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Stargate Universe pre-production update!

Friday - November 21, 2008 | by Darren Sumner

The third Stargate series marches rapidly toward its February shooting date, and pre-production is moving along at a rapid pace. Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi has been updating fans on the show's progress this month at his blog.

"Brad and Rob did a terrific job of kicking things off in thrilling fashion," Mallozzi said of the premiere episode's script. "The script is fast-paced and fun; its characters unique and engaging. My favorite: Dr. David Rush. Oh, he's going to be a handful. Originally planned as a two-parter, Brad and Robert quickly discovered that there was simply too much story for such a tight frame, so the series opener is now looking like a three-parter."

The complete writing staff from Stargate Atlantis is back to kick off the new series, including showrunners Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, plus Carl Binder, Martin Gero, Alan McCullough, Paul Mullie, and Mallozzi himself. (While Wright previously expressed an interest in bringing in new writers, there is no news yet on whether that will happen.)

Stories for the rest of Season One are being spun in the writer's room at The Bridge Studios. "Brad has laid claim to #4, a story that is right up his alley," Mallozzi continued. "Speaking of perfect pairings, I couldn't think of anyone better than Carl Binder to write #5. Rob is eyeing #6 which offers a most intriguingly SF door in, while #7 and #8 have yet to be claimed."

Martin Gero's first script "involved a long, long discussion on the workings of a certain technology which forms the impetus to another terrific character-driven story."

The team has left episode nine temporarily on the shelf to discuss episodes 10 and 11, which would typically be a mid-season two-parter for a Stargate series. But "I hesitate to call it a two-parter because, the way these episodes have developed so far, there are a threads that run through all the stories, in essence making this season one big 20-parter," Mallozzi said.

Mallozzi will write episode 10, and Mullie number 11. The producer teased: "Ticking clocks, twists and turns, alliances, betrayals, and a surprise guest!"

Set on board an Ancient vessel called the Destiny, Universe follows Colonel Everett Young and a team of young and largely untested men and women. Stargate Universe will be more of a character-based show with more deliberate story arcs, as opposed to the more stand-alone, action-based nature of Atlantis and even SG-1.

But many fans are nervous about the new series and its apparent differences from what has made Stargate what it is over the past 12 years. Others, however, believe that this sort of change is just what the franchise needs in order to be reenergized.

"Stargate Universe is a series that draws on established mythology yet blazes a bold, new path for the franchise," Mallozzi told fans. "It's definitely more character-centered and intimate in its exploration of the interpersonal dynamics that will drive a lot of the shipboard developments (and, no, I'm not talking about romance). The premise of this ship hurtling through uncharted territories offers up unbounded story possibilities, yet also forces us to adopt a very different approach toward alien encounters and planetary investigation. Twin themes mentioned over the course of today's conversations: survival and sacrifice."

"The premise of SGU is ... more intimate -- a limited group of people trapped aboard a space ship hurtling through distant space -- and therefore necessitates a more intimate form of storytelling."

Mallozzi also said that the design of the Destiny is close to being decided. There is also a new Universe version of the M.A.L.P. probe in the works.

Read more from Joseph Mallozzi now at his blog, and head over to GateWorld's Stargate Universe Launch Center for more on the show. The series is expected to premiere in the U.S. next July.

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