I was lying in bed a couple of weeks ago, wondering whether the studio or network would be releasing one more trailer in advance of our season 2 premiere, thinking about all the elements I would include in said trailer where I ever given the opportunity and, generally, lamenting the fact that none of these trailers were ever produced in-house.

Which led me to wonder: Why the hell not?

The next morning, I pitched the idea to the guys.  I wanted to go Zemeckis!  For those of you who don’t know, Robert Zemeckis is a wildly successful motion picture writer/director/producer whose movie trailers are notorious for giving almost everything away.  Zemeckis defends his trailers by insisting that audiences want to know what they’re paying for before shelling out their hard-earned money to see a film.  While this strategy is debatable – I personally will not shell out my heard-earned money to see a film I’ve more or less already seen in trailer form – there’s no denying that sizzle sells.  And more sizzle sells more.  So, yes, I wanted to go “all in” with this trailer – but only insofar as visuals were concerned.  I didn’t want to give away any major plot twists or spoilers so, in that respect, I was only going half-Zemeckis.  But I felt I needed to go half-Zemeckis because I wanted this trailer to achieve multiple goals:

1) It was to be a trailer to reward fans of Stargate: Universe and give them a sneak peek at what was to come in the show’s second season.

2) It was to be a trailer to entice fair-weather fans, give them a glimpse of what they’d missed (available on DVD and in download format!) and what they could look forward to in SGU’s second year.

3) And, perhaps most importantly, it was to be a trailer that would grab the attention of potential viewers who weren’t familiar with the show.

I talked to Post Coordinator Kerry McDowall about it and she suggested giving one of our assistant editors, Steve, a shot.  And so, later that day, Steve swung by my office and I talked him through my idea for the trailer.  Conceptually, it would be made up of two parts – the first, showcasing season one, would establish the theme of those first twenty episodes: the initial drive for survival; the second, showcasing the forthcoming season two, would hint at the theme of the next twenty episodes: the enigmatic mission that lay ahead.  I suggested…

Opening with a VFX shot of Destiny in space with the words: “Stranded billions of light years from home…their sole concern was survival”.

Which would segue to three different off-world shots: the desert planet from Air III, the ice planet from Water, and the jungle planet from Time.

Then deliver up a medley of season one’s greatest hits: the Young/Rush throwdown from Justice, Rush getting stranded, the blueberry aliens, etc. – ramping it up as we close out this section with quick cuts from the season finale: Scott and Greer topside, Eli running to save them, T.J. wounded, Telford and Kiva firing at each other, and that final glorious shot of Young looking skyward as the Lucian Alliance advances.

Fade to black, then –

Fade in on a VFX shot of Destiny with the words: “Now, they have a mission”.

Which segues into a medley of some of season two’s greatest hits, finally ending on some reference to the mysterious “mission”.

Steve headed off, spent the entire weekend going over all the episodes, then returned to post on Monday and got to work.  Let me tell you, the idea I pitched may seem fairly detailed but, in point of fact, it’s not.  What I’d given Steve was a broadstroke concept with some suggestions of what I wanted to see, and what he ended up presenting far surpassed my lofty expectations – locating just the right shots from the requested scenes along with countless more ultra-cool snippets, assembling them in a flawless edit, marrying them to music and sound effects of his choosing, and, ultimately, delivering the best damn Stargate trailer ever.

We made only a few changes to Steve’s version, trimming some of the season one sequence, losing one of the Holy Shit shots from season two and, at Carl’s suggestion, opening with the sequence of the mystery ship, onboard exploration, discovery of the alien, and eye flash.

So, again, a big hand for this guy –

Steve M.

And also a big thanks to Kerry for coordinating and ensuring the trailer was released well ahead of our season 2 premiere (9:00 p.m. – Tuesday, September 28th on SyFy in case you hadn’t heard).

I’m on location for the next few days and without net access, so these entries will be brief.  Here!  Check out some SGU-related pics…

Carl walks in Monday morning to discover THIS compliments of Lawren and Ashleigh. I was so excited, I rushed to my office to find out what surprise they had in store for me. To my surprise, there was no surprise.

While doing the final approval on the trailer, I came across editor Rick Martin seated outside his editing suite, patiently awaiting my writing partner’s arrival to address some cut notes.  I informed him that Paul was in meetings all day but I would be sure to tell him his presence was requested.  And promptly forgot.  I wonder if Rick is still sitting out in the hallway, waiting…

The other day, Akemi took a look at a couple of Elyse's pictures and said "She is beautiful." in a way that suggested it was a statement not only of fact, but of the most clearly obvious fact in the world. Hard to argue.

These kids love each other. Really!

Jamil sports the sporty look.

52 thoughts on “September 23, 2010: Stargate: Universe Season 2 Trailer – The Making Of! More SGU Pics!

  1. where did jamil get that jacket?

    i ask because i live in grosse pointe woods, and it says grosse pointe hockey on the back….

  2. Seriously awesome trailer. Thanks for explaining how it came about.

    Question re: life on Destiny: What do the characters wear when they are doing laundry? Maybe they only wash one item at a time? Did Young have bare feet when he was darning his socks?

  3. Gee…..exactly what is Mr. Binder holding in
    his hand?

    ….looks good…looks interesting.

  4. What is going on with the life sized rorschach test
    being displayed on Carl’s office door?

    I see pointy headed creatures with tiny tails.
    (….Robert Cooper’s old door??)

  5. Are the “kids” upset because they didn’t get a hall named after them too like Carl did? Or have they just been sent for a “time out” and pouting about it?

  6. Thanks for the back-story, Joe, and the great behind the scenes pics as always! Carl needs to string some lights around his name so that he’ll finally have his name in lights.

    Yesterday someone stated that in comparison to the Avatar trailer they felt the SGU trailer was good but not great. One thing to remember is that it took James Cameron many years to create the couple hours that is Avatar, compared to 20 hours of SGU created in just a few short months. If we would have been given a look at Avatar after only a few months of production (and for the same dollar amount of SGU’s budget) chances are the Avatar trailer wouldn’t have looked anything like the finished project. What the Stargate production crew have been able to do on a consistent basis for 15 years running now is outstanding considering that they are basically doing it with one hand tied behind their backs in comparison to a big-budget movie production.

    That’s why the fans will always love ya, Joe. We know how much you and everyone there work so hard to put out the best product, all the while remaining fan accessible. Thanks for being you!

  7. First!

    I have to say that I want success for SGU season 2, but when I look at 8 and 9 o’clock on cbs its going to be tough. I hope that the network looks at the #s at 11 o’clock.

  8. G’day Joe

    Thanks for the run down of the making of the most awesome trailer of all time.
    Posts like this one really show how much you care for and love the Stargate franchise.


  9. @ blue-lotus blossom

    I’ve been thinking about that too since NCIS:LA is such a top ranked show. So are Dancing w/ the Stars & Biggest Loser, but those 2 shows sort of have a different target audience than a scifi type show. I guess it comes down to how much of a “scifi audience” does NCIS:LA have? I don’t know (I like both NCIS shows & I am a “scifi audience” so at least 1). One thing I did think of though is that for the past 9 years Stargate has had to compete directly opposite of Smallville/Supernatural, which are scifi shows carrying a lot of the same audience. At least on Tuesday night SGU should be the only scifi show on at its current time slot. It will be interesting to see how the rating numbers will pan out – if the move increases or decreases viewer numbers. ***fingers crossed for an increase***

    One thing that I think hurts Stargate shows rating wise is that they are the type of television show that people will gather together in groups to watch, rather than always independently watching at their own individual homes (which per programming standards the popularity of a show is based upon how many tvs are tuned in to it)… the same thing was seen with Lost. I wonder what the ratings for a Super Bowl would actually be if everyone watched it on individual tvs? I never thought about that aspect of it before just now. There’s no real way for the actual numbers of viewers to be determined, especially since DVR/TiVo recordings & internet downloads aren’t really counted in to the mix (which SGU is a consistent top show in those categories). SGU could actually pull in the same number of overall viewers as NCIS:LA, but the ratings would never show it.

  10. @Muiwaiejilufot – I hope this isn’t listed as a family website…

    @Lewis and JoeM etc…
    Would any of the people who look at ratings take into account that as we SF fans tend to be far more technology minded we are more likely to use gadgets for the recording and watching at our own preferred times than watchers of NCIS (and spinoffs) and FAR more likely than DWtS and BL viewers.


  11. @Lewis: Seriously, someone was comparing Avatar to SGU? Frankly, although the visual effects were out of this world in the movie, the storyline was a hodgepodge of recycled themes, especially Dances with Wolves (star of movie goes native), and Alien (“the company” is the bad guy) to name two. Let’s just say I was ecstatic that The Hurt Locker won best picture because it deserved to win.

    Be careful out there, Joe. No internet access? YUCK. But have a lot of fun.

  12. Don’t feel bad that there was no Epic-sized ‘Joseph Mallozzi’ sign. There probably would have been, but it would have taken up half the dang corridor.

  13. Becker’s BBQ? How long has that been there?

    Frankly, it’s Awesome.

    Thank you for the trailer run through! I see that the Season 1 part had quite a bit of thought behind it, and that makes me feel better about it. The bare-bones survival of Season 1 does lead pretty well to the Season 2 stuff and it’s a good counter to the promise of an actual mission.

    Again, great trailer you guys! Steve did an excellent job, and no, I don’t think I can do better. 😉

    Then again, if you give me some Season 2 footage, I could definitely give it a try. 😛

  14. Oh, look, Elyse! Now I don’t have to worry about Chloe’s future. Yeah, I was a little worried seeing the trailer.

  15. Am I right in thinking the set-dec from the “Carl Binder Memorial Theatre” in “Brain Storm” is making a re-appearance?

  16. Coucou! vous allez bien? moi ça va!

    Merci pour ces photos! Il y’en à de très drôles! Akemi à raison, Elyse est vraiment jolie!

    Bravo pour ce beau trailer, très bien réalisé!

    Gros bisou =)

  17. @ PBMom
    Definitely agree about Hurt Locker!! All the more fitting that it was Cameron’s ex-wife’s film that beat him. I used to like Cameron’s work, until the more I found out about him as a person (and how he treats others), so now not so much. Don’t get me wrong he does have some good redeeming qualities… he was near our area not too long ago fund raising for charity, which is all well and nice, but doing one good thing publicly doesn’t change one’s true nature privately.

    @ asmall26
    I know! Hi-tech shows require hi-tech viewing! :o)
    Back when SGU was on Fri. nights, I was hardly ever home so I always set the DVR to record it (plus then I could watch episodes over & over) and always thought that at least w/ the DVR going it would help the ratings since I wasn’t there watching the tv… apparently not though, since DVRs don’t count in the viewing numbers. At least on Tuesdays I’ll be home and able to watch both airings live (and will still set the DVR). I have heard that SyFy does actually look at the DVR/TiVo numbers of their programming, but when it is all said and done it is the live numbers that influence a show’s ratings and how advertisers view that program’s affect on the masses. It is going to be the live numbers for SGU’s first 10 episodes that will decide the future of Stargate programming.
    What’s even worse is that it depends on the live numbers of the US market. When you look at the other shows that SGU is airing against Tuesday night, SGU is the only show with a huge global following. If you were to take SGU’s global ratings vs. the combined global ratings of the other US shows airing at the same time (NCIS:LA, BL, DWTS, etc.), Stargate would win hands down. Unfortunately when it comes to an American show’s renewal it mostly depends on the American ratings and advertisers. However, just like with the DVR/TiVo numbers, SyFy does look at the global numbers of their original programming… if they’re able to sell original programming to overseas markets then that counts for something. It all comes down to how much money the show is making for the network. If SGU keeps the same overseas markets, is still consistently a top show with DVR/TiVo/NetFlix/Web download numbers, AND (most importantly) is able to show an increase of live numbers in the US market then it will be an easy decision for SyFy to renew SGU for a 3rd season. One good sign already is that Season 1 of SGU has been picked up for Syndicated programming (which not only makes money for SyFy, but it shows advertisers that the show has a dedicated following… ie- there’s not that many 2nd year shows that have their 1st season aired in syndication, but a Stargate program garners enough interest to do that). All I know is that come Tuesday night for the next 10 weeks I’ll be watching the show live (both airings) and that will at least give SGU one more live viewer in the ratings than it had last season.

  18. It’s strange because a lot of people have considered that this last trailer was made by MGM, even if we don’t see the lion and Joe stated days ago its in house kind.
    At least, this misunderstanding shows that your trailer is a very good work.

    And finally, comparing SGU with Avatar, the most expensive movie of all time (for the moment) ? It’s pretty unappropriate. And in my opinion, this “zoom” on the eye of the alien is much more real than the eyes of the avatars or navis in the movie (nothing can replace a good puppet/mask, especially with a good mix of CGI).

    (excuse my english, I’m french).

  19. Oh, and I LOVE this pic with Elyse, Brian and David.
    And by extension all of these with the cast and crew.
    Thanks for that.

  20. Nice door adornment Carl, in case you get lost coming from set or meetings? And Carl has a large window beside the door, more ways to decorate for holidays. Joe I am sure your surprise will be waiting until you get back from on location shooting. (Right Ashleigh and Lawren)(hurry hurry). Probably late in delivery..
    As far as the trailer, I have always known you all have the most talented people working for you, and it shows. again, a wonderful trailer, congratulations!
    On location, take bug spray? no internet, where the he** are you going? need that satellite access. Be safe. take a book to read. The pups will miss you, How is Jelly faring these days?

  21. Steve: Great work on the trailer! Joe: Great…pitch!

    Hey, did anyone else notice that Carl has a Rorschach Test on his office door? I’m thinking…angel wings or a really long shellfish. On end.

  22. I missed out last year *sad face*

    It’s my birthday tomorrow

    hinthinthinthinthint (I might pull a face like David Blue’s) hehe 😉

  23. Awesome trailer!

    Just finished watching SGU season 1 on BluRay (You haven’t ‘seen’ it until you have seen it in HD…seriously)

    Pass on my thanks to those that did the commentaries – They were VERY fun to watch/listen to and I hope you guys do it for all of season 2 episodes. (as well as all the behind the scenes extra features…good stuff)

  24. While I thought the alien in the trailer looked amazing, if you’re going to spend all that money on CGI aliens, isn’t making them humanoid a bit of a waste? I just mean that I’d have thought that one of the main benefits of using CGI aliens is that you can pretty much let your imagination run wild, rather than making them something so (in the grand scheme of things) similar to a human.

  25. @MSEagle2

    Exactly. SGU comes alive in HD. You haven’t truely watched until you’ve had a chance to see in HD. 🙂

    @Lisa R

    4 more days till SGU, 2 more days till The Amazing Race starts again.
    4 awesome days, 2 awesome shows.

  26. Fantastic trailer, Joe. Kudos to you and Steve and the whole SGU team. As always you have left us breathlessly waiting for more!

    Watched the entire S1 on my DVR again over the last two weeks to build up to S2. So much better 2nd (actually 3rd) time around. Things made more sense and I caught a lot that I didn’t catch the 1st time through. Plus reading your blog and all the comments makes me watch with more care and catch things I don’t always pay attention to. Thanks to everyone for that!

    @ Jeff in Grosse Pointe Woods. Hey, I live in Eastpointe. Howdy, neighbor!

    I, too, watch NCIS:LA. Last year that would be my primary watch at 9:00 on Tuesdays, but now that it is opposite SGU, I will be watching SGU and DVR-ing NCIS. Priorities, you know.

    Very much looking forward to SGU’s premier, which I believe I heard was supposed to be next week Tuesday, September 28th at 9:00 on Syfy. Did anyone else hear that? Must have read it somewhere! 😉

    Have a great weekend everyone! Tuesday can’t come soon enough.

  27. Hey Joe,
    How come your blog shows the time an hour different from Pacific Daylight Savings Time? I posted at 2:13 Eastern, and your post shows 10:13. Doesn’t Vancouver observe daylight savings like most of the rest of us do?

    Or is this “Joe Time”?

    Just curious.

  28. I prefer Jamil in his curly wig and 70’s cop action mode.

    Steve looks like a young Pacino. May I suggest he go as Scarface for Halloween?

    I was an extra on Gump and we thought Zemeckis was moron and the movie was going straight to DVD. We spent 3 cold days in November pretending to be hippies and living on weak cocoa; the stampede for hot chocolate got so bad that the PA’s stopped serving food completely and left us to freeze on the Mall. Of course then we had no idea the movie would be huge. I swore off doing extra work after that cold, muddy experience.

  29. With the Lucian leader Varro having the hots for TJ, will Young be strong enough to let her go or will their potential relationship further lead him into a dark place?
    I say unless there is some type of outlet for him he will be darker in season 2 and Lt Scott will need to become more of a leader.

  30. @Randomness

    That’s right!! My husband has already warned our boys that they need to be very nice to me on Tuesday. I’m wondering how I could count watching the marathon as school (We homeschool.) 😉 Well, I’ll be all set for Tuesday night anyway!!

  31. is there a hot plate in the some what ‘mess hall’ to cook things or they use the heat packs found in mre’s

  32. To all the Canadians on the blog: Thank you, for sending some of your cool temps our way tomorrow! It’s supposed to be in the 80’s Saturday. Yes!!!!!

    Cool pictures, Mr. M. Can’t wait until the premiere.

    Das: Chloe into Shepherd? I vote: alien mutation!!!
    Have you caught up with Masterpiece Theatre? They are showing Lewis and Hathaway.

  33. Good job, Steve M.!

    @Lisa R – Amazing Race is geography and conceptualizing distance scales.

  34. @ Tammy Dixon – Oh, yes…I am TOTALLY back into Hathaway these days. 🙂 I loved the last episode, Your Sudden Death Question. Hathaway was rather delightful in that one…between his hissy fit over the stolen guitar (I LOVE it when he broods!), and then pestering Lewis about his thing with Dr. Hobson… 😆 It was a VERY indulgent episode! I also loved it when he kissed his guitar case. 😀

    I did have some thoughts about…The Dead of Winter. I should go to imdb and see if anyone’s talked about it there. I was a little curious about Hathaway’s youthful experience on the estate. Any thoughts?


  35. Das: I grew up poor and watching the more “blessed” kids in school. (As one of my cousins says, “Hardship builds character”)
    The U.S. doesn’t officially have a caste system but the privileged kids behaved like royalty in my school.
    Money and position does seem to level the field over here, in the states. It makes me wonder if the field is ever leveled for the gentry/common folk in other lands? Hathaway seems well adjusted but I do wonder if they made him feel inferior because of his father’s position as staff? I hope to see many more episodes to have Lewis/Hathaway’s story unfolded for me.
    Hathaway’s hair seems a bit longer, nice. It is sweet watching Lewis with the Dr., and I hope it works out with them.
    I hope there are no spelling errors, I apologize if there are. My dry eye syndrome is really acting up. My eyes are super blurry. Must be the weather. I’m off for some more artificial tear solution.
    Have a good night everyone!!!

  36. Oh, Carl, thou art a master of redirection. I see-eth what thou holdest in thy hand.

  37. Hey Joe,

    My Brother’s girlfriend died last night. She was 30. People aren’t meant to die at that age unless they’re being reckless. They’re not meant to just die. My Brother had told me a couple of weeks ago he was going to ask her to marry him in October while they were together in Bali.

    Here I was worrying about keeping Ralph inside last night because it marked the one year anniversary of him getting attacked by the possum, and instead…

    This marks the day that I never want to have another Birthday.

  38. So how many times can I say, “OOh, shiny” before it becomes too stale? Or have I reached terminal velocity?

  39. @Narelle

    I am so very sorry, and I agree with you on people that young dying. Your family will be in my thoughts.

  40. @ Narelle from Aus – very sorry about your brother’s girlfriend. Don’t say you never want to have another birthday. Birthdays are a blessing. Don’t you think his girlfriend would have loved to have about 60 more of them? And I’m sure your brother would have loved to help her celebrate each one, just like he would want to be at all your’s too. Some lives are way to short. If only I could have seen my brother’s 23rd birthday, or organized his 30th, or surprised him on his 40th…

  41. Narelle, so sorry for your loss. You are correct, 30 is way to young. but I hope you indeed have many more birthdays. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  42. Oh, dear God, Narelle!! That’s horrible! I just don’t know what to say…

    I’ll drop you an e-mail…but there really are no words…



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