“Gauntlet” is a magnificent episode of television. But of course it was never meant to be the final hour of Stargate Universe, which had reached the end of Year 2 in a planned five-year story.
Nevertheless, Syfy Channel’s decision to cancel the show (and, in so doing, bring an end to a 14-year television franchise) made “Gauntlet” into an accidental series finale. Finally united in common cause, the crew of the Destiny entered stasis in order to conserve power — as the ship began its long journey across the vast emptiness between galaxies.
The show’s writers were just as shocked as fans when the network cancelled the show … just when it was getting really good. Even if it didn’t end up on the air for five years, didn’t Stargate have enough clout that the ratings justified one final year?
“At the time I think we were under the impression that we might get a third and final season,” writer and executive producer Joseph Mallozzi told Dial the Gate. “And so when we produced this episode we didn’t really know whether we were coming back or not. And, sadly, we didn’t come back.”
The second season of the show brought the revelation that the Ancients had launched Destiny to gather intel on the cosmic microwave background radiation left over from the Big Bang (“The Greater Good”). According to Dr. Rush, the Ancients had discovered evidence of a coherent intelligence that might predate the existence of the universe itself.
With the door shut on a third season, the writers room never reassembled to spin the next chapter of the crew’s journey.
“If any show could come back, [where] we had set up a finale that would allow us to come back, it would be Stargate Universe,” Mallozzi said — even if it takes so long that the cast has grown older. With the crew in stasis, maybe “twenty years later those pods kind of malfunctioned! So maybe some of them look a little older. Some of them didn’t make it.”
Check out this short clip of their conversation:
In his first appearance on the Stargate interview show, fellow writer and executive producer Paul Mullie said that the writers had wanted to provide the audience with some sense of closure, despite the fact that the story wasn’t finished yet. The Atlantis team got a moment like that in looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge. “You have to do something like that to have some sense of closure,” he said, “otherwise it’s just so annoying to just be left hanging. But you don’t want to completely wrap it up because there’s always the possibility that you come back.”
Mullie also speculated a bit about just where it was that Destiny might have ended up — although series co-creators Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper never revealed their full plan for the ship’s mission and the planned series finale to the rest of the writers room. He said there was some talk about Destiny‘s course perhaps being not a straight line out to the edge of the universe, but instead a course that would eventually loop back around to where it started.
“Yeah, we talked about that,” Mullie said. “In my mind it was always a possibility that they would come back to Earth, but it would be like a million years in the future, or a million years in the past — there would be some weird time effect to it.”
Check out the clip above for more, and don’t miss the full conversation with Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie now on Dial the Gate! While you’re there, subscribe to GateWorld’s YouTube channel for more Stargate content every single week.