Cylon War-era Centurion
The Cylon War-era Centurion (or simply Centurion) is the quintessential Cylon form during the Cylon War. They are the next evolutionary step following the prototypical U-87 Cyber Combat Unit and the predecessors to (and creators of) the humanoid Cylon form.
The Cylon War-era Centurions (henceforth referred to as "Centurions") are the next evolutionary step - or modification - of existing Cylon models created by Graystone Industries of Caprica City (CAP: Pilot, "Apotheosis"). Resembling the prototypical U-87 Cyber Combat Unit chassis, Centurions are distinguished by their iconic chrome armor and sometimes likened to "walking chrome toasters" (TRS: Miniseries, "Razor").
Appearing in the years during which robots are used by humanity to make life easier on the Twelve Colonies, Centurions are closely related to the Cylons provided by Graystone Industries to the Caprican Ministry of Defense for use as simple soldiers (CAP: Pilot, "Unvanquished").
Not long after their introduction to Colonial society as cannon fodder and laborers, the Cylons develop their own culture and religion worshiping the monotheistic God followed by some humans aligned with the Soldiers of the One cult. Shortly thereafter, the Cylons inexplicably turn on their human masters, initiating the conflict known as the Cylon War (CAP: "Apotheosis"). Alongside other Cylon models - including the military and commercial types - the Centurions become a mainstay in the Cylons' war against humanity (TRS: "Razor", Blood and Chrome).
War with Humanity
The Cylon War is staged in various theaters including Caprica and Tauron and other outlying Colonial worlds. Centurions are present at these locations, fighting hand to hand against the Colonial Military and civilian fighters, as well as piloting Raiders and commanding basestars in battle against the Colonial Fleet in space (TRS: "Razor", Blood and Chrome).
Despite maintaining troops on Colonial worlds, the Cylons establish their own territory adjacent to Colonial space but frequently attack human targets (Blood and Chrome).
During their fight with humanity, the Centurions also begin conducting experiments on prisoners. Performing brutal operations on live victims, the Centurions strive to create fully biological humanoid Cylons. Their experiments result in the development of the Hybrids - an evolutionary "dead end" - the first of which is created shortly before the cessation of hostilities (TRS: "Razor").
Unable to create organic life that can survive without technology, the Centurions agree to end the war in exchange for help from the Final Five – survivors of the Thirteenth Colony who possess resurrection technology. The Centurions sign the Cimtar Peace Accord with humanity and withdraw to their territory with The Five. Located somewhere beyond the designated Armistice Line, the Centurions and Final Five construct The Colony where they develop eight humanoid models, instilling in them monotheistic beliefs (TRS: "No Exit", "The Plan").
The Guardians are a group of Cylon-War era Centurions that pilot a single basestar, containing the first Cylon Hybrid, into deep space following the Armistice. Utilizing decades old Raiders and weaponry, the Guardians operate separately from the rest of the Cylon civilization, becoming something of a Cylon legend.
These Centurions guard the original Hybrid, still alive over 40 years after its creation. Seeking to further their evolution and continue the experiments begun during the first Cylon War, the Guardians capture a civilian science team from the surviving Fleet following the Fall of the Twelve Colonies. This triggers a battle between the Guardian baseship and the battlestar Pegasus, under the command of Lee Adama. During the battle, an assault team led by Major Kendra Shaw boards the basestar and rescues the science team, detonating a nuclear weapon that destroys the ship and kills the Hybrid (TRS: "Razor").
Despite the development of the Modern Centurion by the humanoid Cylons, some of the original Centurions remain in operation aboard the Cylon Colony. Serving alongside their modern counterparts, these Centurions are instrumental during the Battle of the Colony, when remaining Colonial forces launch an all out offensive to retrieve the half-Cylon, half-Human child Hera.
Armed with advanced weaponry, these Centurions engage in combat against rebel Cylon Centurions, dubbed "Red Stripes" by the crew of Galactica. The Centurions also act as shock troops, boarding the Galactica at platoon strength. Ultimately, though, the Cylon boarding parties are repelled and the remaining Centurions are presumably destroyed when the Colony itself is knocked into a black hole (TRS: Miniseries, "Daybreak, Part II").
Likened to "walking chrome toasters" by the Colonials, the Cylon War-era Centurions still had their place in Cylon society far past the initial conflict. Iconic features such as the red, pulsating "eye" were carried into later generations of the Cylon Centurion and even into the modern, autonomous Raiders (Miniseries). Still many of these models were scrapped before the second Cylon attack on the Colonies (Razor).
The Cylon War-era Centurions were, like their predecessors, bipedal androids, with an average height of 6'6" and covered in silver-chrome plating. They carried backpack-like power cells and were protected by flexible rear armor which covers otherwise exposed internal mechanisms . Physically stronger than humans, the Centurions were designed with sufficient dexterity and capability of using weapons and tools. Centurions communicated at least partially vocally, but were also capable of receiving radio signals internally (Razor).
Unlike their successors, these early Centurions did not possess built-in projectile weapons, but were armed with retractable blades, built into their forearms. There are indications that Centurions also used bladed weapons such as swords in at least some Cylon War conflicts.)
There are at least four variations of the Cylon War-era Centurion based upon function and placement within the hierarchy of early Cylon society. In addition to standard Centurion models, more compact "Warrior" versions and sturdier "Soldiers" have been observed. Centurion warriors were distinguished by more helmet-like heads and were heavily armored, possessing flexible coverings over the torso and upper arms and ammunition clips around their waists. These warrior versions were used in great numbers to defend the Colony during the final days of the second conflict. Gold-colored Centurions were also in service during the Cylon War, observed commanding Cylon raiders in combat.
The Colonial-designed Centurions used artificial intelligence, and were designed as sentient beings. By the time the first war ended, they were already practitioners of a religion centered around what would come to be considered the "Cylon God" (No Exit).
Saul Tigh, who possessed false memories of the First Cylon War, recalled the Cylon boarding of the Brenik, and the apparent hatred the Centurions had for humanity - despite the physical inability of the Cylons to show emotion on their faces (deleted scene from "Scattered"). This reflection of animosity and intensity is also apparent in the stylized Monclair painting in William Adama's quarters, depicting Cylon War-era Centurions battling Colonial forced utilizing relatively primitive weapons (Islanded In a Stream of Stars ).
Connection to the Original Series
The readable text of the Armistice Officer's Cylon Specifications sheet shows:
Cylon Centurian [sic] Model 0005
- The Cylon:
A Cylon is a bipedal robot. They are self-aware, and usually quite logical. They are not especially fast, but they are quite strong. They are artificial in nature, and are larger than a human, around 6' 6" (2m), although this varies with their type. Cylon eyes glow red, and pulse back and forth. A Cylon is powered by internal powercells which allow it to function without outside aid for around nine to ten yahrens.
- Centurions in "Razor" and the Razor Flashbacks move with greater agility and speed than their Original Series counterparts, and utilize projectile weapons instead of a laser pistol or laser rifle.
- A built-in switchblade knife is part of the left hand/forearm. The blade is approximately 8 inches long and is used in close combat (Razor Flashbacks).
- In a scene in the Miniseries, some children can be seen running around in costumes which are patterned after this model.
- The typical catchphrase of the Cylons in both series is the iconic statement "By your command."
Behind the scenes
The Centurion models for "Razor" were designed by Pierre Drolet, who had, among other things, previously designed the Viper Mark II, which is also a homage to the Original Series. Drolet said: "I always thought it was a great design. My goal was not to redesign it from scratch, but to work with the original and make subtle additions."
The armor of a Cylon Centurion from the Original Series can be seen in the museum aboard Galactica during the Miniseries. This is later retconned in "Daybreak, Part II" to reflect the redesigned Centurion from "Razor". Still, this redesigned museum version possesses some details carried over from the original design not present in the "living" Centurions.
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- Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz: Anatomy of a Cylon
- In the Miniseries, two children can be seen wearing Centurion masks and waving swords while at play. Additionally, William Adama has a Monclair painting depicting a battle in the Cylon War, in which swords are used by Centurions, in addition to a sword directly underneath. This may be a replica or an actual sword from the war.
- William Adama and Sharon Agathon confirm this point in season 3 episodes that explain why the advanced successors to the war-era models are not sentient: To prevent an intra-Cylon uprising between the humanoid Cylons and their creations.
- There is some debate among fans regarding the canonical spelling of this model's name. Wikipedia:Centurions were professional officers of the Roman Army, and are widely acknowledged as the basis of the Cylon name. Some official material, such as the on-screen appearance of the Armistice Officer's datasheet and the packaging of the original Mattel action figures, used the spelling "Centurian." For the purposes of this wiki, the spelling "Centurion" is used throughout.
- A continuity error or gaffe appears in the Armistice Officer's documents with the use of the word "yahren" (an Original Series measure of a year).