This summer saw the long awaited release of Independence Day: Resurgence, the sequel to the 1996 blockbuster. While the original borrowed heavily from science fiction B-movies of the 1950's including the 1953 adaptation of H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, the semi-realistic interpretation of first contact with a hostile alien race perceived through the eyes of cast members Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Randy Quaid proved very popular with fans of the genre and the movie is still considered by many as a guilty pleasure, despite the movies, many, many flaws.
Throughout his directing career Independence Day director, writer, and producer Roland Emmerich has brought to the big screen many guilty pleasures including Universal Soldier, the Day after Tomorrow, 2012, and White House Down. Another of Emmerich's guilty pleasure movies, which he also co-wrote and co-produced with former collaborator Dean Devlin is 1997's surprise hit Stargate starring Kurt Russell and James Spader - the movie that introduced science fiction fans to the titular alien device also known as the Chappa'ai, a ring device capable of creating a wormhole between itself and any other Stargate anywhere else in the galaxy, given the correct address is input using the Chevrons running alongside the devices outer edge. The 1997 movie also introduced us to the Goa'uld, a megalomaniacal race of alien symbiotic parasites, who while masquerading themselves as Gods used technology created by the Ancients, the long dead race that originally created the Chappa'ai network. the movies themes of pre-visitation, ancient aliens opened up a wealth of possibilities for a possible series of sequels that ultimately never appeared despite the movie earning nearly four times its $55 million production budget.
Instead of a series of sequels, as fans would have expected, Stargate instead found its true audience on the small screen courtesy of producers Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner, who recast MacGyver star Richard Dean Anderson as Colonel Jack O'Neill and Michael Shanks as Dr. Daniel Jackson (pictured above right), roles respectively portrayed by Kurt Russell and James Spader in the movie (pictured above left). The US made TV serial named Stargate - SG1 slightly altered and continued the mythology introduced in the movie, ran for an amazing ten seasons and spawned three spin-offs; the animated series Stargate Infinity and two live actions serials - Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe. Together the Stargate TV serials created a universe filled with fresh tropes and characters, such as the "grey-like" Asgardian Thor (not portrayed by Chris Hemsworth) who was voiced by Michael Shanks, and the Replicators - a swarm of intelligent and deadly machines capable of replicating their numbers exponentially.
Stargate SG1 aired from 1997 until 2007, with Stargate Atlantis airing from 2004 until 2009 and Stargate Universe being broadcast from 2009 until 2011. With the exception of the X-Files and Star Trek (Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise), during this period there was very little in the way of Science fiction, especially on the small screen with the MCU and DCEU yet to have been formed and modern trends such as digital TV and VOD services very much still in their infancy. Yet despite facing up against two franchises with more recognizable branding and being aired during the digital dark ages of early millennial TV Stargate SG-1 and its spinoffs have a sizeable and growing, dedicated and loyal fan base that far exceeds that of the original movie co-created by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin.
We already know that having released a sequel to Independence Day that Emmerich will revisit some of his earlier works and revitalize them for modern audiences. Considering the fan base that has generated by Stargate SG-1 and its spinoffs, one would assume that Emmerich would honor those fans and produce either a prequel or a sequel to the 1997 movie and the SG-1 TV show, yet in May 2014 Variety reported that Emmerich and Devlin planned to reboot the franchise from scratch together with MGM and Warner Bros. Thankfully the idea of rebooting such a well imagined and populated fictional universe has stalled the reboot as Devlin recently explained to Empire...
“It looked good for a couple of months, but now it’s not looking so good. There are just a lot of things that have to fire at the same time, and there was a moment where I thought it was all firing at the same time, and then it all kind of fell apart... It’s one of the reasons I prefer to work independently. Listen, I think if we did Stargate right, the fans would like it and we could do something really good. But if we screw it up, they’ll reject it. As they should. But I kind of don’t want to do it if I think that we’ll screw it up, and that’s one of the things that’s holding us back... You’d have several studios involved and a lot of voices and, you know, you may make something great, but you also may have something that doesn't resemble what you wanted to do. That kind of ‘collaboration’ is a terrifying aspect of the whole thing."
While a reboot could bring in new audiences without the requirement of needing to know the shows extensive mythology, it is the recreation of said mythology that could prove repetitive and tiresome for the movie and the Tv serials fan base, arguably the reboots primary demographic. Personally, I think a prequel would be the best option, showing the Goa'uld's invasion and dominance of ancient Egypt and their effect on the culture and its history - imagine a climatic battle scene with thousands of primitive Egyptian warriors storming against a battalion of Goa'uld Jaffa's with the pyramid ship docked behind them. A prequel could show the Goa'uld Ra's arrival, initial benevolence towards the Egyptians and then his true intentions before culminating in the rebellion mentioned in the 1997 movie and ending with the inevitable enslavement of those rebels.
Stargate OCTOBER 28TH, 1994
More about Stargate (movie)
In 1928, in Egypt, a strange device is found by an expedition. In the present days, the outcast linguist Dr. Daniel Jackson is invited by a mysterious woman to decipher an ancient hieroglyph in a military facility. Soon he finds that the device was developed by an advanced civilization and opens a portal to teletransport to another planet. Dr. Jackson is invited to join a military team under the command of Colonel Jonathan 'Jack' O'Neil that will explore the new world. They find a land that recalls Egypt and humans in a primitive culture that worship and are slaves to Ra, the God of the Sun. But soon they discover the secret of the mysterious "stargate".
Directed by Roland Emmerich, Stargate's release date is OCTOBER 28TH, 1994.
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