Recently, I’ve been asked my thoughts on the immediate future of Stargate. Specifically, with the release of the Stargate: Origins web series (you can check it out here at StargateCommand) fans want to know: “Where do we go from here?”
Well, to be honest, my opinion hasn’t really changed since I wrote this blog entry back in 2013: Whither Stargate?
With the launch of its new streaming platform and this prequel digital series, MGM is essentially testing the market, checking to see if Stargate fans are still out there and hungry for content. The answer, it would seem, is yes and YES! And while this could very well signal the possibility of an additional web series or two, it’s more likely a step toward the production of an all-new Stargate series. Which then begs a few more questions: What kind of direction will this new series take? Who will be involved? And when will it drop?
I, like you, am an outsider. I have no idea what the studio has planned. That said, I have no doubt they are looking to produce a show that would be a perfect jumping-on point for first-time viewers unfamiliar with the franchise, yet possessed of the many elements that longtime fans will rally around. However, this may be easier said than done. A full reboot of the series. which on the surface seems like the easiest way to go, wipes out 17 seasons of Stargate television history and risks turning off a significant portion of the existing fanbase. In addition, I would argue that a true reboot would be very, VERY difficult to pull off. Over the course of those 17 years of Stargate history, mythology was crafted, rules established, and characters brought to life. Could an all-new, all-different Stargate avoid making even tangential use of any of these elements? If we go by Origins as an example, the answer would be no. Somewhere along the way, any new series – reboot, remake, or reimagining – will make use of these story-building elements whether subconsciously, deliberately, or as a result of some grand osmosis of creative conception which, let’s face it, is all one and the same. So if you’re going to end up there anyway (which, believe me, you will), why gamble such a valuable franchise when you can roll with a sure thing? Trust the ones who got you there – and by there, I mean an enormously successful, incredibly lucrative scifi television franchise that has spawned three shows and 340+ episodes.
I’m talking about two individuals intimately familiar with the entire canon, proven commodities who have demonstrated an ability to create scenarios, stories, and characters that resonate with audiences worldwide AND yielded massive profits for the studio. Storytellers. Moneymakers. Individuals capable of creating a fresh new series that makes use of the rules already in place but free of the burden of heavy backstory or mythology. No prior Stargate knowledge required! Just watch and enjoy! The beauty of such a scenario is that the rich canonical history can still exist but be rediscovered, piecemeal, through the eyes of our new characters. Viewers unfamiliar with the franchise will be getting in on the ground floor while fans who have been along for the ride since Russel and Spader traipsed through that off-world desert, can be rewarded with the occasional appearance of a notable enemy, ally, or a variation on a familiar tale. Walking that fine narrative line between past and present, strange and familiar, new fans and established fandom, would be a daunting challenge for any outsider. But I know just the guys who COULD pull it off. I am, of course, referring to Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper.
Want a show that gets you the best of both worlds? Something unique and accessible yet sure to fire up the existing fanbase? Talk to Brad and Rob. Get them started on that new Stargate series. Yesterday.
It’s tough to argue with 17 seasons of scifi television.
Great things await!