Ever since Stargate Universe fizzled out with a whimper of sub-par ratings in 2011, fans of the long-running franchise have been clamoring for more adventures through the ‘gate. Now we’re getting them — it just won’t be related to the decade-long run that fans fell in love with during SG-1, Atlantis and Universe.
Believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
Instead of something connected to the small-screen Stargate SG-1 universe, original producers Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin are coming back to reboot the franchise based on their original 1994 film that started it all. Devlin and Emmerich originally conceived of Stargate as a film trilogy, but after the first installment the studio decided to develop a TV project (without their involvement) spun off from the ideas in the movie.
The TV series went in a completely different direction from what Devlin and Emmerich had pitched, and once the series became a success and spawned its own spinoff universe, they never got a chance to revisit the franchise. That’s been a sticking point for the duo, until now.
Like it or not, The Stargate SG-1 franchise ran its course. Though you could argue (and win) that the final effort, Universe, was on the right track before the network pulled the plug, the diminishing returns on the ratings tell the story. Yes, the franchise still has a lot of fans, but after more than 10 years on the air in one form or another, the end finally came. It hurt, and we’re still pissed about that cliffhanger, but there’s no going back.
There just wasn’t enough of a fan base left to keep it going, and there’s no way the studio would support it. Period. Sad, but true. The biggest problem is also, oddly enough, the franchise’s biggest strength: It’d built too big and too expansive of a universe, and after all these years it was finally drowning under the weight of its immense depth. The series had been around so long, and introduced so many races and characters, that it just wasn’t inviting to new fans.
From the Ori, Goa’uld, Free Jaffa Nation, Asgard, Ancients and everyone in between, you almost need a wiki page on hand or a decade of viewer loyalty to keep it all straight. Heck, it’s the same thing that finally pushed Star Trek into its own semi-reboot scenario. Once these franchises run for so long and grow so dependent on the past, you start to alienate those casual viewers who beef up the numbers enough to keep the series on the air. Once you reach that tipping point, it's over.
But three years of silence has served as a nice palate cleanser. Here’s what Emmerich and Devlin had to say about the revival in a joint statement:
“The Stargate universe is one that we miss terribly, and we cannot wait to get going on imagining new adventures and situations for the trilogy. The story is very close to our hearts, and getting the chance to revisit this world is in many ways like a long lost child that has found its way back home.”
The franchise still has fans out there, but enough time has passed to reintroduce the concept in a new way that might actually appeal to new fans without requiring a decade-long refresher course. Yes, it sucks for fans still wanting to see the continued adventures of the Destiny crew and Dr. McKay’s gang on Atlantis, but it’s honestly the best and only option for more adventures through the ‘gate.
As for Emmerich and Devlin on the creative side? Sure, fans of the TV series would’ve preferred some of those producers be at the helm, but these are the guys who came up with the idea to start with — better them than some hired gun with no understanding of the franchise. It likely won’t be in the style of SG-1, but the original Stargate film was still great. Here’s hoping they can recapture the magic.
If Devlin and Emmerich can pull this off, it’ll at least give the franchise another shot at the big time — something we should all be excited about. It’s not on the same echelon as Star Trek and Star Wars, but Stargate is still a biggie in the science fiction genre. By rebooting it all and going back to the original film as a jumping-off point, it gives Devlin and Emmerich a clean slate to introduce a whole new segment of sci-fi fans to the stories we know and love, without three TV shows' worth of canon to weigh it down.
With news that a trilogy is in the works, Warner Bros. exec Greg Silverman noted the new films will build on what’s come before while creating something fresh. Translation: They’re trying to appeal to both old fans and new, which can admittedly be a tough nut to crack:
“Stargate created an expansive cinematic universe that has engaged fans for two decades. Under the guidance of Roland and Dean, these new films will build upon the creativity and popularity of the first film, while delivering an original film-going experience for fans and those new to the franchise.”
As much as we loved SG-1 and all its spinoffs, the series had gone so far that it'd gotten away from the core message by the time it all started winding down. Between all the spaceships and alien politics (which we loved!), it was no longer a show about a ragtag team traveling through a mysterious ‘gate and having interstellar adventures. It was about Earth's fleet of interstellar warships as we've grown into a major player alongside other alien races. A cool story, yes, but not the essence of Stargate. Now they can take it back to the basics.
It took Devlin and Emmerich 20 years to make it back, but this was their baby from the start. It’s tough to accept, but the world of SG-1 is not coming back. It’s been too long, and the ratings had slipped too far. But Stargate lives — and it’s actually quite fitting that it’ll finally be heading back to the big screen, where it all started. So grab a 5th Avenue candy bar, pour one out for the SG-1 gang, and get ready to go 'gating again.
What do you think? Is a Stargate reboot the right move, or is tossing the SG-1 canon out a mistake? Let us know in the comments!