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Carlyle: Stargate Universe is about survival

Tuesday - March 17, 2009
Category: GENERAL | Tags: ,

Robert Carlyle (Gary He / SCI FI Channel)

Robert Carlyle (Gary He / SCI FI Channel)

Beware of minor SPOILERS for the first six episodes of Stargate Universe in this report.

Stargate Universe will be less about alien encounters and more about human survival, according to actor Robert Carlyle (“Dr. Nicholas Rush”). In a new interview with io9, Carlyle offered some thoughts on the tone of the third Stargate series.

“What makes this Stargate different from the previous shows in the franchise is, it’s a lot darker than the other ones,” the actor said. “This has less to do with interaction with an alien race and more about survival on the ship itself.”

The series premiere will find Dr. Rush and a group of scientists and military personnel trapped on board the Destiny, a ship created millions of years ago by the Ancients and set on a preprogrammed (and unalterable) course through many galaxies.

“No one was ever meant to be there,” he said. “The team that is there is ill-equipped to be there. So the first six or seven episodes are actually all called ‘Air,’ ‘Fire,’ ‘Water’ and ‘Earth’ because it’s about surviving amongst that. It’s more drama-based and more character-driven.”

And Carlyle’s own character won’t be another noble leader, but a man with his own, hidden agenda. “The others think that he’s maybe losing it,” he hinted. “But he does things for a reason.”

In a show with such a tone, of course, don’t expect everyone to survive as one big, happy family. In addition to the conflict between the men and women on the ship, death will certainly be present.

“In the first three hours there are three deaths,” Carlyle told the site. “It’s very heavy. There’s a suicide by episode six, as well. Because these people are in the far reaches of the universe, never to come home.”

Head over to io9 to read the full interview, in which Carlyle also talks about working with his new fellow cast members, including David Blue (“Eli Wallace”). Also check out a few more comments from Carlyle’s visit to Monday’s SCI FI Channel upfront presentation at

Stargate Universe is now filming, aiming for an October premiere on SCI FI Channel.

(Thanks to John and Morjana for the tip)

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 (41):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • ROTGLMAO, See the poll on the right –>? I like the person who added “Nobody should be safe” or everyone should die..

  • Sounds interesting. So what again justified the creators in putting the Stargate part of its title before Universe. Since the idea seems to be to create pretty much an entirely new show that has little or nothing to do with the Stargate. Not to mention it is not even suppose to be the same atmosphere as the other two series.

  • Wow, constant death ,looks like they are speeding away from Stargates message of hope faster then the destiny can take them. I really expect this to become BSG 2 before everythings said and done. This show won’t be any fun at all Im afraid.

  • so this show started out sounding like stargate: voyager. and now sounds like Stargate: Galactica. Hehe. But I’m pretty sure I’d still love it as much as I love SG1 and Atlantis. :)

  • Death after death after death, backstabbing plots and personal agenda. Just the things why I dropped BSG. Sorry, but RL is depressing enough for me to watch it on TV too. I miss the good old times when sci-fi was about exploring, adventure and having fun :(

  • Yeah, I don’t think I need to be depressed by a show when real life is bad enough.

  • Sounds like to much death. And a suicide? It really sound to dark to be stargate.

  • This sounds awesome. The best thing i’ve heard about SGU yet. The reasen I started despiseing SGA is because it became way too light hearted. I like my series to be depressing.

  • The problem with killing off characters is that who ever you kill off is going to be someones favorite character. Lets be honest here stargate fans more than any other show have reacted badly to characters been kill of just look at how they reacted to Michael Shanks leaving in SG-1 S6 or Torri Higginson being replaced in Atlantis. Regardless of the comments above saying this is good for SGU that no one is safe. history for this franchise says otherwise.

    I think what made the SG franchise a success was it lightheartedness. A darker show may do well but i do not think amongst the existing fans, it might get new fans that are more into shows like Battlestar Galactica.

  • So he got cast as Dr. Gaius Baltar? Interesting. I thought he was a BSG character.

  • I think they are trying to copy the success of Battlestar Galactica. Which is dark, about survival, human interaction. I hope it is a success. However I will miss the exploring and the adventure that SG1 and SGA brought to the table.

  • This is all well and good, but if the series doesn’t have “the Stargate feel”, I will not be a fan…

  • Interesting.

    Just because the show is “darker” than SG-1 or SGA I don’t think it necessarily means that it will be as depressing as BSG or that they wont’ explore alien worlds anymore. People seem to think the worst of this show without even watched the pilot yet.

    Frankly, I like the way this is shaping up, and he does say that there will be some humor in the show. Besides, after the initial shock of getting aboard the Destiny and learning their situation, there will no doubt be some episodes focusing on the Stargate and exploring other planets to find food, water, etc. and maybe even encountering some (non-human) alien races.

  • Atlantis tried the same thing though by having it set in another galaxy and not having the support of stargate command. That last for just over 1 series because it did not work. Also if there is a limited number of crew members fans will keep a body count and the show will have to explain were all these expenderble crew come from. Thats not counting main cast members they kill off. Yes they could expand there crew with non humans but then you are losing the human story. Star Trek Voyger did not work IMO for this very reason.

    However i do not think members here are in any way saying there will be no stargates or alien races.

  • I thought the Stargate franchise was optimistic…
    oh well.
    didn’t like BG so probably won’t like this version.
    although I will lay odds on the Philips/T1000 character being the first to bite it

  • I am very sad to hear that SGU will take such a dark tone. I was hoping I would love SGU as much as SG1 and SGA, especially since SG1 and SGA are gone now. However, after reading this now, I believe that I will be very disappointed with SGU unfortunately.

    I loved watching the original Battlestar Galactica, but I absolutely hated and didn’t watch beyond the 1st episode of the new BSG.

    What’s wrong with keeping the lighter tones on shows. They provide something provides lighter entertainment and keeps one’s imagination going. They don’t need to go so dark.

    It’s like the new trend with everyone is to take everything darker. Following the new trend is not trying to new and different, it’s just falling in to do what everyone else is doing.

    Real life is already dark enough. Just look at all the corruption that runs rampant among all the financial bigwigs. Don’t need to watch a dark toned show where treachery is on everyone’s mind for a bit of entertainment.

  • Bring back SG1 and SGA !!!!!!!
    PLEASE. Pretty please with a cherry on top.

  • If it is become well-crafted episodes, I may appreciate for some realistic tone. Not to just entertain us [moar entertainment and syfy!!!] but letting us think about our lives [a little], and explore some questions about our human [kind] and the Universe.

  • Okay, wait a minute. Carlyle: “NO ONE WAS EVER MEANT TO BE THERE”. I hope he means the obvious, that the group never INTENDED on going onboard the ship, and not that the ship was designed for no one to be onboard. I’d like to know why there is need to have bridge on the ship when it never was intended to be crewed. If Carlyle means that the Ancients never meant for anyone to be onboard then there better not be a much in the way of equipment controls that the group can operate.

  • I guess SGU is not intended to be a science fiction show, and this goes in direct relation with the changed name of the SCiFi channel and with their new type of shows that they want to produce. Because you put a soup opera in a ship in outer space does not make it science fiction, still it is a soup opera.

    So far it seems that SyFy want to please the BSG fans more than Stargate loyal fans, and I am not surprise with this, because the marketing team of BSG worked very good promoting their show everywhere. All the sites that are about TV, movies, Hollywood, TV rating, etc, always they have advertising about BSG but I never saw one about Stargate SG1 or Atlantis. Where I live CBS shows Stargate Atlantis new episodes at 4:00 AM in the morning every Saturday and Sunday, NEW EPISODES, great schedule for promotions and attract new audience. I do not know who was in charge of the Stargate marketing promotion, but they could have done a better job.

    I hope that Wright and Cooper with MGM and SyFy keep their word about making not only one but several movies of Stargate Atlantis and continue making Stargate SG1 movies.

  • Interesting. I see positive notes and negative notes.

    It’s gonna be darker, yeah, but there is gonna be plenty of comic relief in it. It’s science fiction no matter what anyone says. A ship traveling through the unknown parts of the universe. Meeting ‘truly’ alien races.

    It takes the franchise down a new path. Stargate can’t continue to follow the same format as SG-1 and Atlantis. Yeah, follow the basics, but it needs something to make it stand on its own two feet. Something to be individually identified with. We don’t want to have a ‘Star Trek’ happen where they basically followed the same format for every series except DS9 which was very different from the rest of the series.

    So, let them expand the Stargate universe with SGU. It will benefit the franchise I believe if you take another route instead of ‘driving on the same road.’

    Anyways, Carlyle obviously sees something very special in this series or else he wouldn’t put his skills towards it.

    I am really liking the sound of a more serialized, drama show. Can’t wait.

  • I have been watching Stargate since the movie was in theaters way-back-when, and started watching the series in syndication when it started, desperately looking for a replacement for Babylon 5 when it ended its run. I loved Stargate SG-1 right off (I was a Macgyver fan as a kid, so RDA drew me). That being said, I have never considered it the best SciFi on TV during its 12 or so year one. There always seemed to be something that took more risks, pushed the envelope harder, or just plain amazed me. There was Farscape, to name one, and Battlestar Galactica, to name another. That being said, it did not stop be from buying every set on DVD, and enjoying the escapist entertainment that Stargate has always offered (SG-1 and Atlantis). There are times when both shows really felt like they were approaching greatness, although they never achieved it. The one thing I will say about Stargate, and always will unless something changes, is they were consistent. Rarely were episodes amazingly good, but they were NEVER, NEVER bad (which is more than I can say for everyshow that I said was “better” during Stargates run. All of that being established, I feel it is time for Stargate to “grow up” a little, to give us more drama (since every show is about characters in the end). I think the complaining about Stargate Universe is totally unfounded. For one, no one has seen it. No one. Many here are judging a product sight unseen. Who can say if it will be good or bad, wonderful or terrible? None of us, that’s for sure. The producers of Stargate have not let us down yet, lets at least give them the chance to not let us down again. If we don’t, we aren’t fans, we are children.

  • so, what the heck is the point putting “stargate” in the title?
    oh..right! they want “stargate” fans to keep watching the shows….

  • Are the writing staff truly talented enough to pull this off? Debatable.

  • gojira66: “yeah he sees a STEADY PAYCHECK!!
    ; )”

    Yeah, well…There would be no STEADY PAYCHECK if the show isn’t going to be successful. Obviously, he sees that the stories are excellent and will be highly successful. Your post proved my point.

  • lol, how lame it’s getting meaningless. If it is all about survival and character based i would rather watch BSG. I really miss SG-1, come on writers i don’t want this show to be a sad end to the franchise.

  • Well said true Stargate fans !!!.

    You all made very good points.
    We do not want depressing.
    This is not a good time to be showing suicides.
    Please guys do not make the mistake of changing a formula that worked.
    We watched the show to be entertained!!!!!!!

    I know, I know, you’ve been writing this stuff forever and your fed up and want to get your creative canines into something different.
    I’m creative, I get that…..but the Stargate story is almost like the Holy Grail to us.

    And hey.
    Why is the Destiny on a one way trip?
    Why are they not supposed to be on it?
    Why is it depressing?

    I’m sorry but we expect the O’Neills to save the day.
    We expect the Carters or McKays to figure things out.
    And Daniel Jackson, well that character could sing ‘an Ori is a person in your neighbourhood’ with Bert and Ernie and I’d be transfixed.
    And don’t get me started on Teal’c, Ronon or Vala.

    And what about aliens??? No aliens???
    Not even a germ?

    The two shows had great characters and we love them, can’t you get that…’We Loved Them’.

    Guys, if the first episodes are going to be about a journey no one wanted to take, deaths and suicide and no alien entities what so ever, I’m going back to reading comics.

  • I will watch the 1st episode of SGU to see just how dark they’ve taken it. I suspect it will be as dark as it’s been described to be which saddens me. I will give it a chance like I did with BSG. I was originally looking forward very much to the new BSG. However, after watching only part of the 1st episode, I never watched another.

    I loved SG1 and SGA right from start. I would still be dedicated to watching them now if they had not been cancelled. They are on the lighter side, and I say there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I like that there is essentially a happy ending to each episode, and that someone (heroes) saved the day.

    Real life already very sobering daily, it’s nice to have that slight bit of hope and good feeling after watching the light hearted shows instead.

    If I don’t like SGU’s 1st couple episodes cuz it’s too dark, then I just won’t watch them again. I will seek out other shows. I like the Legend of the Seeker. Yes, there’s good and bad guys, but it’s not trying to be a very dark show. Each episode for the most part gives ya that happy ending. I don’t want to watch a show that leaves a disturbing or sad feeling after watching each episode. That’s what was so wonderful about SG1 and SGA … plus I loved the characters and how tight a team they actually formed. I’m really hoping SGU won’t go too dark cuz it’s not exactly a good change in my opinion.

  • This is very good news! They are making Battlestar Galactica 2. Now I don’t have to be sad that my favorite dark spaceship show about survival is ending this week!

  • Haha, to the person who said Rush is basically Gaius Baltar; *hifives*

    A scientist character who people suspect to be crazy but actually has very specific reasons for appearing so nuts. Hmm.

    If they can make a half decent rip-off of BSG I will definitely enjoy it.

  • I said a long while back this reminds of an old Sci-fi show (shot lived) where people on a ship ‘The Arc’ wake up only to find themselves on a spa ship that had the prgamming go wrong while they were apparently in a form of Stasis. It wa sheasding for a star and they had to explore ‘module’ room through the ship and work their way through to find out what to do. They ran into othe rpeople along the way. The ship was feaking huge to hold al these mini cities. I posted more info on that old show (from the 1970’s) in a forum (maybe it was a forum her eon this website) a long while back. I cannot remember the name of that old show that only lasted one season. I can look it up,, but I am just saying. It sounds sort of like that old show. it was a good show, it was around the time of Space 1999 but it was not flaky, it was well done.

  • We’ll see… this could follow the Stargate formula after all. All they need to do is kill the doctors and at least 1 secondary character and bring them back for a few episodes and we’ll be set.

    Also I think this one will be short lived… they can’t make direct to dvd movies if they kill off all the characters… or can they. Anything goes on Syfy!

  • Dr. Smith anyone?
    ; )
    “oh, the paaaiiinnnn!!”
    Seriously, “a “doctor on board who may be a spy with a secret agenda…”

  • Danybrean, he never said that their was no aliens, he said there would be less alien interaction; which hopefully means we’ll actually get to see aliens and not just humans moved from Earth.

    P.S. Other than the asgard, unas, serrakin, wraith, and that fish guy that made sg1 think daniel was dead, what other truly alien races are there in stargate? If you can’t think of much more, I’ll have made my point.

  • I think this show sounds AWESOME. who knows it might be terrible but its certainly shaping up to be very good :)

    and as for the suicide i certainly doubt that anyone involved with stargate programme or off world would kill themselves bt hey who cares haha.

    oh and in answer to dreadtech
    dont worry about the body count, come season 2 the ppl from the other stargate on the other side of the ship will join us. then when we hit season 5 and everyone but the main cast is dead well im pretty sure theyll just crash another plane on the island

    ooops wrong show haha
    nah i actually really like lost so i can poke fun at it

  • I like a little realism in my escapism.

    And have we all forgotten the suicide in SG1 The Light?

    Sometimes suicide isn’t emo, sometimes it’s just a realistic reaction to a highly stressful OMFG WTF situation.

    And before you start yelling I said realistic NOT logical reaction.

  • Why?!? The Stargate Universe has Azgard Technology, Ancient Technology, Human ingenuity, Lots of potential Spaceships!!! why do the writers feel they should give us more Lost / BSG / Ghost Hunters?

    They could have whipped the team away to a Universe that is unknown or another dimension or the ascended realm… but no… they want to play the scary card.

    This franchise is done… turn off the burner we got smoke.

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