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Battlestar Galactica character
First appearance The Living Legend
Portrayed by Lloyd Bridges
Species Human
Gender Male
Affiliation Colonials
Title Commander

Commander Cain is a fictional character in the original Battlestar Galactica science fiction TV series, portrayed by the American actor Lloyd Bridges.


Commander Cain is the commander of the battlestar Pegasus, the father (by an unrevealed and, indeed, unmentioned wife, presumably deceased) of Lieutenant Sheba, and a former lover of Cassiopeia. He is one of the greatest heroes in the Colonial Service; his battle strategies are legendary throughout the fleet. However, he is also known to be rather impulsive and a maverick. He inspires near-fanatical loyalty amongst his crew on the Pegasus. Under his command, the Pegasus sortied to defend a human ally world, out of contact with the Twelve Colonies, with an expeditionary force (referred to as "The Fifth Fleet") that was destroyed by the Cylons; the Pegasus itself, however, escaped, and was spared destruction at Baltar's betrayal to the Cylons.

"The Living Legend"

Cain appears in the original series two-part episode, "The Living Legend," where the Pegasus meets up with the Galactica, under the command of Commander Adama, and its refugee fleet. After a joyous reunion, Commander Cain's hope for an offensive against the Cylons is dashed: Although the Galactica and her fleet are suffering from critical and immediate fuel shortage, Commander Adama allows only a small raid against a Cylon tanker convoy. Cain desires much more and proposes the two battlestars attack the planet Gamoray (occupied by the Cylons) to capture all the fuel stores of the enemy on the planet. But Adama, more concerned with his quest for Earth and the protection of the refugees, refuses to agree to Cain's reckless plan.

When Cain succeeds in deliberately interfering with the fuel raid (by destroying captured Cylon tankers) to force the attack on Gamoray, Adama comes up with a last and most desperate plan: To distribute the Pegasus's fuel reserves amongst the refugee fleet in order to sneak away from the planet. The plan is desperate as the Pegasus does not have enough fuel to supply the entire fleet and Adama has no idea where to find any other reserves. As Cain opposes Adama's plan publicly, Adama relieves Cain of his duties as Commander of the Pegasus. (This was intended to echo Harry S. Truman's dismissal of Douglas MacArthur from his command of the United States Army.) Cain's successor as authority of the Pegasus, Colonel Tigh, is ordered by Adama to distribute the Pegasus's fuel reserves amongst the refugee fleet as fast as possible.

The Pegasus crew members nearly mutiny at the treatment of Cain. Despite this, Cain refuses to support their insurrection and even explicitly accepts Adama's superior rank, but the fleet is still perilously close to civil war.

Count Baltar suddenly attacks with a large force of Cylons to destroy the Galactica and interrupts the colonial dispute in the face of the common enemy. Adama restores Cain to his command of the Pegasus, while Cain concedes that the refugee fleet would have been helpless at that moment had his offensive been carried out.

Although outnumbered, the commanders decide on a pincer movement where the Galactica occupies Baltar's attention while Pegasus maneuvers around for a surprise attack. In the ensuing engagement, the Galactica suffers heavy damage, and its landing bays are crippled to prevent its Vipers from refueling. Just as Baltar expects the battlestar to fall, the Pegasus, having completed its flanking maneuver, now makes its attack run with its Viper complement deployed to relieve the sister ship and the traitor is caught completely off guard. Stunned with the unexpected appearance of a second battlestar bearing down on him and alarmed by its fresh reinforcements about to engage his depleted forces, Baltar orders a retreat.

Cain eventually convinces Adama to get the permission for a near-suicidal attack on a trio of Cylon base stars. In the ensuing battle, the Cylons are destroyed and possibly Cain and his ship as well, although nobody is able to determine their fate: Although they are both eye-witnesses to the battle, Apollo and Starbuck see only explosions and clouds of debris from the battle that are too intense to determine what happened to the Pegasus. (The Pegasus's fate remains unknown.)

In the two part episode "War Of The Gods," the evil Count Iblis promises Cain's daughter Lieutenant Sheba a re-union with her father Cain. This may be seen as a hint for the survival of Cain and the Pegasus. But it is also possible that Count Iblis lied.

In other media

Cain subsequently appears in series star Richard Hatch's re-launch novel series, having led the Pegasus to a planet where he and his surviving crew founded a new colony and began construction of two new battlestars and were preparing to resume the war with the Cylons.

He also appears in the Maximum Press Battlestar Galactica comic book series. Due to image licensing restrictions, he sports a mustache and bears no resemblance to Lloyd Bridges.

Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack (1979 film)

Cain (as played by Lloyd Bridges) was featured in the second Battlestar Galactica film Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack, which was a feature-length release edited from the series episodes "The Living Legend" (part I and II) and "Fire in Space". Despite some changes in the story line (particular to link the end of 'The Living Legend' with the beginning of 'Fire in Space'), the film only contained archive footage from the TV series.

Reimagined version

The character of Cain was included in several episodes of the remake of Battlestar Galactica, as was the storyline where the Galactica meets the Pegasus. In the remake, the character is Admiral Helena Cain, who is Commander Adama's superior officer, and is portrayed by the actress Michelle Forbes.