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A series bible is a guidebook written by the creator(s) of a TV show so that all writers will know the general outline of the show; it contains the backstories of the characters and outlines the in-series universe. Typically, it contains information that might not actually be revealed to the audience until later, but is known to the writers from the start, so they won't make any conflicting new stories. Additionally, writers of some film series use a similar bible.
The Re-Imagined Series bible
The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series bible was written by Ron D. Moore after the Miniseries during a hiatus and was completed on 17 December 2003 before production on the regular series began. It has not been released in its entirety, nor will it probably, as it still contains much information not yet revealed on screen. However, the series bible is not necessarily definitive, as sometimes the writing team may decide something different must be done in a script than was originally outlined. Still, so long as nothing new is made that conflicts with the bible, it contains the real back stories for the characters and basic plot outline for the future of the show.
For example, Moore has said in his Season 1 podcast that, according to the series bible, Starbuck used to be a pyramid player, intending to play professionally, but sustained a knee injury and had to drop out and find a new direction for her life. Several episodes later, in "Resistance" Starbuck states on screen that she used to play pyramid but a knee injury forced her to stop.
Moore often refers to information from the series bible in the podcasts (usually, things he wanted to put on screen but could not). Another example is Colonel Saul Tigh; Moore has stated that his series bible entry says, that he was a young petty officer not unlike Chief Tyrol when his ship, the Brenik, was boarded during the Cylon War and the fighting with Centurions was some of the bloodiest of the war, devolving into hand to hand combat.
Later, Tigh was stationed on another ship which was also lost, and then he was dragooned into officer school to become a Viper pilot when Colonial numbers started running low. The series bible also fully describes his poor relationship with his wife, Ellen. Originally, all the viewers would ever see of this relationship was that it (combined with Tigh's horrific war experience) had driven Tigh to alcoholism as seen in the beginning of the Miniseries, also when Tigh is burning her face out of a photo. Originally, this was supposed to be all viewers actually saw of Ellen Tigh. However, other writers read the full description of her in the series bible, and subsequently thought that she would make a good character, and thus "resurrected" her in "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down".
Moore previously indicated considering releasing the series bible, as "a lot of the background information on the characters is starting to come out in both Seasons One and Two, so there might come a point where I'd let the bible be put out there for public consumption."
Several lines from the series bible are briefly shown during Battlestar Galactica: The Lowdown. The images show that the series bible has sections on the Religion and the Culture and Society of the Colonials. The series bible itself was finally released to the public in March of 2009.
Life on the Cylon Baseship
In the David Eick video blog "Life on the Cylon Baseship", a separate 'Cylon Bible' is mentioned that documents every aspect of the Cylons. Only few cast and crew members have been allowed to read it.
Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Series Blu-ray 2010 aka the "gray box"
S4.5 - Disc Two Extras - David Eick Video Blogs - Life on a Cylon Battleship
The following excerpts were shown on screen:
Life on the Cylon Baseship
Key to understanding how life works aboard the Cylon Baseship is recognizing and understanding the tensions within the communal nature of Cylon life. The Cylons, as artificial beings, have made many of their own evolutionary choices, including the method and practice of their interactivity. Driven by their burgeoning belief in a divine being, they have constructed for themselves a method of interaction that is rooted in the human model, yet makes allowance for unique abilities of the machine. This combination of a biologically-based pattern of behavior only partly improved upon by mechanistic technical advances have led, in some instances, to what seem like contradictions in their modes of living and behavior.
The communal nature of Cylon society is rooted in the fact that these are, fundamentally, machines, capable of highly sophisticated exchanges of data. There is no technical reason why any given Cylon should not be immediately and continuously connected to every other Cylon aboard a Baseship as well as to the database of the ship itself. However, the Cylons have choosen, as a society, to foreswear this ability in favor of more closely emulating the human form, presumably as a direct result of their homegrown theological belief that mankind was God's chosen form, based on His original image. Human failures to carry out the Almighty's wishes and plans notwithstanding, it is a tenet of Cylon belief that the human form came directly from Him, as did the initial human impulse to design the first generation of Cylons as bipedal beings which closely followed the human design. Therefore, the Cylons believe in maintaining and cultivating many aspects of the human form, including their modes of communication. Cylons verbally talk to one another as opposed to transmit files or data streams because that is the way God intended for his creations to interrelate to one another.
Aboard the Baseship, this creates a need to design systems that permit both immediate access to vital data while at the same time respecting the fact that individual Cylons are something more than simply points along a data stream. People are unique unto themselves, therefore individual Cylons are unique and [5 words] provided by the Baseship itself. In practice, this means that individual Cylons need to make discrete decisions to access data. They are not automatically aware of everything [end of page]
The Final Five
These are the Cylons which are not present on the Baseship, and indeed have not been glimpsed or referred to in the series thus far. They are mysterious beings even to the Significant Seven, all of whom know there are five humanoid Cylons who choose to associate with the others and who seldom communicate directly with them. Very little...
Sharons -- are uncertain of themselves and their place in the universe.
Sixes -- are powerful driven beings, constantly looking for ways to influence or determine events. They love human sensuality in all its forms and see their bodies as the highest temple in praise of God that has yet been constructed. They are also deeply manipulative and have a tendency toward physical and emotional cruelty that has its...
There is no formalized hierarchy among the Cylons, either aboard the Baseship or in the Cylon nation at large. Decisions are made collectively, through the will of the...
…strive to bring themselves closer to Him.
Leobens -- see life outside the box of the material world. T...
have found ways of calculating variables and data outside the...
and other cylons to see beyond the here and now. They see f...
Clothing being a purely aesthetic choice, there are times when we may wish to enter a room where total or partial nudity is on display without it being remarked on by any of the Cylons.
...quarters as we would de...
...assigned to individual Cylons, and are treated w...
...rms of sets, the Living Areas are redresses of th...
...er.) They generally consist of a reclining chair.
...etimes take in nourishment directly from the s...
...chair. The living Areas are customized by the...
...ys of red lights found the through...
Multi-Purpose Rooms -- based on the living areas, they sometimes have pools, and sometimes have other water fonts accessible to the Cylons, but can be reconfigured for a variety of purposes. Objects can be stufied, issues debated, or prayers offered in these rooms, which are distinguished solely by the light patterns on the walls and specific pieces of furniture which come and go.
The Control Center -- the functional equivalent to Galactica's CIC, this is where tactical decisions are made abord the Baseship. These is no assigned "crew" here, any visit to the Control Center will see a different set of Cylons coming and going, and interacting with one another. Again, decisions are made collectively, with individual models speaking with one voice and no action taken until majority consensus has been reached. The holographic projections above the consoles change rapidly, seldom showing the same image for any great length of time. The images displayed are also just...
Sky One Biographies
The following are biographical information from Sky One's website which was later removed. They were based on information from the show's series bible.
The first evidence of this was that President Adar's first name is given as "Richard" in Laura Roslin's biography, obviously long before Adar's first name was mentioned on screen. Further background information confirmed by the show is detailed below each character.
- William Adama was born on the colony of Caprica, in a small coastal community.
- His mother Evelyn was an accountant and his father, Joseph, was an attorney who specialised in criminal defence and civil liberties.
- At the age of 16 his parents divorced and he applied to the Colonial Fleet Academy. That same year, the Cylon War broke out. Adama's training accelerated along with all other midshipmen.
- After 3 years Adama was commissioned to work as a flight pilot; he gained a further two years of training before Adama joined his first squadron. He was a gifted, natural pilot and he shot down a Cylon fighter in his first mission.
- After the war was over, Adama was mustered out of the service along with millions of other colonials as part of demobilization process. He went home to Caprica, married his high school sweetheart and started life over.
- Adama struggled to find work as a pilot and so signed up as a deck hand in the merchant fleet. This experience would later give him an uncommon insight into the lives and struggles of the enlisted ranks aboard Galactica.
- Adama later had two sons, Lee and Zak. But over the years his exploration aboard ships would see Adama spending less time with his sons. He always tried to instill duty and admiration for military services. But was still surprised to learn that both his sons decided to enter the Fleet and become pilots.
- When Zak died during a training flight. Lee confronted his father and laid blame for his younger brother's death.
The description of William Adama's mother as an accountant named Evelyn was later confirmed in the Season 3 episode "Hero". His service in the Colonial Fleet also fits with the details established in Adama's dossier (shown in "Hero") and the Razor Flashbacks.
According to Sky One, Roslin was born in Caprica City. Her father and two sisters were killed by a drunk driver and she came to the attention of Richard Adar after she earned a Teacher of the Year award.
Here is Sky One's summary of Roslin:
- Laura Roslin was born in the bustling urban environment of Caprica City. Both her parents, Judith and Edward, were teachers in the public school system and her two older sisters also went into teaching.
- Tragically at the age of fifteen, both her sisters and her father were killed by a drunk driver. Her mother never recovered from the shock and Laura would spend the next twenty years caring for her mother. Laura then went into teaching and soon established herself in one of the large public schools in the city.
- Her success was acknowledged and she earned a Teacher of the Year award. In doing so, she came to the attention of Richard Adar, Mayor of Caprica City, who wanted her to help him run for Governor. Despite having no political experience, Adar persuaded her to join.
- Laura entered the harsh world of politics. Caprica City was crime-ridden and its public schools were a disaster. Adar and Laura brought the city back to its full potential.
- Uncomfortable with the spotlight, Laura let others take the credit for her work. But the Mayor knew what she had accomplished, and he never forgot.
- Her personal life was solitary; she remained a quiet, efficient public servant who ran her department fairly. This won her admiration across the political spectrum.
- Laura wanted to return to teaching but her loyalties to Adar would find herself fulfilling her political role. Her desire for a quiet life changed when she came under scrutiny and was accused of corruption in the Seacade District Scandal. Adar stood by her and eventually the scandal subsided.
"Daybreak, Part I" confirms the incident of her sisters and father being killed by a drunk driver, only it occurs latter in her life, not when she was 15. Her youngest sister was also pregnant at the time, a point not covered in the Series Bible. The episode also confirms that after the accident she was approached by the Adar campaign team to join him in his run for office. It is not specifically stated whether he was running for Governor of Caprica or President of the Colonies at the time, only that Roslin has misgiving about joining a "national" campaign.
Kara "Starbuck" Thrace
According to Sky One, Thrace was born on Picon but raised all over the Twelve Colonies. Her mother was a sergeant major in the Colonial Marines and a decorated veteran of the First Cylon War. Her father was named Dreilide, and is described as a "frustrated" musician.
Here is Sky One's summary of Thrace:
- Starbuck is Commander Adama's best pilot, as well as flight partner and closest comrade to Apollo, Adama's estranged son.
- Kara Thrace was born on the Picon colony, but raised all over the 12 Colonies. Her childhood was spent bouncing from one military outpost to another. Her mother was a sergeant major in the Colonial Marines, and a decorated veteran of the Cylon war. Her father, Dreilide, was a frustrated musician.
- Kara was a tough minded-child who dreamed of playing Pyramid in the big leagues someday. her mother wanted her to pursue a career in the military...Kara did not want this, so signed up to the academy to pursue her love of sports.
- Her future as a sports star ended when she was seriously injured, shattering her right knee. Most surgeons felt her knee would never be the same. Depressed, Kara applied to various post-graduate posts, but doubted she would be accepted. To her surprise, she scored the highest academic record for a flight-training exam. Kara soon discovered a love of flying.
- She would be a pilot for life - unless she got kicked out first, as Kara hated taking orders and military protocol. If that wasn't enough, Kara drank and gambled too much. While her academic and personal life was not first class, it couldn't be disputed that she was destined to fly.
- Kara served her first tour aboard the battlestar Triton, but she was not admired by all, and soon found herself shipped back to where she started.
- This is where she met Zak Adama, and fell in love. Tragedy struck when Zak failed a key flight test and his plane crashed. Kara was devastated. She then spent two years on the Galactica - concentrating on her flying.
In the podcast for "Maelstrom", he confirms that Kara Thrace grew up on several colonies on account of her mother being a sergeant major in the Colonial Marine Corps (the letter she receives lists her, incorrectly, as corporal. This is clarified in the extended DVD edition of "Razor", where Thrace refers to her mother by rank). As noted above, her knee injury is mentioned in "Resistance", and her service on Triton is noted in a personnel file seen in "The Son Also Rises". Her father's name being "Dreilide Thrace" was confirmed in Someone to Watch Over Me.
Lee "Apollo" Adama
Here is Sky One's summary of Lee Adama:
- Lee was born and raised on the colony of Caprica, where his family were born. A headstrong, scrappy boy, he was forever getting into fights at school.
- His parents divorced when he was just eight and his younger brother Zak was raised by their mother. His father visited him when he could, but military life often took him away for long periods. Nevertheless, both boys grew up worshiping this distant figure.
- Lee always wanted to be a pilot; to follow in his father's footsteps and join the fleet. He studied hard at school, aced his entrance exams to the academy and graduated third in his class. But the boy's hero-worship eventually turned to resentment, and neither knew how to repair it.
- While Lee was at flight school, his younger brother was away at Viper Squadron and a plum assignment on Atlantia - flagship of the fleet. Lee tried to dissuade him, but Zak did not want to be the only Adama without wings on his uniform. Zak's application was turned down. As Commander Adama pulled a few strings to get his son in, Lee was furious.
- Two weeks later, Zak's plane went down while he was flying a routine solo mission and he was killed. Lee spent the next two years focusing on his career, having no personal life and working to become the perfect fighter pilot.
Part of this is contradicted by on screen evidence: Zak died during an important flight training mission and not a "routine" one. Lee did not work hard (at least after Zak's death) to be the best Viper pilot or to improve his career; multiple cast interviews, as well as Ron Moore's podcasts, state that he was despondent, didn't know what to do with his life, and was considering leaving the service. Moreover, in "Final Cut" it is established that he is a member of the Colonial Fleet Reserve, not regular fleet, indicating that he wasn't particularly concerned with a lifelong career. However, according to a deleted scene from "Razor", Lee Adama was accepted to test pilot school, showing that he is a very talented pilot, despite his lack of clear goals in his life.
Here is Sky One's summary of Baltar:
- Scientific genius Gaius is one of the greatest minds humanity has to offer. Unfortunately, his abundance of intellect is counterbalanced by a complete lack of ethics. His moral weakness allows the Cylons to infiltrate and neutralize the defences of the 12 Colonies.
- Gaius Baltar was born on a farm on the colony of Sagittaron.
- His family had worked the land for three generations and even as a boy, Gaius hated farm life. Fortunately, his parents owned a large and sprawling agri-business controlling millions of acres across the planet; Gaius found a different use for farm life and used it to study science and maths.
- Gaius became more than a good student - he was a genius at 14.
- By the age of 21 he had his first doctorate under his belt. Soon he was being hotly pursued by every major university to set up a research lab.
- Gaius' speciality was theoretical physics, but his true passion was computer science. He saw the prevailing anti-technological edicts as short-sighted, and believed in advancing human technology that the Cylons could not infiltrate.
- Because of his achievements, Gaius' help was needed by the Defence Ministry on top-secret projects. Gaius soon found himself the keeper of secrets, a position that flattered his already impressive ego.
- Still it wasn't enough; he hungered for a chance to work on a true artificial intelligence project. He then meets a smart and beautiful woman who seemed to understand him in a way no other had. She shared his passion of A.I. systems. The relationship lasted for two years and during this time she provided him with new and innovative ideas. Only one thing was missing; Gaius could not find out anything about her. Was it the perfect relationship he once thought it was?
The description of Gaius Baltar coming from a farming family has been confirmed as well, though the writers decided to change his origin to Aerilon. In the podcast for the episode "Dirty Hands" Moore states that, according to the series bible, Baltar grew up a farmer's son in a rural community. Moore also confirms that originally Baltar was supposed to be from Sagittaron.
According to Sky One, Sharon's memories were of growing up on the mining settlement of Troy.
Here is Sky One's summary of Valerii:
- Sharon's first memories are vivid and she occasionally revisits them in her dreams. As far as she knew she grew up with a happy, normal childhood, the product of loving parents on the mining settlement of Troy. Troy was a small, barren world of the Colonial system.
- Sharon always wanted to leave and seek a grander life. After passing the Colonial Academy's exams she left aboard a commercial transport ship.
- During the flight, her hometown was wiped out in a series of titanic explosions caused by volatile methane gas, which had ignited in a mining operation. The disaster stunned the colonies.
- She later applied for flight school and was accepted over more qualified candidates. Flight school was rough on Sharon. Not a born pilot, she laboured long and hard. By the time she had graduated. she managed to earn the second chances that she seemed fated to be given. Her first assignment was aboard the battlestar Galactica, and by the time of the Cylon attack, she had been there for almost a year.
Valerri's back story is contradicted by her telling Boxey that her parents died when she was little (Miniseries), but supported by a comment in "Downloaded", that she received a gift from her mother when she left for the Academy. Furthermore according to Adama, she had been on Galactica for nearly two years, not almost one (The Farm).