As we reported earlier this month, Stargate Universe creators Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper took to the stage at this year’s official Stargate convention in Vancouver, hosted by Creation Entertainment. There they answered lots of questions about the third series from fans, and GateWorld was on hand to get the lowdown for you.
First up: Cooper said that when the show does aliens, they “are going to be very alien” — at least initially. “They’re not going to be human beings wearing prosthetic make-up, or speaking English. They are going to be as alien as you would hope to find out there in the far reaches of the universe.”
Despite the fact that the Destiny is locked on a course in another galaxy (and from one galaxy to the next), SGU will still have the chance to tell some Earth-based stories, thanks to a certain piece of Ancient technology. “There’s a component to the new show that allows our characters, even though they are trapped on the ship, to still relate back to Earth and to people on Earth,” Cooper said. “It’s going to allow us to tell stories about them interacting with their loved ones, and essentially tell Earth stories.”
Cooper also hinted at the Stargate itself, which is rumored to be so unique that it even dials in a different way than the SG-1 and Atlantis gates. “We don’t want to give too much away, but I do think this is the coolest gate ever,” he said. “I will spoil one thing: There is a shot of the Earth gate in which you see a chevron lock you’ve never seen locked before.”
The producers also revealed that SGU will have gay characters, as previously reported (story).
Finally, the producers talked at length about the different way in which Stargate Universe is being shot. “The style is very different from what we’ve done in the past,” Cooper said. “It’s far more mobile than we’ve done in the past on SG-1. The concept is that we wanted to shoot this a little bit like a documentary crew would shoot a ride-along to a space ship out in the universe — that maybe we could get audiences to embrace the science fiction elements and the characters in a realistic way if we shot the show using the ‘language’ of documentary and reality.
“So rather than just necessarily waving the camera around, we’re trying to put the camera in places where a documentary crew might have to go in order to capture the performances or the action. And what it is allowing us to do, and in working with our DP [director of photography] on the pilot, Ronn Schmidt, and Jim Menard and Michael Blundell, our regular DPs, is we’re trying to light the sets in a very natural way — which allows the actors to walk in and basically perform as though they’re on a stage, as though they’re really in the situation. And what we’re finding we are getting out of that is far more real performances.
“And the impression, at least from my own personal opinion of watching the show, is you feel as though you are there with them. It feels less staged, it feels less (in some ways) unrealistic. And to bring that tone to a science fiction show I’m hoping will help you to connect in a way with those characters in a way that maybe you hadn’t been able to before.”
While other popular science fiction and drama series have used this style of shooting, Cooper said he doesn’t believe they are just emulating shows like Battlestar Galactica.
“It’s not intended to be style for style’s sake, or to emulate any other show,” Cooper said. “Although, to be honest with you, one of the shows we both love that we did look at and say, ‘That’s a style we would love to try and approach,’ is Firefly. That’s how Firefly was shot. There’s a lot of hand-held stuff. Cameras were placed in places that were non-traditional or [not] typical of film-making. But we examined that quite closely and looked at other dramatic shows that are shot like that, as well.”
Wright also confirmed that the special edition DVD release of “Children of the Gods,” the original Stargate SG-1 pilot movie, is finished and waiting for MGM and Fox’s release schedule. Richard Dean Anderson (“Jack O’Neill”) joined Wright for the audio commentary track — the first for Anderson. (We hope to have more news on this release soon.)
Stargate Universe is now filming in Vancouver for an October premiere on SCI FI Channel in the U.S.! The series will also air on Sky1 in the United Kingdom, and on SPACE in Canada.
Visit the SGU Launch Center right here at GateWorld for the very latest on the new series!