Wright Talks Character Study in "Continuum"

Spoilers … Spoilers … Spoilers … and Spoilers….

Carter, Mitchell, and Daniel in Continuum

In an interview held recently in Vancouver, Brad Wright talked with Bryan Cairns at newsarama.com about some of the character arcs in his first made-for-video movie Stargate: Continuum. “I like seeing characters forced to look at themselves in different ways,” he stated.

Writing Continuum gave Wright the opportunity to explore each of the SG-1 team members in a different light because it is an alternate timeline story. What if the Stargate Program never happened? Where would each of them be?

Each of the three team members who are aware of the change in the timeline—Carter, Mitchell, and Daniel—find that their lives were very different in their new reality.

Samantha Carter

Carter in \"Continuum\'

“I have Carter having been an astronaut that brilliantly sacrifices herself, as usual, and saving her crew,” Wright revealed about the Samantha Carter in the alternate timeline. The SG-1 team member had dreamed of being an astronaut before joining the Stargate Program, so this new timeline appears to be very close to the “original” one that was changed by Ba’al when he prevented the Stargate from ever reaching the United States from Africa.

Amanda Tapping described how Carter felt upon realizing her new situation in an interview with Dreamwatch. “We shot this scene two days ago with Beau Bridges where he basically says, ‘You are on your own and we are going to give you new identities and lives.’ That, for me, was probably the most telling scene of the movie. There is that element where we are left to our own devices and we can’t even contact each other. That is pretty scary – to be thrown into a world where you don’t know anybody and can’t even do what you love for a living.”

Carter’s adjustment is made even more difficult because her alternate self is supposed to be dead and was apparently quite famous. It was revealed in another article published by SCI FI WIRE that Wright wrote a scene in which Carter goes shopping in this new timeline. The context of this scene wasn’t revealed in the SCI FI WIRE article, but it could be meant to show how difficult it is for Carter to even do the simple tasks of daily living if she’s easily recognized as this dead astronaut.

Cameron Mitchell

Mitchell in Continuum

At least Mitchell can be seen in public without potentially being mistakened as his own doppelganger, because, as Wright revealed, “Mitchell doesn’t exist because I wanted to do the grandfather paradox literally for fun.”

In time travel stories, the grandfather paradox goes something like this: A Time Traveler goes back in time and kills his grandfather before the grandfather had any children. Thus, because the grandfather didn’t have any children, the Time Traveler wasn’t born; he doesn’t exist. If he doesn’t exist, then he can’t go back in time to kill his grandfather. Therefore, his grandfather is alive to have children and then grandchildren, including the Time Traveler. And so, it goes…

In Continuum, Wright revealed in a Gateworld interview that Mitchell’s grandfather was the captain of the Achilles, the very ship that Ba’al intercepted that was carrying the Stargate from Egypt to the United States back during the World War II era. It was Ba’al’s intention to detonate a bomb to destroy the Stargate. For Mitchell not to exist in this timeline, it is very possible that his grandfather dies when Ba’al boards his ship.

Wright revealed in the Gateworld interview, “Another heroic figure performs a heroic act of getting the bomb off the ship before it explodes and hence the ship just keeps going on the course it was when they were navigating their way, zigzagging across the Atlantic, and ends up lodged in the ice in the Arctic.”

Mitchell, Carter, and Daniel end up ‘gating into the frozen cargo hold of the Achilles, which starts their adventure in this alternate timeline on Earth. After their rescue and being told to go their separate ways to live new lives, Mitchell visits a farm that he knew as a child. Then, he is reunited with Carter and Daniel, but his fate apparently is left hanging as Wright told Gateworld, “I think the funny part of this movie is people go ‘That was fun,’ and then they start asking questions. ‘Wait a minute, then what happened to Mitchell … ?'” He also teased, “If this were a television series and Continuum was one of the episodes, oh yeah, there’s a whole bunch of stories that I’d like to tell. There’s an interesting period of time for Mitchell that could be a story all by itself.”

Daniel Jackson

Daniel in Continuum

What happens to Carter and Mitchell in this alternate timeline is quite serious, but Wright wanted to interject some of Stargate’s trademark humor into the story. He delightedly told Cairns about a scene involving Daniel, who has already suffered quite a bit by this point in the movie, but realizes that his alternate self is alive and has published his theories about the Pyramids.

“Daniel phones himself. That’s kind of a neat scene,” Wright explained. “Daniel reads his own book and phones himself. There is a moment when he picks up the book, wants to tell somebody, and turns it over to see his face. It’s a pretty funny face and that’s the sanest look he gave in the photo shoot.”

Apparently, Daniel, being his typical Daniel self, found a loophole in the rules about not contacting each other in their new lives…

To read the full interview, visit Newsarama: Writer-Producer Brad Wright Talks ‘Stargate: Continuum’.

Release dates for the movie (DVD and Blu-ray) are as follows:

  • July 29, 2008: North America
  • August 6, 2008: Australia
  • August 18, 2008: UK
  • September 10, 2008: France

If you know of other dates, please leave them in our comment section below, and we’ll update our list. Thanks.

NOTE: The Dreamwatch interview with Amanda Tapping, Tapping on the Gate, posted July 27, 2007, has apparently been removed by Dreamwatch from their website. (Former URL: http://www.dwscifi.com/articles/show/759?type_id=4&category_id=34)

[Thanks to the MGM Official Stargate website and Andreas of Repro Images for the images used in this article.]