In the Wikipedia entry on the Twelve Colonies it is mentioned that Baltar's backstory had to be changed in season 3, because the writers dropped the "Sagittaron Storyarc". From what I found out about this, he was originally meant to be from Sagittaron and in his trial after the Exodus from New Caprica it would have been revealed that he shot a Sagittaron.

But the word "storyarc" suggests that there was a plan for a story a bit more complicated and detailed. What was the "Sagittaron Storyarc" for season 3?

  • Never heard about this... looking forward to seeing what answers come up. – eidylon Jan 17 '12 at 16:47

The Season 3 episodes The Woman King and Dirty Hands introduced new elements of the Sagittaron culture, providing some framework to help understand the source of the conflict first shown in Bastille Day. The official podcast from The Woman King provides some information on the lost storyarc:

[the Sagittaron storyline] was intended to eventually illuminate and be part of the backstory that actually happened on New Caprica during the missing year. And during that time there was an incident. There was a massacre. There was like a whole complicated backstory of what the Sagittarons had done and had done to them. ... And it was gonna figure- eventually there was a secret within that that was going to figure prominently in Baltar's trial.

The podcast from Dirty Hands illuminates further:

... We had plans to do this whole thing with the Sagittarons, but it fell apart. It just is- wasn't working. And the first step on that road was this episode.

It also says that Baltar was originally going to be from Sagittaron, but they changed it after that other storyline was dropped. They kept the bit about him being a lower-class farmer, as Tango's answer mentioned, but just changed the planet because it didn't need to be Sagittaron any more.

Refer to the full podcast transcripts for a lot more discussion on the subject.

According to the series bible (pages 23-25), Baltar was originally stated to be from Sagittaron. His parents were not just farmers, but owned a mega-agribusiness setup. One of his earliest memories was his boots getting stuck in cow dung and him having to walk back across the muddy pastures in his socks, arriving back at the house in tears.

His backstory is, essentially, an entire sub-plot, although rather linear and predictable compared to other story arcs in Battlestar Galactica. He quickly distinguished himself in classes and made it through college quickly and had his first doctorate at 21. He also pursued women whenever he had the chance and had to leave one university when he was discovered involved with the wife of a Dean and her daughter after a faculty tea one afternoon.

Since he was born after the war, he, like many in his generation, saw the anti-technology edicts that had come into place due to the Cylon War as foolish and pushed against them, thinking they should be building better technology (that Cylons couldn't crack) than avoiding it.

He also had a massive ego, which was fed by his many sexual conquests as well as his rise in computer work (his passion was computers, his actual field was theoretical physics). He was noticed more and more, was consulted by high ranking government officials, his papers were being read by other scientists (whom he considered as less than himself), and the higher he rised, the more media attention he received and the more women there were for him to conquer. (The series bible compares him to Stephen Hawking, in terms of brilliance and media attention.)

Caprica Six knew what he was like and played him. She was there for him to see and want, but she stayed back because she knew he enjoyed the hunt and when they finally got together, she was aggressive in bed. She let him have his other affairs and didn't ask for commitment. Knowing that he liked the thrill of an illicit affair, she told him she was from a large computer corporation that would be bidding on projects, which would make their affair immoral and likely illegal.

Which brings us up to where we saw Balter at the start of the mini-series: a celebrity, a genius, depended on by the government, and being completely played by Six who knew how to use his ego and lust against him to get the defense codes.

This is essentially a summary of several pages of the series bible. From searching in other areas, most comments that show any awareness of this arc refer back to the series bible, indicating that the bulk of the arc is his backstory, including his hard work, but also his ego and arrogance that led to his downfall. It looks like more elements were going to be added, but that this backstory is the basis for the arc. Other elements would have included racial/ethnic issues, such as how the Sagittarons were treated like second class citizens by the other colonies.

  • But we saw all that in the series, except that on screen Baltar was from Aerelon. I cannot imagine that the other storyarc is just a minor change in someones background story. – Till B Jan 18 '12 at 7:33
  • Did we see the farm background? I don't remember seeing anything more than indications that he was, at the time, a celebrity of some standing and slept around a lot. I also don't remember any indications of a racial/ethnic subplot with him being treated differently because he was a Sagittaron (which would shift, but still, no hint of discrimination for him). – Tango Jan 18 '12 at 7:43
  • @Tango He tells us how he grew up on a farm on Aerilon, and how he had changed his accent deliberately so that nobody would know he was from Aerilon, among other things. reference – shadowfission Jan 24 '12 at 4:21
  • "he was discovered involved with the wife of a Dean and her daughter after a faculty tea one afternoon." Blimey – Lightness Races in Orbit Sep 18 '16 at 1:22

There are some details missing here, from what I remember of the podcasts in late Season 3, I think mainly because Lynn is simply referring to us to the podcasts/DVD commentaries to find out more, which I totally get. I figured I'd add my .02 here for the benefit of those too lazy to follow links. :)

What may help to know is that the Saggitaron storyline was meant to come out in full during Baltar's trial and was supposed to involve a terrible massacre of Saggitarons that Tom Zarek and Baltar were keeping a secret.

The Saggitaron storyline was going to come out at the trial and be a way to tell us about how the Saggitarons on New Caprica ended up isolated in their own community, in part because of a tendency to not associate with anyone except Saggitarons, and in larger part due to discrimination against Saggitarons endemic in Colonial society (there are even S3 deleted scenes showing Tigh, Gaeta, and Adama being uncharacteristically prejudiced towards Saggitarons, talking about them as essentially backward people and a drag on the Fleet). This racial tension, which was supposed to be highlighted in the episodes "Dirty Hands", "The Woman King" and "Taking a Break From All You Worries" was going to set the stage for revealing during Baltar's trial how a massacre of Saggitarons had happened on New Caprica during the Missing Year and Tom Zarek had been heavily culpable for it (which is weird, because he's a Saggitaron himself, but whatever). Baltar had either been an active co-conspirator in this massacre, or had at least turned a blind eye to it.

However creator Ron Moore says in the podcasts that the storyline was judged late in the game to not be working and it was decided to simply get rid of it altogether. However, buildup references to it were already peppered throughout the scripts of these aforementioned episodes. As many of these were excised as possible, but there were a few scenes that had already been filmed and could not be taken out of the episodes without ruining other major events in those episodes, so a few stayed and either seem a little strange or else truly confusing and unresolved.

One example that Moore cites is where Gaeta stabs Baltar, which was meant to be Gaeta flipping out when Baltar threatened to throw blame for the Saggitaron massacre on him. Another thing that I think is an example of this (but I don't have evidence for) is Zarek's oddly out-of-character attempts to convince Roslin not to have trials for suspected collaborators or for Baltar, but instead to secretly dispense justice. This odd behavior certainly could be explained if you realize that Zarek wouldn't want any trials happening that would bring out knowledge of this massacre.

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