Jane Espenson co-wrote the Battlestar webisodes that explained Gaeta's recent behavior. She's also worked on Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, and now she's the showrunner on BSG's prequel Caprica. So we were bursting with questions for her.
Also, here's a new clip from Friday's episode, "Blood On The Scales." It looks like Roslin makes it to the Cylon Baseship, but her problems aren't over. Here's our new Q&A with Jane Espenson, including minor spoilers:
After Friday's BSG episode, I couldn't help thinking about "The Face Of The Enemy." Gaeta's actions make so much more sense after having watched those webisodes. But I know you made the webisodes after season 4.5 was already in the can. What made you and Ronald D. Moore decide we needed more build-up to the Gaeta mutiny?
It's true that "Face of the Enemy" didn't shoot until the end of the series, but we had started work on it many months before that. When Seamus Kevin Fahey and I started thinking, with the rest of the staff, about stories for the 'sodes, we originally wanted to make sure the story wouldn't affect the main body of the show. In fact, we weren't even going to use any characters as prominent as Gaeta, in order to keep things really separate. But Ron pointed out that Gaeta's motivations, although already supported, could benefit from an extra push. That was really when the 'sodes caught fire, got exciting, because suddenly they had a real reason to exist. We threw out what we'd been working on and started working on a new story. A lot of the rest of the elements were dictated by circumstance — we knew we would have limited sets, cast, and time, so the "lifeboat"-type story seemed like a natural way to keep things contained.
Was the Gaeta-Hoshi relationship in anyone's mind during the making of season four? I could have sworn I noticed a couple of little moments between those two in Friday's episode.
I agree, I saw moments between them.
I totally loved your recent Buffy The Vampire Slayer comic. Best Harmony storyline ever — even better than the Angel pyramid-scheme episode. What's next with Harmony — will she be living in a house with Ron Jeremy?
Thank you! Glad you liked it! And I could certainly see Harmony wanting to appear on other reality series, as long as she isn't required to tan on camera, which eliminates a lot of them.
Seriously, does anybody still think Andy Dick is a celebrity?
Even a small fame-flame keeps you warmer than none at all.
Is there any chance you could just do a funny horror/science fiction comic every month? In your spare time? It seems like all your writing projects lately are more serious.
Spare time is starting to seem like something I imagined once. But when you see my episode of Dollhouse, I think you'll see that there's still some funny going on. And — you heard it here first — Caprica is absolutely going to have moments that will benefit from a very light touch.
Congrats on becoming the showrunner at Caprica. Do you get a lot of input in crafting the first-season character arcs in Caprica, as the showrunner? How much of that stuff was already in place when you came on board?
I'm pleased to say that I will have a lot of input in crafting season one of Caprica. Ron is still the ultimate king of us, and I hope that doesn't change, but I will be getting a lot of my ideas in there. We also have an amazing staff — Michael Taylor, John Zinman and Patrick Massett, Kath Lingenfelter, Matt Roberts and Ryan Mottesheard — and they will be contributing mightily.
The thing that intrigues me most about Caprica, from what I've read so far, is the idea that these super-powerful robots, the Cylons, actually come out of human grief. Does this give you the chance to look at the Cylons in a whole new light?
Oh, yes, of course. Caprica is going to shed light on the Cylons, of course, but also on the history and culture and beliefs and prejudices and lives of the human colonists. This is great rich material. All that, plus strong characters and at least ten flavors of conflict — it's the coolest thing ever.
The Sci Fi Channel and Ronald D. Moore have both talked about the hope that Caprica will reach more female viewers. Do you feel a lot of pressure to make it more female-friendly? Or, conversely, does that open up opportunities to do different types of stories?
Huh. I like this question. It has never occurred to me that I would write different types of stories to attract women viewers. Maybe there is some truth to the idea that war stories traditionally held less appeal for women since it wasn't a real-life arena in which women were well-represented, but even that has to be changing, don't you think? Isn't a good story pretty universal? At any rate, the stories on Caprica are simply going to kick ass and I certainly expect some of that ass to be female.
You helped to co-create the new show Warehouse 13. What's your involvement at this point?
I'm not currently involved, but I can't wait to see what they do with the concept and I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for a really long and successful run.