Another San Diego Comic Con, another huge suite of Stargate events! This year was especially big for Stargate in that Richard Dean Anderson attended for the first time ever, and there were 3 panels, not two: Stargate Continuum, Stargate Worlds, and Stargate Atlantis. Fans had to arrive by 7:15 am to get the best seats, a mere 3.5 hours before the panels began. By the time they started, over 4000 fans had filled Ballroom 20 once again.
Brad Wright moderated the Continuum panel, and it was a rousing and fun affair. In attendance, in order of assigned seating, were Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Director Martin Wood, Michael Shanks, Ben Browder, Chris Judge, and Beau Bridges. It was lovely to note Wright introduced RDA as perhaps his closest friend, and Michael Shanks as personally his favorite actor in the world. RDA didn’t seem nervous at all and in fact seemed to behave exactly as “Jack”, playing dumb and not taking anything the least bit seriously. He was a hoot. It should also be noted that Ben Browder kissed Michael on the lips as he joined him on stage. Michael seemed to take this in stride.
The main news for SG-1 is that both a third movie and Stargate Universe are in development. That doesn’t mean either one has been green-lighted, but MGM has authorized Wright to work on them, especially the third movie. Note this differs from previous stories saying there would either be two more SG1 movies OR Stargate Universe, but not both. Perhaps it will be one of each. In any case Brad is starting to work on a story for the third movie.
Some outlets are reporting this last as major news, but the certainty doesn’t seem to be any more or less definite than it has been for 6 months now. Hmm.
Brad introduced a lovely tribute to Don S Davis. It showed clips of General Hammond talking about what his people and his position as General mean to him, and it was set to Joel Goldsmith’s score from Continuum. When the lights came up after the tribute, all the panelists were clearly moved to tears. RDA got things back on track with a whacky joke.
The panelists looked healthy and happy, in particular Beau Bridges who looks much younger with longer hair! Everyone has been keeping busy, most with acting and Ben with coaching high school pole vaulting this spring, and football coming up. He’s auditioning and writing, however. Chris Judge mentioned he was supposed to be a villain on the upcoming season of 24 but was “fired” for not being black enough, which seemed to refer to him not looking like he’s from Africa. That got a good laugh.
Everyone was excited by the premiere of Continuum with a few hundred fans on the deck of the US carrier Midway the night before. They are very proud of the film and what it represented, the chance to go to the Arctic and then work together again even after SG-1 was canceled. Several of the panelists talked about what a great experience it was working together over the years.
RDA didn’t do well with questions like “favorite episode” or “hardest episode”. He passed on hardest emotional scene, but then called the panel back to him to say it was when O’Neill dealt with the death of his son (“Cold Lazarus”). He said the kid died, how could there not be emotion? Otherwise he admitted he doesn’t remember what he filmed. But his favorite part of Continuum was filming in the Arctic, and his favorite part of that was that the toilet seats were frosted with ice and that his poop would freeze solid.
The Stargate Worlds panel was next, hosted by the Cheyenne Mountain guys. Brad Wright participated too. I don’t pretend to understand all the lingo, like PvP, PvE, spawning, or arenas versus battlefields. What I got out of the panel very strongly was that the creators are really trying to make the game accessible to all Stargate fans regardless of previous gaming experience. There will be many modes of play from solo to team, from fighting to physics to archeology. There will be social networking aspects as well. Reviewers have said the game is like the 4th generation of on-line role-playing games, and goes beyond World of Warcraft in that it takes the social networking to the next level.
The game will be set right before Season 9, and those events had all taken place in the universe of the game. Playing the game will have the elements of an episode. The SG-1 characters will be there as mentors and gift givers to the player characters. The panelists mentioned having voiceovers, and I asked one of the guys afterward what this meant. He confirmed they will record the actors’ voices for the game! He said everyone has signed on, except that RDA might need some further convincing. This is new information to many of us and very welcome!
They confirmed the game is for Windows only now but expressed sympathy for Mac users and some hope that there could be a Mac version some day.
Stargate Worlds encourages fans to sign up to be beta testers and help stress the game. Their current projected release date for the game is “early 2009”.
Stargate Worlds is clearly a huge part of the franchise strategy this year. They have lots of bling, from tee-shirts to dog tags, and are key to the Stargate booth, which appears to be sponsored by MGM and Stargate Worlds. Oh, and some of the buses are painted with SG Worlds. I sense a pattern emerging.
The Atlantis panel was smaller in terms of panelists, with Martin Gero presiding and Joe Flanigan, Bob Picardo, Jewel Staite, and Sci Fi VP Chris Sanagustin on the panel. Martin Gero was especially pithy and quick-witted and added much humor to the affair. All the actors were in fine form and very positive about the show.
Answering about the future of the show on Sci Fi, Chris Sanagustin assured the audience that Atlantis will continue, if not as a series than in TV movies. This seemed a very diplomatic answer and did not exactly impart warm fuzzies about the prospect for a 6th season of Atlantis.
In a hint of a spoiler, Jewel Staite said her wish for Keller this season is to make a choice, and she does. I assume this refers to the Keller/McKay/Ronon love triangle, and based on other spoilers, it seems her choice will be McKay. But, that’s just speculation.
Beyond that, Robert Picardo expressed how much he enjoys the humrous aspect of Stargate and the way it sort of winks at the audience, in contrast to the seriousness of Star Trek. He said he feels a bit like he’s been let out of prison.
Joe Flanigan spoke about “Search and Rescue” being a difficult episode for him to shoot because they’d just come back from hiatus and also because he had a personal issue going on during filming [a/n: he might have been speaking about the death of his father, which occurred at the end of February.] He said when it happened, he went right back to work because that’s exactly where he wanted to be, with his friends and colleagues on set. He has moments of intense gratitude for getting to do this work that millions of people wish they could be doing.
Jewel noted that her character gets kidnapped in the woods many times. Martin pointed out that since they film in Vancouver, it’s hard for them to kidnap you anywhere else but the woods.
Everyone on the panel seems very excited about the upcoming Season 5 episode “The Shrine,” penned by Brad Wright. There are insights into Woolsey. Brad Wright’s favorite moment of the season so far is a scene between Sheppard and McKay in The Shrine, on a pier at night. The slashers in the audience cheered the implications of that one.
These are just some highlights of course. Check back for a more detailed report, or since video taping was allowed, it’s likely the panels will be on MGM, Sci Fi, and/or YouTube. We will be uploading a more complete gallery in the next few days, including close-ups from the autograph sessions!