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The Cylon War is a fictional interstellar war that occurred in the Battlestar Galactica universe. Both the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica movie and the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica miniseries are set shortly after that conflict.
Battlestar Galactica (1978)
In the original series, the Cylon war is also known as the Thousand Yahren War, the Thousand Year War and the Great Cylon Conflict.
The Cylon War began when the Twelve Colonies of Man came to the aid of an alien species called the Hasaris. This small and militarily-weak civilization was under attack by the Cylon army. The reasons for the Cylon-Hasaris war are never made clear; however, given the Hasaris' peace-loving nature, it is unlikely they were the aggressor[original research?]. It is more likely that the Cylon picked them as a target[original research?]. The Cylons were designed as war robots, and they needed a new enemy after having staged a cybernetic revolt, during which, they had destroyed their biological masters. Having never been commanded to cease fire, these warrior robots continued to wage war.
Despite the Colonies' help, the Hasaris civilization was eventually destroyed by the Cylons. Following their victory, the Cylons set their aim on destroying the Twelve Colonies, who had helped their enemies.
The war itself has never been discussed in detail. The few facts that are known are that the Colonial Battlestars were constructed shortly after the war had begun, that a large number of battles of all kinds took place, and that, at some point near the end of the war, Count Baltar was chosen to act as a liaison between both sides.
The Cylon War ended nearly a thousand yahrens after it had begun. The Cylons made an unexpected overture for peace through their agent, Count Baltar. The Colonials, weary of the war, accepted. However, the Cylons had no real intention to negotiate peace. Baltar had betrayed the Colonials, and the whole thing was a ruse to catch the Colonials off-guard. It worked almost perfectly, and in one sudden attack, the Twelve Colonies and all but two of the Battlestars (Galactica, Pegasus) were destroyed.
Following the destruction of the Twelve Colonies, the last Battlestar, Galactica, gathered the few survivors into a rag-tag fugitive fleet, and set a course for unexplored space, away from the Cylons. Their goal was to reach a mythical Thirteenth Colony, called Earth, in the hopes it had achieved a technological level high enough to protect them from Cylon tyranny.
Battlestar Galactica (2003)
Always seeking new and better technology, the Twelve Colonies created the Cylons — highly intelligent robots designed to make human lives easier; however, the Cylons rebelled against their human masters, causing war to break out between man and their creations.
The war itself has never been discussed in detail. What little that's known is that Humans fought using the Colonial Battlestars and Vipers, against the first generation of Cylons. Given the Cylons' artificial nature, they had the ability to infect computer networks. This caused the Humans to shun large computer networks in favor of isolated computer systems.
The war ended after twelve and a half years, when a peace accord was signed between the Twelve Colonies and the Cylons. The reason for this accord, unbeknownst to the humans, was the arrival of the Final Five. The Final Five, human-form Cylons from the legendary planet of Earth, make the Centurions a deal: end the war with the humans and they will help the Centurions create human-form Cylons of their own (something the Centurions had been trying and failing to do on their own) and give them Resurrection technology. Moments before the peace accord is signed, the Guardian Basestar with the First Hybrid, a creation made by experimenting on humans, flees an ice planet and ends up on the run from both human and Cylon for over forty years.
Following the peace accord, the Cylons retreated from Colonial space and cut all contact with the Colonies. The Colonials, hoping to prevent another war through diplomatic means, built Armistice Station as a place for Humans and Cylons to meet in order to maintain a peaceful dialogue between both races. Each year for 40 years, the Humans sent a representative to Armistice Station; the Cylons sent no one.
Meanwhile, after decades, voices in the Colonies started calling for a lift on the ban on sophisticated computer networks, which had been instituted during the Cylon War. Chief among them was Dr. Gaius Baltar, one of the Colonies' most brilliant scientists and an important member of the military's defense research team.
Unknown to the Colonies, the Cylons were using this time to prepare a new offensive. They were building an army of new, superior Cylon Centurions, researching organic-based technologies, and bioengineering an army of Cylons who appeared human, down to the cellular level. They did this with the help of the Final Five who led the Cylons in peace, however John Cavil (the first Cylon model created) was unhappy with this and murdered the Final Five and took control of the Cylons himself, erasing all knowledge of the Final Five from the other Cylon models except the knowledge that they exist. He eventually resurrected the Final Five and seeded them among humanity, but with their true memories blocked and false memories implanted, wanting to show them the "evils" of humanity.
Near the end of the inter-war period about a year before the Cylon surprise attack and subsequent nuclear holocaust, the Admiralty of the Colonial Fleet sent a scouting mission into Cylon territory which resulted in the capture of the scout pilot (and the effective ending of William Adama's military career). (In the podcasts, series creator Ron Moore said that this did not impact the Cylon decision to renew hostilities, as the Colonies were already infiltrated by sleeper cells of Cylon agents by that point).
|Second Cylon War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|President Richard Adar †
President Laura Roslin
President Lee Adama
Admiral Nagala †
Admiral William Adama
Admiral Helena Cain †
Colonel Saul Tigh
|Casualties and losses|
|28.6 billion dead
|At least 12-15 baseships, Cylon Colony.|
Forty years after the end of the Cylon War, the Cylons were ready to strike at the Colonies again. Their humanoid models had infiltrated the Colonies, most notably Number Six, who had seduced Baltar and through him had obtained access to the Colonies' defense network. The Cylons paid their first and only visit to Armistice Station, and destroyed it. They then launched a surprise attack on the Colonies, which were unprepared and, thanks to infiltration, undefended. The Cylon plan was effective, and in one day, the Twelve Colonies were destroyed with nuclear bombardment and Cylon occupation.
Following the destruction of the Twelve Colonies, the last known Battlestar, Galactica, gathered the few survivors into a rag-tag fugitive fleet, and set a course for unexplored space, away from the Cylons. The Fleet embarked on a search for the mythological 13th Colony of Man, which legend has it settled in some distant part of the galaxy on a planet they named Earth. Later on, Galactica and the fleet were discovered by the Battlestar Pegasus which had also survived the Cylon attack. Pegasus joined the fleet in its search for Earth. The remnants of the Colonial Military protect the civilian ships that managed to escape and launch attacks on Cylon targets of opportunity.
The refugee fleet discovers a harsh planet in a nebula and, believing it will hide them from the Cylons, they settle on the surface. It is named New Caprica. During the initial phases of populating the planet the Gina Number Six detonates a nuclear warhead aboard Cloud Nine, the largest civilian ship in the fleet, destroying the ship (and an undetermined, though small, number of other ships). A year after settlement, the light and energy signatures from the blast reach a Cylon fleet stationed a light-year away. The Cylon Fleet discovers and invades New Caprica, putting the planet and the people on the surface under occupation. The Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus, each having been depleted by personnel moving to the planet, manage to escape New Caprica with civilian ships orbiting the planet before the Cylons can attack them. On New Caprica, the humans organize a resistance movement and begin attacking Cylon facilities, even using humans as suicide bombers. The Cylons attempt to crush the resistance by imprisoning, torturing, and even executing humans who are active in the resistance. Eventually, the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus return to New Caprica to rescue the humans on the planet, and after a fierce battle in which the Pegasus is destroyed and numerous Cylons and humans are killed, humanity escapes, and resumes the course towards Earth.
After three years of war, four of the Final Five learn of their identites as Cylons and during a battle, one is detected by a Cylon Raider, causing the Raiders to break off their attack on the Fleet, saving it. This causes a split in the Cylons as a faction of Sixes, Eights and Twos believe that the Final Five have been detected in the Fleet and want to reunite with them while the Ones, Fours, Fives and Boomer (the Threes were previously boxed) want to simply lobotomize the Raiders and move on. This divide leads to a civil war between the two factions, with the faction led by John Cavil having the upper hand at first, slaughtering most of what becomes known as the rebel faction in a surprise attack outside of resurrection range. The remainder forges an alliance with the Colonials for protection. This alliance destroys the Cylon Resurrection Hub, destroying the Cylon ability to resurrect permanently and leaving all Cylons mortal. The rebels eventually join the Fleet as full members and after Boomer kidnaps the hybrid child Hera, the Galactica launches an attack on the Cylon Colony (a planetoid sized space station that's essentially the Cylon homeworld) with a combined crew of human and rebel Cylon including the Final Five. Galactica successfully retrieves Hera and negotiates a peace with Cavil's faction in exchange for the Final Five giving the Cylons back resurrection technology. However, the truce breaks when Galen Tyrol kills Tory Foster for murdering his wife. The war resumes and the Cavil that is the leader of the main Cylon faction kills himself when he realizes the situation is hopeless. An adrift Raptor ends up firing its nuclear missiles into the Colony due to an asteroid strike and the explosion knocks it into a black hole in which it is destroyed. Presumably most, if not all, of Cavil's faction were destroyed with the Colony. Galactica manages to escape through an FTL jump and discovers the planet later known as Earth. There, the humans and rebel Cylons settle together in peace to live out the rest of their lives. The rebel Centurions are given the Rebel Basestar and their freedom to find their own destiny. While there's a chance the Centurions could rebuild and come back to destroy humanity and the rebels later, the two groups believe that granting them their freedom will bring an end to the cycle of violence. While some of Cavil's faction may have survived, without resurrection (which, with the deaths of Foster and Samuel Anders can never be rebuilt), they are doomed to die out eventually.