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SYFY WIRE Battlestar Galactica

Where is the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ cast now? Edward James Olmos, Katee Sackhoff & more

Catching up on the post-BSG careers of a dozen SYFY series mainstays.

By Benjamin Bullard
BSG 405 The Road Less Traveled

Through four SYFY seasons, a prequel miniseries, and the short-lived Caprica spinoff, Battlestar Galactica (streaming now on Peacock) has held a special place in the hearts not only of science fiction fans, but of pretty much anyone who can spot great TV when they see it.

SYFY's Ronald D. Moore-created update of the 1970s TV classic drew critical review raves while spawning a legion of loyal followers, riveted each week by the show’s serious drama, stellar ensemble cast, and practical effects that went all-in on “hard” sci-fi concepts rather than space-laser wonkiness. And ever since the main series closed shop in 2009, BSG stars like Edward James Olmos (William Adama) and Katee Sackhoff (Kara Thrace) have kept up high-profile acting careers, even as others might’ve flown under fans’ radar.

RELATED: Blast off with all four seasons of 'Battlestar Galactica' - streaming on Peacock

In most cases, though, the mainstay members of the BSG cast have enjoyed tons of recognizable roles on both the big and small screens after leaving the Twelve Colonies behind — which is what this list is all about. Whether you’ve known it or not, chances are you’ve been seeing (or hearing) these BSG actors all along in loads of recent big-ticket TV shows, movies, and even video games.

Keep on reading to board a faster-than-light tour through the post-series careers of a dozen of our favorite Battlestar Galactica veterans:

Edward James Olmos (William Adama)

Edward James Olmos in Battlestar Galactica: Edward James Olmos in 2022

Busy as an actor since the 1970s, Edward James Olmos scored huge mainstream success with a trio of iconic 1980s roles: as Detective Gaff in Blade Runner (1982), math teacher Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver (1988), and his Emmy-winning portrayal of quiet-storm cool Lt. Martin Castillo on NBC's pop culture-defining Miami Vice (1984-1990). On Battlestar Galactica, Olmos held the team together as William Adama, the Galactica’s reticent, always-composed commanding officer. Both on the big and small screens, Olmos’ acting career hasn’t let up since his BSG days, with his most high-profile recent appearances coming in Blade Runner 2049 (reprising his role as Gaff), Pixar’s Coco (as the voice of Chicharrón), Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (as Robert Gonzales), and Mayans M.C. as Felipe Reyes — a role Olmos continues to play into the present day.

Katee Sackhoff (Kara "Starbuck" Thrace)

Katee Sackhoff in Battlestar Galactica; Katee Sackhoff in 2023

Fresh off a hugely expanded Season 3 role on The Mandalorian as Bo-Katan Kryze, Katee Sackhoff has been a horror and sci-fi fan favorite since her early-career appearance in 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection. Her cigar-chewing, hard-drinking BSG stint as hotshot Viper pilot Kara "Starbuck" Thrace won Sackhoff tons of fans for infusing the Galactica’s straight-laced military vibe with an unfiltered dose of human spirit, playing to Sackhoff’s natural acting gifts in ways that paid off in later screen roles including Riddick (as beautifully tough bounty hunter Dahl), Longmire (as Victoria "Vic" Moretti), The Flash (as the villainous Blacksmith), and as lead astronaut Niko Breckinridge in Netflix’s Another Life.

Mary McDonnell (President Laura Roslin)

Mary McDonnell in Battlestar Galactica; Mary McDonnell in 2023

Breaking out in 1990’s Dances with Wolves as assimilated Sioux refugee Stands with a Fist, Mary McDonnell had already earned big notoriety before Battlestar Galactica with acclaimed turns in Grand Canyon (1991), Passion Fish (1992), Independence Day (1996), and as the wryly resigned mother of the Darko household in 2001’s Donnie Darko. McDonnell brought a similarly understated intelligence and resolve to her role as BSG’s President Laura Roslin, and has remained a steady presence in both TV and film with memorable appearances in Scream 4 (2011), The Closer (2009-2012) and its 2012-2018 spinoff series Major Crimes (as police Cpt. Sharon Raydor), as well as the third season of FX’s Fargo. Watch for McDonnell in The Fall of the House of Usher, Mike Flanagan’s next horror miniseries destined for Netflix sometime in the near future.

Jamie Bamber (Lee "Apollo" Adama)

Jamie Bamber in Battlestar Galactica; Jamie Bamber in 2022

A key piece of the behind-the-scenes family and political intrigue that forever kept William Adama and President Roslin at odds, English actor Jamie Bamber played BSG’s Lee “Apollo” Adama, William's surviving son, as a character navigating conflicting loyalties while rising (and occasionally falling) through the ranks to high-trust positions aboard the Galactica (and later the Pegasus). In his post-BSG career, Bamber has been spotted in a slew of American series (most notably in an extended 6-episode arc on NCIS), while heading up a steady string of British crime and police procedural series including Marcella (2016-2018), Fearless (2017), Strike Back (2020), and Season 2 of whodunnit series Innocent (2021).

Tricia Helfer (Number Six)

Tricia Helfer in Battlestar Galactica; Tricia Helfer in 2023

Playing humanoid Cylon double agent Number Six (and its variants) with a seductive simmer, model-turned-actor Tricia Helfer guides her android armies straight to the weak spot of the Twelve Colonies’ defenses by getting in the head — and the heart — of computer scientist Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis). Post-BSG, Helfer’s been a recognizable guest presence in tons of hit TV shows including Two and a Half Men and Community, while taking on larger roles on Burn Notice (2007-2009), Tron: Uprising (2012-2013, as the voice of The Grid), and Powers (2016). Most recently, Helfer’s held down the devil as the Goddess of All Creation on Lucifer, while imposing vampire order on the White House as Countess Olivia (aka The Dark One) on later seasons of SYFY’s Van Helsing.

James Callis (Dr. Gaius Baltar)

James Callis in Battlestar Galactica; James Callis in 2019

Lately spotted as Jean-Luc Picard’s father Maurice on Star Trek: Picard, James Callis played BSG’s Dr. Gaius Baltar as a conflicted, kinda-cowardly computer scientist (and later, briefly, even the president) with a weak spot for the opposite sex — even if it meant compromising his colonial loyalties. Outside of BSG, Callis has been a versatile actor across genres, starring opposite Renée Zellweger in the Bridget Jones movie series while playing key roles on SYFY series Eureka and 12 Monkeys, CBS’ recent MacGyver reboot, and as the voice of Alucard on Netflix’s animated Castlevania series. Callis currently plays smuggler Simon Hardwick on the CBS adventure series Blood & Treasure.

Grace Park (Number Eight / Sharon)

Grace Park in Battlestar Galactica; Grace Park in 2023

Currently known as attorney Katherine Kim on ABC’s A Million Little Things, Grace Park played human-appearing Cylon sleeper agent Number Eight (and later its copy variants Sharon “Boomer” Valerii and Sharon “Athena” Agathon) aboard the Galactica. She’s had numerous star turns in main TV roles in between BSG and her present-day acting gig, including Honolulu officer Kono Kalakaua on Hawaii Five-O and ex-addict Akani Cuesta on A&E’s The Cleaner. On the big screen, Park most recently starred opposite Emile Hirsch as “Abnormal Defense Force” detective Cecelia Ray in the 2018 sci-fi movie Freaks.

Michael Hogan as (Col. Saul Tigh)

Michael Hogan in Battlestar Galactica; Michael Hogan in 2016

Tigh and Adama seldom saw eye to eye on the bridge of the Galactica, with Michael Hogan playing the ship’s executive officer as a philosophical foil who often questioned Olmos’ military leadership — usually in a friendly way. Hogan’s recent screen appearances have come in 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog (as the Air Force Chief), episodes of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, SYFY’s The Magicians, and The Man in the High Castle — though he’s enjoyed a long acting career with tons of guest TV appearances as well as highlights that include FX’s Fargo, MTV’s Teen Wolf (as Agent Gerard), and the 1985 fantasy film The Peanut Butter Solution. He’s also given voice to major video game roles, including Bailey in the Mass Effect series and General Tullius in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Aaron Douglas (Galen Tyrol, aka “Chief”)

Aaron Douglas in Battlestar Galactica; Aaron Douglas in 2017

Canadian actor Aaron Douglas played the Galactica’s Senior NCO Galen Tyrol (typically known by his crewmates as “Chief”), often seen down near the ship’s flight deck ensuring that the Viper fleet was always primed for a response to any surprise Cylon threat. Douglas has lately been spotted in episodes of Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone and Freeform’s Motherland: Fort Salem, though he’s kept up a consistent string of guest appearances in tons of sci-fi series ever since his BSG days — including spots on The Strain, iZombie, The Flash, The X-Files, and Supernatural. Hemlock Grove fans also know Douglas for his role as Tom Sworn, the local sheriff in Netflix’s dark fantasy series.

Tahmoh Penikett (Karl “Helo” Agathon)

Tahmoh Penikett in Battlestar Galactica; Tahmoh Penikett in 2022

A close-knit colleague of Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, electronic warfare Raptor officer Karl “Helo” Agathon was portrayed on BSG by Canadian actor Tahmoh Penikett. Penikett went on to star opposite Eliza Dushku as an FBI agent in the 2009 Joss Whedon sci-fi series Dollhouse, and has since shown up in tons of guest appearances on series including Haven, Castle, Arrow, Supernatural, Criminal Minds, and Altered Carbon. DC fans may also recognize Penikett for voicing Steve Trevor in 2015’s animated Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles, as well as a small 2013 part (as Jed Eubanks) in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.

Alessandro Juliani (Felix Gaeta)

Alessandro Juliani in Battlestar Galactica; Alessandro Juliani in 2017

Galactica tactical officer Felix Gaeta could often be found hovering somewhere nearby whenever Adama made a logic-defying decision, there to suppress a gulp or timidly divert his gaze anytime Olmos’ character decided to put his foot down. Alessandro Juliani played Gaeta on BSG before embarking on an extensive voice acting career that’s placed him in a slew of animated projects (notably as the voice of Gambit in the X-Men: Evolution series), as well as in video games and live-action dubbing (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina fans might recognize his voice on the Netflix series as that of Dr. Cerberus.)

Michael Trucco (Samuel “Longshot” Anders)

Michael Trucco in Battlestar Galactica; Michael Trucco in 2022

The ex-athlete and Caprican resistance fighter who ended up flying Vipers out of the Galactica, Samuel “Longshot” Anders brought a big BSG surprise when it was revealed he was a Final Five Cylon at the end of Season 3. Actor Michael Trucco played Longshot on the show, going on to a subsequent small-screen career that’s gotten especially busy in recent years: Since 2010, Trucco has played key parts on series including Fairly Legal, How I Met Your Mother, Revenge, The Rookie, and currently stars as Luke Leone on CBS’ Fire Country. Trucco also played island mayor Wade Scarborough in Mike Flanagan’s 2021 Netflix horror hit Midnight Mass, and he’s teaming up with Flanagan once again for the forthcoming Edgar Allan Poe-derived miniseries The Fall of the House of Usher, also at Netflix.

Catch all four seasons of Battlestar Galactica now on Peacock, along with must-watch prequel Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries and the 2009 followup feature film Battlestar Galactica: The Plan.