‘Stargate’ fans mobilize to bring in-canon series back to TV

‘Stargate’ fans mobilize to bring in-canon series back to TV

Between 1997 and 2011, three Stargate series – Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, and Stargate Universe – were mainstays of the Vancouver screen scene. The science fiction juggernaut – which was built around the idea of an alien bridge device (the titular Stargate) that facilitated instant travel across the cosmos – made stars of actors like Amanda Tapping and Michael Shanks, and spawned a fandom that extends around the world. The three series account for more than 300 episodes of broadcast television.

In 2017, MGM announced its plans to revive the franchise, and just last month it rolled out the Stargate: Origins digital series. But Stargate: Origins wasn’t created by the team behind the OG Stargate television series; now, Stargate fans are mobilizing on social media to show MGM that they’d prefer an in-canon series populated by characters and story points they already know and love, rather than a complete reboot of the series.

The fans – with the assistance of OG Stargate actors and behind-the-scenes talent, including Joseph Mallozzi, a longtime Stargate producer and writer – are gearing up for a pair of social media blitzes on March 9 and 10. Their aim: to compel MGM to sit up and take notice that an in-canon series is the way to go. 

Mallozzi (who was also the showrunner behind Dark Matter) gave us some background on the upcoming social media campaign, as well as what a revived in-canon Stargate series could mean for Vancouver.

YVR SCREEN SCENE: Tell me about the role that Stargate has played in your life. Where were you in your career when you came to Stargate, and how did your time in the Stargate ’verse change you?

JOSEPH MALLOZZI: I was at a very early stage in my career, having made the transition from animation to young adult live-action to one-hour drama in fairly short order. Stargate was our (and by “our” I mean my then writing partner – Paul Mullie – and I) first big gig. We joined for SG-1’s fourth season with the understanding that we would do one more season and then be done. That two-year gig turned into an incredible 12-year ride in which we honed our craft as writers and also learned the ropes of producing thanks to series showrunners Brad Wright and Robert Cooper who were always incredibly supportive. 

YVRSS: What is it about Stargate – all of ’em! – that you think resonates so well with fans, and sets it apart in the sci-fi entertainment landscape?

JM: I’ve said it more than once and I’ll keep saying it: Viewers tune in for the hook but they stay for the characters. The appeal of all three Stargates rested in these wonderful characters who, over time, became like second families to home viewers. Stargate was less about the explosions and dazzling visual effects (although it did have it’s share) than it was about friendship, loyalty, and family. That’s what fans responded to and something that fans are looking for in sci-fi.

 Amanda Tapping and Michael Shanks. Photo courtesy of Joseph Mallozzi

Amanda Tapping and Michael Shanks. Photo courtesy of Joseph Mallozzi

YVRSS: MGM announced its intention to bring back Stargate in some form (testing the waters with a web series, but also talking about a full reboot), but has held its plans close to its chest. In a perfect world, what would you like to happen?

JM: Oh, that’s simple. I want to see Brad Wright and Robert Cooper given a shot at creating a new, fourth Stargate series, one that offers a great starting point for new fans while rewarding longtime fans of the franchise.

YVRSS: What barriers need to be overcome in order for an in-canon Stargate series to happen?

JM: To be honest, the only barrier that needs to be overcome is reluctance on the part of the studio decision-makers to give Stargate fans an in-canon show. I think that, in their minds, a complete reboot would be a cleaner way to go and more accessible to new viewers. I, of course, disagree. I think you can have a fourth series that: a) is perfectly accessible to new viewers and b) doesn’t wipe out seventeen seasons of television history.

YVRSS: Fans now have a role to play in the movement to bring back Stargate. Where did the idea for the social media campaign come from?

JM: The campaign was really more of a spur of the moment decision. MGM launched Stargate: Origins and was quite vocal about wanting to use it as a gauge of fan interest. I wanted to offer them an alternate gauge, one that doesn’t cost fans any more than an hour of their time online: a tweet-storm directed at MGM that will make their voices heard, loud and clear.

YVRSS: What did you learn from the two “dress rehearsals” (#TestTheDrive and #DrivetoRevive)?

JM: In order to get on the radar, we need to trend, and past campaigns (Dark Matter, Longmire, Fringe) have taught us certain rules to effective trending. Things like using a unique hashtag, not using more than that single hashtag in the body of your tweet, not starting before the assigned time, preparing tweets in advance to cut and paste on the day – these are all rules that fans should know and be comfortable with going in. The test-drives were simply warm-ups to educate them - and they seemed to have succeeded.

YVRSS: What are you looking to happen come Friday at 6pm PST and Saturday at 7pm GMT?

 BTS photo courtesy of Joseph Mallozzi

BTS photo courtesy of Joseph Mallozzi

JM: Ideally, we want to trend, in both the U.S. in Canada. Would love to get our tweet count closer to 80k+, more than doubling the test-drive count. In short, we want to make a statement, let MGM know there are a lot of Stargate fans eager to support a new series.

YVRSS: What kind of feedback have you received from MGM regarding the social media campaign, if anything?

JM: I expect some sort of response from the studio after this weekend’s tweet-storms. One of the things I’ve always admired about MGM is their respect and commitment to fandom.  I have no doubt they’ll take notice.

YVRSS: Stargate SG-1 and its sibling series were a huge part of the Vancouver screen scene for more than a decade. What, if any, role would Vancouver play in a revival?

JM: Vancouver was home to all three Stargate shows. Brad and Robert are Vancouver residents and, given a crack at a fourth series, it’s very likely it will be shot in Vancouver as well. Just like old times!

YVRSS: Any final words for YVR Screen Scene readers?

JM: Hey, if you’re in the twitter neighborhood this Friday (March 9th) night at 6 pm PST, follow @StargateNow and help us bring one of the greatest sci-fi shows in television history back to Van!

 

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