Battlestar Galactica's Biggest Mystery Has A Mixed Bag Of Answers

The reimagined "Battlestar Galactica" series that started with a miniseries in 2003 and ran for four seasons beginning in 2004 is chock full of mysteries. The story follows the survivors of the Twelve Colonies that are mostly destroyed by the Cylons as they fly through the galaxy, trying to find a new home, and discover hidden non-humans (if you can really call them that) in their ranks. It's a story of political intrigue, what it means to be sentient, and battling adversity. 

The entire plot hinges on mysteries. When did the human-appearing Cylons ("skin jobs") appear? How do some of them not even realize that they're not human? Who programmed them? Who is a Cylon? How will they find a habitable planet to live on? What is Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff)? How did she come back after having her viper blown up? Why does she disappear? Why is there so much religion in the finale? If Hera is the mitochondrial Eve (and is she, really?), are we all part Cylon?

The biggest mystery of all, however, is a much smaller question. It's haunted fans since the show ended so many years ago and continues to haunt us to this day. 

Who came up with this?

If you're a "Battlestar Galactica" fan, you've definitely asked this burning question: Why the hell are all the corners cut off of paper in the "Battlestar Galactica" universe?

I've certainly asked it. Not only does it make no sense whatsoever, but it's an absolute waste of paper. Of course, it's also a really cool visual that we'll always associate with the series. A look becomes iconic if you see it enough. We see design choices every day like the arrow forming the smile on Amazon boxes, or the hidden arrow in the FedEx logo. Even the implication of the shape of Mickey Mouse ears makes you think of Disney, and a green and white circle with a mermaid in it is probably going to make you crave your favorite Starbucks treat.

All of that was planned out and designed to make you think of the product. Like, if you see a yellow circle with a red swoosh through it, you might start craving Lay's potato chips. I will admit that if I see a piece of paper with the corners cut off, I do think of "Battlestar Galactica," but as it turns out, there was no big revelation about it all. In fact, it's become sort of a joke in terms of the production. 

Imagine those prop people with scissors, cutting for hours

Creator Ronald D. Moore said in answer to a question about the paper corners on his blog (via Battlestar Wiki), "Now that's one of the deepest mysteries of the entire show. That is the Da Vinci Code of 'Battlestar Galactica.'" Executive producer David Eick was a little more forthright in an interview with National Geographic Magazine, "That's purposely left unsolved just to torture the fans. All I know is the prop guy from the miniseries who had that idea lived in infamy for the next five years, with assistants shaving corners off of everything in sight, saying 'I want to strangle whoever had this idea.'"

In an interview with Wired, Patrick Di Justo, co-author with show science advisor and NASA scientist Kevin Grazier of "The Science of Battlestar Galactica" joked, "I think that was just a joke about having to cut corners on the show," though this was refuted by Moore in a press conference at the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle. "These people just hate right angles," Moore said. 

Whatever the real reason, or even if it was just a design choice that drove prop assistants crazy over the years, it's come to be associated with the show. Sometimes you just luck out with a design, even if it doesn't make sense or lead to some mysterious behind-the-scenes secret. I have a feeling anyone working on the upcoming film or TV series might end up spending a lot of time with scissors.

So say we all.