Stargate Director Says He’s Done With The Franchise

By Michileen Martin | 3 months ago

stargate movie

With new life being breathed into sci-fi franchises like Star Trek, Star Wars, and even Babylon 5, Stargate fans are getting impatient. The film unexpectedly spawned a franchise including three live-action shows — Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, and Stargate Universe — though the film’s stars Kurt Russell and James Spader were no longer involved. Now, in spite of reports to the contrary, the director of 1994’s Stargate, Roland Emmerich, says he won’t be doing any more with the franchise any time soon.

Speaking to space.com about his new disaster film Moonfall, Emmerich insisted that — in spite of IMDb listing him as an “announced” writer and director on an upcoming remake — he’s not attached to any Stargate projects and he doesn’t see himself getting involved in the near future. “That won’t happen because I thought that the people who watch the TV show are the main fans, and to make a movie after 25 years which has the same characters, it’s not possible. Right?”

Emmerich added that he does hope someone revives the property — somebody “new and interesting” — but that if so, it won’t be him. One of the main reasons he has no intention of being involved with a new Stargate TV series, he says, is the same reason he didn’t get directly involved with the old ones: budgetary restrictions. “You know, everything I do has to have a certain quality level,” Emmerich explained. “So, actually I said no to the TV show because it was like only $800,000 [per episode]. And I knew that at that time they were shooting, like, X-Files that spent like $1.6, $1.8 [million per episode].” Even that, the Independence Day director explained, would have been too little leeway for his vision.

stargate kurt russell
James Spader and Kurt Russell in Stargate (1994)

Of course as space.com points out, in the current age of the streaming giants, TV budgets — particularly for sci-fi shows — are a lot more forgiving to directors. An episode of Star Trek: Discovery costs around $8 million to make, while according to IGN an episode of Disney+’s The Mandalorian comes in at around $15 million. Just judging by the visual effects on display in other science fiction fare, it’s a safe bet series like HBO Max’s Raised by Wolves, Amazon Prime’s The Expanse, and Apple TV+’s Foundation likewise aren’t stingy with their budgets. It would seem reasonable to assume that since Stargate — unlike many of those series — already enjoys a large fanbase from films and TV shows, any revival would get at least as much money to play with.

Emmerich did tell space.com it’s possible he could get involved once more in Stargate, though not necessarily in a writing or directing capacity. Nor did he seem necessarily thrilled at the idea. “If they go back to a movie and a series of movies, yes, I will be involved,” Emmerich said. “I have to be involved because it’s in my contract.”

As Gateworld wrote last May, one of the larger acquisition deals moving forward in the entertainment industry has some Stargate fans hoping they see the light at the end of the tunnel. Amazon is acquiring MGM, who holds the rights to Stargate. With all the top-tier series Amazon Prime Video has backed, there’s hope the acquisition will help bring new Stargate to fans, whether Emmerich’s involved or not.