Brad Wright, writer and executive producer of Stargate: Continuum, told SCI FI Wire that making a Stargate feature film is very different from making series episodes. "We've done so many two-parters, you'd think it would be easy to just make it longer," said Wright, who spoke to SCI FI Wire following a press screening of the direct-to-DVD film in Vancouver, B.C., on May 14.
But a feature, Wright explained, has a very different structure.
"It's much more fun in some ways to do a movie, because the story can evolve the way it's supposed to. It doesn't have to owe anything to the episode before or the episode after. That was the fun part, to actually write a movie and not just a long episode."
Wright took that opportunity to have some fun and ran with it. Stargate: Continuum features the return of beloved series actors such as Richard Dean Anderson and Don S. Davis, as well as fan-favorite villain Ba'al, played by Cliff Simon. Fans of Claudia Black's Vala will see a whole new side of her character as well.
But perhaps the biggest difference is the chance to take a deeper look into the personalities of the main characters, made possible by the more luxurious running time. Even amid all the action, one of the film's highlights is a sequence in which Mitchell (Ben Browder), Carter (Amanda Tapping) and Jackson (Michael Shanks) return to an Earth where the entire Stargate project never happened.
In this timeline, Jackson's still a lone crank writing about pyramids, Carter was an astronaut who died in a shuttle accident and Mitchell never existed at all. The current government doesn't want to hear about restoring the timeline, as they're quite happy with the one they've got. And so the remaining members of SG-1 are retired and must struggle to adjust to new lives in a world that isn't their own.
The film includes a scene in which Carter goes shopping and Mitchell returns to a farm he visited as a boy. Wright said he couldn't have gotten away with such character drama in an SG-1 episode.
"[There] are things that I could type in an episode of television, but would be the first things to go once I got in the concept meeting because I just wouldn't have the schedule for it," he said. "That's time-eating material. You have to move a whole unit to a location and shoot what is ultimately three seconds or five seconds of film."
With more time and more resources to work with, Wright and the producers and cast of Stargate: Continuum have taken their world and characters in new directions. They've also pushed the envelope for what the Stargate franchise can do as MGM considers whether to do more movies or create a third series. Stargate: Continuum launches on DVD and Blu-Ray on July 29. --John Sullivan
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5 pictures in - "Crichton Goes Crazy, Season 2: John Crichton probably thought that it couldn't get any worse than being stranded at the ass-end of the universe with no way of getting home. By the end of season 2, John finds out exactly how wrong he was. His nemesis has control of his brain, he was just forced to kill the woman he loves, and by the end of the episode, he's stuck strapped to an operating table, the top of his skull missing, and forced to watch as his nemesis walks off with the key to the destruction of the universe. It was a bad day for John, but fans got one of the best episodes of the series — a cliffhanger that broke hearts but kept us coming back for more. —Dafna Pleban"