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Credit: SYFY

Battlestar Galactica composer Bear McCreary had no idea 'Watchtower' would be used for that Cylon reveal

Dec 8, 2020, 9:20 PM EST

The Battlestar Galacticast is almost over, but we’re still lucky enough to have two bonus episodes in the works. The first dropped today, and finds your intrepid co-hosts Tricia Helfer and Marc Bernardin talking with the series' accomplished composer, Bear McCreary (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Walking Dead).

The hour-long discussion below delves into how McCreary initially became involved in the show as an assistant composer to Richard Gibbs on Sci Fi Channel's (now SYFY) three-hour miniseries, before scoring his first episode on his own, “33.” The conversation soon turns to his philosophy on composing, and his experience creating BSG's version of "All Along the Watchtower," which plays during the Cylon reveal sequence in the Season 3 finale, “Crossroads (Part 2).”

Want to hear the whole conversation? Check it out here:


McCreary starts talking about "All Along The Watchtower" around the 42-minute mark in the podcast above, where he describes the circumstances around scoring the song — a well-known classic rock number composed by Bob Dylan and famously covered by Jimi Hendrix  — which defines one of the most memorable scenes in the series.

It turns out that there had been rumblings that the song would be part of the show since Season 1. Yet it wasn’t until Season 3 that McCreary was first asked to create his own rendition of the tune, even though he didn’t know what it would ultimately reveal.

“I caught [showrunner Ronald D. Moore] in the hallway,” McCreary says, recounting when he tried to get more details about how the song would be used in the show. “I asked him, what is it, what does it sound like?’ He was in a hurry and he said, ‘Just make it sound like Battlestar Galactica.’ And he walked away…I didn’t know it was going to be a big deal. For all I knew it was a scene in a bar or something, I don’t know.”

The BSG scene with "All Along The Watchtower" playing is most certainly a big deal. It’s the scene where we find out who the final Cylons are, and (Spoiler!) also where Starbuck apparently comes back from the dead.

Interested in talking more about Starbucks’s new “angel” status? Check out last week’s Galacticast to hear Marc and Tricia talk with Mary McDonnell (aka President Laura Roslin) about the series finale, including Starbuck vanishing into the ether.  

All episodes of Battlestar Galactica are now streaming on Peacock.