Battlestar Galactica Dark Ages Offer Up A Mysterious Era

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

A quality of the Battlestar Galactica reboot that doesn’t get enough love is how much quiet worldbuilding is going on in the background of various episodes. For example, the show has a deep lore involving a 13th tribe that left Kobol in an attempt to locate a planet named Earth. When a fan asked Battlestar Galactica showrunner Moore why so little information was available for an event that occurred only 2,000 years ago, he revealed that this universe had its own secret Dark Ages.

Lost History

The only reason we know about Battlestar Galactica having Dark Ages is because a fan asked Moore a very pointed question. As he pointed out, the 13th tribe had to have highly advanced technology to leave their world and travel the stars in search of a specific planet 2,000 years earlier. In the show’s present day, all of the details about this tribe had become the stuff of myth and legend, and the fan was wondering how this technologically advanced culture would have seemingly lost all information about such an important event.

Our Own Dark Ages

The Battlestar Galactica fan’s question is a good one, especially when you consider our own Dark Ages. This is the term used to describe a period of time following the fall of the Roman Empire. That empire’s collapse led to a lack of scientific and cultural advancement as well as recordkeeping, meaning that we just don’t know that much about what happened during this 500-year (give or take) period.

The fan asking the question wanted to know how a culture that had mastered intergalactic travel would lose information about something that only happened 2,000 years ago. According to Ronald D. Moore, “I’ve been presupposing some kind of cataclysm or crisis that occurred soon after mankind settled on the 12 worlds, which either wiped out the knowledge base or had it deliberately destroyed for some reason.”

Moore Isn’t Interested In Exploring It

The Battlestar Galactica showrunner pointed out that the idea of this wasn’t all that far-fetched because of our own historical Dark Ages in which “a tremendous amount of knowledge from the Greco-Roman tradition was lost after the fall of the Roman Empire.”

In other words, Battlestar Galactica is a show that has its own Dark Ages as part of the fictional lore. However, Moore was the first to admit that he wasn’t all that interested in revealing the specifics to audiences. 

Some Mysteries Are better Left Unsolved

For one thing, he himself wasn’t entirely sure what the “cataclysm or crisis” was when he answered the fan. For another, he was uninterested in exploring the answer onscreen, wanting instead to focus on the present mythology and the drama between these different characters. Plus, while Moore might not appreciate the observation, the show’s clumsy series finale is proof positive that some mysteries are better left completely unexplained and up to audiences to decide for themselves.

Fans Need To Have Faith

While some Battlestar Galactica fans may find that lack of explanation frustrating, we like the idea that the show’s Dark Ages is something we’ll never get a full explanation for. If nothing else, this helps us feel connected with our favorite characters because, like them, we can only speculate about the exact events that occurred thousands of years in the past. Such interpretation of the past is always a personal act of faith…is there anything more fitting for a show so intimately tied to religion?