There are tons of infamous roads-not-taken when it comes to science fiction television. What if the original Star Trek had been such a hit that it completed its five-year mission on TV? What if Babylon 5 didn’t have to adjust its arc when they thought they weren’t getting a season five? What if The Lone Gunmen had become a breakout hit that far eclipsed the success of its parent series, The X-Files? Okay, admittedly some of these are less likely than others. But here’s one you probably haven’t heard about: what would have happened if Stargate Atlantis had gotten a sixth season?
Atlantis writer Joseph Mallozi recently took to his blog and revealed some details about where the show would have gone in a hypothetical sixth season. He explains that, as the fifth season was wrapping up, the writers were unsure whether the show would continue with another season, or perhaps a standalone movie, or (as the case proved to be) not at all. To hedge their bets, they decided to pen a two-part season opener that could also be repurposed as a direct-to-DVD movie (to be titled Stargate: Extinction). Sadly, neither saw the light of day.
Mallozi reveals that the movie/premiere would have opened on the moon, which is apparently where Atlantis has relocated (full disclosure: I’ve never seen an episode of Atlantis, so you’ll have to forgive any incorrect assumptions I make). I’ll let Mallozi take it from here:
We learn that the gate has been offline since its return to Earth but, under pressure from the IOA, the decision is made to bring it back online, have it supersede the Earth gate, and make it a permanent lunar base. The decision isn’t embraced by everyone. Woolsey and McKay, for instance, point out that they still have a responsibility to the people of the Pegasus galaxy. Of course the IOA are hardly moved.
Unfortunately, when the gate is finally brought back online, Zelenka reports a build up of energy in the capacitors. Too late they realize that the Ancients put a failsafe in place in the event Atlantis was moved. McKay realizes – the city will self-destruct unless it returns to the Pegasus galaxy.
Woolsey gets the band back together, transporting John and Ronon up from the hospital emergency room where they are getting fixed up following a bar room brawl (an opportunity to write in the scar actor Jason Momoa had received at the time). John, in turn, pays a visit to Area 51 and, again under the heavy protests of the IOA, springs his buddy, Todd.
The plan is to use the wormhole drive to execute a series of jumps to Pegasus – however, the drive burns out partway through their journey, stranding them in the Triangulum Galaxy, some 300 000 light years from home. They manage to muster up enough power for one, final short range jump, putting them within range of a subspace anomaly they detected.
What follows is a high-flying adventure involving a mysterious civilization tapping the limitless potential of the accretion streams between two stars, time travel, and a race against time to avert not only the destruction of Atlantis but the extinction of an entire race.
Of course, the Stargate franchise instead moved on to the short-lived Stargate Universe, which premiered in 2009 — the same year Atlantis wrapped — and ran for two seasons. Mallozi has tons more details about where Atlantis would have gone, so its definitely worth hitting up his blog post if you’re a fan.