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They Have a Plan: "Caprica/Battlestar Galactica: The Plan" Panel at Comic-Con 2009

This morning's panel at Comic-Con 2009 for Syfy's Caprica and Battlestar Galactica: The Plan certainly did not disappoint.

For one, there was some new footage of BSG: The Plan to see and there was finally a firm announcement about when BSG prequel series Caprica would debut: Friday, January 22nd of next year. Caprica's executive producers Ronald D. More and David Eick, showrunner Jane Espenson, Esai Morales, The Plan's director/star Edward James Olmos and Grace Park were on hand to unveil the footage and discuss what lies ahead for the Battlestar Galactica franchise.

The footage of BSG: The Plan was fast and furious and left me wanting more right now. It gave me chills and will present the Cylon's plan of human genocide from their own twisted POV, enabling the audience to see the events of Battlestar Galactica from the Cylons' perspective.

Jane Espenson, Caprica's showrunner who wrote the script for BSG: The Plan, said that the, er, plans for The Plan all came together rather quickly. "It all happened very quickly," said Espenson. "There was an idea that we would do movies. All of the sudden, we're going to do one and right away. It was a rubik's cube of a script." Espenson said much of the challenge came from being locked into events from the series and trying to match up scenes and scenarios based on what aired.

Edward James Olmost said that "The Plan to Battlestar Galactica is almost like The Bible... You will have to go back and rewatch the whole show" over again, after you watch The Plan.

As for Caprica, executive producers Ron Moore and David Eick were quick to point out that the series can be enjoyed by viewers new to the BSG franchise as it's not limited to "die hard fans." Caprica is decidedly not an action-adventure but rather shows "the beginning of the mythology that informs Battlestar Galactica [but it's] not following specific storylines in BSG," according to Moore. For one thing, Caprica is set further in the past--58 years, to be precise--and Moore says that the series should be "approached as a separate project."

Eick agrees, saying that the plot of Caprica is "tangential" to that of BSG and doesn't "require viewers to bring Battlestar baggage to it." Eick says that it will ask tough questions about our own society, where we are headed, morality, and artificial intelligence. (It is, after all, about the creation of robots.) And, like Battlestar Galactica before it, Caprica will ask what it means to be human, which is really the central theme of the series, according to Eick, who said that there will be some rather "strange bedfellows" in the series and will lead the audience to question whether they are rooting for the right side. He likened the series to Rome before the fall, pointing out Caprica's "decadence, hedonism, and naughiness."

Just don't expect the casual nudity seen in the direct-to-DVD release of Caprica's pilot to appear in the series. "Sadly, no," said Eick when asked whether there would be shots of nude breasts in the series. Still, the on-air version of the Caprica pilot will have some extra goodies when it airs on Syfy next year.

What there will be are different cultural aspects of the twelve colonies that we've not seen to date and these sort of touches--from hats, ties, vintage cars, and cigarettes--will act as a flavor throughout the production. (Or as Morales put it, a mix of "neo-punk and 1940s.") Caprica isn't as "wild or as verite as Battlestar," said Eick, "it's not as visually chaotic but more subtle and elegant, and [having a] more serene, beautiful quality."

Still, it's not static and there's a whole mess of conflict seething underneath the surface as Caprica is set "before the political unification of the colonies," according to Espenson, who said that the series will definitely differentiate between the disparate inhabitants of the colonies and one episode of the first season would actually be set off-world on the Scorpion colony.

And Caprica will have decidedly more humor than BSG did. "There are lots of ways to use humor that doesn't undercut the drama," said Espenson, who is no stranger to humor, having crafted some of the most articulate and humorous episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The most impromptu and heartfelt moment of the Caprica/BSG panel? When Eick lashed out at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for failing to recognize the amazing performances of the cast. "It is a frakking crime that the cast of BSG was never nominated," said Eick.

Best part of Caprica panel? Esai Morales hugging Eddie Olmos, kissing him on the head, and saying "my baby!!!"

So is The Plan the last we'll see of BSG? "It depends," says Eick. Hmmm. "I can guarantee you it won't be the last BSG movie," said Olmos.

For his part, Olmos joked that he wrote a script in which Adama is living in rustic log cabin when there is a knock at the door and it's Colonel Tigh, who says, "We have a problem." (Ahem.)

And Moore responded to a question about a DVD release for Virtuality, the FOX drama pilot he co-created by Michael Taylor by saying that the DVD release was up in the air but he promised future smoking/drinking commentaries for Caprica and Virtuality "whether they put it on the frakking DVD or not."

The video for the full Caprica/BSG: The Plan panel can be found below:

Caprica is set to premiere Friday, January 22nd, 2010.


Ilana said…
I am really looking forward to both The Plan and especially to seeing Caprica. And I'm glad to hear that they've given Caprica its own unique look and voice and that it's not just BSG Part II.
Lori said…
That was a fun panel, but I can't help but notice the moderator kept cutting off Ms. Espenson and asked one heck of a condescending question. I'm glad Jane pushed back on the exaggeration that's placed on one's gender and thus one's ability to write. The moderator didn't seem to put much thought into what she would ask Ms. Espenson.

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