In Depth

Richard Hatch: Five geeky facts about the late Battlestar Galactica star

Actor devoted his life to tales of space travel and loved to spend time with real astronauts

170208_richard_hatch.jpg

Battlestar Galactica star Richard Hatch has died at the age of 71 after suffering from pancreatic cancer. 

Hatch was the only actor to appear in both the original and rebooted versions of the hit sci-fi show, first playing Captain Apollo in the 1978 to 1980 series and then Tom Zarek from 2004 to 2009.

His career included roles in dramas such as The Streets of San Francisco, Dynasty, The Love Boat and Baywatch, but his true passion was for science fiction and he devoted himself to keeping the Battlestar Galactica franchise alive, as well as creating his own space-travel stories.

Here are five geeky facts about the star.

He created his own space opera

Hatch dreamt up The Great War of Magellan as a sci-fantasy series spanning thousands of years, a sort of "Lord of the Rings in space", he said. The show was based around galactic trader Akillian, who had lost his family and was searching the universe for beings like himself whose special powers would be useful for an imminent war. Despite the actor creating and starring in several lengthy trailers, The Great War of Magellan was never taken up and produced by a network. 

He hung out with astronauts  

In his spare time, Hatch liked to meet astronauts and was a regular visitor to the annual SpaceFest in Pasadena, California, which brings astronauts and space fans together for autographs and other activities. In 2014, he told Space: "I hang out and have dinner with the guys who walked on the Moon."

He worked with Mark Hamill 

Hatch appeared with Star Wars actor Mark Hamill on crime series The Streets of San Francisco in 1977. Asked in an interview in 2012 whether the Star Wars actor had encouraged him to get into sci-fi, Hatch said that at the time, Hamill had no idea the film would be such a success. He said: "He told me it was 'this little film', which is what he called it. Until the special effects and music were put in, that's what it was." Hatch added that Hamill was "a huge comics fan".

He was a novelist

As part of his campaign to revive Battlestar Galactica, Hatch wrote a series of novels inspired by the series: Battlestar Galactica: Armageddon; Resurrection; Rebellion; Destiny, and War Hawk. The books follow the crew on their epic journey to find Earth. He also wrote comic books and graphic novels and developed a role-playing game. 

He was a klingon 

Although Star Trek was effectively a rival sci-fi franchise to his beloved Battlestar Galactica, Hatch played klingon commander Kharn in the 2014 crowd-funded fan film Star Trek: Axanar. He told Tech Times he had always been a sci-fi fanboy, which meant he was also a Star Trek fan, and he wanted to explore the more sophisticated and intelligent side of the klingons. "I've never given up on space exploration or shows that deal with space," he said.

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