The newest issue of The Official Stargate Magazine is out now,including a brand new interview with Stargate SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe co-creator Brad Wright. In it Wright talks about how he and fellow co-creator Robert C. Cooper first conceived and pitched the concept for SGU.
“The germ of Stargate Universe began as a movie by Robert Cooper, as do many of our ideas,” Wright told the magazine. “We always come up with a movie, pitch it to MGM, and they say, ‘Terrific, let’s make it a TV show.’ When we were spinning the film idea, we knew deep down that Universe was really a series because it had so much scope.”
The writers did have a long lead-time to think and re-think how they would approach a third Stargate television series.
“Oddly enough we pitched Universe a couple of years before we actually thought we were going to end up doing it,” Wright said. “We went to the Syfy Channel with the idea and it appeared to be really well-received, but then a very long time went by without us hearing anything more. At one point we thought, ‘Oh, well, it looks like it’s not going to happen,’ and then we received the series order.
“It came as a little bit of a surprise. Honestly, I expected Atlantis to go another year, and then we’d either have another year before Universe started up, or we would just wind up doing a couple of more direct-to-DVD Stargate movies. Now, however, we’re doing Universe, which, believe me, is great.”
As fans know by now, of course, the third series would take a different approach to storytelling in the same universe. Instead of a single “big bad,” the driving conflict would come from within the Destiny crew itself — and, often, within the hearts of individuals.
“Both those shows were about fighting big bad guys,” Wright said. “With Universe, our stories are much more character-based and those interactions and relationships are what drive the stories. Sometimes it’s very fundamental. A murder can take place on Universe, and that could be the whole story, where on SG-1 it could be just a story beat and an act.
“That doesn’t mean this series is slow-paced or less interesting, but we do reveal less all at once.”
Wright also said that many viewers seem to be surprised that they are doing just what they said they would — making a very different kind of Stargate show.
“We set out to make a show that’s not your father’s Stargate, and I think to a lot of peoples’ surprise we’re actually doing it,” he said. “Most people probably thought, ‘Yeah, they’re saying that, but they’re going to do [the usual] Stargate.’ Sure, there are elements of Universe that I feel are the touchstones of Stargate, such as the humor and people from the here-and-now, with a 21st century sensibility and everything that comes along with that. However, this show also has a different energy, a different dynamic and a different look.
“Even the Stargate itself is different, and I think it’s the most beautiful Stargate we’ve ever had. It’s the first one that the Ancients built and it has a whole new set of limitations that will make for interesting storytelling.”
Look for more from Brad Wright in issue #32 of The Official Stargate SG-1/Atlantis/SGU Magazine! This issue also includes interviews with the women of SGU, original concept art from the show, interviews with Amanda Tapping and Jewel Staite, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the SGA episode “Vegas,” and more.
Look for it at major bookstores (such as Borders or Barnes & Noble, in the U.S.), or visit Titan Magazines to learn how you can subscribe.
Sorry guys, I’m a loyal SG guy and always will be but that said if there was EVER a word that described SGU to a tee, “slow” would be it. I get what they were trying to do with it and I’ve given it a chance, but if it doesn’t pick up by the end of this first season, I’m throwing in the towel. On another note, when in the hell are we getting a ‘SG Atlantis’ DVD movie? Come on guys, you scrapped my fav of the SG franchise and I’ve stuck with you despite the fact. Can I… Read more »
Actually yes Brad, it does mean its slow-paced and not interesting. The writers ability can’t cash the cheques their egos write.
@ GateHunter There’s a reason why most good books, for example, starts off slow. Without a good build-up, the rest suffer. In Star Trek Voyager they did almost everything in the pilot, and most conflicts were resolved in the next few episodes. As a result, the arc suffered heavily. Most writers for traditional sci-fi TV shows don’t realise the crippling effect writing like that has on the quality of the show. Babylon 5 is one of my all-time favourite shows because it has such a strong, cohesive storyline, one that it took two seasons to really build up. Stargate Universe… Read more »
@ijazner: I like you! :)
I miss my old SG1 team, I miss the team, I miss the feeling of people that have to trust their teammates more than themselves, I miss the family feeling. Nevertheless I think SGU is a great show. The only problem is that it is going/ already has to divide/divided the fandom. Which is sad because the SG fandom was my favourite. But that’s what happens when things get too big! Remember the Roman Empire?
@Evilslayer I agree completely. And starting slow means you ultimately can last longer. When you rush story lines they end up making no sense looking back. For example in Atlantis after 5 years they didn’t explore very much of the city, there was little archaeological discovery which ended up making the city feel small. Ultimately making the show feel small. If they had taken it slower they could have made the city much more amazing and more of a focus and really could have had more stories that weren’t carbon copies of SG-1 story lines. SG-1 never had the aspect… Read more »
I’m very sorry that I have no interest in this new show. I am very nostalgic for SGA, reading this doesn’t help much.
@Evilslayer you say that the first season is boring? I agree. The difference is that it doesn’t make me want more. I don’t care about the self absorbed characters or the soap opera plot. Ten episodes in and how many fans are still waiting for a payoff and waiting to get hooked on the show? The writers really messed up how they introduced the show and now it won’t be able to recover.
@Evilslayer I agree. First off I have been ridiculed for picking on those with negative comments (even though all I wanted is for those comments to be more tactful & constructive). Anyway I will try and just focus more on show related points from now on and not the generality of naysayers. SGU is a love or hate kind of show and has mixed feelings throughout the Stargate fandom. To some it has killed everything that it means to be Stargate and to others its an interesting new direction which will allow the franchise to evolve (I’m almost certain that… Read more »
It wasn’t until SGU aired that I realised how much like a comic book Stargate Atlantis was. I like Atlantis but there are vampires who wear leather that fly spaceships… It’s fun but it’s ridiculous.
I apologise for the length & the odd typo lol
@giza1928 I kind of agree, both SG-1 & SGA teams were like comic book heroes to the extent where you eventually always knew they would save the day in the end. But at the end of the day that didn’t matter since they both still were great series. I personally find SGU more realistic but I wont play that card, there is quite a lot of things in SGU that don’t make seance in real life. So I will just say that SGU is just as unrealistic as SG-1 & SGA. But that doesn’t matter. Sci-Fi fans tend to not… Read more »
Yeah in terms of realism these are just TV shows but the suspension of belief is so much easier with SGU than SGA. At least for me.
Hey Everyone, In my opinion (and this is just my opinion) a slow pace does not equate to better storytelling. Interesting stories actually equate to better storytelling. I understand that having plots that move too fast can be detrimental to a show, but plots that move too slowly have the same effect. I have said this all along, if you are going to have a character based show then you better have good characters that people want to know more about. For me, I could care less about any of these characters which makes the slow pace even more undesirable.… Read more »
Sorry Brad, but Universe *is* slow-paced *and* less interesting. Just because you said that the conflict would be character-based and you are actually doing just that doesn’t mean that you *should* be doing it. You’ve lost at least half your fan base and you won’t pick up the slack the way things are going now. It seems that you people wanted to re-configure Stargate in the image of Battlestar Galactica and believed that you would then gain their higher ratings. However, the pilot of “Caprica” was more dynamic and interesting than the entire first half of Season 1 of “Universe”.… Read more »
Pioneering definitely has a gooooood point!
And yeah, pilot of caprica alone, although not comparable to BSG, was better than SGU’s first half!
Btw: was I wrong in seeing a very strong, intelligent, young, dynamic and LOYAL fanbase?
What happened to that?
I don’t think the writers are bad, I just know that when I see the label Stargate on a show, I expect a certain style and presentation and that SGU just isn’t it for me.
I do believe that not attaching the Stargate label to it, but saying “Universe – brought to you by the makers of Stargate” would have been a better strategy. You could get the people who liked your other shows to tune in out of curiosity but not alienate the fans of the old shows who truly loved how they were made.
Although Atlantis is my favorite… i think Universe is great. Keep up the good job, i know that the urge to complain is so huge… but i know many MANY (new) fans have joined stargate :) and are watching the whole series because of unverse. more sale, more movies, more enlightenment: “Believe in the truth of all things and you too may find the path to enlightenment.” – Origin
Why doesn’t this guy just admit this was modeled on the SG 200 Melrose Space parody? Gate Gals? Give me a break. I think it went like this, “Yo whitebread, which Gategal you lookin to tap dawg?”
Babylon 5 is my all-time fav series… but I’m gonna torch your house for favourably comparing it to Universe! (lol jk). B5 did start off slow, but there was no daddy issues, suicide, love triangles, etc. that we’ve seen in SGU. And we’re only half way thru the 1st season.. As someone else said, it’s the combo of “slow” AND “not interesting” that is the problem (to us on our side of the fence, anyway:) Also… when has SGU been funny or had “Stargate humour”? All they do is cry and have sex as far as I can tell? I’m… Read more »
I gave it a shot, will prob give it to the end of S1 to see how it pans out with the LA.. Somethings i do like, especially the ship – but I feel like there could be so much more.. Why take away the action scenes that we all loved? – it’s like i’ve been told that it’s bad for my health, thus it’s banned! Surely they could have their cake and eat it? I just hope they pick up the pace rather soon, it’s not like SGU is an alternative show to watch as well as.. it’s a… Read more »
Regarding sex its way been overblown in my opinion, out of 10 episodes there has been around 1-3 minutes worth of ‘sex scenes’ in total(a lot of which you can barely call sex). At most I would give it a rating of 12.
Regarding humour, that’s mostly been done through comments made by the character of Eli. Keeping in mind that its a bit hard to crack jokes in the situation there in.
I agree that the pace needs to pick up soon & judging by info about the next episode it will.
Sylvia, just calling it Universe wouldn’t have made a difference– Star Trek tried it with Enterprise and it didn’t work. While I am enjoying Universe, it is slow and slow is bad if it isn’t interesting. One of my favorite shows, Dexter, is also about the characters and the plots tend to be slow in that show as well. But Dexter if very interesting to watch while parts of Universe (and entire episodes such as Earth or Life) drag horribly– I have never had that complaint with Dexter (Dexter, the main character, is a serial killer– obviously not a ‘good… Read more »
Glad im not the only feeling this way. I watch SGU but as many i dont make it urgent, only SG1 i made urgent till season 8 and SGA i put some effort. But this may not go well with some but SG got what it deserved because brad and co got arrogant. I remember he said something about SG being as big or bigger then Star trek. Now look Sg1 ended (not well i might add) SGA ended far too early. yes yes direct to DVD movies are okay but in todays world happening far too often. Now SGU… Read more »
I love it. It makes me think about things I wouldn’t normally think about – like the first half of SG1 when they were still working things out. By the end SGA was almost an action movie set in space.
It is possible to have exciting story lines and slow plot reveals at the same time. If anyone has ever seen Eureka or Warehouse 13, those shows have largely unrealated epsiodes in general, but infuse tiny hints or foreshadowings of the finales to come. I find this type of story writing exciting and suspenceful at the same time.
I do not understand why SGU is going modern I mean really? SGU has no element of the other SG shows what so ever, the humor is like 1/8th as good and the stories reallly suck. It is more like Battlestar Galactica mixed with Lost…those shows are lame and I as well as most fans would most certainly prefer something else. I have been a deeply loyal fan since the beginning, however if you keep messing with the stupid plot-lines and lack of any enemy alien races…I will never turn on SGU as long as I live. SGA was left… Read more »
I like the show but I have to agree it has been s l o w to develop. Please pick up the pace a bit. Dial back just a tad on the character development and turn up the dial on plot and action just a bit.
So pure laziness wasn’t the reason for the conception of this montrousity? I think Stargate has their own Berman and Braga. Someone put a call to JJ Abram to save one more dying franchise.
Gotta disagree with BW, and it’s ok because he cannot tell the truth that he wanted to move onto SGU and cancel SGA. Robert Cooper even admitted he was tired of the old Stargate format. So Mr. Wright is actually right about SGA should of gone one more season at least. He did not even fight for it like he did with SG-1. To the folks who hate SGU, if you don’t like the series then you are so out of luck since the movies have been cancelled to make room for this precious ultimate BETTER THAN EVAH series. So… Read more »
Check that an amazing Franchise.
Going in a different direction, In my opinion, was a good move for the franchise. Don’t get me wrong I love Stargate SG-1, SGA was OK, but at some point you have to change things up a little bit. After 10 seasons of SG-1 you knew what was going to happen, there was absolutely NO suspense anymore and unfortunately the plot in SGA was identical to SG-1. Like others have said SGA felt small. When I heard about the Ancients during the SG-1 shows I got goose bumps. Then hearing they would do a series on Atlantis I figured they… Read more »
I quit watching SGU after the episode where a bunch of them went back to earth, in other ppls bodies, and were hanging out in clubs, the whole thing with Col. Young n his wife & Telford…
at some point it all seems like a huge hassle.
I never really watched SG-1, but I had started watching SG:A and really liked it. It seems every time I like a show, it gets hosed pretty soon after lol.
Universe is what it is, vast, slow, empty and boring.
If the conflict in Universe comes from within the crew, howe is this going to be science fiction? Filming a soap opera on a spaceship set instead of a living room set does not turn it into science fiction. What we have here is a soap opera, and no amount of flashing lights and flat panel displays is going to change that. What a shame for all lovers of science fiction.
lonix, I agree totally with your points regarding SG…but not Star Trek ;) I loved ST:Ent, can’t help. But yeah, unfortunately you are right.
I am sorry, Brad Wright mentioned “Humor” in SGA? No way. I enjoyed the Humor of SG1 and SGA, it is SciFi after all, out of this world, and the Soap Opera that is SGU bores me.
And believe me, we are all fans here. I am a diehard fan too, but cannot get into SGU, and I have TRIED! I just can’t… which saddens me, as for once in my life, Stargate is not the top show of my choice.
if this show would have less sex in it and less of the “we are all dead” and less of the religious drama in it , it would be something more then it is rite now the thing is i love scient fiction series and movies , not because they are known to end good like some say in comic books , but cause it’s an imagination of a space ships aliens and new world or what ever futuristic technologies in the sgu 10 episode of realy slow and boring episodes with lots of sex and lets bray for god… Read more »
@Pioneering. How do you know they have lost ‘at least half their fanbase?’ The numbers indicate otherwise. Not to be harsh at all but I think alot of these Atlantis people who hate SGU are spoilt. As daniel would say “Just hear me out”. You got 15 years of continuous stories and characters that was what you knew. And when characters changed you were eased in to them. Much like someone gets eased off one drug to another. You get so comfortable that the show gets complacent and is actually harmful to the story lines and the characters. But it… Read more »
@Imitation Tofu Well stated. I tend to prefer shows which take the course of entire seasons to tell their overall story (24, BSG, Lost, The Shield, etc.) but there have to be twists and turns along the way that make you care about the characters involved and that simply hasn’t clicked for me here. I’m completely indifferent and in no way emotionally vested in any one of the characters on this show. When Rush was stranded at the end of the mid-season finale, I absolutely didn’t care. As a matter of fact, I literally looked at my dog who was… Read more »
“You get so comfortable that the show gets complacent and is actually harmful to the story lines and the characters.”
That would be the writers fault, not the fans. Try putting the blame where it belongs.
i watch lost , smallville , supernatural , heroes and lots of other scient fiction shows heroes and lost are mostly talking soep but they have a story in it and every episode ends with to be continued and it is worth it cause the episode you watched was exiting and mysterious and you cant wait to c more in sgu you watch the soep and it goes on and on .. like ijasner says soep opra with scient fiction textured living room whats about it in the sgu and that does not make the show as scifi i need… Read more »
“first half of season 1 has been like the setting of pieces on a chessboard”
I agree – but you left out that all the important chess pieces are missing. It is pretty hard to play a game of chess when all you have are pawns on your board. When the creators said that it would be all the wrong people – for the worse they really were not kidding.
Ok, also time for me to get down to say something serious (will not happen often) ””””””””””””””””””” I love SG. Seriousely. I once posted in a forum that this is my fandom and I even said that I’ll never make part of any other fandom. Although the post is severyl years old now, I still agree with this post. I loved SG1, liked SGA and now watch SGU. The people behind SG are terrific guys, Mr Wright, Mr Mallozzi, Mr Cooper and so on and on and on… BUT > SG has changed. I’m not talking about the “the plot… Read more »
Sorry , I am a saddo. I have been watching SG1 re-runs on Sky and I just love them. I don’t feel I am watching the same franchise with Universe and I guess that is what Universe is supposed to be – totally different but then I watched 10 seasons of SG1 because I loved it , why should I want to watch something totally different. There is not enough trust with anyone,therefore no real emotional investment from my point of view. Disappointed in the sex stuff , not required. Just an old fashioned fan who helped to build this… Read more »
While many television shows focus on characters’ relationships with each other, SGU is incredibly plodding because that is *all* we get. If some of those characters were more interesting, wow, bonus! Brad is correct that rushing the stories can exhaust a series, but SGU is developing its arc much too slowly. For example, the ship that disengaged from Destiny’s hull at the beginning of the season ought to have been followed up on by now. Sure, it’s okay to wait a episode or two, but, Lordy, it’s the half-season break and we still don’t know what that was all about.… Read more »
@sparky13 “But stargate fans liked….”,”hard to keep any audience interested but most especially die-hard fans of the franchise”… I am a great fan of SG-1 do you think that you are only a die hard fan if you don’t like SGU? I am happy with the direction they have taken. I can see where it is headed and I am suprised how agitated people are over mid season breaks and slow starts. I don’t even want an SG-1 DVD movie or an Atlantis DVD Movie. The actors are either too old or are moving on. As many fans should. SGU… Read more »
Message to Mr Wright – 4 things that are going to improve upon SGU: 1 – Introduce an alien (or bad race that will try to stop the SGU team getting back to Earth. 2 – Bring some nudity into the show. Yup…you heard me! You did it in episode 1 of SGi and then chickened out in any other episodes. Lost of TV shows have it these days….but not any sci-fi shows. It could be a first to break the stereotypical illusions of sex scenes. 3 – Introduce new weapons and technology to the show. This has to be… Read more »
Regardless of the origns, STU sucks and I predict continued suckage when it returns.
@giza: I love this part of your post above so much, it comforts me somehow “You essentially are biting the hand that feeds. I think Brad Wright deserves your respect and your patience and above all your trust. Those so deeply wounded have grown attached to something created by Brad. Let him do it the right way this time and in due time all the characters will be fully fleshed out and you will have space battles and humor but there will be weight to it.” But what do you think about the “watch it or don’t – don’t care… Read more »
@sparky13 “For example, the ship that disengaged from Destiny’s hull at the beginning of the season ought to have been followed up on by now.”…..excellent point. Again, I’ll give SGU the back half of its first season b/c the writers are saying that much is in store for the show there. However if I’m still as detached from the show at the end of the spring as I was in December, sorry guys, that’s all the time I have to give to you. It’s not SGU’s difference in storytelling approach from its SG predecessors that makes me not like it.… Read more »