Hasslein Blog: Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming


Hasslein Blog

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming

By Rich Handley

If you've never seen Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming, it's about time you corrected this geekish oversight.

What the frak is Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming, you ask? Well, then, you're apparently someone who should be reading this.

BSG: The Second Coming was a short science fiction film created, co-directed (with Jay Woelfel) and executive-produced by Richard Hatch (Apollo in the original Galactica, and Tom Zarek in the revamped version) in 1991. Produced by Johnnie J. Young, it was intended as a pilot for a new BSG TV series Hatch proposed that would have picked up where the 1978 first season left off (thankfully ignoring the dreadful second season, Galactica 1980, which Hatch's Galactica novels and comics also negated).

Hatch's hope was to convince Universal Studios to greenlight a new project based on this concept. However, he never succeeded in doing so, and Ronald D. Moore was instead hired to create a very different re-imagining of Galactica, with Hatch himself becoming a recurring cast member.

Hatch returned as Apollo (now the fleet's commander) in this pilot film, and managed to bring aboard several stars from the original series, including John Colicos (Baltar), Terry Carter (Colonel Tigh, now President of the Quorum of Twelve), Jack Stauffer (Bojay) and George Murdock (Doctor Salik). Also returning was Richard Lynch (Wolfe in the original BSG's "Gun on Ice Planet Zero" and Xaviar in G:80's "Galactica Discovers Earth"), replacing Patrick Macnee as Count Iblis. The film introduced new actors in the roles of Athena and Boxey (Szilvia Naray and Mickelean McCormick, respectively), and also featured Star Wars' Phil ("Owen Lars") Brown as a council elder and lingerie model Ali Willingham as Starbuck's daughter, Cienna. What's more, old footage of Lorne Greene was utilized in the form of a hologram.

The finished edit of Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming, with a running time of approximately 30 minutes, has never been shown publicly. A four-minute trailer (viewable in the above video) was assembled from this version, with computer-generated special effects added in. That trailer was first shown at the 1999 DragonCon convention, in Atlanta, and Hatch later brought it with him to other appearances as well. For legal reasons, he is unable to release The Second Coming on DVD or Blu-ray, though the trailer has made its way across the Internet (obviously, since you're reading this blog discussing it).

I found this poster online. If anyone knows who created it,
please let me know so I can attribute proper credit.

Despite some cheesy acting, I have to say that The Second Coming holds up pretty well. It's fantastic to see Apollo, Tigh, Baltar and Salik after 20 yahrens, still portrayed by the original actors, and Apollo's line "They have evolved" is amusingly prophetic in retrospect, given the opening scrawl that later graced Moore's BSG, which included the line "They evolved." The special effects are not exactly spectacular, but it's important to remember that Hatch funded this project on his own, so his resources were limited. With this in mind, the finished product is actually quite impressive, and could very well have led to a damn fun television series, had proper network funding been secured.

I've always wished I could see the full 30-minute version, though it's doubtful I'll ever have the privilege of doing so since Hatch has made no indication of plans to release it in any form. Still, for now, it's fun every now and then to re-watch the trailer and wonder could have been.

The right frakkin' stuff

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At April 17, 2013 at 3:38 PM , Blogger JERRY said...

I was there at the '99 DRAGON*CON and that trailer was the most amazing thing the audience had seen because it was so highly anticipated. It was a packed house and everyone, including myself, really wanted to see that continuation happen.

Admittedly, the memory of that day made it hard to like Moore's version at first but if not for "The Second Coming," the novels, and all the new comics and how well received they were, Universal might never have backed a new series at all.

Richard Hatch believed in his revival project so much that he inspired me as I pursued my own filmmaking dreams.


At September 19, 2015 at 11:31 PM , Blogger DFoster said...

I posted an article on 1947Entertainment.com that includes a bit about working with Hatch on the trailer, as well as how Ron got the idea to do Galactica. I'm sure some fans will get a kick out of it.


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