Before There Was Ron Moore’s BSG Reboot, There Was Richard Hatch’s Second Coming

By David Wharton | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

Ron Moore’s Sci-Fi Channel reboot of the cult classic series Battlestar Galactica may have been the subject of considerable controversy over how it ended, but it’s still widely regarded as one of the better shows Sci-Fi/Syfy ever produced. But all these years later, it’s easy to forget that Moore wasn’t the person trying to resurrect BSG back in the day. Before Moore’s dark, cerebral series was launched in 2004, a BSG veteran had spent years trying to sell his own version, and you can see a bit of what he had in mind in the trailer above, for Richard Hatch’s Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming.

Hatch played Captain Apollo in the original BSG series, which ran for one season beginning in September 1978 (but not in the Galactica 1980 spinoff). Hatch was eager to get that old horse up and running again, and over the years he wrote various novels set within the original BSG universe. He took things up a notch in 1998, when he produced a half-hour pilot in hopes of selling Universal on the concept of a new BSG TV series. Enlisting fellow BSG actors John Colicos (Baltar), Terry Carter (Col. Tigh), and Jack Stauffer (Bojay) — but not Dirk Benedict, who played Starbuck — Hatch wrote and co-directed The Second Coming. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can see at least a small part of that pilot up top.

While Universal didn’t bite, The Second Coming was a popular attraction as Hatch worked the convention circuit, and I’m sure it probably got fans of the original series fired up. When NBC pulled the trigger on Moore’s reboot, Hatch wasn’t shy about his disappointment, telling Sci-Fi Pulse in 2004 that he “had, over the past several years, bonded deeply with the original characters and story… writing the novels and the comic books and really campaigning to bring back the show.”

It all worked out in the long run, however; Hatch eventually joined the new BSG in the role of Tom Zarek, a former terrorist turned politician. Oddly enough, his well-publicized initial disdain toward Moore’s show unquestionably helped him land a role that was better written and more interesting than Apollo ever had been, and a new generation of fans got to see him strut his dramatic stuff in a major way. Even if Hatch becoming Zarek is all that ever came of it, The Second Coming remains an intriguing footnote in the history of science fiction.

As for BSG itself, the property has remained untouched since the end of the Caprica prequel series was canceled — just like its 1970s progenitor — after a single season. For a while Bryan Singer was trying to put together a feature film version that would have ignored Moore’s show, but it was reported as being “on hold” last February, with Singer having shifted his focus to X-Men: Days of Future Past. At the time he speculated that he might return to the BSG movie after that, but given that he’s already planning yet another X-Men follow-up film, I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for Singer to reboard the Galactica.