The New Stargate Movies Are Dead on Arrival

Thursday, 17 November 2016 - 4:45PM
Stargate
The Martian
Thursday, 17 November 2016 - 4:45PM
The New Stargate Movies Are Dead on Arrival
Stargate, along with Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek (and maybe Babylon 5), is one of the classic, old sci-fi franchises that helped to define the genre in popular culture. Earlier this year, we got word that Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, the creators of the original Stargate movie, were working with MGM and Warner Bros. to create a new Stargate trilogy that would represent what they had always envisioned Stargate to be (hint: not a series of TV shows). Fans were understandably miffed to hear that the new movies would "sidestep" the existing TV continuity (ie, "throw it in the trash") and start over, but now, according to an interview in Empire with Dean Devlin, the whole deal may be off:

Opening quote
It looked good for a couple of months, but now it's not looking so good," offers Devlin [...] "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.
Closing quote


One of the major issues may be with Hollywood itself. It's important to realize that Emmerich and Devlin created the original 1994 Stargate independently, without a major studio. To do a similar thing today, Devlin says, just isn't possible:

Opening quote
"You'd have several studios involved and a lot of voices and, you know, you may make something great, but you also may have something that doesn't resemble what you wanted to do. That kind of 'collaboration' is a terrifying aspect of the whole thing."
Closing quote


This smacks strongly of the same type of committee-driven moviemaking that may have doomed Suicide Squad and who knows how many other movies. One of the amazing things that we've heard about the new Han Solo movie is that Lucasfilm, despite being one of the largest and most successful studios in the world, is allowing the director and his team a refreshing amount of freedom to make a movie that fits their vision. But other times you're not so lucky. As George Lucas said, "The movie business is exactly like professional gambling, except you hire the gambler. Usually some crazy kid with long hair...You give him $100 million dollars, and you say "Go to the tables, and come back with $500 million dollars." That is a risk." 

Of course it's a financial risk to make a movie, especially if it flops, but there's a bigger risk here for Devlin and Co.: angering fans. And it doesn't sound like Devlin wants to take that risk:

Opening quote
Listen, 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.
Closing quote


Reading between the lines, it sounds like Devlin has zero faith that working with the studios would create something he could be proud of. Compare that to when Fox first called Shane Black about directing a new Predator movie: Black was able to say he wouldn't do it unless they were prepared to do it right. In that case, Fox agreed with Black and now we're getting a new Predator movie with an R-rating, which is a bold move. With Stargate...not so much.

It's always hard to hear that a new movie has been cancelled or petered out. There's always the sense that there's a missed potential for something great. In the case of the new Stargate movies, though, maybe it's better this way.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi Movies
Stargate
The Martian