Writer’s Commentary – Peter David Talks Battlestar Galactica Vs Battlestar Galactica #3

Dynamite has sent us a writer’s commentary from Peter David talking about Battlestar Galactica vs. Battlestar Galactica #3. It comes with covers by Adam “Mojo” Lebowitz and Johnny Desjardins (who also does the interiors).

Page 1—I figured it would be hilarious if the original Starbuck pulled the classic scam of sitting in on a poker game, pretending he didn’t know how it worked, and then cleaned out everyone else.  I wasn’t sure exactly how Starbuck would have learned about classic poker, but I figured SOMEONE in the original Galactica knew about it and had a deck of cards.  Also note the two different spellings of frak/frack.  I honestly had no idea they were spelled differently, but Aaron Douglas (I think it was) made mention of it on Twitter and so I made sure that when an original series character used the word, it was spelled “frack,” while the newer version always said “frak.”  I imagine it was pronounced the same.

Page 2—I felt it would be interesting to comment on the fact that everyone in the original series had one name while the newer series had a first name plus a surname.  The original Tigh really can’t understand why anyone would need two names for anything.  Don’t you know who you are?

Pages 3-4—This is easily the emotional highlight of the issue.  The Pegasus has returned and an overjoyed, emotional Sheba hears from the father that everyone else thought was dead.  But she kept out hope.  Cain is such a wonderful character that, of all the original series guest stars, his is the story that so many writers keep returning to.  There have been other comic book stories where Cain has returned.  Thank God I was able to have this series be enclosed into itself so I didn’t have to take into account other Galactica comics.  That would have been a pain in the ass.

Pages 5-6—Hmm.  I screwed this up.  It took me a number of panels to realize that we were at a meeting of the Council. I generally don’t like to use locator panels to indicate where we are.  If the artist draws it, you should know where it is.  There’s two problems here.  The first panel is so tight on Colonial One that it’s not easy to recognize it.  And when I described panel 2, here is what I said:  “Panel B:  Interior, the Council room.  Laura, Commander Adama and Apollo are there, all of them seated and facing the Council.” The problem is that the artist set the “camera” too close on the lead characters and didn’t pan back to show us the other members of the Council.  So it’s unclear where we are and who everyone is talking to.  Eventually we get a pulled back panel and see that they’re speaking to the Council, but there’s some confusion initially.  It’s my fault.  I should have realized it when I went over the pages as they sent it to me and made the adjustment.  The problem is that when I look at the initial pages, I always do so with the script right next to me, and so I knew automatically what I was looking at.  It didn’t occur to me to study them without the script so I’d be reading it the same as any fan.  Should remember that.

Fans commented that Laura Roslin didn’t look much like the actress.  I have to agree.  Part of the problem is that Johnny did such a good job on everyone else, it was startling when Laura looked like a twenty-five year old, and not even a twenty-five year old Mary McDonnell.  I have no idea why he didn’t attempt to capture her likeness.  I didn’t make a big deal of it because I didn’t want to say when I first got the pencils, “Laura doesn’t look at all right.”  That’s how he chose to portray her.

Also there’s reference to what is one of the two favorite things I came up with:  the new crew thinking they were facing Cylon skinjobs because Apollo looked like a young Tom Zarek.  I would quiz people about this before the book came out, saying “The moment the new crew meets the original Adama, Apollo and Starbuck, they want to throw them in the brig.  Why?”  I asked dozens of people and only one person figured it out.  So I knew I had a winner of a sequence, because once I explained it, everyone went, “Of course!”  I just wish we hadn’t lost Richard Hatch; he would have LOVED that sequence.

Pages 7-9—This is a sequence that actually underscores the major difference between BSG and “Star Trek.”  For fifty years Star Trek crews have been encountering aliens—most of which are shaped like humanoids—so meeting a member of an alien race is simply no big deal.  But Saul is absolutely stunned when he meets a big walking alien lizard woman.  This is utterly beyond his experience.  Up until this moment, he had assumed the galaxy consisted of humans and Cylons and that was it.  Johnny nailed it in the total shock on Saul’s face while he desperately tries to keep his sh*t together.  He almost says “What are you?” but manages to catch himself.  Also, I hinted that Kali is aware of the fact that Saul is a Cylon, giving her a deeper background than she is letting on.

Page 10—The original Apollo, on the other hand, utterly fails to keep an anchor on his reaction.  While Bill seems unfazed, Apollo is completely thunderstruck.  They have to snap him back to reality.  I love that.

Pages 11-12—Had to get Count Baltar into this story.  John Colicos was such a wonderful actor.  Always wanted to meet him.  To this day, he remains my favorite Klingon.

Pages 13—Chapter Four.  See, here’s the thing.  I was originally told that this series was going to be a zero issue and then five issues.  The zero issue was going to be sixteen pages while the rest were twenty-two pages each.  Then Nick Barrucci read my zero issue and became so enthused by it that he decided to fold the zero issue into the series and make it six issues.  So in order to address that, I had to bring in the beginning of the original issue #1 and incorporate that into the last six pages of the new #1.  The problem was that I planned to end each issue on an emotional highpoint, and the series no longer worked if the emotional highpoint was before the end of the issue.  I resolved it by putting “Chapter” headings at what would have been the start of the next issue.  I figure it might have seemed a little weird on the monthly series, but once it’s collected as a trade paperback it’ll be fine.

Pages 14-17—And this was my other favorite thing in the series.  The most asked question I received was whether Starbuck was going to get it on with Starbuck.  I loved the idea so much that I lobbied for two naked Starbucks to be lying in bed, covered only with a sheet, both smoking stogies, for the cover of the book.  The suggestion was turned down by Universal who apparently wanted covers to remain more family oriented.

The only drawback was that I had decided exactly when I was going to set the story, and Kara Thrace was married at that point.  At first I considered ignoring it, but decided it would be much better if I made a major point of it.  I had no trouble rationalizing why Kara would bang Starbuck, because she had such a dark edge to her that I could easily see her doing it for precisely the reasons she gives here.  Honestly, Kara is really my favorite character in the series.  Then again, part of it may be that I met Katee Sackhoff at a convention and sat on a panel with her for a Spider-Man video game I scripted.  Very sweet woman.

Page 19-22—I really wanted to have the two Baltars conspiring.  The thing is, Count Baltar is working on a false assumption.  He believes that Gaius Baltar is as evil and traitorous as he is.  But Gaius consistently believes that he is actually on the side of the angels.  Count Baltar deliberately betrayed humanity; Gaius was used by the Cylons and skin jobs.  The Count is evil; Gaius is just weak.  And I can assure you that because of that, the alliance is not going to go over as well as either of them are hoping.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.