David Eick assesses Battlestar's legacy—and Caprica's promise

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

As Battlestar Galactica draws to a close with its (DVR Alert!) two-hour and 11-minute series finale tonight, executive producer David Eick looks back and tells SCI FI Wire that the show was a "rich" meal and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him—then looks ahead and adds that the upcoming prequel series Caprica will delve into science fiction in a vastly different way.

SCI FI Wire spoke to Eick earlier this week at SCI FI Channel's upfront presentation to advertisers and the media in New York. Battlestar will end its run with a finale entitled "Daybreak, Part 2," beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Caprica will premiere on SCI FI in 2010, but the uncut and unrated pilot will be available on DVD (via Universal Home Entertainment) and as a digital download (via Universal Cable Productions) on April 21. Following are edited excerpts from our exclusive conversation.

How full a meal has Galactica been for you?

Eick: Too much. Too rich. Incredibly stuffing. It's like everything you want in your career. It doesn't get much better than this. We've been saying that to each other for a long time, that this is the best experience any of us are going to have creatively, that any of us are going to have professionally. Since this show I have gone on to do some other things, and it's sadly true. I just think one of these comes along in life, and then that's it.

Just how hard is it to not screw up a series finale?

Eick: It's incredibly hard. There's so much pressure on it. Our director on it, Michael Rymer, I think by the end had a loaded pistol in his pocket, and he was going to just start blasting people. [Edit: This is a joke. We think.] It's so hard to maintain the integrity of what we thought the finale had to represent. The interesting thing is that the actors all came together. Everything you see in the finale, these people crying, saying goodbye to each other, we shot it pretty much in chronological order, so you're watching actual emotion. It's not acting.

Most people feel that Galactica coming to an end isn't just any ordinary show calling it a day, that it was more than merely entertainment. What would you like to think you've left behind?

Eick: Well, it's for someone else to say, but my hope is that we changed the face of science fiction in terms of its allegorical power. It was never intended to just be an escapist fantasy. It should have some metaphorical resonance. It should teach us a little something about our culture and about our times. And that's what we were hoping to do.

How deeply involved are you with Caprica and the upcoming Battlestar DVD movie The Plan?

Eick: Every bit as much. I think Caprica, in its own way, is going to be as unique as Battlestar was.

Galactica was science fiction in the traditional sense, with spaceships and robots, etc., but Caprica sounds like something entirely different.

Eick: Caprica is really about a culture of ideas and the idea of artificial intelligence finally rising to a prominent level in society. And it's about how two different points of view struggle to determine where that artificial intelligence should go and how that, in many ways, will serve as the birth of the Cylons that we'll come to know in Battlestar.

To you, is that a more pure form of SF than Galactica was?

Eick: Well, I don't know. Science fiction is action and spaceships, and science fiction is speculative ideas. And I think in Battlestar it was the former, and in Caprica it's more the latter.