August 13, 2022

Director Roland Emmerich says he’s finished with the ‘Stargate’ franchise

Director Roland Emmerich says he’s finished with the ‘Stargate’ franchise
Director Roland Emmerich says he’s finished with the ‘Stargate’ franchiseDirector Roland Emmerich says he’s finished with the ‘Stargate’ franchise

The latest blockbuster from the maestro of mayhem, Roland Emmerich, has finally arrived. Called “Moonfall,” the film promises a cosmic catastrophe on a truly biblical scale. Turns out something has caused the moon to be knocked out of orbit and now it’s on a direct collision course with Earth.

However, this is far from Emmerich’s first rodeo; he’s responsible for destroying our little blue-green planet many times in past films. In “2012” it was boiled by mutant neutrinos that melted the Earth’s core; in “The Day After Tomorrow” it was plunged back into an ice age and in “Independence Day” it was almost annihilated by a hostile alien race called the Harvesters.

But back in 1994, science fiction history was made when Emmerich joined forces with writer Dean Devlin for only the second time (the first was “Universal Soldier”) and together they gave the world “Stargate.” At the time, no one could have possibly believed that this standalone movie, starring Kurt Russell, James Spader and Viveca Lindfors would spawn three amazing live-action spinoff shows spanning a total of 14 years. Plus two TV movies, a limited web series and a video game.

Related: Why it’s time for a new Stargate series

Roland Emmerich on location shooting

Roland Emmerich on location shooting “Stargate” in 1993. Who knew then that it would live on for so long?! (Image credit: MGM/Amazon)

Tragically, the most recent TV show, the vastly underrated “Stargate Universe” was canceled after two seasons just as it was finding its feet in May 2011, and ever since then fans have wanted more from this franchise with so much to offer.

During an exclusive interview with Space.com, we asked Emmerich what the chances were of restarting “Stargate” given how, finally, science fiction is such hot property; studios are falling over themselves to snap up an existing intellectual property. In fact, at the time of writing, IMDb has an announced “Stargate” project on Emmerich’s profile page and it says, “Although, this is being developed as the first of a trilogy, it has been put on hold until the ‘Independence Day’ sequel has been completed in order that Roland Emmerich can direct the first of this new reboot.”

Related: Stargate SG1, more information is revealed about a reboot

So, what’s going on? There have been rumors swirling around the ether for eons now.

“Uh, it won’t happen,” Emmerich said of a “Stargate” reboot. “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? … And so I decided not to do it, but I hope that somebody’s redoing Stargate and starts a real series of movies.

“It has to be somebody new and interesting. And I just don’t want to go there anymore. It’s like, because we had this idea, at one point to do it as a TV show, but it was way too expensive … You know, everything I do has to have a certain quality level. 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] … I knew I cannot do what I wanted to do with that.”

Related: Making ‘Moonfall’: Geophysicist Mika McKinnon on annihilating Earth

While specifics on exactly how much an average episode of “Stargate: SG1” cost to make vary significantly from source to source, what’s not in question is that the budget increased as the show steadily built up a massive fan base. That said, it’s obviously still a very far cry from the reported $8 million or more it costs to make one episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” — and that equates to about $4 million back in 1995.

Hollywood-based MGM Studios originally owned all the rights to the “Stargate” franchise, but in May of 2021 Amazon bought MGM Studios for $8.45 billion and consequently acquired the rights to more than 4,000 films and 17,000 TV shows, including “James Bond,” “Rocky” and “RoboCop.”

“If they go back to a [Stargate] movie and a series of movies, yes, I will be involved. I have to be involved because it’s in my contract,” Emmerich says.

Related: ‘Moonfall’ is an epic disaster movie, but how accurate is the physics?

“Stargate” holds a very special place in the hearts of so many sci-fi fans (this one included). The movie gave us the TV series that in turn gave us Teal’c, Rodney McKay, Martin Lloyd, Dr. Nicholas Rush and so many other amazing characters — and introduced the world to Jason Momoa. So, what future project is in the heart of Roland Emmerich..?

Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) lines up for a tee shot to P4X-239, a distance of several billion miles

Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) lines up for a tee shot to P4X-239, a distance of several billion miles. (Image credit: MGM/Amazon)

“Well, I would have loved to have made ‘Dune’ but they choose another director,” he laughs. “And the only other science fiction novel I want to do is ‘The Forever War.’ “

Emmerich tells us that he has a 10-episode TV project coming up and another on ancient Rome, but we very much hope he gets to take on “The Forever War” sometime in the not too distant future, and we also hope someone at Amazon Prime Video has the foresight to see the future of the “Stargate” franchise.

“Moonfall” arrives in theaters across the U.S. on Feb. 4, 2022.

In related news, Syfy has picked up the drama series “The Ark” from “Stargate” co-creator Dean Devlin. Variety reports that 12 episodes have been ordered. Devlin is writing the series, together with Jonathan Glassner who developed the “Stargate” movie into the series “Stargate SG-1.” 

The series is set 100 years in the future when missions to colonize other planets have become necessary to help the human race survive. The first of these missions encounters a catastrophic event causing massive destruction and loss of life. With over a year remaining before reaching their target planet, a lack of life-sustaining supplies and loss of leadership, the remaining crew must stay on course and survive. 

Follow Scott Snowden on Twitter. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook