomenal achievement production-wise to film Exodus because they [the show’s production team] literally built part of an entire city on what was a giant sandbar. I think the episodes had the scope of a feature film insofar as the size of the scenes as well as the sweeping storylines, and it was a thrill to be on set while they were filming, especially during the freeing of the people on New Caprica and the blowing of the shipyard gates. Explosions were going off, cranes were being moved about to get various shots and a huge group of extras were running around; it really was like being on a giant movie set. So it was very exciting, and extremely expensive too. It took most of the rest of the year to catch up budget-wise because the first four episodes of Season Three were so costly to produce.”

Following Exodus, Weddle and Thompson wrote Rapture, the second half of Galactica’s mid-year cliffhanger and the conclusion to The Eye of Jupiter. In it, the Galactica crew is replenishing its food supply on an algae planet when they discover an ancient temple which could point the way to Earth. Unfortunately, the Cylons are also privy to the temple’s secrets and this leads to a Mexican stand-off between Humans and robots.

“Michael Rymer [who directed Rapture and The Eye of Jupiter] really wanted to take this episode as well as the one prior to it and film them someplace we had never seen before on the show,” explains Thompson. ”He wanted to give both stories an Afghanistan-type look and fought like crazy to do that.”

Says Weddle, “Kamloops is the location [in British Columbia] that they ended up using. It’s about a four-hour drive, I believe, north of Vancouver and an area with a high-desert look. Again, filming out there taxed production to the max, but we were very grateful to Michael for insisting on doing so, as it gave a kind of epic scope to all the battles that took place there. Even the scenes involving the Raptor flying in and crashing had a much bigger scope to them and were visually much more impressive.”

by Steven Eramo

Read the full interview in
Cult Times #144

Photo © The Aci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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Cult Times #144
September 2007
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