“The secret needs to get out.”
Amazon is buying MGM, and as we draw near the end of 2021 it seems inevitable that the Stargate franchise will return in some way, shape, or form. But will it scrap and reboot the sci-fi universe that is beloved the world over? Or will the next Stargate series continue the established continuity that was built over 17 seasons and more than 350 episodes?
Stargate SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe co-creator Brad Wright himself is ready to return to the world he helped to create, should Amazon executives give him the green light. And he is ready to push the story of the Stargate program into completely new territory.
In Wright’s current pitch for a fourth live-action series, the Stargate would be public knowledge.
“I think the trick to anything would be that it’s high time the world found out about the Stargate program, for better or for worse,” Wright told Syfy Wire. “Keeping all of that technology from the world at a time when we could really use it, at a time when climate change is a genuine threat, at a time when there was a pandemic that we sure could have used a fix for, for example. The world needs to find out.
“The secret needs to get out, especially since we have come so far and will have come so far after another 11 or 12 years.”
By the time the franchise went off the air in 2011, Earth had acquired a fleet of space ships, hyperspace engines, numerous alien weapons and technologies, matter-energy transporters, databases spanning centuries of knowledge from both the Lanteans and the Asgard … all still a secret from the public, despite multiple nations being read in and numerous private contractors receiving access to classified material from the S.G.C.’s offworld operations.
Wright’s pitch for a new show currently has a pilot script completed. That appears to be waiting for Amazon’s acquisition of MGM to be completed — or at least further down the tracks — before a decision is made. Amazon, at least, is still keeping its cards close to the vest.
Revealing the Stargate to the public would be a game-changing event, which the producers always held back during the franchise’s 14-year television run (1997-2011). Wright told us during the shows’ production that disclosure was such a big idea for this universe that it deserved to be the subject of a new Stargate film. Ultimately Wright intended to finally cross that threshold in his planned direct-to-DVD movie, Stargate: Revolution, which was to tell a Jack O’Neill-centric story. After three years in limbo that project was scrapped in 2011, after the bottom fell out of the DVD market — and MGM had gone through bankruptcy, and was under new management.
So a fourth TV series in which all of humankind is now aware of the Stargate, interstellar travel, advanced technologies … even alien species? Truly it would be a “next generation” for storytelling in the Stargate universe.
The Stargate franchise has been off the air for more than a decade, excepting only the low-budget Web series Stargate Origins (2018). Wright was not involved in that production, which took most of its cues from the 1994 Stargate feature film rather than from the television canon.
News first broke in January of 2019 that Wright was in active conversation with MGM about creating some kind of new Stargate project. When they were ready to go out and pitch it to potential broadcast and streaming homes in 2020, the endeavor was iced by the COVID-19 pandemic (which caused all film and television production to grind to a halt).
“I wrote a pilot for [MGM] and the timing could not have been worse in terms of delivery,” Wright recently told Bleeding Cool, “because the pandemic hit pretty much as I was typing the end.”
Stargate’s fourth series went back onto the shelf, as studios around the world struggled to figure out how to restart film and television production.
Then, in May of 2021, Amazon announced that it is buying up Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and all of its assets — including the Stargate franchise.
That news creates all sorts of new possibilities for the Stargate franchise, once the deal is completed. But will Amazon want to produce Wright’s script … or go back to the drawing board?
Brad Wright’s plans for a fourth live-action Stargate series still might come to fruition, though the news of Amazon’s $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM seems to have put the whole thing on the back-burner at the studio. Assuming the companies can obtain approval from federal regulatory agencies, the deal will not close before the first part of 2022.
Wright, for his part, hopes that Stargate’s new owners will honor what has come before as they look to inject new life into the brand.
“My goal was to create something that was new that also honored the existing universe, that lived in the canon of SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe, and therefore included some of those characters,” Wright told Syfy Wire. “Bring in a new guard? Absolutely. But not at the expense of the pre-existing characters, who I think would still be very much on their game and still firing on all cylinders.”
As we have previously reported, Wright’s plans include the return of several fan-favorite characters from Stargate’s previous shows. Michael Shanks (“Daniel Jackson”) and Ben Browder (“Cameron Mitchell”) are in the pilot script, along with Amanda Tapping — now promoted to General Samantha Carter.
“Of course there would be a General Carter,” Wright told Syfy Wire. “Why wouldn’t there be? Who else would run the whole shebang other than her?”
These characters would probably make only the occasional guest appearance, with the show following a new team. He hinted earlier this year that his script may include something akin to a “Stargate Academy,” where beloved characters from past shows might be serving — though it would not by any means be limited to that setting.
He also suggested that former Stargate SG-1 leading man Richard Dean Anderson (“Jack O’Neill”) would have a part to play, too. Anderson made a surprise cameo appearance in The Companion’s Stargate A.I. table reading last week, which Wright helped to spearhead.
Wright appears hopeful that, whether or not it’s his pitch, Amazon will bring Stargate back in some form. “I can’t imagine Amazon not doing something with the franchise,” he said, “or empowering MGM to do something with the franchise for [them]. … There’s so much mythology that we covered but there’s so many stories yet to be told and so many new places yet to be visited. And I think it would be fun to do that.”
Given Amazon’s intention to make use of MGM’s valuable intellectual property, it seems only a matter of time before Stargate is back on the small screen in some form. But will it be Brad Wright’s fourth series, or something completely different? Keep your browser locked on GateWorld for the latest developments.
On Twitter: @bradtravelers