KARL KESEL talks BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: GODS & MONSTERS #5, on sale in March!

KARL KESEL talks BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: GODS & MONSTERS #5, the grand finale, on sale in March by Dynamite!

BYRON BREWER: Karl, in March your excellent Battlestar Galactica series reaches its climax. We don’t want to spoil anything, of course, but with that conclusion coming did you get the chance to write the story you set out to write? I know the work sometimes takes a life of its own.

KARL KESEL: This has been an extremely enjoyable— and yet very strange— assignment for me. I love the TV series, of course, and loved playing in the Battlestar sandbox. I knew what the plot of the series would be, and even knew, in broad strokes, how it would end. But more than any other writing work I’ve ever done, I was very surprised by how it got to that end. It really was a case of the characters telling me, “You think I’m going right? Wrong. I’m going left.” These characters lived in my mind in ways very few other fictional characters ever have, and more than anything else I believe that’s a testament to the vibrant, fully-formed characters the TV series presented, and a credit to the writers and actors who created them. So “life of its own” is putting it mildly! And yet: I still ended up in the place I thought I would. More-or-less. Very, very strange.

BB: The drama surrounding Baltar’s rebuilt Centurion has certainly been building, and intriguing. Friend or foe? Has maintaining interest around this character been fun for you as writer, or was there some point when it became a true challenge to keep the momentum going?

KK: Fun. Fun, fun, fun! That said: after 5 issues, the story needed to be resolved, one way or another. To keep that question in the air any longer would have really stretched credulity, and become repetitious at best, boring at worst. And that’s the last thing you want to have happen with your central storyline.

BB: Who has been your favorite character in this latest iteration of the BSG franchise? Who will you miss after your last issue is written?

KK: Baltar. He is an absolute riot to write. Witty, intelligent, arrogant, deluded, narcissistic, charming— what more could any writer ask for? That said, I grew to have a great fondness for Sam Anders as leader of the Caprica Resistance fighters. It seems to me he was a great leader of a sports team, but is no where near as comfortable as a combat leader— he really doesn’t want to send anyone to their deaths. So he’s constantly trying to live up to his responsibilities, and always feeling like he’s falling short— when in reality he’s doing as good a job as many and probably better than most. I also think Sam tends to see the best in people— it’s his most engaging quality, and his biggest flaw.

BB: When you write Battlestar Galactica, is there any specific type of music you might listen to? Is there a soundtrack to your creativity?

KK: I can not listen to any music while writing, even instrumental. There’s a rhythm to dialogue— at least, that’s what I’m going for— and if I listen to anything that has any other rhythm it just screws everything up. For me, at least.

BB: I know you maintain BSG in a world of hard SF. How might the saga of Baltar’s Centurion been different if it were in another “world,” like say that of high fantasy (Star Wars, etc.), yet under similar circumstance?

KK: Maybe in a Star War-like universe, Baltar’s Centurion would have had more the feeling of a knight or gladiator, instead of the Frankenstein undertones our story had. It’s very hard to say.

BB: Do you ever see Baltar carrying a book of his own? I mean, if Sinestro could do it at DC and Magneto at Marvel, why not BSG’s resident bad boy?

KK: I think the character of Baltar could easily star in a solo book. That said, it would have to be some sort of alternate reality because Baltar is so inextricably bound to the larger BSG story— there’s simply no way to extricate him from it for a solo series that would cover any extended period of time. Could you do a prologue starring Baltar about his life leading up to the Cylon attack? Possibly. The thing with Baltar is that he’s most enjoyable when he’s doing something for his own self-aggrandizement, all the while professing great altruism. And the most interesting thing about Baltar is that his surface confidence hides a deep insecurity— which in turn cloaks a surprising inner strength. Could you come up with a pre-Cylon-attack story that plays to those strengths? I don’t think it would be that difficult…

BB: Karl, any parting thoughts as “Gods and Monsters” reaches its grand finale in March?

KK: First: it’s been a pleasure to be part of this project. Can’t thank Matt Idelson enough for tapping me on the shoulder for this one. Second: you can’t have a great book without great art, and Alex and Dan both went above and beyond in that department. Lastly: it was an honor to be a small— very small— part of one of the greatest TV series of all time. I like to think I delivered a story worthy of that show, and can only hope the readers had as good a time with the book as I did.

So say we all!