Robert C. Cooper, executive producer of SCI FI Channel's Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, confirmed to SCI FI Wire that he's developing a third series with the working title Stargate Universe, but remained quiet on details. (The project has not yet been picked up by any network, including SCI FI Channel.)
"It's being developed," Cooper said in an interview on the Vancouver, Canada, set of the two series. "Not a lot to say at the moment, other than it's ... not the characters from SG-1 or Atlantis. It's a completely third entity. The third series is born of the mythology that's been established."
Cooper added that the proposed third series will take place in the present day. "One thing that we think contributes to the success of the series and the concept behind the series is that it takes place in the here and now...
It's about us and our age of people dealing with fantastic things, like Stargates and wormholes and aliens. And then there's an identifiable quality to the people in the show. It's not like an antiseptic version of humanity sometime 500 years in the future. [SG-1's] Jack O'Neill [Richard Dean Anderson] was a guy who everybody could relate to, and his reactions to the more fantastic elements of the series were the reactions the average Joe on the street might have."
SG-1 and Atlantis executive producer Paul Mullie added: "It's all top secret."
The new series has been conceived to be "a completely separate, third entity," Cooper said in an interview "much more so than Atlantis was. Atlantis was much more of a spin-off series of SG-1 and was sort of born out of SG-1."
Like many of the producers ideas, Cooper said, the idea for Stargate Universe was originally conceived as a stand-alone movie. "When we originally were sitting around talking about this we were trying to come up with ideas for a Stargate feature -- not an SG-1 feature or an Atlantis feature, but a feature that would fit into the Stargate franchise that we feel we have created," Cooper said. "We were thinking, 'How do we create a third arm to the franchise that is very connective and that fans will feel is born out of the material that has come before, but at the same time is very much something that stands alone?'
"When it became clear that a third series was a more realistic possibility at this point from the studio's standpoint, we figured out how to tweak that idea and give it a little more legs than it would have had as a one-off story. We always, in the back of our minds even in coming up with that concept, felt that it could launch a third series... But now that idea has become the core idea for the new show."
Stargate Universe will not be set in a different era, Cooper confirmed, neither as a prequel nor in the far future of the Stargate program.
"I'm not a big fan of prequels," he said. "I don't think that really works, and I don't really understand people who do think that works. One of the things that we love about Stargate is that is us... it's our military, it's our scientists, it's our people... and we're going out into the galaxy and the universe to discover all the wonders that are out there, and dealing with our own limitations versus things that are far more advanced than us.
"That's identifiable. It's what we deal with every day, in terms of medicine and science and astrophysics. We're just babies in all that. And we would always want to maintain that in anything that is Stargate-related."
In spite of being quite distinct in identity from SG-1 and Atlantis, the new series will be unmistakably Stargate. "It certainly plays into the mythology that has been pre-established," Cooper said. "But it doesn't directly relate to anything that has been in either series."
Cooper and executive producer Brad Wright plan to turn more attention to the new show's pilot script after wrapping principal photography on the two Stargate SG-1 movies, Stargate: The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum this June.
Fans have long wondered why the ninth and final chevron was created by the Ancients, since normal gate addresses only utilize seven of them. The eighth chevron adds an extra distance calculation, allowing the team to establish a stable wormhole to a Stargate in another galaxy. It was first used in SG-1 Season Two's "The Fifth Race."
Cooper also said that the third series "is very active in development. MGM is currently putting financing together. The goal is to have it out in the marketplace in early 2008, which means that we have to start writing very soon. The hold-up has really been the movies -- Brad and I are busy. When we are done with Continuum and Ark of Truth we're going to turn our attention to that pretty seriously."
Whatever form the series takes, viewers can definitely expect the same familiar form that has made the franchise a 10-year-old success. "There will be a Stargate, and a team on adventures," Cooper said. "I can tell you what it won't be, which is it really won't be as much of a spin-off of SG-1 as Atlantis was. And it won't be a spin-off of Atlantis. It's going to be a third arm of the franchise that will really stand alone and I think be an entirely new flavor from what we've done before."
Just what the Stargate's ninth chevron does and how it might relate to Stargate Universe fans can only speculate.
More spoilers to come as they come to me :D
Post Edited:2008-02-27 11:54:25