To coincide with the North American premiere of Air III – what’s I’m calling Drama in the Desert – today’s entry will be Almost All Mailbag as I field some of your SGU-related questions…
Rednor writes: “I hope they are able to turn on some lights at some point. I hate this trend to do everything in the dark.”
Answer: Keep in mind that when the survivors of the attack on Icarus Base come through the gate for the first time, Destiny has been on reserve power for quite some time. As the crew moves out to occupy sections of the ship, those area will see more illumination as systems are turned on or awaken. That being said, you’re going to need your sunglasses for tonight’s episode, Air III, s a team heads off-world to explore a desert planet’s searing environment.
Rednor also writes: “Chloe is already bordering on obnoxious. I thought the scene about her father was wayyyy overdone.”
Answer: Really? Her father just died! Should she have just sucked it up and moved on to more important matters?
ZeroPointBatteries writes: “One thing is bugging me though, why couldn’t they just use the kino to shut the door instead of having to kill someone?”
Answer: And how exactly were they supposed to do that? The control to seal the door wasn’t some giant button they could sail the kino into in the hopes that the impact would initiate the seal. In fact, you can see the senator first press one button on the seat console, then move down to press another. The kino’s surface area wouldn’t have allowed for pinpoint accuracy. Yes, Rush had a pencil, and even IF someone happened to have brought the masking tape to fasten it to the kino, you’re making several more assumptions: 1) that in the short time Eli has been working with the kino, he would be capable of controlling it with the accuracy needed to hit those particular buttons, and 2) the kino would possess enough force to trigger the buttons.
Rose writes: “Which, unfortunately, highlighted the poor use of female characters in the premier.”
Answer: The premiere covers a lot of ground – from introducing everyone and Icarus Base to getting us through the attack and onto Destiny – and our cast is fairly sizable. There are a lot of characters who were only touched upon in these first 2-3 hours that will be highlighted and explored over the course of the ensuing episodes including the likes of T.J., Chloe, and Wray.
Thornyrose writes: “The raid on the planet seems a tad contrived, and the blowing up of the whole planet just seems implausible.”
Answer: How so contrived? It certainly begs the question “Who attacked and how did they know about Icarus Base?” but I don’t know why one would consider contrived. As for the planet blowing up – the planet was chosen because of its ability to provide the necessary and massive power requirements to dial the ninth chevron. An overload of energy transfer triggered by the attack caused a massive chain reaction down to the planet’s naquadria core.
DasNdanger writes: “I was disappointed by the total snub to SGA.”
Answer: Hey, we would have loved to have included many more characters from the franchise but we were limited by time and simple logic. It made sense for O’Neill to put in an appearance as head of Homeworld Security. It also made sense for Carter to appear aboard the Hammond. Daniel’s cameo, while brief, made sense as well. But, for instance, as much as we would have loved to include the Teal’c character, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense. The same applies to the SGA crew given that none of them would have been involved in the Icarus project (particularly given the timeline of events for the movie).
DasNdanger also writes: “The sex scene was unneccessary, and off-putting.”
Answer: Whether it was off-putting or not is a matter of opinion. As for uncessary – I disagree. It establishes not only a relationship between Scott and James, but goes to character as well.
Sparrow_hawk writes: “Disliked: the cutting back and forth between the ship and the base.”
Answer: Starting with tonight’s episode, Air III, the stories will flow a little more straightforwardly. For the most part.
TBA writes: “304’s are able to easily destroy Ori battlecruisers, Wraith hives, and Replicator Aurora warships, but the Hammond is forced to retreat for three puny Ha’taks?”
Answer: You’re assuming that while Earth has made progress with its shields and weaponry, the rest of the galaxy has remained stagnant.
Debra writes: “And the nonsense of the leaking air… for crying out loud at least SHOW them trying to simply close off that area or constructing paneling over the ship door.”
Answer: If simply sealing off the entire section had been an option, they would have done it. As for “constructing paneling over the ship door” – with what? Again, keep in mind they’ve just scrambled onto this strange ship with whatever they could grab.
Shaggygirl writes: “…and Telford? blink and you missed him. do we see him again?”
Chevron7 writes: “How did you spend premiere night?”
Answer: At home, watching the premiere on Space and continually updating the fan comments to this blog.
Richard Watts writes: “Once Rush contacted SGC using the long-range communication stones, why didn’t SGC just get their spatial coordinates, assemble McKay, Zelenka and some other Scientists, take Atlantis into orbit, then use the “Wormhole Drive” that conveniently allowed Atlantis to get from “just outside the outer edge of the Milky Way Galaxy” to Earth in a few seconds at the end of “Enemy at the Gate” to go to the location of the Destiny and send a few Jumpers over to get the crew?”
Answer: 1. Destiny is much, MUCH farther away than the distance separating Pegasus from The Milky Way. 2. The issue of the wormhole drive is dealt with in the Atlantis movie.
Richard Watts also writes: “I hope that the IOA lady gets killed in some episode, just because I already got a bad vibe from her arrogant character…”
Answer: How is she arrogant? Given the situation, I would be just as panicked and quick to demand answers. I love the Wray character and I’m sure that many fans will grow to love her as well as the series progresses.
Jeff O’Connor writes: “I know you probably don’t want to discuss these things quite yet, but I hope the ratings aren’t a problem for you folks. 2.4 million, right?”
Answer: Hey, Jeff. No, not a problem at all. In fact, everyone was very pleased not only with the overall viewership but the demos that had SGU leading the night (!). We’re all very interested to see what kind of a boost we get from the +7 DVR numbers.
David Chapple writes: “But is it true that the SGU dvd’s will be split in two volumes?”
Answer: Sorry, I don’t know anything about this.
PBMom writes: “Or will unprotected sex on Destiny have unexpected consequences?”
Answer: Tune in to find out.
Thornyrose writes: “Col. Carter indicated that the number of MIA was a bit under 100(have to watch again to pick up the exact number, though 92 comes to mind). Have you as writers/producers keeping count of how many people get killed off? More importantly,have you sketched out basic info on those characters we’ve either not seen, or saw only as bodies flying through the Stargate?”
Answer: We have an approximate number for the group of survivors who came through the gate and have maintained episode to episode consistency with character references and background extras.
Diane D. writes: “How did you tackle this as writers? Did one person establish what the new style of storytelling would be like and give the other writers instructions and guidelines of some sort?”
Answer: Series creators Brad Wright and Robert Cooper established everything from the tone of the show and the look of the ship to the individual characters. Using Air I, II, and III as a template, the rest of the writers simply followed their lead. Brad and Rob have overseen all aspects of production to ensure it remains true to their original vision for the show, sitting in on all meetings and doing passes on all scripts.
BlueSmartie writes: “Will you be releasing the SGU soundtrack?”
Answer: I don’t know for sure, but I imagine we will. Joel Goldsmith did an incredible job with the music.
Mary writes: “The basic story was very good, although with some flaws – it’s hard for me to buy the idea that the CO2 scrubbers were all worn out when it was made clear in the dialogue that no one had ever been on the ship before; there didn’t seem to be a good reason why the INTERIOR door to the shuttle was broken when, again, no one was on the ship.”
Answer: Yeah, good questions. Why would they have this sort of trouble if the ship remained unmanned? And has Destiny sustained damage – almost as if its fallen victim to an attack of some sort? Weird.
Mary also writes: “O’Neill putting him in command? Oh, yeah, sure.”
Answer: Well, that’s what Rush said happened and he seems like an honest guy…
Mary also writes: “ I’m disappointed that the decision was made to go with the angry young black man trope with Greer.”
Answer: I’ve mentioned in previous entries that the “angry military character” – Ron “Psycho” Stasiak – was not originally envisioned as a young black man. But Jamil Walker Smith blew us away with his audition and landed the role. Like the rest of our main characters, we’ll be learning a lot more about his backstory and the type of person he is over the course of this first season. Also, it will be interesting to read the response to the Greer character after tonight’s episode. Months ago, Rob and I sat down to watch a director’s cut of Air III with our wives. After we were done, I asked them which character they liked best. They were in agreement – they LOVED Sgt. Greer. I told Jamil this and now, every time I see him on set, he reminds me to “Say hi to your wife for me!”
Mary also writes: “Ming Na had maybe 5 lines of dialogue.”
Answer: Big cast. Many episodes to go.
Caitlyanna writes: “When Eli’s playing the game in the beginning and is kicked out of the level, is that the central tower of Atlantis in the game?”
Answer: Sure looks like it.
Caitlyanna also writes: “Did Telford board the Hammond and isn’t aboard Destiny?”
Answer: We will learn that Telford escaped aboard the Hammond.
Tempus13 writes: “What’s with the shuttles being on the outside of the hull? Seems more likely they would be exposed to damage. Shuttles are usually on the inside of a ship for this reason.”
Answer: The shuttle is protected by the ship’s shield which does a better job of protecting it from damage than an exposed hull.
Paddy writes: “I saw in the opening whislt seeing the destiny that she had some pretty big guns on her* Will we see them in action?”
Answer: Oh, we will.
Paddy also writes: “The Destiny was huge, not that many people on board. I saw weve probaly seen 2% of the ship? There going to be some real cool stuff layin around even if broken?”
Answer: Yep, plenty to explore and plenty to discover.
Charlie’s Angel writes: “When you ask for our opinions about the show, why do you want to know? What influence do fans and their expectations and reactions have on the creative process? I imagine that at this point in your production schedule you are already locked in on story lines, shooting style, and character development, so does it really matter what we think?”
Answer: Of course it matters. Given the lag between the start of production and the airing of the show’s first episode this year, we’re already shooting the finale as the third episode premieres so, no, fan opinion will not change any of the creative decisions made for the show’s first season. That having been said, it’s always good to know what worked and what didn’t in the opinion of many of our more perceptive viewers (and, generally, those diehard fans who take the time to involve themselves in forums like these tend to be more keyed-in than the average viewers). While we don’t take dictation, we are reasonable in considering outside opinions as we prepare for a potential second season.
Shawna Buchanan writes: “Will the people on the Destiny use the stones to communicate with Earth on a regular basis?”
Answer: The stones will be the only means by which those aboard Destiny will be able to communicate with Earth. Eventually, they will want to contact loved ones…
Ekko writes: “…will all characters change their clothing in the show?
Or will you try to make ‘em have same clothes all the time?”
Answer: They will wear whatever they brought with them. If they didn’t bring a change of clothing (which is highly likely) then they’ll be wearing the same outfit, occasionally borrowing appropriate off-world gear when available.
E writes: “Can you confirm or deny that one season of SGU doesn’t cover an entire year?”
Answer: The way we tracked it, the first season covers less than a year.
Mary writes: “The reason is because he is putting his own needs and desires – his curiosity and obvious burning, all-consuming need to find out where that 9th chevron led – over the needs and lives of everyone else on that base. First, the orders were to dial Earth. Even assuming he was right that the explosion could have transferred through the gate to Earth, there had to be numerous other places they could have gone. HE wanted to find out where the gate dialed if the 9th chevron worked, and that’s all he cared about. They should have gone to the alpha site or some other place that I am sure the military knew to go.”
Answer: True, but anywhere he dialed he would have been putting lives at risk.
Wonderingbrit writes: “One thing that did stand out as an obvious business opportunity for the franchise was the Daniel Jackson training videos – these have so got to be addressed and turned into DVD’s – they’d be hot property to any SGF fan.”
Answer: Yes, they will eventually be finding their way onto either a website or dvd.
NZNeep writes: “I keep meaning to tell you about the pie I made the other day… it was simple as, but fantastic. The base was sweet and crisp, made of almonds, a bit of sugar and an egg white. The filling was a block of good quality 85% cocoa chocolate melted with a bottle of cream and 3 eggs. The sweet crispy base was perfect with the creamy rich texture of the dark chocolate filling. Magic, and quite possibly the best thing I have ever made.”
Answer: And the most delicious-sounding thing I’ve read about it weeks.
HBMC writes: “I thought SGU was trying to avoid alien cultures that spoke perfect modern English or were just humans in prosthetics?”
Answer: Any aliens originating from any of these new galaxies will be very different from the aliens we’ve encountered in either the Milky Way or Pegasus.
Kasper Kvistgaard writes: “Is it somehow possible to get an exact Stargate address to the Destiny ship?”
Answer: And have you dialing us up all the time? No way!
JB writes: “will we see a dhd on the planet of air part 3?”
Sealurk writes: “Quick question – do you think Air is a good indicator for the rest of SGU’s first season, or is the good stuff yet to come?”
Answer: The best is definitely yet to come in terms of off-world adventure, space battles, alien encounters, shipboard dynamics, and character development.
Jimmy writes: “Did Destiny drop out of FTL because its gate was dialed? Or was it a fortunate coincidence for the evacuees?”
Answer: Yes, Destiny dropped out of FTL because its gate was dialed. It also drops out of FTL when it detects upcoming gate-accessible planets.
Jimmy also writes: “It wasn’t terribly clear, so: did the Milky Way gate actually need more power, as Rush indicated; or was it only a matter of a coded address and not power, as Eli stated?”
Answer: It was a power requirement. By tapping into the planet’s aquaria, they were able to harness enough power to dial the ninth chevron.
Nathan Zeppel writes: “ Hey there – was wanting to ask you a few questions about SGU, just finished watching the Premiere down here in good old Australia and just thought I might have a chat to you about what I think of it all.”
Answer: Then post your comments. I look forward to reading them.
PoorOldEdgarDerby writes: “Speaking of dog food, has anyone else ever seen this Old Yeller brand dog food? And was your first thought that if it goes bad you’ll have to take it out back and shoot it?”
Answer: Love it!
Bookal writes: “Do you know if your traffic reflects all of us who view your blog from the RSS feed?”
Answer: No idea.
Okay, those are all the questions I have time for. I’m off to load the dishwasher, watch Air III, make dinner, and start approving comments. Let me know what you thought…