‘Battlestar Galactica': Moore, McDonnell talk sci-fi gender equality

June 10, 2014 | 1:16 p.m.
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"Battlestar Galactica" actor Jamie Bamber, left, his wife, Kerry Norton, actor Edward James Olmos, actress Mary McDonnell and creator and writer Ronald D. Moore during the 2014 Hero Complex Film Festival at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood on Saturday. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

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From left, "Battlestar Galactica" creator Ronald D. Moore, actor Edward James Olmos, Hero Complex editor Gina McIntyre, actress Mary McDonnell and actor Jamie Bamber on stage during a tribute to the series at the 2014 Hero Complex Film Festival at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood on Saturday. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

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"Battlestar Galactica" creator and writer Ronald D. Moore, left, answers questions as actor Edward James Olmos listens during the 2014 Hero Complex Film Festival at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood on Saturday. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

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Mary McDonnell and Jamie Bamber discuss their work on "Battlestar Galactica" during the 2014 Hero Complex Film Festival at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)

When “Battlestar Galactica” creator Ronald D. Moore first considered rebooting the late-1970s franchise, he was intrigued by the idea of upending the dynamic between pilots Apollo and Starbuck — so he opted to cast Katee Sackhoff  as rogue fighter pilot Kara “Starbuck” Thrace.

Switching up the character’s gender proved to be a controversial move at the outset, but at a recent appearance at the Hero Complex Film Festival, Moore said the decision spoke volumes about the world he wanted to create.

“It became something that was a hallmark of the show that this society in this world, they have a different history than we did — [gender inequality] is not part of their history,” Moore said. “It’s not really part of their cultural conversation.”

The fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival, which took place at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood, opened with a free fan screening of the 2003 “Battlestar Galactica” miniseries, the three-hour special that provided the foundation for the acclaimed 2004-09 program. The show chronicled the efforts of a band of survivors to find a new home planet after a devastating attack by a race of beings called Cylons nearly eradicated humanity.

Moore was joined on stage at the event by actors Edward James Olmos, who played the venerable commander, William Adama; Mary McDonnell, who played President Laura Roslin; and Jamie Bamber, who played Lee “Apollo” Adama, for an in-depth Q&A that covered many facets of the beloved series, including its interesting take on gender politics.

“It seemed very organic to me when genders flipped, but I think that comes from Ron’s respect for the masculine and the feminine,” McDonnell said.

Watch the clip above to hear what else Moore and the actors had to say, and look for more video from the festival soon.

– Jevon Phillips

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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