The film/two hour episode began life with a phone call from the home video department at Universal. There proposition was a one time showing of Razor on SciFi and then release it shortly thereafter on DVD.
The Initial focus was to be on Pegasus, but they also wanted to include *their* characters.
Originally, (before the entire film was re-edited and became less linear) the Lee and Kendra meeting did not take place until the third act. And at some point the conversation between Kendra and Kara (in the extended cut, but not in the broadcast version) was used as a framing device. We wouldn’t meet up with their people until the last third of the show.
In Felix Alcala’s cut, he altered the story to open with a visual effects shot that included a debris field (And a Door’s song playing. Thankfully, too cost prohibitive.) and we were taken back to the original Cylon war. It was beautiful and full of technical wizardry, but it took too long to get back to the present day and they needed to energize the story. Ron spun various ideas with the editors. Michael Rymer’s sent a note to Ron (even if he’s not directly involved, he watches all the episodes) saying that he felt it should start with Lee getting command of Pegasus, establish the characters first, then raise the mystery of who Kendra is and tell the rest of the show as flashbacks from her POV.
Cain looking after Kendra and laughing at her as she walks of CIC while joking about being a “Morning Snack” was adlibbed by Michelle.
They wanted the opportunity to go back and humanize Cain a bit and show who she was as a person before the attacks. They talked a bit about the ‘Pegasus’ arc and how they wanted to give a sense that she regretted some of what she had done - that she and Adama had turned a corner and could work together – but Razor reinforces that she could have turned on Adama and Roslin at any time.
The Pegasus had to be recreated at a different studio in Vancouver which caused cast and crew to be separated at various times during the shoot.
Originally, they envisioned having a Rocky-like montage with snippets of Kendra and Lee whipping the ship into shape and being watched by Adama, but it got whittled down to one scene of Kendra being a hard ass.
The DVD release needed to have ten to fifteen minutes of extra footage. Ron didn’t think it would be a problem since they usually run 20 minutes over, but Felix brought it in close to time. There is not a gigantic treasure trove of deleted scenes like they usually have. They were told they could have more sex and violence, but they wrote and filmed as they usually do without constraints and an eye towards arguing with the network later.
They referred to a scene that was cut (and hopefully we will never see) as the ‘Passion of the Six’. Gina is whipped in slow motion by Lt Thorne, blood spraying off her body. Ron and Michael both said they embarrassed themselves with the scene and took it out.
There were a couple of montages involving Kendra, Kara, and Cain with voiceovers that were cut down. The scene of Cain kneeling over bodies is all that remains of one. There are occasional moments where they can still hear the voiceovers in there heads.
Ron and Michael discussed how cut scenes influence the actors. The scenes don’t live on camera, but lived for the actor on stage and influenced their performance there and potentially in subsequent episodes. (I thought that was interesting to think about and very true.)
The ‘So Say We All’ scene became an unexpected problem. Extras can’t talk and can’t be directed individually. Usually the union gives them permission if it’s the entire group saying the same thing, but they were denied permission this time. It turned out that Bionic Woman had had a major confrontation with the union over something and so they (BSG) had to eat humble pie to obtain the needed permission.
They thought about overlapping Cain’s ‘So Say We All’ scene with Adama’s from the mini.
At some point there was a scene in a corridor between Cain and Gina in which Kendra witnesses them kissing. There was never a love scene written for the two. Since the story is through Kendra’s eyes they didn’t want to film something she couldn’t have seen. At no point did they “chicken out”.
Terry Moore agrees with some of you on my FList. ;) She expressed her concerns to Ron that the it was the first time that they were having a gay relationship, acknowledging any such thing in the Galactica universe, and it’s Cain and she’s essentially the bad guy within the show and a negative character. Ron felt it was a legitimate question and one he never resolved in his mind. He just felt it was right for the story and the relationship. The issue never occurred to Taylor – making a villain out of a gay character – though it’s unfortunate since it’s the first time it’s happened on the show…“as far as we know”.
Ron doesn’t feel that Razor feels like a movie. It still feels like an episode because of act breaks and the expectation of commercial breaks.
Using the video camera to reveal Gina is a Cylon was the most efficient way to tell the story. However, Ron never wanted to do video or view screens on the Galactica. He wanted to differentiate the show from Star Trek and have it rooted in a reality we understand. We still don’t talk to people on view screens, we use phones. But he didn’t want Kendra to have to give a long speech and it wouldn’t have been as convincing as Cain seeing the image of Six/Gina on the screen.
They mentioned the collar on Sharon and how they were sweating the details to make sure this meshed with the end of Season 2.
In line with the show bible, Young Adama only got into the war at the very end of it. He only saw the last couple days of combat before armistice was declared.
The effects people created the revenge sequence (Adama’s ship being shot down and the fight with the Cylon in the air), it wasn't written. The bird emblem on his helmet is a nod to the original series. They tried to put in as many little touches as possible honoring the original series. The shoulder pads on Adama's flight suit would be another.
Beating the Cylon to death was meant to parallel Adama beating Leoben in the mini. They weren’t happy with the cut away. It’s hard to tell that Adama crashes into a building and then makes his way to the ship that will eventually take off. Ron feels the whole scene is a little opaque. He explained the original concept, that this was the first hybrid the Cylons had come up with. They were groping towards technology, creating a hybrid to run their ships. Their experiments were the first steps to making themselves look human and they were reverse engineering human beings to do it. With the baseship escaping it was still dangerous in that they were still doing these experiments. Their hybrid had evolved. At the same time, Young Adama’s experiences were to be intercut with Young Helena’s. As he is told on the phone that the “war is over” they were to crosscut to the shot of the centurion walking away from Young Helena. (Again, in the extended cut.)
Stephanie Chaves-Jacobsen asked if she could use her own accent and Ron immediately agreed. Not only does it help make her character more distinctive, he’s a bit tired of actors being asked to adapt and drop their accents fir U.S. TV. Which did lead to a discussion of Jamie having to drop his accent (or as Jamie informed Michael shortly after they met, he didn’t have the accent, we did ;). Ron said he already wasn’t Hispanic, they thought it would be too weird if he also had a British accent.
Kendra’s drug addiction just came to Michael during the writing process. He figured they had all been through so much.
In slowly revealing in the flashbacks that Kendra had initiated the shooting, they were showing that she was lying in her own flashbacks, lying to herself, and she used the drugs to help with that.
They discussed the differences between the old and new centurion models. Cylons were originally created by humans to act like them, to ape them. They were created as soldiers and, therefore, they need to have more fluid movements. Things got out of hand, they became self-aware, and turned against the humans. After the war they started evolving and these Cylons then chose to hold back the new Cylon centurions. Their brains and self awareness were held at a lower threshold. They were more robotic. So the original Cylons were more human in their attitudes and movement and the current centurions are dumbed down some. They toyed with having old Cylons speaking more and even tracked down the guy who constructed the original voice coder.
The hybrid babbling stuff, dropping hints about Season 4, was intended to be an extra – one asked for by the home video department. But then they insisted they put it in the movie. “Kara Thrace is the harbinger of death.” - Michael regrets using the word harbinger now since he has had to hear it repeatedly. Ron likes what it all could mean since when we last saw Kara at the end of Season 3 she says she has found earth, will lead them there, and everything will be OK.
The original opening shot was to be the rescue mission and Kendra shooting the guy in the head. It was a mystery set up. They are already in the midst of an action sequence. Old style Cylons are shooting at them. What is happening? Why is this person such a hard ass? All that would be revealed through the rest of the movie. Having that scene come late in the film Ron feels is not as effective, but was necessary. Michael thinks it would have been a very different movie if they came at it originally the way it ended up. Also as part of this framing device, Kara asks Kendra (somewhat bizarre timing if you ask me) how she got to be such a badass. Kendra states she think it all started before she was even born. At that point they cut to Young Helena and Young Adama. Ron felt it was hard to make that jump since she wasn’t there herself and he’s quite literal about POV, though he thinks the audience could probably blow past those sorts of things.
There was an insistence early on that this also had to be Lee’s story. He’s *our* character. As they were developing the story they found that that’s not what this story is about, it’s Kendra’s story and he’s going to be the number two guy. There was more interaction between them in early drafts and early shooting. They also had Kendra unburdening herself to Kara in their final scene together. But people don’t necessarily connect, don’t have heart to heart talks. The viewer just understands how their experiences are similar and inform each other, we can make those connections. It’s more realistic then putting them in a room and having them unburden each other. How often do people really do that? Only on TV.
There was more footage of the marines gunning down the people Cain orders shot, but they decided that it was…overkill.