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An Expanding Universe

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BW: Everybody is coming together. We couldn't be happier with our cast.

GW: They're all twittering like crazy, they love it. [Laughter]

BW: Well, you know, it's not a guarantee that you're going to suddenly all start clicking and the stories are going to be working and everything is going to be the way you hoped it was going to be.

RC: I think there is a lot of fear amongst the fans that it's going to be so different that it's not Stargate, or that it's not going to be something that they like. They want a science fiction show to watch. I think that there is certainly a need out there for science fiction product. There is a demand from people. They want good genre programming. I think they are afraid it's going to be too dark, or that it's not going to be something they want out of a "sci-fi" show. But I don't think that's going to be the case.

I mean, dark and edgy is kind of a couple of buzz words that people like to attach to things. At the end of the day, it's going to have a lot of the things that I think people have always liked about Stargate. The sort of sense of adventure and exploration ...

SGU will be written -- and shot -- to increase believability.
BW: Accessibility.

RC: ... and hope. I think there's going to be a little more reality in it. We're trying to get more realistic about the characters. It is more character driven. If I could compare it to the old shows, the old shows were more of an action/adventure series. This is more dramatic.

It's not to say we've completely lost our sense of humor! It's not going to be, hopefully, not pretentious or take itself too seriously. But at the same time, I think, it's going to be more dramatic and take itself a little more seriously -- which I think some fans will embrace in a more positive way.

I think there was occasionally a sense that maybe we weren't taking the show seriously enough from fans. I don't think that's the case with this show.

GW: I am certainly looking forward to the more serious, more dramatic, more character focused. Which is something that David and I talk about a lot in the context of the new stuff that were airing. But can you guys talk a little bit about your reasons, your thought process that went into the idea of doing a show that is so stylistically and tonally different from what we have been doing for 15 seasons?

BW: I have to give Rob the lion share of the credit for that, and in part it comes from a mutual desire to raise our game. But also, Robert as a director and as a filmmaker really wanted to explore new ground that Stargate has never explored before.

RC: Neither one of us really wanted to do the same old thing again. We looked at it as an opportunity to say, "Look, we don't really want to do another version of the show -- you know, SG-3 or whatever."

I think, again, fans react as though we're somehow rejecting them if we say we want to attract a broader audience, or we want to change things up. For us creatively we want to do something different. That's important that we feel ... I mean, when you've done 300 hours of a particular franchise, you kind of get to the point where [you say], "Well, we've told that story a million times. What can we do differently?" And what always makes something different are the characters, the point of view that you're telling the story through.

I think we wanted to do something that was maybe a little more grown-up, a little more mature in terms of the way we attack the characters, and also something that was ... Again I don't mean to sound critical of past shows, but I think one of the things that sort of bothered me as a producer was that we tried very hard to make a little movie every week, a feature film.

The production value was spectacular, but yet we didn't have the money. And, you know, I am a television fan. I love television and I think there are things that television does very, very well, and that is telling stories over the long term and getting you invested in characters and people.

And not to say that Stargate Universe isn't going to be spectacular. I mean if you've seen the sets, and ... Well, one day you will ... [Laughter] You're going to see, it's got tremendous production value.

"We don't really want to do another version of the show, you know, SG-3 or whatever ..."
I'm not selling it short, but my point is that the mentality was to go into it with the idea of not trying to reach beyond the means of our budget. Not trying to make a hundred million dollar film with significantly less than that, but rather make a great television show and shoot it in such a way that would embrace the elements that are going to be spectacular, which are the actors and the stories and the characters, and not reach beyond our capabilities -- budget wise -- of making something that, at the end of the day to certain audiences might come across as being silly.

One of the good examples of that is the aliens. What are aliens going to be like in Stargate Universe?

GW: That's one of my questions!

BW: The reality was, SG-1 was an extension of a feature film. And there was a rationale for the aliens that we met, and [for] the Goa'uld. And because it was a television world we made them English-speaking. And then the Wraith was the rational for that universe.

But still, Rob and I looked at each other and said, "Can we get away from latex-faced, English speaking aliens?"

GW: Or just humans walking around out there.

RC: Speaking English.

BW: Exactly, speaking English.

RC: I think there is a segment of the television watching audience who would watch a show like that, and say, "I don't like that kind of show. There's latex faces, and puppets, and ..."

GW: It's the pointed ears, it's the show with the pointed ears ...

RC: Yeah, and I don't watch that. I'm not a "sci-fi" fan. What we are trying in some ways to do -- it's not a sort of cheap, commercial move on our part to try and attract that audience. It's rather the idea of trying to make a show that we want to make that is more of a drama, that happens to be set in a world that allows us to put characters in situations that are interesting to us. "Sci-fi" genre situations.
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