Battlestar Redactica

I reject your Battlestar and substitute my own!

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Canonical Changes & What the Frak was that Opera House?!
battlestar redactica
It occurs to me that if this journal is going to serve as a comprehensive archive of this project, I ought to provide:

1) A complete(ish) list of canonical changes the fan-edits effect. I attempt to explain, briefly, some of the reasons behind these choices. They are, obviously, only my opinion. I also briefly explain how the changes were achieved (cuts/re-arrangement/theft of material from other episodes/voiceovers). This is not a record of every single cut/minor re-arrangement I made; there are several instances where I might have stolen a reaction shot from another episode, or merged two scenes together. This is an attempt to record the canonical changes and the broad ways in which I achieved this. The audio commentaries provide more detailed accounts.

2) An explanation of the new ending. Constraints of footage meant that I was unable to tell any coherent complete alternate ending, and ultimately the only thing I sought to conclusively convey was that the story was not over, that the questions were still exciting and inspiring, that we were leaving the story, in media res, on the brink of something enormous. I do, however, have my own interpretation of the ending, or what the Opera House and various prophecies mean, and how Resurrection answers these questions. For posterity, I shall record this here.

Changes in Battlestar Redactica: a Fan-edited Mutiny:

- The Adama/Roslin romance is cut. Many lines implying fear for Adama's safety was Roslin's primary concern during the Mutiny have been cut. The storyline now sticks more closely to the tone of 4x11 with Roslin pulling away from Adama and ceasing her treatment. Her arc here ends with Roslin trying and failing to make herself restart treatment and refusing to take a call from Adama (originally from 4x12).

- Flashbacks from the finale pertaining to Laura's relationship with her former student are integrated in an attempt to put more of Laura's perspective into her character arc as she considers how she arrived at this point - "all the way to the end."

- Flashbacks from the finale pertaining to the start of Baltar's relationship with Caprica Six are integrated in an attempt to add nuance to his change of heart and renewed sense of responsibility. In addition it was nice to keep some excellent scenes for both characters and to acknowledge that the relationship between Gaius and Caprica - whatever its current status - has always been narratively significant and will continue to be so.

- Nicky is no longer Hot Dog's son. He is still sick and is left in the relative safety of sick bay during the mutiny. Chief returns for him at the end (scene constructed from unusued footage from 4x12). This was done both to save Cally's otherwise fascinating and difficult early season four plotline and to underscore the idea that Hera is the first of her generation, rather than the only hybrid; an idea I felt suffered in season 4.5.

- The mutiny aboard the Tylium Refinery is truncated. It no longer jumps away (references to this in the scene are cut) and Adama no longer blackmails Zarek with laundry reports. Instead, the ship breaks formation, is quickly subdued, and Zarek is thrown in the brig immediately.

- Tyrol does not attend Baltar's sermon - his scenes are masked with borrowed footage from 4x04 and later in the same scene. This was done not because I disliked Tyrol's ambivalent links to the Cult (which are retained later in the edit) but because I felt it was tonally inconsistant to have him there while his son was very ill in sick bay and in addition, did not want to unduly remind the viewer of his canonical confrontation with Hot Dog that occurs at the end of this scene regarding Nicky's parentage.

- Hera Agathon projects cupcakes in place of algae mash. Athena is not thrilled by this development. (Projection taken from episode 4x18).

- Several minor cuts were made with regards to Gaeta's leg. While it is still clear he is in pain, I attempted to tone down the treatment of his leg as a "guilty conscience" as I felt this demonised his disability and undercut the validity of his points.

- Several scenes were cut to tighten the story and get the run time down. These were either scenes which were narratively unimportant (such as a another scene of running through a chaotic hallway, or another tense phone call between Zarek and Gaeta where nothing new is discussed or decided) or pertained to narratives excised for tone issues (such as Adama's obsession with Emily Dickinson).

Changes in Battlestar Redactica: a Fan-edited Resurrection:

General note: Resurrection makes use of, primarily, plotlines from 4x16, 4x17 and 4x18. Unlike the mutiny arc which was fairly linear, this fan-edit tells stories from these three episodes concurrently. As such I do not note every time I have re-ordered them unless it represents a canonical or thematic change to the basic shape of the original plotline under discussion.

- Kara Thrace's father is Daniel, the missing Cylon #7. This was done for two reasons - firstly because it's AWESOME and we were all expecting it and secondly, the reason we were all expecting it which is that it makes so much sense. This is achieved through the use of voiceovers taken from episodes 2x02 and 4x15.

- Liam does not die. The food riot in Dogsville is now the cause of Caprica going into distress; she is pronounced fit enough to leave sick bay the following day. The storyline ends with Caprica and Ellen coming to an uneasy truce. This was done in part to save Tigh (and Ellen) from a storyline which made them both look like jerks, and in part for the same reasons as I chose to retain and confirm Nicky and Kara's hybridity - to add weight to the idea that Hera is simply the first of a new generation and that a hybridised society is inevitable. This is achieved through extensive re-arrangement of the scenes (they now occur almost entirely out of order) and various cuts to remove lines of dialogue referencing plotlines that no longer occur/events that are now out-of-chronology/to change the emotional tone/motivation of characters in the scenes.

- The arming of Baltar's cult now takes place differently. The marines are brought in after the Sons of Aries steal the food supplies from the cult (reversed from the canonical order of events in episode 4x16). Following the marines' failure to keep order, Baltar petitions Adama to allow his followers to provide security (per 4x16). Adama refuses and brings aboard centurions (footage from 4x08 and 4x20 is used to create this event). Immediately after this, an accident occurs due to Galactica's instability, killing many cylon and human workers and Adama breaks down, unable, any longer to deny the truth of the integration of his ship and also unable to cope with it (per 4x18 but now integrated with the cult plotline of 4x16). He gives the guns to Baltar's people.

- During the joint funeral a final Baltar flashback not used in the Mutiny arc is included as he watches a Six to add weight to his state of mind as he misguidedly attempts to either regain status or make amends by outing Kara.

- The Cylon on the memorial wall (4x16) are shown after the joint funeral (4x18).

- Kara's continuing discussions with her father (4x17) are cast as a potential element in her motivation to go speak to Baltar (4x18).

- Sam's brain waves begin toward the end of the episode, indicating a return to consciousness in time for the final montage. Shots and references to his brainwaves prior to this time are cut (including extensive cutting to an early scene with Kara visiting Sam in sick bay; Ellen Tigh and an Eight are removed entirely as they both discuss his brainwaves and could not logically be there as Ellen had only returned to Galactica a scene prior). Additionally, Kara's dream of her younger self playing piano on the empty hangar deck is seemingly sent to her by Sam as he begins to wake up. (Originally, Sam's brainwaves restart in 4x16 and are unrelated to Kara's experiences and visions from 4x17).

- The Cylon no longer debate leaving the Fleet. References to this are cut from scenes.

- The Cylon no longer want to extradite Boomer. Scenes referencing this are cut or truncated.

- Boomer no longer kidnaps Hera. She and Chief still share a projection, but there is no child involved and seemingly her motivations in returning Ellen are genuine. This was cut less out of hatred of this double-cross, but more because no resolution to the kidnapping storyline could be offered within the scope of the project. It also offered a chance to provide Chief with a storyline; again I was not against an exploration of Chief's violent side, but did not feel it was particularly well-handled in canon and made even less sense in an edit where he still had his son. As a result, Chief is no longer in the brig during the 4x18 storylines. Footage from 4x17 is used to include him in the ship-fixing scenes that precede the accident which originally occured in 4x18.

- Many scenes of Adama getting drunk and/or staring at cylon goo were cut for my own sanity.

- Roslin's condition does not deteriorate to the point where she becomes a permanent patient in sick bay and per the Mutiny edit, her romance with Adama is also cut.

- A new final montage sees the Opera House visions return as Kara plays her father's music to her comatose husband. Sam addresses Caprica and Hera as they enter the auditorium, speaking about the wonder of the universe. This is almost entirely constructed by the editor using various music, clips and voiceovers from past and future episodes. (See more below).

- A "trailer" sequence of "the shape of things to come" shows a sequence of moments from an alternate future confirming that the story continues. Again, this is a mixture of contextless moments from the finale and "constructed scenes" made from footage stolen from past episodes and other sources.

- The fan-edit closes to a new montage of modern technology and our relationship to it designed to offer a more balanced look than simply dancing robots. This is not intended necessarily to clarify the nature of our relationship to the Colonials (although it may do, if you choose), but rather to acknowledge there is one, even if purely metatextual, because their questions are also ours.

An explanation of the Opera House in the context of Battlestar Redactica.

Firstly, I have to thank chaila for helping me work through and clarify this ending, through her fantastic music video and further discussion. It is, I feel, not insignificant that when the Redactica universe became a shared universe, it also became a more coherent one.

This is all in metaphor; I wish it wasn't, that it didn't have to be, but the constraints of footage mean that it's the best I could do.

Recap of the end of Resurrection:

Kara plays her father's music to Sam. The Opera House visions, shared by Athena, Laura, Caprica and, seemingly, Hera as a consicous participant, restart. Caprica walks into the Opera House with Hera as always. She looks up and sees the Final Five on the balcony. Sam, in his semi-conscious state, starts speaking - the suggestion being he, one of the Final Five on the balcony, is now a more conscious participant in the visions. His speech is, by necessity, recycled, a little nonsensical; more tone-poem than answer.

Resurrection, I think, succeeds in moving the visions forward, but not in giving them resolution without further interpretation.

Sam's speech was always intended as a metaphorical celebration of hybridity and the wonder and absurdity of their existence - an antidote to Cavil's nationalistic rage.

I feel this comes across reasonably well, but as I said, to get more from it than this, further explanation is necessary.

The human/cylon/alive/dead nexus of the Opera House.

I cannot explain why the chosen form is an ancient Opera House, but the space it represents is a place of interconnection between both human/cylon and also life/death.

It is reached in altered states (moments of death and near-death, experiences similar to Cylon projection) and inhabited by those who are not yet alive (Hera before she is born, the Final Five before they are conscious). It is the first place we see the human/cylon shape of things to come.

Kara Thrace, then, on her return, embodies both of the primary interconnections of the Opera House. She is both alive and dead. She is both human and cylon.

The prophecies surrounding Kara Thrace.

But Kara Thrace is not a participant in the Opera House, that we see, is she?

No. But that is because Kara Thrace is the harbinger of death the Opera House. Kara may be the first hybrid, but Hera Agathon is the shape of things to come, raised as an acknowledged hybrid without learning, consciously or subconsciously to suppress that side of herself.

Kara is the forerunner, the prophet/apostle/leader come to make the future that Hera Agathon represents and Laura Roslin will never live to see.

"You are the harbinger of death, Kara Thrace, you will lead them all to their end," has already been answered in her role in the destruction of the Hub, and I am a fan of the literalness of that. However it is also more widely and metaphorically relevant to her role in bringing about a hybridised human/cylon society. A hybrid is often stronger than its component parts but also requires the death of the things that create it. Her return really does herald the end of two civilisations.

Her return does this in two very literal ways.

1) her return coincides with the crucial moment of realisation on the parts of Tigh, Tyrol, Anders and Tory that they are Cylon. And in 4.10, All Along the Watchtower is specifically associated with Kara's viper. Her return caused them to wake up.

2) her return coincides with the visions appearing to Caprica, Athena and Laura. Kara's return creates the future these three keep seeing.

And what is that future? What is the Opera House? How is Kara responsible for it?

The Opera House is the Hybrid Event Horizon. It is the tipping point; the moment it's too late to turn back. Sam's words aren't simply a prophecy about the shape of things to come, they're a welcoming speech to the shape of things right now, because, it's already happened.

It's such a tiny moment, unnoticed by most, but infinitely significant.

Kara creates this moment; causes the scales to tip simply through the revolution of her existence. By existing as half-alive-half-dead-half-human-half-cylon, and more importantly, by doing so in public. Baltar outs her as half-dead and Ellen outs her as half-cylon.

All right, the Opera House is the Hybrid Event Horizon, but why is everyone running around after Hera?

Well, it's obvious why Hera gets taken into the Opera House to witness the Cybrid Revolution; it's the birth of her nation and her world. It's obvious why she's comfortable in the Opera House; she's always lived there.

The real question is why it's Caprica and not Athena, her mother, or Laura, who shares her blood, who takes her in to see it.

It's not Athena because Athena fears the Opera House. She fears Hera's future and cybridity because she had to forge her identity by picking a side and sticking so hard she could demand the murder of her sisters.

Hera, like Kara, is a revolution simply by virtue of her existence. She creates ripples, socially, politically and metaphysically. But Athena is engaged in a near-constant war against this concept. She doesn't want her three year old to be the revolution, she wants her to be her three year old.

It's not Laura because of her prophecy. And because, while she is the human representative in the Opera House, and arguably one of the first hybrids because she was saved by Hera's blood, she doesn't welcome hybridity with open arms. Laura, who, like Athena, is far more hybridised than Caprica (who is not really hybridised at all, to the point that her son is an impossible, pure Cylon), may recognise she cannot fight the future, but neither is she the future.

If the Promised Land too is a metaphor (it is never actually stated to be Earth), and the promised land is hippie harmony between Human and Cylon on their beat-up Battlestar with lovely algae to eat, then she lives to see it but cannot set foot there.

She witnesses the moment of its birth, as Caprica takes Hera into the Opera House, but cannot follow. It was not meant for her. And in the real world, she will die before ever seeing the full implications of the world she has led them to.

So why is it Caprica? It's not entirely clear, but I believe the answer that best suits is the fact that throughout the series, Caprica, indeed all Sixes, has been remarkably capable of existing between boundaries, in hybridised spaces. The Eights cross boundaries - pick sides and stick no matter what. Caprica, on the other hand, walks away from her entire nation because she no longer believes they are doing the right thing or that she can save them, and yet never, ever questions her identity as a Cylon.

Of all the women present, she is perhaps the most likely to accept this future.

In addition, it's worth noting the responsibility Caprica and Baltar both bear in creating the circumstances that allow this Cybrid Apocalypse; both of them caused the Fall of the Colonies and later it was Caprica's Revolution of Love that laid the foundations for the entire Cylon movement that eventually joined the Fleet. Throughout the series, Caprica, Baltar and their head counterparts are posited in a parental position with regards to Hera; Caprica and her head Gaius "stealing" her from Athena; Gaius constantly told by his Head Six that he is Hera's real father, etc.

If Hera is the shape of things to come, one can truly argue that Caprica and Baltar are the parents of that shape. Caprica is not literally stealing Hera from Athena, but Caprica's future may well be.

So how did Kara come back from the dead again?

This, I'm sorry to say, I cannot answer. However, I do think that making her dead-alive status an integral part of her importance to achieving this pivotal moment at least adds some interesting levels to the fact that someone, somewhere, returned her.

So there you have it folks.

Kara brings about the Cybrid Apocalypse because she accepts she's half robot and lets Baltar tell the fleet she's half dead. Same way she accidentally woke up the Five and gave everyone creepy visions about the day she'd bring about the Cybrid Apocalypse, otherwise known as Hera Agathon's Bright, Shiny Future.

Hera is the Revolution.

Athena doesn't want her three year old to be the Revolution.

Caprica shows Hera the Cybrid Event Horizon, but Laura's not allowed to set foot in it.

The Opera House is all things alive, dead, human, cylon and generally out of its mind, but at least Sam Anders is there to welcome us.

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Interesting. All very interesting. So in the end Caprica is the one who becomes Hera's guardian.

Thanks, glad you find it interesting. I guess the only thing I'd add is I don't literally mean she becomes her guardian - she does make off with her or anything, she's just...metaphorically her guardian. It's more like Caprica is literally responsible for the entire world that created/needs Hera.

Writing your version of Battlestar Galactica

Have you ever thought about making a fanfiction story on your version of Battlestar Galactica? That way, you wouldn't have to rely on footage to piece it all together.

Re: Writing your version of Battlestar Galactica

I decided against doing that for a number of reasons. Firstly, there are already a LOT of 4.5 AUs out there doing interesting things with the idea. I don't think that the world needs another one. Secondly, I enjoy video editing - the challenge, for me, was to see (a) how much I could change and (b) how much I could improve (subjectively, obviously), the story simply through editing and re-arranging the footage.

I specifically wanted to replicate the experience of watching an episode; to make an experience as similar as possible to the experience of watching the actual show.

Certainly a part of this project was intended as interactive critique of the original and I feel using the same format; literally reappropriating it, was a more interesting and appealing way of doing it than writing a story.

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