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Cooper talks Stargate departure

Monday - June 21, 2010
Category: GENERAL | Tags: , , ,

Robert C. Cooper directs the penulimate episode of Stargate Atlantis, "Vegas."

Robert C. Cooper directs the penulimate episode of Stargate Atlantis, "Vegas."

Following this weekend’s news that long-time Stargate writer, producer, and director Robert C. Cooper will leave the franchise after his appearance at Comic-Con next month (story), we contacted him to find out just why he’s made the decision, what Stargate has meant to him — and what he plans to do next.

First things first: Cooper clarified that, at least for the remainder of SGU Season Two, he won’t be entirely absent.  “I’m not leaving completely, actually just stepping back to more of a consulting role for the end of this season,” he said. “However, my credit will remain Executive Producer. We’ve already developed most of Season Two and I feel very confident leaving the show in good hands.”

In addition to the already filmed “Aftermath” and “Malice,” he told us: “I will be writing one more episode for late Season Two. as well as giving notes on scripts, cuts and mixes. The guys won’t be getting rid of me that easily. It just might be a little easier to ignore me.”

So why is Cooper calling it quits — especially now, after Stargate Universe was supposed to give the writers a different kind of show to work on?

“To be honest this has been a very difficult decision,” he said. “I love Universe as a show and working with this cast and crew has been the best experience of my career thus far. However, it’s been a long time working on one franchise and a number of factors have contributed to my feeling that it’s time to move on.”

Cooper with actor Joe Flanigan, at the New Mexico location shoot for "Vegas."

Cooper with actor Joe Flanigan, at the New Mexico location shoot for "Vegas"

Cooper said that he isn’t being lured away by another project that is already lined up, but will take advantage of a break to make some decisions about the future of his career — be it in writing, producing, or doing more directing.  “My head has been so full of Stargate for so long I’m really going to need some time to figure out exactly what I want to do next,” he said.

It would be hard to over-estimate Cooper’s contribution to the fabric of this franchise, which spans all of Stargate‘s 14 years of production, 17 seasons (including the unaired second season of Universe), and two DVD movies — including The Ark of Truth, which Cooper wrote and directed.  He began as a writer and story editor in the first year of Stargate SG-1, and went on to run that show and to create Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe with Brad Wright.

So it’s no surprise that Stargate and its faces leave an indelible mark on Cooper, as well.

“It’s been almost my entire career,” he told GateWorld. “It’s meant the world to me. So has the support of the fans, you and your site. Some highlights looking back would have to include ’200′ and the party that went with it; ‘Unending,’ as much for the experience as the final product; ‘Vegas’ because of Vegas; ‘Time,’ one of the most challenging and yet smooth and easy shoots I’ve ever been a part of — the cast was amazing; and most recently, ‘Malice’ in New Mexico.

“I can’t really say directing Robert Carlyle ['Nicholas Rush'] is a privilege because it’s not so much directing as it is just getting to watch a great performance up close.”

Rob on the set of his 2008 movie Stargate: The Ark of Truth

Rob on the set of his 2008 movie Stargate: The Ark of Truth

Cooper added that his decision is not the result of any conflict with the network or the studio. “I feel lucky to call Charles Cohen at MGM a friend,” he said. “He has never been anything but a whole-hearted supporter of myself and everything Stargate. And I owe a great deal to the support and confidence from everyone over at Syfy including Mark Stern, Dave Howe, Tom Vitale, and the always awesome Erika Kennair.”

Whatever projects await the multi-talented writer, producer, and director in the years ahead, Cooper has cut his teeth and built his career on that Ancient portal to other worlds.  And he isn’t leaving Stargate with the firm intention of never coming back.

“I keep telling people this is not good-bye,” he said. “In fact, I can’t rule out returning to Stargate in the future.”




ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Darren created GateWorld in 1999, and today is the owner and managing editor. He lives in the Seattle area with his wife and three children. (More)


COMMENTS (17):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • Good Luck to Rob! He was responsible for Vegas, my favorite Stargate episode ever.
    Thanks, hope your career takes you where you want to go!

  • I wish health and happiness and all the best for you and your family. I know that you will be successful in whatever endeavor you choose next. My family will be eagerly waiting to see your next project. :)

  • Thanks for the Torment of Tantalus as the resident “Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon” it really holds the entire Stargate Universe together.

  • All the best of luck and success in whatever course your career takes!

  • Hopefully he’ll be back to direct/write some episodes in the future. Post-S2, that is.

  • I’m so far beyond complaints or witty come backs so I’ll just say thanks for your gifts, and SGU, isn’t considered a gift, yet. So we’ll see. But like Redman said about critics; ‘Get in the industry and do your own thing instead of complain.’ But seriously Cooper, Vegas was among the greatest shows of Stargate history, and ya’ll still dropped Atlantis, now Jason Ronon has gone mainstream, so we’ve lost our team forever.

  • [...] Cooper talks Stargate departure “Following this weekend’s news that long-time Stargate writer, producer, and director Robert C. Cooper will leave the franchise after his appearance at Comic-Con next month (story), we contacted him to find out just why he’s made the decision, what Stargate has meant to him — and what he plans to do next.” Read more. [...]

  • Thank you Robert, for every effort that you committed to the Stargate franchise. Thanks for SG-1, both films, Atlantis and now for Universe. I hope you find joy in the future with other projects as much as Stargate have given you.

  • Hope he’s off to work on the new Stargate series for 2012 — Stargate Resurrection.

  • Thanks Mr. Cooper for all the years of Stargate. I’m guessing that if SGU was a greater ratings success you would have stayed on. Maybe this will work out for the best. Change might be a good thing for everyone. Good luck with your new direction.

  • BIG HUGE !Thank You! :) :) :) for your vast contribution to the Stargate franchise.


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