When we heard Caprica was being replaced with a different Battlestar Galactica prequel, a gritty war drama set during the first Cylon War, we were skeptical. But now we've read some Blood and Chrome script pages, and we're more pumped.
Blood and Chrome is putting out casting calls for the three main characters in its pilot TV movie, probably airing late this year or sometime next year. As we reported a while back, the three main characters in the pilot are the young William Adama, his comms officer Coker Fasjovik, and the young software genius Beka Kelly. (No clue yet if Nico Cortez will reprise his role as the young Adama from the Razor TV movie.)
We read the casting call pages for these three characters, which were sent to casting agencies recently and appear to be pages from the actual pilot script. Major spoilers ahead...
So the arc of Blood and Chrome is the first mission for a young William Adama, a green pilot just out of training. Over the course of his first week on the job, Adama loses his innocence and discovers that things in war are more complicated than he'd believed when he signed up. The story starts at the end, with the battle-haunted William Adama looking up in a stained Colonial uniform under a tattered parka, with a "thousand yard stare," as a voiceover talks about you find out who you are in wartime, both the good parts and the bad parts... and we all get what's coming to us.
And then we flash back to a week earlier, when William Adama is getting the top score — a class record — on a flight simulator, taking out a bunch of Cylon Raiders with an amazing maneuver. Adama is so excited to go into battle and frak up some toasters, he barely notices when the sexy Raptor pilot Jaycie McGavin, who's got a year's combat experience, mocks his gung-ho naivete. (If McGavin makes it into the ongoing series, I could see her being this show's version of Starbuck.) Adama hits on McGavin, but she says he's not her type. Because "I like someone with a better shot of being alive on a Saturday night."
McGavin is disgusted with the "war porn" the marines are watching, films of ground combat where soldiers are frakking up some frakking toasters good. She kills more toasters than anybody, but she doesn't want to watch it in her off hours. But Adama becomes fascinated with that war porn, and later gets sort of hooked on watching it.
Then McGavin tells Adama that if he wants some action, this is the girl he'll get it from — and she points out the window at the Galactica — which looks majestic and imposing, with its viper CAP flying around it and support ships riding its flanks. The Galactica is already an old ship, no longer as shiny and perfect as it was in the propaganda reels Adama has just watched, but it still looks like a beautiful war engine. Adama is like, "Gods damn." He heads over to the Galactica's hanger bay.
But Adama is in for a disappointment — he's such a hot-shot pilot, he wants to fly a Viper right away. But instead, he's assigned to a crappy bucket-of-bolts Raptor called the Wild Weasel. Adama protests, "I didn't rate top of my class so I could drive a bus." His attitude pisses off the Raptor's Electronic Countermeasures Officer (and his new partner) Coker Fasjovik, who loves that old bird. Adama has to help Coker clean up the mess around the Raptor — and then it turns out he's mopping up the spattered brains of the Raptor's last pilot.
It's Coker who gives Adama the nickname "Husker," which becomes his callsign. Even though Adama's a big city kid from Caprica City, he strikes Coker as being just like one of those dumb farm boys from back on Coker's home planet, Aerilon. Coker doesn't want to think of Adama as his partner — they're just two guys sharing the same plane. And Coker thinks Adama's gung-ho attitude will get them both killed. But when they're summoned to the CIC to meet the Old Man, Commander Silas Nash, Adama saves Coker from embarrassing himself because his hip flask is sticking out of his uniform. Nash gives Adama and Coker a secret mission to transport some special cargo.
The "special cargo" turns out to be Dr. Beka Kelly, a computer scientist who used to work at Graystone Industries, designing the very last generation of human-made Cylons. So she's partly responsible for the super-advanced killing machines that are now kicking the humans' asses from one end of the Twelve Colonies to the other. Her husband was a huge war hero who supposedly took out a whole squad of Toasters — but later we find out the story was a bit more complicated than that. Adama has the hots for Beka right away, and tries to win her over as they take off with his clever repartee:
Hello, this is the Captain. Our flight time to Scorpian is approximately two days, during which we hope to encounter... nothing. Fortunately, you will find a variety of fine Holoband entertainments to help you pass the time. I personally recommend, "Emergency Disassembly of the F61 Vulcan Missile Deployment Subsystem." For now, please remain seated with your seatbelt securely fastened and thank you for flying Wild Weasel airlines.
But Beka just thinks of Adama and Coker as the hired help, and Coker tells Adama his charms are wasted on her.
As soon as they're out of Dradis range of Galactica, Beka reveals that she has secret orders, that not even the Galactica is supposed to know about. They come direct from the Admiralty, and they send the Wild Weasel in the opposite direction — close to Cylon-occupied space.
It's not really much of a spoiler to reveal that their mission goes horribly awry, and everything gets frakked up. Our three heroes wind up crashed on an ice planet, and have to decide whether to abandon their mission to deliver Dr. Kelly to the rendezvous point, and Adama and Coker finally have a huge confrontation, in which Adama bawls Coker out for his chickenshit attitude. It's also not a terribly huge spoiler that Adama and Coker wind up being friends, and Adama also gets a lot closer to Beka Kelly. There are betrayals, there are terrible secrets, and not everybody is going to make it out of this TV movie in one piece. And William Adama learns, once and for all, that war really is frakkin' hell.
The best thing I can say about Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome is that it feels like BSG. More than the BSG TV movies, more than Caprica, this feels like the gritty, intense show about real characters in impossible situations that we fell in love with. Of course, this time around, we'll know how everything turns out in advance — but the journey may actually be pretty gods-damned compelling, judging from these pages.
Screencaps from the BSG: Razor flashback scenes, via Galactica BBS.