Stargate’s Return: The Next Step

Adam Barnard breaks down the options that the studio could be weighing for Stargate's next incarnation.

The Ark of Truth

In July of last year, during a special 20th-anniversary panel celebrating Stargate SG-1, MGM dropped an unexpected and game-changing announcement: “Stargate is back.”

The unveiling of the 10-part digital series Stargate Origins opened the floodgates to a variety of speculation. Where is the franchise going? Are we going to see another long-form show? Why its own digital distribution platform? What are MGM’s long-term goals?

Now, with the success of both Origins and the studio’s new digital platform Stargate Command, MGM is undoubtedly looking ahead at what Stargate‘s future might hold. And given this exciting new chapter for the franchise, I want to pretend we have a front row seat on the action.

So let’s put ourselves inside an MGM boardroom: A meeting has been called, all the executives are present, and a giant (empty) whiteboard hangs in front of us — ready to receive ideas.

This is about possibilities, not limitations. So, let’s get started. The future of Stargate awaits!

THE OPTIONS

(1) More Stargate Origins

Stargate Origins ("That's A Wrap" Teaser)If it worked once, why not try it again?

The Web series is a relatively low-risk investment that can enrich the mythology, characters, and greater world of Stargate. It can run as a companion piece to a new long-form series (think of the “Kino” webisodes from Stargate Universe). Or, as Origins did with its most recent Langford-centric iteration, it can function as a prequel that contains valuable insight into past characters and events.

Either way, more Stargate Origins helps MGM flesh-out a richer and more intriguing cinematic universe. And with a Stargate-centric digital distribution platform like Stargate Command, the production and distribution of Origins is simplified.

Less politics, no pesky cable networks, and a more immediate, quantifiable payoff.

(2) A Two-Hour, Direct-to-Streaming Film

If you want to follow up Origins with something a little more explosive, a one-off feature film might be in the cards. Think Stargate: Continuum … but tailored exclusively for a digital release.

Stargate: Continuum (SG-1 Team)

Stargate: Continuum (2008)

A modestly budgeted, two-hour film (Continuum was made for around $7 million) could also serve as a backdoor pilot for a new long-form series. But most importantly it takes the next step in discovering Stargate’s current market potential (without having to rely on the outdated, broken DVD and Blu-ray market).

The film could be released exclusively on Stargate Command, or it could utilize a variety of digital distribution outlets like iTunes, Amazon Video, or Netflix. There are plenty of options.

(3) A Miniseries

This is another good avenue to explore if you want to do something more ambitious than a Web series, but not as grand as a long-form show that could run four or five seasons.

11.22.63 — the limited Hulu series from JJ Abrams and Stephen King — is a good example of a miniseries done right. It’s “episodic,” in the sense that the story is told in hour-long segments but when you put all eight episodes together it creates a complete, singular experience. The series is essentially an 8-hour movie.

11.22.63 (Hulu)

11.22.63 (Hulu)

Each episode builds on the former, and story threads are able to weave in and out of the greater narrative without being rushed to fit a single running time.

Should it be successful, a miniseries could also serve as the first season of a new TV show. It’s a clever way to embrace the progressive trends of television viewership and tell more intricate and intentional stories.

(4) A Fourth Long-Form TV Show

Ah … the mere mention of this prospect lights a fire in the eyes of every Stargate fan. And there’s no denying it — by popular demand, it’s what fans want.

Fandom was already speculating what a fourth Stargate series would look like, even as Stargate Universe was winding down with its final episodes in 2011. Simply put, Stargate is too valuable to leave dormant or reduce to a disaster-movie franchise (like Roland Emmerich may likely have done).

Long-form storytelling has always been a staple of the Stargate franchise. And given the tremendous staying power of the old shows it will likely remain that way.

If MGM does greenlight a fourth series, the race will be on to find filmmakers who can balance dense mythology with compelling characters who live up to the legacy of O’Neill, Carter, Jackson, McKay, Vala, Rush, Eli, and Sheppard.

Stargate Event Horizon (Movie)There’s also the question of when the show will take place, and to what extent will it rely on past Stargate shows. Writer/producer Brad Wright recently argued that past entries were successful because they took place in the present day. On that note, perhaps Brad Wright is just the man for the job. After all, he knows Stargate better than anyone.

Ultimately, it’s a very subjective decision — as it’s heavily dependent on what direction MGM wants to take Stargate. We just have to hope that MGM will allot the necessary resources to make a fourth series every bit as compelling as its predecessors.

(5) A Theatrical Event Film

Last time Stargate got a proper theatrical budget was with the original movie, in 1994. Perhaps it’s time to unleash the franchise and watch it soar to new heights on the big screen.

We are in the golden era of big-budget storytelling, including franchises such as Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Star Trek, Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible, Godzilla, Planet of the Apes, and The Hunger Games, to name a few. Studios are shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars for single films that can capture the passion and imagination of moviegoers around the world.

Filmmaking and technology has grown in leaps and bounds since the 1990s, where Stargate made its debut (largely reliant on practical sets and in-camera effects). And while an over-reliance on technology often crushes character and charm, Stargate’s rich mythology lends itself to visual thrills that have yet to be explored.

Stargate in Giza (Movie)Wright and Cooper did a stellar job with SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe — making every penny of their budgets count. But at the end of the day these were cable television shows. They had a fraction of the resources poured into a tent-pole studio feature (on a dollar-per-minute scale).

A blockbuster film would be the ultimate investment. And given the current entertainment landscape, it’s worth seriously considering.

(6) A Feature Film Trilogy

This is simply an expansion of the previous idea. But trilogy storytelling shares one key difference: the need for immense upfront planning — far more, at least, than what is required for a stand-alone adventure.

A trilogy would be the most substantial investment in the Stargate franchise yet, and something Devlin and Emmerich have been trying to accomplish since the original Stargate film. In fact, a Stargate trilogy nearly happened quite recently. This could have laid the groundwork for subsequent movies and even TV shows (creating a new Stargate canon).

While these plans ultimately failed, should a new filmmaker come along with a compelling (and complete) vision for a Stargate trilogy MGM might be convinced to take the risk to bring the story back to the silver screen.

But it would have to be a damn good pitch.

(7) A Stargate SG-1 Reboot

Teen SG-1 ("200")

Let’s just hope that any reboot of SG-1 doesn’t look like this!

I might have skipped this, but Brad Wright did allude to this option in a recent AMA. Without reading too far into his comment, it’s definitely a possibility the studio might consider.

Of course, the drawbacks of an ostensible hard reboot are clear: it would erase the TV-verse canon we’ve come to know and love. But here’s the thing: an SG-1 reboot doesn’t have to be a “hard” reboot.

The show could be anchored in the existing timeline (present day), but with a brand new SG-1 team — comprised of all new faces. It’s only logical that original team members would have moved on to new command posts, and replacements would have to be assigned.

The reboot can exist within the world of Stargate Command — as established in previous series — while also blazing its own path on a tonal and creative level. Perhaps Landry, Mitchell, or Carter can appear in a recurring leadership role (or, at the very least, make a one-off appearance in the pilot).

It’s worth considering. And if executed properly, it is one of the less risky propositions.

(8) Stargate Extinction and Revolution

OK, perhaps I’m biased, because I did spend the better part of a year running the Stargate Movies Campaign, fighting for these very movies to be green-lit. But personal preference aside, these films are still a smart investment.

Enemy At the Gate (SGA 520) - San Francisco BayFirst off, the scripts have already been commissioned, so you can knock off about 5% of the total price tag (typically the screenwriters’ fee). More importantly, it would give fans of Atlantis and SG-1 much-needed closure, and provide an opportunity to set up a fourth series that takes place in the modern day.

Stargate: Revolution was long-rumored to disclose the Stargate program to the public. So Revolution could also pave the way for an in-canon SG-1 reboot that depicts a revitalized, public Stargate program.

While seven years have passed since these movies were shelved the actors are still alive and working, and the scripts are still the property of MGM. So assuming the filmmakers can factor in a timeline adjustment, there’s no reason these movies couldn’t work.

Plus, we have Stargate Command to distribute them on!

(9) The Brad Wright Wrap-Up Movie

This could go hand-in-hand with Stargate: Extinction and Revolution. In fact, a crossover movie — featuring cast members from all three previous Stargate shows — was supposed to act as a substitute for these cancelled, direct-to-DVD movies.

Brad Wright & Robert C. Cooper

Brad Wright (right) with Robert C. Cooper (left)

Wright and his team had 17 seasons to tell the story of Stargate, across three shows and two networks — yet they were robbed of a final opportunity to give characters and story threads the conclusions they deserved. Without being melodramatic, I think it makes that legacy feel incomplete.

Fans need to experience those “Chewie, we’re home” moments with the old cast … where Jack O’Neill and Samantha Carter walk into the situation room, or return to the S.G.C. to brief a new set of heroes. We need to see the old generation pass off a baton to their successors. And what better way to do that than to have one last Stargate adventure from the maestro himself, Brad Wright?

Logistical challenges aside, this could really be a home run, and bridge the gap between Stargates past and future.

(10) A Combination of The Above Ideas

Ultimately, none of the aforementioned pitches on our studio whiteboard are intended to come across as either/or choices. This is just a (partial) list of possibilities — and a list that will be expanded by minds far greater than my own.

It’s up to the new executives, the filmmakers, and the united voice of fandom to revitalize the franchise and guide it into a new era. My hope is that MGM will continue to listen to the heartbeat of fandom, and take the time to understand why Stargate resonated with audiences in the first place.

But one thing is for sure: We’re ready for more.


So what’s your take on the options?

Anything we missed? Anything you strongly support or object?

Let us know in the comments section, the GateWorld forum, or on Twitter & Facebook.

13 Responses

  1. Nekomajin
    (25 comments)
    April 2, 2018 at 3:38 am |

    How big success was Origins? Do you know any numbers? The reaction from the fans is mixed, at best.

    Anyway, I like the idea of more Origins, especially if it runs parallel to a new series, but not this quality. It was fine for one, but if they continue it in any way, they must put much more money in it, and demand much higher quality from both the cast and the crew.

  2. Heightmeyer's Lemming
    (4 comments)
    April 2, 2018 at 10:35 am |

    All of the above sound like interesting ideas, except for the ones you put running on the Stargate Command app because that would basically mean the same thing for all stargate fans not in any of the 6 countries and therefore locked out from these options, like we were/are from Stargate Origins. If you want to impart the notion that we simply aren’t important enough as fans, job well done. I will gladly take my money elsewhere, away from MGM and never look back on their failure to respect their customers.

    I don’t want digital movies, or series, or whatever. If that’s the new way of Stargate, then the story ends with SGU.

  3. Neug
    (1 comments)
    April 2, 2018 at 11:24 am |

    More Stargate and continue SGU hopefully on Netflex.

  4. Rsanchez1
    (68 comments)
    April 2, 2018 at 12:53 pm |

    I would also like to know how big of a success was Origins really?

    I’d like to see Stargate Revolution, but I’m not sure MGM can afford Momoa anymore for a direct-to-streaming movie.

  5. It's not me, it's you
    (2 comments)
    April 2, 2018 at 4:11 pm |

    Keep Stargate Command app for HD content and all things Stargate, which is nice by the way, BUT do not make new content locked in the app… including Origins.

    I don’t see it happening, but having a Stargate Cinematic Universe with full-length 20 episode series’ entwined would be amazing. Think MCU and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. We’re in a booming age for sci-fi, i really hope MGM takes advantage of that.

    Wouldn’t mind seeing BSG make a comeback also..

  6. Phoenix
    (1 comments)
    April 2, 2018 at 5:52 pm |

    Think what I would like to see is a continuation of Atlantis and SGU although I appreciate the logistical issues of doing them now in terms of cost and availability of actors. Although with the passage of time and the fact the Destiny crew is in stasis you can write around those issues in a number of ways
    I don’t think it needs some huge budget Cinema releases. The original film was good but it was SG-1 that made the franchise.
    The best viable option would be a 4th series. There is no end of options available. Past/present/future. I still think it would be brilliant to see Janus do his Dr. Who routine in the time ship.

    However the worst thing imaginable would be to reboot it and spit on the entire history of stargate. I grew up on Star Trek and I can’t stomach the new stuff at all.

    The platform it appears on is certainly going to be an issue for some. Netflix and similar seem to be the way things are going. I personally like the command site and app but I get that the limited global availability is a big problem.

  7. Scidude
    (6 comments)
    April 2, 2018 at 11:20 pm |

    Anything but a reboot.

  8. Spacen
    (3 comments)
    April 3, 2018 at 2:12 pm |

    I hope they see the success of Origins as what it is: a desire from fans to support the franchise. It was not successful because it was a quality product. It wasn’t. I don’t want to bash too much because I know the budget was very small and they did the best with what they had. However, the writing was poor, the acting was poor, and the even the concept was poor. I still paid my fee and I still watched every second. I may only do that one more time. If the quality doesn’t improve and the story doesn’t further develop canon, it doesn’t deserve my time or money.

    Yes, I would love to see a return of a long form TV series. If that isn’t possible, I would be happy with most options presented here with some notable exceptions. Again, if it isn’t canon, I won’t support it. I am not interested in continuing the Emmerich movie trilogy or any other other “reimagining” of the franchise. You have fans invested in hundreds of episodes of existing canon. I understand they may want to attract new viewers and I support that. However, do it through something that furthers the story, not rewrites it. The other exception is a reboot. I could easily support a version of a reboot as depicted in this post. New characters that take the place of our beloved SG-1 after they move on. However, I will not watch a reboot that has the familiar SG-1 characters played by different actors during time periods already covered by canon. That erases what we fell in love with.

    I also agree with Brad Wright about the contemporary nature of the show. That is exactly why it originally captured my imagination and I have been professing that to people from the very beginning. If you take away the contemporary time period, it’s just another story that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

  9. Themaingmaster
    (26 comments)
    April 3, 2018 at 11:52 pm |

    SG GRAND SLAM! Well, actually, it’s called “Stargate Forever” … It’s about getting Atlantis involved with the rescue of those aboard Destiny who actually want to return to earth. Visit the “notes” section of the Facebook page “Save Future Stargate Travel” to learn more. It’s time to get the band (or those who can do it) back together again! I think the producers will find that most everyone that was involved with any part of the TV cannon would jump at the chance to be a part of this once again. J.S.

  10. Columba
    (1 comments)
    April 4, 2018 at 10:32 pm |

    I’ve had this idea for a while where the Stargate Program goes public, but also where the Governments of the Earth become tyrannical.

    Fresh off their victories over the Ori and all other enemies, The Tauri grow powerful and arrogant. This forces Stargate Command to send their elite teams and personnel into Exile off world in the hope of someday returning to save the Tauri from themselves. I call this idea Stargate Exiles.

    Stargate Command would do this covertly while retaining a cover story that they stand with the corrupted governments of the Earth.

    Atlantis could be incorporated into this concept by making an escape from Earth and possibly making it back to Pegasus to lend assistance from their base of operations there.

    Earth would have to become powerful enough to be a real threat to the freedom of the Milky Way and Pegasus Galaxies.

    Perhaps even Stargate Universe could be incorporated into this idea.

    Stargate could pick up right where it left off and avoid a reboot (and tie everything together at the same time using a formula similar to Marvel). New ground and new stories with our solar system and three galaxies as the canvas could propel Stargate to the next level!

    The feel of the show would be like Marvel’s AOS in The Framework where the world we know has become a nightmare world. Think of the Aschen on steroids or the U.S. under General turned President Hank Landry in the alternate reality SG-1 experienced.

  11. Kendog52361
    (2 comments)
    April 6, 2018 at 7:48 pm |

    I prefer a combination of the above. Part of the issue, to me, of just continuing with the current “SG-1 universe” is Earth is too powerful to really have any big threat in the Milky Way, and we already left the galaxy with the last two series. The problem with just adding a new powerful enemy for this series, is what did they do during the reign of the Goa’uld? If they’re powerful enough, and evil enough, to be a threat to Earth, then why wouldn’t they have countered the Goa’uld? It wouldn’t have been to defend the “locals”, but more in the whole idea of “this house isn’t big enough for the both of us” type of thing. Basically, the only way I could see a new series, in the current continuity, that could work is one dealing with Disclosure. Whether that’s with Disclosure happening in the “pilot”, with the series covering the aftermath, in the series finale, with the series covering the lead up/build up, or in the middle, with the series covering both the build up and then the aftermath.

    What I would really want to see, is a soft reboot, where the Gate was initially taken from Egypt to Germany, many Nazis escaped at the end of WW2, and then the Gate was found and brought to the US. The US didn’t know what the Gate was, just that it was of major importance to the Nazis. The Mission to Abydos still happens, with O’Neill, Jackson, Kowalski, Ferretti, and so on. However the Gate then laid undisturbed for the next 20+ years, until it was dialed in by a Nazi Special Forces Team who raid the compound the Gate was being stored in, and start the whole series. There’s no plan to nuke Abydos, because the Team hadn’t seen any Nazis there, and they wan’t to know what the he** is going on. The team find Daniel on Abydos, with his daughter(s), and maybe a son. He takes them to see the Gate Address Room, and the attack through the gate happened like in the SG-1 Pilot, and by Apophis/a Goa’uld. Sha’re died during childbirth/complications of childbirth, or an accident, or something, point is, she’s dead and it’s Daniel and his kids only, not including any of his in-laws who are still alive. Either one of Daniel’s daughters or his son are killed/are captured by the Goa’uld. As for Daniel, while he may be showing the team the “Stargate Address Chamber”, his daughter might do it instead, and he’s still in the “gate room”. He could either be killed during the attack, or be badly injured, brought back to Earth, and could be a recurring guest actor on the show. As for who would play him, that’s a bit more up in the air.

    The Nazis would be a second recurring villain in the series, alongside the Goa’uld. They also wouldn’t be defeated when the Goa’uld are defeated, so they would be sticking around afterwards.

    As for the seasons, I’m thinking each season would be a mix of serial programming and standalone episodes. The season openers, season finales, and several episodes inside the season would be “season storyline” while the others would be standalone, with maybe some stuff dealing with the “season storyline” but could be fully viewed standalone.

    The “season storyline” would be the overarching “plot” for that season. Season 1 would be the initial reopening of the Gate, figuring out what the heck is going on, and starting to track down the Nazis who attacked the SGC. I’m thinking the Nazi SpecOps Leader would be a primary recurring villain in Season 1, with him slowly being set up (to the audiance) that he would be a recurring Nazi villain throughout the Series, with the twist being at the end of the Season, when the Nazis invade the SGC (to keep that tradition in Season 1 finales), he gets killed/badly wounded and left for dead by his superior who we have seen him reporting to, but didn’t see the superior (as far as we know) until the Season One finale. We also find out that the Nazis are actually looking for something, a hidden civilization.

    The overarching story of Season 2 would be the aftermath of the invasion and attack against the SGC, and starting to look for whatever it is the Nazis are searching for through the Gate System.

    The “hidden civilization” when they are found, could also be, on the one hand, opposed to the Goa’uld, and maybe the Nazis, as well, but in later seasons, maybe by Earth findind out something about them, that results in them replacing the Goa’uld as the new major villains in the series, rather than having the Ori again.

    While this is in the same overall “SG-1 Universe” as the current series (SG-1, SGA, and SGU), this is something like one timeline over from the current TV Shows. It also allows you to basically take from most of the current SG-1 Canon, and not having to make up the mythology and technology as you go along. While the Goa’uld would likely be played by different actors, that’s more due to it having been over a decade since the shows were in production. So, it would be similar to when the Klingons got redesigned in The Motion Picture, it happened, but nobody really commented on it.

  12. DevJim
    (3 comments)
    April 11, 2018 at 8:30 pm |

    It needs to be a 4th series set in the same continuity, set in present day, but a soft reboot wouldn’t hurt.

    The setup: In recent years spending on The Stargate program has stopped, key players escaped off world or we’re forced into retirement. A coup lost Earth Atlantis and the Hammond and even the Stargate itself, and all the artifacts from the Stargate program have ended up in the wrong hands. And off in the farthest reaches of space.. An ancient Goa’uld faction is revealed to be very much alive.. and headed for Earth.

    The premise – a young bureaucrat approaches Sam Carter as she’s picking up her kids from school, Woolsey sent her. He finally has the presidents ear… he found the Gate.. it’s in Moscow.

  13. Scorpwanna
    (1 comments)
    July 29, 2018 at 6:58 pm |

    I know this post is a bit late but, when I heard about Stargate: Origins, I figured it would be about an actual Origin of the gates. More about the creators of the Gates (in the TV Series, the Ancients) but the Movie Universe, WHO? The way they did Origins was interesting, I liked it. It just doesn’t seem to be series worth or following up with Catherine. I mean, where can you go from there but decades later, until you end up at the 1994 movie. Catherine can’t go back into the gate again and then have her memory wiped every time. I suppose another group could accidentally manage to dial an address with the gate on Earth and be unable to return back. Guess that would make it kind of like Sliders in a way.

    I’d like them to add a few more seasons of SG-Universe to end that maybe with a long awaited mini-series.

    Never reboot a franchise, add to it, but be smart about it.

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