Richard A. Colla

From Battlestar Wiki, the free, open content Battlestar Galactica encyclopedia and episode guide
(Redirected from Richard Colla)
Richard A. Colla
Role: Director
BSG Universe: Original Series
Date of Birth: April 18, 1936
Date of Death: December 24, 2021
Age at Death: 85
IMDb profile

Richard A. Colla was the solely-credited director of the Original Series pilot "Saga of a Star World."

Early Career

Colla began his career performing in high school theater, even though his family encouraged him to become a doctor—and, when asked, would tell others that he was going to be a doctor. Following high school, he became a student at Marquette University in acting, along with actor John Walsh for four years, plus another "couple of years" getting his Master's degree. He then enrolled in Yale University to obtain his doctorate, believing that he would be a theater instructor but was discouraged by the political nature of education.[1]

Colla first met producer Leslie Stevens in New York when performing as an actor in Stevens's play Bullfight in the 1950s, which he "really loved as an actor."[1]

Colla relocated to California, acting in Days of our Lives after being introduced to that series' executive producer by actor Mac Carey, even though he had designs on directing.[1]

Colla then shifted from acting to directing, and directed a variety of short films to use as "Calling cards" in order to acquire his first directing gig (and his Directors Guild of America card[2]) in Don Siegel's 1966 half-hour series The Legend of Jesse James for Twentieth Century Fox.[1]

Colla became a contract director for Universal Studios under George Santoro, and was offered work on McCloud, where he met future "Saga of a Star World" cinematographer Ben Coleman.[1]

In 1974, he directed Gene Roddenberry and Gene L. Coon's "The Questor Tapes," which also starred Lew Ayres (President Adar). This later association would help secure Colla's directorial involvement in 1987 for Star Trek: The Next Generation.[1]

Battlestar Galactica

In 1977, Colla was recruited by George Santoro to direct the pilot.[1]

Upon being informed by Santoro that Glen Larson sold the movie-of-the-week, "Saga of a Star World," to ABC for $1.8 million United States Dollars (adjusted for inflation in 2018 dollars: $7,590,534.65 USD[3]) Colla arranged multiple discussions with various department heads to gather an actual budget. Upon these discussions and with copies of the various department budgets in hand, Colla had discovered (much to Santoro's chagrin) that "Saga" was undersold and would need to be shot for $9 million (adjusted for inflation in 2018 dollars: $37,952,673.27 USD[4]). As a result of this fact, the studio would need to release "Saga" as a theatrical feature in order to recoup the cost differences.[1]

Upon further reading the script, he believed it to be a "comic book" insofar as both the story and characterizations were concerned. Despite assurances from Leslie Stevens that these areas of opportunity would be addressed, Colla felt that the deficiencies were never addressed.[5]

Due to creative differences with Glen Larson and believing him to be an "ungrateful bastard," Colla was asked to leave four days prior to the scheduled completion of shooting "Saga of a Star World." He obliged.[1]

It should be noted that, due to re-shoots and re-writes by Larson, this ballooned so that Colla had ended up leaving at the half-way point as the remaining scenes (along with re-shoots) were directed by Alan J. Levi. Colla never had the chance to discuss anything with Levi.[1]


Colla directed numerous features and television entries following his dismissal from "Saga of a Star World," which not only acts has a theatrical credit but also a television credit.

Additional credits post-"Saga" included CHIPs, Miami Vice, Murder, She Wrote, MacGyver and the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Last Outpost," which first introduced the Ferengi.

As of 2007, he owned Cottages Among the Flowers in Ojai, California, to which he has dedicated a fair amount of resources in renovating and expanding the historic structures there.[6][7]

In 2008, Colla noted that, in addition to the major restoration project, he had "a couple of television pilots that are being written. I'm doing a small movie, an independent movie that we're putting together in New Mexico. Another script that's being written for a theatrical picture."[1]

Colla was awarded the ASA Caucus Legend Award in 2018, recognizing his contributions to film and television.[8]


External links


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Egnor, Mike (29 April 2008). Richard Colla GALACTICA.TV interview (backup available on (in ). Retrieved on 2 June 2019.
  2. Per Galactica.TV interview, "You have to get three directors to sign your application. So I went to find Leslie [Stevens] because I asked him to sign my application [because] I really appreciated his work. So I knew him, and at the time I don't think I even knew that Glen [Larson] was involved in the project."
  3. CPI Inflation Calculator (backup available on (in ). Retrieved on 8 June 2019.
  4. CPI Inflation Calculator (backup available on (in ). Retrieved on 8 June 2019.
  5. Altman, Mark A.; Gross, Edward (2018). So Say We All: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Battlestar Galactica. Tor Books. ISBN 9781250128942, p. 48.
  6. Braverman, Nao (19 July 2013). Ojai Valley News: Ojai landmark to get face-lift (backup available on (in ). Retrieved on 8 June 2019.
  7. Braverman, Nao (29 November 2007). Planners Agree To State Housing Terms (backup available on (in ). Retrieved on 8 June 2019.
  8. AMERICAN SPIRIT AWARD 2018: A Resounding Success! 12th Annual American Spirit Awards (backup available on (in ). Retrieved on 08 June 2019.