“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” was a tagline that brought the concept of SciFi into the mainstream and opened up our world and our imaginations. In the three decades following the launch of the Star Wars franchise, we have seen many incarnations of Science Fiction series come and many more go. Series like Star Trek, Babylon 5, FireFly, Battlestar Galactica, Andromeda, Earth: Final Conflict and a slew of others. However, there exists one unique franchise which has remained a prevalent player in the SciFi space despite the demise of much of their competition.
The Stargate Universe as an entity has existed since 1994 and has since grown into a global dynasty encompassing a Movie, 2 television series, comics, books, audio books, games, toys and an assortment of FanFiction.
The Stargate Universe all began with the initial film, written by Dean Devlin and directed by Roland Emmerich. The film turned out to be a mega hit with worldwide sales of $196,600,000 and a $55,000,000 cost of production. The film was initially intended to be part of a multi-film franchise however, due to scheduling issues and differences in creative visions between Devlin/Emmerich and MGM, the initial vision was never carried out. It was in fact this disagreement that led to the studio execs evaluating other ways to capitalize on the success of the film.
The executives decided a television series would allow for long-lasting opportunities and with that Stargate SG-1 debuted on July 27, 1997 on the Showtime premium cable network. After seeing impressive ratings on Showtime, the studio wanted wider distribution and moved the series to the SciFi network where it immediately became a cult classic. The series led by Richard Dean Anderson of MacGyver fame lasted for a total of ten seasons and on average cost MGM $1,400,000 to shoot. By its final season, the show surpassed the ratings of big hits like X-Files and attaining the title of the longest running consecutive sci-fi series on television. After an incredible ten year run, Stargate SG-1 was discontinued in August of 200, but the franchise lived on as Stargate Atlantis.
Stargate Atlantis was created in 2004 as a two part season finale for season 8 entitled “Lost City”. The plot involves a group of military forces and civilian scientists that travel to the Pegasus galaxy in search of the Lost City of Atlantis. In its current incarnation, the series has seen great success and has proven over the years to draw the same level of followers as SG-1.
The future of the Stargate Universe is scheduled to include two direct-to-DVD films being released later this year entitled “Stargate: The Ark of Truth” and “Stargate: Continuum”. In addition, there was a 2006 Comic-con announcement by Stargate creator Dean Devlin that he is currently in talks with MGM to produce the final two films in the trilogy and leverage the talents of James Spader and Kurt Russel.
The series today stands out as a remarkable example of creativity and vision of a better future. The series is one that will live on in multiple incarnations moving forward as ling as it retains the excellent writing staff and an uncanny ability to explore current social and political issues in a unique way.