MGM and Syfy Channel went big with the Stargate franchise at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the biggest fandom event in the world! An estimated crowd of more than 4,000 people packed in to see the cast and producers — the official coming out party for Stargate Universe, the new spin-off series which premieres October 2 on Syfy in the U.S. For the cast, it was their very first convention and their first opportunity to meet Stargate fans face-to-face.
Here are some highlights from today’s panel!
- Executive producers Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper started out by praising the cast and acknowledging the fans that have kept Stargate strong for 15 years on television. They also said that at this point in their careers, they wanted to do something that is different from what has come before.The new series will also be accessible to those who have never seen Stargate SG-1 or Stargate Atlantis.
“It is quite a different feel,” Wright said. “It will reintroduce what the Stargate is. It will give you a whole new sense of what Stargate is. … But it will very much reward the SG-1 and Atlantis viewer.”
“It really is still Stargate,” Cooper said. “I think we tried to bring that element back into the series. It had gotten to the point where everybody was a superhero and a genius. Not that these people [the SGU characters] aren’t smart! But [we are] trying to make the characters identifiable [and to] create situations where they could really face challenges and deal with the incredible experiences of exploration.”
- Cooper called it “the most exciting experience of my career.”
- DVD special features producer Ivon Bartok is shooting something like 40 features this year.
- In answer to one fan question, Robert Carlyle (“Nicholas Rush”) talked about the difference between his work on SGU and his feature film career. The producers wanted him for the part because they wanted an actor who would play a character who is atypical for the franchise: not the hero, not the villain, but someone who is flawed.
- Ming-Na talked about Camille Wray as “a strong, intelligent lesbian,” which won cheers and laughter from the crowd (following a bit of controversy when that tidbit first came out – story). She said that while Stargate is new to her, she herself is a huge sci-fi fan.
- David Blue (“Eli Wallace”) revealed that he’s not only a fan, but he’s watched every episode of SG-1 and Atlantis. he said that joining the franchise brings “pride in being a part of it, but also an immense responsibility in every scene.” Wright joked that with David they got not only an actor, but also a technical adviser for their own show.
- Wright and Cooper told the crowd that they are proud of Atlantis‘s 5-year run, and didn’t feel it was premature to end it when they did. But they are also trying to keep all the elements of the franchise alive.
- The producers discussed the more serialized nature of SGU, as opposed to SG-1 and Atlantis‘s more episodic style. But Wright said that the casual viewer who hasn’t seen what has come before will still be rewarded. Cooper added that what makes it serialized is the emphasis on telling stories from the points of view of these characters.
- “Big things are going to happen very quickly,” Cooper said, as in the first 10 episodes. “You are going to find that if you do skip an episode you might miss something huge. There will be major revelations in terms of what’s going on with these characters and the storylines.”
“There is still a Stargate, and we’re still going to go through that Stargate and have adventures, and meet alien races,” Wright said.
“The first thing we did was make a blood pact that we would not have rubber-faced, English speaking aliens in the first season!” Cooper said. “Because it takes place out on the frontier, it’s about exploring the universe — galaxies we have never been to — we really wanted that experience to feel somewhat realistic — find aliens or alien life forms that you feel you might find out in space.” He said that the first season will include some very “alien” aliens.
- Wright and Carlyle both praised the sets and production designer James Robbins. Carlyle said that it is like being on a feature film set.
- Jamil said that when he landed the role, his mom told him, “You’re going to be the next LeVar Burton!”
- Ming-Na and Brian praised the crew of Stargate as some of the most skilled, dedicated, laid back and funny people they have worked with.
- With a nod to Janet Fraiser and Carson Beckett, the producers joked that “we killed the doctor right away in this one!”
After the panel the SGU team signed autographs for fans.
SciFi Wire is expected to post the panel video in the next few days, for you to watch for yourself!
Don’t miss GateWorld’s continuing coverage of San Diego Comic-Con this weekend and on next week’s edition of the podcast! Stargate Universe airs Friday, October 2 at 9 p.m. (8 Central) on Syfy, and soon after on Sky1 in the U.K. and SPACE in Canada.
You can read more about the show in GateWorld’s SGU Launch Center.