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.

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Nekomajin
Member

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.

Heightmeyer's Lemming
Member

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.… Read more »

Neug
Member

More Stargate and continue SGU hopefully on Netflex.

Rsanchez1
Member

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.

It's not me, it's you
Member

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..

Phoenix
Member

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… Read more »

Scidude
Member

Anything but a reboot.

Spacen
Member

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… Read more »

Themaingmaster
Member

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.

Columba
Member

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… Read more »

Kendog52361
Member

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… Read more »

DevJim
Member

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… Read more »

Scorpwanna
Member

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… Read more »

Furling Devastator
Member

I wanna see Furlings attack and destroy the Earth. So basically, that’s it: A movie.

noah82
Guest
noah82

A series that continues the overall story line of the previous 3. Just a thought the ancients seeded galaxies surely more than just 2 it might be what ancients do perhaps we could find a living society of ancients in the pilot and there enemy becomes our enemy or we could just finish off the wraith… as long as there is more about the ancients i don’t mind we just need a good enemy. no reboots there is no need and the story is unfinished lets finish it.

fx
Guest
fx

9

Tony bonura
Guest
Tony bonura

I am die hard stargaze sg1: please , I want more but please give it that original sg1 feel. Bring back substance and a team we can fall in love with again

Evita Garcia
Guest
Evita Garcia

Number 7/8 This was a story left incomplete. Where does Atlantis end up. Does humanity fully disclose?

TJ
Guest
TJ

I don’t honestly think a reboot would be bad. They laid the ground work to redo SG-1 completely without wiping out the previous universe. With how the multiverse works, they could do a series where the characters are still the characters but because of some choice somewhere in the timeline, they look completely different. I mean you can take some of the things we loved from the original show and upgrade them to today (since some of the alt verses were ahead in time but different, why couldn’t this universe start their gate program later and therefore in our timeframe).… Read more »

Sandy Weller
Guest
Sandy Weller

Stargate-Atlantis was the best, then SG-1. They did a disservice to SG-Universe. I did not, would not watch anything on pay-per-view like Netflix. They have ruined StarTrek franchise, except for the last movie. It was closest to the original. Writers can create anything. Please continue Stargate series with many of original cast members that are available

SROWLAND
Guest
SROWLAND

Elisabeth Weir Replicator group battles the Wraith/Gundl requests help from Star Gate command. They send Atlantis and Prior coalition, encounter new enemy Gundl that has taken over the Wraith and now endanger the universe. SG-U encounters advanced Alteans who built the pocket universe obelisk. They are also fighting the Gundl. Gundl were responible for the virus that almost wiped out the ancients/Alteans think ringworld engineer types.

Deedoo
Guest
Deedoo

I loved Stargate SG1 and Atlantis but hated the SG Universe they really lost the plot there. Why not make a story about the Ancients? How they built the very first Star Gate? What went in to creating the gate, their success, failures, sacrifices etc. How did they installed Star Gates in other plants and how did each star gate got its address etc. Their Technology, science and weapons to defend them from other threats. Call this title “StarGate Alpha” (SG-α) (StarGate – with Alpha sign). Come on guys I’ve given you a good hint. Now go and make StarGate-Alpha… Read more »