Yesterday Stargate SG-1 celebrated it’s 20th anniversary, an important milestone for the influential cornerstone of the military sci-fi genre. Additionally, last week it was revealed that the Stargate franchise will be returning later this year in a 10-part series of webshorts titled Stargate: Origins. The announcement was made last Thursday evening to a room packed with excited Stargate fans, MGM made a surprising revelation during their first San Diego Comic Con panel in seven years, scheduled to celebrate the momentous anniversary. So far this revelation experienced mixed reactions throughout the Stargate fandom, and with good reason. It is not the first time since Stargate Universe famously ended on a cliffhanger that the fandom has been teased about the potential of new content, and many fans are feeling that a series of webshorts might not fill the void that the experience of never learning the outcome of the last Stargate series left.
The series will see its home on a new platform called Stargate Command, which MGM wants to utilize to exist as the future of the Stargate franchise, with news, streaming, and a library of production art from the long running franchise. It is as yet uncertain if this means that previous Stargate series will at some point vanish from other streaming services, or if they will continue to be available to watch on Hulu and Amazon.
Stargate: Origins will tell the previously mostly untold history of Doctor Catherine Langford, the woman who tasked Daniel Jackson with translating the glyphs on the titular portal in the 1994 feature film Stargate. Written by Mark Ilvedson (Art Director of the Booth at the End) and Justin Michael Terry (writer of a short titled “Synapse”) it is not clear if the series will be a total reboot of the franchise, or only retconning minor details. MGM has billed it as a prequel to the movie, however it is known from the series Stargate SG-1 that Catherine Langford never passed through the ‘gate, although her finance was lost for decades in one of the first Stargate experiments. With the three live action and one animated Stargate series that followed the feature film, the series drastically deviated from what Roland Emmerich had claimed his original vision was, though many fans had expressed trepidation and grief when he first announced plans to reboot the entire franchise in a new trilogy of films (later cancelled). Stargate SG-1 saw massive viewership during its run on television, and introduced characters like Samantha Carter, Teal’c, Vala Mal Doran, and more who were never featured in the 1994 film, but who have grown enormous fan followings of their own. In addition the character development seen in Daniel Jackson and Jack O’Neill (TWO L’s) make them virtually unrecognizable from the characters in the film. By the end of Universe the Stargate franchise had continued for two decades after the film and had completely changed the original vision, to erase those stories could impact the franchise negatively in the long run.
Following Stargate Worlds (the MMORPG that was first announced in 2006 before all production was finally cancelled in 2012) and Roland Emmerich’s ill-fated new Stargate feature film trilogy, Stargate: Origins has substantially large shoes to fill to make up for some of the more recent failed projects of the franchise. The series is set to film later in this year.
For now we’ll just have to wait and keep our eyes on Stargate Command for more news and updates. Thank you, Stargate SG-1 for the last 20 years, and here’s to hope that Stargate: Origins is just the beginning of another 20 years of groundbreaking storytelling.