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SYFY WIRE Battlestar Galactica

So Was She an Angel? Katee Sackhoff Settles Debate Over Starbuck's Battlestar Galactica Return

What was the deal with Starbuck? Katee Sackhoff has a simple answer.

By Matthew Jackson
A spacesuit from Battlestar Galactica

The longer it went on, the stranger SYFY's Battlestar Galactica got. It's one of the show's hallmarks, and while its willingness to get more mysterious and fantastical in later seasons is one of the things that makes it great, it's also left viewers with a few questions in the years since it wrapped up its run. 

There are a lot of enduring mysteries and things left up to our interpretation when it comes to BSG, but arguably the most frequently discussed is the case of what exactly happened to Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, the fiery Viper pilot played by Katee Sackhoff throughout the show's four-season run.

Over the course of the show, Starbuck goes through quite the metamorphosis, including a final season in which she seems to have literally transcended to a new state of being. Now, Sackhoff herself is settling the debate over what exactly happened to her character.

Katee Sackhoff explains Starbuck's return

Earlier this week, Sackhoff posted a simple photo to her official Instagram page, in which she can be seen relaxing on her deck at home. The image was accompanied by a comment about the heat wave sweeping through the Pacific Northwest, but that's not what one particular fan wanted to talk about. In the comments, this fan decided to shoot their shot and ask Sackhoff directly about what really happened to Starbuck in Galactica's final episodes. Sackhoff's response was brief, to the point, and definitive.

"She was a spirit brought to guide humanity to earth and salvation," Sackhoff wrote

So there you have it. Pretty easy answer, right? If that's the case, why does the mystery keep persisting?

(l-r) Jamie Bamber as Captain Lee 'Apollo' Adama, Katee Sackhoff as Lieutenant Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

What Happened to Starbuck?

The mystery of Starbuck's final hours on the show begins back in the Season 3 episode "Maelstrom," when the character seemingly dies when her Viper breaks apart in a storm. Her crewmates and friends mourn her, and it really does seem like Starbuck is gone for good. Then comes the Season 3 finale, and her mysterious reappearance, in the same Viper that we watched disintegrate. 

RELATED: The Ending of Battlestar Galactica Explained

The show's fourth season is, of course, largely devoted to wrapping up the whole story of Battlestar's journey to find a new home for humanity, but Starbuck's mysterious reappearance is also a central mystery of the season. Over the course of the final episodes, Kara seems to be her old self in many ways, but a different person in many other ways, eventually finding Earth for the crew through an intuitive flash that involves the Bob Dylan classic "All Along the Watchtower." Then, in the series finale, as her friends are getting settled in their new home, she simply vanishes in thin air. 

Though there were certainly contextual clues that offered a few different interpretations of her fate, what happened to Kara was never definitively confirmed by the show, which has meant years of fans debating what exactly she was at the end, and how she was able to return. This is important, because it also means that Sackhoff's answer to the mystery is still just one possible interpretation of who and what Kara was. So, if you've got a different pet theory, feel free to stick with it.

Battlestar Galactica was one of the most acclaimed original series to ever grace SYFY's schedule, running from 2003-2009 and piling up tons of awards and acclaim along the way.