September 20, 2013
Roland Emmerich might be ready for rebooted movies, but one of Stargate's longest-serving writers has a different idea.
It's been more than two years since the last (for now) Stargate series, Universe, went off the air, and fans have been hoping ever since that the nearly 20-year-old sci-fi saga could return someday. Luckily for those fans, Roland Emmerich -- who co-created the franchise with 1994's Stargate feature film -- announcedjust a few days ago that he's prepping a trilogy of films that will reboot Stargate for a new generation of fans. But what if you don't want a reboot? What if you want the franchise to continue in the same way that Universe and Stargate: Atlantis continued it? What if you want the old continuity to continue into the next phase of the Stargate mythos? Well, you're not alone.
In a lengthy and detailed post on his blog, Joseph Mallozzi -- who wrote and executive-produced all three Stargate series -- outlined what he thinks the franchise needs to do to carry on. Covering all the apparent options at hand to continue the franchise, Mallozzi broke down the pros and cons of each potential direction Stargate could go from here.
A big-budget, rebooted feature film certainly seems to be what Emmerich wants, but Mallozzi has some concerns. First, there's no guarantee that big budgets produce big box-office returns, as this summer's long list of flops clearly demonstrates. Secondly, Stargate doesn't have the same cultural reach as something like Star Trek, so a reboot might not be able to pull in the same blockbuster audience. Finally, Mallozzi expressed concern that a reboot would alienate devoted fans of the existing Stargate canon.
"Yes, a fresh start is a great idea when it comes to reaching out to a potential new audience, and while some fans would undoubtedly be pleased with a complete relaunch, many others would no doubt take umbrage with a complete dismissal of established canon," he said.
There's also, Mallozzi thinks, the option to start smaller, with a backdoor pilot TV movie event that, if successful, could serve as the introduction to a new Stargate series. It could present a lower financial risk than either a feature film or a brand-new series, but it also presents a bit of a timing problem.
"At some point, the studio needs to ask itself what would be the better scenario: strike now or wait? There’s an argument to be made for both. The fact that the last Stargate episode aired only two years ago suggests the fans are still out there and, if a movie or series is produced sooner than later, one could count on their support – in addition to the potential support of new viewers. Strike while the iron is hot! Then again, the ratings for SGU’s final season could suggest viewer fatigue and maybe waiting is advisable."
Taking the classic Stargate characters and throwing them into a new adventure in the form of a movie or miniseries that could churn up DVD revenue and even a possible new series also seems like a possibility, but Mallozzi argues there's actually a greater risk in that department than there used to be.
"Back in the day, the two Stargate direct-to-video features, Ark of Truth and Continuum did VERY well. But that was before the bottom fell out of the dvd market. Sadly, a 'classic Stargate' miniseries or movie isn’t the slam dunk it used to be."
In the end, Mallozzi has concerns about all of these potential directions, particularly the movie reboot model.
"My gut instinct tells me the studio would LOVE to follow the Star Trek model: take an established property, re-imagine it for the big screen, and makes hundreds of millions of dollars. Of course, it could be argued that that is a very best case scenario. If the studio does consider going down this route, careful consideration will present two indisputable facts: a) Stargate is not Star Trek, and b) alienating long-time fans in favor of a new audience could prove disastrous.
"As much as I would love to see that Atlantis movie or SG-1 movie or even a mini-series that incorporates elements from all three Stargate shows, this is the unlikeliest of scenarios for the simple reason that the risks far outweigh any potential rewards."
So a reboot could alienate the fanbase, a TV movie could have timing problems, and a classic Stargate film could present a great financial risk and is also just plain unlikely. Where does that leave the franchise? Mallozzi thinks it leaves it firmly in the territory of launching a brand-new TV series.
"No, given the history of the franchise, it would seem a new television series would be the best way to go – a fresh take on Stargate that would bring in new viewers while rewarding the long-suffering fans."
Of course, Mallozzi fully acknowledges, the future of the franchise is not, for the moment, up to him, but he does seem acutely aware of the risks going forward. What do you think? Should Stargate try to continue with existing continuity intact, or is a reboot the best way to keep it alive?
These are Joseph Mallozzi thoughts and although he perhaps partially has a self interest in this, I believe he tells this because he thinks this is the best viable option for Stargate to return. I personally think he's right, I also think that the Stargate fans would rather see Stargate return as a TV series than a movie, especially because over the years Roland Emmerich has made it clear he was not a fan of the series. We will have to see of course.