Tonight (October 12) on Syfy at 9 PM ET: Stargate Universe episode 2.03 “Awakening”, written by Joseph Mallozzi (and Paul Mullie) and directed by Andy Mikita.
Actor Brian J. Smith called this episode “a real creepy story,” which seems to be a niche for Mallozzi who brought creepy to Stargate Atlantis in the episode “Whispers”.
Apparently, however, the writing of creepy stories doesn’t come easy, as Mallozzi’s many weblog entries during the episode’s production cycle will attest. His readers were taken along for the ride from concept to final mix as he agonized over the script and had to rewrite it several times, both before and after receiving notes from his fellow writers and Syfy. On top of that, there were budgetary concerns with the need both to build an impressive new set and to create an extensive number of VFX shots.
When Mallozzi walked onto the new set, he wrote, “My first reaction upon laying eyes on it was ‘OMG!’. That was my internal dialogue. I can’t remember what it was I actually said, but it was more or less the same sentiment expressed in much more colorful terms. Director Andy Mikita assured me he looked forward to the challenge of pulling it off.” What exactly is this set? If you’ve watched the promos or read the spoilers, you know (see our collection at the end of this article for the spoilery details).
Later in the production process, Mallozzi let his readers in on his departmental meetings. “When VFX Supervisor Mark Savela presented us with the visual effects budget for the episode, I thought Producer John Lenic was going to pass out on the spot. My buddy (and Exec. Producer) Carl wasn’t fazed when he heard the number. He merely shrugged and said: ‘Hey, we knew it was going to be big.’ Well, yes. Big. Not BIG! And so, to ensure we have enough money left to make the remaining fourteen episodes (or alleviate the need to make that special clip show three-parter), Director Andy Mikita and I spent an hour going through the script, tightening up here and there, trimming where we could, and shaving down that number. As a result, the VFX budget for Awakening now falls somewhere between big and BIG. BIg I guess. But what an episode it’ll be!”
And finally, after the filming and post-production were done, the producers got to sit down and watch the Day 1 Mix: “I just phoned Joel Goldsmith to congratulate him on the wonderful job he did scoring the episode. Congratulations should also go out to director Andy Mikita, the cast and crew, and – oh, boy! – Mark Savela and the VFX team! I repeat. Oh, boy!” After seeing the final VFX, he added, “I think it’s their best work yet.”
To spill on some of the specifics of these VFX shots would be to give away a really spoilery plot point, but needless to say, Mallozzi was impressed. He did leave this little teaser for those curious about the actual story: “Awakening boasts some of those incredible(r) VFX I was referring to (especially one complicated sequence many had reservations about that turned out nothing short of amazing) in addition to the discovery of a little something certain fans have been asking about since first season.” We’ll have to find out what that discovery is when we watch the creepy episode!
After you’ve seen it, make sure to rejoin us here for our episode poll on the front page.
Link and Spoiler Collection
[spoiler intro=”Episode Summary”]
The crew encounters a ship, similar in ancient design to Destiny, which may provide the means to return to Earth.
The Destiny is set on a collision course with a ship of similar ancient design found floating in space. Panic turns to wonder as the ships dock with each other. As they review the data stream, they learn they have come upon one of the Stargate seeding ships that the Ancients sent out ahead of the Destiny.
Col. Young dispatches a team to investigate while setting Dr. Rush and Eli to analyze the flood of new data. Once aboard the seeder ship, Lt. Scott and his team discover that it might hold the energy to power the Stargate for a connection back to Earth.
Realizing this might be the key to getting home, Col. Telford convinces Young to let him join the team aboard the mysterious ship. But just as the energy transfer is underway they discover there’s more aboard the ship than power.[/spoiler]
[spoiler intro=”Syfy: Sneak Peek (Actual Scene)”]
[spoiler intro=”Syfy: Preview”]