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With the recent news that Roland Emmerich would like to make a second, big screen, Stargate movie, questions surrounding the future of the franchise have again started popping up throughout fandom.

It’s been three years since Stargate: Universe was cancelled and fans want to know: What’s next?  Whither Stargate?

Well in my humble and somewhat informed opinion: Beats me.

But let’s look at the possibilities…

THE BIG SCREEN REBOOT (TWO WAYS TO DO IT)

Look at the re-imagined Star Trek.  Both movies did HUGE business.  And, like Star Trek, Stargate is an established scifi franchise that would undoubtedly wow with a big screen treatment and visual effects budget.  The potential box-office returns could be tremendous!

Or not.  If the summer of 2013 has taught us anything, it’s that Big Budget Star-driven features don’t guarantee success.  The Lone Ranger ($215 million dollar production budget), White House Down ($150 million dollar production budget), Turbo ($135 million dollar production budget), RIPD ($130 million dollar production budget), After Earth ($130 million dollar production budget), The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones ($60 million dollar production budget).  What do the aforementioned have in common?  Yep, you guessed it: Big hopes, Big budgets, and, all of them, Big box office disappointments.  Also, keep in mind that the listed amounts in parentheses are the approximate production budgets which don’t take into account the equally sizeable costs of marketing these movies.  Ouch.

So, it’s clear that “throwing money at it” won’t guarantee a movie’s success. Neither will casting hitherto bankable actors like Johnny Depp and Will Smith.  BUT Stargate is an established property with a pre-existing fan base, so it’s got that going for it. Right?  Well, okay, so did The Mortal Instruments movie but, for argument’s sake, let’s just stick to Stargate for now.  Big budgets aside, the Stargate franchise is much like Star Trek in that it has that built-in SF fan base eager for more.  So it stands to reason that it should follow the Star Trek model and find success as a big screen reboot!

Well, not so fast…

First of all, as proud as I am of everything we accomplished with the Stargate franchise, I’ll be the first to admit it doesn’t have quite the reach or support of Star Trek.  And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Sure, we produced three series, two direct-to-dvd features, and some 300+ episodes over 15 years but, while impressive a feat, it pales in comparison to Star Trek’s five series, twelve theatrical features, and some 700+ episodes over 46 years.  As a result, Star Trek’s influence reaches far beyond its fandom – which is important given that, despite its established fan base, Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled after four seasons.  This is not to minimize the impact of fans but simply to suggest expectations should be tempered.  A robust and passionate fandom doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. Having said that, however, it’s in instances such as these, where a franchise’s reach may not be as wide-ranging as a Star Trek, that fandom is even more important in a studio’s campaign to “get the word out”.

It’s for this reason that you want to make sure you get fandom “on your side”.  And this is where reboots can get a little tricky.  On the one hand, re-imagining a property offers first-timers the opportunity to get in on the ground floor.  They’re on equal footing with longtime fans in that they don’t need to come in to a movie knowing what has come before.  It’s fresh and new to them as, ideally, it would be to longtime fans.  A new beginning of sorts.  Problems arise when you start distancing those longtime fans, the support crew that could prove an indispensable part of any pre-release online campaign, who may not take kindly to the franchise they’ve come to know and love being messed with.  And, by messed with, I mean…

Ignoring what has come before.

Yes, a fresh start is a great idea when it comes to reaching out to a potential new audience, and while some fans would undoubtedly be pleased with a complete relaunch, many others would no doubt take umbrage with a complete dismissal of established canon.  In some ways, it’s the equivalent to the Bobby Ewing in the shower scene in Dallas.  Remember?  Actor Patrick Duffy decided to leave the series and his character was killed off at the end of the show’s eighth season.   But then Duffy had a change of heart and decided he wanted to come back. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a scifi show and cloning, time travel, and ascension were not viable options.  So, to address the issue and bring back Bobby Ewing, Duffy’s character makes an inexplicable appearance in the final episode of of the show’s ninth season. His wife hears the water running, walks into the bathroom, and is shocked to see him there, showering.  When season 10 got underway, it was revealed that Bobby never died and that the show’s ninth season was just a dream. An insanely detailed dream that ran 31 episodes!  Which leads me to wonder how that ninth season performs in syndication and alternate media purchases (i.e. downloads). Anyway, my point is that a creative clean slate could hurt rather than hinder a reboot’s prospects as it slams shuts: a) the book on beloved characters and b) the door on the faces of longtime fans.

On the other hand, instead of a complete reboot, the studio could opt for a reboot that makes use of established characters – which is what Star Trek did.  We are presented with  a new version of long-established characters – Kirk, Spock, McCoy – but the potential to piss off longtime fans is minimized because the story takes place in an alternate universe.  So, quite literally, fans can have the best of both worlds. The new adventures don’t undo what has come before.  Fans will, of course, have a preference, but both versions can happily co-exist without trumping one another.

Of course, one could argue that the reason this type of reboot worked for Star Trek is that, while these classic characters have long been engrained in the SF consciousness, it’s been almost twenty years since we’ve seen them onscreen in a new adventure.  In the case of Stargate, well, it’s been about two years since we last saw Jack O’Neill grace the small screen.  Is it perhaps too soon to expect fans will embrace someone other than Richard Dean Anderson in the role?

A SMALL SCREEN EVENT (TESTING THE WATERS)

Another possibility is to produce a one-shot Stargate television event that could potentially act as a backdoor pilot for a new Stargate series.  If the ratings are great, the studio can move forward with an all new t.v. series while, if the ratings disappoint, they can cut their losses with this single production.  At first blush, this seems like a great idea.  Creatively, it would allow the franchise to head in a bold, new direction while still paying its respects to what has come before, leaving the door open for established characters to make an occasional appearance and help bridge the gap between old fans and new.  Upon closer scrutiny, however, it becomes clear that a “one and done” deal wouldn’t make much financial sense.  In order to do it properly, especially if it was going to serve as a potential backdoor pilot, $$$ would need to be spent, and broadcast license fees and alternate revenue streams may not be enough to make the venture worthwhile. Like any show, it would be a gamble, but the fact that science fiction requires more of a financial investments makes this even more risky.  At some point, the studio needs to ask itself what would be the better scenario: strike now or wait?  There’s an argument to be made for both.  The fact that the last Stargate episode aired only two years ago suggests the fans are still out there and, if a movie or series is produced sooner than later, one could count on their support – in addition to the potential support of new viewers.  Strike while the iron is hot!  Then again, the ratings for SGU’s final season could suggest viewer fatigue and maybe waiting is advisable.

A CLASSIC STARGATE MOVIE OR MINI-SERIES

As much as I would love to see a television mini-series or movie based on either of the three past Stargates (SG-1, Atlantis, or Universe), this one is the longest of long shots mainly because the sets no longer exist and rebuilding them for a one-time adventure doesn’t make a whole lot of financial sense.  At the very least, if one were going the backdoor pilot route, there is the very real prospect of recouping those upfront expenses in an ongoing series.  Back in the day, the two Stargate direct-to-video features, Ark of Truth and Continuum did VERY well.  But that was before the bottom fell out of the dvd market.  Sadly, a “classic Stargate” miniseries or movie isn’t the slam dunk it used to be.

A NEW STARGATE SERIES

Well, yes wouldn’t that be great?  A new set of characters and host of new adventures with the potential for guest spots from the likes of Rodney McKay, Daniel Jackson, and maybe even Eli Wallace.  A new Stargate-based television might be the best way to go.  After all, while the original movie was successful, it was the television franchise that proved an incredibly lucrative earner for MGM. But some of the same questions arise.  When should the studio look to put another series in development?  Sooner or later?  Has enough time passed?

LOOKING AHEAD

So, having said all that, what DOES the future hold for Stargate?  Again, I haven’t a clue and I’ve long since accepted the sheer folly of applying logic to Hollywood decision-making.  But, for what it’s worth…

My gut instinct tells me the studio would LOVE to follow the Star Trek model: take an established property, re-imagine it for the big screen, and makes hundreds of millions of dollars.  Of course, it could be argued that that is a very best case scenario.  If the studio does consider going down this route, careful consideration will present two indisputable facts: a) Stargate is not Star Trek, and b) alienating long-time fans in favor of a new audience could prove  disastrous.

As much as I would love to see that Atlantis movie or SG-1 movie or even a mini-series that incorporates elements from all three Stargate shows, this is the unlikeliest of scenarios for the simple reason that the risks far outweigh any potential rewards.

No, given the history of the franchise, it would seem a new television series would be the best way to go – a fresh take on Stargate that would bring in new viewers while rewarding the long-suffering fans.

However, I’m not the one making the call.

In the end, I think there’s only certainty: On the question of Stargate’s glorious return, it’s not a matter of IF but WHEN.

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DP
DP

I think he could go a different direction with it without having the same feel of re-writing the universe of SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe. He could go a different direction and it could have the feel of something completely different, a different universe altogether. The TV series didn’t feel like a perfect transition from the movie to me. I would just think of the series as starting with the pilot and the series of movies as a separate work.

DP
DP

By “the same feel”, I’m referring to the Star Trek re-imagining being like a re-write, whereas he could go another direction without comment on the SG-1 universe and it simply becomes a different universe to me.

Deni

From your mouth to Hollywood’s ears, Joe! smile Still, an Atlantis movie would be my pick… Been stuck super sick this week (and it continues), and I started re-watching Atlantis today (for the umpteenth time), I still love it. What you say about Star Trek v Stargate is very true. I have much stronger ties to Star Trek than I do to Stargate, but maybe that’s just a matter of my age and how long I’ve been watching both shows? I remember Brannon Braga being very optimistic about a new Star Trek show within 5 years of Enterprise’s demise, and here we are, nothing yet. Let’s hope Stargate does a little better than that!

majorsal

so your gut says: “No, given the history of the franchise, it would seem a new television series would be the best way to go – a fresh take on Stargate that would bring in new viewers while rewarding the long-suffering fans.”

i’m a long-suffering s/j fan for sure! :p but i love the whole mythology/history of the Gates, so bring it on!

would you like me to campaign on twitter to mgm about this? if so, any suggestions on how to state it?

StellaByStargate
StellaByStargate

I confess, I don’t know much about the business end of these things, but the apparent success of the “made for Netflix” programs (House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, etc…) might present another alternative. It would have the advantage of 1. Built-in fanbase (who, we know from the SGU experience, are more likely to watch their television shows via the internet), 2. A commitment to at least a single season of episodes (so those sets will get used more than once!), and 3. An opportunity to draw new fans in by giving them the opportunity to binge-watch an entire season and become committed to the show (I still maintain that part of the demise of SGU was due to SyFy’s messing with the schedule and having such a long hiatus between half-seasons/seasons that many viewers drifted away…).

Anyway. That’s my layman’s (laywoman’s?) two-cents on the matter. And for what it’s worth…if the MGM PTB are reading this…I wouldn’t spend a cent to see any Stargate movie that didn’t honor the existing canon established by SG-1, Atlantis and Universe. Alternate Universe or no Alternate Universe, they can keep it.

Stella

stargateatlantisseasonsix

Stargate not a matter of if but when…YAHOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! grin

dasndanger
dasndanger

Not really thinking about Stargate. For me, it will always be the Atlantis series just as it was. That’s MY Stargate and I want nothing else but fond memories of the likes of Spectacular Steve and Temperamental Todd.

In other news we had a big fire here in New Jersey. Fire, fueled by 30 mph winds, consumed several blocks of the boardwalk in Seaside Park, including what was left of the Funtown Pier. Firefighters dug up the boardwalk and created a 20-foot trench to keep the fire from progressing north. At the height of the fire about 400 firefighters – including forest firefighters – were on scene, with companies coming up from even our southernmost area nearly 90 miles away. Coincidentally, there’s a fireman’s convention in Wildwood this weekend – it will not be a festive one, that’s for sure.

Less than a year ago the boardwalk along Seaside Park and Seaside Heights had been devastated by Superstorm Sandy, and massive effort went into rebuilding for the summer. Though it’s the end of the season not all businesses were closed, and some people actually lived above those businesses, too. This is a real kick in the nuts for the people who live there.

I am curious to learn what started it. It is a shore ‘tradition’ for a few stores on any given boardwalk to burn down at summer’s end. As kids we used to try to guess how many days after Labor Day the fires would start. A good summer = no fires. A bad summer = fires. So I won’t be surprised if this turns out to be arson, though I hope not. I really hope this was just an accident or an electrical fire, especially since people were still working and living in the places that were lost. To set fire on a windy day to inhabited buildings would be pure evil.

News and photos here:

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/local&id=9245840

das

PBMom

@Das My sister was telling me about it (remember she lives in Toms River, just across the bridge). It made our local news here. I hope they don’t find out it was arson.

PBMom

If am still stuck on the “trilogy” comments. MGM’s darling Hobbit series did not do as well as expected trying to take this story and stretch it into three. Personally I enjoyed it and look forward to seeing the new one in December but I heard a lot of grumpy people. Ditto for Star Trek for the 2nd installment of the newly imagined series. People who thought Khan was the best of the original Star Trek movies to come out strongly disliked this one. It’s always a gamble.

PBMom

@deni. Sending virtual chicken soup to you to help you feel better., wish I could do more to help than that though. So sending prayers!

Randomness
Randomness

I really don’t think Stargate would work as a big feature movie with a budget to match, to avoid making a huge comment, although Stargate is popular, it’s nowhere near the level Star Trek is at, it would never make hundreds of millions and investing in a big budget trilogy would be a very foolish/costly move if it ever were to occur(I doubt it).

Either a one shot movie, or a TV series would work, at least in my opinion. With enough love, and effort, not to mention talent and marketing, you could easily revive Stargate.

With a director that respects the franchise, and not his or her own ego, you could easily do a Stargate movie that is both respectful to what has already been established, and give fans something new.

Bailey
Bailey

I’ve kind of resigned myself to no Atlantis movie but if they do a new series I’d only tune in if some of the existing characters from SG1 and SGA made appearances on a semi-regular basis as mentors to the new crew. Or something like that. And to be more specific Sheppard would have to be one of them. Or I’d honestly have very little reason or need to check it out.

HBMC
HBMC

I don’t think this upcoming reboot is going to have anything to do with the series. It’s being made by the original creator, who is said to be not a fan of where the series went (his loss!). So we’ll get new Stargate, but it won’t have the slightest resemblance to SG-1.

I’d like to think MGM had more sense than that, and that they’d rather capitalise on the massive already-in-existence fanbase and library of existing television episodes, but I just don’t see it happening.

Carl
Carl

In my opinion it’s too early for a reboot for the movie or tv series. I would go for movies à la Star Trek. Same personage but in a near futur (5,10, 20 years later). For a tv series I would definitely continue SGU, 2-3 years have passed, corresponding to time it takes to make it from one galaxy to another.

Ganymede
Ganymede

You know, THEY could another route… “ANIMATION”! ;-D
[STAR TREK & STAR WARS have “been there, done that”]
Nothing like catching that New Audience from BIRTH! And, you could still use all of the Actors…

BTW, are those PUPPETS still around?? – Now THAT’s a NEW VERSION I *WOULD* WATCH!! – [Gerry Anderson ROCKED!]

seriously, how bad could it be? — After DISNEY buying STAR WARS, let’s face it, NOTHING is “Sacred” any more!

Debra From The South

I’ll watch… movie, series, whatever. I am a stargate addict. Unless it is really bad, I’ll be there. But I agree it seems too soon.. at least for a series.

@Randomness… gosh I hope you are joking that you don’t believe there is global warming. Not as crazy as a flat earth believer, but still….

Deni

@PBMom: Thank you for the soup and the prayers, much needed and appreciated! xo

PJR
PJR

Hi Joe

After the first, and successful, Stargate movie they didn’t do another. Emmerich didn’t. Why?

Instead, after a lull, the TV series was conceived and born, and helmed by a different leadership (not Emmerich) and given a bit different tone.

There were DVD movies spun-off the series, not rolled out to cinema.

Now Emmerich sees a follow-up movie not a DVD (I presume) nor TV series linked – unless that is an intention, and to do it as he had possibly thought waaaay back….or just do another sequel to roll with that franchise.

Who is writing with him?

Real life – Stargate: origins debate?

Aside from that I wonder (like everyone else) what tack he’d take. He is big on Alien invasion and end of world stuff…so there’s all that bumpf on web building (in the post 2012 no-show) the next conspiracy bandwagon: landing! takover? Return of the nephilim? last pope! Mars! Prophecy! New Age con! End of Days! They’re coming…ahhh!

The reach-out into the universe happened in the first movie. Here comes the reach-back home. Not so much blow-back as culmination of the long agenda…and the stories will be in and around Earth, Moon & our solar system only.

But some on Earth have been preparing and will use adapted Stargate tech to have a web of fast-shift link holes all over the Earth, Moon, planets and their moons. When the enemy starts moving, and openly, this official resistance will be ducking and weaving fast through the rabbit warren of micro wormhole tunnels (& a few biggies), striking hard and holding out – like the Vietcong in tunnels underground.

Of course, there will be further layers of conspiracy. Is this for real – a real attack? A genuine resistance? Or a scripted agenda to bring humanity together to fight the enemy from out there – entities/’gods’ who think they own us? Step forward the New World Order and One World Government agenda…

two cents worth…if that!

best! PJR

edmondbarrett

Or we could all just admit Stargate has had its day. SG1 got a good run but by the time it ended had run pretty severely out of steam. Atlantis had some good ideas but was always the-lesser-son-of-a-greater-sire. SGU was a brave attempt to do something different with the setting but unfortunately ended up showing that built in fan base also means built in baggage, namely fanboy who throw hissy fits. Frankly might have lasted longer if it hadn’t been a part of the SG universe.

No, if there is another SG offering it will probably be the Stargate equivalent to Enterprise.

[shudder]

Dave B
Dave B

The original film had a ‘sequel’ novel published which was supposedly how the creators saw it progressing. It was dull and with a very ‘preachy’ plot about big business and military stupidity. If this gets resurrected as part of the plot then it will be a spectacular failure…

Ben
Ben

It doesn’t bode well if even you call him O’Neill with two ‘L’s. I was lead to believe that that colonel had no sense of humour at all…

jonmuse
jonmuse

hi Joe. very happy to hear that you’re still saying not if but when. if like to see gate take a cue from American horror story. gritty and serialized like sgu, but each season be a story that is concluded by season’s end, taking place in the universe we love. New main characters could be cycled in each session as well. I think sci-fi viewers have become weary of show spanning arches because the shows rarely survive long enough to reach conclusion

Maggiemayday
Maggiemayday

Whatever evolution of Stargate appears, movie or series, big screen or small, I’ll watch. I might not like it, and I may moan about it, but I will watch it. Sigh. Just don’t wait until I’m too old to see the end of a trilogy …

HBMC
HBMC

@Ganymede:

There was a Stargate animation.

The less said, the better.

DP
DP

One reason I wouldn’t be offended by Stargate branching in a different direction from the original movie is, for all we know, Emmerich might have had a plan for a next movie all along. Then, a couple guys went a different direction with it from his plan.

Barbaro
Barbaro

I’m with Das. Although I started out watching SG-1, Atlantis became the show I like best. A movie or show with the original actors is what I crave. If a new movie is made I would probably rent it when it got to Redbox but I wouldn’t spend money to go to the movies.