Looking at unmade Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror films and television…
After the cancellation of Battlestar Galactica (1978 – 1979) the show returned as a cheaper far less popular spin-off Galactica 1980.
Battlestar Galactica was a popular but expensive series that appeared in the 1978 – 1979 season. For the ratings it eventually received, the cost was too high and it was axed. However failure of the shows replacing it lead the network to renege and request a less expensive version and Galactica 1980 was born. A smaller cast and Earth setting made the show cheaper, but left without direction and a series of lackluster episodes.
The tenth episode “The Return of Starbuck” broke the mold of the series, consisting of a flashback to what happened to original cast member Starbuck and is considered the sole good episode of the spin-off.
A follow-up episode, “The Wheel of Fire” was written, featuring the return of the Ship of Lights from the original series episodes “War of the Gods” part 1 & 2 and “Experiment in Terra.”
After a battle with Cylon Raiders, Troy ending up captured by the Ship of Light and is greeted by Starbuck, who now works with the beings from the Ship of Lights and has evolved to another plane of existence. Starbuck then helps Troy chase series villain Dr Xavier by sending him back to 592BC, with the Cylon Radier becoming the Wheel of Fire of Ezekiel.
The script is available a number of places online, including here.
Just prior to the commencement of filming of episode eleven, “The Day They Kidnapped Cleopatra” the series was cancelled, leaving “The Wheel of Fire” unmade.
- There is some suggestion that “The Wheel of Fire” may have led to a new direction for Galactica 1980, focused on Starbuck as an agent for the beings for the Ship of Lights, like Apollo in “Experiment in Terra” if the show had not been cancelled.
- Media that continues the original Battlestar Galactica generally ignore Galactica 1980, and even creator Glen A Larson says it can be explained away as a computer simulation.
- Donald P Bellisario, a writer/producer for the original Battlestar Galactica and helped develop the original premise of Galactica 1980, went on to create Quantum Leap has many similarities with “Experiment in Terra” and the suggested future direction of Galactica 1980, although Bellisario has denied any connection.