Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's Increasingly Likely That The Late "Leslie Stevens" Deserves a Co-Creation Credit For The "1978 Battlestar Galactica" Series


What is it that Glen A. Larson has repeatedly claimed and said over the years? That he is the sole creator of the "1978 Battlestar Galactica" series and that "Star Trek" co-producer Gene Coon had been mentoring him from 1968 to 1973 over the development of the two following ideas which Glen A. Larson claims eventually became "Battlestar Galactica" in 1978....

1. A "Howard Hughes" type house turns into a spaceship and transports Earth's brightest scientists into outer space.

2. The origins of mankind originated in outer space and not here on Earth. A nod to "Chariots of the Gods."

Now, when I was reading the endless interviews with Glen A. Larson in 1978 at the time "Battlestar Galactica" debuted, in such magazines as "Starlog" and "Fantastic Films", I kept asking myself....

"OK, so how did the two above ideas somehow and miraculously morph into a fleet of Battlestars off in deep space waiting to sign a peace treaty with the Cylon Empire after a 1000 yahren war? A fleet of five Battlestars with an initial mission of deep star exploration and the simultaneous routine defense of 12 planets named after the zodiac signs? With "Cylon Basestars", "Colonial Vipers", "Colonial Warriors", and eventual exodus from those 12 worlds?"

Hollywood is a cruel place. And many times, credit is not given where credit is due. Now, I am not suggesting that Glen A. Larson is necessarily cruel, but I am suggesting that he has never satisfactorily explained how his two ideas Gene Coon guided him in developing, miraculously morphed into a Battlestar fleet off in deep space, with the human population eventually heading to Earth.

Now, I am going to look at this situation from the most optimistic vantage point I can, and attempt to give Glen A. Larson as much benefit of the doubt as I can.

Simultaneous creation has occurred at the same time in the past in Hollywood. Many times in the past. One situation I vividly recall is when J. Michael Straczynski was in the middle of creating of "Babylon 5" at the very same time Rick Berman was in the middle of creating "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." Neither creator knew at the time that the other production was being developed. Both series set on a space station. Both series with humanoid extra-terrestrials coming and going.

In the case of the "1978 Battlestar Galactica" series, I think a much more interesting variation on that fact occurred.

Extrapolating on what "Saga of a Star World" co-director Alan J. Levi said at one time....

"Leslie Stevens was shopping around a really terrific script on the Universal lot in the summer of 1977."

Alan J. Levi elaborated no further. I am going to elaborate further based upon conjecture....

That script was about a Battlestar fleet off in deep space waiting to rendezvous with the Cylon Empire to sign a peace treaty. Possibly containing the following terms:

1. Battlestar
2. Baseship
3. Colonial Warriors
4. Cylon Centurions
5. Colonial Viper
6. Cylon Raider
7. Cimtar
8. Cylon Tanker
9. Core Command (The Bridge)
10. Imperious Leader / Imperious Leader Chambers
11. Galactica
12. 12 Worlds (12 planets) named after the zodiac signs
13. Ovions
14. Carillon
15. Count Baltar

This is where I believe Glen A. Larson came in. His two ideas he had been refining for five years under Gene Coon's guidance turned into a script consisting of...

1. 12 planets
2. A reverse of the "Howard Hughes" concept with ancient astronauts heading to Earth.
3. A Moses like lead character (Adama) leading these people to Earth.
4. This Moses like character having his family with him (Apollo, Athena.)
5. These ancient astronauts (Adama, Apollo, Athena) having built the pyramids once they reached Earth.
7. A sort of "Council of 12" among these ancient astronauts rooted in Mormon theology.
8. Many other Mormon beliefs sprinkled throughout what Glen A. Larson had developed, including "what you are I once was, and what I am now you may become" - (Count Iblis.)

I can only conclude that what ultimately became the "1978 Battlestar Galactica" series was the merging of ideas between Leslie Stevens and Glen A. Larson into one miraculous, cohesive whole.

 For whatever reason, the late Leslie Stevens never received a "Co-Creator" credit for the series.

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