BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: THE PLAN
Almost certainly, the Battlestar Galactica spinoff films were inspired by the various spinoffs tv movies that accompanied Babylon 5 (1993-8), designed as fan treats expanding out various background incidents that had been alluded to or telling historical incidents that formed the backdrop of the tv series. Battlestar Galactica: The Plan has the interesting idea of recapping the events of the series from the point-of-view of The Cylons. All of the actors who played the Cylons throughout the series have been brought back with the exception of Lucy Lawless. This also gives the opportunity for the producers to devote an entire show to Dean Stockwell whose magnificently dry and coldly inhuman performance featured some of the best written dialogue throughout the last three seasons.
The constant flipping between the points-of-view of all of the Cylon characters during the depiction of the initial destruction of the Colonies makes for a film that seems dramatically schizophrenic in its first twenty or so minutes. Eventually, the film settles down. What is of considerable ingenuity is how it reuses footage from a number of episodes of the series but blends these into new material in such a way that becomes impossible to tell what is rehashed material and what is new without going back and re-watching the original episodes. This idea of conceiving another entire story in the margins of a familiar existing text has been conducted before in efforts like Back to the Future Part II (1989) of Star Trek: Deep Space Nines Trials and Tribble-ations (1996) but rarely with the ingenuity here where it is allowed to amplify the originals and tell a strong story of its own.
Battlestar Galactica: The Plan also takes the opportunity to expand out on some of the character aspects of the series Sharon Valerii underwent awkward character changes that turned her from a Cylon sleeper into a trusted member of the crew but the film expands that out to explain her motivation, showing how her false personality was imprinted and how she comes to regard her fabricated human identity as her true happy self. Time is also given over to Rick Worthys No 4, one of the Cylons who received little screen time, with a haunting subplot where he commits suicide to prevent his human wife and child being killed. The one explanation that the series never fully managed, which one thought that The Plan might have covered, is why No 6 keeps appearing inside Gaius Baltars head but maybe that is something to be left for a further film. As No 1, Dean Stockwell has a field day exploring the various delineations of his character there is a particularly chilling scene where he cold-bloodedly kills a child.
Although if anything, in taking the point-of-view of the opposition, the Cylon Plan comes across a series of comical mishaps where everything that Dean Stockwell aims to do to sabotage the fleet something that rent the humans with fear throughout the series is constantly being subverted by the Cylons weakness and attraction towards the human. Dean Stockwells constant frustrations at this prove a continuing amusement there is a particularly hilarious scene where he berates Matthew Bennetts No 5 for his fashion sense. In this regard, Battlestar Galactica: The Plan proves to be a fan dream, although on a wider sense it is a film that very much requires that one come to it with a strong familiarity with the Battlestar Galactica series otherwise be lost as to what is happening. Knowing its context though, it becomes a work of some ingenuity.
The original Battlestar Galactica films, all episodes of the original series re-edited for theatrical release, are:- Battlestar Galactica (1978), Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack (1979) and Conquest of the Earth (1981). Spinoffs from the modern series are the original tv mini-series pilot Battlestar Galactica (2003) and Battlestar Galactica: Razor (2007), as well as a prequel series Caprica (2009-10) and a further prequel web-series Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome (2012).