I know when Sci-Fi (now known as SyFy) announced the launch of a reimagined Battlestar Galactica that fans of the original series were hesitant. One of the points that was ferociously debated was about Starbuck. No one, especially Dirk Benedict (the actor who portrayed Starbuck in the original series), understood why the character was being changed to a girl. They didn’t think it was necessary or sensible. I didn’t watch the original series so I didn’t have any opinions about it.
The BSG miniseries aired, and Starbuck kicked butt. She was tough and full of attitude. Katee Sackhoff brought a certain amount of snark to the role that I don’t think could have been replicated by anyone else. The fact that she was female added a whole other dimension to the character. She had to take extra measures to prove herself – not to Commander Adama but to us, the audience. She had to show the naysayers that Starbuck kicked just as much Cylon butt even if she was a girl.
Starbuck’s arc throughout the series was one of the most intense. She never had it easy, and every time something good came along, it was ripped away. She was strong, one of the best Viper pilots, and she never backed down. All of these things made a good character. What made her a fascinating character is the fact that she was incredibly frakked up. She pulled through a questionable past and faced heartbreak again and again. She was used by humans and Cylons and always came out on top, even if it broke her a little more. She used all of her anger and pain to fuel herself for the constant fight against the Cylons and life. In Star Wars, utilizing those emotions is a path to the Dark side. In BSG, it’s a path to survival.
Starbuck made it through. She used her gun, her fist, a fork – whatever was available. And that’s a woman to admire.