Two years ago, MGM and Warner Bros. made the grand announcement that Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin were planning a reboot of their 1994 sci-fi film Stargate as the first installment of a new trilogy. But according to Devlin, it’s no longer going forward.
“It looked good for a couple of months, but now it’s not looking so good,” said Devlin during a new interview with Empire Magazine. “There are just a lot of things that have to fire at the same time, and there was a moment where I thought it was all firing at the same time, and then it all kind of fell apart… It’s one of the reasons I prefer to work independently… I think if we did Stargate right, the fans would like it and we could do something really good. But if we screw it up, they’ll reject it. As they should. But I kind of don’t want to do it if I think that we’ll screw it up, and that’s one of the things that’s holding us back.”
The original Stargate was sort of a cross between Star Wars and Indiana Jones that put forth the idea that some of the ancient Egyptian gods were actually aliens from another world. The stargate itself was used to transport a team from Earth to another planet in a distant corner of the universe. As a standalone movie, Stargate was a lot of fun and it deserves to get a second chance on the big screen. But not as a reboot. We’ve already seen that story, and the Stargate franchise has moved far beyond that point in the last 22 years.
Shortly before Emmerich and Devlin found greater success on Independence Day, they signed over the Stargate rights to MGM. That eventually led to the Stargate SG-1 television series. For a whole generation of fans, that show defined Stargate even more than the film did.
SG-1 expanded the mythology of Stargate and it transformed the franchise into something grander than it was before by introducing new worlds, new aliens, and an even larger intergalactic playground. But at its core, the show made fans care about the two returning characters, Jack O’Neill and Daniel Jackson, as well as the two new co-leads: Teal’c and Samantha Carter. That affection helped the series get through casting changes and additions along the way towards an incredible ten season run and two live-action spinoffs.
Collectively, there are 214 episodes of Stargate SG-1, two direct-to-DVD movies, 100 episodes of Stargate Atlantis, and 40 episodes of Stargate Universe. All of that world building and character development would be wiped away from a big screen reboot. That would be very unfortunate and wasteful, especially since many fans of the Stargate TV shows would probably love to see a continuation of those adventures.
As Devlin alluded to in his interview with Empire, the economics of big budget blockbuster movies are complicated. And we would add that it’s a very different process from financing a weekly TV series for a smaller audience. It’s pretty unlikely that MGM would simply bring back the SG-1 cast, or even Stargate Atlantis leading man (and current Aquaman star) Jason Momoa for a bow on the big screen. There has to be fresh blood, and we get that. The only way forward is forward.
That said, there is absolutely no reason why a new Stargate film franchise has to delete the TV series from continuity. Unlike for Independence Day: Resurgence, we’ve actually seen what happened after the first Stargate movie. Having that history in place for a new film could be invaluable, and the SG program is a natural way to introduce new characters while allowing some of the old favorites to remain involved in either cameo roles or in a supporting capacity. The three television shows also established a wide network of planets connected by the stargates that have barely been explored. Wouldn’t you rather see one of those new worlds instead of another rehash of ancient Egypt?
Some day, there probably will be another Stargate movie, and in all likelihood, it will be a complete reboot. But it doesn’t have to be. The franchise could become even greater if it’s allowed to retain the characters and the stories that captured the imaginations of fans for two decades.
What would you like to see in a potential Stargate movie? Dial the gate, and share your thoughts in the comment section below!