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The real Earth stars

Michael Hall has been doing a lot of research on the appearance in the show of real Earth starfields. Here, I write an update to my earlier post.

Unfortunately, the results are a little too good. The sky above Earth is unique. You won't find it anywhere else in the Galaxy. The sky at Alpha Centauri is of course the most similar, but it has a number of striking differences, changing several Zodiacal constellations, and adding an extra very bright star (our Sun) to turn Cassiopeia from a "W" to a "/W"

Hall's efforts show the exact Earth sky appearing in several places:

  • The site of the Cylon civil war, making that planet be Jupiter. (This is also the site of Starbuck's vision of where Earth is.)
  • Also the location of the Demetrius, where it is met by Leoben's heavy raider, fleeing that war
  • Also the site of the rendezvous point between the fleet and the Demetrius
  • The spot where Adama waits for Roslin and the base star that attacked the Hub to return
  • The spot where the Tylium ship retreats to after they refuse to have Cylons upgrade their jump drive

In several of these scenes, we are given very obvious Earth star patterns. That is to say, we see the "big 3" of constellations that even non-astronomers readily recognize. The Big Dipper, the W of Cassiopeia, and Orion.

But more telling is we don't see the Earth sky anywhere else. In particular, not above the ruined home of the 13th colony, which they named Earth. And not in any other places along the way including early episodes. Hall used a really cool new star map detection system which will take any photo of stars and tell you where it is in our sky, or if it isn't in our sky at all.

On the one hand, if they producers know enough not to use the Earth sky for years, and suddenly they start using it, and even using it (showing Orion and Big Dipper) in a way that fans will be sure to notice, that doesn't seem like an accident. It's too odd to think that the graphics department, after carefully not using our sky, would just use it willy-nilly, and more to the point would not use it at the planet the 13th tribe named "Earth."

On the other hand, they are using it in too many places. To see the Earth sky, notably things like the shield of Orion, you have to be within a short distance of Earth. Perhaps just a light year or more. But there's nothing else around us in this zone. We're it. In fact, except for Alpha Centauri and 3 other minor stars, there's nothing around for 8 light years.

So this bugs me. On the one hand, the use of our sky is too strong to be an accident. On the other hand, now we are to believe that:

  • The Demetrius sat for days a short distance from Earth, scoped it out, and didn't see it, even though they are hunting for a system with a ringed gas giant, and a life bearing planet with a large moon.
  • In fact, while there Starbuck discusses how they have already sent out 2 recon missions in the area, and not found anything, so she demands a third.
  • The whole fleet sat for weeks or more a short distance from Earth, and never noticed it.
  • Starbuck just "happened" to pick a rendezvous point to meet up with the fleet that is our solar system.
  • In spite of Adama ordering the fleet to go to G type stars to look for homes, when the Tylium ship comes to Sol, they don't bother to scope it out. (I guess if they have already been her for weeks and not seen anything that could make some sense.)
  • Cavil just happens to pick Jupiter as the site of his ambush.
  • All of this isn't too far from the Ionian Nebula supernova remnant. (The closest supernova remnant is Vela, about 800 light years away.)

In particular, when Cavil sets his ambush, he tells the others they will unbox D'Anna, and the closest place to do it is the nearest "accessible server" which is "half a dozen jumps away." Now 6 Cylon jumps is pretty far, probably as much as 2,000 light years. It is possible he sprang the ambush at one of the intermediate points along the way, but there is no reason Jupiter would just happen to be one of the points along the way.

This adds another confusing point. First of all, how could Cavil "just happen" to pick Jupiter/Earth for the site of his ambush, of all the zillions of stars out there. Secondly, what does it mean that there is an accessible server in the Cylon resurrection network at Jupiter? This would mean the Cylons are no strangers to this region, in which case they would surely notice Earth too. After all, they are also looking for it.

And Earth should stick out. Our giant moon is a dead giveaway; we believe that to be rather unusual. And the spectrum of light from our planet, which includes lots of water and free oxygen, would be a beacon to anybody examining it with space telescopes even from light years away. Free oxygen, it is commonly accepted, is not something you will find unless something (life) is making it, because it is used up quickly in reactions. And real Earth, seen at the end of season 3, is a living planet, with free Oxygen, not a cinder.

So thus the dilemma. The use of the constellations seems deliberate. The Cylon battle site has to be Jupiter, it can be nowhere else. And yet the fleet, Demetrius, Cylon network builders and others have all hung around this system for long periods, and not noticed anything.

So of course one interpretation is a huge writing mistake, and a huge mistake in the graphics department in suddenly deciding after 4 years to start throwing the Earth sky in so many places with the notable exception of the 13th colony. Or perhaps the writers don't realize just how readily they would see Earth if they hung around these areas with nice space telescopes, as they must have to do the stellar navigation they do.

This wouldn't be the first production mistake like this. In the episode Torn, Gaeta pulls out a star map he supposedly got from Pegasus. But it's an Earth star map, complete with Earth names on constellations and modern Earth catalog numbers on the stars. This map makes no sense, and strikes me as a lazy production mistake. We only see it upside-down.

But let's dig for an alternate explanation. We're told of a long, repeating history of war and exodus. This must have happened on real Earth as well. The Kobolians fled, or were kicked out. Perhaps they have programming relating to Earth, to block their return to it. Just as Starbuck got compulsions to find Earth (and visions of the real Jupiter) there may be other compulsions not to find it. There may be forces out there that want them to find real Earth, and others that want them not to.

This explains the 13th tribe heading in this direction, and finding a different planet quite nearby and naming it Earth. It might explain Athena being sent on a recon to Earth from the Demetrius and reporting no joy -- 3 times. It might explain the presence of a Cylon network node there, but without Cylon conscious awareness of what the location is. We know at least that the 7 Cylons (including Athena) have compulsions programmed into their brains either by, or relating to the Final Five. And we know the Final Five have their own compulsions programmed into their brains, too.

But there is also the question of Cavil. He is Cylon model #1. Is he special? He seems to know things, without letting on. He makes deadpan pronouncements of major consequences if D'Anna sees the Five, or if inhibitors are removed from Centurions. And he somehow picks Jupiter as the site for his ambush, an impossible coincidence.

So something isn't adding up. Is it a strange mistake. Or a hint of a major mystery?

The Supernova

Another thing that's not adding up is the Ionian Nebula. This is a supernova remnant -- it has to be, because nobody will immediately pull from their minds a plain old nova seen 4,000 years ago. But it must be close to both the 13th colony and real Earth. When they get there, Roslin starts jumping the fleet along the course they went, and Starbuck goes crazy, saying it's the wrong way. So real Earth is a bit of a backtrack (or at least sideways track) from that remnant.

There are only a few supernova remnants close to us. One of the closest is the Vela nebula, which new research puts only 800 light years away. It exploded, it is suggested, around 11,000 years ago. (I am unsure if that is the date of explosion or the date of light arrival on Earth.) Since the Ionian supernova is dated to 17,000 years ago as seen from the colonies, that fits well with a chronology placing this story 5,000 years in our future.

The Ionian/Vela supernova would have been a big event in Kobol/Algae Planet society, because they would have known in advance it was going to happen. They would have jumped beyond its light cone, meaning that when they got to their new planet, they would know the supernova wave was following them, and could have put out lawn chairs to watch it explode. The legends persist so much that Gaeta still knows about it.

But 800 light years is still a long distance for Starbuck to trek on her exploration, and for the fleet to follow. We are told colonial jumps are in the range of 30 light years before they hit their red-line, so that's over 25 jumps. However, it does not match very well with being 6 Cylon jumps, as Cylon jumps are supposed to be able to go 10 times further. (Though to contradict that, Cylon upgrades to fleet drives will only give them a 3x improvement. And we don't know where the Cylons start.)

Hall makes the case that in fact they did a giant backtrack. He thinks they trekked 13,000 light years out to the edge of the galaxy to find the Ionian nebula, and Starbuck and the fleet independently came back that distance or more to get to Earth. I don't think that's credible for a lot of reasons. One is that I can't see a waste processing ship designed for a small set of close colonies ever having the fuel capacity to do that. Nor could they pick a rendezvous point 13,000 light years away so accurately that the Cylon ship and Demetrius jump right into the middle of the fleet.

The Journey

We must also step back and realize that the journey here is probably not a straight line. If the forces guiding them to these planets wanted to, they could have just said, "Here are the coordinates for Earth." Instead we get a very, very convoluted trek. I hope we see a reason for this trek.

  1. Head out randomly into space. Somehow find Kobol
  2. On Kobol, find a star map that tells you to head in the direction of M8, the Lagoon Nebula.
  3. Along the way find a probe, and a possible lion's head nebula
  4. Be diverted for 18 months on a hidden planet called New Caprica
  5. Be diverted back to an Algae planet. There, the chosen one is supposed to be in the activated temple, but it doesn't seem to happen. However, see a symbol that tells you to go in the direction of the Ionian supernova remnant.
  6. Along the way, refuel at a planet where Starbuck is taken in an unknown fashion.
  7. Reach the Ionian nebula. Suffer a power failure. Awaken the final five, just slightly. Return a Starbuck, in a brand new viper. Starbuck has compulsions that point her towards Earth. She finds it but doesn't see it. Raiders encountered freshly awakened final five, and break off, triggering Cylon internal conflict.
  8. Cylons have civil war, near Earth.
  9. Have the final five realize the viper is special. The viper has a locater pointing at the 13th colony.
  10. On the 13th colony, give the final five more memories, but learn no new clues for true Earth.

This journey does not have to be a straight line, but I hope we see a reason why this is the journey that makes sense. Something to explain why not just get coordinates. A reason why this journey brings about other events like the alliance with the Cylons, or their war. Events either to repeat the cycle, or to break it.


Excellent post, Brad. Your idea that there may be a deeper mystery to explore got me thinking about the hybrid's prophecy in Razor. As you recall, the hybrid said Kara Thrace is the Harbinger of Death and that "they" should not follow her. Maybe the cylon god was attempting to warn that Kara would lead the fleet AWAY from the real earth in our solar system. This would finally give the prophecy some meaning and demonstrate Starbuck may be the pawn of forces that are working against the cylon god or working against the humans.

The fallacy in your argument is that you are assuming that everyone is looking for Earth (our Earth). The one thing that you fail to realize, even though it's staring right you in the face, is that they haven't been looking for OUR Earth, but the Cylon Earth (the one commonly referred to as the 'cinder planet'). You yourself have pointed out that the cinder planet is clearly not our Earth, and it's been confirmed that that the cinder planet IS the planet they've been looking for.

What if our Earth is right where it should be? They didn't find it because they're not looking for it. For whatever reason, they don't see any value in our Earth-- it's just another planet.

Now, I don't keep track of all the details from past episodes, like Starbuck's magical mystery tour, or the scene at Stonehenge, so I don't know if that all jibes-- but it's pretty clear by now that the writers are making this up as they go, and they're perfectly comfortable contradicting themselves, and retconning things to fit. And I have no problem with that as long as it all works out in the end. I'm just enjoying the ride.

Actually, there is no basis to assume the Earth they have been looking for this entire time is the cylon cinder Earth, either. My point is that maybe the Earth they have been seeking according to the scriptures really is our Earth but that Starbuck distracted them and led them to the ruined planet instead. You may recall early in season 4 that there was a fork in the road, and Tigh pointed out to Roslin that he believes the fleet should continue to follow the path laid out by the scriptures and not follow Starbucks's path. (Maybe from "He That Believeth in Me?") So there was another path that could have been taken, which maybe would have led to our Earth. All speculation, I know.

I do not doubt for a moment that the fleet would give up the search for any Earth if they found a habitable planet like ours, as the settlement on New Caprica demonstrated. Assuming our Earth is in decent shape and not bombed out, such a planet would be very valuable to the fleet. So that tends to discount the other half of your argument as well.

But the 5 already stated THAT was Earth. That is the planet Starbuck saw, that is the planet Starbuck led them to, and that is the planet Saul said was Earth.

But the 5 already stated THAT was Earth. That is the planet Starbuck saw, that is the planet Starbuck led them to, and that is the planet Saul said was Earth.

The Cinder Planet/13th Colony is the planet where the Five are from, but it's not the planet Starbuck was trying to find. The Cinder Planet is the planet where Starbuck's Viper crashed, obviously, but Michael Hall makes an interesting case that it's not actually the planet she was looking for with the Demetrius.

...a valid point, but the same idea holds: they passed by Earth according to brad's charts, but didn't recognize it as our Earth because they thought that the cinder planet was the one they were looking for. Whether the cinder planet is or isn't their goal is irrelevant because they THOUGHT it was their goal.

It's also possible that our Earth is not habitable, or is in some other way unappealing to them.

How exactly could Tyrol and Saul have flashbacks to there former lives on Earth, by touching objects associated with their lives or deaths back then, but not be on Earth?

The Earth is only spoken of in regards to the 13th tribes exodus, there is no evidence on the show that suggests it's mentioned elsewhere. How can the Cylons have possibly just called the planet Earth, simply naming it after a planet they read about in these ancient writings, if the ancient writings didn't exist at the time of their exodus, and the name was never mentioned before?

Then the Final Five probably lived on both, or at least knew of the original one.

The history of the real one has been lost to time, perhaps deliberately, is the theory, but its name could have lived on in legend.

If we call the planet in "Revelations" and "Sometimes a Great Notion" Earth', to distinguish it from our own Earth, then it follows that Tyrol and Saul's flashbacks were to their previous lives ON EARTH', not on Earth.

Why did the 13th tribe call their planet "Earth"? Maybe they, like the RTF, were searching for the real Earth, and they found a habitable planet in the right part of the Galaxy so they settled there and called it Earth.

Maybe it's just Moore's way of screwing with us.

Maybe they originally called it "new earth" or "earth 2" or "earth'", or even "not earth" and it got shortened to "Earth" over the milennia, the way "Pisces" changed to "Picon" and "Aries" to "Aerilon".

I've been calling it the 13th colony, as Moore has confirmed that is what it is, and has repeatedly said the 13th tribe "named it Earth."

As to why they used that name, well, I hope we'll get an explanation, but it is probably something similar to what you say, or a name lost in history. Like if colonists from our world named a planet "Eden" or "Atlantis" or "Shangri-la" -- names from mythology.

Over time, even the original name is lost, or it is lost deliberately, and now all anybody knows is that Earth was the name of the 13th colony, and they barely even know that.

Why name a planet Earth, and not have it be this Earth, and have it be that the fleet is in fact searching for this other Earth? That is senseless. I suppose the constellations are the same as ours, but not ours, the names of their gods are the same as the Greek and Roman gods, and the names of our planets, but they aren't.

And if Cylons left Kobol to go to Earth, they had to have told the humans "Hey, I know you guys hate us and all, but can you please add our exodus to this planet in your future writings? Oh we plan to call it Earth!"... I makes no sense that the ancient colonials would know enough about the Cylon exodus to Earth, something they weren't a part of, to be able to write about it, leaving descriptions of things they saw on the way... And if there were humans with them, those humans would have had to go back to the rest of the colonies with that info.

It's also possible that the 13th tribe named their planet after ours. Or they later end up on OUR planet in our past and name it 'Earth' after the cinder planet. Also remember that 'Earth' is another word for 'Cylon' according to the scripture.

But this can't be set in the past of our planet.

Honestly, I don't recall the scripture either, but i've read people talking about that plot point in multiple places, so I trusted it. I suppose it could be bunk...

I don't see why this universe can't be set in our past. Imagine, last episode, they land on a primordial earth, or a biblical-era Earth, even. Thus, the bible stories about beings from heaven. Imagine the final revelation being that WE, their descendants, are cylons. Talk about a planet of the apes reveal! In all honesty, I have no idea how it's going to end-- I love theorizing, but the fact that we can't figure it out means the writers are doing their job.

As for the star patterns: again, it's possible that they had a plan for them, only to abandon that plan when it wasn't working out. You say many people noticed it-- but again, these are people like you and me, people who love looking for little stuff like that. I have nearly a dozen friends, family members and coworkers (some nerds and sci-fi buffs) who watch the show and never noticed any of it. I'm not saying the stars WON'T be a factor-- just that I wouldn't place any bets at this point.

Our Earth has fossils in the ground and our history, languages, cultures, biology, diseases, animals and just about everything else are inexorably tied to a long, slow evolution (and co-evolution with animals and plants) and migrations and a ton of other stuff. The idea that we all landed in an Ark is probably the most debunked idea in the history of history (because a certain faction keeps bringing it up, otherwise it would not have been debunked so solidly, just dismissed.)

So an Earth where people and animals landed in an Ark is a fantasy, and you could write it, but it's not our Earth, and would be different in more ways than you can imagine. (And I know, you can imagine quite a lot.) Check back in the blog for full details.

If the only reason you're insisting the show can't be set in the past is because that's the way the real world works, then I wonder if you have ever seen a movie or television show, ever. From simple things like not being shredded by going through a plate glass window to shooting with two guns (a crime BSG is guilty of) to exhibiting no knowledge of the laws of physics, a pure, hard science production with no factual errors is by far the exception rather than the norm. No offense. In the "Naturalistic Science Fiction" Essay, RDM spends the least amount of time on science, and brings up three points: no sound in space, the limits of the speed of light, and how the ships move in space. One was jettisoned during production, so that's two. The vast majority of that essay has to do with character, setting, and tone.

I know you like the show, but you're

If they're close enough to the "real" Earth in the civil war episode, I think if there were radio signals or something like that, the Cylons could have detected it. The real Earth has likely been reduced to a primitive existence- if it ever had one in the timeline of the show.

If you really want to theorize about a sci-fi show, try not to use 20 of your IQ points when it comes to science to allow for HOllywood liberties or ignorance.

Maybe I'm just burned out on fanfic that postulates essentially the backstory you have theorized. I grew tired of the smug EArthlings meeting the COlonials and saying their beliefs about Kobol being the homeworld of humanity are wrong (which Roslin always takes in stride in these stories; contrast that to her reaction that Earth is real but nuked and the 13th Tribe were Cylons; those events don't really shoot holes in her faith, as they did indeed find Earth, but it still devastated her). I grew tired of the Colonials being wowed by Earth's technology and the Cylons being reduced to a non-threat. But a small handful of spoilers lead me to believe the show is in the past or that the real Earth was devastated further in the past than Cylon Earth and to a lesser extent, giving them time to recover. The Greater Power who seems to be orchestrating these events wanted the humans and the Cylons there- so wherever the real Earth is, it's important to humanity's past and future. The wrap video shows
.footage from the final episode through the director's camera; one bit has a long line of people carrying their possessions through a field, which was not in the Earth episodes. I'm guessing it's the colonist's new home, and there's no sign of advanced Earthlings assisting them, and the fact that a casting sheet called for athletic extras comfortable with wearing dreadlocked hair and bathing suits (maybe the word "loincloth" would give too much away- CAVEMEN!), suggests a lot about the circumstances the survivors end up in. But RDM did say in the commentary for the mini that in laying out the groundwork for the series, that they didn't have dogs and cats (he said this while laughing at a "chicken pie" reference that made it through). I always thought the inclusion of JAke, well after the point when RDM said he had decided what Earth would be, was telling. The real Earth, I'm pretty sure, plays into the Colonial's past AND future.

I wonder, if in acknowledging that the "life here began out there" premise was important to the new show, having the 13th Tribe settle on a planet they called Earth (but that is not our Earth) was his way of having his cake and eating it to. More likely he was interested in exploring the loss of hope when all one's dreams are dashed.

But what I'm saying is this can't be in the past of our Earth, because our Earth has the fossils and the long history. A TV show can write something stupid, of course, but a viewer asked Moore back after season 1 if he would write something this stupid (ignore evolution etc.) and he said he would not, he would figure a way to make it work.

So what?

That didn't stop many other science fiction writers. People still write about Atlantis and act as if it's real, even though it's been proved to be impossible and most likely based on the Thera eruption. Writers are ignorant about science or just don't care.

You really should differentiate between "It CAN'T be the past and "It SHOULDN'T be the past." RDM made no promises to the show being in the future. Otherwise, if the series ends with them settling on a new planet, with the camera zooming out to show that it is our Earth, and we get an epilogue thousands of years later that shows modern Earth, your head might explode from the shock.

I find it ironic that you mentioned that we shouldn't take off the cuff comments from RDM seriously, but you tout a four year old blog post where he basically said he was uncertain about how evolution will tie into the show's origins for humanity and that he was considering several options (one of them could have been "Just ignore evolution," you know) for how to work it out. And he did say "life here began out there" is important to the story. Yes, they were referring to Kobol, but humans originated from Kobol in the original show, too. Here's the entire quote:

"I don't have a direct answer for this question yet. There are a couple of notions rolling around in my head as to how we reconcile the very real fact of evolution with the Galactica mythos, but I haven't decided which approach to take."

He sounds very uncertain- keep in mind, if he had confirmed it like you think he had, he would have essentially killed one of the big mysteries of the show, which in a recent interview he said that the time period of the show was indeed still one of the big mysteries to reveal. Whatever he was thinking he didn't actually reveal.

"However, it was a fundamental element of the ORIGINAL GALACTICA MYTHOS that "Life here began out there..." and I decided early on that it was crucial to maintain it."

that statement is nebulous at best to me. I doubt he simply meant that someone just has to say those lines.

You were right about Ellen because you looked at it from an emotional and storytelling standpoint, not a scientific one. These same instincts tell me that the show might not be in the future... blah blah Cycle of Time blah blah statement about our current times blah blah. For those reasons. LEt me state again- that's not what I WANT. I'm worried that's what they'll do. And I can come to terms with it if they do. I know very well that if you did a show bound by scientific accuracy they couldn't do this, but the creators made no such statement or promise.

BTW- what if they did something really out there and had BOTH Earth and Kobol as the homeworld of humanity? The God or gods guided the evolution of humanity on two separate planets, and when their civilizations reached their pinnacles and evolved into a certain familiar achetype via the Cycle of Time (Cylon Earth, the 12 Colonies, our Earth), they were annihilated. RDM seems content with the idea of God being an asshole if He's real in this series, so that would fit. Actually the thing that would disappoint me the most is if the Cylon God is real and really is some sort of deity, that he won't be portrayed as evil despite engineering the destruction of at least three civilizations. But in today's religion soaked media, that's perhaps unavoidable.

I find it ironic that you mentioned that we shouldn't take off the cuff comments from RDM seriously, but you tout a four year old blog post where he basically said he was uncertain about how evolution will tie into the show's origins for humanity...

Even though I don't think RDM will have this set in our past (not only because of evolution but because I think he is a better writer than that), that was pretty funny.

Moore started the series wanting to redo BSG as what he called "naturalistic SF" without the totally goofy science mistakes of the early show. This was high on his goal list. So when he says he will reconcile "the very real fact of evolution" I think he means that, far more than when he says something about the background on a minor plot point. Whether Nicky is a Cylon or not, something unsettled in the show, is just how they are writing it, ready to change if the plot demands it. Changing who Nicky's father is is just a plot change. Having really bogus science diminishes his work as the writer of realistic SF he declared he wanted to be.

I think anybody seriously redoing BSG would have decided from the start it was in the future. Everything about it makes sense, and clues for it are scattered in the show. So it's not just the right thing to do (though it certainly is that.) I think it's what was planned, and the clues are scattered. Perhaps not enough any more to make as firm a declaration as I would have made until his line about Anders and AATW, but still pretty strong.

The problem with the naturalistic SF essay is that he lays down the exact points he intends to address in regards to science. There were three. One of them he changed his mind about (sound in space), the others being the speed of light (which is barely referenced outside of FTL) and how the ships maneuver. He wrote this before the mini. After the mini, he was told by an exec to develop the meaning of 6's line "God is love." Then they introduced prophecies, accurate visions, magical baby blood, a Thirteenth Tribe able to discern that someone would be on the algae planet at the exact right moment to see the "Eye of Jupiter," Starbuck returning from the dead hundreds of light years from where she died in a pristine Viper(with no FTL) while her more-intact-than-it-should be body rots on Earth light years away.

The mysticism is rapidly overtaking the science.

I hope you're right, but you should remember everything I said. Come 3/21, you might be very disappointed if you are completely unprepared. I always believed it was the future as well, until I started looking at the facts I previously laid out, and I started to get a nervous feeling in my stomach.

I always thought dramatically (and I know that's how the time period will be chosen- to maximize the drama) that they were trying to break the Cycle of Time/ destruction. If it's in the past, they may have failed. If it's in the future, they will probably succeed. And Lee saying "It doesn't have to happen again" in Revelations implies they were breaking the cycle. If we really get an ending with 6 walking through Times Square a la the mini and in Caprica, then that implies they failed.

It's like this: You're a cautious driver who has to go out driving in the rain through areas where the roads are treacherous during bad weather. I know you're a good driver but I'm still going to tell you to be careful.

Some skirting of the science is done for audience reasons and the rest is within bounds of reason. The sound is "from the perspective of the pilot" and FTL is within science even if it's not technically achievable with present technology. Ducking evolution for bullshit is another game entirely. It's stepping outside of wiggle room and deeply into fairy story, and undermines the whole premise on which the show was sold. It's being strung along and being told lies like that which burst the immersion bubble for me.

The first two series were sort of okay but 3 dragged and 4 is rushed. That's bad planning and cutting corners just to hit an arbitrary deadline. I've seen enough crap like that in the games industry and just because it's a TV show and they're slapping each other on the back with "best show on television" doesn't make it right or so. BSG has its plus points and I don't want to grind it too hard as it tips into trolling but to pretend issues don't exist or excuse them is tipping into another form of stupid. I just think people need to be realistic and mature about it.

The Earth is only spoken of in regards to the 13th tribes exodus, there is no evidence on the show that suggests it's mentioned elsewhere. How can the Cylons have possibly just called the planet Earth, simply naming it after a planet they read about in these ancient writings, if the ancient writings didn't exist at the time of their exodus, and the name was never mentioned before?

They are following clues, looking for a planet described in their mythology. And they do indeed find the planet from their mythology, a planet that was named Earth by its founders.

But what they are looking for is nothing too specific. A planet hospitable to humans (which New Caprica was only barely.) A planet with a large yellowish moon and star. A planet with constellations like the ones in the Tomb. New Earth (the 13th colony) does match those (we never see the moon but must presume it's there) but so does real Earth. Starbuck adds to her shopping list a gas giant with rings and a triple star. Don't know about the triple star (Alpha Centauri is triple but only under very careful telescopic observation) but all these things would make real Earth very interesting to them in any search.

If they saw real Earth, its moon, and its system with ringed gas giants, they would be very, very interested in it. They would study it for a while. If, after that study they concluded it was not the planet of the scriptures, they might move on. Maybe.

But it doesn't make sense that a fleet hunting a planet with that set of descriptive clues could sit a short distance from Earth and not notice it, and look into it more. Or that the Cylons, also interested in it, would not have recorded data on it while building their network node there. Planets like Earth are rare, they have not encountered any of them by chance in all their travels.

If the fleet really did sit waiting in our space, and that's not a mistake by the graphics department, then I think it needs an explanation of why nobody noticed.

It's worse for Starbuck, actually on an Earth hunting mission, actually having an image of Jupiter implanted in her brain. Helo says they got interesting spectrographic readings from the system they are near (the one with our stars.) They say they checked it out twice already. That just doesn't make any sense. So why have they used the real stars in these places, and only these places?

I believe the writers (I won't lay it all on RDM) will do their best to explain everything, and make sure there aren't too many loose ends. Whether their explanations are planned or just clever retcons, who's to say. I also think that the TV movie is an attempt at tying up incomplete cylon plot threads.

But be warned: I wouldn't be totally shocked to see things like the star patterns or other background elements that you've scrutinized not matter at all, especially since most people aren't noticing them the way you are. They may have also put them in there in an honest attempt at making it scientifically accurate, but at some point in writing the stories, things didn't work, so they abandoned them-- which they can do easily since, again, not many people are noticing the minutiae.

I would normally expect to not see any accuracy about these things. But to move from using unknown patterns (correctly) for 3 years and to suddenly switch to the real ones, and in an obvious, and not subtle way? A lot of fans, not just me, noticed Orion.

It is possible that they just think that anywhere near Earth they should show the Earth sky. A lot of people aren't aware of how much it changes on any of the nearby star systems. But what's odd is that they took the time to care about the star patterns, and then might have it not mean anything.

And the big tell is that we don't see Earth stars around "Earth" the 13th colony. If they were just deciding "let's use some local patterns now" they would have put them on that colony. (Many other fans ask why we never saw recognizable continents on that colony, either)

I just think we need to accept that the earth in the BSG universe, is not our Earth. It was just a name, and now the fleet has to move on.
You'll also notice that the opening credits dont mention earth anymore!

We need to accept that the planet that they found, called "Earth", is not our Earth. However, our Earth DOES exist in the BSG universe: it was shown to us at the end of "Crossroads". The Earth in "Crossroads" and the "Earth" in "Revelations"/"Sometimes A Great Notion" are NOT the same planet.

Although at the end of season 3 they showed North America, they were careful no to show any images of the continent in revelations, so i suppose they could be two different planets!

I've been saying this since the end of last season. I've never bought it that the cinder planet is our Earth. If it is in fact our Earth, then another planet -- the Promised Land -- will be found. I'm inclined to think that the cinder planet is just a planet the 13th Colony called Earth. Like Brad, I'll be disappointed if the cinder planet is actually Earth since there's been no connection to our fossil record.

So, Cinder Planet = 13th Colony = Terra Prime from TOS

With the dark ending they're promising, it could be that the real Earth, our Earth, was similarly destroyed but far enough ago that it might be habitable now. We don't know the reason why humans/cylons left Earth initially to colonize Kobol.

"We don't know the reason why humans/cylons left Earth initially to colonize Kobol."

I just wanted to say, I found that sentence very interesting because of a trend I've noticed. Saying that in the show humans evolved on Earth and colonized Kobol when the show states the opposite is usually said by fans for two reasons:

1. That's their pet theory that they're sure enough about to state with that much certainty.


2. They're confused- people who simply take what the show says as fact until stated otherwise for simplicity's sake but who get it mixed up during the discussion- like podcasts I have listened to. One quote after 4x10 from one 'caster being "They left Earth for a reason- of course it was crappy!" when talking about the state of Earth and basically saying "What did you expect?" The actual quote is much more clear, as I am paraphrasing from memory, but he clearly has the (stated up to that point in the show)backstory mixed up, confusing Earth with Kobol. And I've heard other discussions, asking "Didn't they come from Earth to the colonies?" Obviously people know we've evolved on Earth, and I think the show-runners have gone too long without refreshing the audience's memory about the "humans came from Kobol" backstory. IT doesn't matter whether it's wrong or not, it's important simply because it's the entire cast of characters perception of the origin of humankind.

The backstory is important, ESPECIALLY if you're about to say that it's wrong. If they reveal humankind evolved on a planet besides Kobol (our Earth), they need to remind the audience of that supposed Kobol-as-human-homeworld backstory simply so the revelation has the proper impact. Some are forgetting that as far as we know Kobol is the human homeworld.

Anyone else agree on this?

I just realized- "Pet theory" might sound insulting. I didn't mean it that way. And I know that you, Lisa, are someone who has a theory, not one of the confused ones. Just wanted to clear that up.

I just realized- "Pet theory" might sound insulting. I didn't mean it that way. And I know that you, Lisa, are someone who has a theory, not one of the confused ones. Just wanted to clear that up.

Thanks, Dustin. I've tried to be clear that I'm not so wedded to my own theory that I can't enjoy the show if I turn out to be wrong. The fun for me is in theorizing possible outcomes, but I'm not a mind-reader, so in the end it's just an educated guess as to what the writers will do.

I hear what you're saying though about the assumption regarding where life began for the Colonial humans. I don't think we've been told an actual creation story for humans on Kobol. Rather, we've just been told that humans lived in peace there with the Kobolians and worshiped those Kobolians as gods, even after they were kicked off Kobol. So while the phrase "Life here began out there" often refers to Kobol and the exodus from Kobol, I think it has a wider meaning to include Earth. I agree with Brad in that they haven't explained where the word "Earth" comes from, so there's another reason that makes that case that life could have begun there for the Colonials. Couple all that with the repeating pattern of events ("All this has happened before. All this will happen again.") and I think it's likely there was an exodus from Earth that same way there was an exodus from Kobol.

The show has offered us a planet, which a 13th tribe, made of Cylons, named Earth.

That leaves fans with two options. One is disappointment -- for 4 years the show has been about a quest for Earth, a word which of course is full of meaning for us, and it turns out to be some planet completely unrelated to ours. Why is it called Earth, we wonder? Just because that's the name of the quest planet in the original (where it was supposed to be the real Earth but in a pretty silly way?) If that's all we get after 4 years of talk of Earth, we won't be happy.

So many fans see a variety of clues that suggest otherwise. That this planet was not our Earth, but that our Earth does exist and will appear in the show again. (It appeared at the end of season 3 for 1 second.)

Of these two options, the latter is much preferable, so it is a common theory.

I don't think they've explicitly said that the Colonials believe that Kobol is the original homeworld where humans evolved. All we know is that the Colonials believe that the colonies were settled by an exodus from Kobol. Whether there was another planet before Kobol or not has not been addressed.

That since the star patterns had been random up to that point, no one was paying any attention. The effects team put an intern on the job, and the intern got the clever idea to put in some familiar constellations as a joke, and it wasn't caught until it was too late?

Or just that it's an accident. But fans started noticing Orion and other stars right away, and if they wanted to change it, they could -- though it's expensive -- re-edit.

And more to the point they certainly had a chance to re-edit between the time fans saw the stars in the first half of season 4 and the scenes in the second half. In the second half they used them only once -- for the Tylium ship's hiding place. And they could have edited them in on the scenes over "Earth" and they could have shown some continents if they wanted to make it clear to fans that this was the only Earth they are going to get. But yes, I still consider a mistake possible because right now we see those stars in a few too many places. The main one I can't buy is at the fleet's rendezvous point, picked 2 months ago, presumably by Starbuck, and at which the fleet sat for a while waiting for the Demetrius.

The constellation evidence is interesting, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's coincidental, that the production staff just used star fields with no particular intent. I could see it going either way. However, the lack of any recognizable continents on the cinder planet at the end of Revelations seems deliberate to me after the very deliberate display of North America on the planet shown at the end of Crossroads. So, somewhere in the BSG universe -- whether it's our past or future -- there is a blue planet with the North American continent. I haven't seen that on the cinder planet yet, so I'm not convinced it's our Earth.

Everyone, even the writers are saying they made the story up as they went along. What if the writers are saying this to through the audience off? If all the talk about star patterns is correct they must have planned the story from the beginning. When they were viewing constellations in the tomb of Athena I took it for granted that the patterns were from our Earth’s sky. Folks with a lot more time on their hands than I figured it was not our sky but the Colonials do find those stars at the Cinder Planet. The Colonials found the planet they were looking for. That seems to me like a long term plan on the part of the writters and not something made up as they went along. All the clues seem to me to indicate the writers actually did have a “PLAN” from the beginning. These clues include the star patterns, the contemporary United States Air Force chevrons shown in the seen where Apollo’s mustering out of the service party to join the quorum of the twelve and the Thomson Machine gun seen in the case in Cain’s quarters on Pegasus don’t seem to be things just tossed in and made up. All the clues also indicate to me that this is our future. If the theory that everyone is a Cylon is correct it makes perfect sense to me that all that stuff happened with the Cylon Civil war and Demetrius right on Earth doorstep if everyone is programmed to not see our Earth. I in fact love the idea that they looked right at Earth many times and couldn’t comprehend it do to their programming. If any of this is true I will think the writers are actually brilliant and they fooled everyone into thinking they were stupid and its all going to blow the minds of the audience. I think we will find that everything in the show is right in front of us but we don’t see it. Sort of like those episodes in our solar system when the Colonials and Cylons are not seeing Earth right in front of them. I wonder who is making up the story as it goes along? The Audience or the Writers?

I think it's abundantly clear that the writers are making this up as they go along. There's no motivation for them to claim that they are improvising if they really have a plan. That's not going to throw anyone off the trail. And "improvising" doesn't mean "stupid".

For example, in "Flesh and Bone", Baltar's Cylon Test takes minutes to run. In the very next episode, "Tigh Me Up Tigh Me Down", it takes hours to run. That's because the plot of the latter episode required a long test and the former episode required a short test. More recently, we discover that Tyrol's son Nicky isn't really his son. It's obvious that this was done because having Nicky as a hybrid ruins the Hera story... but when Tyrol and Cally first had Nicky, the writers did not know that Tyrol was a Cylon!

I don't see how contemporary items used as props provide any evidence at all that there is some long term plot.

i am not saying that this improvisatory style is bad. I would argue that BSG is a much more satisfying story than Babylon-5, which was meticulously plotted out from the beginning. Also, it's not that they are improvising from episode to episode: they clearly plan out 10-episode arcs. When they wrote "Sometimes a Great Notion", for example, I'm sure that they knew what they were doing. But all of the mystic shit in the first couple seasons was thrown in because it sounded cool, not because they had a plan.

"but when Tyrol and Cally first had Nicky, the writers did not know that Tyrol was a Cylon"

Not entirely accurate. Tyrol was one of the characters who was worried he was a Cylon sleeper agent, and it was played with for a few episodes.

Tyrol was worried that he was a Cylon, back in Season 2 after it turned out that Sharon was a Cylon. But the psychological point of those episodes was that he was in fact human.

At that time, the writers had not figured out who the final 5 cylons were. In fact, they had not yet invented the final 5 cylon gimmick, which was necessary only in the wake of Baltar moving to the cylon base ship. The idea of the "final 5" isn't introduced until "Torn", a full 5 episodes after Nicky Tyrol is introduced in "Occupation".

I guarantee one of their ideas was to have him be a sleeper agent, and I can guarantee that when they first thought up the Final 5 he was tops on that list. The writers have a million different ideas going on at the same time in their heads, something they write into The Oath may have been something they had thought up way back when writing the episodes for season 1. They say they don't know, but that doesn't mean they don't have an idea.

Potential, and onscreen drama and producer comment aren't the same thing. Plus, you've got issues of integrity to deal with. The guy made a credible case. It stacks up. What you're suggesting is just a vague handwave. *This* opnion and *that* opionion are different things, and one, both, or neither have a connection (or no connection) with the truth, whatever that is. The challenge isn't necessarily getting the point but not not getting the point. At least, that's what Zen tells me and Ron is a Zen Buddhist.

That's some kinda confusion. But, hey. That's showbiz.

I guarantee that Tyrol was one of their candidates, as was almost every other character on the show. But if you think Tyrol as one of the five was definitively planned, you're mistaken.

Never said it was definitively planned.

If I was feeling kinder I'd say you were being unclear and ungracious but I'll punt for argumentative and rude. See the difference? This is Brad's blog and he'll probably stroll in later and stamp on this. Too much ego just ends up creating a mountain of bullshit nobody reads.

You read it, and responded!

Now you mention that, I don't buy Ron's claim that the unrevealed Cylons couldn't work after Baltar hitched a ride on a baseship. The thing is, it was Ron's decision to go down that route. Also, I understand the Cylons were going to be effectively written out about 75% of the way through the final series: the chase would end and the final chapter would unfold. So, it's not just the Final Cylons that are a retcon but the whole deal with the Cylon factions and truce between the Cylons and humans. As we write these comments, "the plan" is being retrofitted by a comic book series.

Stanley Kubrick had a similar approach where he shot everything a zillion times and brought a movie together in the editing room. He'd also tell whoppers to his actors and keep a veil over what the movie was about until it was cooked. This style of off the cuff dictatorship can produce results but as much as I've enjoyed some Kubrick movies and aspects of BSG there's a whole chunk of stuff I'm not sold on, and critical views of his movies can be temperamental. I suffer from similar personality flaws so the question just swam into my mind: is RDM the poor man's Kubrick?

Personally, I think it will be interesting to view the series in its entirety once it's all over. Will it make more sense as a cohesive whole? Watching them all back to back gives the viewer less of the 'retcon' feel; the long lag between seasons-- and even the week between episodes-- allows thoughts to linger and plot threads to dangle in your head. Retcon or not, some plot twists may seem more fluid when seen in a closer span of time.

Let's face it, a show like BSG was designed to be watched on DVD, as it's a single story. While I've always thought of BSG as not being able to stand up to repeat viewings (as it's the gripping nature of the plot that is most enjoyable, something you lose if you know how it ends), I find the prospect of watching it all at once quite exciting.

I don't think so. I think several things will remain unanswered on Galactica, but will probably be explained on Caprica.

Moore and Eick claim that everything will be wrapped up by the end of Galactica, and they're not saving anything for Caprica. I see no reason to doubt them.

I've rewatched the miniseries, season 1, and the first half of season 2, and it's great. It does hang together so far. The joy of BSG isn't in unexpected twists, but in the way the stories play out. I think it has a lot of repeat watching value.

Of course, the story from the miniseries to Final Cut is pretty tight. I don't know if seasons 3 and 4 will work as well.

I don't think it can be considered a "retcon" if they change their minds before they actually get around to shooting the episodes.

To your main point: Battlestar seems like a pretty collaborative, good-natured enterprise, judging from the podcasts and the recordings of writers' room sessions. And Moore does not seem to be deliberately misleading the actors (except for "Maelstrom", when they apparently told everyone that Starbuck was really dead and didn't let on that she was coming back). Instead, they're improvising from season to season, or rather half-season to half-season. They seem to plan out about 10 episodes in advance. So I say no, Moore is not the poor man's Stanley Kubrick.

Though I would prefer it if the space battles were scored with silence and the Blue Danube rather than sound effects and taiko drums.

There's a few instances where Ron's shown himself up to be a serial bullshitter to the cast and crew, and audience.I'm sure he meant what he said at the time he said it, had his reasons, or ways of expression that were misinterpreted but it's all there if you look for it. Someone like Ron generally has a very good idea what they want 5 steps beyond everyone else and doesn't always communicate it as well as they might. He only gets away with it because he's the alpha dog. I know cuz I'm like that.

It's a stretech but you can compare Ron's earlier stuff with Kubrick's and find a similar evolving pattern in there. As Kubrick leapt from self-commissioned, to commissioned, to feature films, Ron's following a similar track. I agree, you can fit almost anything in there if you want but it's a pitch and stands up if you don't get too anal about things. While it's an interesting toy reflecting on Kubrick and the past it will be interesting seeing where Ron heads with movies. The Thing will be done soon enough. We'll see.

Generally, I've found that people who anonymously proclaim themselves to be 'alpha dog' on the internet are rarely if ever actual 'alpha dog'(s) in real life. Because, my friend, alpha dogs aren't so transparently self-referential, even in comments that appear to be asides.

At the end of the day, it's all BS. We are trying to figure out what will happen, using reality and real science, when the whole thing is taking place in the imagination of a scifi writer, and he has creative license over what can and can't be real or not.

Excellent post, Brad.

As I was reading it, I thought to myself (which you later pointed out) that maybe the reason they did not see Earth is because they are "programmed" not to see it yet.

We know this can happen with Significant Seven cylons, such as with Boomer and the water. The fact that Boomer and the Five were sleeper agents also supports this. (And the fact that the Seven were programmed NOT to think about the Five but were clearly able to do so after a certain point is also relevant here.)

We know that this can happen with humans from the 12 Colonies, such as with Starbuck's visions and Baltar's whatever you want to call it knowledge of things.

We also know that the voyage from the 12 Colonies has had a number of unexplainable coincidences, such as with the supernova on the algae planet. Even in the first episode, "33", the fact that the cylons could find them every 33 minutes and the controversial destruction of the Olympic Carrier heavily implied that something was clearly afoot. These were not random incidents.

And of course, we know that Balter and Six have projections in their heads of each other that know all kinds of things they should not be able to know.

Taken together, this and other evidence strongly supports the idea that humans and cylons are somehow being manipulated by an unknown entity. This entity appears to be omniscient and can do things like resurrect humans (Starbuck) and control memories (Final Five) and limit the ability of cylons to get pregnant (save for Athena, Six). As such, it appears to be manipulating both humans and cylons equally, but in different ways.

In this light, the "all this has happened before..." is really a plan by the entity and not a preternatural prophecy. In a sense, it's like Moore's Law (Ron's, not Gordon's -- haha) in that through some combination of human and cylon fallibility and the entity's power, it becomes a self-fulfilling industry standard. In other words: all this is happening again because the entity is making it happen.

I don't know who/what the entity is... Cylon God? "Our" God? Some original AI developed on the real Earth thousands of years ago? Boxey? Dirk Benedict? But I don't think this matters very much, at least for now.

And now the payoff -- maybe the reason they've been right on top of the original Earth (where Bob Dylan lived and wrote All Along the Watchtower) and not seen it is because the entity believes they're not ready to arrive there just yet.

As Glinda says to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, "you've always had the power to go back to Kansas, you just had to learn it for yourself."

The entire story arc of the show -- the destruction of the colonies, the exodus, finding Kobol, the long, painful journey where humankind's worst (and the cylon's problems as well) has come out many-a-time and etc etc etc -- is simply the entity's way of preparing the human and cylon populations to live together in peace and harmony on earth.

These last two episodes, with the mutiny, and their eventual resolution, might culminate in an understanding between human and cylon that brings the survivors "closer" to being ready for earth. (But they're going to kill a lot of folks first.)

Put another way -- suffering is a form of cleansing. They have to be pure to reach Earth. They're clearly not pure, and have some way to go still.

Once they're cleansed, then they can go to Earth and someone or thing will be there to tell them the truth. And they'll be prepared to hear that real humans died out along ago on Earth and they're all cylons, because of all they've gone through. If they heard this now, they wouldn't believe it or accept it.

There's no place like home.

Wherever you go, there you are.

I wouldn't start from here. But, hey. That's showbiz.

What constellations appear on the stones in the Tomb of Athena?

Which colony does Tory come from?

The ones on the tomb our effectively those of the Earth sky, but not exactly. Careful study by others has shown that they are somewhat different, and they don't match anything we know of -- not our sky, not our sky in the future or past, and not the sky from any of our near stellar neighbours. This leaves these options:

  • They are just rough drawings by the production crew, not intended to match perfectly.
  • They were intended to be rough drawings by the builders of the chamber, and not meant to match perfectly even for the colonials
  • They represent a completely different region of space.

This was all done early in the show, long before this part of the show was scripted.

The zodiacal constellations appear in the Tomb of Athena. We don't know for sure what colony Tory is from, but she worked for the Federalist party on Delphi, so she may be Delphan.

I didn't realize there were 12 stones, at the time I actually watched the episode, certain things had not come to light yet, and when I was looking at pics from the show I saw the stones, but there were only 5 in all the pics I saw, so I thought the constellations on the stones had a clue as to who the 5 would be, and put an end to the speculation about Ellen. I was obviously off base.

I was looking on Google Earth, the outward view of the universe, I was curious as to the number on Starbucks Viper after downloading a new desktop pic of a nova, and was thinking the number of her Viper could have corresponded with the location of Earth, maybe 8757nc was related to an astronomical catalog number we have, like some other stuff that was used on the show... Again with amateurish results lol

I used to be a pilot and remember a story my instructor told me about pre-flighting the airplane. Even though it is routine, and they train you to do it the same way every time so you won't forget anything on the checklist, you need to *be* in the moment when you do it. The story was that a pilot dutifully climbed up on the wings of his Cessna and looked into each tank. After take off, he lost power and crashed. The tanks were dry. He *looked* inside them, but he didn't *see* they were empty.

I think it's likely that Cylons, the 7 and the 5 alike, cannot see the *real* Earth... That would explain a lot about why they keep being in/near our Solar system, but cannot see Earth. Let's assume that they can't see it because of programming. That would mean that the Cylon civil war can take place INSIDE our solar system yet they still don't *see* Earth. It could also explain why the 2 recons of the system showed nothing - IF they sent Athena... She's Cylon, and though she's taken her oath, if the programming says she can't see Earth, then she can't see it.

It doesn't explain why the fleet can't see the planet, but if we assume that the constellations remain mostly right up to about a light year around Sol, then we can perhaps excuse the fleet for not seeing it. The Earth they are looking for doesn't have these constellations - we know that in numerous hints - the flags aren't quite right, the temple charts aren't right, and I think we can safely assume that the Earth they found was the one they are looking for, just not *our* Earth. So when they are just hanging out waiting for the Demetrius, that faint star about a light year away isn't particularly enticing... they are focused on Earth - the one they found. They are distract by it, and thus are not *in the moment* like they should be.

Further, if it turns out that Thrace is a Cylon - and it may turn out that way - then she wouldn't have seen our Earth either. But even if she isn't, her patrol of our sector was cut short when the damaged raider showed up. Another distraction as if on cue.

What I find really interesting is the deliberate choice of our solar system for the Cylon civil war. Why there? Well, as Brad points out, there is hub there. And isn't THAT interesting? It could be that Cavil is special and CAN see our Earth, but knows none of the other Cylons will see it. It could also be that Cavil isn't special, but was programmed to select our solar system for the civil war.

I don't think we know enough at this point to figure out the puzzle... but it is fun to try anyway.

It's possible there's nothing TO see- just a healthy, but uninhabited planet. Whatever the time frame of this show (BRAD: "It can't be in the past!" There, I said it for you.), I don't think the real Earth is inhabited by a technological civilization.

They've been sidetracked by recent events, so if Earth is nearby that's probably why they haven't found it.

Certainly Earth can't have a starfaring civilization along Colonial lines, since they might have noticed ships jumping in to their system and fighting pitched battles.

I don't agree with Brad that the series CAN'T be set in our past, but I admit that I'm having difficulty coming up with a plausible alternative.

I doubt that Earth is another cinder planet, like the 13th colony (Earth'), 'cause that would be repetitive. So it probably is abandoned and uninhabited, though I suppose it's possible that there are still humans (or cylons?) dwelling in the ruins... nah, that's more Star Trek than BSG :)

Good points. That's why I'm leaning to it being in the past as well, even though I must reiterate that's not my preference.

1. They can't pull an "Earth's civilization was destroyed" angle twice. It MIGHT work if the real Earth is healthy and lush, and they begin to settle on it because it is habitable and THEN discover the remains of our civilization, essentially reversing what happened with Cylon Earth.

2. There will be no new characters and factions this late in the game. I'm certain of this. And the only future Earth alternative I already described, and explained why they might not do that either.

3. The final stand (vs. CAvil's fleet, which has to be coming), whatever it may entail, dramatically works best at the sight of where they end up. Therefore, the real Earth won't be able to help them, or else there is no drama. Therefore, RE will not have a spacefaring civilization, and that goes back to my first two points.

This is a spoiler pic that started swaying me away from "It's in the future"- it's mystifying and inspires speculation. It's either very telling or not, depending on how you look at it. Here's the warning:
It jives with the rumors of No. 6 in NYC being the last shot of the series. Looking at it as a look into the past, hinting at how it all started (if BSG is in the future) is kind of redundant- everything will have been explained by then, according to RDM and the Canadian previews for next week's episode. It won't be necessary. So either the show is in the past, or the truth is a lot weirder than we expected. The problem is is that a reliable website claimed to have known about the ending for a year but were sitting on it. It wasn't until I heard that that I started to think this picture was the ending and the show is in the past.

...i've heard about this picture, but hadn't seen it until now (so a thank you for the link is in order) but are we certain that this is real? Is it possible it's not NY? If you look, those magazines do not appear to be real publications, or even realistic ones. Could this be a flashback to Caprica? Or even to the cinder planet 2000 years ago? It could be anything. The only thing people are going on is the NY, which may not stand for New York.

New York Magazine has a section called "Intelligencer"

I know that there's a section of NY Magazine called 'Intelligencer' but that is likely a coincidence. Many town newspapers are called 'Intelligencer' which is more likely the reasoning behind the name. They'd could have likewise named it 'NY Gazette' or 'NY Bugle'.

I'm not saying it's NOT new york, just that I don't think people should assume it is because of the appearance of NY. It could be the initials of another city in the colonies, or even a city called 'New York' but not ours. Clearly the names of the BSG people and places are similar, often-times even the same, as ours.

And if this pic was officially released, it's entirely possible that the NY was an intentional ruse, like the episode teaser saying 'Tigh was killed.' Personally, I don't like making assumptions based on vague images, and then getting all worked up over the ramifications. But as you can see, it is certainly interesting food for thought.

I keep saying to myself that i'm going to stop theorizing about the ending, but I can't stop myself!

I am curious for those who have read the NY Magazine section -- has it ever used this logo? Have there ever been posters like it?

The fact that all of the other magazines are fake leads me to believe that this one is too, or is meant to be, at least.

Or that they didn't want to do a product placement their only time showing modern Earth.

There definitely is a PRINT magazine, which is the name of a mag hanging behind and to the right of Six. Another spoiler that I'm wondering about...
I'm still wondering about the casting call where they wanted extras of mixed ethnicity, with dreadlocks, comfortable wearing bathing suits.

Looking at their cover style on the web site this does not match. And I can find no instance of "Limited" magazine. I just wondered if anybody who reads New York magazine has ever seen them use that "NY" logo -- it doesn't match the standard logo they have used for decades.

Now in this photo the paper is square, and it looks very much like modern American urban. But there's nothing certifiably "New York" in it that I can see.

Since I am moving to thinking that a real Earth is out there, and that at least the Final Five lived on it, possibly as full humans, possibly in the 21st century even, it's not impossible to imagine that the bodies of the 7 Cylons also came from Earth people. That would contradict something Moore said quite a bit in the beginning, but as we see, he is ready to contradict such things.

We have been told that all the major characters have played this out before, though sometimes in different roles. Leoben had a long bit about this with Starbuck. So Leoben feels that in some way he played a role in past cycles.


They also asked that they be athletic. I'm guessing based on the requirements that "bathing suit" is a misdirection and they really meant "loincloth." Meaning at some point we see cavemen, either in a flash back or flash-forward. Who knows what it means, but given that the show is very good about making the people "real," (meaning there are overweight and slovenly characters, though how the Chief got so fat on an algae diet is anyone's guess) asking that an entire crop of extras be athletic is very telling.

We don't joke around enough on this blog, but I would like to see them find a new planet and encounter primitives so Starbuck can kick their ass. I've said before there will be no new factions, but if they find primitive humans on Earth, it would give them a reason for the final stand to be to defend the real Earth. If they jump ahead a few generations and show the RFT/Rebel Cylon descendants living a primitive existence(I think they will lose a lot of their technology in the final attacks), then I'm not sure what the point is; the final scenes showing the characters will undoubtedly show the alliance strengthening; jumping ahead a few centuries to reiterate this and seeing their descendants might be redundant.

People are debating over constellations and continents, and all this other stuff... Here is something interesting.

I rotated the NASA image to put it at the same position in relation to the Earth in Starbucks image, which was shown on screen but was upside down. Judge for yourselves.

Moon pair

Ignore the typo lol

Well done!

This image of the moon, including the one you use, has been flipped front to back, like in a mirror. Starbuck's camera image could possibly be flipped, but otherwise it is hard to explain -- the fake Earth would not have a mirror image of the real moon, and the real Earth would have the real, non-mirror, moon.

In addition, this moon is in the middle of a partial lunar eclipse, which is quite odd.

Looking at their cover style on the web site this does not match. And I can find no instance of “Limited” magazine.

Yes and yes. I think the art dept. spoofed a magazine they actually read, but figured most people would never have heard of. Print magazine is targeted at graphic artists/designers.

Since I am moving to thinking that a real Earth is out there, and that at least the Final Five lived on it, possibly as full humans, possibly in the 21st century even, it’s not impossible to imagine that the bodies of the 7 Cylons also came from Earth people. That would contradict something Moore said quite a bit in the beginning, but as we see, he is ready to contradict such things.

We have been told that all the major characters have played this out before, though sometimes in different roles. Leoben had a long bit about this with Starbuck. So Leoben feels that in some way he played a role in past cycles.

Did you hear the latest quote from Aaron Douglas? Since it's potentially spoilery, I'll paste it in down further:
"Ellen and Tigh are like mom and dad to the rest of us."

We don't joke around enough on this blog, but I would like to see them find a new planet and encounter primitives so Starbuck can kick their ass. I've said before there will be no new factions, but if they find primitive humans on Earth, it would give them a reason for the final stand to be to defend the real Earth.

Someone mentioned Kubrick. Let's just hope the Cylons don't have a big black monolith that they bring down to Earth to show those sporty extras.

Very interesting to say the least to read ALL of these comments on such a good show that I actually STOPPED watching between season 3-4 ...(I'm more of a Stargate Fan..the REAL SG-1 not the new crap)

What I was thinking when I was reading this is what if the earth is BEHIND the moon that she took a picture of and never saw OUR Earth. If you think about it maybe it happened like an eclipse and it was exactly behind the moon when she took the picture and she never saw it in the first place ...or forgot about it entirely. Then since they are so close to the "Earth," Maybe they didnt think about it cause Starbuck never really gave them anything to go on and just see a deserted planet floating there in space.

But reading the comments here gave me another idea,

Since we need to have another fight and since Galactica is breaking down maybe they DO find a planet but it's barely sustainable like before or they just found it and the other cylons show up just in time and they fight it out with ships going down left and right (Figuratively) . So then Adama tells them to go down to the planet and he rams the baseship with Galactica thus taking out BIG technology and stranding the people on the planet. So since they are stranded they try to rebuild with VERY limited resources (They had the ships on "New Caprica" ) and soon found themselves in rags.

Then Gaius sees 6 again but they are at a cosmopolitan bustling with activity and they talk about how "G-D," Has a plan for him and that he needs help and she gives him the details on how to make a very unsophisticated cylon to help them bring back their civilization from the brink and it ends with him rewinding the cycle all over again.

I'm just speculating but I would like to see a twist like that where they start to rebuild and someone builds a cyclon with GOOD intentions....

But all I really know is they HAVE to put Apollo back in a Viper!!!

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