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EXCLUSIVE: Syfy Gives the Greenlight to Young Adama 'Battlestar' Spinoff; Movie, Possible Series to Come

by Maureen Ryan, posted Oct 22nd 2010 10:05AM
A few months ago, the Syfy network commissioned an online series called 'Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome,' a chronicle of the war experiences of young William Adama.

The network liked Michael Taylor's script for the project so much that Syfy will air 'Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome' on the network as the pilot for a possible young Adama TV series.

Mark Stern, Syfy's executive vice president of original programming and the co-head of original content for Universal Cable Productions, said the network hoped to begin production on the pilot in Vancouver in early 2011.

"When we read Michael's script, it was so clearly a full-blown pilot for a series," Stern said in a Thursday interview. "The scope is fantastic and bigger, I think, than anticipated, so we said, 'Let's do it as a 2-hour backdoor pilot.' ... We're trying to get up and running as soon as possible."

Read on for more on 'Blood & Chrome' as well as a bit of news on 'Caprica,' another 'Battlestar Galactica' spinoff.

'Blood & Chrome' won't air until the fourth quarter of 2011 at the earliest, Stern said, but an early 2012 debut sounds more likely, especially if the network decides to go forward with a full series. Given the project's origins as an online project, expect lots of Web extras as well.

Fans missing the Battlestar Galactica itself -- the valiant old ship that housed Adama, Starbuck, Apollo and the rest -- will get to see it once again, or a version of it, in the new show. High-resolution digital scans were made of all the 'Battlestar Galactica' sets before they were torn down, and those scans will be used in the new project, which, like Syfy's 'Sanctuary,' will employ cutting-edge computer effects to supply virtual sets.

"It's an opportunity to 'see them before they were famous,'" Stern said of 'Blood & Chrome,' which takes place roughly 20 years after the events of 'Caprica' and about 40 years before the events of 'BSG.' "Here's the Battlestar Galactica as a brand-new, shiny ship -- well, not shiny, but as a new ship that had just been commissioned. What was that like?"

The Adama of 'Battlestar Galactica,' as so memorably played by Edward James Olmos, was a capable military commander leading the fight against the Cylon race under almost impossible conditions. Ensign William Adama of 'Blood & Chrome' is newly minted Viper pilot, one who goes through a challenging experiences on a difficult mission.

"This is very much an action-adventure, war series," Stern said. "This is definitely dealing with people who are fighting the fight. ... As you hope 'Battlestar' would do, it kind of comments on that process a little bit... but not in a preachy way, not in an issues-oriented way, not in a hitting-you-over-the-head way. Really, the fabric and the canvas of the series are people in the fight and what they grapple with when it comes to each other and what they grapple with when it comes to the enemy they're fighting."

"Your way into the story is a young William Adama who is not the grizzled old veteran we have come to love in 'BSG,'" Stern noted. "This is someone who is more like us, in terms of coming into this with certain preconceptions and learning as you go. ... It's very much about relationships along the way. I think ultimately the arc of the pilot and of the series is about getting Adama to be who you came to know in 'BSG,' but it's also about the deep relationships he forms. And I don't think there are any deeper relationships than the ones you form in life-or-death situations."

In a July interview, Taylor, a 'Battlestar Galactica' and 'Caprica' co-executive producer, said 'Blood & Chrome' was about "a young man's initiation into war: both the realities of war as fought by soldiers on the ground (and in Battlestars and Vipers), and the somewhat less real version portrayed in the media."

Ronald D. Moore, 'BSG's' executive producer, was "in the room" when the 'Blood & Chrome' story was conceived; Stern called him the "godfather" of the project. However at this time, Moore, who has a deal with Sony and is developing projects like 'The Wild, Wild West' there, has no official role on 'Blood & Chrome.'

Given that a full-blown series, if one is ordered, might not go into production for a year, Stern said the hope is that Moore might be able to come on board if 'Blood & Chrome' goes forward beyond the pilot. David Eick and Taylor are executive producers and Bradley Thompson and David Weddle are producers on 'Blood & Chrome'; all are veterans of 'BSG.'

Stern said actor Nico Cortez was "great" as young Adama in the 'BSG' movie 'Razor,' but it is not certain that he will take the lead in 'Blood & Chrome.' "I'm assuming there will be a full casting process for this pilot, but with Nico at the top of the list," Stern said. There's also a chance that we'll meet younger versions of other 'Battlestar' characters or people connected to either that world or to 'Caprica,' but the new project would try to do those things with "a light touch," Stern said.

Asked if 'BSG' composer Bear McCreary would do the music for 'Blood & Chrome,' Stern said no deal had been struck but he "couldn't imagine" the project without a McCreary score.

For 'Caprica' fans wondering what all this means for their show, Stern noted that 'Blood & Chrome' was developed separately from the other 'Battlestar' spinoff, which is in the midst of airing season 1 episodes now.

"To be really categorical about it, this is not about finding something else so we can get rid of 'Caprica," Stern said. "I don't know the fate of 'Caprica' yet, but, if anything, 'Blood & Chrome' going to series would only be a great opportunity to pair it with something.'

Stern said the decision on whether to give 'Caprica' a second season would be made no later than Nov. 15.

A few more clues about the 'Blood & Chrome' story follow. Look away if you'd rather not know them.

'Blood & Chrome,' which takes place in the tenth year of the Cylon War, follows Adama, a recent Academy graduate, as he and a rookie pilot take a female character on an important mission. There's a potential love interest for Adama in the story, but the pilot is basically about that mission, which, if successful, could turn the tide of the war.

UPDATE 4 pm CT: Here's the official press release about the project from Syfy:

New York, NY – October 22, 2010 – Syfy is readying an exciting all-new chapter in the Battlestar Galactica saga with a greenlight for Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome from Executive Producer David Eick, it was announced today by Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Syfy and Co-Head of Content for Universal Cable Productions. Universal Cable Productions will produce the 2-hour pilot with Syfy utilizing cutting edge CGI and virtual technology.

Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome takes place in the 10th year of the first Cylon war. As the battle between humans and their creation, a sentient robotic race, rages across the 12 colonial worlds, a brash rookie viper pilot enters the fray. Ensign William Adama, barely in his 20's and a recent Academy graduate, finds himself assigned to the newest battlestar in the Colonial fleet... the Galactica. The talented but hot-headed risk-taker soon finds himself leading a dangerous top secret mission that, if successful, will turn the tide of the decade long war in favor of the desperate fleet.

"The 'Galactica' universe as re-imagined by Ron Moore and David Eick is rich with possibilities and backstory," said Mark Stern. "We jumped at the chance to revisit the William Adama character and explore this exciting chapter in the BSG narrative which falls between the events of the original series and the prequel, 'Caprica,' currently airing on Syfy."

"While maintaining the themes of politics, social propaganda, and the timeless question: what does it mean to be human? – 'Blood & Chrome' will also return us to the authentic, relentless depiction of combat and the agony and ecstasy of human-Cylon war, which was the hallmark of 'Battlestar Galactica's' early seasons," said David Eick.

Michael Taylor wrote the teleplay from a story by Eick, Taylor and Bradley Thompson & David Weddle.

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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I don't like the idea of them taking "CAPRIA' off the air, but maybe the new program will be just as interesting. SORRY to see 'CAPRICA' leave.

November 02 2010 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
J. Wilkey

I might watch this if it turns out to be absolutely nothing like anything Ron has ever done, and if he is completely uninvolved in it. Face facts. Despite the hype, Ron's BSG was a ratings failure, only surpassed by the disaster that is Caprica. Going further, if you look at Ron's body of work, it's been a complete showcase of mediocrity. Honestly, I don't ask for much in my SciFi. I don't even ask that rip-offs be faithful to their source material. All I ask is that a show that wants my viewership be able to hold its own against a comic book or an animated sponge. I don't think that's too much to ask, really.

October 27 2010 at 3:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

First they need to get rid of Caprica because it sucks. Second they need to stay away from that crappy cgi like what's used in the even bigger pile of dren, Sanctuary(cancel in too). Third, they need to bring back Farscape with most of the original cast(no re-imagining) and make friday nights fun again.

October 27 2010 at 2:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shelly Baker

Syfy = imagination? Give me a break! Let's trpt another tired old idea and do yet another BSG series. This time taking place inbetween the innovative and groundbreaking BSG and the nonsensical Caprica. Gee....wonder how this new series will end? Just as with Caprica, this series has no reason to exist. And like Caprica it will undoubtedly fail.
Syfy creative group must be the most uninspired lot in the sci fi world. If anyone should be coming up with new, risky and resonating series you would think it would be this channel. Very sad!

October 25 2010 at 5:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Stern said of 'Blood & Chrome,' which takes place roughly 20 years after the events of 'Caprica' and about 40 years before the events of 'BSG' "

That timetable doesn't make any sense. Caprica is set 58 years before 'The Fall' depicted at the start of BSG (per the Caprica pilot). The war ends about 40 years before BSG (per the BSG Miniseries). That means the First Cylon War ended 18 years after Caprica. Which means a series set 20 years after Caprica would be after the war ended. The same goes for setting it 40 years before BSG.

"Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome takes place in the 10th year of the first Cylon war."

That makes more sense I think.

I originally thought this movie would contradict information given in the Extended Cut of BSG: Razor, but the only pieces of information it contradicts (that Adama's first mission was the final battle of the War, and that the war lasted 12.5 years) weren't even in Razor's extended cut; they were in the Razor Flashbacks which aired online and are a bonus feature on the DVD, but weren't filmed as webisodes; they were just glorified deleted scenes...so the continuity is intact.

Bring on Husker's new adventures with the toasters!

Also, really hoping Caprica will get a 2nd Season as well. It's not perfect but it's a good show that I'm enjoying a lot, with some problems that I think could be corrected given another season. If it is cancelled, hopefully they can wrap up the stories in a mini-series, movie, or possibly even in this new BSG spin-off.

October 23 2010 at 8:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Question noone else seems to have asked... Wouldn't a show during this era also have to include tigh?

That would be strange, but could be interesting.

October 23 2010 at 6:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dmaietta's comment

It wouldn't make sense for Tigh to be in this series. Per BSG (spoilers) Saul Tigh, who is one of the Final Five surviving Cylons from Earth I, arrives at the colonies at the end of the First Cylon War (18 years after Caprica, which is set 58 years before BSG). He meets Bill Adama during the 40 year gap between the First Cylon War and BSG but his memories of the war (& his life as a human being) are fake implants given to him by model #1, John Cavil.

October 23 2010 at 8:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tausif Khan

What will happen to the William Adama character on Caprica (the television series) we have not seen him yet (or his grandmother) in this rebooted second half of the first season. Will we have two people playing William Adama at the same time? Or will Caprica explain that nothing that is happening in the television show necessitates the participation of William Adama the kid.

October 23 2010 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Give it to Cortez. He earned it.

October 23 2010 at 6:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh dear, I hope it isn't like the dark drek that is Caprica (or SGU for that matter).

But given Capricas ratings are totally in the toilet, I wonder why they are doing another one set there.

Especially given they have good ratings on shows which are lighter and funny. And they already have two other scifi shows in line (Orion and Sherwood) both of whom also sound like they are going to be lighter.

October 23 2010 at 1:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to PJ's comment
Wayne Hurlburt

Blood and Chrome will bomb out and won't be any comparison to what Caprica could have potentially become. They still have so many issues about what happened before and leading up to the Cylon War, that needs to be addressed. They let Caprica get to the point of basically mass producing and some secretive shipping off of the cylons to the STO. Syfy only aired 13 episodes of Caprica counting the pilot. By the time they actually finish off the first season it would be almost 2 full years to accomplish this, and the whole time line of all of season one is only a couple to few months...lol. Round that out and 4 times as longer to air the series than the actual time line of the series... geesh. They never gave it a chance. We wanted to see BSG history and background. All they accomplished so far was to get the cylons built. They haven't even merged the avatar consciousnesses with the cylons yet, let alone show any social interactions of them with society except the unaired 5-8 minutes of it. That was mostly just a glimpse here and there, maybe in all 30 seconds of social interactions, on part of the cylons. Also they still have a great number of loose ends to the characters and story lines.

So what end up with is jumping straight into a battle that has been going on for 10 years already. No chance of filling in any of the five year gap of story lines and cylon receiving these consciousnesses let alone how it actually is accomplished and their initial reactions to this new way of life so-to-speak. Let alone their interactions with society and what leads them to actually revolt against mankind to begin with. How about their starting up of the human experiments to gain skins?? ten years into this battle the have already been doing this for some time, at this point, secretly. Just because 'The Husker only saw this at the end of he war, doesn't ,mean it didn't start long before that point. They would have to first came of reason as to why they wanted t to begin with and also gaining facilities to do this in secret. experiments don't just happen over night, either lots of prep work figuring out where and how to start etc.

All this doesn't even start to touch on the character aspect of loose ends. We also won't even know William Adama actual background growing up. We got to se, what maybe 30 seconds of him when he was like 4-5 years old then instantly jump to him being about 18 - 20 years old. Big gap there. We actually didn't get much of anything for background and what we did get was only half of it, as everything was just starting to come together, as a whole.

Syfy killed this show on purpose to make room for Blood and Chrome, not to replace a dieing show with it. Blood and Chrome will never come close to what Caprica could have been in actual story and BSG background. It'll be basically a younger version of Adama, ut same basic BSG battling, without the sexy cylons. They'll be the ugly 0005's, which actually worse than the U-87's, in my opinion. anyways here's how Caprica's demise actually went down.

Syfys Plan Of Not Airing Two BSG Prequels, May Have Caused Caprica's Demise.

Syfy has already stated, in their only statement, since the word of Caprica's cancellation and removal of the last five episodes, that they never had planned to air two BSG sequels, at the same time. Now Syfy decides it has another prequel to BSG, that they wish to produce and air, but they already have Caprica. What do they do? Well, first they need to get rid of Caprica.

They also want to make as much money as possible, while doing so. Next they abruptly change Caprica's pre-scheduled air date from January 2011 to October 5, 2010, with less than a months notice and without proper promotion or advertising of this change.

Now, Syfy places Caprica in a spot that it would be almost impossible to gain any good ratings. Caprica only aired for 4 days, of it's Season 1.5 release and was put up against Special Sports (drawing millions of extra viewers away from regular series and shows) and the two highest rated shows of that date/time slot airing Special Longer Length Episodes (both of which timed it so that each of their special episodes,would not air against the others, airing in 3 out the 4 days that Caprica did).

Even Teen Mom (Is The Highest Rated Show for that date/time slot), fell over 1 million (on their average ratings)for its TWO HOUR SPECIAL, week October 19, 2010. Against the Special Sports Events!!!!!

Caprica wasn't able to stand alone properly without proper advertising notice of a schedule change under a month, in advance. In addition to many of Caprica's viewers were counting on a January 2011 airing, not a surprise October 5, 2010 airing!!!

Even looking around the internet at many postings, you'll see people that were watching Caprica in Season 1.0, DIDN'T even know they changed the schedule or

December 12 2010 at 6:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Caprica" really picked up the pace Tuesday night. It felt like the writers said "let's move this thing along" and tossed some of the shite out: Daniel got his groove back; the assinine Virgis takeover storyline came to an end; and we got our first real BSG tie-in w/angel Zoe (whcich, frankly, was awesome). With "Blood and Chrome", SyFy would be nuts to just halt Caprica midstory...to show the war w/o fleshing out the uprising would be lame. But this is SyFy and they have a history of lame.

BTW, everything I read about Caprica's crappy ratings fails to address the fact that the show was moved to Tuesday - SyFy attempted tobranch out to other nights and failed miserably in the past. Even BSG took a nosedive on Sunday. SyFy had it made on Friday and they've screwed up turning it over to wrestling.

October 22 2010 at 9:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bamberluvr's comment

"SyFy would be nuts to just halt Caprica midstory...to show the war w/o fleshing out the uprising would be lame. But this is SyFy and they have a history of lame."

So too true. If SyFy isn't feeling the love, ratings and MONEY, they'll pull the plus. On the other hand SG:Lost In Space is still running. Go figure.

October 24 2010 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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