IMG_3702Look 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…

1ENEMY AT THE GATE (520)

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.

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33 thoughts on “February 26, 2013: Gearing up? Days of Stargate Atlantis Past continues! Enemy at the Gate!

  1. Yep, it was sad. A bit of an emotional rollercoaster for you all. I’m enjoying the reruns and keep wondering what the “gang” is up to in the Pegasus Galaxy… Think it’s too late now for a movie?

    I am so underwhelmed by the nameless/faceless suits that decide to end quality shows.

  2. I have to wonder if the fans felt anywhere near the same disappointment and frustration that you and the other writers and the cast and crew felt on the day you found out that Atlantis would not continue. Sure, the fans were in an uproar and looking for someone to blame, but, where as the show was enjoyed by the viewers, it was your livelihood, and, as we all know, you had a family in all the people you worked with.

    Of all those people, once you get a green light for your next series, will you be recruiting some of them to come and work for you again?

    Patrica

  3. I liked the General Hammond reference.

    We have reason to believe that in your mind, where the series canon lives, Woolsey is in the Pegasus Galaxy right now. We’ll learn more about how that came about soon?

  4. This was a bittersweet episode for sure. I liked how it ended off, and the reason I say that is cause it leaves the door open to continue again and get them back to the Pegasus galaxy. When that will happen, only you can say. But whenever that day comes, I’ll be glued to the TV to watch again.

  5. Yes, it was sad. I would have enjoyed seeing what you had planned for the sixth season. There’s a reason I don’t watch much television anymore mainly because the quality shows I like keep getting canceled.

    Have a great day!

  6. We never met but I think that I can feel when you are serious and I think that we will see you working soon on a,,,hopefully,,, sci-fi show.

  7. I know it’s unlikely at this point, but was any thought ever given to trying to crowdfund the movies? Something like Kickstarter? I’d pay up front for them to be made and I’m sure others would as well.

  8. Let me first say that SGA remains, without a doubt, my favorite television series ever. Thank you and everyone who was involved for 5 great years!

    EATG was a good adventure with battles, spaceships, aliens, heroics, etc. I thought it was a fine individual episode. But as a series finale, I was a bit disappointed, particularly in that final balcony scene. The people on that balcony were not the people who should have been there. Where was Zelenka? Lorne? Chuck? The ghosts of Elizabeth or Ford? How the heck did it come down to McKay and Keller snuggly times when the great theme of the show was TEAM!? The very last visual of my beloved show was McKeller??!!! ewwwww
    Oh well…. (and that Wraith bringing Ronon back to life, where did that superpower come from?). OK, I’ll stop with this and try to remember only the good stuff, which outweighed the bad by a mile! Good luck with your new projects and hope someday to see that script for Extinction.

  9. I was sad to see SG1, SGA and SGU end but I a franchise as big as Stargate will be back either in feature films, another series or a miniseries. Dune, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate and Battlestar will always generate new projects.

    Exciting news, I loved Germany, Austria and Luxembourg, great people and amazing food. These are countries where I never felt homesick because I was too busy enjoying myself and loving the gorgeous scenery, lovely cities and delicious food. I think you guys would be able to stand a year in Germany and you’d be that much closer to Tokyo, Rome and Paris for even more great dining. I love that GoT films in amazing locales.

  10. It was as good an ending as you could have had, Joe, and I enjoyed it. A lot! The balcony scene was missing Zelenka, though. I loved that guy.

  11. I certainly hope you can put something together with much of the old team to work on your new projects. It should be clear to any production partners that these people can produce top-notch work, and do so cost-effectively. I really hope everything works out for that, but of course I will watch whatever it is no matter where it’s produced.

    EATG was indeed a bittersweet ending. As you note, at the time the prospect of a movie ending softened the blow very much. I’d like to think that in some possible parallel universe the movie was made, and so popular it led to an entire movie series.

    1. gforc: …EATG was indeed a bittersweet ending. As you note, at the time the prospect of a movie ending softened the blow very much. I’d like to think that in some possible parallel universe the movie was made, and so popular it led to an entire movie series.

      Aw, gforce, my sentiments exactly. Somewhere out there adventures ensue.

  12. Janet: I’ve seen pictures of Tasmania and it looks so beautiful! One of the places on my bucket list…

    Does Alex and Sara have room for you, Akemi and the pups? Cool! All newlyweds want guests that stay indefinitely and bring pets. Good luck on the project!

    The last SGA show was a good one and thanks for telling us the direction the storyline would have gone. I was sad when Fringe ended but at least Fox let them have a conclusion to the story.

  13. Bah, I’m sure that eventually MGM will want some sort of production when space adventures are popular again and will pull Stargate out to make a big budget film. It’ll be Paramount’s Star Trek response to Star Wars all over again.

  14. Saddest part?

    Todd in a jumpsuit. 🙁

    Although, the off-camera changing room scene probably would make for some steamy fan fic…like when Todd catches Sheppard eyeing him up…

    “What are you looking at?”

    “Uh…nothing…nothing at all…though…umm, yeah…okay. Is that a squid?”

    “Not exactly.”

    “Yeah, I didn’t think so. And now I’m never gonna be able to unsee that. Ever. Thanks a lot, Calamari Crotch.”

    “You’re welcome, John Sheppaaaaard.” *sly grin*

    *********

    Okay…so maybe not so steamy… 😛

    das

  15. Yay! Congrats to Alex and Sarah.
    All the best to the newlyweds.

    @shinyhula You’re absolutely right.

  16. I really hope your project comes to something Joe, I think after Stargate you and Paul deserve your big break and chance to get something off the ground.

  17. Oh and Joe if you’re looking for another super long anime series, I suggest Fairy Tail, it’s a very likable show, and quite light hearted, I find it to be very entertaining personally. It’s on Episode 171 in Japan.

    It’s one of those anime shows about a world of magic, with random guilds scattered around the place, the Fairy Tail Guild, ironically the animes name is one such guild, there’s quite a few arcs in this show, about 11 so far. There’s a strong sense of family in the guild too.

    Here’s the first opening to it anyway lol

  18. David H said:
    “I know it’s unlikely at this point, but was any thought ever given to trying to crowdfund the movies? Something like Kickstarter? I’d pay up front for them to be made and I’m sure others would as well.”

    that’s a very good question! what sayith you, joe???

  19. Enemy At The Gate was good. Very exciting, but nowhere near what a series ender should be. But you are forgiven for not knowing that at the time. I remember you posted a picture before the episode aired of everyone standing on the balcony. I saw Ronon in his hospital PJ’s and knew he had gotten hurt. You denied me that moment of angst when Ronon “died”, of not knowing if you were getting rid of his character. Had I not known he would not stay dead, the wraith would bring him back alive, I am sure there would have been some cursing directed your way. Beckett can’t fly! He drove Atlantis into the bay. Where any boaters killed during the making of this episode? I have to agree with Das about Todd in the jumpsuit. How demoralizing. Poor Todd.
    The End.
    The End?
    The End!!?!!
    No, no, noooooooooooooooooooo!!
    Damn MGM.

  20. Joe I forgot to say, thank you for doing this. Thank you for taking the time to slowly walk down 5 years, 100 episodes, of your memories of the making of Stargate Atlantis. One of my all time favorite shows! To see the backstage photos and hear the inside stories was such a treat. Thanks for doing this now and thanks for blogging about it back then. Thanks for all the Q&A’s with all the special people you work with and who we looked forward to watching each week. I kept up with you. I think I only missed watching one. I’ll put my DVD collection up now, until next time your in the mood the reminisce again. Thank you!

  21. Let’s hope you get to stay in Vancouver!! (And get to re-employ many of our favorite people)!

    I’m with Karen Ford on this one. I did not think it was a bad ending. Sad yes, but bad? I think Stargate fans will never get enough of their series or particular favorite series among them. But TV is just not like the days when soap operas could run 50 years. That is where fan fiction comes in (a term I don’t really think existed when I was a kid). People can use their imaginations and create the stories they wish to tell long after the journey ends on-screen.

    I’m with Ponytail on this one. You are very kind to continue talking about Stargate for us longing for more. In a way, it makes the series live on, even if we are just remembering, because we do find out something new that we didn’t know previously. You rock.

  22. It was a sad day in my household as well as a hopeful one when the finale for SGA premiered. Sad because SGA, easily the house favorite of the Stargate franchise, was over on Television we thought and were hopeful for a film treatment the likes of which SG-1 got, and that SGU was coming on next so that the Stargate franchise itself was not ending. But while my household found SGU to be a big let down, it was absolutely heartbreaking to lose movies for SGA. In hindsight, it’s just plain sad…but we are still hopeful here. 🙂

  23. As a diehard fan, with SGA still not being toppled from being my favorite series, I would really like to know how the powers that be came to the decision to cancel the popular show?! After winning the People’s Choice Award, I would have thought that would have guaranteed at least one more season! Instead , MGM went with an unknown SGU?! It just doesn’t make sense, no matter how you look at it!!! Bad decision making here…..very bad!!
    Enemy At The Gate was great, but left so much untold. Too bad, a movie wasn’t approved. At least there is fanfiction where many wonderful novice writers have continued on…some really wonderful storylines there!!!

  24. I have just rewatched all the stargate sg1 atlantis and universe series aswell as the movies and loved every moment of it just wished atlantis wasn’t cancelled it could easy have went on for another few seasons also wish the atlantis movie and the sg1 movie weren’t canceled am still hopeing for atlantis to have a few extra seasons but at the very least the movie to be made please if any1 with the power to get this movie made is reading this all the fans would love it

  25. I agree with chris every1 would love to c the atlantis movie made or even another few seasons of atlantis itself

  26. I’m number one fan of the SG-1 and SG-Atlantis series . after watching them on DVD and catching up on a few episodes I had missed when it was running had me glued to the my TV for 2 months while I completely watched all 15 seasons. Is there any way you can all bring back the movie to Atlantis!!?

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