ATX Television Festival Battlestar Galactica Reunion Stories from the panel (Pt 2)

At the ATX Television Festival, Entertainment Weekly and cable channel Syfy hosted a Reunion panel for the cast and creator of Battlestar Galactica (BSG).  Other stars have appeared together before, but this was an “Official” Reunion, including series creator Ronald D. Moore, Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama) and Mary McDonnell (President Roslin).  Their stories about how they decided to do the show are in another piece.  This Reunion panel also included Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck), James Callis (Dr Baltar), Tricia Helfer (Six), Grace Park (Boomer/ Sharon/ Athena/8) and Michael Turcco (Samuel Anders).  Starbuck and Pres. Rosalin will be my focus in this piece.

Katee Sackhoff whose credits before BSG included Chicken Soup for the Soul and Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jake.  Since BSG she is most widely know as Deputy Victoria Moretti on Longmire.  Ms Sackhoff told several stories about Captain Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace.

Ms Sackhoff

“My girlfriend and I went down to Blockbuster to rent the pilot like Ron and Eddie.  But I got the DVD.  What’s a VHS tape?”  She looked down the line of colleagues past Ms McDonnell toward Mr Moore and Mr Olmos and smiled like she was holding back giggles. “So, we sat down and started watching.  I knew I wanted to read for Starbuck, so we were looking for her.  We got to the end of a scene where we had heard her name mentioned several times, so we knew Starbuck had to be in there.  We ran it back and then we realized something. [Starbuck was a man in the 1970s].”

Mr Moore interjected

In the original 1970s series the two lead characters were Apollo and Starbuck, two fighter pilots.  It was the good son and the rogue.  Starbuck was a drinking, gambling, womanizing, throw-the-first-punch, and a little bit off.”

Ms Sackhoff rejoins and continues

“…a little bit off.” She held a hand out flat and turned it slowly clockwise and counterclockwise. “Kara Thrace was all those things Starbuck was in the 1970s, but she is a woman.  So, I wanted to know what people were thinking.  I walked down to the end of the block to the Internet cafe.” She looks back at Mr Moore, Mr Olmos, Ms McDonnell and smiles, then winks at the audience continuing the technology joke that Mr Berman had started with the mention Blockbuster Video and VHS tapes.  “I put down $11.99, for an hour,” she played to the audience.  “And I logged into some chatrooms to see what people were saying.  And the arguments were vicious.”

Mr Moore interjected

“Arguments were raging all over the Internet.  And we loved it because people were talking about our show.”

Ms Sackhoff

“I had to audition six times before I got the part of Starbuck.  Along the way, I cut my hair, and left my stillettos behind.  I really wanted this part and I owned it.  Finally, after I got the part, I has some scenes with Mary.”

Mr Olmos

“And the two of you did not stop laughing.  For hours.”

Ms McDonnell

“It wasn’t supposed to be funny either.” She blushed slightly and covered her mouth

Ms Sackhoff

“So, my first day shooting in the Viper, it was 800 degrees, it was THE VIPER and I could not remember my lines.  I did not understand anything I was supposed to say, so I couldn’t remember it.  I finally wrote the lines on the screen in the cockpit and then I read them [in a cold, precise, military way].  I didn’t understand the science speak. That’s how I did all my [flying] lines.

“And then one day, Ron and the producers called me aside, and they said, ‘you haven’t done anything wrong.’  That’s when I started to worry.  Ron continued, ‘We’re going to kill your character and you can’t tell anyone because we’re going to bring you back as something else.’  So, I told my mom and she was on set the day Starbuck died.  She said to everyone with a sad face, ‘Poor Starbuck.’  I went to Mexico for a while and they were going to bring me back in a couple of episodes, anyway.’  This writer checked IMDb and Starbuck has two episodes less than Adama, Roslin, and Apollo, but I also know she got another show.  She has five episodes of Bionic Woman during that two episode break in BSG.  I think it must have been a midseason hiatus or something in addition to the two episodes she missed.

Mr. Moore

We took her out of the credits.  Everyone on the show was mad at us.  The fans exploded on the Internet.  It was just what we wanted.

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