Battlestar Scribe Jane Espenson Sheds Light on New Webisodes
Scifi.com's much-anticipated 10-part Battlestar Galactica webisode series, "The Face of the Enemy," started Friday. Veteran BSG scribe, and co-writer of the "'sodes," Jane Espsenson, spoke with TVGuide.com about exploring the character of Lt. Gaeta — including that he is bisexual and his past relationship with Cylon "8" (Grace Park) and current relationship with Lt. Hoshi (Brad Dryborough). Espenson also discussed what she is most excited for in the forthcoming Season 4.5, premiering Jan. 16 (10 pm/ET).
TVGuide.com: Do these webisodes take place before Gaeta's leg injury?
Jane Espenson: No, these are post-leg [amputation]. They were designed to fit into the timeline as viewers are experiencing it — roughly between the two halves of Season 4. Technically, the events of the 'sodes fit during the next episode that will air, so they are a very slight glimpse into the future if you watch them now.
TVGuide.com: Why did you decide to have Gaeta be gay (or bisexual)?
Espenson: Well, I always loved the character of Gaeta, played by the wonderful Alessandro Juliani, and we were going to build the webisodes around him no matter what. The decision to add reference to his private life was not central to the making of the webisodes, but was simply a realistic part of life in the fleet. Also, this felt to me to some degree like a fan-driven choice. I was aware that some viewers were already identifying with Gaeta as a gay character, and I wanted to respect that. ... We don't know who of the other characters might be gay as well. I like to think there's a thriving gay population in the fleet that is simply unremarked upon because its existence isn't seen as remarkable.
TVGuide.com: Who is Lt. Hoshi and how does he fit into the new webisodes? Will we see him in Season 4.5?
Espenson: Fans will recognize Hoshi — he's been a fixture in CIC for a long time. He was a member of Pegasus' crew who joined Galactica. He is an important part of the 'sodes and will also play an interesting role in the series as it goes forward. Brad Dryborough plays the role and he does a fantastic job. I was thrilled with his work in the 'sodes.
TVGuide.com: Raptors are pretty small, what was it like for the actors to film in such a small space? How did it contribute to raising the tension and stakes?
Espenson: Filming in the confined Raptor was challenging. Not for me, exactly, I was just watching, but the actors and camera people were crammed in there, sometimes in those hot spacesuits with helmets, sometimes with sticky stuff smeared on them. ... It was clearly horribly uncomfortable. I'm sure that our actors used that in their performances. But that wasn't the worst of the challenges — a number of factors affected the order in which the pieces had to be shot: the twinning of the amazing Grace Park as two different Number Eights, the limited access to some sets, actors and even cameras, etc. The result was an incredibly complicated filming schedule such that most scenes that you see in the 'sodes are composed of shots executed at totally different times and places.
TVGuide.com: What are you most excited about with the new season about to air?
Espenson: Oh holy cow, all of it! How it starts, how it ends, all the amazing stuff in the middle. I guess I like most that it maintains its complexity. Choices don't get clearer or easier. People don't get less crazy or selfish or amazing. I think complete series are coming to function more and more like novels, and BSG as a complete entity really feels to me like a great novel — there is a sense of unity and completeness that's really hard to achieve in television where the process is so stretched out. That's a huge accomplishment.