BAMFiles: Kara “Starbuck” Thrace


So. You all knew Battlestar Galactica‘s Starbuck was going to make an appearance here at some point, right?

Of course she was. Why would hot-headed, hard-headed, best-damn-pilot-in-the-fleet Starbuck not be on this list?

I love everything about her. I love that she’s tough as nails, but has her vulnerabilities. I love that after crash landing on a deserted planet, she can crawl into a Cylon and jumpstart its guts/engine to save herself, but still feels tremendous guilt for past mistakes. I love how she is unquestionably the most talented viper pilot, and never has to prove it. I love her character arc from chaotic hot mess to (debatable) saviour of humanity

She deals with psychological abuse, having her organs harvested, and possibly being a Cylon and/or an angel of death, and somehow, somehow, manages to come out on top.

Is she perfect? Absolutely not. But if anything, Starbuck’s flaws made her more appealing. She’s cocky? Well, she’s got the skills to back it up. She’s one hundred per cent self-destructive and emotionally unavailable? Well, it makes sense for an army brat with an abusive mother to grow up that way. She drinks and smokes and brawls too much? Well, it’s a matter of opinion whether or not that’s actually a bad thing. She’s got a wicked temper? …You got me on that one, but in a show with a lot of emotional bottle-uppers, Starbuck’s blowups can actually be a breath of fresh air.

Basically, nothing you can say about her is going to make me dislike her.

She’s a unique animal, the rare female anti-hero, and it bears mentioning that the original series’ Starbuck was male. There was actually quite a lot of push back against the new, gender-bent version but, as The Mary Sue puts it, the switch ended up being a superb idea:

“The fact that she threw so many gender stereotypes out the window as her role progressed makes the change an even more brilliant idea. The original Starbuck was a cigar-smoking, sex-loving, alcohol-pounding ruffian with an innate talent for flight. And so was the female Starbuck. Why change it? This was a character who never questioned himself, was so (dare I say it) cocksure — why shouldn’t she be the same exact way? She was, and it fracking paid off.”

So say we all.


Top image is part of Spencer Salberg‘s Strong Female Characters series.

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One thought on “BAMFiles: Kara “Starbuck” Thrace

  1. Ann says:

    She´s awesome, never really loved a fictional character before but I fell in love with Starbuck. I don´t agree she is an anti-hero though, she´s a hero! She has issues sure, and a wicked temper sometimes but that doesn´t make her an anti-hero. Starbuck is loyal without blind loyalty, would die for her people, saves the day every day, never give up, sacrifices herself to save humanity,that´s a hero to me!

    “This was a character who never questioned himself, was so (dare I say it) cocksure — why shouldn’t she be the same exact way? She was, and it fracking paid off.”

    Starbuck questioned herself a lot, all the time, except when it comes to her skills as a pilot 😉

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