The new Battlestar Galactica series is one of the most anticipated releases among fans of the sci-fi genre. Its reboot, or rather a re-imagining, was announced in September 2019, listing Mike Lesslie as its writer and showrunner. However, the new Battlestar Galactica series has run into trouble due to Mike Lesslie’s departure from the project.
His recent departure from the new series was announced by Deadline, reporting that Lesslie changed focus towards TV adaptations of Margaret Atwood’s book Maddaddam, writing the pilot script and exec producing the pilot for the show. This announced the writer’s departure from the Battlestar Galactica project, leaving the positions of Galactica’s world builder and writer of the new Battlestar Galactica vacant.
Mike Lesslie is a lifelong devotee of the Battlestar Galactica universe, with a massive writer’s portfolio. He’s credited with scripts for Macbeth and Assassin’s Creed, a Netflix contemporary screenplay Hamlet, and The Little Drummer Girl.
The show was initially announced as the reboot of SYFY’s Battlestar Galactica, which became immensely popular during its four-season run from 2004 to 2009. However, the series executive producer, Sam Esmail, clarified that the new title wouldn’t be a reboot but “a new story within a mythology.” The new story and its narrative, which were supposed to come from the pen of Michael Lesslie, would take place in the same universe as the SYFY show, making the new series more of a spin-off and less of a reboot.
The SYFY version of the story was actually a reboot of ABC’s original TV show Battlestar Galactica from 1978, which was a massive rating success in the initial months of its release. However, it had a noticeable dip in ratings from October 1978 to March 1979, and the series’ increasingly negative criticism lead ABC executives to a decision to cancel the show in mid-April 1979. Isaac Asimov, a prolific science-fiction writer, even criticized the original series as a Star Wars rip-off.
Despite the viewership outrage and protest outside the ABC studios, the story of the original Battlestar Galactica remained in the dark until it was re-imagined by Ronald D. Moore in 2004. Though the core of the original story remained pretty much the same, the reboot added much-needed depth to the characters and overall story, scoring positive reviews among the audience and critics.
Sam Esmail sought Moore’s blessing before developing the project for NBC’s streamer service, Peacock. He didn’t disclose any further details on the project, apart from the fact that it won’t be a reboot of Moore’s Battlestar Galactica. The new show is still in pre-production, and we can only speculate the manners in which Lesslie’s departure affected its development.
The remaining development team, including Sam Esmail, will have to work through all the story details without Lesslie at their sides. Finding a talented writer like Lesslie will likely take time, which can only prolong the series’ development. There’s very little detail about the project apart from Lesslie’s departure, and NBC made no statements or announcements on who’s replacing Mike Lesslie as the series’ showrunner.