All of this has happened before. All of this will happen again. News broke this week about a Battlestar Galactica reboot on the way. Sam Esmail – creator of Mr. Robot – will take the reins as showrunner. The series will premiere on NBC’s new streaming service – Peacock – that will be available in April 2020.
Wasn’t Battlestar Galactica Already a Reboot?
Battlestar Galactica first premiered on television in the 1970’s. Created by Glen A. Larson, the original series ran for only one season and featured clunky metallic robots at war with humans. Despite its limited run, it remained influential on a young generation of science fiction fans. Most notably among these fans was Ronald D. Moore, who went on to reboot the property with his own version of Battlestar Galactica.
Moore’s version of the show updated Larson’s concept by introducing a gender-swapped version of Starbuck. And notably, the Cylons were no longer just clunky metal robots. They now ‘looked like us,’ having literally evolved from one version of the series to the next. The ‘skinjobs’ of Moore’s version brought a new angle to the show, the non-humans that eventually become more human than humanity itself.
So it is interesting to learn that Esmail’s version will apparently not be a reboot of the original Battlestar Galactica from the 1970’s. Instead it will actually be based on Ronald D. Moore’s version of the show that aired on the Sci-Fi (now Syfy) channel from 2004-2010. Esmail’s version will be a reboot of the reboot. And so the cycle continues.
Image via Syfy
Was This Reboot of Battlestar Galactica Inevitable?
Many fans feel that Moore’s version of Battlestar Galactica was definitive. Despite its many flaws – and a series of baffling choices that led to a controversial ending – Moore’s version remains beloved and holds up years after airing. The mythology of Battlestar Galactica gives an interesting twist to this reboot. Moore’s take on the eternal Cylon/Human war was philosophically based in the concept that it was part of an unending struggle that kept repeating. A familiar refrain from Battlestar Galactica (outside of ‘Frak’ and ‘So Say We All’) is voiced by numerous characters over the course of the show. “All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.” This phrase embodies a familiar trope at the heart of the show, the concept of eternal recurrence.
Image via Syfy
Eternal recurrence stems from Buddhist and Hindu mythologies. The idea relates to the concept of a universe or world that undergoes countless reincarnation cycles, as we see in series like The Wheel of Time. In science-fiction, this can be seen as a literal ‘reset’ of the universe in question, as seen in The Matrix. In a way, the countless reboots that have been optioned in recent days is the epitome of eternal recurrence. How many universes will reset, so the same story can be told again and again? Perhaps not coincidentally, both of the aforementioned properties are currently going through their own remake, reboot, and/or revival. Since Battlestar Galactica has this trope baked into its premise it seems suddenly obvious that the franchise would eventually be reset. So perhaps another Battlestar Galactica reboot was inevitable, to continue the cycle established in the previous incarnation.
Showrunner Sam Esmail took to Twitter to claim that this reboot is not really a reboot at all. Rather, they will “explore a new story” in the BSG world created by Ronald D. Moore. Moore has not yet made any statements about this development, so it is unclear if he will be involved in any way. However, the idea of “a new story within the mythology” only furthers the idea that this will be a new cycle for Human/Cylon conflict.
BSG fans, this will NOT be a remake of the amazing series @RonDMoore launched because… why mess with perfection? Instead, we’ll explore a new story within the mythology while staying true to the spirit of Battlestar. So say we all!
— Sam Esmail (@samesmail) September 17, 2019
Battlestar Galactica is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime and Hulu.
(Featured image from Battlestar Galactica Museum)
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.