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William Adama

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William "Bill" Adama (callsign "Husker") is a fictional atheist portrayed by Edward James Olmos[1] in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica television series. The character is a reimagining of Commander Adama from the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series. The early life of Adama is featured in the Caprica spinoff series.

Fictional character biography

Early life

William Adama was born on Caprica, the son of Joseph Adama, a civil liberties lawyer and Evelyn Adama, an accountant[2]. He was named for his paternal grandfather who was killed in the Tauron Civil War. His mother and sister Tamara were killed in a terrorist bombing of a Caprica City subway when he was eleven and attending Wilson Elementary School.[3]

Adama was a gifted Viper pilot in the Colonial Fleet during the later stages of the first Cylon War.[4] On account of his gravelly voice, his aviator call sign was "Husker".[5] Assigned to the Galactica, he was involved with a Raptor pilot named Jaycie McGavin.[6] Arriving on the hangar deck for his first mission, he found McGavin had been gravely injured in combat when her Raptor's control console exploded in her face.[7] Adama subsequently scored his first kills during this mission, for which he received a commendation.[2] Adama was aboard the Battlestar Galactica during the last week of the war when a Cylon boarding party attempted to kill the crew by depressurizing the ship. Adama later recalled that "two thousand men bought the farm."[4]

During a battle that took place on the last day of the First Cylon War, enraged by the destruction of the Battlestar Columbia, Adama pursued two Cylon raiders into a planetary atmosphere.[8] His Viper was damaged in a collision and he was forced to eject.[9] Upon landing, he discovered what appeared to be a Cylon lab that was experimenting on human subjects.[10] Unable to rescue the humans still held captive in the lab, Adama watched helplessly as the Cylons evacuated the base. When he called Galactica for rescue, Adama found out that the war had ended with the signing of an armistice. With the end of hostilities, the Cylons carried away whatever they were developing unopposed.

After the war ended, Adama married his first wife, Carolanne, by whom he fathered two sons, Zak and Lee.[11] Adama later relates to Captain Louanne "Kat" Katraine how, during both her pregnancies, Carolanne was convinced that she was carrying a daughter, and was surprised by the arrival of a son. Adama himself would have liked a daughter, saying that "three's a good round number".[12]

Adama's military career floundered after the war. Like many servicemen after the end of a conflict, he was discharged. He found himself serving on a commercial freighter on the Caprica-Tauron run, where he met a fellow former Viper pilot, Saul Tigh.[13] The pair forged a lasting friendship, and Adama arguably saved Tigh from his most self-destructive impulses.[4]

Return to the Fleet

During this period, Adama used his wife's family's connections in the Defense Council to get himself reinstated in the Colonial Fleet with a rank of Captain. Once he had been promoted to the rank of Major, he secured Tigh's reinstatement in the Fleet as well.[13] He later divorced Carolanne, who was in turn engaged to marry again at the time of the Cylons' devastation of the Twelve Colonies.[5]

As a Major, Adama served on the Battlestar Atlantia,[2] where he had an ongoing feud with the ship's landing signal officer that inspired a celebration of his thousandth landing.[11] He later served as the executive officer of the Battlestar Columbia, presumably as a Colonel, before earning his own command, the Battlestar Valkyrie. Adama brought his old friend, Saul Tigh, with him as his XO.[2] At some point during this phase of his career, Adama either served aboard or visited a Mercury class battlestar.[14]

Approximately three years before the Destruction of the Twelve Colonies, the Colonial Admiralty ordered then-Commander Adama and the Valkyrie to test the Cylons' military disposition with a covert (and illegal) surveillance mission across the Armistice Line. The Stealthstar reconnaissance craft was discovered by the Cylons and damaged; Adama ordered the Valkyrie's weapons batteries to shoot it down to prevent its capture. These events precipitated his transfer to the aging Battlestar Galactica as a graceful swan-song to his career before returning to haunt him three years later.[2]

Both William Adama's sons chose to follow in their father's footsteps and become Viper pilots. While Lee went on to become an accomplished pilot, Zak was not a natural in the cockpit. While in training, Zak began a secret relationship with Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, his flight instructor. Zak would have failed basic flight training had Kara not passed him based on her feelings for him (he had recently proposed to her). During an operational flight, Zak's Viper crashed and he was killed. This tragedy drove a wedge between Adama and his surviving son, Lee, who blamed his father for pushing Zak into military service. It was also during this time that William Adama met Kara, sparking a father-daughter relationship.[11]

After the Cylon attack

Two years after Zak's death, the fifty-year-old Galactica was nearing the end of its service, destined to be converted into a museum ship. On the morning following the ship's decommissioning ceremony (Caprica City Time), the Cylons launched a surprise attack on the Twelve Colonies, bombarding the colonies with nuclear weapons and destroying the majority of the Colonial Fleet. The Fleet was unable to mount an effective counterattack due to Cylon infiltration of the Colonial ships' Command Navigation Program (CNP).[5]

As it fought in the first Cylon War, and because its systems were not networked, Galactica was spared from any possible Cylon infiltration attempts. Most of Galactica's Viper Mark VII fighters possessed the CNP and were lost early on. Fortunately, as part of its museum display, the Galactica has forty older Mk II Vipers on board, including Adama's personal fighter. The CNP was later purged from Galactica's systems and the remainder of the Mark VII fighters. Since Galactica had been disarmed in anticipation of its decommissioning, Adama took the ship to an unmanned depot at Ragnar Anchorage to rearm. While there, the Galactica encountered a ragtag fleet of civilian vessels bearing around 50,000 survivors, including the new President of the Colonies, Laura Roslin, who implored Adama to abandon his plan to fight the Cylons and instead lead the survivors to safety. After some deliberation, he complied, deciding that the survival of the human race was more important than pursuing a counterattack against the Cylons. Galactica and her fleet jumped beyond the "red line" (the boundary beyond which FTL jump calculations become uncertain and therefore jumps become dangerous).[5] His ex-wife, Carolanne, was presumed to have died in the Cylon attack, although Adama still harbored feelings for her and continued to observe their wedding anniversary after a fashion.[15]

After an incident on the hangar deck that resulted in the deaths of several pilots, Adama became aware of the true details of his son Zak's death, after Thrace let her affair with Zak cloud her judgment again by being too harsh on the replacement trainees. Adama was barely able to restrain himself upon learning of the cause of Zak's death from Thrace.[11] Events following the revelation lead Adama and his surviving son Lee to commit a similar act of allowing feelings to cloud judgment, after Thrace is shot down and stranded on an inhospitable planet. After Adama is compelled to abandon Thrace by President Roslin, Thrace miraculously rescues herself and returns to Galactica aboard a captured Cylon Raider. Adama forgives Thrace for her indiscretions concerning Zak. The incident also cements the father-son bond between William Adama and his surviving son: Lee questions how long his father would search for him, were he missing, to which the elder Adama responds, "if it were you... we'd never leave."[16]

Soon after Galactica and the Colonial fleet discover the lost planet Kobol, Adama is shot by "Boomer", a Cylon sleeper agent, which places him in mortal jeopardy.[17] Although he survives this assassination attempt, the brush with death changes him somewhat: some say that his more emotional leanings are a post-traumatic reaction to the shooting, but Adama jokes to Roslin that he thinks that he is "just a wuss."[18]

After the Battlestar Pegasus encounters the fleet, Adama comes into conflict with Rear Admiral Helena Cain, commander of the Pegasus, over the treatment of two Galactica crew members, Karl Agathon and Galen Tyrol. Cain and Adama come to the brink of firing on each other.[19] Each makes plans to have the other assassinated following the successful conclusion of a joint operation to destroy the Cylon Resurrection ship. Neither plan is carried out (both commanders decide not to give the kill order), although Cain is subsequently killed by the Cylon Gina.[20]

With the death of Cain, Roslin promotes Adama to Admiral. Adama is surprised and touched: by this point in his career, he had given up hope of attaining flag rank; he encourages Roslin, battling breast cancer, to remain hopeful of a recovery. There was also a brief, sweet kiss between the two, initiated by Adama, which Roslin smiles at afterwards.[20]

New Caprica and the Second Exodus

After the discovery of New Caprica, Adama appears hesitant to establish a permanent settlement on the planet, but is over-ruled by the new President Gaius Baltar.[21] In the months that follow, his attitude slowly softens, and he begins to allow military personnel to muster out and settle on New Caprica.[22]

When the Cylons locate New Caprica after a year of no contact with the human race, Adama is forced reluctantly to flee with all the ships still in orbit.[21] two thousand civilians and the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus at half-strength.[23] Undaunted, Adama sets about formulating a rescue plan for the humans trapped under Cylon rule. His unorthodox strategy (he even goes so far as to jump the Galactica into the atmosphere of New Caprica) is successful, but not without loss. Against his father's orders, Lee arrives in the Pegasus to join the battle and save Galactica, but left all of its fighters behind to guard the civilian fleet. Pegasus takes heavy damage, forcing the crew to abandon ship. Pegasus is destroyed upon collision with a basestar. Adama returns to the fleet as a hero.[24]

Three years after the incident at the Armistice Line, Galactica recovers Lieutenant Daniel "Bulldog" Novacek, the pilot of the recon vessel that Adama ordered shot down when in command of the Battlestar Valkyrie. Adama's guilt over the incident and suspicions that he may have provoked the Cylon attack on the Colonies lead him to tender his resignation from the Fleet: however, President Roslin refuses to accept his resignation. Moreover, in an attempt to improve fleet morale and reward Adama for his continual military service in ensuring the survival of the fleet, President Roslin awards Adama with a Medal of Distinction in recognition of his 45 years of service to the Colonial Fleet. Colonel Tigh is the one who saves Adama when Bulldog attacks the Admiral, seeking revenge for his capture, and this marks a turning point in the Adama-Tigh relationship: after the award ceremony, the two friends finally sit down to share a drink and talk about the events on New Caprica, and Ellen Tigh's death in particular.[2]

Adama is initially supportive of the "ranks dropped" boxing competition held on Galactica with Colonel Tigh as referee, seeing it as a useful means of allowing the crew to vent their frustrations and prevent them growing into feuds and grudges. However, when he sees that some of the crew have taken to enjoying the competition over tending to their professional duties, he is reminded of how he himself softened during the year above New Caprica. He takes on Chief Galen Tyrol in the ring; although he is beaten by the younger man, his actions and words afterwards remind the crew of their solemn duty to guard the civilian fleet.[22]

After the fleet's food-processing systems become contaminated the fleet prepares to make a hazardous journey through a highly radioactive stellar cluster in search of supplies, Tigh finally returns (a little self-consciously) to the Galactica CIC. Although Adama does not join the applause for the Colonel, he cannot hide a small smile. After the stellar cluster has been negotiated, he visits Captain Louanne "Kat" Katraine on her deathbed after she receives a fatal dose of radiation guiding civilian ships through the cluster. He comforts her, telling her that her shady past life is irrelevant to him: he is interested only in her bravery and outstanding qualities as a leader, for which he (posthumously) returns her to the position of CAG.[12]

Upon reaching the Algae planet in a highly unstable planetary system the Colonials begin harvesting operations. Galen Tyrol informs Roslin and Adama of his discovery of an ancient temple, the The Temple of Five which holds some significance in the Colonial religion. Roslin believes according to scripture that an artifact The Eye of Jupiter is hidden somewhere within the Temple and would act as a Marker on the way to Earth. The fleet is soon confronted by four Cylon Base Stars and Adama orders all civilian ships to jump away. Taking up a defense posture Adama prepares to engage the incoming Cylons with several people still on the planet and the possibility of the Cylons retrieving information on the location of Earth. The incoming Cylons on the advice of Gaius Baltar do not come in firing instead send a delegation to negotiate with Roslin and Adama for the Eye. The brief negotiation leaves both sides in a stalemate, if the Cylons attack the Galactica or attempt to land on the planet Adama would nuke the temple, if the Colonials attempt to take the Eye the Cylons would attack. The Cylons eventually attempt to land on the planet and take the temple. Adama in response arms Galactica's nuclear warheads and targets them on the temple, nearly making good on his threat. The Cylons recall all but one of their heavy raiders forcing Adama to back down. When the star in the planetary system begins to show sign of going supernova, Adama orders a rescue mission be launched to the planet. Retrieving all of her raptors, Galactica narrowly escapes the shock wave jumping back to her fleet.


After Adama starts considering not only an alliance with the Rebel Cylons, but to let them join the fleet, Lieutenant Felix Gaeta starts a mutiny against him with Tom Zarek starting a coup against Roslin and the rest of the government. Adama is initially unaware of the coup as Gaeta manages to hide it well, but when it becomes obvious that there is something wrong, Gaeta immediately arrests Adama who is nearly killed by an overzealus Marine but is saved by one of his crew who sacrifices his life for him. Adama promises no forgiveness for this mutiny and is taken away alongside Colonel Tigh. On the way Adama chats with the two Marines who are escorting him, one of whom is unsure about what he is doing, and overpowers them, killing one and taking the other prisoner. He tries to rescue the prisoners in the brig but its too well guarded and meets up with Lee and Kara who escaped and are working against the mutineers. They head to the Secondary Storage Airlock where Tyrol has promised a ride to a safe place for Adama, Tigh, Roslin and Baltar. There they meet up with a Raptor from the Cylon baseship who Tyrol apparently convinced to shelter them. Roslin and Baltar leave, but Adama decides to stay behind to cover their escape and try to retake the ship. Adama and Roslin, who recently entered a relationship with each other, share a kiss before Roslin and Baltar escape. Adama and Tigh try to hold off the approaching Marines but are knocked out by a stun grenade and recaptured. Tigh is taken to the brig while Gaeta (who is now in command after the mutiny and coup) tries to get Adama to get Roslin to surrender, but he sarcasticaly tells Gaeta that Gaeta is the Admiral now and he should tell Roslin that and make her laugh. Adama is later tried in an obviously rigged court-martial consisting of Gaeta as the people's representitive, Tom Zarek as the judge and Romo Lampkin as his lawyer. He is tried for various crimes including treason, dereliction of duty (for abandoning the people on New Caprica despite having no choice) and aiding and abetting the enemy. Adama refuses to betray his beliefs and is heartbroken when he's told Tigh was killed trying to escape. Ultimately he is found guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad. Before he can be killed, however, he's rescued by Tigh, Lee, Athena, Caprica Six, Helo and Lieutenant Kelly who switched sides and told the others where he was. He is shocked but happy to see Tigh alive as the truth was Apollo and Starbuck rescued him and the others from the brig and no one was killed although Anders was seriously hurt. Adama prepares to take back his ship and asks Narcho and the firing squad for aid. The firing squad agrees, but Narcho refuses stating that despite respecting Adama he will not serve under someone who will help Cylons so Adama orders him tied up and marchs to CIC to retake it with his loyal men. Along the way they are joined by most of the crew and they reach CIC and retake it without firing a shot, arresting Gaeta and Zarek who are both there. Adama contacts a relieved Roslin on the baseship who thought he was dead and was about to start shooting Galactica and tells her and the Cylons to stand down. He later embraces her when she returns to Galactica. Adama has Gaeta and Zarek executed by firing squad for their actions, a firing squad he personally commands.

After the mutiny, Tyrol shows him the deteriorating condition of Galactica and proposes using Cylon technology to make repairs. Adama initally refuses, but ultimately agrees to it reluctantly but has trouble letting go when he learns that all that Tyrol can do is buy some more time. Roslin points out that Adama is having trouble with the fact that he might lose the two women he loves at the same time (Roslin and Galactica) and convinces him to abandon ship. During the preparations to abandon Galactica, it is stated that Adama will be the last man aboard, and fly the last viper off the ship himself.

Rescue of Hera and finding a new home

Adama eventually commands the Galactica on her final mission: an operation to rescue the half-human, half-cylon child Hera from the cylon colony. He calls for volunteers and is able to rally enough of the crew to execute the mission. Delivering a final speech before the attack, he reminds the crew that the old ship will not fail them if they do not fail her, and that she will bring them home if they succeed. Adama and Tigh command the operation from CIC, and defend their position from cylon boarders until the intervention of Gaius Baltar allows them to broker a truce. Adama agrees to allow Cavil's cylon faction access to the resurrection technology held by the Final Five in return for a promise to never again assault humanity. The truce is broken when, while uploading the resurrection technology to the cylons, Galen Tyrol discovers that Tory Foster was responsible for his wife's death and breaks the link in order to kill Foster. During the resumed hostilities, Adama shields Laura Roslin from the gunfire while the Galactica crew kills the Cavil faction cylons present in the CIC. The cylon colony is struck by a volley of nuclear warheads accidentally launched from a dead raptor, and Adama orders Kara Thrace to jump the ship before Galactica is destroyed in the conflagration. Thrace uses the numerical sequence she created from the song All Along the Watchtower and Galactica jumps to the planet that will eventually be known as Earth, but sustain irreparable damage in the process.

A raptor is sent to rendezvous with the Colonial fleet, which is then brought to the new planet. After surveying the primitive humans of their new home, Adama adopts a colonizing strategy proposed by his son Lee: the colonials abandon most of their technology and settle in widely separated locations on the planet. The emptied ships of the fleet, including Galactica, are piloted into the sun by the cylon Samuel Anders, who had been plugged into the battlestar's computer systems. As he had planned earlier, William Adama is the last person to leave Galactica, launching aboard the Mk. II Viper with his call sign that had appeared in the original mini-series.

After bidding a tearful goodbye to his son Lee Adama, and to Kara Thrace, whom he had thought of as a daughter, Adama takes the dying Laura Roslin on a flight over their new homeworld, searching for a spot to build the cabin they had talked about on New Caprica. Roslin dies during the flight, and Adama places his wedding ring on her finger. In his final scene in the series, Adama is depicted sitting next to Roslin's grave, describing the progress he has made in building their cabin.

Military service

Admiral Adama's Military service record is shown in the dossier prepared for Laura Roslin by Billy Keikeya. It listed the following events in his service history:[2]

  • D6/21311 - First commission: Battlestar Galactica fighter squadron
  • E4/21312 - Commendation for shooting down Cylon fighter in first combat mission
  • D5/21314 - Mustered out of service post-armistice
  • R6/21317 - Served as Deck Hand in merchant fleet and as common [...] aboard inter-colony tramp freighters
  • D1/21331 - Recommissioned in Colonial Fleet
  • D6/21337 - Major: Battlestar Atlantia
  • R8/21341 - Executive Officer: Battlestar Columbia
  • C2/21345 - Commander: Commanding Officer, Battlestar Valkyrie
  • C2/21348 - Commander: Commanding Officer, Battlestar Galactica

After the death of Admiral Helena Cain, Adama is promoted to Admiral, in light of the fact that he now had charge of more than one battlestar. He retains this rank to the end of the series, even though the Battlestar Pegasus was destroyed.

Personality and relationships

Throughout the series, Adama has demonstrated a powerful strength of character, successfully leading and protecting what remains of humanity against the Cylon threat. Despite the greater age of his Battlestar compared to some of the other ships in the fleet at the time of the attack, Adama has led the ship to victory against various Cylon threats, successfully coming up with strategies to defeat Cylon opponents despite their significantly superior numerical and technological advantage. His dedication to his ship has earned him the loyalty of his entire crew, with Tigh once stating when Adama was injured that, as far as he was concerned, Galactica was Adama's ship until his death. A significant number of the crew participates in the mutiny led by Felix Gaeta, but Ronald D. Moore stated in the episode podcasts that the mutineers never had enough people to take complete control of the ship. A large number of the crew are seen joining Adama when he retakes the ship, and several of the mutineers, including Aaron Kelly and several marines, switch sides during the battle.

In terms of his personal relationships, Adama's life is complicated at best. Although he tries to maintain a professional distance from his crew to prevent his emotions from clouding his judgement, he is nevertheless strongly devoted to them. For all the arguments between him and his son Lee Adama, he has more than once stated that he will never abandon Lee whatever his son does, attempting to reconcile with Lee even after Lee served as the defense counsel for Gaius Baltar during his trial. His affection for his ex-wife is also evident, setting aside the day of their anniversary each year to remember her despite how their relationship ended. He has also formed more than one father/daughter bond with some of the Viper pilots under his command, particularly Kara Thrace and Louanne 'Kat' Katraine, telling Kat once that he and his wife would have liked to have a daughter as well as their sons, stating that "Three's a good round number". Similarly, when Kara Thrace voices her anxieties about her own identity when she returns from the dead, Adama reassures her by proclaiming "You're my daughter". Despite his vocal dislike of Cylons, Adama even managed to form a certain bond with the second Cylon Number Eight model he encountered, growing to trust her despite the fact that her 'predecessor' shot him. Adama also retains his strong friendship with Saul Tigh even after the latter is discovered to be a cylon. His relationship with President Laura Roslin has been particularly turbulent; although they have often disagreed over crucial decisions, such as when Roslin convinced Starbuck to return to Caprica to retrieve the Arrow of Apollo or when she convinced the Agathons that their daughter Hera—the first human/Cylon hybrid—had died during the birth, they have also demonstrated a great affection for each other, Adama admitting after she was briefly captured by the Cylons that he cannot live without her. In Season Four, it is shown that they developed an intimate relationship. After she dies, he places his wedding ring on her finger and buries her outside the cabin he intends to build and live in solitude.

Adama is an athiest. Although it is possible that might have become an agnostic at the end of the series.

Preparing for the role

Actor Edward James Olmos has brown eyes, but when playing William Adama he wore contact lenses that make Adama's eyes blue. This was done so that Olmos and actor Jamie Bamber, who played his son Lee, would resemble each other more. Reciprocally, Bamber dyed his hair darker to better match Olmos' colouring.


  1. Benjamin Svetkey, "The Final Frontier: Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.0," Entertainment Weekly 1029 (January 9, 2009), 60.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "Hero". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  3. "Caprica". 'Caprica'.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Valley of Darkness (Deleted Scene)". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Miniseries, Parts 1 and 2". Battlestar Galactica (TV miniseries).
  6. Razor Flashback Part 1
  7. Razor Flashback Part 2
  8. Razor Flashback Part 3
  9. Razor Flashback Part 4
  10. Razor Flashback Part 5
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 "Act of Contrition". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  12. 12.0 12.1 "The Passage". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Valley of Darkness". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  14. "Pegasus (Extended Cut)". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  15. "A Day in the Life". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  16. "You can't Go Home Again". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  17. "Kobol's Last Gleaming". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  18. "Home (Deleted Scene)". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  19. "Pegasus". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Resurrection Ship". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Lay Down Your Burdens". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Unfinished Business". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  23. "Precipice". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  24. "Exodus". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at William Adama. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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