Back in mid-January, I visited Stage 4, what was to be the Destiny set, for the first time. Construction was well under way and the ship was taking shape: gate room, control interface room, observation deck, quarters, and corridors. My first reaction upon strolling through the work-in-progress was: “Wow!” And then, my second reaction was: “They’ll never finish in time!”

Well, happily, they did, and it was fascinating to watch the process develop, from those early designs through construction to the finished product.

"Hey,"says best-selling author and SGU consultant John Scalzi.  "Check it out."
“Hey,”says best-selling author and SGU consultant John Scalzi. “Check it out.”
The back wall - early stages.
The back wall – early stages.
Seen from the balcony.
Seen from the balcony.


Back wall - almost completed.
Back wall – almost completed.
Earl design: Gate room - upper level.
Early design: Gate room - upper level.


Gate room - upper level.
Gate room - upper level.
Gate room - upper level
Gate room - upper level


Uh, are those the ship's engines I hear?  Should we still be on board?
Uh, are those the ship’s engines I hear? Should we still be on board?
Early design: Stepping through the gate.
Early design: Stepping through the gate.


Gate room - balcony
Gate room – balcony







Consoles in.
Gate Room consoles.


Anne Teldy writes: “ Mr. M., my birthday is the 27th of July. Any chance of my promised autographed script page arriving before then? You said “soon” on May 25th.”

Answer: Sorry. I was trying to track down another autograph. Unfortunately, you won’t receive it for your birthday (the production offices are closed through July) but will receive it as a belated birthday gift in August.

NaniWahine writes: “ Hello Mr. M – I just got back from the Shoreleave con & Rachel mentioned that she’s heard from the studio that SGA movie is NOT happening.”

Answer: I already addressed this two entries back. There has been NO word from the studio either way.

Thornyrose writes: “ And I’m mulling some ideas for a SGA skit for the Masquarade next year. Any interest?”

Answer: In the skit? Sure. Do I get to play myself.

Lcshepp writes: “Thanks for resonding to my question re: the SGA movie. Would it be more economic to have the SGA movie be a two hour TV movie or even a mini series, from the network side of things?”

Answer: From the network side of things I’m sure that either would be terrific – given that they had oodles of cash to finance the entire production.

Nadine writes: “ What did you think of “Look to Windward”? How did you find it in relation to Banks’ other works? Have you read Matter yet?”

Answer: Banks is one of my favorite SF writers and, while Look to Windward was very good, I’ve preferred some of his other books – Consider Phlebas, Player of Games, Use of Weapons, and Inversions to name a few. Haven’t read Matter yet. Next up is The Algebraist.

Montrealer writes: “Mr M. What is the percentage drop off in DVD sales recently? Is the drop off the same in the US and Canada?”

Answer: I don’t recall the percentage stated in the article I read, but it was significant.

Quade1 writes: “If DVD sales are dwindling, would you guys consider theatrical releases?”

Answer: Sorry, not in the cards.

Quade1 also writes: “ I should have added, if the movie does fall through, what would you think of bringing the series back?”

Answer: Sorry. Also not in the cards.

Bailey writes: “Sales of the Season 5 Atlantis DVD’s seem to be doing well,
better, in fact, than the Season 4 set had done at this time.
Do you thing this will have any significant effect on the possiblity of the SGA movie going forward?”

Answer: The DVD market is one of many factors.  That said, this is certainly good news and does prove there are plenty of Atlantis fans out there.

55 thoughts on “July 14, 2009: Building the Gate Room

  1. Wow, the promised Destiny pics in all their lusciousness! I’m glad I checked in earlier today than I usually remember to 😀

  2. If we can get you to come to Shore Leave, not only can you play yourself, but I’ll make sure chocolate plays an integral role in the skit. And if any of the other Shore Leave attendees are interested, shout out. I’ll try to remember to start pestering people around January, to give folks time to think up some stuff. Just for fun and grins, and to not let the Doctor Who fans have all the fun at Maskerade.
    Great pics of the new Universe set. I really hope that the powers that be will announce the production dates for the movies, as well as the series premiere, so that we can all enjoy the new show as we wait for a dose of the shows that brought or kept us in the franchise in the first place. Thanks for the mailbag. Oh, and as long as you’re game to be in the skit, I hope you dont mind a wee bit of moulage….

  3. If we all raided our piggie banks and ‘donated’ the cash do you think that we could finance the SGA film?

    I have some foreign coins and £35 in out-of-date British coins.

    It’s a start!

  4. I have the same birthday as the illustrious Anne Teldy! It must be a lucky sign!

    I’m still hoping the Stargate movies get made. I enjoyed (and now miss) both series and the movies for SG-1 have been very good. Here’s hoping for more.

  5. “Building the Gate Room”

    Oh boy! Let me clear my throat.

    “Technically, it’s the Embarkation Room.”

    On another note, I got an email announcing a DVD release of the full Stargate Atlantis series. Guess what Nomi and I will be getting ourselves as our next joint present?

  6. I very sad today. Last night we watched the final episode of Season 5. I really hope the powers that be decide to go ahead with the movie because I’m beginning to suffer withdrawal.
    By the way, thank you for such a wonderfully entertaining series. It has been a treat to watch all five seasons.

    Joe, you often mention beats when you are talking about script writing. Have you explained what you mean by beats? If not could you give me the Coles Notes version 😉

    @Thornyrose I would love to attend Shore Leave. I went to Polaris here in Toronto for the first time. I just made it to the Sunday sessions, but I had a wonderful time. Shore Leave must be like Polaris on steroids LOL

    @Susan the Tartan Turtle I like your idea. Especially the out-of-date coins.

  7. Just got back from seeing Transformers…loved it! 😀

    No accounting for taste, I suppose. 🙄 But I wasn’t bored for a second, lol’d a few times, and just felt it was a darn good summer ride. Only downside (for me) was a bit too much juvenile humor – it could have toned it down a bit so that it wasn’t so much ‘Porky’s Meets Saving Private Ryan’. Otherwise, I found it very entertaining.


  8. Wonderful pictures, thank you.

    We’re headed for triple digit heat this week. Who the hell thought up this summer crap? I do have my fingers crossed that hubby will get a steel load into Vegas on Friday. Why? It’s 115 degrees out, it’s dark, and we’re wearing fur. Santa wants a Drink! Yes, Santa rampage down Fremont Street in July. 8 o’clock outside Fitzgerald’s, wear comfy shoes and a Santa hat won’t cut it, you must be in full-on Santa garb. See you there if the reindeer don’t die from heat stroke.

  9. Wow, thanks for the pics. Looks really cool. Almost better than your chocolate party pics. Almost. Chocolate is always better.

    I wonder when they figure out DVD sales, they add in downloads from iTunes, Amazon, etc?

  10. @Mishmee; would love to have you. Shore Leave is big enough to bring out dealers and decent guests, but small enough you quickly recognise faces. And the guests are much more approachable. I will be looking at ways to help myself and others cut costs(i.e. sharing rooms and rides) so start planning to attend now. Once word gets out Mr. M. is appearing no doubt the con will sell out(disclaimer; Mr. Mallozzi has not yet actually agreed to, or been asked to by the convention runners, to attend, Yet. )

  11. Just wanted to give a little nod & congrats to my new comic shop – Acme Comics in Greensboro, NC – on their Eisner Award Nomination!

    A few weeks ago when my comic shop said it would be closing, I hooked up with Acme because I knew the owner through Bendis’ forum, and decided to give a brick and mortar operation my business, instead of turning to an on-line discounter. Well, Acme has now found itself on the list of nominations for the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award – not just shops in America, but shops from around the world! Great job, and congrats to Jermaine & Acme Comics! Even if they don’t win, the acknowledgement says a lot about the pride they take in both their business, and in the product they sell.

    I feel like there’s this ancient knight standing over me, saying, “You have chosen… wisely.”



  12. Looking pretty awesome. Especially intrigued by the look of the new gate.

  13. Pics like these really help fill in where the SGU website images leave off, although I’ve enjoyed the simulated navigation of the various spaces there. But what the showrunner sees is always cooler. – Well, except for the fact that my imagination always seems to run short in this department, and I’m just totally in awe when I see the entire production onscreen. I remember you saying something similar about having the actors wait to see the whole thing, not just their scenes, so they could be blown away by the full effect of what they’re taking part in.

    I’m looking forward to asking Elizabeth Moon a few questions about The Speed of Dark. In the meantime, I’m reading The Girl in the Glass, and am fully engrossed. For shorter reading periods, since I’m not a fast reader, I’ve been going through Paul Di Filippo’s collection, The Emperor of Gondwanaland. I think I must be making up for having deserted sci-fi lit some years back, and I’m enjoying it a lot. Your book recos reignited the interest – I had no idea all this great stuff was out there. Thanks once again.

  14. Oooh I’ve missed this site!

    After fighting with viruses on my system for months I’ve finally upgraded all my software and the first thing I do (well, after emails) is head over here.

    Looks like the set for SGU is amazing, I’m really excited about seeing how it fits together with the rest of the production now.

    It seems I’ve got enough time to get into the next BOTM club selection too, I’ve never read Moon, but I’ve heard a lot about her work. Looking forward to The Speed of Dark, I’ll probably go hunting for it tomorrow!



  15. Awesome pics thanks for that 🙂 I’m away till friday visiting rellies in worcester. Shite weather but never mind we’re not walking.

  16. @ das: I relate just as much to the music of the younger generations (and the issues) as I did to stuff from the 60s and 70s. But then again – I’m honest with myself. I find many people ‘pretend’ to be something they’re really not, just because it’s expected of them due to their age, etc.

    I think it’s great when people can move across lines of age, or ethnicity, or whatever, and just accept others as they come. I’ve tried to learn a lot about the things that affected my parents’ generation – I guess at first because I saw that as a way of helping to heal some deep wounds, and then just because I found it helped me really enjoy interacting with people, those who by chance are older than me, beyond a superficial level. (I rarely saw my grandparents or great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, et al., when growing up, so the age difference felt strange.) Now it works both ways, and I see awkwardness or outright resistance from some teens when I talk about things they may feel are theirs; they’ve seen too much superficial interest. Other teens I’ve known were cool with shared interests, or even sought out a mentor-type relationship – as long as it didn’t really look like one. It’s all fairly fascinating to me, and now shared insights from just about any source are welcome. (Comments about changing “your look” don’t count. 😉 )

  17. PS: I meant to add that those who do primarily what they think is expected of them, or just take little interest in anything outside their own sphere, are missing out on so much. That’s something I didn’t really grasp until a cousin my age joined a somewhat exclusive so-called “community service” group. I think now the rest of us are too dorky or unfashionable for her. Her loss. . . .

  18. @Anne Teldy – Oh, snap! My birthday is on the 27th July too! Happy Birthday for then if I don’t remember on the day!

  19. Is it just me or are these pictures not clickable to see them in full detail? 🙁

  20. Hello,

    Working in the science fiction television creating business, and with the genre being so rich and deep in which to explore and produce such incrediable spectacles like Stargate, if I could ask, what is the thing for you that makes sci-fi such a great stand-out genre to work in, i.e. what it’s like to be creating stories for this genre in this medium?

    P.S. Hope doesn’t sound to nerdy, just always wanted to ask that, would appreciate your thoughts any how.

  21. Cool pics, thanks! Just back from holiday & trying to catch up on the real world.

    Totally forgot to get Season 5 before I left & couldn’t find it while away 🙁 Local store is out (which is a good thing), so I now sit & wait for re-stock.


  22. Thanks for the SGU pics. They are impressive and I am more eager to see the new series. However, it looks like Atlantis minus the Frank LLoyd Wright influence. Same but different. I guess it has that “Ancient” influence which gives it that familiarality.

    Oh by the way, Welcome back,Joe.

  23. Thanks for the pictures Joe. Could I please have more sir?? ( not porridge) can’t make ’em bigger,but I got out the magnifer and it helped,,lol!

  24. Great pictures, Joe! But why did you turn off the feature that allows us to click on the picture to enlarge it so we can see more detail on the sets? Or is it just me?

  25. Mr. M: We on this blog are doing our part in buying SGA/SG-1 DVDs! 😀 .

    maggiemayday: Triple digits!? I’ll not complain about our 96F day now. After reading the temps in Canada, I’m thinking of relocating there during the summer and back to the South in the winter!

    Das: Good to hear you are back to normal. We never listen to professional reviews of Sci-fi films. They always seem to hate the genre. I’ll tell my hubby your review of “Transformers”. We have been so busy seeing sick relatives, it would be great to take a movie day.

    Anne Teldy: So glad you are feeling better and back online!


  26. Tammy: Southern Utah is even hotter than the Top O Utah where I live. I’ll be hiding in my basement. At least it is a dry heat.

    Otros: My friends are all ages, from teens to older than myself. In fact, my friends are often mistaken for my kids. Burning Man does that, erases artificial cultural barriers. I think you might enjoy the community.

  27. @ Tammy – Well, ‘normal’ is a relevant term, isn’t it? Normal, compared to…what??

    In my defense I should say that I sound MUCH crazier on-line than I really am. I’m rather calm and not given to emotional outbursts as some people are – I’m more the sit in the corner and brood sort…like Wolverine. 😀 Only, I don’t snikt! people in the back when I’m done…though I have been known to occasionally pinch ’em on the backside. *pinchy-pinchy-crabby-claws!* 😈

    As far as Transformers goes – it is what it is. If you’re expecting Shakespeare or something…well, not gonna get it. If you want giant shape-shifting monster car-aliens, explosions, chase scenes, military action, stuffed shirts you love to hate, TONY TODD’S voice!, John Turturro (who just cracks me up anyway), and a bit of sentimentality…and you don’t mind the occasional cheesy bits and sophomoric humor …well, this movie fits the bill. It’s not meant to be taken too seriously.

    I was especially excited over Tony Todd’s ‘appearance’ in the film as the voice of one of the characters. I simply adored Kurn – sexiest damn Klingon in the whole of the universe! 😀 He was my ‘Todd’ in TNG & DS9.

    @ otros ojos – I’ve done a bit of social work – I feel very strongly for people with all sorts of issues, even those with self-imposed ones. You can’t just tell someone to ‘grow up’ or ‘get over it’ – not when you know things go much deeper than that. Maybe it’s because – compared to other people’s lives – I KNOW I have things pretty good, and I KNOW my issues are relatively minor, and I KNOW my life and life’s experiences haven’t been terrible…and yet I still can’t seem to convince myself of that and stop my own self-pummelling. Negative thought is an incredibly powerful thing. So when I meet someone else who is self-destructive despite having things relatively good, I totally understand the power of the mind to make them think otherwise. And I also understand that those thoughts and feelings don’t stop when you graduate high school, or college, or when you get married or get a good job.

    But there are people who never have experienced such things – who have positive thought patterns and can’t relate to those who don’t. My grandmother was a lot like that – she went through a lot more than I ever have, and never gave into negativity. I wish I had her mind. Instead, I have my father’s mind, lucky me. 😛 I’ve only talked about it since I’ve gotten older, and only because – once I did – so many people started saying to me, ‘wow, I thought I was the only one!’ Once you start to see how many people have the same feelings, the more you realize you’re more normal than you thought. I mean, Joe alone – with all his little quirks – makes me feel quite sane! 😀


  28. I just finished Banks’ Use of Weapons and it was one of the most depressing books I’ve read in a long time. However, it’s still an excellent book. Thanks for persuading me to read Iain M. Banks’s series, he is easily my favorite SF writer at the moment, too.

  29. To all Joe blog readers
    Please someone provide a “list” of all Stargate-related Twitter URLs and/or Stargate personal blog sites that are known. It’s a bit tedious to sift through this blog searching for the references.

    GREAT set photos Joe — but could you please turn on the what-cha-ma-call-it control that allows photos to be enlarged when clicked upon? I recall you said you disabled the feature when someone mentioned seeing an unsavory item in a closeup of your nose.

    Some of us have nothing better to do than scrutinize closeup details of these fab pics. How many folks are on the set build and design team altogether?

    Thank you so much sir. 😀

    2cats in NJ

  30. Craig Engler (Syfy) responded to a question about SGA movies on the dreaded Twitter:

    “Syfy( Q) when do you think an SGA movie will air? A) We’re ready to air them once MGM makes them. Not sure of their timetable.”

    Now, is there anyone with a twitter account we can pester at MGM?

  31. Mr M. Nice pics of the Destiny set, even if you retarded the pics.

    Is good to hear from Anne Teldy. Hope her health gets better. Miss her interesting posts.

  32. @ maggiemayday – One of my best friends is a 15 year old boy. His mom and I are pals – grew up together. He was a bit rammy as a little fella, so at picnics and parties I’d take him under my wing and show him ‘cool stuff’ – like…bugs and palor tricks. 😀 He’s left-handed, like me, and no one could teach him how to tie his shoes…he was getting big and still couldn’t tie them. So, I showed him the left-handed way, and bam! One try and he was tying his own shoes. I guess he’s like the son I never had. During Sunday services, I’d sit there and flick imaginary boogers at him, and he’d flick ’em back, or we’d make screwy faces at each other (I’m talking back when he was like 5 or 6). Just this past Sunday I was with his family, and I said something about being weird, and he said, “You’re not weird.”

    One of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me because he was totally sincere. He’s a sweet kid, I just hope he stays that way (they rarely do). I don’t get this whole ‘age’ thing…I really don’t. Now – I do understand there is age-appropriate behavior. To me, this boy is like a little brother, or nephew, or son, and I treat him accordingly. He’s not a playmate, and I am an adult and expect a certain amount of respect from him in return and avoid over-familiarity. But age shouldn’t stop people from being friends – that’s basically what mentoring is all about…an older person taking a younger one under their wing. Both add something to the friendship – the older one [hopefully] giving wise advice and guidance, the younger one bringing all the vision and enthusiasm of youth. Keeps the old one young and open-minded, and makes the young one wise.

    Or, at least that’s how it should be.


  33. Yeah – that’s parlor tricks. Obviously, one of them is making ‘r’s disappear. 🙄


  34. Hi Joe!
    I was at the Polaris Convention this weekend and had a blast. David Hewlett (SMOKING HOT! in EVERY sense of the word. Yes, ladies and gentleman, McKay has left the building and the luminous David Hewlett is left behind. Ooooh, Awww, Yum!
    Sorry, am I gushing?!) and David Nykl (A real doll – a truly warm and friendly man-. sporting a mustache!!) rocked the con. Sundays Q&A started with DH and he was joined about a half an hour later by DN. Then Kate Hewlett showed up. I’ve never laughed so much in my life. The snark, jabs and genuine affection between them was so good to see. And if this acting thing doesn’t pan out for DH, he should seriously consider stand-up. But what I really wanted you to know is that when asked by a fan about SGU, the kidding stopped and both the Davids said that with all the wonderful things the franchise has done they can’t image SGU will be any different. DH even said that he was looking forward to seeing it. They concluded by encouraging all of us to give it a chance and watch it. They didn’t have to say that. In fact they were probably in a crowd that didn’t particularly want to hear that. But they said it all the same. That’s a pretty good definition of a class act, imho.


  35. Das: I learned what “normal” means from visiting a friends house when I was a kid. It seemed pretty nice.

    Mr M: Thank you for the pictures! It must be exciting to see your words come to life.


  36. Thanks for the pictures! And ooh the stairs look dangerous ! lol

    *impatient mode ON*

  37. @das: I enjoyed this year’s Transformers movie for what it was: a light bit of summer entertainment. Though I could have done without the dogs and robots humping the lead actress’s leg. I just loved Jetfire!
    (p.s. I thought the “palor tricks” referred to your love of pale heroes which you were passing on to the next generation!)

    Speaking of movies, I went to see the new Harry Potter movie today – very dark, but good (I will qualify the by saying I did not read the book yet). But there was a preview for a new Sherlock Holmes movie that looked very interesting indeed!

    @das and maggiemayday and otros ojos: Like you, I have always felt that age should not be a barrier to friendships. When you share common interests, age becomes an irrelevant factor. I have good friends of all ages and that has been true for most of my life. But I think it has gotten easier as I have gotten older and now that I am squarely in the middle, the age range is quite wide.

    I think das summed it up beautifully:

    Both add something to the friendship – the older one [hopefully] giving wise advice and guidance, the younger one bringing all the vision and enthusiasm of youth. Keeps the old one young and open-minded, and makes the young one wise.

  38. Whoa. Automatic site links.

    Sorry for the triple post, but I learned something valuable.

  39. hi joe, am not sure where am suposed to send things to ask you, so i thought i would try here. took a look at the pictures of the gate room, i like the design, but am not sure if i like the gate design. the glyphs don’t look all too good either, in my opinion, others probably have different views on these though. what nationality accent will robert carlyle be using in the new series? i love both sg-1 and atlantis and i hope that there are more films! thanks, AndyBrind

  40. hey.

    These fotos are very awesome =)

    good ideas. A mystific and exciting outlike =) top!

    Good work

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