Look familiar? Well, it should. This is the massive VFX Stage at The Bridge Studios that once housed sections of Atlantis, the village set, various hive ships, and the Daedalus/Apollo/Odyssey/Korolev. Yesterday, Paul and I were joined by an old friend, former Stargate Producer/Production Manager John G. Lenic as we took a trip down memory lane, revisiting our old stomping grounds. Once Upon A Time is now using Stage 4 (that once held the Destiny set), Stage 5 (the SGC gate room, control room, conference room, Hammond’s office, the infirmary, and surrounding corridors as well as the Alpha site corridors, control room, and gate room), and Stage 6 (the Atlantis gate room, control room, conference room, infirmary, and surrounding corridors) but there is plenty of stage space still available including the aforementioned monster VFX Stage. While walking the grounds, we ran into a bunch of familiar faces – Ron, Graham, former Stargate Construction Coordinator Scott Wellenbrink, the gals in accounting. Earlier in the day, we’d paid a visit to Atmosphere Visual Effects where we spent some time with former Stargate VFX Supervisor Mark Savela and our former script coordinator Lawren Bancroft-Wilson. Yep, just like old times. Sort of.
And what, pray tell, were we doing reconnecting with our former colleagues? Had we become wistful for times of yore and wanted to relive past memories? Sure. Let’s say that. Also, our production partners on the shows we’ve been developing were in town and keen to see what Vancouver had to offer. Just in case, say, we get that/those pick-ups.
My heart is with Vancouver and, given the choice, I would love to shoot here but, realistically, Toronto may make more financial sense. At least, I suspect, until the ruling provincial liberal party gets booted from office this May (despite spending 11 million dollars for the rights to host the Indian equivalent of the Golden Globes). Still, all options are on the table and being explored. I hear that if we shoot in Germany, we’d get even more bang for our buck. And there’s the added cost-effective bonus of being able to move in with our former colleagues – and recent newlyweds – Alex and Sarah while we’re there. I’m sure they’d love to host us – for the eight months to five years that the series will run!
Well, since we’re on the subject, what say we (almost) conclude our trips down SGA memory lane with the show’s final episode…
Five years, 100 episodes, and it all came down to a group farewell from the balcony of the City of Atlantis, overlooking San Francisco Bay. Originally, we had planned to land Atlantis off New York but my writing partner. Paul, vehemently objected on grounds of scale. So we changed it to a west coast location. And thus ended the series. Although, if things had worked out differently, the trip to Earth would have just been a stop on their return journey back to the Pegasus Galaxy. Oh, what fun we’d planned. Well, more than planned. We’d actually written a script. But more on that in another blog entry.
After five seasons, Atlantis had come to an end but, unlike SG-1, it lacked a true sense of finality. I mean, sure, that last shot of our heroes, all together, finally back on Earth worked as a series ender but that was never the intent. By the time we got word of the cancelation, the finale was already in prep. Still, I had no doubt we’d be given the opportunity to truly wrap things up with a movie that would return our heroes to Pegasus and, like the SG-1 finale, suggest that they were still out there and that their adventures continued.
To be honest, news of the cancellation came as a bit of shock. I’ve already discussed the specifics in previous entries but, suffice it to say, up to a few days before receiving final word, various sources had informed me we WERE coming back for a sixth (and probably final) season. The story that was eventually turned into the script, Stargate: Extinction, was originally slated to be the following season’s two-parter opener. But, of course, things changed.
Paul and I found out, walked down the hall and broke the news to a disappointed Carl Binder, Martin Gero, and Alan McCullough, then headed down to the trailers were we informed the cast. A sad day.
As for the this final episode, while, in hindsight, there were a few things I’d have done differently (ie. introduce the idea of the wormhole drive earlier in the season. Ironically, it was it was originally conceived, not as a payoff in this episode, but in the “return journey” storyline) it nevertheless worked well in that it closed a chapter while opening the door to endless possibilities.