Back in September, NBCUniversal announced that it was developing a reboot of its space opera franchise Battlestar Galactica for its upcoming Peacock streaming service. According to Ronald D. Moore, the creator of the influential 2003 remake, the new series might remain in the same universe, rather than reboot the franchise with a brand new story.
Speaking with Variety ahead of the season 5 premiere of his series Outlander, Moore explained that Sam Esmail had reached out to him to talk about the series.
“Sam called me and was very gracious, he didn’t pitch me the story so I don’t know, but he said his plans and he wasn’t going to re-start the show and recast it but he wanted to do something in the same universe.”
That tracks with what Esmail (who created the hacker series Mr. Robot) has said in the past: that he wouldn’t be remaking Ronald D. Moore’s series, but that he’ll “explore a new story within the mythology.”
That’s good news for fans of Moore’s series, which arguably kicked off part of the current boom in genre television that we’re currently experiencing. Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica was a complete reboot (with some nods to the original) of the original 1978 NBC series, following humanity’s desperate escape after being almost completely wiped out by a race of machines called the Cylons.
In 2009, Glen A. Larson, the creator of the original series, began to set up a rebooted film at Universal Pictures, with X-Men director Bryan Singer set to direct. The project has languished since then, however, although as of 2018, Jay Basu (The Girl in the Spider Web) had been rewriting a script writen by Westworld creator Lisa Joy, with Francis Lawrence (Red Sparrow) set to direct. It’s not immediately clear where this film reboot sits in relation to the new NBC series.
A new addition to the franchise could do what Syfy was never quite able to do successfully: transform its critically-acclaimed show into a larger franchise. Syfy did launch a followup series: a prequel called Caprica in 2010, which lasted for all of a season before it was cancelled. A couple of years later, Syfy / NBC released Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, a prequel web series following a young William Adama during the first Cylon War, originally intended as a pilot for a proper series, but it ultimately hit the web as ten short webisodes. Syfy also put together a pair of TV films, The Plan (2009) and Razor (2007).
At NBC enters the streaming arena with Peacock, capitalizing on its existing IP makes considerable sense, and even it makes even more sense to capitalize on what remaining goodwill exists for Moore’s series: it was critically acclaimed with mainstream audiences and critics, who were attracted to its serious take on a science fictional concept. Battlestar Galactica has some name recognition, and given the competition within the genre sphere between the likes of Amazon, Apple (which has its own Moore series, For All Mankind), Disney +, HBO Max, and Netflix, that could be enough to entice subscribers into signing up for the service to check it out.
Hopefully, whatever this reboot comes out of NBC after Peacock launches — in April for Comcast customers and July 15th for everyone else — it’ll live up to the spirit and example set by its predecessor by telling a thoughtful, interesting, and exciting story. So say we all.