Battlestar Galactica Interview: Mark Verheiden on Cylon Humanity and Boomer’s Motives
Welcome to the latest installment of Battlestar Galactica Weekly, our recurring Q&A with Mark Verheiden, co-executive producer of the hit Sci-Fi Channel series Battlestar Galactica. Each week, we’ll interview Verheiden about the events of that week’s episode, what those events might mean for both the season and the series, and hopefully unearth some clues about what to expect as the final season of Battlestar Galactic nears its conclusion.
Along with posing our own questions to Verheiden, we’re also taking questions from fans — so be sure to send your questions to me, your official BSG Weekly interviewer (chris [at] comicmix.com) after each episode airs. New episodes of Battlestar Galactica can be seen every Friday at 10 PM EST on Sci-Fi Channel. Previous interviews are available via the links at the end of this article.
This week, Verheiden answers questions about the second episode of Season Four, "Six of One," which aired April 11, 2008.
COMICMIX (from reader Mike): Is Sci-Fi hiring documentary filmmakers during the production of Battlestar? We’ve seen the short humorous videos for the video blog, but I mean longer Lord of the Rings-esque documentaries on the extended DVDs.
MARK VERHEIDEN: I don’t think there have been documentary teams roaming around, at least that I’ve seen, but I think Ron Moore plans to release more podcasts at some point, including ruminations from all the writer/producers on what the show has meant to them, fave episodes, etc.
CMix (from reader Jeff): Kara spoke of a yellow moon, yellow sun, and ringed gas giant while at Earth, but she also mentioned a comet and three blinking stars. This seems to foreshadow the Jesus legend. If the modified Greek mythology is what has shaped the human culture then the story must end with an Earth that has or can give rise to these gods, correct? After all if time is a closed loop, the end is the beginning.
MV: Unfortunately again, any answer I might give — from "yes" to "no" to "maybe" — takes us into spoiler territory, so I’ll just say "keep watching."
CMix (from reader Katie): Was the scene between Kara and Roslin at the beginning of the episode meant to mirror the scene in "Home" when Sharon aims a gun at Adama and then turns it over to him to prove that she has free will? If so, the very different way this showdown turned out, with Roslin firing on Kara, shows just how much has changed since Kobol.
MV: I don’t think it was meant to mirror that earlier scene, but the second part of your comment is certainly correct, in that much as changed for our characters emotionally since Kobol. And you haven’t seen anything yet…
CMix: The bullet Roslin fires hits the picture of Adama and Roslin right between them as if to foreshadow that Starbuck will be the one to drive a wedge between them. Intentional?
MV: Obviously Adama contradicted Roslin’s direct order to ignore Starbuck’s vision-quest, so I don’t think it gives anything away to note that may cause some difficulty between the Admiral and the President.
CMix: When the war happened it was between the humans and the centurions, which the humans themselves created. So, at some point the centurions had to have become sentient enough to rebel. At what point in Cylon history were they given the inhibitors which prevented them from thinking and acting
with initiative? Also, who, or what, put the inhibitors on them? Was it the "original programmers"?
MV: Even trying to answer this may (or may not!) constitute a spoiler. I’ll just say, in a general sense, that the writers on the show are fully aware of the many, many questions lingering about a whole host of issues (Cylon or otherwise) raised by the show, and we will not be shy about exploring/resolving them as we plow ahead.
CMix: Cavil refers to the "original programmers" several times. Are the "original programmers" not the humans who created the Cylons in the first place?
MV: Patience, patience…
CMix: Why do the Cylons seem to strive to be more like humans (feeling emotions such as love, etc.) if they also seek to destroy humans? Or, perhaps its just some Cylons who seek to be more human such as Six and Leoben?
MV: It’s quite a dichotomy, isn’t it? I think it goes to the heart of why, as time has passed since the holocaust of the mini-series, a faction of the Cylons have started to argue against the wholesale slaughter of the last human survivors.
I’m referring specifically to New Caprica, which was horribly, umm, "mismanaged," but was the first begrudging step for some on the Cylon side to rethink their genocidal tactics. Clearly there is something in the human experience that at least a faction of the Cylons finds worthwhile.
CMix: What motivated "Boomer" to go against her model and vote to lobotomize the raiders?
MV: I would look at Boomer’s life experience. After shooting Adama back in Season One, she not only discovered her entire life had been a lie, but she experienced wholesale rejection by everyone she ever cared about, including Tyrol. And then Cally shot Boomer in the gut.
After all that, is it any surprise that she might reject her old life and retreat to the less emotional, anti-human Cylon faction? All that said, remember that this IS Battlestar, so anything can happen as we careen ahead…
CMix: Are Lee and Dualla splitting up for good? So it would seem from Lee’s line "I guess you got the house."
MV: Since Dualla moved out on Lee when he took on Baltar’s defense last season, I think the answer to that is in the past tense — as in they’ve split up already. Lee’s comment put a period on the end of the sentence.
CMix: And finally, what was your favorite part of this episode?
MV: As always, there are many to choose from, but "Head Baltar" was certainly a change-up, and I really like the last scene between Adama and Starbuck, where his faith in her overcomes his doubts about her clearly dubious return.
Thanks to Mark Verheiden for answering our questions this week, and to all of the Battlestar Galactica fans who sent in their own questions. If you have any questions you’d like to ask Mark Verheiden after this Friday’s episode, be sure to send them in to chris [at] comicmix.com.
Next week, we ask Mark about "Ties That Bind," the third episode of Season Four, here on BSG Weekly at ComicMix! Missed an interview? Here are links to all of our previous interviews:
Be sure to check out Battlestar Galactica every Friday at 10PM Eastern, 7PM Pacific on Sci-Fi Channel. For more on Battlestar Galactica, including full BSG episodes, as well as info on other great programming on the Sci-Fi Channel, visit www.scifi.com.