Are you ready? This Friday night, Dark Matter’s biggest questions are answered in our explosive Dark Matter double episode finale.
First up is Episode 12. FIVE makes a shocking discovery, TWO meets her maker (literally!), and one crew member undertakes a rare off-ship mission in an outing that sees the return of the crew’s colorful agent, Tabor Calchek (played by Stargate alum David Hewlett), as well as a special appearance by Wil Wheaton.
Then, in Episode 13, our first season comes to a shocking, suspenseful, furious paranoia-fueled climax as we finally receive the answers to some long-standing questions. Who wiped the crew’s memories? And why?
Back when I first created this show, I started with a concept and two huge moments. One of those huge moments was the reveal at the end of the the pilot episode. The second, was the reveal at the end of the our first season. Over the many, many years I developed the show, I filled in the arcs and backstories with plenty of twists and turn-offs, set-ups and payoffs, but from the beginning, it was always those two cornerstone seismic-shifting moments. You’ve seen one; prepare to be shocked by the other.
The finale concludes with a big reveal that we kept secret from the cast and crew until the very last day of main unit shooting. We had 12 of 13 scripts written very early on in the production process but intentionally held off on our finale until about a month before it was scheduled to film. And, even when it was released, portions of the final few scenes were left intentionally vague, leading to much on and off-set speculation.
To keep the cast off-balance, I engaged in an elaborate campaign of obfuscation and misdirection that even involved having certain cast members called in for secret fittings.
The final reveal for the cast came in the form of an Agatha Christie-like gathering on the bridge of The Raza in which I presided (as Hercule Poirot, natch) and delivered the news – before everyone returned to shoot those final few scenes. Dark Matter Consulting Producer Ivon Bartok and Exec Producers’ Assistant Alison Hepburn shot the pre-shoot “You’re probably all wondering why I’ve gathered you here” encounter which will turn up as an online special feature not long after the episode airs.
One of the points I made early on as the show entered production was that we have a five year game plan, but have constructed each season like separate entries in a book series. In other words, each 13 episode instalment has its own theme, and its own beginning, middle, and end. The conclusion of this first season sets us up for a spectacular, thematically different second and I’m hoping we get the chance to tell those amazing stories.
All the same, I’m extremely proud of how this first season stands as a unique and satisfying narrative journey.
In many ways, I’m reminded of other season finales in which I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved.
First there was Stargate: SG-1. In that case, we knew well in advance that it would be our last season and series showrunner and Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper scripted and directed a beautiful send-off for our team in the episode “Undending” that, interestingly enough, paralleled the series finale of a complete different show – Cheers – by giving our longtime friends one more adventure yet leaving the door open for many, many more.
Then, there was Stargate: Atlantis. In that case, the final episode was not scripted as a series finale (I assumed we’d be getting that sixth season because all signs pointed to yes…until very late in the game when it was, bafflingly, no.) but, all the same, even though we were left with a number of questions, there was something fittingly final about the expedition back on Earth – with their new toy: the city of Atlantis. And that last shot of all of our heroes standing on the balcony overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge felt like, if not an ending, then the closing of a chapter.
Finally, there was Stargate: Universe, another show we didn’t know was going to end until after we’d produced the finale. Like Atlantis, I assumed we’d be back for what we were told would be a third and final season to wrap things up…until we weren’t. Still, my writing/producing partner, Paul, had the foresight to hedge our creative bets and so, when the crew goes into stasis, The Destiny shuts down. We drop through its various levels, rooms and corridors, as the lights go out – a sequence that bookends the opening in which we do the opposite, lighting up the various levels, rooms and corridors as the ship comes to life. The final shot of The Destiny jumping into FTL for the last time is incredibly poignant because, unlike past adventures in which we join them for the ride or jump ahead to greet them at their point of arrival, we are left behind to wonder. A bittersweet ending.
But, of course, unlike the aforementioned, ours will be a season rather than a series finale. Yes, I’m cautiously optimistic. You all may feel we’ve waited a while to hear word about a renewal but, in that time, we’ve solidified our position as SyFy’s #2 original scripted program this year in both overall viewers and that 18-49 demo the kids always talk about (tied with Defiance and 12 Monkeys). Not bad.
Anyway, in keeping with that positive vibe – after the finale has aired worldwide, I might offer you all some very small and subtle hints as to what we have planned for season 2!
Hurray! Received my contest-winning swag from GeekOnReview. Check them out for t.v., comic book reviews and more!
Hey, speaking of contests, check out tomorrow’s blog for your chance to win a signed copy of the Dark Matter finale script, annotated with insights, behind the scenes tidbits, and hint or two of what lies ahead in season 2!