ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 06.22.07
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 05.12.08
DVD DISC: Season 10, Disc 5
WRITTEN BY: Robert C. Cooper
DIRECTED BY: Robert C. Cooper
- “[Executive producer] Robert Cooper has written and is also directing the last SG-1 script and it’s a cool story. I can’t tell you too much about it other than we travel into the future and then back again into the past.
“Probably the biggest challenge for us is putting our regular cast in period make-up. First we age their characters 20 years and then 40 years. It’s very interesting to look in Photoshop and see that 40-year transition. It’s going to be quite an eye-opener for the fans.” (Executive producer N. John Smith, in an interview with Starburst magazine [#343, October 2006])
- “[‘Unending’ is] a great season-ender (I’d say series-ender but, really, that’s up to the fans — so long as they keep supporting the DVDs, the longer we’ll keep telling stories) that offers some truly poignant moments and finally offers up some major satisfaction for members of ‘that’ fan contingent.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “[SG-1 gets] trapped on a space ship stuck in a time dilation field and they live out roughly 50 years of their lives — just our team. One of the things the fans have always talked about is that they love when the team is together. And so we put them together for 50 years, just them! And you see the relationships that develop and how they evolve.
“And then, of course, as science fiction allows you to do, we just undid it all. I think it was kind of a fun way to say goodbye to this era of SG-1.”
“We were never going to blow up the S.G.C. and kill everyone. It’s apparently quite bad for the reruns! … We want people to feel as though the Stargate universe is on-going, even though one arm of it is not being produced any more.” (Executive producer Robert C. Cooper, in an interview at StargateSG1.com)
- The writers originally planned to end with a cliffhanger finale, anticipating another renewal. But when word came in August of 2006 that SCI FI did not want an eleventh season of the show, they had to rethink how to end SG-1‘s run on the network without ending the premise entirely — similar to the challenge faced when the show ended its 5-year run on Showtime in Season Five.
The network did not want a cliffhanger, Cooper said, and “out of respect for the fans we wanted that episode to have a little bit of a spirit of closure, a sense of ending without it being an ending. And thus we called it ‘Unending.’ It’s one of those fun science fiction concepts that allows you to have a window into one possible version of the future for these characters.” (GateWorld news report)
- “The story that we came up with is I think a great, fitting ending to 10 years. [It’s] very moving. … In a way the final episode of SG-1 is called ‘Unending’ for a reason. It’s got an element of a wrap-up. There’s a look into the characters and the personality of the characters that [fans] will never see and never be able to see in any other story.” (Executive producer Brad Wright, in an interview at StargateSG1.com)
- “I know fans don’t like to hear the business side of things but I would have liked to have [Richard Dean Anderson] in ‘Unending.’ Unfortunately, we were over budget as it was and when it comes down to it, what justifies the salary overage from a studio perspective is a potential ratings bump that might help get us picked-up. We were already canceled at that point.” (Executive producer and director Robert C. Cooper, in a post at Joseph Mallozzi’s blog)
- “Word had come down a couple of months earlier. Stargate SG-1 was finally coming to an end. And, to be honest, despite the countless eleventh-hour reprieves that saw us coming back year after year, the many changes the show had undergone, the fact that we were producing a lofty tenth season of the series, I was genuinely surprised. And disappointed. With the re-shifting of the show creative two seasons earlier, and the promotion of Claudia Black to series regular that year, I felt the show had been revitalized and could have gone another season — at least. There were still stories to tell and I would have loved nothing better than to get a shot at telling them. And, we almost did. Soon after we got word that the show had been canceled, talks were underway to save it, talks that actually bore fruit. The plan was to produce an eleventh season of SG-1 as an online exclusive, anticipating a business model that has saved several shows since. All the pieces were falling into place and it looked like we were going to save SG-1 — and we would have, if not for a contractual obligation that ultimately killed the plan.
“Looking back, I have nothing but fond memories of the show and the many, many individuals who brought it to the small screen, contributing to a series that ran an astounding ten seasons and produced an incredible 214 episodes. Although I disagreed with the decision to cancel us, putting things in perspective, it’s hard to find fault with a network that rescued us halfway through our marathon run. If not for Syfy (formerly known as SciFi), Stargate SG-1 would have ended with its fifth season on Showtime. There would have been no Mitchell or Vala, no Ori or Anubis, no Landry, no McKay, and, perhaps most crucial of all, no Teal’c unwittingly attending a reading of The Vagina Monologues.
“It was a great ride but, like all rides — great or otherwise — it finally came to an end, in this instance with the ironically titled ‘Unending,’ episode #214, written, directed, and produced by longtime Stargate executive producer Robert Cooper. It was clever in that it offered the best of both worlds: a glimpse into the future of the characters viewers had grown to know and love over the show’s many, many years, and the promise that their present-day adventures would continue. Which they did, in two direct-to-video movies: Ark of Truth and Continuum.
“You can’t please all of the people all of the time and, while many fans loved the series-ender, other took issue with — well, take your pick: the end of the Asgard, the absence of O’Neill, Daniel and Vala finally getting together, Sam and … Teal’c(?!). Still, I loved the way it provided answers and, even if those answers were undone at episode’s end, they nevertheless hinted at possible things to come. I was sorry to see the Asgard go (after so many years, I’d come to delight in the antics of those genderless, passive-aggressive know-it-alls) but I was equally sorry to receive their parting gift, the Asgard core that has been consigned to Area 52 for long-term R&D.
“Rob saved the shot of the team heading through the gate, one last time, for the very end. From what I hear, they didn’t get around to it until well after midnight. I thought it bittersweet that, while everyone behind the scenes was saying their goodbyes that night, the scene that had preceded the farewells not only left the door open to future adventures but suggested a familiarity and routine that would continue, albeit unseen. Although the fans wouldn’t be privy to these future off-world travels, they could take solace in the fact that SG-1 was still out there, doing what it did best: keeping the galaxy safe for the rest of us.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “I remember directing the last episode of the series and how emotional that was. We ended up going quite a bit long that day. Being our last day, we had kind of overloaded the schedule. I can’t remember whose idea it was, I think it was our A.D. [assistant director] at the time, but we had boarded the day so that the last shot we shot was the team going through the Stargate. That ended up being I think around one or two o’clock in the morning and people had gone home who were not on the crew, the office staff or the other people associated with the show, all the producers and writers, and they all came back. Everybody came back at two o’clock in the morning to be there for that last shot. It was pretty emotional. The actors were all very teary in even doing the shot, having trouble holding it together I remember that as being a sort of nice goodbye.” (Writer / director / executive producer Robert C. Cooper, in an interview with Syfy Wire)
- Were there plans to resurrect the Asgard in an eleventh season of SG-1? “Every season of the show, we went in assuming it would be our last – only to be surprised with a pick-up. Until Season 10 when I was certain we’d be picked up for an 11th season – only to be cancelled. Having said that, there were no concrete plans for any Season 11 stories (as we received word of the cancellation early enough that Robert Cooper was able to write a terrific series ender for the show). I think the feeling was that the direction of the series had evolved past the Asgard storylines.
“Still, the nice thing about science fiction is that nobody really ever stays dead – and especially not an entire alien race.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a July 2020 post at his blog)