Battlestar Galactica Showrunner Shocked By Star Trek Resemblance

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Normally, there isn’t much in common between Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek, and that’s by design. After years of writing for shows like The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, BSG showrunner Ronald D. Moore set out to tell the kind of gritty, realistic tale that just wouldn’t work in Gene Roddenberry’s universe. However, the two franchises nonetheless have one hilarious thing in common: like fans all around the world, Moore is freaked out by how closely Baltar actor James Callis and Bashir actor Alexander Siddig resemble one another.

Alexander Siddig As Dr. Julian Bashir

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

For this behind-the-scenes Battlestar Galactica story to make any sense, we’re going to new to quickly discuss Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. One of the characters on that show was Dr. Bashir, played very memorably by Alexander Siddig. While the talented actor has had many other acting gigs (including a fun stint on Game of Thrones), he is still best known to sci-fi fans as the fresh-faced young doctor who traveled to the edge of the galaxy for the joys of practicing frontier medicine. 

James Callis As Gaius Baltar

Battlestar Galactica gaius baltar

Meanwhile, on Battlestar Galactica, future Star Trek star (more on this soon) James Callis played Gaius Baltar, a computer scientist and AI expert whose knowledge is very in demand after the robotic Cylons wipe out almost all of humanity. Unbeknownst to anyone else, though, is that Baltar unknowingly helped a Cylon destroy the planet Caprica and he is both assisted and tormented by a version of that Cylon who lives in his head. In other words, Bashir and Baltar are two completely different characters, but fans have now spent two decades excitedly discussing the one way they are arguably very similar. 

The Bashir/Baltar Connection

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

In short, many fans of both franchises think that the two stars of Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine look remarkably alike. Discussion of this topic was so fervent back in the day that one fan wrote to Ronald D. Moore, asking the creator, “Does James Callis’ uncanny resemblance to Alexander Siddig in almost every way ever freak you out?” In response, Moore claimed that he had never noticed the resemblance until he read discussions of it online and “now I’m totally freaked.”

Picard Brings It Back Full-Circle

Star Trek: Picard

Because of that honest freakout, we imagine that the Battlestar Galactica showrunner was just as weirded out as the rest of us during season 2 of the Star Trek: The Next Generation spinoff, Picard. That show gave its title character an unnecessarily tragic backstory involving the suicide of his mother and a strained relationship with his father. In flashback-style scenes, the father was played by James Callis, and those early online discussions came full circle as countless confused Star Trek fans began wondering why the Gaius Baltar actor was playing Picard’s dad.

Cylon Manipulation, Or Coincidence?

At any rate, as fans of both Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek, we find it slightly reassuring that even Ronald D. More is weirded out by how much Bashir and Baltar resemble each other, right down to their English accents. That resemblance has been driving us nuts for 20 years, and we’re taking a cold comfort from the fact that Moore has been suffering right there with us. Weirdly enough, we only discover that his father is played by Baltar after Picard is turned into a humanoid robot, making all of this feel more than a little bit like one more unresolved Cylon plot.