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Sam Esmail Says Peacock's Battlestar Galactica Series "Probably" Going to Pilot Soon

The acclaimed writer/director, who's taking more of a guiding role this time around, discusses the latest BSG developments.

By Matthew Jackson
Edward James Olmos (center, top) in the Battlestar Galactica finale.

After his USA series Mr. Robot became one of the most celebrated shows of its era, writer/director/creator Sam Esmail had the chance to take bigger swings than ever with his career. He could've picked a lot of things to focus on, but one of the things he did pick is an updated version of Battlestar Galactica, the classic military sci-fi series originally created by Glen Larson and updated 20 years ago by Ronald D. Moore

Battlestar was beloved even before Moore and his team took on a new vision of the story for SYFY back in the 2000s, but the Moore era elevated the series into something with a much wider reach, a Peabody-winning series that's still widely considered one of the best sci-fi shows of all time. Now, Esmail is trying to put his own spin on the material, and while it's taken a while to get this point, he's confident that the show will be moving forward soon. 

Sam Esmail Gives Latest Update on Peacock's Battlestar Galactica Series

"We have a great outline and we’re probably going to go to pilot soon," Esmail told The Hollywood Reporter this week while promoting his new movie, Leave the World Behind

RELATED: So Say We All! Sam Esmail Provides Update on His Battlestar Galactica Revival for Peacock

That tracks with what Esmail said earlier this year, when he teased that the show –– a new story that won't necessarily attempt to reboot Moore's or Larson's version of events –– had gone back into development in the wake of the Writers Guild strike. It's an encouraging update for a show that was first announced four years ago, as one of the flagship projects developing for the Peacock streaming service. Now, we just have to wait and see how the pilot takes shape.

(L-R) Director/writer/producer Sam Esmail wears a suit and tie; Maren Jensen sits as Lorne Greene and Richard Hatch stand beside her in Battlestar Galactica

Whatever happens, though, Esmail is also clear that he's not going to be taking the reins on the show full-time. Though he definitely has experience as a writer, showrunner, and director, he's also committed to letting other voices lead the way this time around, because the subgenre requires certain talents that he perhaps doesn't have.

"Because I know myself as a filmmaker and I don’t know if hard sci-fi is something I’m going to be the A-plus person to pull off," he said. "And Battlestar needs the cream of the crop. But I love the world and what Ron Moore did with the [2004 version] — how it was such an allegory for what we were going through at the time of 9/11. I knew that if we bring in the right partners to write and film the show, I could be on that other end as a person of guidance to say, 'OK, I think this is working; it’s the same magic I felt watching the Ron Moore version.'"

RELATED: The Ending of Battlestar Galactica Explained

But it's about more than just recapturing something that Moore and company pulled off 20 years ago. For Esmail, Battlestar Galactica has the opportunity to be a show that reflects the times, and just as Moore's show dealt with post-9/11 anxieties, Esmail's will deal with 2020s concerns.

"Yeah, and the world is changing way too fast for us," he said. "I mean, when we started working on it, I obviously was aware of AI, but now, four or five years later, it’s in the public consciousness and now that’s so influential in how we’re going to tell the story. The allegory piece is something that is crystallized in a different way, too. The focus is the same, which is the fear of tech and how it might take over, but this idea of just 'the robots are going to be our overlords' is a very facile and overly simplistic way of looking at it. Now that the audience is more sophisticated about the consequences, I think we have to match that with Battlestar."

Battlestar Galactica: The Complete Epic Series and Battlestar Galactica (2004): The Complete Series
are now available from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.