One of GateWorld’s favorite activities over the past eight years has been traveling to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada every spring to cover Creation Entertainment’s Official Stargate Convention. And every year we make sure to arrive a few days early in order to spend some time with cast and crew members local to the area who aren’t necessarily part of the convention. With this year being the final Vancouver event, we felt it imperative while there to sit down and chat with a creative team that needs no real introduction on these pages.
The impact that Amanda Tapping and Martin Wood have had on genre television is immeasurable, not just with the Stargate franchise but also with the series they helped create: Sanctuary. GateWorld visited the duo at Stargate‘s former home, The Bridge Studios (where they are working on their latest project), for a discussion that was equal parts emotional, brutally honest, hopeful and, best of all, hilarious. We discuss the potential for Stargate‘s future, Sanctuary‘s best moments of the past two years, whether or not the latter series will grace our screens again, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, the latest on Primeval: New World, and more. Plus, the pair take a few moments to answer some questions you provided from GateWorld Forum!
GateWorld’s interview with Amanda Tapping and Martin Wood runs 37 minutes and is available in audio for your listening pleasure. It’s also transcribed below. Forum questions are exclusive to the transcribed version … so read on!
GateWorld: I’m at Bridge Studios, Stargate‘s home for almost 15 years, with Martin Wood and Amanda Tapping. Thank you both for taking the time, on what could be the final time in-person, to sit down and talk with us …
Martin Wood: Why? What’s …
Amanda Tapping: What’s happening?
MW: Where are we going? We’re staying right here …
GW: Wait? Stargate was cancelled?! What?
MW: We’re just going to keep inventing shows so we can work at Bridge Studios.
AT: We figure if we hang out long enough, they’ll give us Stargate back.
GW: Let me know how that works, and we’ll come back.
AT: Yep! On it!
GW: Like I said, it’s been 15 years. There’s nothing now, for the first time in 15 years, that is Stargate-themed in production. What are your thoughts on where the franchise is at now and its current state of dormancy? Is a break like this good for it? Do you think maybe it was time to step away from it a bit and let it …
AT: I don’t know that a break like this is such a good thing. I think what would have been really great is when Universe wrapped up … to do the movie that I think Brad Wright had envisioned. Which would pull together Universe, Atlantis and SG-1. And sort of a gift to the fans, but also a gift to the franchise. A final reckoning, where everyone comes together and there’s a bit of closure. I think it would have been a very cool, very poignant way to end the franchise.
[To Martin] As opposed to not knowing … that seems to my lot in life. Not knowing what’s happening to a franchise … [laughs]
MW: It’s true. Star Trek: Generations did it really well. Especially when it looked at being able to bring cast members back into the fold. Especially when they live generations apart, it’s really interesting to see how you can do that. Only in sci-fi can you do that. If they ever have the Gunsmoke movie, you’re not going to get generations of Gunsmoke, even though it lasted a very long time. In sci-fi, you can bring everything together.
Wood on the Stargate franchise: "It is too valuable a property to MGM...to let go of for any length of time."
It’s the same thing with Stargate. The nice thing about Stargate is that it all happened at the same time. It all happened within the lifetime of all the people. So it’s a much easier find to bring them all back together. I know Brad has a movie, which will probably be worth a huge amount of money if it stays in script form. He probably has it stuffed in the back of his house somewhere. He’s talked to both of us about what his plans for it have been.
I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what you see end up happening. Because it is too valuable a property for MGM, certainly, to let go for any length of time. Once you clear the shelves of everything, and you still have this giant fan base that really wants everything, you can put out pretty much whatever you need to on that shelf again, and they are going to grab it. Like re-do’s of some of the commentaries and stuff. They can be cycled through. The best thing for them [MGM] to do right now is to do the bigger movie and spend huge amounts of money on it.
AT: There’s a whole new generation, right? A whole new generation of people watching Stargate. I have 7-year-olds coming up to me now and saying ‘Aren’t you Sam Carter?’ and I’m like ‘Oh, my God! I started that show before you were even born!’ Oh, my God!
MW: Don’t turn your hair blonde again or you’ll have a lot more of them asking … [laughs]
AT: It’s a whole new generation, so I don’t think it’s too late for the franchise to have another …
GW: And now that MGM is in a little bit better financial situation then what they were, even a couple years ago …
MW: That was the unfortunate thing. They were in financial trouble at the moment that movie should have been made. The cool thing, as Amanda said, is that it’s ripe for the picking right now.
[To Amanda] I don’t want to put words in your mouth.
AT: You did put words in my mouth.
MW: But it is the time for it, now.
GW: Would you be a part of it if asked? Or do you think it is at a point now in both of your careers where it is better to look ahead instead of going back to that well?
MW: Are you kidding?! Oh, my God! I wake up in the morning thinking “Wouldn’t it be great if I was heading into Stargate this morning?” I love Stargate. Love Stargate.
AT: It’s a huge part of our lives, and our careers, and our families. Everything! So, absolutely, I’d be on-board. I think most of us would. I think there was just something fantastically special about it. And I think we all agree that the franchise needs better closure. I’m sure, even as Michael [Shanks] gets stupid famous on Saving Hope, which is possible … we still might be able to lure him back into the fold. But I think no matter what I’m doing, I would come back for Stargate, for sure.
GW: Fifteen years on these sound stages adds up to a lot of memories, both personally and professionally. Both of you, more than some others, have called this home for a long, long time. Do either of you have any favorite memories from behind these walls?
MW: The day I met Amanda was my favorite memory ever! [laughs]
The most impressive day I’ve ever had on Stargate was on that day! When she walked into the boardroom. It was actually the first day anybody had met her, because she’d been holed up in makeup for so long! It was unbelievable!
AT: That is so not true.
MW: It is not true, actually.
AT: You’re a liar, liar, pants on fire.
One of Tapping's most poignant Stargate memories occurred moments after "Unending" wrapped.
MW: I actually have to tell you this. Because I was working on the next show after the pilot. But I was there from the beginning to kind of watch how things were coming together. What’s interesting to me is the day everybody went into the boardroom together, I did go upstairs just to see what you looked like.
AT: Oh, you did?
MW: I wasn’t disappointed.
AT: What was I wearing? The uniform?
MW: You were in uniform.
AT: [exaggerated voice] … Just because my reproductive organs are on the inside instead of the outside, you son-of-a-gun!
[laughs] Oh, yeah. Good times.
MW: I thought that was the marionette that said that.
AT: It was. [laughs]
I have a very distinct memory. When we first started shooting Stargate the series, we were in this stage (Stage 3). Stage 5 and 6 were still being built, and then everything was moved and miraculously put back together. But I remember Michael and Chris [Judge]. Michael in particular and I … walked around the corner and saw the Stargate for the first time. And that was the ‘A-ha!’ moment for me, where I went ‘Oh, my God. This is a huge show.’
I’ve told this story before, but at the very end of the series, after the last shot of “Unending”, Michael and Christopher and I went up to the boardroom. We’re looking down at the Stargate, and we put our arms around each other, and went ‘Well, that happened.’ And the tears and the whole bit. And we just kind of stood there. It was a wash of ten years, and of all the ups and downs, and of the love and the fights. Everything just galvanized in that moment. And it was really beautiful … really beautiful.
NEXT: Sanctuary‘s long-term story arcs and the plot devices that didn’t work out as intended …