Here’s an update on what Brad Wright is doing with the Stargate franchise, some of which has been derived from the recently-published interview he held with the fans at GateWorld as they attended the Creation Convention held in Vancouver this weekend.
Wright confirmed that the first stand-alone direct-to-DVD movie Stargate: Continuum will be released in North America on July 29, 2008. The writer and producer told the Official Magazine recently about working this date around the San Diego Comic Con, which is being held from July 24 to July 27. MGM has prepared for the event by covering ten buses with Stargate ads and by scheduling a panel (like what was done for Cooper’s The Ark of Truth last year).
Wright was kept busy last year with the two SG-1 direct-to-DVD movies while the production of Season Four of his and Robert C. Cooper’s creation Stargate Atlantis was in full swing, but he still attended production staff meetings for the show. He also managed to get in a story idea (“This Mortal Coil”), but didn’t have the opportunity to write.
But that’s changed for Wright this year during the production of Season Five: He’s written the episode “The Shrine of Talus”, which is currently being prepped for shooting. It is slated to be the sixth episode of the new season. The episode has been described by executive producer and co-showrunner Joseph Mallozzi as “a David Hewlett tour de force” that made actor Jewel Staite cry. Wright has written a “tour de force” episode before when he produced SG-1 Season Seven’s “Lifeboat” for Michael Shanks, who won a Leo Award for his performance.
SG-1: Children of the Gods
Cooper and Wright have recut the Stargate SG-1 pilot “Children of the Gods” to make a Special Edition DVD, scheduled to be released by the end of this year.
“I saw it on television, and I thought, ‘We can do better than this,'” Wright told GateWorld. “And it wasn’t just the visual effects—it was the whole thing. It was the way we tell story. It was the whole 4:3 thing. And I thought the score and the music was so heavy-handed. And, frankly, there was some bad writing.”
Of particular concern to Wright is Sha’re’s full frontal nudity scene, about which he said, “It doesn’t belong in Stargate.” That scene has been cut out of the new version, which will run approximately seven minutes shorter than the original.
The goal of the new version is to make the pilot a “movie”, rather than a two-part television episode. “Twelve years on, what is worth making is the movie — the story of ‘Children of the Gods’ that is the movie. We spent a week or so recutting, editing, pulling some stuff out, updating the visual effects in many cases, [and] cutting out things I thought never belonged there.
“We went back to dailies [that were shot in 1997]. We are rescoring. There is new material, but most of the new material is visual effects or scenes that have been cut. It is tighter. It is significantly tighter. The editing pattern is different, and therefore the performances are different. It’s a different movie.”
Cooper and Wright pitched the concept of the third television series Stargate Universe to the Sci Fi Channel back at the end of October last year, right before the Writers Guild of America strike. Sci Fi has not given the new show the go ahead just yet, though.
“The pitch was received very well,” Wright told GateWorld, “[but] we pitched an expensive series—the idea we have is not cheap. I think we’ve proven ourselves, so … ‘Can we please have enough money to do it right this time?’ And, if not, then honestly I don’t want to do it. Why do it wrong?”
Originally, the show was going to be a stand-alone movie … a Stargate movie designed to bring in new viewers. It is still set in the present day, but is not an SG-1 story nor an Atlantis story.
“The idea of Stargate Universe is that it is set on a ship that was part of an Ancient experiment that was set in motion probably millions of years ago—one that they never saw to fruition, but that we can. They got busy with the whole ascension thing.”
Wright explained that the experiment was “to send a ship across the universe, and to send one ahead of it to seed the galaxies with Stargates, and that they would one day use the ninth chevron to get there [to the ship]. And that’s what Stargate Universe is.”
As to when the show, if approved by the Sci Fi Channel, will get started, Wright said, “Internally, Robert and I are a little bit torn, because we had such a great time making The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum. Making one or two of those a year would be a damn fine thing to do! Honestly, it takes up a big chunk of time writing it, a big chunk of time making it, and then the post on a movie is more than twice as complicated as post on the biggest episodes. So it’s not like you can just knock one off while you’re making a television show. It’s just too much.”
Wright explained to GateWorld that “too much” also included the production of 40 episodes concurrently like what was done with Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis for three years in a row. If Sci Fi Channel does come through with the money, it’s not clear when the new show will be produced, but apparently scheduling considerations will be at the top of Wright’s list.