We’ve finally seen the epic final episode of Battlestar Galactica, and we’re sure you have tons of burning questions about the choices made by executive producer and writer of the episode, Ron Moore. Luckily for us, Moore sat down with TVGuide.com to shed light on the finale’s structural, spiritual and emotional elements.
TVGuide.com: The writers started deciding a year ago what would happen in the finale. How did you finally decide what How long ago did you structure the way you wanted the finale to be written — how much would be battle scenes and how much would be the resolution on the new Earth?
Ron Moore: [By the midpoint of the season] we had revealed the origins of the final five, we had found the original Earth, we had dealt with all the backstories of people… there was a laundry list of things that were out of the way. Then it became about, what do we do in the finale and we started focusing on what is the story? What is the plot? It was clear it would be a rescue mission of Hera. Then we kind of got blacked out on the details of the assault, and what was the trick, and where were they going to jump in, and who was on what assault force — and this became very frustrating and annoying.
I went home and had an epiphany in the shower and said, “It’s the characters, stupid!” And it really always has been, and I went back the next day and said, “Let’s forget about the plot for a moment and just trust that it will work itself out, because it always does. What do we want the characters to deal with; let’s talk about the individual stories and resolutions.” I just had an image of someone in their house chasing a bird from the room, I didn’t know what it meant but it’s an image and let’s put it on the board. I think it was [David] Weddle who said he was interested in seeing where the characters had come from before we got to the end, and then we kind of came up with this structure of flashbacks to show you where they end up after seeing where they came from and that formed the backbone of what the finale was going to be.
TVGuide.com: Why did you choose to have most of the flashbacks in the last two episodes instead of spreading them out more uniformly throughout the series?
Moore: I think we used them when we thought it was appropriate, I mean, we have sort of used them here and there throughout the show, but it was more to inform something important about a character. To connect you to… how the past is influencing the future and how the persons involved… you can give a clearer picture of them. And when we were approaching the finale, I just kept feeling like, and in order to understand the end you need to understand the beginning. We kept going back to the miniseries, talking about where the show had begun, where the characters had started, and it felt like the end of the show should also be about the beginning.
TVGuide.com: Were the Lee, Zak and Kara flashbacks your way of telling us that Lee and Kara were wonderful, but were never meant to be together?
Moore: Yeah, I kind of felt that Kara and Lee had never really left a moment in time on the table. They were kind of trapped in that moment perpetually of wanting, longing, feeling but never being able to full enjoy it or fully embrace it. They just really never left that place as characters.
TVGuide.com: What exactly is Kara at the end of the series? An angel?
Moore: I think Kara remains an ambiguous figure. Kara lived a mortal life, died and was resurrected to get them to their final destiny. Clearly she was a key player in the events that led to [the fleet's] finding a home. And, I don’t know if there’s any more to it beyond that. I think you could call her an angel, you could call her a demon, the second coming or the first coming, I guess, chronologically speaking. You can say that she had a certain messiah-like quality, in the classic resurrection story. There’s a lot of different ways you can look at it, but the more we talked about it, the more we realized there was more in the ambiguity and mystery of it than there was in trying to give it more definition in the end.
TVGuide.com: So she is completely different than the hallucination/visions of Baltar and Six?
Moore: Yes, Kara was physically among us. Everybody saw her. She was tactile, she flew a viper, she was around. She was with us. And yet, there was a body that died on the original Earth, and Baltar did the DNA analysis and it was her body, so she was literally brought back from the dead by something — by some higher power or other power, and she came back to serve a function.
TVGuide.com: Why did Hera survive when other Cylon babies and hybrid attempts did not?
Moore: The Cylons had attempted other hybrids because we had “The Farm” episode and they were attempting in all sorts of manner to have some kind of Cylon children in whatever form… I don’t know that there is any rational explanation for [Hera's] existence other than it’s part of some larger plan. That she was part of the other entity that doesn’t like to be called God. Whatever that is, and whatever that power is, wanted Hera alone to survive as part of the story. In the show, there was a theory among the Cylons that thing that was missing was God’s true love. That was part of the explanation for why they had failed. And that was why they did the initial experiment with Helo and Sharon back on Caprica in the first season. They had tried the farms, they had tried artificial insemination and all these things but there was a theory among them that maybe it was God’s true love that was missing. So they set up an experiment where Helo would believe that was the Sharon he knew and would fall in love with her naturally, and that she might come to really love him, and then maybe a child would be born. And, that’s exactly what ended up happening.
TVGuide.com: Hera is a fascinating character because of her power. She saved Roslin for a while by giving her blood, but was the connection between the two more than blood- deep?
Moore: Yep, it was definitely a spiritual connection. And, the spiritual component of the show was just there from the beginning. It was always a part of the show. There’s a certainly a section of science fiction fandom that has always had a problem with that. They resolutely didn’t want supernatural, mystical or divine presence in the show whatsoever, and were sort of put off by that, or at least had trouble accepting that. But I just thought that was part and parcel of what we did. It was our take on this part of this particular universe, and to me, it was as important in the end as it was in the beginning. It would have been strange to make it all scientifically rational at the end and that it had no other purpose or meaning, because that was sort of the premise from which we began.
TVGuide.com: Why did you choose to end the show with Six and Baltar walking through Times Square?
Moore: Two things: One, Dave Eick and I had the image of number Six walking through Times Square in her red dress a couple of years ago. We thought potentially that that was just a great visual note to end on. And that also came out of the idea that we eventually wanted the show to directly relate to us. That the show was always intended to be relevant and be current to our society and lives and that it wasn’t completely escapist — “Oh here’s a story about a bunch of people who are not related to us on Earth at all.” We wanted it to ultimately circle back and say look, these people were our forbearers; in a real sense what happened to them, could happen to us. Look around you. Wake up. Think about the society that you live in and we wanted to make that literal at the end.
TVGuide.com: Can you explain the idea behind using “All Along the Watchtower” as a sort of unconscious constant for both Cylons and humans?
Moore: I was always fascinated by the idea that music is this thing that musicians catch out of the air, from the ether. They just pluck it out of nowhere and you hear it and it’s beautiful and moving, and it touches us in a way that we can’t even understand. Well, where does it come from? It feels like it lives somehow in the collective unconscious or it’s a constant in the universe. So, here’s a song that transcends the eons and that was around and was somehow divinely inspired or has some connection to the greater energy of the universe. It existed tens of thousands of years ago, and through time people somehow heard it, plucked it out of the air and shared it with the people around them. That happed with Anders, to Kara and it happened to Bob Dylan!
TVGuide.com: I know this is a Sophie’s Choice kind of decision, but do you have a favorite moment from the finale?
Moore: I think the moment when Kara jumps the ship and when we pan up seeing the Earth rise up from the moon was probably my favorite moment because it really is the end point — in terms of story — from where we began. I mean that was the promise from the miniseries that we’ll find a place called Earth, and here it is. So there was a tremendous amount of satisfaction seeing that finally happen.
TVGuide.com: And it was such a gorgeous shot…
Moore: It was inspired by two different photos: the famous shot they took on Apollo 8 of Earth’s rise over the moon, and then the actual image of Earth we used. We drew upon the Apollo 17 shot — there’s a big famous picture of the full Earth that they took on Apollo 17, so we took liberties with both of those and combined them.
TVGuide.com: Any word on when we’ll get to see the final prequel movie, “The Plan?”
Moore: Don’t have a date for it yet, but they said that it’s gonna be in the fall some time, possibly in November. But, there’s no firm date for that.
TVGuide.com: What’s the deal with this Battlestar movie that’s being made — it’s not your version of Battlestar?
Moore: Well I don’t really know anything about it. They didn’t talk to me before they made the deal with Glen Larson, so I don’t really know much about it.
TVGuide.com: So they never approached you about a movie?
Moore: Nope. They never picked up the phone. Let’s put it that way. But that’s OK because I had kind of put the word out that for quite a while that I didn’t think that our version of Galactica was going to lend itself to a feature film. I knew that we wanted to end the series the way that we did, and it really wraps up the show. There’s really not a story to tell after the finale that would be Battlestar Galactica.
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