I caught up with Richard Hatch of Battlestar Galactica (BSG) fame at the recent Montreal Comic-Con. He was a great, enthusiastic actor to interview and he had a lot to say. In this awesome interview, he compares BSG to Star Trek, discusses the new series Caprica, the upcoming BSG movie, BSG series executive producer Ron Moore, and his friendship with the original Starbuck.
What does the future of Battlestar Galactica have in store for you?
I have no idea! Battlestar seems to go on in many different forms. There’s the form of Caprica which is coming out in September (2010) as a prequel and then they’re going to do a new movie of Battlestar Galactica based on the original. I don’t know if any of the original actors will be part of that. Most likely not.
What are you up to these days?
I write Battlestar novels. I’m busy directing, writing, producing, creating new series ideas and concepts. I teach and lecture all over the country (US).
Do you consider yourself lucky to be in both BSG “generations”?
I’ve been lucky to be in two Battlestar series. Not too many people get to be in two series 30 years apart in a story that they love, working with actors, writers and producers that are just absolutely extraordinary. I had a great time.
Are you in the new Caprica series?
At this point, I’m not but Tom Zarek’s father or my grandfather should come into the series at some point. I’d love to play him but who knows?!
Do the studios clash with fans?
The studios don’t understand fans. They just want to remake everything and they think that the fans will follow whatever they want to do. If they make an extraordinary Battlestar Galactica movie, I think that re-imagining the same series, the same movie concept twice in such a short period of time is really challenging to come up with something that would be original.
How do you think fans will react?
You’ve got fans who support the original series and the original actors, you’ve got fans of the new series, and here comes a new re-imagining so you’re going to have fans of two different generations a little pissed off that they are violating their story by doing something totally different than that. I hope they make an extraordinary Battlestar however they do it because I always felt that Battlestar deserved to be in the theatres and I hope they find a way to make it successful and make it really amazing to watch.
Isn’t it too soon for a new Battlestar Galactica re-imagining?
It is a challenging and daunting task to re-imagine a series twice within such a short time frame and have all these fans of two different generations support it. They (the fans) are going to be a little angry that they’re not doing a movie of the new version and the original fans will be angry that they’re not using the original actors and then you’ll have a few that will be open to anything and like I said, a good movie is good movie.
Would you support a new movie?
I love the Battlestar story so if it’s told really well, done really well, I would be open to watching it and supporting it, if it’s a great movie. But, very rarely do they do that.
What do you think of Ron Moore’s accomplishments on BSG?
Ron Moore found a way to re-imagine BSG in a poweful way and go very deeply into the core Battlestar story and do something original, not a comedy or something cliche or cheesy and superficial. He did something very powerful, real, and genuine. The question is whether these people (the new movie creators) will be able to do the same thing. Ron Moore did what I thought was impossible but generally speaking with they try to remake or re-imagine classics, they don’t succeed. Ron Moore did something that’s rarely done.
How does this compare to the new take on the Star Trek universe from the recent film?
Battlestar deserves to be in the movies but I think they think they can copy what Star Trek did but the difference with Star Trek is that it went back to an earlier time frame using the original characters so that you didn’t feel that you were replacing the characters. You were going back and getting a chance to see them at an earlier juncture and those characters paid homage to the characters that we’ve grown to love and the actors we’ve grown to love so we didn’t feel a violation there. But in Battlestar if they just re-cast the actors again and they’re not going back into another time frame, showing us something we haven’t seen, it’s going to be far more challenging to come up with something original that the fans will embrace and I hope they find a way to do it.
What do you think of the new Star Trek movie?
I love the new Star Trek film because it didn’t try to replace the original. It went back and showed us a part of it that we had never seen before, helped us to look at those characters when they were younger, and we got a chance to see what it was like to meet each other when they first got toegther. It was a timeframe we had never seen before. Those characters paid such homage to the icons that we love so we didn’t feel like they were stepping on our heroes so they found a way to do it right. The question is, can Battlestar do it? I hope they do and I wish them all the best.
Do you ever speak to Dirk Benedict (Starbuck from the original BSG series) or any others from the original series?
I see Dirk and Herb Jefferson (Herb Jefferson Jr. was the original Lt. Boomer) all the time. I met Dirk’s kids. They seem to be amazing guys. I think Dirk is hovering around Hollywood more because his sons are living out there and so he’s not in Montana as much as he used to be. I think he got a little lonely there because his sons left so he’s coming out to hang out with them in Hollywood. He’s doing great as far as I know, writing books and traveling. I think his pride and joy is really his sons and I think he’s a great father.
Do you think that he would have liked to be on the re-imagined BSG?
I think there’s a part of him that might have liked to be on the new show. I think he would have made a great Starbucks’ father had they gone that way. Then he could have been the old Starbuck we all know and love, and you could have seen his relationship to his daughter, the new Starbuck. So, we would have got a chance to see two Starbucks in action together. I think that would have been fascinating for the fans as well.