Star Trek and Star Wars are the undisputed titans of sci-fi TV and film, two franchises that have found insane success across multiple media, far beyond their original roots. But there’s a third Star-related franchise out there, and while it might not be as massively successful as the creations of Gene Roddenberry and George Lucas, it still managed to expand far beyond what anyone could have expected when a little flick called Stargate hit theaters in October 1994. Now, after having lain fallow for a few years, original movie co-creator Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich are set to resurrect Stargate as a new trilogy of films…but Devlin says it will actually be a return to their original vision for the world of that first film.
Stargate was a decent success at the box office back in the day, bringing in nearly $200 million worldwide. You’d think that would suggest a sequel as the natural way to forward, and indeed, that’s what Devlin and Emmerich had planned. That sequel never materialized, but instead we got Stargate SG-1, which premiered in 1997 and ran for five seasons on Showtime before shifting over to the Sci-Fi Channel for five more. Along the way it spawned two more TV spin-offs, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe, not to mention assorted books, comics, games, and the like. When Universe folded after only two seasons in 2011, the Stargate franchise went into limbo. Dean Devlin is dragging it out, and back onto the big screen, to finish what he started with the original film.
Speaking to the Portland Business Journal, Devlin talked about how his original grand plan for Stargate got derailed, and how he plans to get it back on track:
We did the original Stargate as an independent movie. It was a surprise success. Shortly before the movie came out, the financiers who were frightened the movie might not do well sold the film to MGM. When the film came out, it was a hit and spawned TV shows.
Of all the projects I’ve ever done, Stargate is the only one from the beginning intended to be a trilogy. We always wanted to do parts two and three, but the thinking was they didn’t want to do anything other than the TV series. So literally for 20 years I’ve been chasing this project. Twenty years later, we can’t really do part two. We have to start over from the beginning. So let’s reboot the series, put in all the things we couldn’t the first time, and set it up properly.
It occurs to me that the Stargate parallels with Star Wars and Star Trek stretch even further now. The vast swaths of material that have expanded and enriched the Stargate universe since that first film are now being shoved aside to make way for a new “expanded universe.” If the new Stargate trilogy should prove to be a success, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it spin back off to TV again, just as I’m sure Star Trek will eventually do in the wake of the relaunched feature film series, and Star Wars likely will at some point, given Disney’s aggressive plans for the franchise. Sure, the old material is still there to be enjoyed again in the future, but for good or ill, Stargate is charting a new course — even if Devlin says it’s actually an old one.
Lock the chevrons in position, folks.