The "Firefly" & "Battlestar Galactica" Connection
- by ReuBen DeBord, 8 August 2016
There are two things I love (well, there’s a lot more than just 2, but for the purposes of this article I’m writing, there’s 2 that are important) and that is fan theories and trying to construct crossovers between seemingly unconnected franchises. Sure, there’s some fan theories that are sloppy and are hardly worth the time it takes to think about them, but there’s others that completely change the way you look at the piece you are theorizing about. And in my hubris, I’m gonna attempt to do that today, by talking about the connections between 2 Science Fiction television shows from the 2000s, and how they’re connected! (naturally, there will be spoilers afoot, so be warry!)
The two series’ I’ll be talking about are the 2002 Sci-Fi series Firefly, about a group of space cowboy smugglers taking it to the man and trying to make a dishonest living, and the 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica, about the last remnants of humanity fleeing the threat of the robotic Cylons, and trying to find the mythical Earth, where they will be safe.
In the 3 hour pilot of Battlestar Galactica, after what’s left of humanity has escaped extermination, Commander Adama gives a pep talk to his crew and says that they can go to Earth, a long forgotten and lost colony of Kobol, the planet that all humanity originally came from. But we find out that Adama is lying, and that Earth doesn’t exist. But in the final episodes of the series, they do indeed find a world that is livable, where they will be safe from the Cylons. Adama more or less says “oh, look, I brought us to Earth, like I said I would!” But the big twist ending is that the series isn’t actually set in the future like everyone assumed, but it’s actually set in the distant past. The remnants of humanity from the 12 colonies of Kobol have come to Earth thousands of years in our past, where they intermingle with the humans that are already on Earth, producing offspring who eventually become our ancestors.
It’s certainly a bold choice, especially because it makes no sense at all (more on that later). But if the BSG reboot takes place over 100,000 years in the past, then how do we explain the Firefly Class ship that cameos in the 3 hour pilot, and serves as the main reason that I suggest these two series’ are set in the same universe?
Remember, Firefly is supposed to be set in our future. In the Firefly episode Jaynestown, Simon talks about how the ancient Egyptian slaves drank beer. In the Serenity movie that acts as a sequel to Firefly, Mal talks about the poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Most of Jayne’s guns look like ordinance that we have on present day Earth. So it seems very clear that Firefly cannot be set in the past, let alone 100,000 years in the past, while Battlestar Galactica is set in that time period.
So how do I reconcile this and say that these two series’ are indeed set in the same universe? Despite the shows apparently being set hundreds of thousands of years apart, I think there’s a way to make my theory that they do indeed coincide with each other work. You see, there’s a reason that a lot of people didn’t like the reveal in BSG that the whole series is set in the past. Because it didn’t make a whole lot of sense. In BSG, we see technology that we have here on Earth, like automobiles.
In the prequel series Caprica, we see technology that is more or less Google Glass.
And we even hear Jimmy Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.” Not only do we hear it, but characters in the show can hear it. It’s a major plot point. So if the series is set in the past, how do they have a car that looks a whole lot like a Volkswagon Beetle and VR glasses and music that wouldn’t even exist for another 100,000 thousand years, give or take?
The answer, I think, lies in a line that we hear periodically throughout the series. “All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.” I guess there’s several ways you can interpret this. Maybe this is a meta reference to this version of BSG being a remake. Maybe it’s an ominous warning that the Cylons and the Humans will try to make peace, but it will only eventually end in conflict, which will result in similar events to what we saw in the series. Or maybe it’s a bullcrap explanation of why we have Jimmy Hendrix music and Volkswagon Beetles over 100,000 years before those things were invented on our planet Earth. Maybe someone named Frak Starfrill originally performed “All Around the Watchtower.” It happened once, it’ll happen again in the 1960s when Jimmy Hendrix comes up with that exact piece of music!
So does this explain the Firefly class ship seen in the BSG pilot? I think it can be an explanation. Simon mentions ancient Egypitans, well, maybe the world that humans lived on before they lived on Kobol had a civilization called Egypt. And as contrived and convenient as it might sound, several hundred thousand years later, on another planet the survivors of Kobol called Earth, there was a new civilization called Egypt. “All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.” This frankly nonsense phrase can serve as an explanation for any of the Anachronisms in both Battlestar Galactica and Firefly, if you wish to believe that these two series’ coexist in the same world.
Or maybe you’re like me, and you don’t like the rebooted Battlestar Galactica. And maybe you just don’t want to see a really amazing series like Firefly get lumped in with a confusing and irritating series like Battlestar Galactica. That’s the great thing about fan-theories. You can take them or leave them! Unless Ronald Moore (creator and showrunner of BSG) or Joss Whedon (creator and showrunner of Firefly) or Jane Espenson (writer on both shows) comes forward and confirms this fan theory or some other fan theory, then we can willfully ignore it and create our own fan theories to believe in. And maybe you don’t even choose to believe the word of the creators, and you just accept what is in the show. That’s fine too!
But one reason I love these theories is that you can take what I’ve talked about here and add to it, or change it or take away something that doesn’t make sense. These theories can connect fans and bring them closer together just like this theory brings these two shows closer together!
So what do you folks think of this theory? Like it? Choose to ignore it? Completely unfamiliar with Firefly and Battlestar Galactica? Sound off in the comments below! In the meantime, you muties remember to keep it trashy!
Tagged: movies & TV.