Today at the Vancouver Creation Stargate Convention, Executive Producers Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper gave a very informative, interesting, and at times quite intellectual talk to an enthusiastic audience. A more detailed report will follow, but here are news tidbits of immediate interest to Stargate fandom.
** NOTE: minor spoilers for SGU and SG-1 **
While the teasers that have been aired so far for Stargate Universe (SGU) have been very dark (see “Frantic” and “Philosophical”), there will definitely be humor in the series. The teasers, created by Sci Fi Channel, are meant to set a mood and an energy, but the characters will have innate humor. The show is set in the here and now, and even in bad situations, people make jokes.
SGU will have touchstones from SGA and SG-1. The show takes place in the same time period, and there will be visitors from those shows. There will also be a lot of back reference. While wanting to bring in new fans, they also want to reward long-time fans.
SGU will have new mythologies, some related to the Ancients and others brand new. Since the ship will be exploring the universe, there won’t need to be a basis in Earth mythology.
The aliens on SGU will be very alien. They won’t be humanoids with prosthetics, and they won’t speak English. They will be as alien as you’d hope to find in the far reaches of the universe.
There will be a component on SGU that allows the characters to relate back to Earth and to people on Earth. It will enable stories of the trapped crew interacting with their loved ones. It will allow the writers to tell “Earth” stories. [This is likely a reference to the Ancient communication terminal that will allow body-swapping similar to what was done on SG-1.]
The show will shoot in New Mexico in a couple of weeks. Those will be scenes from “Air Part 3”. They’re really looking to find new ways to have episodes that aren’t set in trees.
Cooper believes the SGU gate is the coolest ever. And there will be a shot of the Earth gate in which viewers will see a chevron lock that’s never been seen locked before. He would not confirm that it’s the ninth chevron.
Space Network in Canada will air SGU at the same time as it’s aired on Syfy in the US. They expect the UK to air it too, as there is lots of interest in the show due to Scottish actor Robert Carlyle being in it. [There’s confirmation of Sky One from Variety today.]
On the involvement of sci fi author John Scalzi with SGU, Wright said Scalzi has been reading every script and giving notes. He’s been especially helpful in rooting the science of the show a bit more in reality. He might write an episode if he gets time at some point. Wright is a big fan of his fiction, as is Joe Mallozzi, and Scalzi’s sensibility and humor they felt would benefit the show.
The style of SGU is different from the past. Cooper doesn’t believe they are emulating Battlestar Galactica. But, they want to shoot the show more like how a documentary crew would shoot on the ship if they were there documenting it. So cameras will be in non-standard places. The sets will be lit naturally, such that the actors can move around as if they’re on a stage, rather than having to be in one place for lighting reasons. Already as a result they are getting far more “real” performances from the cast. Viewers will feel as though they are there. It will feel less staged and less unrealistic. They hope this will help viewers connect with the characters very closely. One show they did look at as an example to draw from was Firefly. It was shot with hand-held cameras or non-traditional camera placements. So Firefly and other dramatic shows were somewhat an inspiration.
There will be two gay characters on SGU. Cooper started to say there would be one at least, and Wright clarified that there will be two. Cooper and Wright want the crew to represent our society, with all its complexity and realism. They want it to be identifiable to as many people as they can. Not for ratings, but to portray humanity.
Wright and Cooper, and MGM, want to make an Atlantis movie. The fact the sets are still up and their space being paid for is evidence of MGM’s commitment to the movie. However, given the world economy, the people who fund the movies have put the breaks on actual production. Joe Mallozzi and Paul Mullie are working hard on the script, and they really want to make it as much as we want to see it.
The SG-1 movie seems to have been green-lit. It will probably start shooting in the Fall, but that is somewhat dependent on whether the SGA movie gets the green light and they decide to film them back-to-back. It’s “probably” because there are a lot of deals that have to be put in place before that can happen. This likely refers to actor deals. If it films this Fall, it would probably be released in the Summer of 2010.
As far as why the 3rd SG-1 movie will revolve around O’Neill, it’s because he’s cool, and because Wright had a story idea that would really work with O’Neill. Wright loved Continuum especially when RDA was in it.
The re-cut version of “Children of the Gods” is complete and has been delivered to MGM and Fox for distribution as a special DVD. It will include a commentary track by Brad Wright and, for the first time ever, Richard Dean Anderson. Wright noted that the story was very fresh and new to RDA, so many years after filming it. Wright believes they are in the final process of working on the DVD, but he doesn’t have a timeline for the release. The DVD will be dedicated to the memory of Don S. Davis.
The 3rd SG-1 movie won’t feature Ba’al or Cliff Simon.
There can’t be a theatrical release of any of the Stargate shows because of the issue of rights of the original Stargate movie creators. So don’t expect a Stargate movie in theaters.