Exclusive: Update On Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome

Exclusive: I’ve been told that the CGI/VFX for Syfy’s two hour Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome pilot was completed and delivered in October last year.

So what is the status of the project? Well, sources at Syfy have told me that a number of executives have seen the rough cut (sans CGI) and have all been “very impressed” with it.  And it would seem that the huge amount of costly CGI the pilot (and in turn the series) requires, is something of a concern, but not necessarily a prohibitive one. One insider commented that “we knew that going in, if that was a real concern Mark [Stern] would never have ordered it to pilot. It’s just a case of can we get that to work on a week-to-week basis, both financially and technically?”

The bigger question, this insider commented, was “how the thing will air.” True Battlestar fans will recall that in the very early stages, before a script was even turned in, the project was conceived of as a limited web series. It was only after Mark Stern, President of Original Content for Syfy and co-President of Original Content for Universal Cable Productions, read the script written by Michael Taylor that he decided to upgrade the series to a two hour TV movie. At the time that this was announced in late 2010, the plan was to air the TV movie on Syfy as a backdoor pilot, in a move very similar to what the network did with Red Faction: Origins. There were then further reports that the project would be a “proper pilot” and that rather than air it, the network would decide on ordering a regular series after viewing the finished product. Since then, there has been even more reports that those at the network who had viewed the rough cut were not impressed and the project would, in fact, air online as originally intended instead of as a TV movie that would serve as a backdoor pilot.

I have since been told that these reports are flawed, at best. The manner in which Blood & Chrome will air will depend on whether or not Mark Stern and co decide to order a weekly series. If they do green-light production on a series, the two hour pilot will apparently be held in reserve as the first episode of the show’s first season. Whereas if word comes down that a series wont be ordered, the network will likely air it as a standalone TV movie, probably on a Saturday night. I have also been warned that a third scenario is possible in which the series is not ordered at this stage and the pilot is aired as a TV movie and backdoor pilot, at which time a decision regarding a series pickup will be based on the ratings and fan reaction to the young Adama project.

What is guiding the decision on whether or not a series will be ordered? I’ve been told that, as with most things in Hollywood, it comes down to money or to quote a source “the economics of the situation.” The project would, apparently, be shot (as the pilot was) almost entirely on green screen. The network already has one costly series that takes a similar approach, Damian Kindler’s Sanctuary and as such they are keen to ensure that the money is there before pulling the trigger on the series. I have also been told that Mark Stern’s office have been looking into what the overseas market would be for the series and if that made it more viable, financially speaking. And Sanctuary fans take note, an insider at Syfy also said “whether or not Blood & Chrome is picked up may be more closely linked to the future of Sanctuary than you might think.” I’m told a decision is expected to be made within the next six weeks.

Regardless, I’m being told that Battlestar fans will get to see the two hour project in one form or another.