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Producer reveals alternate ending for SGU finale

Saturday - May 14, 2011
Category: EPISODES | Tags: , ,


SPOILER ALERT:
HIGH
Gauntlet (220) - Stasis Room

If you haven’t seen the final episode of Stargate Universe yet, beware of big SPOILERS below!

Fans of Stargate Universe tuned in for the show’s final moments this week, and saw Eli Wallace risk — or perhaps sacrifice — his life for his friends, volunteering to stay behind and try to repair Destiny‘s last statis pod while the rest of the crew went into stasis.  But the ending was originally very different.

Executive producer and “Gauntlet” co-writer Joseph Mallozzi revealed on his blog that in the story’s original pitch, the identity of the person who stayed outside of the pods came down to a coin-flip … and was to be left ambiguous at the season’s end, setting up a fascinating character study for the start of Season Three.

“The original pitch had Young and Rush as the last two men standing,” Mallozzi said.  “With one, lone serviceable pod remaining, they argue, then make the decision to let fate decide.  They flip a coin.  Winner makes the sacrifice and stays out; loser goes into stasis.  The coin flip is made and, as it descends, we FADE OUT, not knowing the results.

“One of the possibilities this particular ending set up was a Season Three opener which finds Rush, three years later, a little loopy from his time alone.  As he goes through his daily maintenance of the ship’s systems, he converses with members of the crew who, it turns out, are hallucinations.  Suddenly, the gate activates.  A bewildered Rush hurries to the gate room in time to see Telford lead a rescue op through.  Turns out, after several years, Earth finally acquired a means to dialing Destiny. Of course, the rescue turns out to be short-lived as it ends up being a hallucination as well when, in the episode’s final turn, we discover Rush in stasis (he was the one who lost the coin toss), evidently dreaming, while Young maintains the solitary existence as Destiny‘s caretaker.”

Eli contemplates what may be his brief future in the final moments of SGU's finale.

Mallozzi said that, while it was a cool idea, it suffered from a number of problems that eventually prompted the show’s producers to rule it out.  In addition to the fact that the antisocial Rush would be quite happy to live by himself on the ship, it suggested a season opener that was low on action.

Making Eli the one who sacrifices himself in the end brought the fan-favorite character to a new point of maturity, bringing his journey full circle.

In the full post, Mallozzi also discusses possible solutions to the conclusion that they ended up writing and filming.  Though the writers hadn’t settled on how to resolve the fate of Eli and the rest of the crew, or how much time would have passed when they woke up, they brainstormed a lot of different scenarios, including:

  • Eli fixes a pod
  • Eli taps some hitherto unexploited power reserve which allows him to extend life support for three years
  • Eli manages to survive the three-year trip by routing sufficient power to keep life support active in the shuttle
  • Eli fails to fix the pods or extend life support, so he survives by sitting in the chair and uploading his consciousness to Destiny‘s computer
  • Rescue comes in the form of some outside force, such as a new portable power supply from Earth (which has figured out how to dial Destiny in the intervening three years) or an advanced military contingent of the crew’s descendants (from “Common Descent” and “Epilogue”)

Check out the full story now at Joseph Mallozzi’s blog!




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 (60):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • Seriously, they wanted to end the season with a coin flip? Not the most exciting of season cliff hangers is it really?

  • not a series or season finale in any way. that goes for both versions.

  • @ Jedi_Master_Bra’tac: Let’s be happy they didn’t do that then ;)

    A lot of these idea’s sound great. The last one might actually be the coolest.. a military contingent of the descendants!

  • JM’s past few blogs posts have been very interesting. Take a look at today’s post where he calls BS on most of Craig Engler/SyFy’s reasoning behind why they cancelled SGU. I doubt he cares if he is burning bridges since they killed the franchise that gave him a steady writing job for 10+ years.

    http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/

    If anyone from SyFy is reading this you do know it’s not just hardcore Stargate fans that hate you now, right?

    You’re the Sony of broadcasting companies. You pissed of the fans that made your network a success. It’s us, not the lot that watches fake wrestling :P

    I really do hope MGM doesn’t let the franchise die like this. Start a new series set anywhere between 3-1000 years in the future, and have some or most of the crew from Destiny on it….at least Eli :)

  • That coin-flip sounds very JAG-like ;)

    I think I would have enjoyed the final Young-Rush facedown and the season 3 opener sounds pretty cool, but honestly? I think the ending with Eli was even better. I truly loved it and I’m glad TPTB made the choice they did.

  • @ Lee_Machine

    Im totally with you, If they left it on Friday night and advertise it abit better Im more then sure we would be seeing season 3 right now! …. Ok we all know season 1 was a lame but season 2 ROCKED IT…

    Im very Fracked off and will no longer watch SYFAIL channel AGAIN

  • I see people complaining about the advertisement – the show got a theatrical trailer, it was promoted high and low all over the place before its premiere, it even got a huge press event that went with the premiere. At some point, the show has to stand on its own legs, like every other show. It got a big push to draw outsiders to sample it – after that, it’s up to the writers to keep the attention of the masses. The show was turning into a money sucking black hole even before the first hiatus. A series with such a huge budget – over 2 mil. per ep according to R. Carlyle – needs to deliver big time!

  • I don’t live in the US so I don’t know how advertising was, but they should have counted online downloads, and DRV recordings. SyFy should have put it online at Syfy.com with ads like what ABC did with LOST. They could even charge and be ad free. The point is they didn’t care enough to try. I understand anything but live viewers didnt make SyFy money, but rather MGM. Well change your model to fit the changing in viewing habits. Since they didn’t do that they have this horrible PR that will taint the network for many years to come.

    Fox is still getting s**t for cancelling Firefly, and that was 10 years ago. IMO this is MUCH more damaging then canceling Firefly. Firefly aired what, 12 eps then died. SGU had 40, and the 17 year strong franchise behind it.

    What really baffles me is ok, Syfy cancelled SGU, but then MGM really killed it. What ever happened to that 500 million set aside during the bankruptcy for the Stargate franchise? Let me guess, they gave that all to another Bond film so they can total another DB9 :P

  • SYFy is a bunch of liars! People say the numbers for the series was off, and yes they were, but SyFy went above and beyond to do the show injustice. Why didn’t they bring back tough enough, or whatever that wrestling thing was from last season to contend with Tuesday nights, and just leave, SGU on Friday nights. Answer, well apparently, they grew tired of paying top dollar for SGU, and decided to do exactly what they did with SG1; use that money for cheaper shows. How do we know this? Well, we’re watchers and observers of which ever night this show or that show comes on. But, for these people at SyFy, this is their livelihood. To put it simply, SYFy could be compared to Wall Street, and those who know the market by heart: Investment banks would use the magical concept of dividends to add value to objects or concepts, to justify investing the money of investors so as they could be paid their commission for investing, and not necessarily even making a profit off that investment. As brilliant as these investment banks, and others are to crook investors out of their money, that’s how brilliant people are at SyFy when considering the numbers. These guys and gals are Statistics majors; numbers and reports to them are as viable as a 3D image that once you see the pattern, you can’t un see it. They knew the numbers were off for SGU, and saw this as an opportunity to kill the show. Let’s say they’re paying a million five an episode, but pays only six hundred thousand for eureka and warehouse 13, they’d estimate it’s better to let SGU die, than to allow the show time to build an audience and they’d be stuck paying double for one instead of for two. So they waited months to bring on Season 2, and they moved it from Friday nights (which would have more than likely kept the 1.45 million viewers, and moved it to Tuesday night, where they knew it had no chance, since, most of those shows, are open air shows, and one doesn’t need a cable box for it. As we all know word of mouth is a powerful thing, so one person in a building of 300 that has the Neilson box is being bombarded by everyone else who doesn’t have cable,but continually promotes an open air show. Remember, SyFy plans this stuff months before they do it, so to think, they made last minute decisions is incredibly naive. They wanted out of the Stargate Franchise, to produce lack luster shows. Why wasn’t Eureka pitted against Network shows, or Warehouse 13, if their numbers were so awesome? Don’t be fooled people!

  • I wonder if there was any plans to have a 4th spin off, not so much about gate travel (although could of been a feature at some point)

    Its just with all the references to Homeworld Command, to me it sounded like they were plugging something..

    Maybe it’s something they could to combine all three series in the future, why does it always have to be set in one area of the universe, use all 3… Maybe even announce to the world about the program, would be very interesting to see the struggles after that, whether there’d be uproar or even acceptance, people using it every day like the ep with The Ashen..

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We’ve seen what happens when a network puts their actions in their mouth and really proves that they love a sci-fi show. Fox and Fringe. SyFy can’t say ANYTHING about SGU and how much they “love it” after what Fox has done by showing support for Fringe, a series that has been struggling but constantly gets renewed. Similarily you can say the same about NBC and Chuck. Every year the series is on the bubble. People say it’ll get canceled and it gets renewed for a 13-episode season, followed by a pickup of the back half afterwards. Yet SyFy can’t show this support for SGU? They can’t even give us a 13 episode season to finish the story off? I would be happy with just that, 13 more episodes to at least give better conclusion.

    Also, after watching Smallville’s well-done finale last night (not perfect but satisfying!) it makes me even more sad that we won’t have at least a 2 hour movie to give us that sort of conclusion to SGU.

  • As in alternate ending I thought a movie was underway. I’m just still waiting for good news. Seems like week after week Stargate is getting further and further away.
    But I’m glad they didn’t go with this alternative ending, because whats the point of saying that you’re all family if you’re having a coin toss? Glad this didnt happen because it would have been a awful “series finale” if it did happen. Seriously, as the coin flips and descends the camera fades away? I might have to break something to fix the frustration of guessing what would happen.
    And I hate Syfy for cancelling the show, but what happened to MGM’s not done with stargate? It seems like everytime when Brad or Mallozi speak for MGM, MGM turns around a few days or weeks later and does the exact opposite.
    Example 1: MGM says there going to do movies, then they keep everyone waiting, thinking that we’ll get the movies. Then drop the ball on us 3 years later. Example 2: When Syfy cancelled SGU MGM was said to say though Syfy cancelled it, we havent. Then turns around weeks later and permanetly cancels all projects.
    Constant lying pisses me off! Words dont count for anything in the buisness world, only things on paper do. And if it was on paper, I’m sure lawsuits would’ve been filed by now

  • @Petra: Coin-flip at the end of the season/series, is indeed very JAG-like. Thought the same as you when I read it.

    Furthermore, the “Season 3 opening concept” of having Rush seemingly on the ship all to himself for 3 years, being greeted by Telford etc, only to find out it was all a hallucination, gave me a bit of Voyager/Enterprise vibe. Both of those shows had similar “isolation”-stories, in which it turns out the main character was (7of9/T’Pol respectively) was merely hallucinating.

  • No offense to anyone, but some of these comments are hysterical, ie: ‘SyFy lies!’They cancelled SGU because they hated it!’The program director doesn’t like scifi!’, etc.
    Do any of you actually, really believe that ANY business is run that way? That the network execs allow programming to be done by somebody’s personal taste!? Look, I know that there’s alot of younger people on this site, but please, reality check…
    I loved SGU (after originally thinking I wouldn’t), but if it didn’t draw enough viewers to sustain it, then it didn’t. Yeah, SyFy is cheap with the $ (they’re owned by NBC, after all), but they have no obligation to keep putting money into a show that is not making it back for them…
    Having said that, I do find it a bit surprising that some station, somewhere, wouldn’t take on the Stargate franchise, considering how successful it’s been for 14-15 years, or that the movies planned couldn’t get up the $ for production, but that’s another post…

  • Rush dreaming for a whole episode, huh?

    I personally *hate* hallucination/dreaming/ alternative-realities/ time-travel/ religion episodes/shows. When I rewatched SGU on Netflix recently, I passed over “Time”, “Pain”, “Cloverdale”. The episodes with the descendants (a time travel outcome) also didn’t sit well with me either.

    I feel that these plotlines don’t progress the plot at all. I see them as fillers. And SGU already had a number of such episodes. Not good, for an otherwise excellent show.

  • The season/series finale was great, now if they would do something to finish up the SGU storyline.

    I personally would enjoy seeing SGU being finished in a series novels.

  • I’m from the UK, so don’t have the same level of knowledge about US channels. However, I understand Syfy is one of the premium cable channels – one that people have to pay extra to get. With the ending of SGU, I guess all the people complaining about the lack of any actual scifi are going to cancel their subscriptions, so Syfy’s major income stream is going to fall. They still have to fill the same number of broadcast hours, even if it is with cheaper shows. So they still have to sell advertising, but within shows that probably don’t have the same following as SGU, so the advertisers won’t want to pay as much for the slots.

    Regardless of my personal thoughts on SGU, my accountant’s brain is wondering whether Syfy’s business model really can cope with losing such a big name show. I hope they’ve got something they think is big enough to replace it. Caprica couldn’t fit the bill and Sanctuary is getting a kicking in its new timeslot. Are they hanging everything on Blood & Chrome? If they are, they’d better get it on the air before all their subscribers think they have better things to do with their money.

  • @ELQ: You didn’t like “Time” ? Thought it was an unreal episode myself. Brilliant use of time-travel mumbojumbo. If it hadn’t been for the two previous time lines, the crew would’ve all been killed by the water contamination.

    Yup, a coin-toss series finale for the Stargate franchise would not have sat well. I think Syfy would have been set on fire if they cancelled Stargate with an ending like that. If anything, the writers of the show really saved them with the Eli ending. And deserve to be able to make a film finale ! Reasonable enough really

  • I’ll tell you why Universe failed. There are many reasons of course. However the main reason is the show just didn’t feel like stargate. I did enjoy the show, alot in fact. But stargate fans didn’t show up, or did and most left. SG-1 is a perfect place to start. After Richard Dean Anderson left the fans stayed but not for long. You can easily say Anderson’s leaving killed SG-1. Atlantis was big at first, but it just wasn’t as good as SG-1. In the later seasons it did pick up in qaulity but the audience was already gone. Universe rejected the formula that made SG-1 work, and paid for it.

    Same can be said about Star Trek Voyager or Deep Space 9. I for one enjoyed all these shows. But alot of people didn’t. We know as a matter of fact that most people don’t like good shows anyway. They would rather watch american idol or Dancing with the stars. This is what people want, like it or not. Plus less and less people are watching tv. And there are to many choices out there to begin with.

    We don’t live in the day where 90+ million people tuned in to see who shot JR. Sci-Fi has always been low rated stuff that just a small amount of people would even watch. So don’t be surprized if Blode & Chrome gets cancelled in season 1 or 2. It wont get the ratings and it will cost to much money.

    It also don’t help that shows like Caprica and Sanctuary totally suck. There is little good sci-fi left to watch.

  • @VengefulSpud – “You didn’t like “Time”?”

    I agree that it was a much better rendition of most time travel stories, but it was still time travel, and I have an allergy on that. :-)

  • @kevinmbaron — “the main reason is the show just didn’t feel like stargate”

    As I’ve written before, there was a remedy for that. The remedy was for MGM to not pitch the show on SyFy in the first place. Another channel/network should have carried SGU without this “legacy problem”, where existing SyFy Stargate viewers had a very strict definition of what they wanted to see on TV. On another channel, they could get both the old SG fans (and most would have bailed out, as they did), but a plethora of new kinds of viewers would have signed in. Viewers that don’t otherwise tune in on SyFy, even if SGU would have been their kind of game.

  • @ Fenny. SyFy is not a premium cable channel. Yes you have to pay for a cable subscription to get it, but SyFy usually will come in a basic cable package. It’s not like say HBO/Showtime/STARZ (which I would call your “premium” channels) where you have to pay extra just to get only those channels.

    As to the proposed alternate ending, if the show had gotten another season, I don’t think I would have minded the coin toss as the cliffhanger. Glad they went with the Eli one though since it didn’t get another season. If it had been Rush to stay behind like I thought it would be as I watched that ep, I figured it would have ended with him uploading himself into Destiny. I always imagined that that is how Rush would have always gone out on SGU. Can’t see Eli doing it. Wouldn’t have been fitting.

    I forgot about the JAG coin toss. But the famous coin toss for me is the one at the end of the third season of Farscape. At one point I think they had thought about leaving it hanging with that, but they didn’t.

  • This is news? Why do we care? The story is over…and I will not invest in another anything that SyFy has anything to do with again. Why would any clear thinking person do that. They have proven they could care less about the fans. Let em die slowly as others come to this conclusion.


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