There’s no denying that Kara Thrace aka Starbuck is one of the most powerful and compelling female characters to surface over the past decade. She’s strong and independent but is also vulnerable and very damaged. It’s also pretty awesome how the reimagined version of Battlestar Galactica took one of the most beloved male characters from the original 1978 series, and turned him into a badass female. The even more awesome thing is that female Starbuck retained a lot of the traits of male Starbuck. Both were cocky, cigar-smoking, hot tempered, and kickass fighter pilots. Because you know, women can do anything men can do and men can do anything women can do. That’s it.
Show developer Ronald D. Moore has explained his decision to gender bend Starbuck was to avoid the cliche of the anti-hero who just so happens to have a softer side. By turning Starbuck into a female character with essentially all the same skills and flaws as her male counterpoint, this reboot of the show was able to both respect the original series and also make a modern stance. This made Battlestar Galactica an innovative and smart show instead of a Star Wars knock off that the original series was accused of being.
While this clearly was the best route to take, it definitely had its risks and possible pitfalls. The thing with females who are loud, aggressive, or selfish tend to come off as, for lack of a better word, a bitch. Attempting to create a female character with those traits are usually defaulted to being the villain where as men who are portrayed with the exact same characteristics are seen as layered, complex, and misunderstood. But what made Starbuck different from any other women with traditionally male traits? It’s all in the actor.
Katee Sackoff took this anti-hero and made her not only related but someone who we wanted to root for. Despite Kara’s obvious overcompensation for her deep rooted issues, we accepted her because she is who she is and makes no apologizes for it. While she is stubborn, as the show progress, she did as well. Starbuck wasn’t perfect and she owned that but also recognized what she wanted to change about herself and what she wasn’t willing to comprise. Even better, Starbuck was able to be a sexy and desired women without fitting into the pretty little box most of society and men have trapped women into. She was rarely dolled up and was usually covered in some sort of cylon goo but guess what? She was still one of the most beautiful women in sci-fi. Starbuck help breakdown the stereotypes of what a woman could become.
So why do we love Starbuck so much? She’s frakking Starbuck, that’s why.