Kobol is the ancestral homeworld for humanity in both Battlestar Galactica sagas. In both series, an unexplained event or catastrophe causes humanity to leave Kobol and settle on the planets that form their new homeworlds known as the Twelve Colonies.
Kobol in the Original Series
In the Original Series, Kobol was the mother world where mankind originated. An ecological / environmental disaster led to humanity's migration. During the migration, 12 tribes set out for the stars, but became lost in a starless void before stumbling into the worlds that would become the new Twelve Colonies of Man, while the 13th again headed for a world called "Earth".
Kobol is rediscovered in the two-part episode, "Lost Planet of the Gods." A team from Galactica arrive among the ruins of Eden, the planet's largest city, seeking to enter the tomb of the Ninth Lord of Kobol in order to find clues as to the route taken by the Thirteeth Tribe. A Cylon attack ultimately prevents them from doing so.
Kobol in the Re-imagined Series
Kobol is said to be the original home of mankind, once shared with the Lords of Kobol.
Kobol was a place where humans and the gods dwelt in harmony, the seat of power being the City of the Gods in the northern hemisphere, itself dominated by the Forum and Opera House (Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part I), structures which were duplicated on Caprica in the city of Delphi.
The Great Exodus from Kobol took place some 2,000 years prior to the events of the new Battestar Galactica. At that time, the Twelve Tribes departed Kobol for another star system.
It is unclear whether the gods themselves departed Kobol at this time. However, given that their presence is not seen among the Twelve Colonies, it is possible they remained on Kobol. This may be the reason why not everyone departed Kobol at the time of the Great Exodus.
It is known that the Thirteenth Tribe departed Kobol some time before the main exodus (Miniseries), to seek a planet known as "Earth." The gods may also have abandoned Kobol at this time to travel with the Thirteenth Tribe.
During the time humans lived on Kobol, many texts were written, some of which have survived through time, and are regarded by some as religious artifacts, and by others the documenting of myths and legends. Chief among these writings are those of Pythia, who wrote some 1,600 years prior to the Great Exodus, fortelling of another exodus featuring a "caravan of the heavens" lead by someone dying of a "wasting disease" (The Hand of God). This exodus would lead humanity to a new home, although the leader would die before he/she could enter the new home.
Some of the writings of Pythia have apparently come true: President Laura Roslin, the civil leader of the Colonial fleet is dying of cancer - which can be considered a wasting disease. Further, she has several visions, including one of 12 snakes (The Hand of God) that is specifically foretold by Pythia.
According to an image of Six that appears to Gaius Baltar, the Cylons have very different beliefs about Kobol, including that human sacrifice was practiced there, and that the souls of all who die on Kobol are forever lost ("Valley of Darkness," "Fragged"). Since this "virtual Six" appears to be some sort of hallucination, this belief may be a falsehood.
Following the discovery (as predicted by the Cylon agent Leoben Conoy), Roslin becomes convinced that Kobol will lead the fleet to Earth, providing the Tomb of Athena can be accessed. To do this, the Arrow of Apollo must be retrieved from the Delphi Museum of the Colonies on Caprica.
However, before the surface of Kobol can be reached safely (and the crew of a crashed Raptor rescued), a Cylon force lead by a basestar must be eliminated. Commander Adama plans to use the captured Cylon Raider to help with this, but before any plan can be put into action, Lt. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace uses the Raider to go to Caprica in an attempt to recover the Arrow (Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part I). Commander Adama eventually uses a Raptor armed with a nuclear warhead to destroy the orbiting basestar.
President Roslin played up her role as "the Leader" sent by the Gods, and convinces a third of the Fleet to return to Kobol with her (The Farm). With the Arrow of Apollo retrieved, Roslin descends to the surface with a small team, including Lee "Apollo" Adama, Starbuck, Helo, and Tom Zarek. The copy of Sharon Valerii, who accompanied Helo on Caprica, claims to know how to help Roslin reach the Tomb of Athena, and is brought along as guide. Along the way on the surface, Roslin's team fights with additional Centurions, resulting in the death of priestess Elosha, Roslin's personal religious advisor (Home, Part I).
Commander Adama (who locates Roslin's group on the surface) joins her and the rest of the team shortly after Elosha's death. The team soon finds the Tomb of Athena. They are the first people to see the inside of the Tomb in centuries, and use the Arrow to activate a holographic map display which indicated the general direction of Earth (Home, Part II).
Similarities of Kobol between Original and Re-imagined Series
- It is the original home of humanity
- It is found by chance by both Fleets
- A tomb may hold the key to the location of Earth
- Special keys are needed to open or access the secrets of the tomb
- The Colonials encounter Cylons during their quests.
Etymology of "Kobol"
"Kobol" originally appears to have derived from "Kolob" which, according to the Mormon Book of Abraham is the "star nearest unto God". Glen A. Larson, creator of the Original Series. is a member of the of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As such, he used Mormon imagery within the show, together with elements of Eygptian imagery that tend to reflect the time of Abraham and the Israelites.
In the Re-imagined Series, much of the scenic, expansive landscapes of Kobol were filmed at Widgeon Slough, the largest freshwater marsh in the the Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, Britsh Columbia, Port Coquitlam (Source in part: The Official Companion).