‘Battlestar Galactica' spawns new show, 2nd movie

Battlestar Galactica kicks off its final set of episodes Jan. 16 and airs its series finale March 20. But longtime fans shouldn't mourn its passing too deeply: There's more interstellar goodness coming your way.

Sci Fi Channel announced Tuesday that it has given the green light to Caprica, a prequel series that takes place half a century before the events of Battlestar Galactica.

The two-hour Caprica pilot, shot earlier this year, was directed by Friday Night Lights veteran Jeffrey Reiner. Sci Fi has ordered 18 additional hours, and production on the series will begin in the summer.

The show, which stars Eric Stoltz, Polly Walker (Rome), Paula Malcolmson (Deadwood) and Esai Morales (Jericho), will debut in 2010.

So we'll have to wait at least a year after Battlestar ends, but given the show's pedigree — it was created by Battlestar executive producer Ronald D. Moore and 24 writer Remi Aubuchon — and its cast, there's a good chance Caprica will be worth the wait.

Here's the gist of the show, from a Sci Fi press release: The series begins as the creation of the Cylons, the humanoid machines that will become the nemesis of their creators, is about to occur. Joseph Adama (Morales), father of future Galactica commander William Adama (played as a child by Sina Najafi) and a renowned civil-liberties lawyer, becomes an opponent of the experiments undertaken by the Graystones (Stoltz), owners of a large computer corporation that is spearheading development of the Cylons.

Caprica is not the only Battlestar project in the pipeline. Thanks to the positive reception to Razor, a TV movie that came out in 2007, executives at Sci Fi commissioned another stand-alone film, The Plan, which was shot last summer. It will air on Sci Fi after the Galactica series finale next spring, but it's not a continuation of the show. It's set in the time frame of the first and second seasons of the drama.

No date has been set for The Plan, but there is a plan for the 10 Battlestar Webisodes that also were filmed earlier this year.

Starting Dec. 12, two Webisodes a week will go online at Watch for some interesting personal revelations regarding one Battlestar character.