The popular science fiction show Stargate SG-1 had to deal with an unusual issue with star Richard Dean Anderson. Well, not exactly an issue with Richard Dean Anderson himself. It was actually an issue with the details of his contracts and billing. According to an interview on Gateworld, Richard Dean Anderson’s contract required his full name to be printed above the title of the show in advertisements. So far, no big deal. But per this video with Stargate SG-1 co-creator Brad Wright, the contract was extremely detailed.
It specified not only his name to be above, but it has to be in the exact same font size. Given the length of the illustrious name “Richard Dean Anderson,” it made it impossible to fit both on advertisements. Instead, the Stargate SG-1’s star’s name was cut off to the more seamy sounding “Hard Dean Anders.” To his credit, Richard Dean Anderson took this all with good humor and it appears not to have been a diva issue.
In actuality, the actor already had a significant fan base from starring on ABC adventure show MacGyver. That show had already become a well-known franchise of seven seasons, several television movies, and at least one Korean multi-tool keychain. So it made sense that the producers of Stargate SG-1 would want to draw his existing audience to the new show.
The producers need not have worried. The success of director Roland Emmerich’s 1994 Stargate was strong enough to develop a TV spinoff. Richard Dean Anderson took over the role of Colonel Jack O’Neill from Kurt Russell. The franchise has grown to three films (two direct to DVD, but who’s counting), five TV/web series and a slew of video games. A live strategy video game has been in production since 2021, and SG-1 co-creator Brad Wright is currently working on a reboot of the series.
Given that the franchise has now managed to work in extra-galactic space pyramids, the rediscovery of the lost continent of Atlantis, and being lost somewhere in the distant universe, it seems likely that a revival could find some way to work.
For his part, Richard Dean Anderson seems pretty happy with being the primary figure in two different cult franchises. He has appeared in virtually every spinoff of the Stargate franchise (which is pretty impressive in of itself). He has also managed to create a lasting cultural impression in the character of MacGyver, though there was a recent reboot of the series, he actually declined to cameo.
Anderson later explained that he felt the reboot’s reliance on gun violence was too out of character for the original’s intention to avoid gunplay. But given that his gadget-devising character also managed to inspire the weird goofiness of Will Forte’s 2010 comedy film MacGruber and its recent Peacock spinoff series, there’s no shortage of MacGyver in the world. And if Richard Dean Anderson is not insisting on having his name in any exact font on that, it probably will not be a problem. Though maybe we’ll get lucky enough for a cameo on that one.