Rumors of Starbuck’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Starbuck is not dead.

Katie Sackoff has a six-year contract for Battlestar Galactica, and I don’t for a second believe Ron Moore when he implies in the “Maelstrom” episode podcast that they killed off a major character on a whim. Dramatic TV series writers usually have an overall idea of the major character arcs, and a death this major would have been thought out. Also, while the new series writers thankfully have not treated the original series as if it were canon, they have stayed true to some important generalities.

So, Starbuck’s fate is tied up with the Star Child and the Ship of Lights. There, I said it. Now don’t groan. The Star Child and Ship of Lights of the classic series were incredibly cheesy, but the writers of the re-imagined series have done a good job of taking the cheese out of the ideas from the classic series and I think they’ll continue to do that.

Sackoff has said that Starbuck, “as we know her, is dead.” This is good. I love this character, love her frakked up life, but it’s going to get boring really fast if a world-class frak-up is what she continues to be indefinitely.

So, what do I think is going to happen? Well, first off, the Cylons knew no more about the mandala than the Colonials did, so I don’t think that Starbuck is a Cylon (but you never know). The Sacred Scrolls mention the Temple of Five and the priests who served “The One Whose Name Cannot Be Spoken.” Of all the people who looked at the mandala, including Tyrol whose parents were clergy, only Helo recognized it and that from Kara’s apartment not from some other ancient source.

Rather, I think Starbuck has some connection to the Lost Tribe who left the mandala behind as a beacon. There has been speculation that Hera is in fact fulfilling the role of the Starchild and I think that could possibly be true. So, let’s look a little bit at why the writers have injected all the Aurora imagery into the story at this point.

Aurora is the Roman winged goddess of the dawn and the daughter of Hyperion, comparable to and conflated with the Greek goddess Eos. I happen to know a bit about these goddesses, as I based the sun goddesses in River of Stars on Aurora and Eos. Linguistically, the names of both of these goddesses are tied to the root of the word for “east,” which makes sense considering they are both considered to be the Morningstar, the rising sun. The English word “east” is tied to ME est, OE éast; ON austr and all are akin to the Latin aurōra and the Greek aúōs and finally to the pre-IE *aus meaning “to shine.” I don’t think it’s coincidental that the writers called the goddess Aurora rather than Eos, and that particular word also refers to an atmospheric phenomenon. I won’t be surprised if it shows up somewhere later in the storyline.

Eos has two siblings: a brother the sun (Helios) and a sister the moon (Selene). Wikipedia cites Eos as the “genetrix of all the stars; her tears are considered to have created the morning dew.” Aurora/Eos is the new dawn, and Starbuck will return with a message from the Lost Tribe or possibly in the Ship of Lights itself.

We know Kara’s mother served a lifetime in the marines and that her father was a pianist, but we also know that Socrata Thrace thought her daughter was destined for something special, and in a twisted way tried to prepare her for that. Kara’s father left them. I think it’s possible that the man Kara has thought of as her father may not in fact be her father. Her mother could have been away on mission for extended periods of time to far-flung areas of space. So, who knows?

It could be that what we’ve seen of Socrata’s purpose in abusing Kara may be Kara’s own twist on the past, and in relaying this information via a hallucination the writers have given themselves not only a way out, but also they’ve set up another layer of ambiguity. Moore says nothing about Aurora in the podcast, but it’s obviously important in the episode. There seems to be all sorts of other hints at the end of the podcast, especially what is said about who Leoban really is. There are also a few hints in a radio interview with Katie Sackoff.

Whatever happens, I am hoping for a new female pilot to come onto the scene in Starbuck’s absence, especially since Kat is gone now too.

Hmmm, Sheba maybe?

UPDATE: I had no idea the ATWQ blog had a post with the same title as this one was originally given. No one has called me on it, but just in case I’ve changed this post’s title to avoid any confusion.

UPDATE 2: The more I think about it, the more I think the no-cheese name for the Ship of Lights is the Battlestar Aurora. Hmmm.