Caprica, BSG and Beyond Comic Con Panel Recap

A capacity room turned out for a panel discussing the elements that make Battlestar Galactica and Caprica so successful.  Richard Hatch, Tom Zarek of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, hosted the panel which featured composer Bear McCreary, writer Michael Taylor and science consultant Kevin Grazier.

Bear McCreary was asked when his band would be heard live again.  He indicated that fans should go to his website, for future performance information.  McCreary noted he has an archive of several interviews and commentaries regarding the musical compositions at the website.  He also indicated that he would love to perform “The Shape of Things to Come” in the Vancouver Opera House where the episode was shot.

Bear McCreary presented a video of a performance of some of his music from Battlestar Galactica which was held at the House of Blues at Comic Con last year.

When asked if there would be any future Battlestar “movies”, like “The Plan” the answer was a qualified “hopefully.”  Taylor indicated that there has been interest in telling some other stories of the BSG timeline (rather than the “Caprica” timeline) but that there are no official plans at this time.

Bear was asked about his process of composing the music for the characters, and he says it was a challenge as there were no archetypes as there is in “Star Wars” and that Kara Thrace evolves through each season such that he developed four different themes for the one character.  Ultimately in Season 4 he was able to tie together those themes and hint at them in scenes where the complexity of her relationship with other characters (like Apollo) really comes through, which made him very happy.

He liked the sound of the Taiko drums which are very iconic in the Battlestar main theme and worked to incorporate them further in the soundtrack of the show.

McCreary has embraced the fans that remix his music, finding new ways to present it.  While many musicians shun these innovations, he appreciates the fans finding and using his music and enjoying it.  He also noted that he never considered the extended life his music would receive as a soundtrack, performing in concerts and so on but is glad to have the opportunity to bring the music beyond the show.  He was honored when an audience member mentioned that he played “Elegy” at his son’s funeral.  McCreary talked about how amazing it is as a composer to be creating fantasy that finds its way into peoples’ real lives.

Grazier announced that his book “The Science of Battlestar Galactica” will be released on November 1st (Taylor joked that there are diagrams which would allow someone to build a Viper that works).  Grazier did say it was fun to finally delve into the theoretical principles associated with the science of the show, from the technology to the viability of human Cylons.

Grazier and McCreary did have a chance to work together – on composing the jump coordinates for “All Along The Watchtower”, a fascinating collaboration between the science and the music of the show.  Grazier said it was a great experience and really tried to enjoy the moment as they worked together on the phone.

Will there be any more cameos of BSG characters in Caprica, like Tom Zarek having a tantrum in daycare?  In seriousness, there are connections within the Adama family, but there are not a lot of opportunities for other characters to appear, especially as they had hoped to really make the show stand on its own.  Perhaps adding to the potential confusion for diehard fans is the “reuse” of actors from BSG now on Caprica, but that is primarily because of where they film and the availability of good actors, not as a conscious allusion to the other series.

Taylor obviously doesn’t want to spill too many details about the new episodes of “Caprica”, which doesn’t air until Janunary 2011, but talked about the increased importance of virtual reality to the show, beyond what was originally envisioned and that the first half of the season set up the world and the characters so that the second half of the season could really explore what has been established.

Aaron Douglas, Chief Tyrol from Battlestar Galactica dropped by as a surprise guest for the panel.  Douglas asked Taylor about the writing of the show – was there a competition to write twists for the Chief character.  At first Taylor joked that they did, but ultimately admitted that writers just try to keep the show fresh, but appreciate the actors’ input into their lines providing needed insight on whether something written in the room works on set.

Douglas lost his wife between seasons 1 and 2 of BSG and didn’t tell the writers.   There were so many characters dying around the Chief in the show at that time, Douglas found he was using his character and the show to finally deal with his personal loss.

While there were no major hints as to what is to come in future episodes of “Caprica” the panel served as a nice way for BSG and Caprica fans to discuss both series and their impact on other popular culture.  Like Firefly and Star Trek, I think we’ll continue to see BSG related panels at Comic Con, long after both shows have left the airwaves.  The fans are too committed to the show to just let it fade quietly into the background, and at least for the foreseeable future there is plenty of demand for the show and its continuing mythology to be pondered, analyzed, discussed and debated.