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Seraphs (Battlestar Galactica)

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The Seraphs (singular: Seraph) were an alien race in the original Battlestar Galactica series from 1978/79 and its spinoff series, Galactica 1980. They were never expressly referred to by name in the series, but were called "Seraphs" in the scripts for the episodes in which they appear, as well as in the mid-1990s Galactica comic books.


The Seraphs were a noncorporeal race of sentients who first appear in "War of the Gods". They show up again at the conclusion of the "Terra" story arc and in the Galactica 1980 episode "The Return of Starbuck" which explained the origins of the mysterious Doctor Zee. They were to figure heavily in the episode "Wheel of Fire", which was in preproduction when the series was cancelled.

The Seraphs are represented in the 2003 reimagining by the mysterious "angel" characters who appear throughout the series' run.


Seraphs are wingless angels, traveling in a large spacecraft most commonly referred to as the Ship of Lights. They appear roughly humanoid, though their faces are always veiled. When Lieutenant Starbuck attempts to touch one, his hand goes through its body. It is later revealed in "Experiment in Terra" that they can take on a normal human form when called upon to do so. In this particular instance a Seraph appeared as a normal human and called himself John (played by Edward Mulhare) and acted as Apollo's liaison during the Terra crisis.

When asked about their origins, the Seraphs claimed to have ascended to their present state: "As you now are, we once were; as we now are you may yet become." This references the concept of deification in Mormon cosmology,[1] which was succinctly summarized in a couplet by Lorenzo Snow: "As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be."[2][3]

Commander Adama realizes the Seraphs are the same angelic "Beings of Light" mentioned in "The Book of the Word", the dominant Colonial Scripture, and that these beings have played a part in human society. In "War of the Gods", the crew of the ship indicate they are the natural enemies of Count Iblis. Because it is implied that Count Iblis is the original basis for Satan or "evil", this could imply the Ship of Lights and its inhabitants are meant to represent angels or "good", though this is not directly stated.[4] This is indicative of the absolutist, even Manichaean world-view of the original Battlestar Galactica.[5]

In Galactica 1980's last episode. "The Return of Starbuck", the character of Dr. Zee is revealed to have been born to one of the Seraphs known as "Angela". While the series was cancelled before it could be shot, a script was written where it is revealed that Starbuck had in fact joined the Seraphs.

Ship of Lights[edit]

Ship of Lights
File:Ship of Lights from Battlestar Galactica (1978 TV series).jpg
Ship of Lights from War of the Gods
First appearance"War of the Gods"
AffiliationBeings of Light

The Ship of Lights is a Seraph spacecraft from the original Battlestar Galactica television series.[6] It emits an extremely loud sound that can be heard by people in nearby spaceships and is sufficient to render humans unconscious. The Ship of Lights also carries smaller craft. In the re-imagined series, this vessel appears in a painting created by Starbuck. In addition, that series' Resurrection Ship restores characters (Cylons) to life, and in both series Lieutenant Starbuck/Kara Thrace is part of a resurrection-related plot that leads the characters toward Earth.

The model for the Ship of Lights was made out of neon lights and plastic by Universal Hartland Visual Effects.[7]


  1. Wolfe, Ivan (2008). "Why Your Mormon Neighbor Knows More About This Show than You Do". In Steiff, Josef; Tamplin, Tristan D. Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy: Mission Accomplished or Mission Frakked Up?. Popular Culture and Philosophy. Volume 33. Peru, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company. pp. 307–308. ISBN 978-0-8126-9643-1. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. Millet, Robert L.; Reynolds, Noel B. (1998), "Do Latter-day Saints believe that men and women can become gods?", Latter-day Christianity: 10 Basic Issues, Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, ISBN 0934893322, OCLC 39732987
  3. Lund, Gerald N. (February 1982), "I Have a Question: Is President Lorenzo Snow's oft-repeated statement—"As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be"—accepted as official doctrine by the Church?", Ensign
  4. Dolgin, Livi (31 March 2006). "Ron Moore teases Season Three". GateWorld. Moore doesn't want to get into the original series' "ship of lights" idea since the religion backstory is so different in this series. [..]That was all about quasi-divine beings showing up, and you had the good ones and the bad ones, and there seemed to be some larger, godlike chess game that the people on Galactica and the Cylons were caught up in.
  5. Steiff, Josef; Tamplin, Tristan D., eds. (2008). "The Real War between Battlestar Galacticas". Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy: Mission Accomplished or Mission Frakked Up?. Popular Culture and Philosophy. Volume 33. Peru, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company. p. 331. ISBN 978-0-8126-9643-1. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. Andy, Grieser (2007-11-24). "TV Review: 'Battlestar Galactica: Razor'". Hartford Courant. In the 1970s, Lloyd Bridges' Commander Cain indirectly led into the Ship of Lights plotlines
  7. Larson, Kenneth A. "Battlestar Galactica - Visual Effects Model Maker - War of the Gods Light Ship". Jerry and Vance are responsible for much of this, mostly the neon, but Ken Larson did make many of the plastic parts

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Lords of Kobol

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