“Hey, wanna go check out a cannon?”Marty G. asked as me I strolled by his office this morning. Would I?! Faced with the unappealing option of resuming work on my beat sheet, I happily took him up on his offer and joined him in heading over to Stage 1 where we wandered amongst the various goodies in the works. The cannon. An entranceway. The engine room.
“Recognize your well?” Production Designer James Robbins motioned to the oven (which he has affectionately coined the Bunmaster 3000) over to my left. I’d given it a glance walking by but, upon scrutiny, identified the familiar “stone work” and finish that had eluded me the first time. My well! My precious, creepy, so-heavy-they-needed-a-forklift-to-move-it-during-the-Whispers-shoot well was no more! Damn. I’d kind of had my eye on it in the unlikely event production on the series eventually wrapped. It would have looked great in my backyard. Or the upstairs guest room.
Ah well. Plenty more mementos to choose from. Over Stargate’s 12+ year run, the franchise has amassed a vast inventory of props, costumes, and set dec. Weapons, alien devices, an assortment of colorfully garish hats, and a half-dozen phone booths were just some of the items we came across that afternoon we toured the Stargate storehouse. And, as we wandered by the goa’uld architectural pieces and matching peacock light fixtures, I made a mental note of the things I would love to lay claim to once the series does end. It’s a list I’m constantly revising but, at present, consists of:
1. The Carmen Miranda headdress worn by the goa’uld Zipacna in the episode Pretense, an item that was put up for auction on eBay several years ago and managed all of zero bids.
2. One of the serpent guard helmets worn by the Jaffa during SG-1’s early run – oversized, unwieldy things that offered little visibility and led to many hilarious outtakes of top-heavy extras stumbling about in the forest.
3. Chris Judge, whose cheerful personality and loquacious nature is a far cry from the stoic character he played on SG-1; a great addition to any party you happen to be planning.
4. The creepy, eyeless wooden doll that James Robbins created for Whispers – the perfect gift for an impressionable young nephew.
5. The Rodneyana Villosa seen in Quarantine (the, uh, all grown up version). A real conversation piece.
6. Tyre’s sword from Broken Ties. I’ll never understand why the sword-as-accessory went out of style. I’m bringing it back.
7. The U-shaped devices that villagers in Revisions attached to their temples. I’d wear it everywhere and, in the event I ever got stuck talking to someone, I could just tap the device and say “I’ve got to take this call.”, start talking to myself and walk off. Modern technology. What will they think of next?!
8. The “alien” glassware used in Beneath the Surface – the most bizarre, counter-intuitive drinking vessels ever committed tofilm.
9. The wrist device from Tracker (I’m hoping it’ll be operational by the time production winds down).
10. The box of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts I gave Carl Binder on his first day on job which has sat, unopened, in his office for the last three years.
A reminder to all that our next Book of the Month Club discussions are fast approaching. Author Joe Abercrombie will be dropping in the week of May 19th to discuss The Blade Itself, the first book in his First Law series (and our fantasy selection for May). Then, the week of May 26th will Stargate fave John Scalzi stopping by to field your questions and comments about The Android’s Dream (our scifi selection for May). And, finally, the week of June 2nd, we’ll be discussing John Shirley’s Crawlers (which looks to be equal parts science fiction and horror).
Delaynie writes: “Anyway, my question dear sir is what are the possibilities of getting some DeLuise love for Atlantis?”
Answer: No chance. Sorry. Peter isn’t working on Stargate: Atlantis.
Carol Z writes: “1) I thought writing was highly collaborative on SGA? Why only one writer credit per episode? 2) Is it unusual to have all the writers also be the producers? Or is this commonplace in TV-land? 3) Why do some of the episode titles change so often?”
Answers: 1) Even though all of the writers take part in helping to shape the script, only one writer actually sits down and writes it. 2) This is not unusual in television. 3) There are many, many reasons why a title may change from a shift in the content of a given script to personal preference.
PG15 writes: “1. Is Outsiders the name for Alan’s “location episode”?
2. So I see that Tracker is again listed below The Queen. So is Tracker now 509, and The Queen 508?
3. Are these wonderful pics of Todd and the badass Wraith from The Queen?
4. With Martin Gero coming up with this great idea, does that mean that Hexed is dead? Could it be moved to a potential Season 6?
5. Episode 519 is written and directed by Robert Cooper; am I right?”
Answers: 1) Yes. 2) At this particular moment – yes. 3) Yes. 4) Not necessarily. It’s possible. 5) That’s the plan.
Rose writes: “How many episodes in Season 5, thus far,would you say are team-centric episodes?”
Answer: Sorry. Can’t answer that one because what constitutes a “team-centric” episode is all too often a matter of opinion.
The Teslan writes: “I was looking at your book recommendations in some of your posts and noticed there was no mention of Michael Crichton.”
Answer: I haven’t read Crichton.
Sammie writes: “Any chance we’ll see Jack in season 5?”
Answer: No chance. Sorry.
Nodaskip writes: “1. Will we still see the Phoenix in regular time since it will soon be up to when it was up to when Carter got command of it in the ‘Last Man’ timeline.
2. And will we ever see a ship named after the late commander of the Prometheus, Colonel Lionel Pendergast?”
Answers: 1) Eventually. 2) Nope.
PG15 also writes: “Is 519 “CSI Atlantis”?”
Answer: Yes, it is.
AMZ writes: “I was wondering, roughly how long does it take to edit an episode of Stargate Atlantis?”
Answer: The editor starts assembling his cut after the first day of production. Once his cut is complete, the director will go in and work on his cut for a couple of days, then output a director’s cut. The producer will then go in and, over the next couple of days, fashion a producer’s cut. The network and studio will watch the producer’s cut, provide notes, and it’s back to the editing room for the producer who will incorporate said notes and then lock the cut.
Tim the Technician writes: “Just like you’re the “Ties” man (With The Ties That Bind, Family Ties and Broken Ties under your belt) I just noticed that Alan McCullough wrote ‘Insiders’ for SG:1 Season 10, and (if the title sticks), ‘Outsiders’ for SG:A Season 5. Have you noticed any other trends like that in the Stargate writing crew?”
Answer: Yeah. Carl seems to be our ghost guy: Phantoms, Echoes, Ghost in the Machine.
Chevron7 writes: “Joe, I see that Brenton Spencer has directed one other episode of Atlantis (Submersion). Would he have had to go through a ‘Stargate 101′ (say watch a few eps) so he knows the general style of the show or would he just do his own thing?”
Answer: Brenton was a director of photography on the franchise for quite some time, so he knows the show very well.
Farscapefan writes: “Could you tell me whether Rob Cooper did already his Ark of Truth entry and Q&A session about it? If not yet, when it’s gonna take place?”
Answer: Rob will be dropping by to do an Ark of Truth Q&A in a couple of weeks. I’ll be sure to make an announcement closer to the date.
Boomer Goodheart writes: “I know that TV (just like the movies) is shot out of sequence. My question is whether you shoot all of one episode, then start on another or are they all kind of mixed up together?”
Answer: Ideally, and schedule permitting, we prefer to shoot our episodes one at a time.