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The Last Supper

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The Last Supper being depicted using characters from Battlestar Galactica.

"The Last Supper" is the unofficial name of a promotional picture concocted by the SciFi Channel to promote the Re-imagined Series. It is one of the first promotional photos from the fourth season to be released to the general public, first making print in Entertainment Weekly with brief comments by series producer Ron Moore. It deliberately mirrors Leonardo's famous painting.

Contents

The "Clues"

Attached to the photo were comments from Moore, who provided descriptions of each character's pose and position in the picture, while claiming that each pose is significant and holds insights into upcoming events of Season 4. From left to right:

  • President Roslin lights a fire: "She's burning something of importance that has to do with a plot turn midseason." This is resolved in "Sometimes a Great Notion:" Dejected after discovering Earth is a barren world, Roslin burns her copy of the Book of Pythia. In an update to the picture on the "You Will Know the Truth" site, she is removed from the picture, foretelling her death in the closing act of "Daybreak, Part II".
  • Saul Tigh, missing eye turned towards the camera: "You might literally take that composition in terms of Tigh turning a blind eye." Tigh attempts, but ultimately fails, to live a normal life after realizing his true nature, turning a blind eye to what he is and focusing on what he wants to be.
  • The empty space at the table: "We have not yet revealed the final [unknown] Cylon." Does that mean the people already at the table aren't the final Cylon? Moore laughs. "You ferreted that out pretty slyly. I didn't really want to give that away." The clues here point to Ellen Tigh as the final Cylon. The empty space is right next to Saul Tigh, Ellen's husband. Tigh is looking directly at the unoccupied seat where his wife should be. The space is vacant because Ellen is supposedly dead. And on the table rests a cup similar to the one Ellen once drank a poisoned concoction from, resulting in her death.
  • Lee Adama in civilian clothes: "He does not return to flight status." Lee does not pilot a Viper for the rest of the series and instead takes a more active role in the fleet's government even becoming President temporarily.
  • Gaius Baltar looks up to his Virtual Six, who stands in the center of the picture: "Baltar's Six has proclaimed that she is delivering the gospel of the [Cylons'] one true God, so it seems natural to place her at the center of the photo. Baltar ascends to the status of religious leader over the course of the season, winning many converts to his cult. He later goes on to broker a truce between the Colonials and John Cavil's Cylon loyalists. Six is revealed (along with Caprica's Baltar) to be an agent of a divine authority, however it dislikes being referred to as "God".
  • Kara Thrace and Samuel Anders in a sensual embrace: "[Note] that the only one embracing Starbuck is Anders." Though she is shunned upon her return, Anders sticks up for Starbuck and has faith in her claims about Earth. Later in the season, Thrace becomes an advocate for Anders after he suffers life-altering brain trauma and ends up tethered to machines for life support.
  • Galen Tyrol, knife in hand, glares angrily: "The Chief does not have a pleasant time of it this season." His child with fellow grunt Cally would seem to be the second human-Cylon hybrid, and hints Moore, "one should consider the knife in his hand in that context." Upon learning, in the wake of Cally's death, that Nicky Tyrol is not his biological son he deposits the boy onto his birth father, Hot Dog, and severs his ties with humanity. He also murders Tory Foster upon learning of her role in Cally's murder.
  • Natalie Faust stands in commanding pose: "She assumes a leadership position for a group of Cylons [that have] a separate agenda from the rest of them." Faust leads the initial rebellion that fractures the unity of the Cylon race but is assassinated by Sharon Agathon, whom she is pointing at. Her position is later filled by D'Anna Biers, then by Ellen Tigh.
  • Sharon and Karl Agathon cast a worried glance across the table: "The person they're looking at is definitely reacting." This may have been resolved in "Guess What's Coming to Dinner?"; they are looking frightened toward Natalie who is pointing accusatorilly in their general direction. In "Guess What's Coming to Dinner?", Sharon shoots Natalie when she believes the latter to be an immediate danger to Hera; Natalie dies of her injuries in the next episode.
  • Admiral Adama sits on the end of the table, as far as possible from President Roslin: "They're also turned toward each other." Adama and Roslin are pulled apart by circumstance over the course of the season, but their love bonds them together. Though Roslin ultimately dies in the series finale, Adama promises to build the cabin they talked about back on New Caprica by her burial mound so he can be with her always.

Dismissal

In light of massive fan speculation, Aaron Douglas (Tyrol) publicly dismissed the importance of the photo via his LiveJournal.

According to Douglas, Ron Moore was not present at the photo shoot, which was part of SciFi Channel's promotional material production phase. The actors were given general directions by the photographer and SciFi Channel staff, but interpreted their characters as they saw fit. This indicates that the photograph was created for marketing purposes, as multiple different versions of the shot were produced. It was likely meant to fuel speculation, and thus there is probably no deep meaning behind its composition. Douglas added that neither he nor any of the cast believe there is any significance to the photo. He further notes that none of the fan speculation based on the photo matches the story lines or events in the 13 hours[1] that were filmed.[2]

Further, attempts to analyze the photo have been met with incredulity from Katee Sackhoff, who said: "It's interesting that everyone thinks there is something hidden in that Last Supper photo, like if you look hard enough, you can find a hidden message in it. To be honest, I think we [the cast] would have had to be in on it to create a hidden message, and we were all just there having a photo shoot."[3]

Defense

In light of the aforementioned comments, Ron Moore and Co-Executive Producer David Weddle came to the photo's defense.

From an 2 April 2008 interview that Maureen Ryan had with Moore:

Maureen Ryan: You have to know that the EW “Last Supper” photo of the Season 4 cast has been analyzed to death.
RDM: I know. As soon as they said that’s what they wanted to do, I said, “Oh, that’s genius.” I was on the phone, “Let’s put him here, her here,” I spun out all these things. It was a lot of fun.
MR: That was one question I had – you were the maestro orchestrating where people were and what they were doing, right? Everything in the photo is intentional, right?
RDM: Mostly. I wasn’t on the set. They pitched me the idea on the phone, and asked if I had any ideas of what to do. I said, OK, yeah, let’s do this. I spun out the basic format and I think they embroidered a little on that when they were on the set.
MR: Are there significant new characters this season?
RDM: Nothing that comes to mind. [Mo here: Hmmm. But according to the EW “Last Supper” photo, there’s a new No. 6 model called Natalie. She assumes a leadership role for a group of Cylons with “a separate agenda,” Moore told the magazine.]
MR: Just so I understand what I think you told EW for the story that went with the photo, none of the people in that photo is the final Cylon, right?
RDM: Yeah. I said that. I probably shouldn’t have said that [laughs] but I have said that. So, yeah [that is the case, the final Cylon is not any of the people in the photo].[4]

A further exchange with Maureen Ryan had her confirm that the text in brackets above was written by her, to summarize her view of what Moore was saying. However, she wrote Moore to confirm it, and he OKed her release of the following statement: ""Ron Moore confirmed to me that the final Cylon is not any of the people in the Last Supper photo."[5]

Additionally, a recent interview, Weddle added that: "You already know the answer to these questions [on who the "Last Cylon" is, the nature of Kara Thrace, etc.]. It's all right there [in the show]. Just examine every episode closely and the truth will emerge. Or break out a magnifying glass and go over that Last Supper photo one more time. Ron Moore laid it all out for you."[6]

Updates to Image

After the initial posting, minor changes have begun to appear.

  • The glass of water in front of Anders was half full. It switched at least by early May to a full glass.
  • The flaming chalice in front of Roslin disappeared in early May. Roslin, though, still holds the lit match.[7]
  • Virtual Six's position has moved to the right slightly. There is no longer an overlap between Virtual Six and Baltar.[8] Virtual Six's prophesy to Baltar about a hybrid child being born in the cell presumably now refers not to the Agathons' child (who was carried but neither conceived nor born in the cell), but to the child of Baltar's former lover (and Virtual Six's most closely related/associated corporial Six, Caprica Six) and Saul Tigh; that child was, at least, conceived in the cell. Virtual Six's shift away from Baltar may be a reflection of the Tigh-Six relationship.
  • Roslin has been completely removed from the image in one of the clues on the "You Will Know the Truth" site, but remains in the image on Scifi's Battlestar site.[9]
  • When the latter half of Season Four began airing, the image was replaced on the main page by pictures from upcoming episodes. Now that Daybreak, Part II has aired, the Last Supper has returned.

Other uses

  • The Last Supper forms the cover art for "The final Season" (R2 release of Season 4.5) DVD set. The front cover image is focused on Virtual Six, while inside the three slip cases display part of the image so that when the cases are placed together they form the entire picture.
  • The picture also comprises the cover of exclusive Best Buy packaging for the R1 Season 4.0 and Season 4.5 DVD sets. The left half of the image is the cover of the slip case for 4.0 and the right half for 4.5., so that when the boxes are put together they form the complete image.

Full Image

The Last Supper

References

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  1. This number includes the two-hour "Razor" television movie.
  2. Douglas, Aaron (10 January 2008). The Chief's Deck: Last Supper and the Truth (backup available on Archive.org) (in ). Retrieved on 25 January 2008.
  3. Swift, Tim (28 March 2008). BaltimoreSun.com - Critical Mass - A Da Vinci Code for 'Battlestar Galactica'? (backup available on Archive.org) (in ). Retrieved on 2 April 2008.
  4. Ryan, Maureen (2 April 2008). 'Battlestar Galactica's' fourth season, the strike, and directing in space: The scoop from Ron Moore (backup available on Archive.org) (in ). Retrieved on 2 April 2008.
  5. 'Ron Moore confirms final Cylon not in Last Supper photo' (backup available on Archive.org) (in English). (21 June 2008).
  6. Hinman, Michael (2 April 2008). SyFy Portal: 'Battlestar Galactica' Plan Subject To Change (backup available on Archive.org) (in ). Retrieved on 2 April 2008.
  7. SciFi Forums. http://forums.scifi.com/index.php?showtopic=2307515&st=0. 10 May 2008 (accessed 30 May 2008).
  8. "Crazy Battlestar Galactica movie, webisode, and Last Supper photo news." http://www.popcritics.com/2008/05/crazy-battlestar-galactica-movie-webisode-and-last-supper-photo-news/. 20 May 2008 (accessed 30 May 2008).
  9. You Will Know the Truth promo site. http://www.scifi.com/battlestar/youwillknowthetruth/index.php?pageid=70. 2 December 2008.


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