One Word Created Countless Battlestar Galactica Fan Theories

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Back in its heyday, part of the fun of watching Battlestar Galactica was trying to figure out where this ambitious story was going to go next. Fans created elaborate theories about things like who the Six in Baltar’s head was and, of course, who was secretly a Cylon. However, from the very beginning, just a single word in the Battlestar Galactica miniseries has driven countless fan theories: Colonel Tigh references Jesus Christ, someone that the end of the show makes clear would not have been born until well after the series finale.

Space Jesus

For this Battlestar Galactica story to make any frakking sense, we need to review Tigh’s mention of Jesus Christ and how it led to some wild fan theories. It all goes back to the miniseries establishing that Tigh, as a drunk career military officer, really hates Starbuck, the hotshot young pilot who doesn’t care about rules and regulations. At one point, he goads Starbuck into a fight while she is kicking butt at poker, prompting the hotheaded pilot into slugging her superior officer.

An Argument Over Starbuck

This leads to Tigh threatening to press charges against Starbuck, an action that Commander Adama (who has a very sweet spot for his best pilot) talks the man out of doing. Adama points out that Tigh had been drinking and made the first aggressive move by kicking over the poker table, and then he begins praising Starbuck’s piloting skills. Adama says, “She’s better than I am…Twice as good as you,” prompting Tigh to respond “like hell, Jesus.”

Flew In The Face Of The Lords Of Kobol

When this happened in the Battlestar Galactica miniseries, the reference to Jesus Christ almost immediately raised fans’ eyebrows. The show was seemingly set in an alternate universe, one where characters primarily worshiped the Lords of Kobol. The question was obvious: how would Colonel Tigh even know who or what Jesus was?

That confusion continues throughout the series: for example, the crew eventually discovers a planet called Earth, one that is devastated and completely devoid of life. This prompted some Battlestar Galactica fans to assume the show was taking place in our own future, but since Earth was a secret planet that had all life wiped out 2000 years previously, this still didn’t explain how Tigh would have known who Jesus Christ was. 

The Finale

battlestar galactica

Later, the series finale revealed the strange plot twist that all of this show takes place in our own ancient history and that the Galactica crew flew all of their ships (including the civilian fleet) into the sun and settled on the real Earth, where Cylons would never discover them. It made for a mind-blowing twist, but we were back at square one with a finale explicitly confirming that Jesus wasn’t anywhere close to even being born when Tigh was exclaiming his name.

Monotheism Is Forbidden

Needless to say, this mystery led to Battlestar Galactica fans creating numerous theories, one of which was that Jesus Christ existed both in our past and the show’s past (which would fit the “all of this has happened before, all of this will happen again” theme).

Others think it has to do with Six’s belief in “the one true God”…she does quote 1 John 4:16 at one point, claiming that “God is love.” Still others think “Jesus Christ” may be another name for Mithras, a god worshiped in the show and named after a real-life Persian deity with more than a few parallels to Christ.

An Adlib That Threw Everything Off

Despite all these cool fan theories, though, Battlestar Galactica showrunner Ronald D. Moore poured some cold water on the Jesus Christ speculation by revealing that Tigh’s blasphemy “definitely wasn’t in the script” and that it was likely “just an adlib on the set that made it into the final cut.” At the same time, however, Moore continued to add Judeo-Christian references to the show, further fueling fan speculation well beyond the end of the series.

Why the contradictory actions from this creator? It’s simple: Ronald D. Moore himself moves in mysterious ways.