U.S. RELEASE DATE: Cancelled
WRITTEN BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
The Atlantis movie would have picked up where the series left off.
CURRENT STATUS: After Extinction was announced by Syfy Channel in August 2008, it spent some two and a half years in limbo. Brad Wright finally announced on April 17, 2011, that MGM would not be producing this or any other Stargate movies in the near future. The script has been written by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, but Stargate: Extinction will most likely not be produced.
Below you can find additional notes and comments in chronological order, beginning with the network's announcement of the film in August 2008.
"Building upon the successful Stargate franchise, SCI FI Channel today announced it has greenlit a two-hour movie based on the hit science fiction adventure series Stargate Atlantis. SCI FI will have the exclusive worldwide television premiere of the yet to be titled Stargate Atlantis film, which will then be released on DVD by MGM. The movie will be written by Stargate Atlantis' executive producers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, who also serve as series showrunners. The movie is set to follow the fifth and final season of Stargate Atlantis, as it draws to its thrilling conclusion in January 2009." (SCI FI Channel press release, August 21, 2008)
Co-writer Joseph Mallozzi codenamed the Atlantis movie "Project Twilight" during the weeks before it was announced.
"We're excited to tell Atlantis stories on a bigger canvas. The successes of the two original Stargate [direct-to-video] movies The Ark of Truth and Continuum have shown us the opportunities that the movie format offers. We have plans for both SG-1 and Atlantis to remain vital as we expand the franchise." (Series creators Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, in a SCI FI Channel press release)
"We share in the producers' enthusiasm to move forward in this direction and we look forward to a strong and continued relationship on Stargate Atlantis in this new format." (Thomas Vitale, SCI FI's Senior Vice President Programming & Original Movies, in a SCI FI Channel press release)
"Once we realized that with the prospect of another series going forward ... and SG-1 movies going forward, this was the right way for the partnership between MGM and us and SCI FI to go forward. If they weren't in complete agreement on where to go next, if it wasn't a joint decision, there wouldn't be a movie deal already in place."
"The show was doing well. But you don't wait until the show isn't doing well before you try to launch movies. If you are going to go do movies when the show has still got life left in it, that's a good time!" (Executive producer Brad Wright, in an interview with GateWorld)
"I can't predict whether an ongoing series of Atlantis-based movies will prove successful. However, if the performance of the two SG-1 movies is anything to go by, the audience is out there."
"[The film] will be more [like] Continuum than Ark of Truth in that it will continue the story of Atlantis in a one-off offering. While the adventure will be stand-alone, the character moments will certainly draw on past experiences and future potential."
"While I like the idea of some crossover [with SG-1], I think SG-1 movies should be SG-1 movies and Atlantis movies Atlantis movies. Two movies of each a year would be a true best case scenario." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in an interview with GateWorld)
"I think these things lend themselves to a bigger, kind of high-production-value, two hour event, which is great.
"... There's obviously a passionate audience for Atlantis and the characters of Atlantis. And yes, they're absolutely going to continue in the movie franchise. But people need to mourn for a while and come to terms with it. I don't anticipate that that will subside quickly." (SCI FI president David Howe, in an interview with Multichannel News)
"Rumor has it [that the third SG-1 DVD movie will shoot] late spring / early summer of next year, but I honestly couldn't tell you beyond that. I know Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis will be shooting movies at that time." ("Samantha Carter" actress Amanda Tapping, at a SCI FI Channel news conference)
This brief statement was the first indication of a time frame for the film's production at The Bridge Studios in Vancouver, B.C. As of March, the film has not been given an official green light for filming. Actress Rachel Luttrell ("Teyla Emmagan") told GateWorld in an interview that neither she nor other members of the Atlantis cast had yet been contacted about the film (see below).
Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi stated that this doesn't mean it has been postponed (see below) -- indicating that the summer shooting date was probably never set.
"A wormhole drive is just that -- a drive that sends the ship through a wormhole, like a person stepping through an active gate. The advantage being that you don't 'travel' through hyperspace for hours on end. You get de-molecularized, or whatever you want to call it, and then spit out at the other end a few seconds later. It's basically instantaneous, which is why I needed it as a device in ['Enemy At the Gate']. Some people have complained that it was a bit of a deus ex-machina, to which I don't really have much of a defense.
"At one point, Brad was thinking about using this as a set-up for a similar drive in Stargate Universe, but he's since changed his mind. But since it IS set up now, Joe and I do intend to use it as part of the story for the Atlantis movie." (Executive producer Paul Mullie, in a Q&A at Joseph Mallozzi's blog)
"None of us really know what's going on, and if it happens, great! Last I heard was that they were just going to kind of see how things played out in terms of viewership with Universe and potentially viewership with the SG-1 films that they have already shot [airing in March and April, 2009].
"There are a lot of 'ifs' in place. And if it was going to happen I would be surprised if it happened this year."
("Teyla" actress Rachel Luttrell, in an interview with GateWorld)
Since the city of Atlantis and its Stargate are now on Earth (having landed, cloaked, in the San Francisco Bay at the end of the series finale), which Stargate on Earth now takes precedence for incoming wormholes? "I believe the Pegasus gate takes precedence," executive producer Joseph Mallozzi said on his blog.
What does movie writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi think of the rumors that the film has been postponed or cancelled? "Neither postponed nor cancelled. If there's a change in plans, I'll let everyone know." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Allow me to clarify a few things about the Stargate Atlantis movie. Back in the 2008, we floated the possibility of shooting a two-hour Atlantis movie. The idea was to roll right into it right after episode 20 and then play it by ear. If the show got picked up for a sixth season, those two hours would form the first two episodes. In the event the show was not picked up, then we'd already have a movie in the can.
"Alas, Project Twilight (which is what I dubbed the two hour event at the time) didn’t come to pass. The series ended and focus shifted to Stargate Universe. But not ALL of the focus because the intention has always been to make a movie. Actually, the focus has been to make two movies: an SG-1 movie, and an Atlantis movie.
"Now many of you are asking: 'Hey, we hear that production on the Atlantis movie is being held up by the economy and yet, you have the money to make a new series and that SG-1 movie. What gives?' Well, first of all, it's not a simple matter of us getting a whack of money and being able to pick and choose the projects we want to apply it to. Each production whether it be SGU, SG-1, or SGA, is contingent on their respective deals. And no two deals are alike. Furthermore, part of a project's production budget is made up of licensing fees from various broadcasters, sales to various territories both domestic and international. Now these entities are a fickle bunch and won't just buy anything. If they want product A, you can't just replace it with product B. And that's just one aspect of the many elements that go into any given deal. The bottom line is that the deal in place for Stargate Universe has different components than the deal for the SG-1 movie, which has different components than the deal for the SGA movie (yes, in spite of the fact that they are both Stargate movies, the deals are different).
"So even though the SG-1 movie has been greenlit, I can assure you that plans are still in place to move forward on the Atlantis movie as well. Brad is working on the SG-1 script while Paul and I hope to have a first draft of the Atlantis script by month's end (we're already past the halfway mark). No firm production dates for either movies, but if I was a betting man, I'd be looking at this fall.
"All this to say -- there's no need to get all negative. When there is a need, I'll let you all know but, at present, we're making progress on all fronts: SGU, SG-1, and SGA." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Paul and Joe are writing the script [for the Atlantis movie], and it's just a question of which one we can proceed with first. There are issues -- there always are! There have been a few changes in the way the world works right now, especially in terms of DVD sales." (Executive producer Brad Wright, in an interview with GateWorld)
"We still want to make a Stargate Atlantis movie, and the sets are still up for that purpose. MGM does not leave multimillion dollar sets up and pay the rent on multimillion dollar stages if that is not their ongoing intention. Having said that, when we were originally talking about doing this the world economy was a little bit different, and so the guys who [said] 'Go ahead and do that' are [now] saying, 'Uh, hang on a sec.'
"So that's where we are right now. Joe and Paul have worked hard on the script, and they want to make it as much as you guys want to see it." (Executive producer Brad Wright, on stage at Creation's 2009 Vancouver Stargate convention)
"I found the time to do another pass on that Atlantis movie script. I wanted to have another go at the Beckett-Teyla scene but was sidetracked by a new script, an impromptu writer's meeting, lunch (priorities, yes?), and an all new, all tight producer’s cut of 'Air' I and II." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"While Todd the Wraith will play a significant role in the proceedings, the A story will not focus on the Wraith. ... Plenty of action for those who like that sort of thing." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Although the Atlantis script is back in Paul's hand, I went over my last draft today in search of opportunities for some downtime character moments. I found a couple and, over the next couple of days, I'll have to decide which character relationships I'm going to explore and how." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
The working title of the movie has been revealed: Stargate: Extinction. "It's the working title but I kind of like it because a) it's story appropriate, b) a dynamic title, and most importantly c) not 'Dark Gambit.'" (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Back in November, Paul and I spun a general idea of what we wanted the SGA movie to be with Brad and Robert. Then, Paul and I went off and worked on the outline, pitching it back and forth between us until we had a pretty solid template. Paul wrote the first 60 pages and I wrote the last 40, although we did tweak one another's passes." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Weir's story ended in 'Ghost In the Machine.' The character will not be appearing in the movie." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Heard word back on the Stargate Atlantis movie script from two fronts -- creative and business -- and both responses were overwhelmingly positive. Some confusion (not surprised given the complexity of the story), so we'll make a point to streamline and clarify in the next draft.
"Some great preliminary notes from Carl who missed two reunion scenes (looking over the script, I tend to agree) and likes the idea of including a quiet scene for 'these two characters,' even going so far as to pitch out a version I liked a lot. Also received a casting suggestion that would turf the unknown Koenig in favor of someone a little more familiar. Discussions on the brass tacks of the production upcoming in June and with it, I'm hoping, finally, production dates." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Paul and I have a script we're looking forward to producing, a script involving Earth-based intrigue, intergalactic travel, a looming threat to the city of Atlantis, and a sometime friend and foe who may hold the key to averting disaster." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"As my writing partner Paul pointed out this morning, the television production isn't driven by non-profit organizations seeking to produce shows out of the goodness of their hearts. It's a business. Still, for what it's worth, I'm confident that this movie WILL move forward, but only when certain economic factors have stabilized." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Alas, still no news. But to those wondering how the heck the authorities can manage to keep the city hidden away in San Francisco Bay -- the movie will reveal that Atlantis has been conveniently 'relocated.'" (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"We've got a great script that I think the fans will really enjoy. We've got action, adventure, exploration, a race against the clock, Atlantis in peril, unlikely allies, surprises, tragic loss, and new beginnings." (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Brad, as Stargate: Revolution's co-writer and executive producer, has had several discussions with the studio about moving forward with the SG-1 movie. Despite the delay, the mood is fairly confident that Revolution will move into production eventually. It's just a matter of when. No news on the Atlantis movie front. That's not to say it won't get made, just that Paul and I have not had similar discussion with the studio with regard to Extinction." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"The action starts on Earth, then shifts to Atlantis, then shifts to a planet, then back to Atlantis." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"I'm sorry to say but the cancellation [of Stargate Universe] puts the brakes on whatever progress the SGA movie had made in the past month, shelving it indefinitely. ... Contrary to what some may think, the cancellation of SGU is very bad news for those looking forward to an Atlantis movie." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"For what it's worth, it involved a return mission to Pegasus, the tragic end of one relationship, the beginning of another, and a surprising progression in the alliance between one man and one Wraith." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Even though we'd struck the SG-1 and Atlantis sets, I still held out hope for both movies because, in the case of Stargate: Revolution, the lion's share of the action would have been off-world and ship-based while, in the case of Stargate: Extinction, although there was some action on Atlantis itself (eminently achievable through the magic of VFX), much of the story takes place on Earth and off-world." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"In the movie, Stargate: Extinction, the wormhole drive gets fried and, thus, rendered useless." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"I'm not sure if [Carter] was kidding or not [at the end of Stargate: Continuum, but Atlantis is the moonbase -- as we reveal in Stargate: Extinction." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"By now, I had hoped to hear back on the ultimate faith of Stargate: Extinction (novel? comic book? radio play? performance art piece?) but, alas, it's been very quiet. I will say that when Paul and I set out to write the script for the proposed Stargate Atlantis movie, we did so in the hopes that, ultimately, it wouldn't be produced as a movie at all but as the first two episodes of SGA's sixth season. Codenamed 'Project Twilight,' it would have focused on the city of Atlantis, its personnel, and the journey back to home to the Pegasus Galaxy. Ideally, that would set the stage for the thrilling 18 episodes to follow -- or, at the very least, the jumping off point for future SGA movies.
"The movie would have picked up not long after the events of the Season Five finale, 'Enemy at the Gate.' In the opening scene, two astronauts (who turn out to be a couple of familiar faces -- Amelia Banks and Major Lorne) take a walk on the surface of the moon, their lunar stroll ending with a reveal of the city of Atlantis. A shuttle carrying Sam Carter and a group of dignitaries sweeps overhead and lands.
"Within the city's atmospherically shielded confines, Carter and her guests meet up with the science team headed by -- who else? -- Rodney McKay. Frustrated by the interruption to his ongoing research, McKay demonstrates a certain impatience with the whole dog-and-pony show, running through standards explanations, overviews, questions, and answers until -- an alarm suddenly sounds. The bewildered dignitaries are ushered out, leaving McKay, Carter, and Zelenka to investigate.
"An examination of the city's systems reveal the worst. A self-destruct has been initiated -- a safeguard, Rodney surmises, put in place by the Ancients in the event Atlantis was ever removed from the Pegasus Galaxy. And, once triggered, it cannot be disabled. Nothing short of a return to the Pegasus Galaxy will save the city from certain destruction.
"Of course, getting it there is easier said than done ...
"Anyway, that was the basic premise: A seeming new beginning. A threat to the city. And a desperate bid to outrace a deadly countdown. But who would join the journey? How would they get back to Pegasus? And what challenges would they face along the way?" (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Many of you have asked me to continue offering some insight into the Atlantis movie (Stargate: Extinction) Paul and I scripted way back when. Well, attempts to find out if the studio has plans for the script have come up empty. And so, rather than reveal too much, I will offer a little more in the way of the set-up to the story. As I already mentioned in a previous entry, the events of the movie take place soon after (maybe about a week or so) after Atlantis has returned to the Milky Way. It has been parked on the dark side of the Moon, away from prying eyes, and operations continue as busily as they had back in Pegasus. Things are running smoothly enough until McKay is suddenly made aware that the city's self-destruct has been initiated, the result of being out of range of the Pegasus galaxy for too long ...
"Of course, it's time to get the band back together and we check in with our various team members as they are called up and beamed away for the return journey: Teyla and her family, Keller, Beckett, Lorne, Zelenka and, of course, Sheppard and Ronon who are plucked away while receiving treatment at a local hospital following a barroom brawl (we went back and incorporated the scar actor Jason Momoa received following an incident near his L.A. home). Once everyone has assembled, McKay gives them the 411. Given the time constraints they face, they have to get back to Pegasus as quickly as possible -- meaning they'll have to use the wormhole drive again. Zelenka calculates that two jumps should do it.
"And they're off. Sort of. The first jump ends up burning out the drive, rendering it useless and leaving them stranded with the countdown click ticking down. However, a scan of the surrounding plants turns up a habitable world within range. They go there seeking help and, instead, end up involved in a wild time-travel themed adventure in which Todd, the wraith, turns out to be, simultaneously, their hugest threat and biggest ally.
"And that's all I'm going to say on the subject for now. Although it seems increasingly unlikely this movie will ever get made, I don't want to discount the possibility it may come to fruition through some alternate venue be it a comic book, novel, or radio play. Fingers crossed!" (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"[Todd] was on Atlantis at the end of 'Enemy at the Gate.' We included a little scene in the Extinction script in which Woolsey and Sheppard go 'œpick him up,' essentially rescuing him from the clutches of government R&D." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
Were Teyla and Sheppard originally supposed to end up together? Extinction would have revisited the matter: "Originally, the idea was to create a potential (unrequited) romance between the two but, as the series progressed, that possible development fell by the wayside. There were plans to revisit the possibility in Stargate: Extinction, the SGA movie we wrote following the show's cancellation but, sadly, it's a project that never saw the light of a TV screen." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a 2017 interview with Comet TV)