Co-writer and producer Joseph Mallozzi talked about the episode in his recent appearance on “Dial the Gate,” revealing the origins of this story and how it turned into both a comedic and emotional tour de force. Watch this full segment in the video below.
“The pitch I came up with was very dark,” Mallozzi told host David Read. “It was really about SG-1 encountering a civilization that was facing an apocalyptic event, and [who] were using a device to re-loop time in order to give them time to avert this catastrophe that never could be averted.”
Some of these elements remained in the finished episode, though the civilization that built the time-loop machine had long since perished when SG-1 arrives on the planet. Instead they find a fellow explorer and archaeologist, Malikai (guest star Robin Mossley), who was attempting to use the technology to undo his own personal tragedy.
“Window of Opportunity” was the first episode written by Mallozzi and Paul Mullie to air after they joined the writing staff for Season Four (though not the first script they wrote). Mallozzi said that it was executive producer Robert C. Cooper who encouraged him and co-writer Paul Mullie to rethink the idea with a lighter tone.
As a result Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) and Teal’c (Christopher Judge) become trapped in a time loop where they are forced to learn to read Ancient, and relive indignities like being hit in the face with an opening door. Eventually they give up on breaking out of the loop and act on impulse, taking a few loops off to do whatever they want with no consequences.
“Suddenly I realized … we’re just doing Groundhog Day!” Mallozzi said. But if every story has already been told, what makes a story special is that “it’s your characters who are living [and] experiencing it. And especially the fact that it’s O’Neill and Teal’c — the two guys who know nothing about science, who know little about the Ancients [or] the Ancient language — were the ones who have to figure it out.”
“One of the things I always loved about Stargate was its sense of humor. … I always found humor goes a long way toward allowing audiences to connect with characters. But they also bring those moments of levity that, by contrast, make the darker moments that much darker or more poignant.”
In this video Mallozzi also talks about Easter eggs in the episode, how Fruit Loops almost didn’t make the final cut, and fans’ reactions to the episode over the years. And he also talks about writing Dark Matter‘s own time loop episode, “All the Time in the World.”
“Dial the Gate” is streaming with new interviews every weekend! Join us this weekend as David chats with Rick Worthy (“Kytano”/“Imhotep”) and Garwin Sanford (“Narim”) on Sunday, December 13. Plus: Gary Jones (“Walter Harriman”) launches his brand new show where he talks directly with Stargate fans!
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