Every day this week we are counting down to the 25th anniversary of Stargate (1994), with “Finding Fandom.” In the seventh and final entry in the series Jacqueline turns toward the future, talking with fans about what they want to see if and when Stargate returns.
When I first started this series I wanted to focus on you, the fans, and your reasons for loving Stargate.
“Finding Fandom” quickly grew into a project larger than I ever expected, but it has honestly been so much fun. It’s allowed us a look into the franchise’s past (those elements that pull in viewers), and its present (the fans who keep the story alive with re-watches, recommending the show to others, attending conventions, etc.).
And now it seems only fitting that we look towards its future and ask: Is there a future for Stargate?
SHOULD STARGATE RETURN?
I have a lot of thoughts about a potential future for the franchise — why it should return, in what format, the characters and actors I’d like to be involved, and so on (just in case any of The Powers That Be happen to be reading this!). But in all seriousness, with so many other shows being renewed or rebooted all around us, the question of whether Stargate will one day receive the same treatment is even more pertinent for the fan base.
And it’s probably not surprising that, out of all the questions I asked my fellow fans, “What are your hopes for Stargate’s return?” was one that garnered the most feedback.
I received an array of answers, and suffice it to say that the potential, the hope, and the support for any new content is definitely here. Stargate fans are ready and waiting. Yet discussing such an important issue with regards to a show — where so many stakeholders, decision-makers, and external factors are involved — really made me think about a potential return and what it realistically could look like.
For example: Do the fans want to see a revival, or a reboot? Do they wish for the original cast members to come on board (or be involved in some way), or should the focus be on a completely new SG team? Should the storyline stick to canon and return to a previous arc, or rather commence on a completely new journey? It’s all worth taking into consideration.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of these questions, though, we need to crunch some numbers.
When I initially asked fans to pick their favorite series, 80% said Stargate SG-1, 15% chose Stargate Atlantis and 5% voted for Stargate Universe. For most of us, this result probably isn’t surprising as SG-1 is the series that started it all. And with 10 seasons and two movies, it has the longest legacy.
But what wasn’t as clear-cut — and something I found surprising — were the fans’ thoughts on whether Stargate could return as it was. For example, when asked whether they would like to see the franchise back on our screens with new content, 80% answered yes (the remaining 20% admitted they were unsure).
But here is where it gets really interesting: when asked about the possibility of Stargate returning, 45% said yes, they could see it happening; 30% felt the franchise might make a comeback; while 25% said they sadly couldn’t see a revival taking place.
“I would love to see Stargate return,” BeaJmut537 said. “My husband and I really liked SGU and were disappointed when it ended.” stacypa42041454 also called for a revival of the franchise, but added: “You always wonder if it would be as good as the first one.”
“I’d love to see Stargate return with the same charms that got me hooked all those years ago,” LetitiaTHELemon said. Lisuni commented: “I’m not sure about a return. I don’t want a new show or a remake, but I’ll support it with the hope of seeing my favorite characters on screen again — even as a guest star.”
IN (OR OUT) WITH THE OLD?
Now, if the fans are divided over this issue, I’m aware that it might not seem like a good advertisement or incentive for MGM to bring the franchise back. But it is important to note that while these concerns are legitimate, they relate to how the franchise would return, as opposed to whether it actually should.
For example, 87% of fan responses said they wanted the original team involved in some way, with just 13% saying they would like a completely new take on the franchise.
When asked about a return based on one of the original shows: 54% of fans said they’d like a revival based on SG-1; 6% called for an Atlantis project; and 6% wanted a return for Universe). Another 8% preferred more movies; 14% wanted something completely new; and 12% of fans admitted they didn’t mind what it is — as long as the show comes back. (For an additional insight into this debate, Stargate writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi shared this brilliant article on his blog a few years ago, not to mention a more recent take on the subject.)
Shortly before I discovered Stargate, one of my school teachers asked the class what our favorite television show was. It was a general discussion and the answers varied from kids TV to an American sitcom that was hugely popular at the time. My teacher then asked, “What about in five years’ time? Or ten? Do you still think it will be your favorite show?”
Some of my classmates were absolute in their answers and replied “yes.” Others (myself included) hesitated. “Why?” asked the teacher, “Why did you hesitate?”
The idea behind the lesson was that things change. Consequently, time can change our opinions too. In this instance, it was the fact that even if our favorite TV shows were still airing in 10 years’ time, would they still be our favorite? What would they be like? Would the characters be the same? Would there be different writers on board? Would there be a change in the tone or storylines?
These changes aren’t always a bad thing. But I think it’s fair to admit that it can make us wary, especially when it this is such an established franchise we’re talking about that has been away for a number of years.
Personally, I’m all for Stargate’s return — but the longer it goes, the less I’m convinced it will be the vision I have in my head.
Ideally, I want the original SG-1 to return. Realistically, I know this won’t be the case. Even though some actors have previously voiced their support, a lot of the cast and crew are now involved in other projects, or have taken a step back from acting. So would the show be the same if they weren’t on board?
I’d still support any idea — but for me, when someone mentions Stargate, I immediately think of Jack, Sam, Daniel, and Teal’c … and I wasn’t alone.
“Origins was a nice little teaser,” JACQSTER65 said, “but we need to either finish or continue the story arcs that were started.”
“I would really love a ‘tie-up loose ends’ movie for Atlantis and/or Universe,” added KirstyNumbers, while clairec007 also called for more Stargate movies.
femsff admitted: “I would like to a continuation of SG-1 (and it’s fine if the SGA characters visit and we get a general update on SGU), with General Sam Carter in charge, Jack occasionally consulting, Teal’c on Dakara but a strong ally and friend who visits when he can, and maybe Daniel teaching / coordinating the educational side of the Program.”
“I harbor the naïve wish that some characters from the original show will be included,” 4thWall_Kat said — “but I’m aware that that might very well end up not being the case. If they are included then I’d hope they get the same chemistry up and running again. I have no doubt that they would!
“But if there are new people involved then I hope the show stays true to the original and its vibe and range of topics and evoked feelings. I would also hope that the cast, again, is chosen so wisely that it will be full of people who not only are amazing at their craft but also are just people with their hearts in the right place, and who you’d love to learn more about and get to meet in person at conventions, and maybe get inspired by.”
So, if we go with the assumption that the original cast wouldn’t be involved full-time, it seems the fans would also be open to the idea of reintroducing our beloved characters from time to time instead. In support of this is vividlyvanessa, who said: “Bringing back some of the old cast in different roles to reboot a new team and story arc would be amazing. They’ve so much already built out in the [Stargate] world that I think it would be a challenge to start afresh for new audiences, so I’d hope they could balance it well.”
“If it’s something like Universe — where it’s a whole different idea but within the same universe — that would be OK,” vinstry agreed. “It wouldn’t have as many expectations around it as any SG-1 series would have.”
Sloinoh said: “I would love to see a new, in-canon series in the franchise — one that could stand on its own, but also bring in characters from the other shows in the franchise from time to time.”
And, perhaps not surprisingly, one of the original characters receiving repeated calls for a return is Samantha Carter.
“I’d love for Sam to be the commander of the S.G.C.,” AngieVonAsgard enthusiastically answered. And this view was shared by BeaJmut537, who said: “I would love to see Carter every so often; either running the S.G.C. or doing something super important in Washington, D.C.”
“It’s been just over a decade [since SG-1 finished],” xbleeple noted. “I don’t think it’s out of the question for Sam to still be involved in the Program somehow. I’d definitely like to see some of the originals (e.g. Amanda and Rick) return and potentially have some lightly recurring roles to tie the past to the present and lend some reality to it.”
While another request from a certain legion of fans was a definitive answer to the Sam/Jack story arc. “I would certainly love some closure to the Sam and Jack relationship,” BeaJmut537 said. “I liked how the show handled it and didn’t make it into a huge deal, but I certainly was a ‘shipper’ in the sense that I did, ultimately, want them to end up together. I don’t need a whole lot. Just something simple that shows that they made it, and they are definitely together and happy.”
“I really hope we get a new series where Jack is now retired and married to Sam, who is running the S.G.C.,” BeverleyJeffre2 added.
A FRESH START
Other fans took a slightly different view on this ‘revival versus reboot’ discussion, including Sara, who said: “I’m hoping for a new, full-blown Stargate TV series. I’d love to see a show that follows multiple SG teams on their adventures with storylines that tie in with each other. If they go with a total reboot, they should establish it as a parallel universe from the shows we’ve all seen in order to start from scratch. Keep what worked before and correct things that didn’t work.”
MissRainbowPie supports a fresh start: “My hopes for seeing Stargate return is a new series with a new cast. I’ve been nothing but disappointed by revivals lately, so I definitely don’t want a revival with the same cast. As much as I love Amanda, I’d rather have her directing now because it’s her passion; and Rick doesn’t act much anymore.
“I’d want something akin to Universe, where it’s a new concept and a new cast and a new everything, but the same creative team behind them. Maybe the occasional cameo from the original cast. But the show needs to stand up on its own.”
Whether it’s the characters we know and love, or the storylines we’ve followed, or those moments that have affected us, these are the ones we remember and want recreated. And to think that they might be replaced or forgotten about instead is hard to comprehend. (The departure of Jack O’Neill at the end of SG-1 Season Eight is often a discussion that divides fans, for example.) So, it’s understandable why fans are divided when it comes to old versus new Stargate.
However, there’s certainly no shortage as to the potential story arcs available in this universe. Fans shared their own suggestions for a new addition to the franchise, including the disclosure of the Stargate Program to the public; an insight into Homeworld Command and how it navigates politics with space travel; a return for Cassandra Fraiser and her role in the Program; a focus on the Jaffa Nation, following their freedom from the Goa’uld; an extension to Atlantis; and of course a return to SGU and the fate of Destiny‘s crew.
“There’s a proven, working formula that started with SG-1 and continued with Atlantis that would be successful again,” real_sgafan said — “and not just to the long-time fans, but to all new ones and even younger ones. There are so many avenues for original content now. It’s not just TV; it’s streaming services, Web services, and other outlets.
“I do see Stargate coming back. But I hope MGM gets a good grasp on what made it successful, and emulate that, and to do it in a medium that works — even if it’s not broadcast TV.”
Is that the way to go? Well, let’s look at Veronica Mars as an example. This popular TV series ran for three seasons from 2004 to 2007, with confirmation of a follow-up movie arriving in 2013. When filming and post-production was completed, the film had its world premiere at South by Southwest (SXSW) before it was given a limited theatrical release (in the U.S.), and then saw release through a video-on-demand platform. Subsequently, a fourth series of Veronica Mars aired on Hulu — another VOD service — earlier this year.
The Stargate franchise already has some experience with this tactic, with Stargate Origins as a Web series. So it would be interesting to see what did and didn’t work with that kind of distribution, and whether it could be used again for a bigger potential return.
Another fan asked if crowdfunding would be a possibility. It’s hard to say, particularly because there are so many other issues surrounding that option (such as accountability, authenticity, etc.). But if we refer back to Veronica Mars, this was how that movie was funded. In that instance, however, the project crucially also had the support of a studio behind the venture.
With regard to Stargate, MGM ultimately still owns the rights — so whatever they say goes. But could a movie or a mini-series be a potentially good way to “test the waters” to gauge response before a larger project, such as a 22-episode season?
So, where does that leave the fans? If this “Finding Fandom” series has taught me anything, it is that the fan base is in a really strong position right now. And truthfully, the answer to this question is to just keep doing what you have been for over 20 years now. Watch the show, tell others about it, remind MGM how much you love it and why it deserves a second chance. Get involved in conversations and make sure your voice doesn’t go unheard.
“The return of Stargate is every Gater’s wish,” MamaNoxErica concluded. “We need more and I think we’ve proved this, because we will not allow Stargate to finish.
“So, we’ll keep it alive in our own way for the time being.”
All this month GateWorld is celebrating 25 years of Stargate! “Finding Fandom” explores the franchise’s characters, themes, and the family that is Stargate fandom. Post your memories below or use the hashtag #Stargate25 on social media.