In Stargate: Universe’s second season, the crew finally discovers Destiny’s bridge.  From a creative standpoint, holding off the discovery until then allowed for some great drama: Rush’s attempts to hide it from the rest of the crew, the subsequent attempts to control the ship, etc.  Also, waiting until season two permitted us to give it a truly worthy. singular reveal rather than lumping it in with the rest of the ship.  From a production standpoint, holding it off the discovery made even more sense.  The portions of the Destiny built for season one cost several millions and we simply couldn’t afford to include a massively expense bridge as well.  And so, rather than settle for something simple, we waited a year until we had the money to do it right. And, boy, did it we ever.  It was, simply put, a thing of beauty:

Destiny Bridge and adjoining corridor
Destiny Bridge and adjoining corridor
Under construction.  
Early season two.  The finishing touches in place.

The bridge was located in Stage 5 on and what made it all the more impressive was the fact that it was a raised, massive second level structure.  Directly below it stood the mess and shuttle.

David Blue (aka Eli Wallace) getting a feel for the place.

1James Robbins did a terrific job designing the bridge, and our construction department went above and beyond the call to build it. But the work didn’t stop there.  It had to be properly lit and, of course, we needed the Playback Department to work their magic.  “What’s the Playback Department?”you ask.  Well, whenever you see an onscreen image be it a holographic map or computer data or scrolling alien script, you can thank the Playback Department.  On the surface, it seems like such a small thing but, in reality, those incredible, painstakingly detailed graphics go such a long way toward setting the mood.  Some of the stuff they come up with was downright incredible.

The Captain’s chair.
Commander Carl Binder
Carl makes it go

To give you an idea of the great work of our Playback Department, check out the designs for the onscreen visuals – then check out the finished product…

Bridge chair (left arm)
Bridge chair (left arm)

Bridge chair (right arm)
Bridge chair (right arm)

Bridge standard text
Bridge standard text

Ship Systems (left)
Ship Systems (left)

Ship systems (right)
Ship systems (right)

Patrick Gilmore (aka Dale Volker) took a crash course in weapons and nav systems.
Navigation Systems (left)
Navigation Systems (left)

Navigation Systems (right)
Navigation Systems (right)

Sorry.  Couldn’t track this one down.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Weapons System (far right)
Weapons Systems (far right)

Weapons systems (standard)
Weapons systems (standard)

Pretty amazing, no?

38 thoughts on “March 22, 2013: The Destiny Bridge!

  1. So how does your wraith car handle snow 😉 ? My car got stuck in the foot of snow to hit the Edmonton region. I am thinking I need to get a more winter friendly car in the near future.

  2. Joe, in my minds eye, when you and Carl learned that the Destiny Bridge was almost complete, you ran down the stairs from your offices like a couple of giggling school boys trying to beat each other to be the first one inside. Carl obviously won because he got the Captain’s chair. You need to work on your sprinting skills. Or, you could bribe the Crew to keep him out. Just a suggestion. 🙂

  3. That’s pretty awesome Joe. I assume an LCD was behind the panels connected to computers?

    I never realized how big that bridge set was until I saw the people in your photo, wholly crap, no wonder those sets are so darn expensive.

  4. Really amazing behind the scenes material thanks Joe on a side note now that dark matter seems to be dead now what’s next for your career also have you considered writing dark matter into a major motion picture sci-fi is doing very well in the theaters now you might have a better shot at getting it green lit

  5. It’s a redressed set. It looks suspiciously like the set with the wonderful view of bluescreens… er, Space! A redress of the Gateroom. A redress of the Med bay. That is an impressive multipurpose room!

  6. I wish I had some artistic skills to go along with my computer skills so I could actually build those interfaces for real and control a computer with them.

  7. The Destiny bridge set was really a work of art. I remember watching that episode and being so impressed at the reveal. The amount of work and expense really showed.

    I agree about the playback screens – in all of the Stargate series they were top notch. They looked believable (and in many shows they sure don’t) yet really provided some visual interest to the wide shots. Consistently great work by that department!

  8. Hi Joseph !
    We are a french team fan of “stargate” who make a simulator for fun.
    Named “Stargate Network”

    See our website :
    moddb page :
    And Facebook Page :

    Our goal: to reproduce exactly the whole franchise Stargate, in one simulator.
    We gathered a massive database of Stargate, with props pictures, blueprints and artworks, screenshots, notes and others.

    We can show you if you want, give you an access to the first demo versions.
    Obviously, we would be happiness to have all documents you have.
    It would be a dream for us if you agree about that.

  9. You are right, it was amazing! I never knew so much went into a show. Thanks for sharing these awesome set pictures! You have so many great SG memories… I wonder what show is next for you?

  10. ~Oh yeah, absolutely amazing, those guys and gals certainly made the show magic for me, you are probably not surprised that a lot of people actually look at that kinda stuff. A whole lot different from the screens on the bridge of the original Star Trek series, if you know what I mean. The sets were always so great and costly for sure, so much detail and planning, craftsmenship,wow..
    ~And Carl this is a compliment, you kinda look alien like awaiting transport beam with the lighting in those pics, how cool, so Beam me up Carl!! and thanks Joe for sharing.

  11. Wow those Playback Screens look awesome!
    I just bought some of Atlantis and Universe off ebay (with a Certificate of Authencity of course ;)) and theyre incredibly detrailed! They look so much better then on TV.
    Some of SGU Kino-Remotes are actually working Flash-files, with buttons you can press and dial programs you can open etc.
    But most of them have just animations toggled on keypresses.
    I also have the big Atlantis mainscreens for sensors, energy, shields, the control chair etc.
    These are just amazing, and the Playback Art Department really put alot of work into them!

    I would love to see more of these playback screens, theyre just awesome!

  12. That is very amazing! And very interesting. This Playback department… electronic/electrician people? Does Playback mean what they set up just played the same thing or the graphic looped over and over again? What kind of skill is needed for that job? Did you ever have a Q&A with someone from Playback? I’d love to read it again. Real TV magic there.

  13. LOVE the Destiny’s bridge sets and close ups! The inner geek in me yearns for them to be REAL. The graphic designer in me loves the sleek design, gorgeous colors and smart layout. James Robbins is indeed a master. Construction and Playback depts. obviously had gifted members. They must be safely employed somewhere – yes?

    Gosh darn it, I really miss Stargate.
    Thanks for sharing all the goodies with us Joe. (Keep ’em coming!)

    How’re your sweet pups doing?


  14. Truly beautiful and amazing! The graphics used in the consoles are so vibrant. The Destiny’s bridge is definitely one of my favorite sets. I remember the reveal. I just wanted to press pause and soak in all the details.

    Where there any other games changing areas of the Destiny that were planned to be revealed in the subsequent seasons?

  15. @ Brice, all these blueprints and schematics made me go googling for a Stargate mmo last week, but all I could find is an 1980’s Stargate arcade game that isn’t related to SG. So it’s cool to see you guys are building your own digital Stargate simulator; when can we play it? If I had to build my own it would look like more like Pong with my shabby programming skills.

    I’m only now getting around to the two latest Walking Dead eps; watching that show is visceral, it’s like a punch in the gut so I have to really brace myself to watch. I can’t think of another show that has been as you-are-there, edge of your seat, can’t breathe awesome. My main complaint is that it’s too scary to watch at night, it gives me nightmares, it scares me out of my wits but I can’t stop watching it. Damn your sparkling blue eyes, Greg Nicotero.

  16. That is some pretty cools stuff, and the graphics in the displays are very impressive.

    I heard a rumor that Carl took the chair home and and added message features wired into the control arm as he watches European soccer and Australian rugby. Like I said it was only a rumor I heard.

  17. I know I said before on here but personally I preferred the sets with the lighting a little higher, you know, not so dark, they’re beautiful.

    It’s a shame the ratings never reflected the effort that went into the show. If anything SGU deserved to be that 2-3 million rated show that occasionally had a few dips but ultimately rebounded.

  18. Dear Mr. Mallozzi,

    I know you must get lots of comments so I don’t know if you’ll read this but if so, please give this a minute of your spare time, thank you.
    First of all, I want to thank you, not only for all the wonderful work you’ve done, that made lifes of most of must better and made even us, fans, better, but also for staying with us. for not tossing us away and for proving that you really loved Stargate and us, gaters. As such I would like to ask you for help. There is a petition for saving Stargate Universe by Netflix. I know there have been few tries before that failed but there are still thousands and thousands of fans which want a decent ending for SGU. You’re a good man and I believe that you would wish it too. Could you please undersign this petition or/and let all the fans know by mentioning this in your next blog post? Because we are struggling with letting all the fans know about this and… If this works, it will mean the whole world for us.
    Thank you again for everything and I wish you all the best in your life,

    A fan whose life you made worth living

    The petition:

  19. Pretty amazing, no? No. Ridiculously fantastic, yes? Yes! The fact that they came out so close to how the art work was rendered and to see them side-by-side was very cool.

    You know these Syfy movies are pretty ridiculous, but Julia Benson is in this one (Chupacabra Vs The Alamo). I guess they wanted to give The Alamo one more chance to redeem its less than stellar record. And Erik Estrada? He has man boobs and a big gut now. Like I said, I’m in this to see Julia.

  20. @Deni:

    Both my kids (who, being teenagers, would be offended if I called them babies) were down with viruses this week too; maybe something is moving through the mid-west? They had sore throats, drainage, and congestion. I managed to avoid catching any of it for once (but I think I just jinxed myself 😉 ).

    Praying your baby recovers quickly!

    1. If MGM had done some things right! Ian Fleming’s other story is an example: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. That car is still around! They have an actor who play Potts! There’s a story already there. How many movies have they made with only a few actual Bond stories?

      MGM simply has to start making things again. You can’t advance without taking chances. Not every adventure is going to make a billion dollars! Building another set is not extraordinary, especially if it’s a generic set, like Universe had. Many of the set designs were generic and, though rebuilt, were used in many Stargate series. Why didn’t they just build sets that could be stored, rather than rebuild? It can still be done.

      But you’re right. Netflex can’t do it without permission! …and yet there is a fan version of Stargate! Hmm.

  21. Hallo Anna Mašová
    Sorry for raining on your parade but no matter how many signatures you guys collect,
    Netflix won’t bring Stargate back. Not even if you get all 7 billion+ people to sign.
    Simply because MGM owns the Stargate franchise, along with James Bond it’s the only real cash cow MGM has left (apart from its fast movie archive) and it would be incredible stupid of MGM to sell the Stargate franchise.
    Although sending 7 billon+ signatures to MGM might do the trick.

  22. Haha! This reminds me of when I was a Minbari extra on Bab5. The first time I had to “pilot the Whitestar ship”, the 2nd AD was showing me the instrument panel and demonstrating its “operation” with his hands, touching the screen, making waving motions, turning knob-like things that didn’t really turn, etc. He was doing this all rather cavalierly, with no real attention to the motions he was making, or where he was making them, saying, “Just do something like this.” I was surprised that there wasn’t some sort of established protocol for how the ship was piloted, or at least how the knobby things that weren’t really knobs operated (Are they really supposed to be knobs that turn? Are they receptors that sense your hand movement over them? Are they a sort of stylized button you push?), or what motions on the instrument panel were “legitimate”. I was so worried that I was going to make some gesture that the hardcore fanboys (on the set or off) would recognize as patently ridiculous, or at least totally out of line with how that panel had been operated in the past. Oh, the pressure!!! And I was cursing whoever’s oversight it was not to have a rudimentary instruction sheet to give actors, so that the action stayed consistent from episode to episode. In the end, of course, no one watching even notices that stuff, but it sure made me nervous that first day.

  23. In a bizarre way, although it could be influenced by me currently going through a STAR TREK watching and reading kick, the Destiney’s Bridge reminds me in a way of the Enterprise-E’s or the NX-01 Enterprise’s bridge. In a way it’s kind of spooky and kind of not. Interesting…or as Spock would say “Fascinating.”

  24. I am such an incredible fan of the show i still love it even though rewatching it isn’t nearly as satisfying as watching it originally. If buying 100 copys of the show on DVD Seasons 1 and 2 would bring it back for a 2 hour direct-to-dvd wrap up or a single small 6-10 parter Season 3 but alas i think the money would have to be more like 10 million dollars which I’m just a bit short on right now :-;

    i just love the concept so much and your ideas for unexplored parts of the ship were amazing like finding corpses in a room alien corpses and people had gotten into the ship before i don’t mind that it violated the blueberry aliens not getting in because science fiction is so amazing you can have all sorts of other solutions like someone tricking the stargate into dailing from another location or teleporting through the shields or sub-space or some bs lol.

    but yeah I’m so inspired by Destiny and all the possible ideas of the unexplored areas. This idea of “Destiny” kind of like Lost that they were meant to be on that ship I imagine in later Seasons they would have encountered temporal paradox’s on the ship and copys of themselves as holograms or programs or downloaded into cyborg clone bodys etc because they would have been on the destiny in many times in the past.

    Also of course them Encountering the Ancients such as Janus and giving him the idea to look for the signal on the Microwave Background Radiation and to build Destiny so they could fullfill their destiny. then you have people like Telford maybe trying to prevent destiny from being launched in the first place perhaps weird stuff like that! I like Dark Matter too :3

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.