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.