10:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
'Battlestar Galactica: Six' Reveals Origins of Show's Popular Cylon
Five years after Ronald Moore's critically-acclaimed revision of Battlestar Galactica went off the air, Dynamite Entertainment is about to reveal that the Cylons still have a plan with the announcement of an all-new spin-off series, Battlestar Galactica: Six. A new five issue series set before the Syfy series, Six sees writer J.T. Krul and artist Igor Vitornio tell the origin story of the franchise's central Cylon (played by Tricia Helfer on the show), as she is taught to both understand humanity -- and work towards their eventual annihilation.
"I think the psychological aspect of the Cylons as they try to understand what it means to be 'human' rests at the very heart and soul of the show," Krul told THR. "You have the last humans fighting for survival and trying to maintain their humanity in the process -- while at the same time, you have the Cylons hunting after them become more and more human as their exposure continues. The line between human and Cylon gets blurred rather quickly and it made for one hell of a drama. Seriously, Ronald Moore created one of the best television shows of the past two decades. The minute Nick and people at Dynamite started making Battlestar Galactica comics I wanted to be a part of it."
Dynamite has been publishing Battlestar Galactica for eight years, although more recently, the publisher has focused on the original incarnation of the franchise with a series by fan-favorites Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Six marks the first reboot-era BSG title for the publisher since 2009's The Final Five mini-series, something Krul hopes to make worth the wait.
The writer promises that Six and her fellow next generation Cylons may surprise fans of the show in this series. "If you think about it, the original designs flee into outer space -- wandering the solar system for years as they work to create this next evolution of Cylon -- one that looks and acts human," he said. "They are trying to create what they think is a human being. The physical characteristics are pretty straight forward, but the psychological aspects -- those are so complex and nuanced. I mean, I think humans in real life have trouble coping with our own existence, so why wouldn't a Cylon have the same issues?"
Although the series goes deep into the BSG mythology, Krul said that the focus is on Six's psychological development. In order to complete her mission, he explained, the Cylon has to comprehend human emotion, but also the human fear of death -- something that the Cylons, with their downloads at the moment of termination, can't entirely comprehend.
"In a weird way, Cylons are almost like humans with a complete and absolute faith in the concept of reincarnation. They know that if something happens to their body, they will wake up again in another one just the same. The body or the shell doesn't really matter. Their existence will be saved, transmitted - their soul will transcend," he said. "If only we could all have that blessing of certainty."
There's more to the series -- and to Six's development -- than simply understanding her creators, however. "She must also come to the proper conclusion regarding the conflict between the Cylons and the human." Krul teased, suggesting that that conclusion may include grappling with the idea that the Cylons "should and must destroy all humanity, both as retribution and as a means of self-defense. In order to reach the next level, the Cylons must kill their own creator gods."
If this sounds like heady stuff, it's something that Krul -- whose comic work includes Green Arrow and Captain Atom for DC, as well as Fathom for Top Cow -- enjoys writing. "I am huge Dystopian fiction fan," he admitted, citing Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World as influences. "I love these kinds of stories because, while they create rich and engaging worlds, they are still essentially telling stories about the human condition - with the search for love and true human connection almost always at the forefront. It's definitely given me the bug to keep telling stories along this kind of vibe."
Battlestar Galactica: Six launches in April. If you can't wait until then, below are the covers to the first issue, as well as some preview art from series artist Vitornio.