If you have not yet watched episodes 1 and 2 of web series Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, you’re missing out. Already critically acclaimed (and creating its own fandom), the series has just released episodes 3 and 4 as of today (see those below).
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with Blood & Chrome Executive Producer David Eick and star Luke Pasqualino about the series.
Eick began by stating that in spite of previous reports that Blood & Chrome was originally filmed as a pilot episode for a television series, Blood & Chrome was always intended for the web. “I feel like there’s a certain record to set straight which was a little bit frustrating to me a few months ago when I saw the headlines that the Blood & Chrome project had somehow been rejected or was a failed pilot or wasn’t going to make it on the air,” he stated. “It was always developed at least from my point of view as a project for an online environment.”
Eick even went so far as to compare the Blood & Chrome project to the 1930’s style of movie serials. “Where you have ten minutes of story and a cliffhanger followed by ten minutes of story and the cliffhanger. And then after ten of these episodes, it would all kind of resolve itself in a pre-act structure as a whole movie. And so when I set out to develop this, my thinking was to design a mission, so to speak.”
But that isn’t to say that the series was not considered for television. According to Eick, “I think where the confusion is that for a moment, the network, after seeing the script, said, “Gee, we don’t want to rule out the possibility of just advocating the online venture altogether and throwing this up as a pilot for a traditional series to Syfy.”
Pasqualino talked about the daunting task of stepping into Edward James Olmos shoes as the younger William Adama. Pasqualino admitted to not ever having watched Battlestar Galactica and decided the best course of action in taking the role was to remain in the dark. “The furthest thing from my mind,” he stated, “was watching anything that Edward James Olmos had done because I think you’re seeing this guy, this William Adama character, at two completely different ages and two completely different stages in his life.”
Pasqualino did say that he watched the first (and only) season of Caprica in order to get a feel for the universe. He said, “Mr. David Eick made that a priority, kind of homework for me really and I loved it. To be part of the Battlestar franchise now and to be welcomed on board as this young William Adama character is truly, truly an honor and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”
So will we discover what happened to William Adama between being a young boy on Caprica to a young man on Blood & Chrome? Eick answered that question: “I certainly think we had every intention of exploring that interesting conflict between the William Adama who’s committed himself to fighting in a war, whose father we’ve come to know in Caprica, who might have a very strong opinion against it.”
If you have seen the videos, you’ll know that the visual effects are absolutely stunning, especially for a web series. So what was the secret? Eick pointed out that instead of using a third party visual effects studio, like making television series have to do, they kept the work in-house. Not only did this allow them to produce something that looked big budget, he said that the truth was that it cost a lot less and allowed them to do more with the series. Eick said, “I think because of those factors, we’ve been able to create something that feels completely different from the Battlestar that people may have seen three and four years ago, but that nevertheless retains a certain echo of what we had done so the fans still feel like they’re immersed in that same universe.”
In reference to the green screens used during production, Pasqualino elaborated, “When I first came onto set and I saw this huge sound studio just full of green, I thought I was in some kind of field somewhere.” For him, the key was all about honest acting. “I think to try and pull yourself out of the fact that you’re actually working on a green screen and focus as much as you can on the material, the heart of the writing just became so much more important that we didn’t even think about the green screen in the surroundings that we had.”
In fact, Pasqualino praised the use of green screen for the project. “I didn’t realize how lucky we were to be doing this all on green screen,” he said. “It’s taking slightly longer to air, but we had this opportunity to take this journey anywhere we wanted because we could literally put any kind of backdrop we wanted into this kind of sci-fi, Battlestar Galactica world.”
What about the cylons? How do we see them just before they evolve to take on human form? Eick explained, “I think what the viewers of this Blood & Chrome story will discover is that as the Cylons embark on their decision to mimic and surpass human beings, which is a storyline that those who watch Battlestar Galactica knows all too well, they didn’t do it overnight.”
So will we see more Blood & Chrome in the future? Eick was hopeful, “There was absolutely the kind of very organic kind of evolution of where we leave the characters at the end of this story and what we would pursue as our next tale. And I’m very hopeful and optimistic that we’ll be doing that soon.”
That makes me extremely happy. I think we’ll all want more.
Speaking of which, check out episodes 3 & 4 below: