Alrighty.  It’s been forever since I’ve done one of these, so let’s get to it.  Opening the mailbag…

Egal writes: “A while back you tweeted that you gave your old stargate behind the scenes box to MGM.  Is there any news on that?”

Answer: Apparently, a lot of the digital files I sent over were duplicates of much of the material already featured as special features and behind the scenes footage for the former Stargate Command.  I’m still hoping they discover some gems.  In the meantime, I have my own copies of the dailies from a number of Stargate: Atlantis episodes that includes cool little unaired sequences like this one –

Joanne Verbeek: “Anymore word or progress on the TimEscape project?”

Answer: Half this business is waiting for a response – which is why it’s always a good idea to keep busy with multiple projects.  You know know what’s going to move forward or when.  The pandemic has only served to make a slow process even slower but I’m anxious to get a response from our Canadian broadcaster and start the ball rolling by taking it out to the U.S.   In the meantime, thinking of gauging prospective fan interest by letting a few of you read what I’ve got.  Who’s interested in getting an early sneak peek at a sci-fi series in the vein in SG-1, Atlantis, and Dark Matter?

July 21, 2020: Answering YOUR questions!

GForce writes: “Any further news on the Nick Cutter horror adaptation?”

Answer: Alas, our pitch trip to L.A. , while a lot of fun, didn’t result in a sale.  But I’m still hopeful that, with proper timing, the project can eventually find a home.

Alisa writes: “Last year you started posting season 4 of Dark Matter to give us a little closure to how the show would have gone. You made it to episode 3 and I was wondering if you were going to continue posting how the season would have progressed. I was so sad to see the show not get picked up for season 4 and 5. There were so many question left unanswered and I know you wanted to give us those answers but sadly the network did not let that happen. Also do you think you will get a second season for Utopia Falls.”

Answer: Yes, I do plan to continue posting the Dark Matter virtual season 4 episodes.  Eventually.  4.04 was going to be a Carl Binder special and I have no doubt it would have been a fan favorite.  As for Uoptia Falls – I think the biggest obstacle to a season 2 pick-up at this point is the lack of an international sale.  A show’s budget is made up of the licensing fees drawn from various broadcast territories and in order to move ahead with a second season of the show, the production company needs to ensure its investment in the series is covered by those sales.  Once that international sale is secured, a second season pick-up becomes a lot easier.  So, if you live in a part of the world that doesn’t air the show (or have friends who do), let your broadcasters know you want Utopia Falls.

Amybeth Gregory writes:  “My questions are Stargate Atlantis questions- you may or may not be able to answer.
1. Why was the Destiny shaped in the form of Thor’s hammer? The Ancients had their own civilization separate from the Asgard. So why so Asgardian?”

Answer: To be honest, this is a question for show creators Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper – and, possibly, Production Designer James Robbins – since they were the ones who envisioned and designed the look of the Destiny.  The fact that it was shaped in the form of Thor’s hammer might offer a clue to a bigger big picture reveal.  On the other hand, it could just be a coincidence.
“2. What prevented the Ancients from using Destiny? & it wasn’t Ascension bc they were still around in physical form for Atlantis & to flee to Earth.”

Answer: I would direct all Ancient-related questions, again, to Brad and Robert who were intimately familiar with the deep history and details of the Ancients and their mythology.  Got any questions about kooky time loop episodes?
“3. How far ahead had the writing gone? Did anyone actually write about who the makers of the drones were? (Us? Replicators?) or whether the crew wakes up from stasis?”

Answer: We would usually receive news of a pick-up near the end of the season, wrap production, then spend a month or two breaking stories for next season before heading off to write.  In the case of SGU, we never got the chance to do any spinning so no stories were written.  However, I do know that Brad had a plan for many of the outstanding storylines – as well as answers to a lot of the show’s questions, big and small.
“4. Was there an end point written re: the meaning behind the message in the fabric of the universe or were you all still up in the air (no pun) about what it meant?”

Answer: Yes, definitely.  Brad revealed it to me on one of the last days, after the cancellation, and I promised not to reveal it until he got the chance to do so – hopefully in a new Stargate series.

Wishing you a speedy post-op recovery!

Rick writes: “Will a lot of the actors from SG1, Atlantis and Universe be returning for major/minor roles in the new Stargate series?”

Answer: That would be up to Brad, but I know he does see the potential in rewarding longtime fans with possible guest appearances.  Time will tell.

Al writes: “I’m rewatching universe now. Are the planet builders the same race that left the pattern in the background radiation?”

Answer: If and when Brad gets that fourth Stargate series off the ground, he would be in a great position to answer that.

Kevin writes: “I hope you can answer this, but can you tell me what the third Stargate SG-1 movie, the one about O’Neill, was going to be about?”

Answer: The third SG-1 movie, Stargate: Revolution, involved the Stargate program going public and… to be honest, I don’t remember the details.  I remember reading the first draft and being awed by the deep space ship battles, action sequences, and Jack and Sam dinner scene.

Fuchsia writes: “Hi there, will you be doing a list of your top 10 horror novels? I am looking for some good recs! I enjoyed reading “The Destroyers” from your thriller/mystery list. My favourite genre is horror/gothic/supernatural.”

Answer: Yes!  I’ve put together a short list of about 25 and am having a little trouble narrowing it down to a Top 10 (or 12).  Look for it in the coming days.

Nathan Dionne writes: “When you first joined Stargate, did you ever look back at older episodes and think how you might have done anything differently? And were you a fan of the show and had been watching it before you joined the production?”

Answer: I wasn’t really a fan of Stargate before joining the production because I had the misfortune of watching one of the worst episodes of the franchise, Emancipation, as a my introduction to the series.  A year later, when my agent informed me that the show was looking for writers, I told him I didn’t think I would be a good fit.  But he forwarded me three scripts – that were fantastic and immediately changed my mind about the show.  As for looking back on older episodes and thinking about doing things differently – never.  Certainly not an episode I didn’t write or produce.

“There were a number of planets and races, especially in the early show, that felt like they should have been revisited but never were. Like the giant aliens Daniel Jackson’s grandfather stayed with, or the fish guy that wanted to know “What fate Omoroka?”, among others. Was there any particular reason to your knowledge that some of these places were never brought up again in the show?”

Answer: Not really.  At the end of every season, the writers would convene and toss around ideas for the following year, spinning and breaking, fleshing them out into full stories and outlines before going off to write scripts.  When Paul and I joined in season 4, our focus, as the new writers, was to come up with new story ideas – which we did: Window of Opportunity, Scorched Earth, The Curse, Point of No Return, Chain Reaction, Prodigy, Exodus.  They, for the most part, had only tenuous connections to past stories (ie. the NID, Jack’s late son, Daniel’s archeological background, etc.).

“Now for the big question, the one I most want answered. During Stargate Atlantis, was the idea of somehow having a Goa’uld take a Wraith host ever discussed? (I mean if the Trust got one in Colonel Caldwell it wouldn’t have been too big a stretch for it to happen) Because that would have been one formidable enemy. Unless the Wraith’s natural mental powers and healing abilities would have prevented a Goa’uld from taking over?”

Answer: We did discuss it at one point but it’s not something we pursued because, at the time, we were trying to set Atlantis apart as a distinct series with minimal crossover elements.  Although the goa’uld did appear in late season 2’s “Critical Mass”, it was a one-off and not something we did often.  I think the feeling was that having a wraith hosting a goa’uld would have been an unnecessary overcomplication.

Ruben A. Hilbers asks: “Ancients vs Daleks. Who would win ?”

Answer: Ancients, no contest.

July 21, 2020: Answering YOUR questions!

The Old Payroll Tax Lady writes: “Hi Joe, Would you have killed off the Asgard had SG-1 been renewed for another season or had a plan to resurrect them in season 11? I always felt that had SG-1 continued that the team would have eventually found Thor’s DNA stored in a freezer someplace.”

Answer: Every season of the show, we went in assuming it would be our last – only to be surprised with a pick-up.  Until season 10 when I was certain we’d be picked up for an 11th season – only to be cancelled. Having said that, there were no concrete plans for any season 11 stories (as we received word of the cancellation early enough that Robert Cooper was able to write a terrific series ender for the show).  I think the feeling was that the direction of the series had evolved past the Asgard storylines.  Still, the nice thing about science fiction is that nobody really ever stays dead – and especially not an entire alien race.

The Other One writes: “How did the Exoplanets of Stargate and Sound of Space panels go?”

Answer: It was great!  Probably the best panel I’ve done in years.  Moderated by the amazing Pamela Gay, with special guest, Composer David Joseph Wesley.  Oh, and me.

“I do have a question for your Q&A but Alisa has already pipped me to the post. I know you are really busy with all those projects you mentioned the other day, but is a virtual Dark Matter episode in the pipeline anytime soon, please?
I still miss our Raza Crew so much. If we don’t ever get a resolution on TV would there be a chance of ending the Dark Matter story as it started, in comic form?”

Answer: Yes to another virtual Dark Matter episode.  Eventually.  But, alas, no to continuing the story in comic book form.

Dr. Z writes: “My question is about the casting of Melissa O’neil in DM. She was so brilliant and perfect for the role that I still can’t believe she had done virtually no acting before that. It must have been a brave decision to cast her ( and a brilliant one). So who made the decision and were there any other big contenders for that role?”

Answer: We must have seen almost 300 actresses for the role of TWO.  One day, I received an email from our casting director, the wonderful Lisa Parasyn.  She was over-the-moon about a young actress who had never done any television, but was, at the time, part of the Les Miserables production on Broadway.  Her name was Melissa O’Neil and, when I watched her self-tape, I knew I had found my TWO.  She was pretty much exactly how I had envisioned the character.  I think that, at the time, her relative inexperience caused others some concern, but I had no doubt she would be fantastic.  I fought for her – and she proved me right.  I also fought for – and was vindicated by – Jodelle Ferland and Alex Mallari Jr. who were absolutely fantastic in their respective roles.

Shinyhula writes: “Any updates on a live action Masked anthology?”

Answer: Sadly, the update is that most broadcasters aren’t interested in anthologies.

David Issel writes: “How is COVID-19 affecting productions?”

Answer: All productions have ground to a halt and, although it is slowly starting up in some regions, most areas probably won’t see a return to normal until top of next year.

“Will everyone be wearing masks in next year’s shows?
– like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1V6a2EeNwU”

Answer: Yes.  Part of the new regulations require everyone involved in the production to wear masks unless they are in situation where they absolutely cannot (ie. They’re on camera, shooting a scene).

“Will everyone be filming their own parts from the comfort of their own homes (under lockdown)?
– like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYfqgI2fwdw
– or: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFUZM5ZZuHQ”

Answer: No.  While I’m sure you’ll see a few zoom-shot shows and the like, the vast majority of productions will have to find safe ways to move forward within the traditional production framework.

“Will everyone be expected to get tested daily and live together in a bubble?
– like some sports are doing?”

Answer: Unless everyone is off shooting on location, it is very unlikely cast and crew will be sequestered for the entire run of a production.  In the case of some shows, you’d be looking at months of isolation.  Forget the financial costs associated with putting everyone up in hotels and feeding them, what about the emotional costs of not seeing your loved ones for, in some cases, half a year?

“Is everything on hold until a vaccine is approved?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV2xlCHPclc”

Answer: No.  As I said, some regions are slowly opening up.  I, personally, doubt we’ll have a vaccine as soon as everyone else thinks.  I also doubt the efficacy of any vaccine we rush forward.  Finally, even if we do come up with a vaccine, fully one half of Americans polled said they would refuse to be vaccinated.  Make of that what you will.

Paloosa writes: “I’ve wanted to ask this question for years about McKay in Stargate Atlantis. He on occasion in a story would say “Oh, thank God”. I always thought he was probably thanking himself based on his ego. 🙂 But I’ve been curious, was this scripted and if so why would McKay say it. If not, was it an ad-lib? Is it just a phrase, or something about his personal beliefs we didn’t get to see much of?”

Answer: It was probably scripted with no real intention behind the line.  As for McKay’s personal beliefs – I think David would be better suited to answer this question.

Ian writes: “Who was the most influential when it came to the new tone and direction in SGU. I love SGU, curious if everyone wanted to change style. Or if there was a driving force?”

Answer: After 15 seasons (13 years and over 300 episodes) of Stargate’s SG-1 and Atlantis, Brad and Robert wanted to do something different.  They, as co-creators of Stargate: Universe, were the driving force behind the creative, everything from story to tone to conceptual designs and casting.

26 thoughts on “July 21, 2020: Answering YOUR questions!

  1. Great Q & A!

    I block all the anti-vaxxers on social media. There is no reasoning with them. They don’t respond to logic.

    1. In general I’m not anti-vaccinations, but they don’t work well on me. I got vaccinated against Rubella it gave me Rubella – spent 2 weeks in a darkened bedroom. The rush they have on Covid and the companies they’re using to fast track it – have bad reputations and several doctors have spoken against their approaches and the potential dangers to those that take their products.

      New Zealand is 70 days without community transmissions – and is back to normal work. And the world just can’t seem to wear a mask…. maybe this is just survival of the smartest? Darwinism in action. Traditionally Maori didn’t believe in tolerating stupidity or foolishness – islands are too small and consequences too big for dumb people. They let the ocean wean out the dumb (you didn’t survive if you hadn’t bothered to learn and follow the rules of the sea). In the state of Victoria, here in OZ they’re having a second wave – due to gross stupidity, those guarding the quarantine hotels didn’t follow any basic rule on how to interact with infected people and the infections are sky rocketing. Some of those bozos came into NSW and went to pubs and casinos, the pubs and casinos didn’t keep the rules laid down limiting numbers and distance – and now we’ve got new cases. And Queensland’s closed her borders to us. If New Zealand is smart she won’t open to Australia – and the trade deals she’s winning now because of being COVID free, she may not need to in a hurry. I wish I was home.

  2. Thanks for the interesting mail box, lots of great questions here. I love hearing my favorite Scottish TV doc, who is also my favorite Starfleet Academy doc as well.

  3. Cool. I’ll help read your draft sci-fi script. Not much happening during down times anyway nowadays. LOL

  4. Such diverse and interesting questions here plus your entertaining answers! Thanks so much Joe. Always appreciate the time and detail you give us 😊

    Slight disagreement with one of your answers though… I think the daleks would win!

    Thanks again for this Q&A. I will wait patiently (and excitedly) for the next installment of your virtual Dark Matter series.

  5. Thanks for the Q & A. One question: Would you be willing to finish DM 4 & 5 m if the financing was there. O

  6. Very interested in TimEscape. Been reading your blog ever since Dark Matter was cancelled waiting for news on your next show. Big fan of DM and SGU.

  7. Thanks so much for the Q&A. I enjoyed all the great questions and answers. And thanks for insight into my question. Love the Q&A, and hope you can do it again, it was fun!

    Here in LA the only industry people still working during the pandemic seem to be editors. The neighbor of a friend of mine has been swamped at home re-editing commercials and other small projects for the past four months. Unfortunately, LA County looks like it’s going back into stay-at-home status again sometime soon. If people would just wear a mask…

    I believe in vaccines, but like you I’m afraid that there is too much pressure to rush to get something out. It’s not only creating a viable vaccine, but having a manufacturing process that doesn’t screw it up. I honestly don’t see everything opening up completely in SoCal until this time next year. I hope I’m wrong.

  8. Thanks a lot, the SG fans are blessed to have you. When SG returns, you deserve all the credit for filling the hole left by the unfortunate (MGM) circumstances leading SG to a halt for so many years.

    I noticed you are holding out on ‘newer’ SGU stories/scenarios, which I take as a sign of new hope.

    Also I’m interested in getting an early sneak peek of TimeScape.

  9. Joe, you are such a gem for taking the time do such a generously lengthy Q n A for the fans. XO

    As far as this latest Vaccine from Oxford UK goes:
    While I can understand and appreciate the healthy skepiticism about this latest vaccine, you should know a few things.

    This is not a “rushed” vaccine. Professor Gilbert began work on it 10 years ago, via a research project to discover a universal coronavirus/Flu vaccine that could work on any strain. The focus was on developing a vaccine that would prompt the body into producing sustained T cells, not just anti-bodies, while keeping the recipient safe from any significant side effect harm.
    Several years ago the team adapted their research to see if their prototype vaccine would work on MERS.
    When MERS first emerged there was serious concern about widescale community spread and pandemic. Unfortunately, by the time Gilbert and her team were successful in adapting the vaccine to produce effective levels of T cells to fight off MERS, Saudi Arabia had already determined the virus was at that point, for the most part, under control, and the virus was only spreading via close unprotected contact with a symptomatic individual or an infected Camel, and not easily, or asyptomatically, in the wider public community. Indeed, MERS has only killed 858 people in the last eight years. Where as SARSCoV2 is spreading like wildfire and causing Covid 19, which is killing a significantly larger number of people than that each and every week and causing an even larger number to end up in hospitals and suffer longer term health deficits after recovery.
    For the under insured in this U.S this also translates to significant additional economic hardship. https://covid19vaccinetrial.co.uk/about
    https://www.ox.ac.uk/news-and-events/find-an-expert/professor-sarah-gilbert#
    As far as safety and efficacy goes: The phase 1-3 human trials have already vaccinated thousands of individuals. With a couple thousand more to go. Currently on track to be completed by September. Only a small handful have thus so far shown a minor adverse reaction of a short lived fever spike and chills (cleared up within 24 hours). Greater than 80% of recipients who have completed both the initial dose and the booster shot, a month later, have produced sustainable T cell reactions. This means each recipient will only need 1 shot per year, (in replace of their usual flu vaccine) to help their body remain immune to both SARSCoV2 and the regular flu strains that circulate yearly.

    About T cell production –> https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997009/

    Learn more about the vaccine here –> https://twitter.com/NewScience101/status/1283770065301708805

    While it is true there is a growing number of anti vaxers in the U.S, not bothering to get a yearly flu shot,
    (which this vaccine would replace), and a number of us, including myself, who medically cannot receive a flu/CoronaVirus shot or vax of any kind due to weaker immune systems, … Even if only half of the population become vaccinated it will be enough to reduce the spread and get things under reasonable control for U.S. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/flu.htm
    The current number of people who become infected with Flu and corona viruses each year, across North America, has never caused the economy to be forced to come to a grinding halt. Albeit, if you have both the regular flu cirrulating at the same time as Covid19 patients fill hospital beds and morgues, the weight would cause hospitals and much more of the economy to completely collapse. With this vaccine, even if only 50% choose to get vaccinated as they do with the yearly flu strains that circulate, it will be enough to get our lives back to a reasonable resembance of a new normal sooner rather than later. We will still need to mask up and keep our distance but by the time spring 2021 rolls around there would be 50% fewer people we would need to worry about catching the regular flu or SARSCoV2 from and hospitals and our unemployment system wont continue to be over burdened.
    Thus: While it is good to remain skeptical of its effectiveness and safety, Keep in mind it is NOT the pharma company that has created this particular vaccine. It was Created by Professor Gilbert who has 3 lovely daughters and cares very deeply about health and safety. Astra Zeneca will simply be doing the manufacturing for the UK and sharing out the drug recipe, on a non profit basis, for other countries to select whatever local drug manufacturer they want to contract with to mass produce it.
    Learn more about the drug company access agreement –> https://twitter.com/NewScience101/status/1283770065301708805

    Anywhoo, It is certainly better than sitting back and watching anti maskers keep the rest of us who are at high risk trapped indoors and unemployed stressing out about how we are going to make ends meet while U.S. death tolls continue to rise daily.
    As someone currently living in an extreme virus hot zone, with illness and death all around me daily. Who has had to downsize to practically nothing just to try and keep a roof over my head and food in my belly. Who hasn’t left the house much in the last 4 months. And is currently terrified every time I need to venture out to purchase groceries to survive, I certainly welcome Professor Gilberts exhaustingly long hour efforts to try and help me get my daily life, livelihood and daily routines back. She is my everyday hero. Someone whose existence I am most grateful for. And whose work I am more than happy to highlight and promote

    1. This is wonderful news! Will immune-compromised people be able to get this vaccine? I too am sitting home for moths on end due to Multiple Sclerosis.

  10. Thanks for answering our many questions. I want to say I absolutely would love any sneak peek at TimEscape you can give us.

  11. Finally, even if we do come up with a vaccine, fully one half of Americans polled said they would refuse to be vaccinated. Make of that what you will.

    sigh I know… We (American’s) are idiots… I mean, look who we elected…

  12. I just saw this quote from Seth MacFarlane about how COVID-19 is affecting The Orville season 3…

    “We were right in the middle of shooting an episode of The Orville. So it’s like, when this thing airs at long last, whenever that is, one episode is gonna be such that between one scene to the next, people are suddenly gonna gain 20 lbs and have long, white beards.“

    I, personally, need to make an appointment at the hairdresser’s to color my gray hair before I go back into the office… and, no one seems to know when that will be. And, yeah, 20 pounds sounds about right. 🙁

  13. Well that was a great read to go with my morning coffee! Very interested in the sneak peak mentioned. I totally agree that having multiple projects to keep busy is the way to go. Applies to my field as well.

  14. Thank you Joe! I would be more than happy to see 25 favourites!!
    I have been trying to decide on my own top ten but it is difficult, I agree.
    My summer reading is different this year as I am downloading ebooks from the local library – not my favourite way to read.
    Unfortunately many of my choices are only available as hard copies, which has surprised me.
    Just finished the latest Josh Malerman(Bird Box) book, “Inspection”, I can see it as a great Netflix series!

  15. Here’s another item to keep in mind while you reopen filming, one of my hubby’s co-workers had an allergic reaction to the swab material used in covid testing. She had the test in the morning and was at the ER that night. Understandably, she was reluctant to take another screening test. (this is for a major children’s research hospital and they can’t take chances with the kids) Anyway, the hospital had to find another test just for her.

  16. People in my family tend to have vaccine reactions and the over-vaxxer propaganda lately has been overboard with this all vaccines are “safe and effective” line. The industry had no incentive to figure out WHICH people might react and instead just went for more and more over-vaxxer propaganda and even laws, which are a physical threat to my family. Now, with enough people refusing a potentially important vaccine, maybe pharma-connected companies and institutions will do (or release) the actual research to figure out what is going on and try to regain the trust of the people they have been gaslighting all this time.

    If I had the information to know which of my family members were NOT at risk for vaccine reactions, I’d be able to get those family members more vaccines. And a world with more integrity in pharmaceutical research wouldn’t be threatening sanctions for the family members who were at risk and couldn’t get them willy nilly.

  17. I really hope that we get a new Stargate series. One with good writing…
    There was sooo much done wrong in Stargate.
    Separating Atlantis and SG1 was bad. They went into the unknown and had only Earth tech with them. They had the Asgard as allys and they should have taken them in on that expedition.

    I really loved the show but there was alot wrong with it.

  18. Hi! If you are still looking for people to take a peek at TimEscape I’d love to read it 🙂

    Thanks!

  19. I wouldn’t want to read a TimeScape script or I think another DM script. I really like the surprise of seeing the finished product and hoping for 2 more seasons of DM…even if I’m white-haired and the cast are going grey!

  20. The anti-vaxxers, unless they have some hard held religious or other belief, are dumb and willing to die and let their kids die. See rise of polio and measles in USa, Europe and 3rd world.
    The vaccines will take months to prove and produce and to be fair, I’d wait before I took a shot if it was rushed through. At least mid 2021.
    The new treatment from UK – SNG001 made by Synairgen – a nebulised form of Interferon B, inhaled, that Trump referred to in a broadcast in the last day or so may be much more helpful. Helped 79% of patients in trials not need oxygen or ventilators compared to placebo group. Good for those unable to take a vaccine and works well in all stages of infection, but best in early days.

    Apparently also good for other corona virus types and seems great for COPD issues.

    if/when it is approved could be a game changer.

    hope it works

    good luck all.

    V

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