Share to Facebook Tweet This Send to MySpace DiggThis Send to StumbleUpon Send to Reddit Send to

Aaron Douglas GALACTICA.TV interview
Thursday, 12 October 2006

On March 30th, 2006, we caught up with actor Aaron Douglas, better known for his part as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003. We talked for 45 minutes with Aaron about his love for ice hockey, his part on the Battlestar Galactica series, and his future plans.

Below you can read the transcript of this interview. If you rather listen to the audio of this interview then click the "PLAY" button below to start.


This is Mike Egnor, and today I am talking with Aaron Douglas, who plays the character Chief Galen Tyrol in the new series Battlestar Galactica. Mr. Douglas, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview.

Hey, no problem. Thanks for having me.

I wanted to start out with the important stuff first. I heard that you’re a big [Vancouver] Canucks [hockey] fan.

Yes I am!


Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003

Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003


What do you think that Vancouver needs to add to help get them to the [Stanley] Cup?

Wow! (sounds caught off guard)…that’s a good question. I think most of the pieces are in place right now. If you’d asked me this question two weeks ago I probably would have said: "Blow up the team and start again." (laughing) But they sort of turned it around as of late…so it’s a question of hard work. Everybody has to commit to the system and I think they’re starting to do that. So if they continue to work hard I think they’ll be fine. Whether they’re a Cup contender or not is to be debated, but hard work will certainly keep them in good stead for awhile. [Note: For the 2005-2006 Season, Vancouver finished with a overall record of 42-32-8, going 4-4-2 the last 10 games of the season and missed the playoffs by only 3 points.]

What do you think about the Salary Cap? It sounds like the players ended up with a worse deal now then what the owners were offering before the strike.

Yeah. In my opinion, that’s how the negotiations go, the longer it waits, one side just gets burned more and more. I think in hindsight if the players had taken the deal that was offered [then they would have saved] the season that was ultimately lost. I like the Salary Cap, I think it’s fair as long as the disclosure of [team] revenues is consistent and truthful. I think that both sides can work; they have to see it as a partnership, and you’re only as strong as your weakest link. If you have four or five teams that just nobody wants to see, then that drags down not only the revenue in that city but it drags down the revenue in other cities because nobody wants to go see them. So I think that if you can have a strong league that’s properly officiated as it is right now, as frustrating as all the penalties are, then I think it will remain strong. And I think the cap goes a long way to[ward] helping that, it makes the have not teams suddenly have teams.

I would think that the salary cap would help the smaller cities like Vancouver and especially other Canadian teams where they have to compete against the US dollar.

Yeah. It’s not even the dollar so much as Toronto’s got a lot of money to spend, and Montreal has significant money to spend. The [Canadian] dollar’s almost at par [with the US dollar], it’s pretty negligible now. But yeah, the small cities like Calgary and Edmonton, they can’t compete with the Detroit’s and the Rangers. I mean those guys have more money than God. They can have baseball like salaries and continue to roll right along and make money.

How does Vancouver feel about Todd Bertuzzi being reinstated to play after his vicious hit on Steve Moore?

This city has always backed Todd. We’ve always supported him. He’s made a terrible mistake, everybody’s recognized that. He came out immediately. He was contrite, he apologized, what else do you want from the guy? I mean when a guy makes a mistake and apologizes, you’ve got to move on, you’ve got to accept his apology. It takes a big man to apologize, but it takes a bigger man to accept an apology. I just think that everybody needs to move on. It was a long time ago, we wish Steve all the best, but it’s time to move on.

Let me ask you about the Olympics. Ice Hockey is THE sport in Canada, and it was said before the Olympics that if Canada didn’t win the gold then it would be a failed effort by the country. So since they didn’t make it to the medal round, are people ready to lynch Wayne Gretzky?

Ha! No, I don’t think they’re ready to lynch Wayne Gretzky. I think Wayne put together a solid team. I think he did a great job as he always does. I think the problem was – my personal opinion and it’s been debated and is still somewhat being debated – I think it was somewhat of a coaching issue. They had three head coaches behind the bench with no real one clear voice. The three coaches have three completely different coaching styles, and that didn’t really mesh I don’t think. I don’t think they had a real clear vision of how we’re going to play and they didn’t stick to that game plan and for some reason the players that needed to be working hard and get going right from the hop just didn’t do it. We have no idea why, what factors were contributed to it, but they just got outworked, they just didn’t work hard enough. It’s plain and simple and it happened to the U.S. team as well. I mean that was a talented team as well. They should have done much better than they did but they just got outworked. You watch any of those games, the European teams just worked a lot harder than anybody else and that’s why we lost.


Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003

Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003


Ok. Let’s move on to you. What got you started in acting? With many actors, they can remember a specific point in time where they got “the hook” where that’s going to be their career. Do you remember what that was for you?

My mom tells me that when I was a little kid I always said that I wanted to be an actor. I don’t ever remember saying that. I always thought that I wanted to be a lawyer. I realize now looking back that I just want to be a lawyer on tv running around and screaming and yelling. One of my closest friends is a lawyer and he sits in his office all day and types on a computer and that sounds like the most boring job in the world to me. I did theatre in school obviously, and in high school. I did community theatre after school in my late teens and early twenties and [then] I just had like a regular job, I was like a regular Joe. I think I was 27 or 28 when I started to take an acting class, again, after years off…

Let me stop you there. You took time off and did some various odd jobs. At what point did you stop and say “Wait a minute, lets try that acting thing again”? 

Yeah, I think I was like 27 or so and I was working for a sports nutrition company as a rep and I was talking to this guy about his diet and I asked him “Well what do you do?” and he said he was an actor and that he takes classes at this William Davis Center – Bill Davis is the Smoking Man from X-Files – it’s a private acting school in Vancouver. So I went there, starting taking a once a week class, and Gary Davy who was the teacher and the artistic director at the school at the time took me aside and said you’re really good at this and have you thought about making it a career? And I [said] no, I hadn’t thought about that. He said I’ll hold you a spot for our fall class, it’s a full time program, there’s only 12 people admitted and normally people go through an audition process but if you want a spot I’ll hold it for you.

And then I went to a production of Ragtime at what was the Ford Center at that time. It was a big Broadway musical. I was absolutely stunned at the end of it and I thought that was the most amazing thing. I had a hard time leaving the theatre I thought it was so cool. I turned to my wife and I said I want to be an actor, I want to go back to school and she said sure, go ahead. So I quit my job and got a student loan and started working at a restaurant being a waiter and went to William Davis for a year and got an agent at the end of the school year and 5-6 years later here I am.

It’s been said that you used to read parts for other actors in movie auditions and the Director rewards you by giving you small roles in film.

Yeah, for a number of years I was a Reader for several different casting people in town. That’s when people come in and audition, somebody has to read the other half of the scene, and that would be me standing beside the camera. A lot of the times they’d get to an end of a session and they’d have some of the smaller roles [unfilled] – this is early on in my career – and the Director would just say why don’t you just get Aaron to do it. So they’d ask me right then and there “You want to be Cop #2 on whatever movie?” [and I said] sure. A lot of times movies get rewritten as the movie gets shot and they add small parts here and there with a couple lines. Instead of holding a casting session they just phone the casting director and say “We need a guy who looks like a cop and say these two lines” and they would say “Aaron Douglas”. They’d phone my agent and ask “Does Aaron want to be a Stryker Soldier on X-Men 2 for a few days?” and he’d say of course, yeah, absolutely. So you get two lines on X-Men 2, you work for 13 days. I mean it’s just a wonderful experience, it’s really really fun, really cool. It’s worked for me.

You’ve done quite a bit of science fiction in a short amount of time. Are you concerned that you might be labeled in the genre and might not be able to get parts for other types of movies?

No, I don’t really worry about that. We do a lot of sci-fi in Vancouver, and I’m from Vancouver, so you do the gig that’s in front of you. I think if I were on a show like Andromeda or Stargate then maybe, because they’re certainly more Sci-Fi than Battlestar Galactica. Battlestar is a Sci-Fi show that takes place on a spaceship, but it’s sort of critically embraced as very cool human drama. It just happens to take place on a spaceship or on a planet that looks very much like Earth millions of miles away. We don’t have people in prosthetics running around being little green men or stuff like that. So I think our show is taken a little more seriously and the acting is appreciated for just quality acting and not really Sci-Fi acting. We don’t do a lot of that sort of comic-bookie Sci-Fi genre acting, filming, writing, or any of that stuff. So I’m not really worried about that now.

Ok. So starting at the beginning, how did you get the part in the new series?

I originally auditioned for "Apollo", which [Jamie] Bamber got obviously. Which is great because Bamber is very good in it and I don’t have to go to the gym. I had a callback for "Lt. Gaeta" which was down to me and Alessandro [Juliani], and Alessandro got that. So I was the odd man out, and they were still looking for this "Tyrol" character, which was a very small character in the mini-series, and somebody said “Hey, what about Aaron Douglas?”. They said that to David Eick, and Mike Rymer thought it was a great idea and David Eick thought it was a great idea, so David pushed for me, and shoved everybody else aside and said “Yep, give it to Aaron” and that’s how I got it. I owe it all to David’s genius (laughing).

You said that you were a big fan of the original Battlestar Galactica, and that you were thrilled with the opportunity to do the new series. What did you like about the old show?

Well when it came out I was 7-8 years old, something like that, and it was a big sort of Star Wars time, and [Battlestar Galactica had] ships flying and shooting each other and these walking metal machines, everything that an 8-9 year old boy would like about a space show. I thought it was great, and then as I got older, when I watch it now, that’s sort of nostalgic - takes me back to my childhood - and it’s fun and it’s silly and all of those great things, all those things that it was supposed to be. So yeah, I’m thrilled to be on the new one and I certainly loved the old one and still do.

All right, let’s start with some trivia. Chief’s name is "Galen Tyrol". "Galen" was the name of a Greek doctor long ago that argued that the mind was in the brain, not the heart, which seems to be the opposite of Chief who acts more with his heart than his mind. "Tyrol" was the name of a region divided by western Austria and northern Italy. His a Gemon, or Gemonese, and his father was a priest and his mother an oracle. That would make Chief a very religious person, wouldn’t it?

Yeah, absolutely.


Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003 

Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003


In the first season, Chief starts out as basically a wrench monkey having an affair with one of the officers, but we don’t see a whole lot of him. In Season Two, we see Chief develop from an almost background character to a main cast member, and I mean really develop. Chief goes out on a mission and proves to be a good soldier, he’s thrown in jail for unintentionally killing a man for defending the woman he loves, even after he found out that she was a cylon. He gives morale a big lift by developing a new viper, goes nuts and hits Cally and ends up marrying her and becomes “Union Chief”. That’s quite an improvement all in one season. How much in advance did you know at the beginning of the season did you know that you were going to have that much more involvement?

None, to be honest (laughing). As the actors, we don’t get scripts until a week or sometimes 2 weeks before shooting the episode. Things get rewritten all the time. We don’t get any kind of [story] arc for the season. We get maybe an arc that will be 6 episodes out. This is sort of where we’re leaning about going. But they don’t tell us – like for instance in Season 3 I know what happens in Episode 1 and 2 and that’s it. We have no idea past that. The writers are still working it out and they don’t want to release anything to too many people because then it gets online and it all comes crashing down because people are putting spoilers all over the place. But I knew that I would have a little more to do because David really likes the Chief. He thinks it’s a great character. I think he sort of lives vicariously through the swashbuckling, running around and shooting guy so…(laughing) He likes to write cool stuff for me and then make me go do it and watch me do it and go through the agony of having people die in my arms (laughing). He can be a real bastard about it. I knew that I had more to do, but I had no idea what it was going to be and the same is true for Season 3.

Up until Galactica Boomer got killed, Chief had a relationship with her. Didn’t Chief notice Boomer’s spine glowing red, or did he just think he was doing a really, really good job?

(laughing) You know, that’s a interesting question, one that’s never been answered. How come Baltar never notices that Six’s spine glows red either?

Right, there’s your Cylon detector.

There’s your Cylon detector, yeah. Line them up, have sex with them, and if their spine glows they’re Cylons. That’s a good question. I don’t know. Maybe it’s lost in the throes of lovemaking.


Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003 

Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003


All right. In the episode “Fragged”, Chief’s in the Raptor that crash lands on Kobol. L.T. -Crashdown- is about to send Cally off to basically a suicide mission with no chance of success. As L.T. is yelling at Cally to go, Chief pulls his weapon trying to talk him out of it. Baltar ends up shooting L.T., but if he hadn’t, would Chief have shot L.T. to save Cally?

(Stops for several seconds to ponder the question) Interesting question. I think now the Chief would, but I think back then, probably not. He was still firmly entrenched in military doctrine and I think that he probably…no, I don’t think that he would have [shot L.T.]

You’ve said that that particular episode was written in the style, or after the movie Saving Private Ryan. I still think that the best Chief moment was when the Cylons have the group’s back to the wall, Chief knows it’s hopeless, and jumps up and pulls out his guns to make his last stand. He shoots at the Cylons, and they are completely blown up thanks to Apollo’s Raptor with Chief looking at his gun in amazement. What it reminded me of was the end of Saving Private Ryan when Tom Hank’s character shoots the tank with a pistol and it explodes. He looks at his gun before noticing that it was an airplane that had dropped a bomb…

Yeah, tankbusters flying over top. That’s exactly why they did that, that exact moment. They had copied that. That’s what they wanted to go for, which I thought was really cool because I think Saving Private Ryan is just a genius film. And the Director of that episode Sergio [Mimica-Gezzan] is Stephen Spielberg’s First Assistant Director. Sergio was the first A.D. on Saving Private Ryan. So when David and Ron said we want to do this Saving Private Ryanesque moment, and sort of have that same jittery camera feel, that shuttered look to the film, Sergio said “Yeah no problem, I know how to do that”, so it was very cool.

In the Pegasus story arc, Chief ends up transferred to the Pegasus. One of the earlier episodes said that Chief once served on the Pegasus. This would have been a good opportunity to show some old friends reuniting with Chief in general, or at least show some support after he gets thrown in the brig. Do you think the writers may have forgot about the fact that Chief once served on the Pegasus?

I think Chief served on the Pegasus a long time ago, and he probably wouldn’t really know anybody…

...because there was a lot of turnover?


Ok, in the scenes where Helo and Chief are in the brig, Chief is seen wearing a sweatshirt while Helo is shown in a tank top. I think that’s very generous of you that you didn’t want to show up Tahmoh…

(Aaron laughing)

...and that you were modest enough to keep your pecs under wraps.

(laughing) Tahmoh has nothing to fear from me showing him up. (big laugh) No bloody way!

How difficult was it for Chief to see Caprica Boomer and have to keep telling himself that this isn’t Galactica Boomer?

I think everything that has to do with Boomer is very difficult for the Chief. The betrayal is still fresh, it’s the woman he loved who turns out to be a Cylon, the enemy, and yeah, just everything. It would be very very bizarre to have someone you love die and then an identical copy of them suddenly show up and talking to you. It would be just mind bending. 

I really enjoyed the episode “Flight of the Phoenix” where Chief gets the crew together to build the Blackbird…

I thought that was a good episode too. 

It really gave people hope in a time of despair. Did you see it that way? 

Yeah. What I really liked about that episode is that it’s sort of an episode unto itself. While most of the episodes are continuations of the episodes before, or leading into the one next…and this one has elements of that of course – it’s continuing the overall storyline – but what I liked about it is that at the beginning [of the episode] he’s going to start building this thing, and then at the end it’s done and the President comes down. Yeah, I liked it not just because I had lots to do in it, but because it just sort of has that - if somebody had never watched Battlestar, other than the miniseries you could say watch this as just a typical episode of what takes place and they wouldn’t be too lost in it, I don’t think.

You’ve said in other interviews that it’s emotionally draining to always have people dying or almost dying near you, or in your arms… 



Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003 

Grace Park as Lt. Sharon 'Boomer' Valerii and Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol
on Battlestar Galactica 2003


...including Tarn, Sharon, Crashdown, and Callie. But in one episode Baltar gives you a lethal injection at one point and only Sharon can save you, so the shoes on the other foot. Did you enjoy that scene, did you have a grin on your face knowing that somebody else had to go through that for a change?

(thinking) Just everyday, everyday - Paul is one of the funniest guys you’ll ever meet, and every day working with him is just - we’d get off on some tangent about God knows what, and it would just be so silly - and if you filmed it and showed it to us a week later we’d probably go “Oh that wasn’t really all that funny”. But to us at the time, we’re killing ourselves, killing ourselves laughing. [For example, in Season 2 there was a] scene down on Kobol where -- what episode was it…maybe seven where we show up in the camp, and just before Zarek’s henchmen get killed and all that. We show up with Adama. That whole scene, him and I, leading up to where he comes up to the President and Roslyn’s like “Oh Billy it’s so nice to see you”. He and I were joking, we were laughing so hard. He wouldn’t come near me because it was his close up and he knew that he had to be serious, and he had to be all “Oh Madame President, it’s so nice to see you” but I was making him laugh so hard (laughing) he was literally 50 yards away in the forest going “Stay away from me! Stay away from me!” Oh, yeah. Stuff like that. We’re just howling. Really really funny stuff.

So it was sad for you when his character was killed off on the show?

Yeah, it sucks! The only this is that I didn’t really work with Paul all that much because we’re on opposite ends of the ship, opposite ends of the Fleet. But yeah, I’d always run in to him and stuff like that. We’d hang out away from the set whenever he’s in town so that’s cool. And whenever there’s a cast function he still gets called and invited. He’s still a big, big member of the family. Yeah, it’s too bad he had to go though. But a big career move for him. He’s got a bunch of pilots that he’s doing and other shows that want him.

I was going to ask you. Did the writers have that in mind intentionally [to kill off Billy]? I heard that Paul was going to audition for other pilots for other shows.

From what I understand, he got a pilot either after the miniseries or after Season 1, something like that, and the pilot didn’t go. But NBC still wanted him for other pilots, they wanted to use him in other things and they didn’t want him to be locked into Battlestar for five years. So they gave him leave to go do a finite number of Battlestars and then his scheduling was getting really frustrating and really hard, and NBC said no, no, no, we want to use him. So eventually they just had to let him go. So suddenly the writers, I guess somebody from some studio somewhere phones and says “We got Paul, you guys need to let him go.” So suddenly they had to kill him off.

Well in Battlestar Galactica, you never say never because you never know who’s going to end up as a Cylon. So there’s always that possibility.

Always that possibility.

In the Episode “Lay Down Your Burdens Part I” Chief beats the Hell out of Cally unknowingly because according to the Cylon Priest it’s for her keeping him from committing suicide [in his dreams]. I don’t recall anything in Chief’s past that gave hints that he was struggling with this problem. Do you?

No, and I asked this question too. It seems to sort of come out of the blue that Chief is dealing suddenly with all of this stuff. But from Episode eleven or twelvish, up until that Episode, the Chief really didn’t have a lot to do, he only had a couple scenes. So I think it sort of implied that while everybody else is living their life in front of the cameras –- you know, they are showing all of the other things that are going on -– the Chief is quietly dealing with all these things, and I kind of like the idea that there was no hints, or glimmer of it. Because that happens a lot in real life, it just happens out of the blue. You are watching the news, and some guy goes nuts and does some horrible thing and they go to all of the neighbors and they say “I had no idea” and they talk to coworkers and friends and they say “I had no idea, that’s unbelievable”.

[that they would say that the coworker] was always the nice quiet shy one?

He was always the nicest quietest guy, really good with his kids, out walking his dog he’d smile and wave. So I kind of like it from that standpoint. But no, there was really no clue or indication. I think it’s also sort of born out of -– I talked to David about it. I said the one thing that you haven’t shown with the Chief is what he does in his quiet moments alone. When somebody goes through such a horrible, traumatic event; people dying and stuff like that. It’s interesting what people do in real life when they get alone. Some people will just sit in a dark room, very quietly. Some people will sob uncontrollably, some people will drink, I mean everybody will deal with it in a different way. And I said to him the only thing you haven’t shown on Galactica is how people deal with the emotion of all these horrible events when they finally get alone. People are always talking to each other, and going to Priests, and all that sort of thing. So I think they went “Oh, you know what, that’s a good idea. Let’s see what the Chief does when he’s alone.”

Ok. Did you personally get any hate mail over the fact that Chief beat up a woman?

No. Not at all, nobody’s said boo. People are shocked by the violence of it, and I’m shocked by the violence of it. My mom was pretty upset (big laugh). She was pretty mad at me. (laughing) I said “Mom, it’s a character”. No, and if people do feel upset about it, then I’m the wrong person to tell. I’m just the actor. I do what’s in the script. Certainly from the Chief’s point of view is wasn’t intentionally malicious or anything like that. It’s graphic and horrible, but there was no intent. 


Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003 

Dean Stockwell as Brother Cavil and Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol
on Battlestar Galactica 2003


The next episode is the 90 minute [Season 2] finale, and I have to say, it was incredible. During the last half hour or so, when it’s one year in the future I kept saying “NO, this can’t be happening!”. The whole way through was like a train wreck. I was hoping that it was just a bad dream by Baltar, but according to Ron Moore’s blogs, he isn’t taking the easy way out. How do you feel about this turn of events? 

I like it, I think it was great. I don’t know, but I have a feeling that in episodes in Season 3 they might sort of flash back to events that happened in that year to sort of fill in a few of the gaps. I like the jump ahead and…

…the change of events.

Yeah, the change of events, and seeing everybody in completely different lights and where they’re at now. It’s very cool. I’ve also been fortunate to read the first two episodes in Season 3 and they – I don’t read scripts and get all edge of my seat, but man oh man they are in my opinion the best episodes I’ve read yet by far. They’re absolutely remarkable! People are going to be just – if there isn’t a lot of dialogue on the boards over these two episodes then they should just shut the show down because they’re absolutely incredible.

Well you give us more to look forward to in October. 


So now do we call you Union Chief?

(laughing) I don’t know. Jimmy Hoffa Jr. Chief Hoffa. I don’t know, it would be interesting to see how long that lasts. I guess it’s sort of a natural progression for the character though. I mean if you get down into civilian life what else would he be doing? He’s still running a bunch of grease monkeys, they’re just no longer in the military.

That’s true. I like the longer hair and beard. 

Ha! You don’t have to grow a beard! (laughing)

I read that the union speech you gave in that episode was copied almost word for word from the Mario Savio address during the free speech movement at Berkeley in 1964.


I also heard that you copied his hand motions and delivery. Is this true?

Oh yeah! David asked me - this is before I even saw the script for the episode – he said “Have you ever heard of Mario Savio?” and I was like “Uh, yeah, I think so”. He said “Have you seen Berkeley in the sixties?” [and I said] “No I haven’t”. So the next day the DVD’s in my mailbox. He said watch this, this is what you’re doing. So I watched it, and I think the guy’s just a genius speaker. He’s unbelievable! He could have been President he’s so good. And then I got the script, and it’s almost word for word, but it’s changed even more –- it was less word for word then what I actually… I ad-libbed back into what Mario was [doing originally by] using some of the phrases that Mario had used. And I phoned David and Ron and I said “Can I like copy this? And put my hair, I want to put my hair like him and I want to do all that stuff and I want to like really…do an homage here because it’s so great.” And they said oh yeah, absolutely if you want to do that. So yeah, I watched that thing probably a hundred times and tried to get the inflection and all of that stuff. Yeah, I think it’s such a great speech, and I’m real happy the way it turned out. I thought it was good.

Did you watch your speech later [when you saw yourself] in the episode and compare it with his afterwards?

I haven’t compared them, but I can close my eyes pretty much and see the Mario speech just run through my head. But there are pieces of it that are really, really damn close. I know that without even having to look. 

I thought I noticed when Chief gave that speech that he seemed to have a different accent. Maybe even Irish, during that speech. Was this intentional, or could it have come from you imitating Savio so much?

It might have come from imitating Savio, I didn’t think about that at all.

It seemed like you had a different accent than what we normally hear from you.

Really? Wow, I’ll have to watch it and listen because… That’s interesting. No one has brought that up.


Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003 

Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003


Union Chief was rallying the labor against the outrages of President Baltar’s rule. I want to know how much can he [Chief] really be bitching about seeing as they haven’t even built a single house…


They’re still living in tents. Shouldn’t they be off looking for some lumber, or making a municipal water system?

Uh…Good Point! Although in the sandy dunes, I haven’t seen any trees around there.

That’s another thing. It was said in Part 1 of the Finale that the delta had water and plentiful animal and plant life, but wouldn’t trees have helped too?

(thinks for a second) You’d think so. I don’t know. I think they’re struggling so hard just trying to get things off the ground. Yeah, houses maybe, I don’t know. That’s an interesting question for the writers. I don’t know why they haven’t gotten there yet.

Ok. Chief is married to Cally now. But this is an odd situation…

I don’t know that they’re married.

I apologize, you are exactly right.

They’re together but they may not be married. It’s unknown at this point. (laughing)

Ok. Regardless, it’s an odd situation because you said before that the relationship between Chief and Cally, that she was like a sister.


Here’s the big question that may or may not be addressed in Season 3. After Cally forgave Chief for the beating that Chief certainly didn’t feel like he deserved, did he really see how much she loved him and felt the same way, OR, did he feel so much pity and sorry for what he had done, that he hooked up with her just for pity.

Uhm. (thinks about his answer) You know what...I don’t think it would be pity. If I had to make the choice - if they came to me and said we’re going to show some flashbacks of how this came about [and we’d like your opinion] - I would go the road of that the Chief and Cally…the Chief finally gets over it enough that he can talk to her about it, and the more that they talk, the more they connect. And his love for her is sort of borne out of a genuine affection of just how amazing she is and all that sort of thing. The pity route I don’t think would be - it just doesn’t feel right to me. No, I’d like to see that it would be a real, true, honest love.

Cally joined up to pay her way through dental school. In Season 3 are we going to see her pulling teeth?

(big laugh) Probably the Chief’s teeth. Take out the garbage or I’m extracting your molars. No I don’t think so. I think she’s probably dealing with her baby.

Can you tell us how half the military ended up on the planet? Were they laid off? Did they resign? Were they drafted by President Baltar?

I’m not sure. I know that there was a scene that didn’t end up getting shot that was the Chief going to Adama and saying “Look, I just need to start a new life. We found this planet, we’re going down there. I want to help rebuild society and give humanity a leg up” So I think a lot of the military people just requested to go down and try to build this thing up and get society going.

With all of the Cylons coming down on the planet now, is there a chance that the Galactica Sharon got reincarnated and she’ll come up find Chief? 

I think when the Cylons die, they don’t get reborn, [but] their knowledge gets downloaded into all the other ones. So all the Sharons share the memory of all the other Sharons. So there won’t be really a Galactica [Sharon], there will be a Galactica 2 type Sharon. They’ll all be a piece of her.

You’ve said that you wanted to work more with Mary McDonnell… 

who wouldn’t? 

I was thinking that a good way to do it would be that since Chief’s the head of the Union, and had to deal with Baltar, that he could talk to the ex-President and get advice on how to deal with him, though with the last turn of events, it doesn’t look like the Union will be doing so much in Season 3.

No, it will be interesting to see how much actual infrastructure work they’re doing, as opposed to resisting the Cylons. I have a feeling, although I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that it’s going to be more of the latter. 

You said that you and a group of friends make short films for festivals. 


You are planning to shoot your first feature script in the fall of 2005. Can you tell us a bit about that project and how it’s coming along? 

It’s a little bit on hold now, because Battlestar sort of interferes -– I don’t have enough time to prep it and get it going to the point of actually producing it -- but I’m sort of aiming for next year, we’re going to have to wait and see. There are a couple of other projects that have come up and might sort of get in the way. But yeah, I’m hoping to get it going. It’s a funny, friends comedy about hockey players. It’s the story of my life really. (laughing) But no, it will be sort of an old school meets ‘Slapshot’. I think it probably would be something like that. 

What subjects interest you enough to make films for, or write scripts for?

Pretty much anything. I like to write things around funny little events, a silly little happening in life, and then you expand it to make it like a 10 minute short film. Those are the sort of things that I like. Or I also like to write mysteries; things that are a little less easily explained. 

One last question. What does Season 3 have in store for Chief? 

You know what, I have no idea. I think he’s probably going to be running around with a gun in his hand at some point, killing people (laughing) That would be my guess. But hopefully just more of the same. Every year, they write more and more stuff for me in every episode. I get more and more cool things to do. They’re enjoying writing for me they say, and I’m enjoying doing their writing, so it’s a win-win situation all around, and I’m very pleased to be a part of it all. So hopefully it’s just more of the same.

Well Mr. Douglas I want to say again I appreciate you taking the time for this interview, and your fans will love to hear from you again. 

Perfect. Thanks for having me.



At the Galactica Two Convention in England, held August 4-6, 2006, Martine Voppen spoke to actor Aaron Douglas again. The interview below is a follow up to the big interview you've just read.

Below you can read the transcript of this interview. If you rather listen to the audio of this interview then click the "PLAY" button below to start.


This is just a follow up on an earlier interview we had with you. You said that the Chief was like a brother to Cally and you didn't want their relationship to develop any further

(Aaron laughs again when he hears this)

Have you gotten over that or did you have a shouting match with Ronald D. Moore or any of the other writers?

(Aaron laughs when hearing "shouting match")

No, we certainly didn't have a "shouting match", but I was surprised that they were going to go that way. We sort of saw it coming. I think we had an inkling that it was going to happen, but I was a little, sort of resistant to the inkling when it was brewing a little bit. I think Nicki spotted it certainly before I did and it's kind of weird because it really is the big brother little sister relationship and even in real life it's like big brother little sister for Nicki and I. I love her to death and I'm fiercely protective of her. The Chief is the same thing for Cally and now they're together. I don't know. once you get past the paedophilic nature of it all (laughs again) I think it's okay. It's so weird, because all the fans were just like "That guy is an old guy and there's this teenager..." it's sort of like Jerry Lee Lewis and...

She's not really a teenager...

No, she's not. She just looks really young, but she's older. She has been in the military for a number of years. The Cally-character is sort off in her early to mid 20's and the Chief is sort off early 30's, so it's not THAT out of the realm of possibilities. No, I'm perfectly happy about it. The writers are always writing really good stuff for me and I trust them to do whatever. If it doesn't make sense to me at the time, I ask some questions and they either explain it away or they just assure me that it will be revealed in the upcoming episodes or it's the beginning of a story and there a true line and an arc to it. You just trust the writers. That's all I do.


Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003

Aaron Douglas as Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica 2003


About writing good stuff: Are there any deleted scenes you wish they had included in the final cut that didn't make it?

Of the entire series so far?


Yeah, there is a great scene with Nicki and I where she's just fantastic in, from the Mini-Series. She confronts me about fracking Sharon and that one got deleted. Usually the other ones don't get deleted, they kind of get edited, to shorten them up a bit. But that's the one that really stands out in my mind and I would like to see that one somewhere. I think it's probably on the deleted scenes. I haven't looked for it yet, but I definitely will.

About Boomer -- fracking Sharon and all: Will it get mentioned or be brought up again? In other words do you actually get some sort of closure this Season [3]?

No, they don't really refer to it or talk about it at all. It just seems to be...

Really? (surprised)

You know, it's referred to by... Cally and Boomer have an amazing scene in episode 1, 2 or 3... [of Season 3] Well, somewhere there. They have a great scene, in which they talk about it a bit. It's a scene with Grace, where she just congratulates me on the baby. But no, their relationship is over. It kind off moved on. She's now with Helo and the Chief is left dealing with everything he has to deal with. It's nice that they moved on and they don't drag it out and beat a dead horse.

So, is everything working out for the Chief in Season 3?

I have no idea! (Aaron pulls a teasing face). It's brutal, the stuff they got me doing is brutal. It's great! ...but it's brutal.

Final question. Do you have any other projects lined up?

No. No, I did a couple of days on the new Pierce Brosnan movie Butterfly On a Wheel. I didn't work with Pierce, I worked with Gerard Butler and Callum Rennie who plays Leoben on our [Battlestar Galactica] show and that was a lot of fun.

Did you have connections? (pointing at Dan Bacon, his good friend who was a reader for that film and who's sitting next to me)

Eh, yeah! Actually, he was on set because he was the off camera reader for Pierce Brosnan's stuff. Dan is everywhere I go, I just can't get away from him.

You don't want to write anything yourself or...

Eh yeah, I write shorts, it's just that, I don't have... I do have the time, but I just don't have the... I don't know. I need somebody to sort of organize. I'm an idea guy and I just need somebody -- the follow through person -- who sits down and does the nuts and bolts of it. I have great ideas, great stories and great scripts written, but I just like somebody else to do them and then I'll act in them or direct them, but nothing so far.

Okay, thank you very much.

You're very welcome.

< Prev