Over the course of my many years with the Stargate franchise, I’ve seen fandom at its very best and at its very worst.  Instances of the former far outweigh the latter as fans have come together in shared interest to discuss, critique, and, more importantly, support one another.  Speaking from personal experience, it’s been wonderful to see this little blog community develop over time, watch the various friendships develop, and, yes, even make some friends along the way.  It’s been nothing short of amazing.  But, sadly, I’ve also borne witness to the flip side of fandom, a shallow and surprisingly mean-spirited side that occasionally rears its ugly head.  For an example of what I’m talking about, look not further than some of the recent online reaction to the rumored scrapping of the Stargate Atlantis movie purportedly owing to a “lack of fan interest”.  When I first saw this rumor, my initial reaction was to laugh.  What a perfectly incendiary remark, tailor made to enrage fans gullible enough to take the bait.  According to this source, the movie wasn’t moving forward, NOT because of the oft-cited economic downturn or due to the much-reported drop-off in DVD salest (Yes, Atlantis’s fifth season did very well in its first week.  Anyone have any idea how it did in the ensuing weeks?  I honestly don’t know.), or even as a result of an all too foreboding prophecy from the official studio soothsayer.  Nope.  According to this source, it was all the fault of the fans.  Yep, you heard right.  We’re to believe that, rather than offer up a perfectly plausible reason, the powers that be elected to go with the far more sensational and assuredly antagonistic “lack of fan interest”, then marched onto the set and announced it to everyone.

Yes, I laughed when I first heard this because it seemed such a transparently deliberate provocation that I was certain any fan who actually stopped to think about it would recognize it for what it really was – a big steaming bowl of bullshit.  While cooler heads did prevail and most of fandom took the news with a huge grain of salt, certain fans divested themselves of all logic, falling all over themselves to proclaim us liars for saying there would be a movie in the first place.  Well, liars and much, much worse, but first thing’s first.

According to them, there was never any intention to make a movie and we’ve just been stringing fans along.  Well, if there was never any intention to make a movie, I can assure you that MGM wouldn’t have commissioned a script.  Furthermore, Paul and I would not have spent months spinning, structuring, and scripting a movie that had no hope of ever being made – time we could have spent writing scripts for Universe (which, from a purely mercenary standpoint, would have garnered us production bonuses once the episodes went to camera).  I’ve tried to keep fans informed of the progress (or lack thereof) on the movie front, updating you all on the distant rumblings, good and bad.  That said and despite what anybody tells you who heard it from someone who heard it from someone else, the plug has NOT been pulled.  No one has said we are not making this movie and I continue to believe that we eventually will.  Paul and I have a script we’re looking forward to producing, a script involving Earth-based intrigue, intergalactic travel, a looming threat to the city of Atlantis, and a sometime friend and foe who may hold the key to averting disaster.

More shocking for me than the fact that fans had actually bought into this hearsay was the infantile behavior of some – supposedly mature adults taking advantage of internet anonymity to curse and name call like a bunch of children.  Really, folks, it’s embarrassing.  I am embarrassed for you.  This is the sort of behavior that gives fandom a bad name, giving those outside the community the fodder to marginalize, belittle, and lampoon.  Sure, go ahead and criticize the creative all you like, but when you start leveling personal attacks against the show creator – a guy who has worked tirelessly to produce 15 years of a franchise you all feel so passionate about – on the basis of an unsubstantiated rumor, you cross the line from spirited fan to raving loon.  Were members of your immediately family severely injured?  No?  Was your livelihood threatened?  No?  Oh, a movie isn’t being made as quickly as you’d like.  Gotcha.

Seriously.  Take a deep breath and consider this.  As my writing partner Paul pointed out this morning, the television production isn’t driven by non-profit organizations seeking to produce shows out of the goodness of their hearts.  It’s a business.  Still, for what it’s worth, I’m confident that this movie WILL move forward, but only when certain economic factors have stabilized.

Yes, it’s unfortunate.  The economy is in the toilet.  DVD sales have plummeted.  But this isn’t the fault of the studio.  And it certainly isn’t the fault of Brad Wright.

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Aud
Aud

Word. That is all.
Must go to bed now, past my bedtime.

Narelle from Aus

Perspective. Lacking in today’s society.

Elisant
Elisant

I own every season of every series and every Stargate movie produced. SG-1 was great. Atlantis was great. Universe will be great.

However, some people just don’t know where to draw the line between being a fan and being a fanatic.

This sums it up perfectly – “Oh, a movie isn’t being made as quickly as you’d like. Gotcha.”

ranlynn
ranlynn

Unfortunately there will always be folks like that.

That yelling louder than everyone else make them right by default.

Tammy
Tammy

Damn well said. Thank you.

Narelle from Aus

Joe, when do you think television went from being entertainment to a primary source of education?
It seems that television is now being seen as the teacher on all things right and wrong, although I’m not sure if the industry (or the people working in it) asked for it.

Coronach
Coronach

Very nicely said Joe. Believe me, you’re not alone in frustration over this particularly ugly side of fandom. It’s often joked about, but if there was a list of “Rules of Fandom”, #1 on the list would be:

“Fans always over react.”

Anyways, thanks for the post and for a further reassurance (as if it was necessary, though) that the movie will eventually be made.

Bailey
Bailey

I believe ever since the cancellation of SGA, Brad Wright has been the focus of many a fan’s anger and disappointment.
The interviews he did immediately after and the announcement of SGU did him no favors in that regard and were seen, by some, as arrogant and condescending.
I’m sure he didn’t mean to come across this way, but he now has a big target on his back as the bad guy who axed SGA. (that coin toss on the Jace Hall episode didn’t help)
It is simply a given to many SGA folk and some SG1 peeps that he was tired of the old shows, abandoned SGA and couldn’t wait to move on to his new shiny, SGU.
I am not saying this is so, it is just what the public perception is out here in fanland.
You can just say or write the name “Brad Wright” to some folk and the blood pressure immediately shoots up.
I think it is good of you to defend him, and hopefully he deserves such defense, but to many people he is the personification and symbol of all the angst and feelings of betrayal that occurred when SGA was canceled.
It is such a shame that this is what Stargate fandom has come to, I agree with you there. It makes me sad, because the fandom was once a source of great joy to me.
Lately, this has not been the case. sad

EternalDensity
EternalDensity

Well said, Joe. For that, I might consider buying two copies. LOL grin

Sadly I doubt the guilty will pay much attention to this post.

Major D. Davis
Major D. Davis

Hey thanks for addressing this. While I have been staying out of this SGA movie discussion, I have seen several threads pop up regarding this on gateworld. At first I thought this had to do with the SGU thing but then I realized it was about the Atlantis movie. I can see where the people are coming from but I agree with you when it comes the name calling and irateness. He one thing I don’t understand is why can’t you produce the movies and then just wait for the right time to release it(considering you are planning to make it). I mean according to the reports, you have the budget and The approval, why not do it. I mean the thing is how can you wait for the market to get better before filming it, I mean the market will get better, then you guys film it, but by the time it’s ready for release, it’s to late. Why not produce it now and just wait for the right window.

Still even with my frustrations and fears, I trust you guys have thought through the issue I just mentioned and have taken all the possibilities into consideraion. I mean I feel bad for you guys when people leave comments that basically state the obvious and treat you like little kids who totally miss obvious points and opportunities right infront of you.

Thanks so much for handling this in such a great way,!!!
Major D. Davis

Major D. Davis
Major D. Davis

Sorry for my horrid grammer in the last post, it’s late here and I’m really tired.

Goodnight all,
Major D. Davis

Patricia Lee
Patricia Lee

I could not agree with you more. You hit the nail on the head! I can wait for the SGA Movie because I know it will be sweeter when the day comes, because we waiting for it patiently.

Thanks Mr. M. and do tell Mr. Wright this fan is patient and happy to know SGU is coming out in October!

Cheers

Major D. Davis
Major D. Davis

Oh and darn well said by the way!! wink

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Whew. You got it in just in time! 6 minutes to pillow touchdown!

Joe, you make excellent points. Just one thing, however… keep in mind that you’re on one side of the fence, and we’re on the other. I really don’t know Mr. Wright except for his brief interaction here on your blog (and snippets of interviews here and there), so all I have to go on is my perception of the man, and from the get-go (and I’ve only been around for 18 months), I personally have found Mr. Wright’s enthusiasm for Atlantis to be lacking. You see another side to him…you have an insider’s view of everyone, everything…but we don’t. Step back, see it from our perspective, and try to understand that fans are not reacting to the man you personally know, but instead to the man that is ‘presented’ to us through the media.

It is about image. Fans may be wrong, they may have a totally skewed view of the man…but they may not be wrong in their reaction to the image or attitude that is being projected.

And, hell…I may be totally wrong, too. But I’m tired and just posting off the top of my head. Sorry if I offended, but hey – it’s my opinion – and we’ve been known to disagree before.

das

Major D. Davis
Major D. Davis

@Bailey

I remember the Jace Hall thing. I thought I was funny but just knew someone would be mad. A few days later someone raised a thread saying they heard SGA ended as a result of a coin toss and they wanted to know if it was true. smile

crazymom1

As Aud so eloquently put it: Word.

t'loc
t'loc

Well said. read it on Monday first thought that sucks then really after thinking about it, it made no sense Atlantis fan base is real and huge and add to that the positive effect that would be created with the marketing of the movie i have no doubt tptb would get a very good return on their investment. I was very disappointed when the decision was made to cancel the series (and yes i still hold-out hope for a return of the show) but i believe the Mr wright very much wants to make/produce quality show(s) for his viewers and that money and i would prefer a well produce sgu over two shows produced with money for what might amount to only 1 and a half shows.

anneteldy
anneteldy

Do I believe an anonymous exec has said “no Atlantis movie due to lack of fan interest”? You said it isn’t true and I trust you.

Do I believe studio/network execs w/could say something that makes it sound like it’s the fans fault there won’t be a movie? Damn right I do. Time and time again, entertainment executives have shown they are completely out of touch with audiences in general and fans specifically. I really wouldn’t be surprised by any of their decisions/expressed reasons.

I also don’t see how it could hurt to remind the execs we’re still here waiting. As long as it’s done politely. That’s why I posted the Twitter campaign and would support an “I will buy the Stargate Atlantis movie” petition or a “My 2 cents” mail-in campaign.

Anne Teldy

SebiMeyer

What I want to know: Is Shatner going to be in the next movie?

Sorry, couldn’t resist. smile

I have to admit that it is a bit annoying to announce something like the movies but then not give the go-ahead for whatever reason. But I bet it is even more annying for the person who wrote the damn thing than us feet-stomping “but I wanna have Stargate NOW!”-shouting unwashed masses.

Pandora

Exactly what you said, Joe. And I’m glad you said it. Sadly those who need to hear it will choose not to.

@dasNdanger

This sort of reaction towards a man (and the people in general) in charge of bringing a movie (or tv show) to television screens is ridiculous. It is beyond ridiculous. It borders on lunacy.

I don’t care if he did come off arrogant. I’ve read what people are saying about him and the other producers and writers involved in the Stargate franchise, and no one (barring maybe someone who’s hurt you personally in a deep and lasting way) is deserving of that. Let alone a TV producer/writer for a show that no one besides he has any claim to.

@Bailey

If what you say is true about Brad Wright being “the personification and symbol of all the angst and feelings of betrayal that occurred when SGA was canceled” for some people, then some people really need to sort out their priorities.

Sandra  Good
Sandra Good

Hi Joe,

I stopped reading the Gateworld forums over a year ago for exactly this reason. It started to get to me.

Pity. I loved to discuss and debate different aspects of the show. Now I just read the news and articles. And your blog of course smile

Sandra

kim
kim

I agree with what a couple of posters have already said, we don’t know Mr Wright as you do. We see a one dimensional image only and, like another commenter stated, It has seemed from some of his statements that he was (to quote that comment-) “tired of the old shows, abandoned SGA and couldn’t wait to move on to his new shiny, SGU.” Some SGA fans have felt hurt, abandoned and caste aside by some comments he has made. I am sure he does not mean for that to be the case, but some folks do take things to heart very easily. (and in some cases I think it would not matter how carefully he edited his statements there will always be someone feeling dissed.)

Until the actors are signed and production starts these kinds of rumors will no doubt continue. The when production is underway there will be a whole bunch of other rumors to keep the internet buzzing. Negativity seems to breed negativity and with so many online forums, communities and chat sites that sort of buzz will breed.

wolfenm

I’m sorry if I’ve been a thorn in your side at all lately (or ever, really), Joe. I know I can be a bit rabid at times. (See my name? They don’t call me that for nothin! XD)

So for my birthday wish today (it’s the 21st where I am), I wish for everyone to have a good day in the fandom. That everyone can relax with friends, that the tension can ease, and we can find the joy in this fandom again that has been getting harder and harder to find (and I am not denying my own blame in that — if I have hurt anyone here, at any point, my deepest apologies).

So I made a painting of Sheppard from my fave scene ever, in “The Shrine”, as a birthday pressie to myself (maybe I should call myself Kuzco? LOL) — I’m having Flanigan sign it at Dragon*Con. Maybe it can bring a smile and a reminder of why they love SGA to someone else here:

http://wolfenmoondaughter.deviantart.com/art/SGA-John-Sheppard-on-the-Pier-134080409

And with that, I should get to bed — going to see Ponyo today! grin

Gina
Gina

Bravo Joe, very well said. I don’t know how people can be so callous. I know you bear the brunt of a lot of complaints because you put yourself out here. Well, let me please be one to say thank you for continuing to post your blog, and to keep us fans as informed as you can without violating any non disclosure agreements in your contract with Startgate and MGM. Thank you for letting us not only into the behind the scenes activities at The Bridge, but also for sharing some of your personal life with us too. I, for one, am totally supportive of your blog and your openness.

Thank you for caring about the fans. Most of us really appreciate it and the time it takes to write an entry every day. For those few who can’t, and choose to cast stones because they feel safe behind the keyboard, I hope you won’t think that they represent the majority of your readers.

Gina

Norriski
Norriski

Joe,
I can not argue with a word you said. I’m amazed at times when I read some of the things people say to you or to Brad or the other producers, it embarrasses me as a fan! I personally want to thank you not only for taking the time to give us the insight that you do in this blog but for entertaining me for years (and you can pass that thank you along to all the people that have been involved in SG1 and SGA and I’ll go out on a limb and say SGU… while I haven’t seen it, I’m going with the thought that my fears will be dispelled when I watch).

If I can ask a question about the movie script (and if this was address during that crazy time in my life while I was finishing my MAEd forgive me)… but from your comment I’m assuming that the movie picks up where Enemy at the Gate ended with Atlantis still here on earth? So can I take it to mean that when the movie finally gets a green light the plans will be to have the team as we last saw them in the movie, Shepard, Teyla, Ronon, McKay, Becket, Keller, and Woolsey… what would happen if when times comes one or more of these actors is unavailable? Would you do a rewrite to remove them (I’d hope it wouldn’t be a recast, cause that would be weird)…