SGU Spoilers: Series Premiere "Air"

Stargate Universe Banner from MGM

Solutions has obtained two pages of the writer’s draft for the series premiere of Stargate Universe, “Air”. The story is a three-parter, but creative consultant Joseph Mallozzi indicated that he believes that the Sci Fi Channel will broadcast only the first two parts as a two-hour premiere and save the third part for the following week’s installment. Currently, “Air” is set to begin filming February 4 and is slated for a July release.

“Air” is being penned by Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright, the creators and showrunners of the new television series. Most likely Andy Mikita is the director, but this has not been confirmed. Mikita, however, recently joined Cooper on a scouting trip to New Mexico to find a possible filming location for an alien planet.

If you’re adverse to spoilers, you should stop reading this article here.

Some of the information below is a combination of the new script pages and previously-released character breakdowns, press releases, and auditions sides. Solutions has gathered most of the details in the Stargate Universe Guide in the Stargate Wiki. The following is our take on the information presented thus far and it should also be noted that all spoilers are subject to change as the series itself is in production.

Col. Everett Young is the commander of an off-world base. Formerly a commander of an SG team, Young requested to serve the rest of his commission on Earth two years ago when he married Hailey, but was given this base as a temporary command. This secret off-world base appears to be the key location for the Ninth Chevron Project (not known to be the official name for the project, but is used herein for clarification).

   Robert Carlyle cast as Dr. David Rush
Robert Carlyle is Dr. David Rush

The Ninth Chevron Project is under the control of the International Oversight Advisory (IOA) because it is part of the Stargate Program. It also appears to have been underway for quite some time, as there have already been some simulations of the control consoles written under the guise of a “game”. Dr. David Rush is familiar with the Destiny‘s control systems and with the Ancient language, but his programming team used a more rudimentary form of the Ancient language when they created the simulation “game”. Gamer Eli Hitchcock is familiar with the simulation, but only recently was allowed to see the actual consoles. Hitchcock claims to have dropped out of school to play video games “24/7”, so how he got involved with the Ninth Chevron Project isn’t clear.

The United States has a governmental committee headed by Senator Walker. The Senator brings in a contingent of aides with him to tour the base, including his daughter Chloe, who wishes to follow in her father’s footsteps. As far as the IOA is concerned, representative and accountant Camille Wray is present.

During this visit, the base comes under attack (assailant is currently unknown). Young orders non-combatant personnel to their designated safety areas and the military personnel to their battle stations. Young also orders Lt. Jared Scott (formerly known as Lt. Jared Nash) to escort the Senator, his entourage, and Eli to safety.

Apparently, the attack on the base is so severe that everyone who can evacuates to the Destiny. Dr. David Rush might have done something during this time that “screws” things up so bad that he is not trusted when another emergency situation arises.

Stargate Universe: Corridor Hub
Corridor Hub of Destiny

This emergency situation appears to play into the title of the episode, “Air”. While Scott and Marine Sergeant Ron Stasiak are leading crew members Henry and Brody down a corridor on the Destiny, they hear a heated argument between Eli and Rush in a “control interface room”. Rush is doing something at a control panel that Eli doesn’t agree with, and Eli shouts at Rush to stop. Stasiak and Scott enter the room to determine if they should allow Rush to continue his work. This is when Rush tells Eli that the game isn’t an exact copy of the Destiny‘s consoles. Eli doesn’t trust that Rush is doing the right thing and implores him to stop before he overloads the system and “screws” them again. Rush insists that he must reset the life support system so that oxygen will return to the proper levels. If he doesn’t do the reset, he stresses that the oxygen will fall below the critical level and the crew will soon lose the ability to think clearly. Stasiak wants to shoot Rush, but Scott orders him to stand down.

   Stargate Universe: Shuttle Bridge
Bridge of the Ancient Shuttle

The premise of Stargate Universe is that the Destiny is on a course that the stranded crew cannot alter. They are stranded in the far reaches of the universe, cut off from Earth. They have a Stargate in the center of the ship, as well as an Ancient Shuttle, which they can use to visit planets that are nearby. But leaving the ship is a risk because the Destiny could take off at any moment on its preset course to visit Stargates previously seeded on distant planets and leave the away party behind with no means of rejoining the crew.

Sometime during the first two episodes, Senator Walker, Chloe’s father, is killed tragically. Unfortunately, there are no medical doctors among the stranded crew on the Destiny, and only Captain Tamara Johanson (aka Jon) is left to perform medical procedures, but she’s merely a medic. She also must serve as the crew’s psychologist to help people deal with their new situation.

Robert Picardo as Richard Woolsey
Robert Picardo is Richard Woolsey

Stargate‘s Robert Picardo indicated that it might be possible that Richard Woolsey will be present in some capacity as an IOA representative and the commander of Atlantis. “I have already been approached by producer Brad Wright and I told him I would be delighted to do the show,” he told Pop Culture Zoo.

Woolsey is also set to appear in the Stargate Atlantis movie, so hopefully he won’t be killed when the base is attacked. Apparently, Camille Wray is to be the only surviving IOA representative among the stranded crew and as “the highest ranking member of that body left stranded on the ship, she has a false sense of importance and superiority to the other military and civilian population along with a stubborn way of asserting it.”

Brad Wright himself indicated that “Mmmmaybe” they’ll have characters from SG-1 in the premiere much like the time Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks reprised their roles for “Rising”, the premiere of Stargate Atlantis. One could see how having Major General Jack O’Neill or Dr. Daniel Jackson to kick off the newest addition to the Stargate franchise would help draw in long-time fans. Amanda Tapping and Christopher Judge might not be allowed to appear in the premiere because of certain legalities that prevented their appearances in “Rising”, but they could appear later on in the show, as they did in Atlantis.

   Dr. Daniel Jackson with Dr. Rodney McKay on Atlantis
Will Daniel and Rodney be seen in SGU?

Mallozzi said, “Brad and Robert pitched out a clever little element that actually makes it very possible to see the likes of Daniel Jackson or Rodney McKay on SGU.” If not in the premiere, these two characters could be seen using the Ancient long-range communications device to “swap bodies” with someone on the stranded crew. This technology exists on the Destiny and has been seen to have originated from the time before the Ancients even set foot in the Milky Way millions of years ago (when they lived in their home galaxy and were known as the Altera). A different version of the technology was present in Pegasus from the time the Ancients lived there. It is possible that those stranded on the Destiny will have a way to go home in an indirect sort of way with the use of these devices. One scenario presented in the audition sides proposes that Chloe and Eli use the technology to interact with people they know on Earth. They use this technology within weeks of being stranded, so it is possible that Rush’s team already discovered its existence and configured a way to communicate with people on Earth before they were stranded since some kind of companion device is necessary on both ends of the communications link.

Another scenario presented in the audition sides includes the selection of an Ancient Shuttle crew from among the now-stranded crew members. Rush and Young discuss the talents of various individuals, and determine that Scott is the best possible choice for piloting, TJ (possibly Tamara Johanson) has skills necessary for survival, and Stasiak is a strong, capable protector. It’s not certain that this particular scenario will appear in “Air”, but would be a great way to introduce the Shuttle much like the Puddle Jumper was introduced in “Rising” for Atlantis. Rush and Young are in competition for command of the Destiny. Rush feels that Young took command from him and Young thinks that Rush is a “self-serving prick” and calls him such to his face.

Following the three-part “Air” are the interestingly titled “Fire”, “Water”, and “Earth”. Visit the Stargate Universe Guide in the Stargate Wiki for updates.

The Sci Fi Channel is already advertising the new series when it debuted a teaser during the broadcast of the series finale for Stargate Atlantis. Their tag: “The Journey Home is the Greatest Adventure of All”. (ETA: Link to Sci Fi for video.) If one weren’t up to speed on the premise of Universe, one might think that Atlantis’s return home to the Pegasus galaxy was the focus of the new series, but we know better since that storyline will be picked up with the first Atlantis movie, scheduled to be filmed this summer and making its premiere on the Sci Fi Channel in late 2009 or early 2010.

Spoilers are subject to change as the episodes are in production.

[Images from MGM and Sci Fi.]