The cast of Stargate: Continuum headed north to film scenes for the movie in the Arctic. Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, and Richard Dean Anderson shot in the sub-zero climate at the U.S. Navy's Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station (APLIS) from March 23 to 29, 2007. The station -- a joint venture between the University of Washington and the U.S. Navy -- is located approximately 200 nautical miles north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.
The cast and 18-person crew (which included director Martin Wood, director of photography Peter F. Woeste, executive producer N. John Smith, props master "Evil" Kenny Gibbs, DVD special features producer Ivon Bartok, and others) filmed the movie's walk-and-talk shots on the Arctic ice flow, the surfacing of the U.S.S. Alexandria, and on board the Los Angeles class submarine on loan from the Navy. Even the vessel's real Captain and crew got in on the action, and were incorporated into the film.
The entire trip was made possible by A.P.L.I.S. commander Barry Campbell -- himeself a big fan of Stargate -- who approached Wood, Smith, and Stargate director Andy Mikita while they were signing autographs at the Vancouver Stargate convention in 2005.
Not to be outdone by the Navy, the U.S. Air Force (which has had a long-standing relationship with the television series) delivered a pair of F-15 fighter jets (from the 173rd Operations Group out of Klamath Falls, Oregon) to be used in the movie. Browder, Tapping, and Shanks were joined in the cockpit for two days by executive producer and Continuum writer Brad Wright, who describes himself as a "jet whore." Wright thus appears in the film (as the pilot of Daniel's plane), and even has a few lines of dialogue over the radio.
Watch this special Continuum video feature produced by the Air Force!
Following the 5-day Arctic shoot, principal photography for Stargate: Continuum began in June, 2007. The film shot for another 19 days at The Bridge Studios (where Stargate SG-1 had filmed for 10 years) in Vancouver, British Columia.
This included freezing a sound stage, both for the frozen cargo hold of the Achilles and the external Arctic scenes with Cameron, Sam, and Daniel. Actor Michael Shanks was unable to travel to the Arctic with his co-stars, as he was filming a guest stint on the hit series 24.
The production budget for Continuum was about $7 million, according to Multichannel News. (A typical 44-minute episode of Stargate SG-1 ran about $2 million.)
"They're not big-budget [films] by any definition, but for us it's pretty good. As we've proven over the years, just give us little more money and we can make pretty good television, or DVDs."
(Executive producer Brad Wright, in an interview with TV Guide [story])
"Brad is writing one, as far as I know, [it] is a bit more stand-alone that will involve some kind of time travel and has something to do with our main mustache twiddling villain Baal [Cliff Simon] doing something in the past that alters ... he basically finds a way to lift the Stargate from Earth so the Stargate program never happens, and I imagine the characters will have to go through some process to reset the clock and fix everything over the course of two hours.
"Quite frankly that is as much as I know. I haven't even talked to the guys about it. They told us these pitches in September , so I haven't talked to anyone since then so that could've changed overnight. I have no idea."
(Actor Michael Shanks, in an interview with IGN.com)
"Right now, we know for sure that the main cast of Season Ten will be returning: Ben Browder, Michael Shanks, Chris Judge, Claudia Black, and Amanda Tapping. Beyond that, we are still working on it. I know that Brad's put a call into Richard Dean Anderson. ... We're hopeful he'll make an appearance, whether he's in both [movies] or just one. We're not sure yet.
"And we have some surprises we're hoping to pull out of our hats for returning villains and allies that we don't have confirmation on yet."
"The second movie I think is a little more ... it definitely plays on a lot of the characters and brings back maybe favorites for the fans who have been watching the show. But it's also, as a story, what we call a one-off, that hopefully will get people used to the idea of SG-1 movies and hopefully whet people's appetite and make them think, 'Yeah, I want more of these, I want more SG-1 movies' ... that can be about new adventures of the SG-1 crew [and not necessarily tied to the series' long-term story arcs]."
The budget will be bigger than a television episode, "but it's nowhere near what a feature has. We're going to have to use our magical powers to make these look like they're big movies. They're still TV movie budgets."
(Writer-director Robert C. Cooper, in an interview at StargateSG1.com)
"My movie is a stand-alone. And what I hope to prove is it's the first in a string of movies that can continue the SG-1 legacy. ... I hope it's the first of many 2-hour movies, direct-to-DVD or bigger. I think we can show -- and I hope the audience shows by buying the DVDs! -- that the franchise still has a long way to go.
"In my story, hopefully, we will see a LOT of old faces. It's the nature of my story that we can see a lot of people going back a lot of years, even people who are not still alive in the canon of the story -- because it is a time travel story!"
(Executive producer Brad Wright, in an interview at StargateSG1.com)
"I was treated to a double-feature today. Not one but two spanking new SG-1 movies. We started with Stargate: Continuum, written by Brad Wright and directed by Martin Wood, which is a throwback to Stargate of yore: Jack O'Neill, the Tok'ra, plenty o' System Lords, and an absolutely mind-bending plot to stick it to Earth. This one is a lot of fun and moves very, VERY quickly."
(Stargate executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Continuum is not a Vala-centric piece, so both I and the Vala-haters sigh with relief on that one. She is a high-energy character to say the least, and as much as I love to work and play her, it is great to sometimes add a flash of color and go home. I also play another character in Continuum, which was great fun. Short but also sweet. I loved Brad's script and what he gave me to do.
"I think they are aware of her strengths and moral limitations and keep her on a leash for the sake of national security and damage control while trying to capitalize on her resourcefulness in the meantime. She is not part of the team out of pity. She certainly has proved more than useful. In Continuum we see a hint of that give and take, but she really only makes a brief appearance in this one."
(Actress Claudia Black, in an interview with Slice of SciFi)
"Continuum is more like Stargate of old than it is going forward. It's a good 'ole Stargate story made as big as possible. And that, in part, is because Rick is in it. But it's also because it's a time-travel story. Therefore I was able to bring back a lot of very familiar faces who've been gone for some time.
"The timeline has been changed at the end of Continuum in a subtle, but permanent way. And that is actually illustrated in the final frame of the picture. You'll see. It's cool. Keep in mind, too, in this time travel story, what makes this subtly different than other stories we've done is these guys remember the old timeline. That's what makes Continuum different. That's what makes it the time-travel story I wanted to do.
"As the movie unfolds, and as Baal's plan unfolds, we try to get back to Earth -- and, granted, it's a conceit of mine that traveling through the wormhole keeps them immune from the effects of the timeline [changing].
"... There's hundreds of shots. Hundreds of visual effects shots in both movies. I have a sequence over the Atlantic with F-15s and Goa'uld death gliders. That's just one of the many visual effects. I have a freighter in the ocean crossing the Atlantic that is a visual effect. I have a lot of visual effects, and it's going to take a significant amount of time to finish them.
"But having said that, it's not all us. There's a significant amount of time in the release process that I wasn't even a hundred percent aware of when we went into this. I love the time. I think it's a really smart thing to do to release the first one in March and the next one around Comic-Con in July. I think the summer's a great time to release a movie like Continuum. Because it's fun. It's a fun movie."
(Writer-producer Brad Wright, in an interview with GateWorld)
Stargate: Continuum marks the final appearance in the franchise for actor Don S. Davis (General Hammond). Hammond served as the commander of Stargate Command through SG-1's seventh season, when Davis left the show due to health concerns. He reprised his role in both SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis on several occasions.
Davis passed away on June 29, 2008 (story).
"In Continuum I particularly like the scene where the team comes through the gate and realizes they are in a frozen ship in the Arctic. I think that -- without giving away too many spoilers, that's at the beginning of the movie -- it was the jumping-off point that Brad used to come up with the whole story."
(Executive producer Robert C. Cooper, in a fan Q&A video at Stargate.MGM.com)
"Continuum is done. It was shot at the same time and then delayed in its post-production until 'Ark' was finished, and Brad's finished it off, now. ... I know it will be coming out at the end of July to coincide with Comic-Con.
"... [The Goa'uld] are a big part of Continuum. That's why I say nothing is ever dead. People said, 'Oh, the Goa'uld were done and the Ori were in Season Nine,' but there were a number of stories involving the Goa'uld in Seasons Nine and Ten. Baal was still a significant factor in terms of being a villain in the show, and I think we kept them alive and used what was interesting about them. That plays a huge part in Continuum, which is a bit more of an old school SG-1 story."
(Executive producer Robert C. Cooper, in an interview with CinemaSpy.ca)
"This is the biggest, best thing I think I've ever done for Stargate. I'm very proud of it. You always have some small regret with something that you couldn't pull off. [You say] 'I wish we could have done this, I wish we could have had that.' [But] there are so few regrets with how Continuum turned out that it's not even worth mentioning. Martin [Wood] did such a good job directing it, and we had such a good time on set together."
"The Stargate [was] at its most vulnerable in history -- or at least since it was dug up -- was when it was being transported from Africa to North America at the outbreak of World War II. So the Stargate is on its way across, Baal is going to sink the ship, [and] somehow an heroic act has to take place to stop the ship from being sunk. [And] what if the captain of that boat, by cosmic coincidence, happened to be the grandfather of Mitchell?"
(Writer-producer Brad Wright, in an interview with GateWorld)
"That was one of the most exciting experiences I've ever had. Aside from giving birth and being a parent, going up to the Arctic ranks right up there in my top 10 life experiences. It was a challenge and an adventure. We were a small group of wacky and intrepid explorers and it was a total team effort. Everyone helped out with everything. Brenda [Turner] from the hair department came up with us and did hair, make-up and wardrobe. Kenny [Gibbs] from props busted his hump and was acting like an AD [assistant director]. At the end of each day we'd go to the hooch, which were these plywood sheds we lived in, to see who needed help with whatever. It was just a really amazing group of people, and by the very nature of what had to be done, it had to be a small group, so things worked out great.
"Getting up there was an adventure, and then going out onto the ice and realizing that we were living on a moving ice flow. You're standing there and it feels so solid in places, but, in fact, you're actually standing on the moving Arctic Ocean. It was a neat bonding experience for me and Ben because we were there for the entire shoot. Rick came up for the last three days, but Ben and I were up there from the beginning and there were moments where we'd just look at each other and go, 'Oh, my God, can you believe this?'
"There's this one scene we did which was a huge helicopter shot with me and Ben walking. We had to get far away from camp and from everyone, so they plopped us in snowmobiles, dumped us off and said, 'Start walking.' The helicopter then came buzzing overhead, and as we were walking we thought to ourselves, 'Man, no one ever walked here before, and no one will probably walk here again. How many actors get an opportunity like this,' and how many actors given this opportunity would take it? They could have easily used stand-ins or photo-doubles because it's a helicopter shot of two very tiny figures dressed in full Arctic gear, but, gosh, I wouldn't have traded that experience for anything.
"On the third helicopter pass, Ben and I got down and made snow angels. We were giggling, honest to God, like I haven't giggled since I was in grade school. It was so much fun."
(Actress Amanda Tapping, in an interview with Steve Eramo)