Director Brian Singer is close to signing with Universal Studios to produce and possibly direct a big screen version of the popular Battlestar Galactica franchise, according to a report at HitFix.
As this is perhaps the earliest of early stages for a Galactica feature film – no writer will even be hired until after Singer’s deal is finalized – we can take an educated guess as to what form the film won’t take. Given that the recent Galactica television series airing on the Sci-Fi Channel ended with a definitive conclusion and that a flashback tv movie and a prequel series, Caprica, will airing on the cable outlet in the near future, it seems safe to presume that this particular iteration is not going to be expanded upon by Singer’s project.
But will Singer’s film be a new version of the story of a fleet containing the last survivors of a genocidal attack on humanity in search of a mythical planet of refuge known as Earth or will it be a continuation of the original 1978 television series?
Now I know what you’re thinking, but a continuation of the series may not be as far fetched as it initially sounds. Back in 2000, Singer and his producing partner Tom DeSanto were involved in launching a television series that would serve as a sequel to the original show for the FOX Network. The production was to the point where set and prop construction was underway (See the visual effects test reel footage below and the concept art to the right) when the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 happened. Work on the project was delayed a month, forcing Singer to drop out as director of the two-hour pilot film due to his commitment to helm X2: X-Men United. Without Singer in the director’s chair, Fox grew less enthusiastic and Sci-Fi would step up to commission writer-producer Ron Moore to deliver the series that eventually aired.
But Singer’s original attempt at a Galactica revival wasn’t the first proposal to suggest being a continuation rather than a reboot. Original Galactica star Richard Hatch had spent some time in the latter half of the 1990s trying to drum up support for a continuation series entitled Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming. Hatch even went so far as to produce a proof-of-concept trailer featuring many of the original series cast members with some new faces mixed in. The four minute clip, below, also mixed in some intriguing hints of potential plotlines that would play out in his proposed series. Some of those plotlines were recycled into aseries of Galactica novels he wrote. He would also appear on the Moore series as terrorist-turned-conniving politician Tom Zarek.
No matter what tack Singer and company take, though, the question remains, “Is it too soon to launch a new version of Battlestar Galactica?” The final DVD set for the television series hasn’t even been in stores for a month. Given that series critical acclaim for its ability to make allegorical commentary on post-9/11 society, is this a direction Singer would want to travel also? Can we return to the lighter-weight, gee-whiz adventurism of the original television series? Is there some middle ground that Singer could conceivably straddle?