Count Baltar


Count Baltar
Baltar
Battlestar Galactica character
First appearance "Saga of a Star World"'
Last appearance "The Hand of God"
Portrayed by John Colicos
Information
Species Human
Gender Male
Title Count
Colony Picon
Affiliation Colonials / Cylons

In the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica television series, Count Baltar was a leading antagonist character who betrayed the human race to its enemy, the robot race of Cylons. He was portrayed by Canadian actor John Colicos.

Contents

Character biography

History

In material deleted from the final broadcast of the episodes, it is explained that Baltar was originally a colonial military officer who led an expedition to discover new sources of tylium for mining. After discovering a particularly rich tylium deposit on Carillon, Baltar decided to go into business for himself, leaving the military. He falsified records, declaring Carillon too minimal for mining, and set himself up with the Cylons and Ovions, who were also mining Carillon.[1]

Traitor

Towards the last years of The Thousand Yahren War between the Cylons and the Twelve Colonies of Man, Council of Twelve-member Baltar acts as a liaison between the Twelve Colonies and the Cylons, and arranges for a peace conference that would bring an end to the war—with the Cylons apparently conceding defeat. Unknown to the Colonials, however, Baltar has made a deal with the Cylon Imperious Leader: Baltar would conduct the peace conference to lull the Colonials into a false sense of security, while the Cylons prepared for a massive attack on the Colonial military and the Twelve Colonies. In return, the Imperious Leader promised Baltar that his home colony would be spared from the attack, and Baltar would be installed as its dictator. It is never stated which of the Twelve Colonies was Baltar's home, however the original script states that he was from "Orion," but as this did not make the finished cut its canonicity is debatable. Since the Cylons are dedicated to the complete annihilation of humanity, the Imperious Leader goes back on his word, and destroys all twelve Colonies in the attack.

After the attack

A handful of humans flee in civilian ships, under the protection of the sole surviving Battlestar, the Galactica. Baltar goes before the Imperious Leader, enraged that the Cylons had not held up their end of the bargain. The Imperious Leader responds by explaining to Baltar that every human being must be exterminated, and then sentences Baltar himself to death, reasoning that any being who would see his own race destroyed could not be trusted. The Imperious Leader orders that Baltar be brought away for public execution. Soon thereafter the Imperious Leader is killed when his basestar gets too close to the exploding planet Carillon.

Pursuer of the Galactica and the Fleet

The succeeding Imperious Leader spares Baltar's life, believing that Baltar, being human, would have a superior insight into the minds of the remnants of humanity which the Cylons are pursuing. To this end, the Imperious Leader installs Baltar as the commander of a Cylon basestar, with Lucifer as Baltar's second in command; the two other basestars in Baltar's taskforce are also subservient to him.[2] Baltar then makes it a personal quest to vanquish his rival, Commander Adama, and destroy the Galactica and its Fleet. Of his numerous offensives against the Colonial survivors, his three biggest ones are in the following episodes (all two-parters):

  1. "Lost Planet of the Gods": Baltar realizes that Adama is taking the fleet into an immense void in order to find the "mother planet of humanity", Kobol, and has his fighters capture a Galactica patrol pilot—who happens to be Starbuck—telling him that he has a new "offer of peace to all humans." Baltar then lands on Kobol itself, alone, to tell Adama a different story: He was "as much a victim" as anyone else in the destruction of The Colonies, and the Cylons—being spread out all over the galaxy in search of the Galactica—are vulnerable; he proposes escorting the Galactica to Cylon in order to "launch a devastating counter-attack against those demons"—with Starbuck's release as proof of his sincerity. Adama is reluctant to trust Baltar again, but Baltar warns, "I can only be away so long before my machine friends become nervous and do something rash"—a prophecy soon fulfilled when an impatient Lucifer launches a Raider attack on Kobol. Baltar then becomes trapped in the ruins of the ancient city when a wall collapses on him. Left for dead by Adama and Apollo, who are unable to free him, he shouts after them, "You haven't seen the last of Baltar!"
  2. "Gun on Ice Planet Zero": Baltar, once again in command of his basestar, has subtlely shepherded the Galactica and the Fleet over time toward the frozen planet Acta—which has an "energy-lens" pulsar—created by human Dr. Ravoshol, but hijacked by a Cylon garrison as a weapon—capable of destroying a battlestar with one shot. After two Viper pilots are killed and another is captured, Adama sends a Demolition Team—consisting of his three top warriors and a group of skillful criminals—to find a way to destroy the pulsar. Baltar responds by having his nearly-out-of-range ship launch two successive Raider attacks on the Galactica—withdrawing once his companion basestars have arrived and start closing in on the Galactica. He instructs Acta's Centurion commander, Vulpa, to fire the pulsar in random directions across the corridor that the Galactica and the Fleet must pass through to evade his basestars. In the end, the demolition team causes the pulsar to destroy itself—saving the Galactica—at (literally) the very last second. Despite the debacle, Baltar swears, "I shall have the last laugh on Adama—mark my words."
  3. "The Living Legend": Baltar, having once again located the Galactica's Fleet, launches an attack using Raiders from all three of his base ships, just as the Galactica approaches Cylon's "Outer Capital", Gommoray—only to be thwarted on the verge of destroying the Galactica by the arrival of Commander Cain's Battlestar Pegasus—which was inaccurately thought to have been destroyed in the attack on the Colonies. As he prepares for a new attack, the Galactica attacks Gommoray while Cylon's Imperious Leader is on it—forcing Baltar to send his fighters to rescue the Leader and destroy both battlestars. At this time, however, Cain complicates Baltar's plans by sending the Pegasus on a suicide mission to engage Baltar's three basestars. Baltar, unnerved by Cain's bravado, orders his own basestar to retreat behind the companion ships—which he leaves to intercept the Pegasus. After the battle, the Cylon Raiders are stranded in space with Baltar's ship out of range and the companion basestars destroyed—and the Pegasus' fate is unknown; Commander Adama withdraws the Galactica and the civilian refugee Fleet into deep space.

For approximately the first half of the televised Battlestar Galactica series, Baltar was the commander of Cylon forces that ruthlessly pursued the Galactica and its rag-tag fugitive fleet of civilian ships, a theme continued in the 1995-7 graphic novels published by Image Comics that take place some 20 years after the initial series.

Captured and imprisoned

In the episode "War of the Gods" (Parts 1 & 2), the charismatic miracle worker Count Iblis promises to Adama that he'll deliver "the enemy"—Baltar—to the Colonials. Baltar, irritated that neither he nor his Cylon crew can explain the mysterious lights dogging his basestar, transmits a direct message to the Galactica requesting permission to board on a proposal of "universal truce"; Adama seizes the opportunity to capture Baltar and his Raider, and have him tried by the Council for crimes against humanity. For the remainder of the series, Baltar is a prisoner on board the Colonial prison barge. The episode "Baltar's Escape" features an attempt by Baltar and other imprisoned villains—Borellian Nomen and some Eastern Alliance officers—to escape from the prison barge. All escape except an overconfident Baltar, who witnesses a (clevery-exploited) malfunction in his re-activated Centurions that makes them destroy his Raider's launch panel instead of starting it—allowing the Galactica's people to re-apprehend him with little struggle.

Freedom

In the final episode of the series, "The Hand of God", Baltar makes a deal with Adama. Baltar provides the Colonials with technical information on Cylon basestars, which Apollo and Starbuck use to render a wayward Clyon basestar "blind" to the Galactica, which then destroys it. In exchange, Adama agrees to "maroon" Baltar with sufficient equipment and supplies to allow him to live on the first habitable planet that the Fleet passes on its journey; Adama also reluctantly gives Baltar equipment for "short-range communications" so that he has some hope of "rescue". This ultimately paves the way for Baltar to find himself in command of Cylons again: in the spin-off series Galactica 1980, it is revealed that he is the "Commandant" of the Cylons who have followed the Galactica and the fleet to Earth—although Baltar himself never physically appears in any particular episode of the second series.

Differences in other versions

In the novelization

The original telefilm novelization tells a different story – that he was a rare items dealer who had grown wealthy from his business dealings and whose title of Count had been self-proclaimed.[citation needed]

In the feature film version

In the feature film version, when Baltar meets the Imperious Leader, and it is explained to him that every human being must be exterminated, and Baltar is sentenced to death, Cylon Centurions immediately execute Baltar on the spot by beheading him.[1] This differs from the television version, where his execution is delayed and he is sent to be prepared for public execution—with this Imperious Leader being killed at Carillon and, in the epilogue made for the movie's television broadcast, the succeeding Imperious Leader sparing Baltar's life and announcing that he would be provided with a basestar and Lucifer as a liaison—thus setting him up for his role in the series.[2]

In the re-imagined 2003 version

In the 2003 miniseries and 2004 series, Baltar is the character's last name—his first name being Gaius. There, Baltar is a scientist—not a basestar commander or Council member—who is seduced by the human-looking Cylon Number Six into inadvertantly sabotaging the Colonial security systems, allowing the Cylons to attack the Colonies. To cover up his involvement, he travels with the evading Colonial survivors—obstensibly to "protect" them from the human-looking Cylons, who could be impersonating anyone in the Fleet. He later becomes vice-president, then president, of the Fleet, then a de-facto dictator on New Caprica (a role only fantasized by Count Baltar). Later, he boards a Cylon basestar—thinking himself to be a Cylon. After being taken back to the Galactica, he is tried and acquitted of crimes against humanity, then becomes a leader of a rising monotheistic cult. All the while he communicates with a "virtual" Number Six that he alone can see. Eventually, he becomes one of the settlers on what, 150,000 years later, will be our Earth. All in all, Gauis Baltar is portrayed in a more morally dualistic and nuanced manner than Count Baltar—as humans and Cylons in general are portrayed in far less "black-and-white" manner in the new series than in the old. See "Gaius Baltar" and "Battlestar Galactica (2004 series)" for more details.

References

  1. ^ a b http://www.kobol.com/archives/bgdiff.html#M8
  2. ^ a b This scene occurs somewhat differently in the pilot, "Saga of a Star World"', with the Imperious Leader commenting on his "predecessor's" destruction and installing Baltar as a liaison for "universal truce": "Since we are omnipotent, we can afford to be more charitable." In "Lost Planet of the Gods", however, the scene is modified, with Baltar being spared specifically to destroy the Colonial survivors; Baltar makes an allusion to the original scene when telling Adama, "I was spared to lure you into another trap: An offer of peace from a more benevolent Cylon leader"—in rebuttal to Serina's surmising that the Cylons found him a "friend".

External links


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