All 7 Battlestar Galactica Reboot Characters From The Original Show (& How They’re Different)

Ronald D Moore’s Battlestar Galactica reboot retained several characters from the original show, and made significant changes to their backstories and relationships. A darker reimagining of Glen A Larson’s Mormon sci-fi adventure series, the 2004 version of Battlestar Galactica was a timely tale of humanity’s relationship with technology. As the lines between human and artificial intelligence blur further, Battlestar Galactica continues to be as relevant today as it was almost a decade ago. It’s the show’s continued relevance that makes the prospect of a potential reboot so difficult for anyone wishing to follow in Moore’s footsteps.

Another challenge facing a new Battlestar Galactica would be how it approaches the core characters from the original series. As Ronald D Moore’s 2004 reboot fleshed out the original characters beyond the sci-fi archetypes of Larson’s BSG, it’s hard to see what direction a second reboot could take. Although Moore’s Battlestar Galactica didn’t bring back every character from the original series, it certainly covered the key figures, and added new layers to their stories.

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7 Starbuck


One of the smartest changes Ronald D Moore made to the original Battlestar Galactica was to turn names like Starbuck and Apollo into callsigns. Starbuck was the callsign of Kara Thrace (Katee Sackhoff), who was a female version of the character played by Dirk Benedict in the original show. Both Benedict’s Starbuck and Sackhoff’s Kara enjoyed to smoke cigars and gamble, and both characters were very fond of the opposite sex. However, Starbuck in the reboot briefly settled down with Samuel T. Anders (Michael Trucco) while harboring feelings for the brother of her former fiancé.

However, where the original Starbuck was an uncomplicated hero, Katee Sackhoff’s Kara Thrace was a more complex figure. She came from a broken home, and was a survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of her mother. Kara’s fate in the BSG reboot was also more explicitly theological than the hints previously made in Starbuck’s Battlestar Galactica: 1980 story. In Moore’s reboot, Starbuck fulfilled her destiny as a messenger of the Gods, who delivered the Fleet to their home on prehistoric Earth.

6 Adama

Edward James Olmos as Bill Adama and Lorne Green as Commander Adama in Battlestar Galactica

The biggest difference between Edward James Olmos’ Commander Bill Adama and Lorne Greene’s original Adama is their politics. In the original Battlestar Galactica, Adama was the head of BSG‘s governing body, the Quorum of Twelve, who operated under martial law. In Moore’s BSG reboot, he changed this by introducing the character of President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), who consulted Adama on military matters. The Quorum was also better attended in Moore’s reboot, containing a representative of each of the 12 Colonies. This more robust portrayal of government helped Moore explore the timely political themes during the War on Terror.

Adama’s family was also slightly different in the reboot. His son was still Apollo, in this case Lee “Apollo” Adama (Jamie Bamber), but he had no daughter like his original series counterpart. Kara Thrace was a surrogate daughter for Adama throughout Moore’s Battlestar Galactica. Kara was engaged to Bill’s other son Zak, who died in a tragic flight accident. This tragedy bonded Kara with Lee and Bill Adama throughout Battlestar Galactica. It was a slightly different take on the Zac Adama character from the original Battlestar Galactica series, who was killed while attempting to alert the Colonies of the Cylon threat.

5 Apollo

Jamie Bamber as Lee Adama and Richard Hatch as Tom Zarek in Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica‘s original Apollo, Richard Hatch, was the only original star to feature in the reboot, starring as political activist Tom Zarek. His Apollo counterpart in the reboot, Lee Adama had a very different relationship with Starbuck. In the original series, Apollo and Starbuck were close friends and allies, but the reboot took this further. Lee and Kara’s relationship quickly became overtly romantic, but their romance didn’t run smoothly. Both Starbuck and Apollo were married to others, but their marriages collapsed when they could no longer ignore their feelings for one another.

Interestingly, Apollo’s fate in the original Battlestar Galactica mirrored that of Starbuck in the reboot. Both Apollo and Starbuck were apparently killed before being resurrected by beings of light for a mysterious purpose. In Glen A Larson’s proposed second season of BSG, Apollo would resign his commission, having grown disillusioned with losing other pilots. Although the original Apollo would have taken a more hedonistic direction, it’s similar to Lee’s story in Battlestar Galactica‘s final season, when he resigned from the Fleet to pursue a career in the law.

4 Saul Tigh

Michael Hogan as Saul Tigh and Terry Carter as the original Saul Tigh

In both versions of Battlestar Galactica, Colonel Saul Tigh was a close friend of Adama, who was tough on the young pilots under his command. The Battlestar Galactica reboot’s Saul Tigh had a much harder time than his original series counterpart. Saul was brutally tortured by the Cylons on New Caprica and lost both his wife Ellen (Kate Vernon) and one of his eyes. The most radical departure from the original Saul Tigh was that the reboot’s version was revealed to be one of the Final Five Humanoid Cylons in the BSG season 3 finale.

3 Boomer

Grace Park as Boomer and Herb Jefferson Jr as Boomer in Battlestar Galactica

Sharon “Boomer” Valerii (Grace Park) was, like her original series counterpart, a Viper pilot who served alongside Starbuck and Apollo. Boomer was another of Battlestar Galactica‘s gender-flipped characters, who had an infinitely more fascinating arc than her namesake. Boomer was revealed to be a Cylon sleeper in the shocking season 1 cliffhanger, when she attempted to assassinate Adama. Sharon was killed and resurrected several times during Battlestar Galactica, and was eventually revealed to be the mother of the half-Human, half-Cylon Hera, who provided the genetic building blocks for prehistoric humanity in BSG‘s divisive finale. The original Boomer was essentially a sidekick to Apollo and Starbuck, and eventually rose to the role of Executive Officer in Battlestar Galactica: 1980.

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2 Cain

Lloyd Bridges and Michelle Forbes as Cain in Battlestar Galactica

The biggest difference between Michelle Forbes’ Helena Cain in the BSG reboot and Lloyd Bridges original was their relative ranks. In the original Battlestar Galactica, Cain was a Commander like Adama, but due to the latter’s position in the Quorum, he overruled Cain’s reckless plan to combat the Cylons. In the reboot, Helena Cain rose to the position of Admiral, and the return of her Battlestar Pegasus led to tensions within the Fleet.

Like her namesake, Cain was also blinded by her hatred of the Cylons and she prioritized gaining the military advantage against her enemies over the welfare of the civilians within the Fleet. When Cain was murdered by her Cylon lover, Adama took back control of the Fleet, but refused to condemn Cain’s actions. He believed that, while she made some poor decisions, nobody could truly understand how the Pegasus’ isolation from the Fleet had psychologically impacted its crew.

1 Baltar

James Callis and John Colicos as Baltar in Battlestar Galactica

Of all the original Battlestar Galactica characters to be drastically changed in Ronald D Moore’s reboot, the character of Count Baltar (John Colicos) is the biggest. While both Baltars ultimately betray their species to the Cylons at the start of each version of Battlestar Galactica, their motivations are very different. The version played by Star Trek actor John Colicos is a power hungry tyrant who believes the Cylons will deliver him political control of the Quorum of the Twelve. However, they use Baltar’s lust for power against him, and use him as a pawn to destroy the Colonies.

The less grandly named Gaius Baltar (James Callis) in the Battlestar Galactica reboot also has his lust used against him. The humanoid Cylon Number Six (Tricia Helfer) seduced Baltar to gain access to the Command Navigation Program to shut down the Colonial Fleet ahead of the devastating Cylon attack. Baltar’s lust ultimately led to a holocaust, but despite this, he continued with his amoral ways. The original series’ Baltar was a melodramatic villain figure, while the reboot’s version was far more complex and compelling.

Both Baltars ultimately helped the Fleet, with the original series version providing the information required to destroy a Cylon basestar. In the Battlestar Galactica reboot, Gaius Baltar led a disastrous attempt to colonize New Caprica, and opposed President Laura Roslin. However, he did eventually redeem himself by staying to fight alongside both Cylon and Colonists to save Hera Agathon, the key to humanity’s survival. In the Battlestar Galactica finale, the two Baltars’ stories intertwined as they ultimately did the right thing to secure the Fleet’s survival.

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