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Feature: Stargate

Universal plans

With SG-1 rounding the mid-season bend, veteran Stargate writer/executive producer Robert C Cooper lets us in on what’s ahead for it as well as its sister series Stargate Atlantis

An executive producer’s work is never done, something Stargate SG-1’s Robert C Cooper knows only too well. It’s early October and there are just a few days left until SG-1 finishes shooting its ninth year, but that doesn’t mean Cooper can slow down just yet. Along with the occasional visit to the set to watch filming of the season finale, Camelot, he’s so far spent his week looking at rough cuts of upcoming episodes, going to editing sessions, and dealing with other day-to-day production issues.

Besides sharing the role of head writer on SG-1 with Brad Wright (SG-1 co-creator/executive producer), Cooper’s duties also include helping executive produce Stargate Atlantis, which wraps production of its second season on the same day as SG-1. With new characters being introduced on both programmes this year and the SG-1 team, in particular, embarking on a very different type of adventure, it was anyone’s guess how the stories on either show would play out. Looking back at the past eight months, though, Cooper couldn’t be happier with how things have unfolded.

Atlantis has carried on very strongly from where it left off last year,” notes the executive producer. “It’s really found its ‘space legs’ as it were in the second half of this season and is more comfortable with itself as a TV series. In terms of writing, we know much better now what makes a good Atlantis episode. So the show has definitely developed its own identity, and bringing in the Ronon Dex character as played by Jason Momoa has been an added plus. He’s tough, funny and brings a certain dynamic to the team that perhaps it was previously lacking.

“We’re doing with Atlantis what we did with SG-1, which is not answering too many questions right away and expanding on the programme’s mythology as well as developing the Wraith as the bad guys. We’re creating new facets to these creatures so that they’re more than just this life-sucking villain. After all, the Wraith aren’t animals. They have a culture and a way of interacting with each other. There’s more to them than meets the eye. A wonderful example of this is in the Season Two episode Condemned, where that particular Wraith has a rather nefarious deal going with the leader of the planet and actually sits down to dinner with him. That’s something you might not expect from a Wraith, but, again, prior to this we really hadn’t said what they’re like as a race. We left that open and are just now finding ways to develop that whole species.”

by Steven Eramo

Read the full interview in
TV Zone #196

Photo © Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2005. Not for reproduction

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TV Zone #196
December 2005
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