I wrote briefly about Larson’s proposed BSG film a few years back. However, the Moyer/Larson project was overshadowed by Richard Hatch’s Second Coming project in 1999, which had the advantage of a trailer, decent special effects and members of the original cast. The BSG movie was announced to great fanfare, but quickly faded away.
So what do we know about the proposed film? Larson said that he was interested in the Chariots of the Gods concept and intended to tie in the movie with the journey of the Thirteenth Tribe to Earth. In March 1999, the Canadian Galactica website quoted a report that said the movie would pick up where the TV series ended. Given that twenty years had passed at that time since the show aired, this was unlikely unless there was some kind of flashback at the start of the film. The focus would have been on Commander Cain and his search for Adama’s fleet. The Galactica would have certainly featured too, according to Moyer. This suggests that the Pegasus might have caught up with the other battlestar in the course of the film.
Another element involved the Battlestar Atlantis, which apparently transported the last tribe of Kobol to Earth. This battlestar may have been more of a colony ship than a military vessel, unless the Thirteenth Tribe were represented by members of the Kobolian military for some reason.
Details of a SFX demo reel for the film surfaced a few years back on the website of Travis Price. The trailer opened with a shot of a dark brown planet and a blue one. It seems unlikely to be Earth. Could it be Kobol? No sister planet or moon was seen in Lost Planet Of The Gods, but this is a possibility. On the surface of the planet are windswept deserts and mountains. The camera then settles on a ruined city, with obelisks and a stepped pyramid, the latter reminiscent of the early Egyptian pyramids (not to mention Mayan ones). The ruins might be the last remnants of the Kobolian civilisation before they left for Earth.
Out of the ground rises the Atlantis, which then hovers over the ruins. The ship has the basic configuration of the battlestars in the TV show, but with some differences. There are far more lights along the main body. Looking at the landing bays, there are the familiar launch tubes, but these seem to be round. The ship’s name is stencilled in red rather than the familiar black.
The film’s official site featured concept art, with three showing battlestars. These could be the Galactica, Pegasus or Atlantis. However, unlike the 2003 series, the battlestars were never seen entering the atmospheres of planets in the 1978 show. The Cylon basestars could, so it may be that the series just did not show this with the Colonial ships. In interviews at the time, Todd Moyer remained vague on the look of the battlestars, saying only that there would be some familiar designs. So by process of elimination, the concept art is probably of the Atlantis, as the trailer shows this ship hovering over a planet’s surface.
In the first piece of concept art, the battlestar’s design is more akin to that of Ralph McQuarrie’s early designs. Note the thinner struts and landing bays. The ship also seems to flatter, with less detail than in the other pictures. It almost looks like the ship was buried underground and is just breaking free of these confines. There’s a pyramid in the background, so this could be Earth or, more likely, Kobol. In fact, I would say that this might leads on from the demo reel, with the Atlantis taking off from the surface of the planet.
The second picture may also follow on from the demo reel, as the planet below is a similar colour and there seem to be pyramids on the surface. The other planet is not blue or grey, but that might be due to the sunrise over its terminator, or just artistic licence. After all, this material is all from the concept stage.
The final image is interesting from a mythological perspective. It seems to be underwater, with the battlestar rising from the ocean bottom. Around it may be manmade structures, so was the Atlantis buried at some time in the past by some unnamed disaster? Do the Colonials find and salvage this ship?
There’s no doubt that the Cylons would have developed in the interim time between the show and film. This image of a Cylon fighter looks a lot more substantial than the Raiders we are used to. The engines look a lot bigger, and there seem to be two gaps in each wing. As this was where the main lasers were mounted in the original design, does this mean more armament?
I doubt if these are human ships, so are they some kind of Cylon assault ship? The scale is impossible to judge, so they could be the size of baseships for all we know.
This seems to be a new kind of Cylon, hooked up to some sort of support system. Its lower half has a shell encasing it.
This is a complete Cylon, probably a variation on the centurion.
Another familiar design, but still very different from the show’s centurions. Once again, there are pipes or cables in the background. And is this thing underwater?
This reminds me of an IL-Series Cylon, but once again, it seems to be surrounded by water. Given that the Atlantis is submerged in one of the above images, could this be some sort of AI associated with the battlestar rather than the Cylons?
A human with a gun, perhaps Commander Cain?
A female warrior … but given the apparent lack of pupils, is she a Cylon?
In an interview with Ain’t It Cool News, Todd Moyer added that the space battles would be in 3D, as in ships flying in all directions, not just on a lateral plane. In a further interview with IGN, he said the Viper would have different modes, such as going into a walker mode when landing. Not sure how that might have gone down with fans of the show. As mentioned above, there would have been a lot of changes to the ship designs. Some reports in the media suggested that the Larson/Moyer project would have reinvented BSG, rather than following on from the original series.