Battlestar Galactica Writer on The Finale

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Wizard Universe has an interview with Mark Verheiden, writer of the Season 3 finale of Battlestar Galactica. He is careful not to reveal much, but he gives a second source of verification that the four who heard the music really are Cylons. When asked about the four newly revealed Cylons, he answered:

They are Cylons. No, this will not be a “Dallas” dream episode where you wake up and go, “We’re not Cylons!” Without getting into any kind of spoiler territory, we will be exploring what that means as we go into Season Four, but they are Cylons. So, harbor no hopes that it’s some kind of dream or nightmare. When we do something like this, first of all, it’s not without considerable thought and planning, and second of all, we don’t do it so that we can pull the rug out from under the audience and say, “We were kidding.” Not with this one anyway.

He evaided questions that would reveal much about Season 4, but did give these insights into the writing of Lee’s speech delivered at Baltar’s trial:

That was a culmination of something that Ron Moore really wanted to do. The entire idea of the trial of Baltar was to explore the concept of guilt or innocence within the fleet, and also to suggest that this is a fleet that only had an ad hoc justice system. We’ve never really seen the justice system in the fleet, and I think internally we always assume that the captains of each ship always dealt with whatever issues came up on a summary basis. So we were interested in just trying to explore how you create justice in this world.

The second question, which is the one that Lee attacks in his speech, is “What is justice?” What does that mean in this particular world, where we’ve basically been reduced to 38,000 people and vengeance and attempts to get retribution for things in the past might not be as valid as they would, say, in a different circumstance. It was also fascinating, I think, that Baltar was the elected president of the 12 colonies and found himself in an untenable position. Lee’s speech was an attempt to address the practical realities of the situation that they found themselves in, and pull us out a little bit from us screaming for blood. That’s where the impulse for that came from. And again, one of the great things about working on a show that has such a rich background as “Battlestar” is that you’re able to pull from a lot of events that happened in past shows to demonstrate how the fleet’s justice system or sense of justice has been tested or not tested, or how forgiveness has been the rule of the day.

Internally, we thought one of the more interesting moments pointing out that [President] Laura [Roslin] had pardoned everyone, so we’re not quite sure why that pardon didn’t manifest itself all the way to Baltar. How come he got excluded from that when we forgave everyone else who may have actually done more heinous crimes than him? Of course, the horrible thing is that Baltar, in fact, is at least complicit in the genocide of the whole civilization, if you go back that far, but that’s kind of one that we can’t really prove. I’m sure that he would have a very facile argument as to why he wasn’t to blame. “It wasn’t me!”

The finale ended with a glimpse of earth, but that shouldn’t be taken as meaning that the goal is in sight:

I don’t know if the goal is in sight, but certainly the goal of the fleet is to find Earth. That [shot] was a really wonderful sort of wish of the fleet, to be there. That’s how you can take that. You’ve seen Earth. What Earth is and what it might be is stuff that’s still up in the air, but the goal of the fleet is still to find Earth. Obviously, we’re going to be exploring that. When Kara comes back and says something like that, it’s not a thread that will be dropped. Let me just put it that way.

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