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An Expanding Universe
Two-thousand and nine is a big year for the Stargate franchise. The second series has come to an end, with plans for an Atlantis movie on the horizon. The radically unique third series, Stargate Universe, premieres this fall. During our visit to the studio in Vancouver this month, GateWorld had the rare privilege to sit down face-to-face with the two men who are shepherding this show.

Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper have been at the helm of the Stargate franchise for 12 years, Wright creating Stargate SG-1 with Jonathan Glassner in 1997, and Cooper and Wright creating Atlantis in 2004.

Though production on SGU is currently locked down tight, the executive producers talked exclusively with us about the series and what else is in the works for Stargate. In the interview they share their reasons for wanting SGU to be different, the large, ensemble cast, and how the series will stand apart. We get answers about aliens, the Destiny, using the Stargate, and more. We also get an update on the SG-1 and Atlantis movies.

GateWorld's interview with Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper runs about 30 minutes. Listen online at your leisure, download it to your MP3 player, or subscribe now to the iTunes podcast! The full interview is also transcribed below.

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GateWorld: For, I am Darren Sumner. David Read and I are here once again with Mr. Rob Cooper and Brad Wright. Thanks, guys.

Robert C. Cooper: You're welcome.

Brad Wright: Thank you, guys.

GW: It's good to see you again.

BW: You too.

GW: We are here to talk mainly about Stargate Universe, obviously. That's the big thing that Stargate fans are all getting ready for in the fall. But before we jump into that, I just want to ask you guys about the movies, if there is a status update on the SG-1 and Atlantis films that you can give at this point?

BW: Let's just say that we're still going forward. There has been a slight delay in going into pre-production, but that's OK. It doesn't mean that we are not doing it -- either one. In fact, I can almost guarantee we're proceeding with the SG-1 movie this year.

The next SG-1 movie will see Richard Dean Anderson return front and center.
GW: For shooting in 2009?

BW: Yes.

GW: Great! Is it the impact of the economy that is perhaps delaying them?

BW: There's been a little bit of that. I think it's fair to say that the DVD market has changed considerably in the last six to eight months. But we're still in the film and television-making business, so it's just a question of trying to find ways to make things work.

GW: And for SG-1 is this still the original idea that you were talking about last year?

BW: Yep.

GW: It's an O'Neill movie? And has Rick [Richard Dean Anderson] confirmed that he's going to do it?

BW: That deal isn't set in stone yet. That's part of the on-going thing. But, yeah, Rick's doing episodes of Universe. He was just here yesterday shooting an episode of Universe with us. So, that relationship is always on-going, and it's good to have him back.

GW: Great. The Atlantis movie then: Is that a little bit more pushed back? Is it looking at maybe 2010?

BW: No, Paul [Mullie] and Joe [Mallozzi] are writing the script, and it's just a question of which one we can proceed with first. There are issues, as there always are. But there have been a few changes in the way the world works right now, especially in terms of DVD sales.

GW: When we were here talking to you last year, Ark of Truth had just come out and seemed to be doing very, very well in sales. Continuum was obviously getting ready for its big summer release and the big Comic-Con push. From our end of the table it looked like those movies did tremendously well for direct-to-DVD with the budgets they had. So I've been scratching my head, a little stymied at MGM's thought process in terms of green lighting more.

BW: Well, the reality is, they did do very well. And they did very well right at the tail end of a time when the economy was still really cooking.

GW: Yeah.

BW: Come on! Things have changed a little bit.

The team makes no promises about the Atlantis movie going before cameras this year.
RC: A lot of these things get produced based on projections, not on past performance of other things. So they look at how stuff is doing in the market and they try and predict what the new product will do. And so, those projections get affected by sales of product that is in the market place right now, not the movie that was released last year, the Stargate movie.

There is a certain baseline they can expect based on the franchise's past performance, but everything is down significantly across the board. So, whether the budget that we think will make a good product is viable for them is where there's a slight disconnect right now.

And as far as Atlantis is concerned, that's not just MGM. SCI FI Channel is also involved in that.

GW: Because they'll be airing it first.

RC: Well, that's partly what is in question.

GW: Stargate Universe.

BW: We're in the middle of shooting episode five right now! We keep looking around and touching wood and waiting for the other shoe to drop ... but damn, it's been a good time.

GW: Clipping along.
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