I’ve seen a lot of debate about whether the ruined planet at the end of Revelations is Earth or not, and what sort of Earth it is supposed to be. There is further debate as to whether the beach is supposed to be in Brooklyn.
Of course Roslin states it is Earth, and it’s very much painted in the show that way. What has people doubting is the absence of any fully concrete visual clue, such as even the briefest shot of a recognizable land feature, or the Moon. We saw a glimpse of our Earth at the end of the third season. We saw the moon (eclipsed) in photos Starbuck took on her magical trip. So why, when it would have been so easy, do we not get this one final confirmation?
Gaeta declares the constellations match. I presume they took photos of the Tomb of Athena and further it is said they verified those with the photos taken by Starbuck in her magic viper. If this is so, they are definitely at the star system indicated. Any other star system would not have the same constellations as Earth. Go even to our neighbour Alpha Centauri, and Gemini looks quite different, as do several other constellations. Check out “Celestia” which lets you see the sky from any star — it’s free.
So if the constellations in the Tomb were those of Earth, and they sure seem to be, they have to be here. Truth be known, given the Earth star map, even our computers and telescopes could easily spot where the Earth was with a few jumps and scans from over 500 light years away. So the fact that they needed the beacon was actually a writing error.
It being our system, they could be on a terraformed Mars or Moon, though the gravity would be much lower. I even wonder if the “Yellow moon” we heard about is a terraformed moon. But this seems unlikely.
Furthermore, while the moon is not noted, the fact that Starbuck made a big point of it and photographed it would strongly imply their navigation check would also have look for this. People should be saying “hey, where’s the famous giant moon?” if it were not there.
So that leaves two choices:
- It’s Earth
- It’s another planet they were deliberately misled to by the string-pulling powers who built the Tomb of Athena.
I won’t rule out the last choice, because it is odd that we lacked the confirmation, but I will attribute it instead to a desire to keep the fans guessing.
To make it worse, I’ve listened to various interviews and statements by the producers and they never go so far as to say it’s Earth, they just imply it. Again, this is odd.
A few other oddities:
- Ron Moore got back an original matte of the ruined city, and declared it was too recent looking, “too much like Manhattan” with standing buildings. He told them to redo it, to make the ruins look older. So these are meant to be old ruins. This does suggest he did tell them to base it on Manhattan.
- It still doesn’t look ruined enough for 4,000 years, which is what I think it ought to be — ruins of the first AI vs human war before the exodus for Kobol.
- In particular there is exposed metal. If it’s iron or steel, that should be rusted.
- Worse, the bridge that should be the Brooklyn Bridge in many people’s minds has steel rods sticking out. They did not use rebar at the time the Brooklyn Bridge was built. They did when the Manhattan bridge, up the river, was built, but it’s all steel.
- There are ruins in the water, implying higher sea levels. However, the image of Earth from Crossroads showed Earth with normal sea levels — a normal Florida, normal Mississippi delta
- Speaking of which, if the Earth is ruined and the levees on the Mississippi delta are not maintained, then after 4,000 years (and even a few hundred) that delta would look very, very different.
- Some people amusingly note the building at the end of the Brooklyn Bridge is the Jehovah’s Witness “Watchtower.” Not that the Dylan song was related to JWs at all.
- The Geiger counter on the soil actually shows a click-rate consistent with normal background radiation, not radioactive soil. However, it’s clear from a dramatic standpoint that this scene is meant to tell you the soil is at least slightly radioactive, due to an ancient nuke war.
- Like Moses, the dying leader is not supposed to make it to the new home. Yet Laura made it here. So the prophecy is broken, or this is not the final destination (Earth or not.)
I put many of these inconsistencies down to basic small mistakes. They used a standard image of Earth because they pulled one from the files. They did not think about how to show it with higher sea levels or a different delta. They did not think about metal corrosion etc.
If this is meant to be a recently ruined Earth, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. As it becomes clearer and clearer to the audience that all this is set in a distant future — it was always clear to me — a recently ruined Earth that is not too advanced compared to ours does not fit in.
Update: A report from Dragoncon has Edward Olmos confirming the planet is indeed a nuked Earth.
From the Battlestar Galactica Analysis Blog