A Stargate sequel: Once more through the gate?

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No one seems to know what the new Stargate movie will be, but Roland Emmerich needs to tread carefully.

First there was the movie. Then there Stargate SG-1, then Stargate: Atlantis. Finally there was a third, somewhat more short-lived TV series, Stargate: Universe, with Robert Carlyle doing his best miserable bugger nobody wants to be around. Now the original film’s producers, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, want to make a sequel. Like the intergalactic transportation device of its title, the Stargate franchise keeps on turning round.

When Stargate SG-1 was at its height, there were rumours of Jack, Sam, Daniel and Teal’c making it to the big screen

Talk of a Stargate sequel has been floating around for years. When Stargate SG-1 was at its height, there were rumours of Jack, Sam, Daniel and Teal’c making it to the big screen. That didn’t happen, and we ended up with the two spin-off series, neither of which was Teal’c P.I. Then a few years ago, alongside an Independence Day follow-up, Dean Devlin began to talk about doing a second Stargate film. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Devlin said “Stargate always had this empty hole. When we made the first one, we always intended on doing part two and three, and we were prevented for years. Our hope is that we can get another chance at Stargate and tell the entire story we wanted to tell.”

Except no one quite seems to know exactly what that is. Cinemablend has reported that Emmerich conceives his film as both a sequel and a reboot, though he appears to have ruled out using either Kurt Russell or James Spader due to what Digital Spy has called changes in appearance. Blastr however has described the idea for a new film as a complete reboot, devoid of any connection to the original film, that would serve as the first film of a new trilogy, though as I09 put it, the trilogy could “easily get busted down to a single movie.” Whether a reboot or a sequel, a new movie is likely to be highly controversial.

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stargate sg-1

With SG-1 lasting for ten series and Stargate:Atlantis making it to a respectable five, surely only an idiot would ignore those and decide to go over the same territory all over again? TG Daily ran a piece to that effect, arguing that the fans wouldn’t stand for any film that ignored the TV series, with Devlin’s “empty hole” remark being a slap in the face to the shows and their fans. Yet JJ Abrams and Alex Kurtzman didn’t just reboot Star Trek – they did it with Vulcan swallowed by a black hole conjured up from a tattooed Eric Bana. The result has been a fantastic success.

It could be a great film which breathes life into a franchise now effectively dead, but only if it has fresh ideas

A Stargate reboot or sequel has to strike the right note. No half-measures, no reliance on special effects to tell of style without substance. As long as a new movie can find fresh ideas, and avoid going over the same areas as the TV series, by now creatively barren, while managing to convey some of that wonder the first film conveyed around the actual Stargate itself, then there’s no reason it couldn’t work. Of course whatever such a film or trilogy went with – and it should be stressed here that this is a project still in the ‘ideas being pitched at executives’ stage – it will find itself running a gauntlet of hostility from fans of the TV series. It will need to win them over, as well as attract people new to Stargate, if it is to succeed.

What this new Stargate can’t afford to do is become a vantiy project for Roland Emmerich. Despite his stated dislike of the television series, the director must realise that it is the fans of those series that will provide a large portion of his initial audience. It could be a great film which breathes back life into a franchise effectively dead after the cancellation of Stargate Universe, but only if it has fresh ideas; separate from both what’s come before in the Stargate world and what we’ve seen elsewhere. Otherwise it’ll just be another also-ran that joins Hollywood’s failed harvests where blockbuster films are concerned.

 

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Featured image: Pathe

Inset image: Showtime

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