By Your Command: Javier Grillo-Marxuach talks Classic Battlestar Galactica Mini

With the newest incarnation of the "Battlestar Galactica" TV series and current comic book from Dynamite Entertainment burning up the airwaves and flying off the shelves, fans of the original '70s version of the TV show are left to wait and wonder when they'll get a new chapter in the classic saga to call their own. Well, wonder no more because your wait is over as writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach of TV's "Lost" and Dynamite Entertainment are all set to bring you "Battlestar Galactica: Cylon Apocalypse," a new mini-series based on the classic TV show and scheduled for an early 2007 release. CBR News caught up with Grillo-Marxuach recently to get all the frackin' details.

Grillo-Marxuach's comic book treatment of the classic series centers on the usual cast of characters: Adama, Apollo, Starbuck and many of the other beloved characters absent from the current TV show and other comic book adaptations. When starting out to tell his version of a "Battlestar Galactica" story, Grillo-Marxuach wanted to make certain most, if not all, of the characters from the classic show were on active duty and ready to defend the fleet against the Cylons.

"I took it as a challenge to work in as many characters from the series as I could within the narrative thrust of the story," Grillo-Marxuach told CBR News. "It's not just Starbuck, Apollo and Adama. I also tried to give a flavor for characters like Jolly, Greenbean, Bojay, Sheba, Athena, Dr. Wilker, Salik, Omega, Boxey, etc. It was important for me to show that there's all kinds in the rag-tag fleet." He even included certain robotic pets that often caused fans of the original series to either cringe or smile or sometimes both. "I even found a place for Muffit the Daggit. You gotta have Daggits."

Grillo-Marxuach also took the same thoughtful approach when working out the details of the story that would eventually become "Cylon Apocalypse." He wanted to make sure his story was original and compelling, but also stayed true to the established world of the classic series. In addition, he really wanted to craft a story with an epic scope not possible given the restrictions imposed on a TV series. "It's the kind of story that could have been told in the series - if they'd had a hundred million dollar episodic budget and CGI effects," said Grillo-Marxuach.

"It's a big, epic war story about Adama having to make a daring forward assault on the Cylons even as he has to protect his fleet and more importantly his ethics," Grillo-Marxuach explained. "It's also a story about Starbuck balancing his roguish nature with a growing understanding of his own mortality. And it's also about blowing up the frackin' bad guys. A lot of frackin' bad guys."

While Grillo-Marxuach acknowledges and was certainly careful to stay within the established boundaries of classic "Battlestar Galactica," he also wanted to challenge himself as a writer and try something a little different and perhaps push the characters and situations in new and unique directions. "The place where I did allow myself to bring in some new blood was on the Cylon side. I wanted to create a crisis in the Cylon leadership without treading on some of the territory that the new series is exploring so splendidly. In this miniseries, you will get a little more of a glimpse of the Cylon hierarchy and see them suppress a serious threat from within," said Grillo-Marxuach.

Writing comic books may seem, to some, like an unusual choice for a seasoned and successful TV writer like Grillo-Marxuach to make. But he would be the first to say that his journey from the tropical island in "Lost" to the darkness of space in "Battlestar Galactica" is not unusual in the least. Why? For one simple reason: He is a huge "Battlestar Galactica" fan from way back. "The original series is a huge touchstone from my childhood -- so yeah, I have huge, honkin' geek love for 'Battlestar,'" said Grillo-Marxuach.

His love for the classic series was never better expressed than when he was first approached about working with Dynamite Entertainment. During that meeting, it wasn't long before he heard something he was thrilled about and jumped at the chance to work on a "Battlestar Galactica" comic book. "Nick at Dynamite approached me about doing something with them and by the time he got done mentioning that he had the license for the classic 'Battlestar,' I already had a story I was desperate to tell," said Grillo-Marxuach.

It has been over twenty years since the original "Battlestar Galactica" TV series first aired, but it has seen a resurgence in popularity of late, mostly due to the success of the new TV incarnation. Plus, sci-fi fans are notoriously fanatical and work meticulously to understand every nuance of a particular show that they love. This makes them a very tough audience. And even though Grillo-Marxuach clearly has a great deal of love and respect for the classic TV show and the hard-core fans, do the fans have anything to worry about when they open the pages of this comic book and start reading? Will the story and characters resonate and be welcomed or will fans be disappointed?

"I can't guarantee that someone isn't going to pick up this book and decide that I have somehow been untrue to the spirit of the original, or, more importantly, what the original has come to mean to them. What I can tell you is that with 'Cylon Apocalypse' I wanted to tell a story that felt to me like the series I loved: a big, dramatic spectacle with likeable, sometimes roguish characters who face down larger-than-life decisions in a heroic way. Hopefully I have accomplished that," said Grillo-Marxuach.

So classic "Battlestar Galactica" fans your time has come. Finally, something you can call your own. A new chapter in the epic saga of the rag-tag fugitive fleet, fleeing from the Cylon tyranny in search of a shining planet called Earth. Like the Cylons, Javier Grillo-Marxuach commands you to go out and give his new "Battlestar Galactica" comic book a try. It may not save you from extermination by the Cylons, but it promises to be a frackin' good time.

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