It was just months ago that director Roland Emmerich was waxing nostalgic about his wish to revisit both Independence Day and Stargate, and now that pre-production on Independence Day 2 is very much underway, the other shoe has fallen. It has now been officially announced that Emmerich and producer/screenwriter Dean Devlin will be returning to their other beloved sci-fi franchise, pitching the Stargate reboot as a chance to complete the three-part story they had planned from the start.
The announcement comes courtesy of The Wrap, stating that a partnership between MGM and Warner Bros. will see Emmerich return to the sci-fi franchise as director, with Dean Devlin - who co-wrote the original Stargate with Emmerich - return as producer, alongside MGM's Jonathan Glickman and Warner's Greg Silverman.
There's no doubt that Independence Day and Stargate helped cement Emmerich and Devlin as go-to talent for sci-fi blockbusters of the 1990s, playing a major part in the careers they've enjoyed since. With Hollywood's well-documented love of reboots, sequels and re-imaginings, it's odd that nearly two decades have passed since either film was first released without a similar treatment. But according to Glickman, both Emmerich and Devlin had to be on board with a new installment before anything else could be planned:
"For us at MGM, there was no version of us further developing the ‘Stargate' franchise without Roland and Dean at the creative helm. This is their baby, and we cannot wait to bring their reenergized universe to the legions of fans around the world."
The immediate question facing fans is exactly how Devlin and Emmerich intend to "further develop" the Stargate brand more than it has already enjoyed on TV, as the film's open-ended premise has spawned multiple spin-offs. Focusing on the discovery of a centuries-old portal which transports humans to alien worlds across the universe, Stargate: Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, and Stargate Universe all managed to carve out their own corner of the film's universe.
Clearly, MGM has decided that with the sudden reemergence of sci-fi blockbusters - ranging from Gravity and Interstellar to Avatar and Prometheus - it's about time to see if Stargate can still flex its blockbuster muscles. For their part, Devlin and Emmerich haven't kept quiet about their initial plan for the 1994 film, with Devlin speaking candidly about it last year:
“Stargate has always had this empty hole. When we made the first one, we always intended on doing part two and three, and we were prevented for years. And our hope is that we can get another chance at Stargate and tell the entire story we wanted to tell.”
Even more recently, Devlin explained the pitch that the duo had made in an attempt to convince MGM: "do a sequel, but as a reboot… and reboot it as a movie and then do three parts." Apparently, that strategy seemed like a sound one to the rights-holders, having partnered with Warner Bros. to make it a reality. As part of their joint statement, Devlin and Emmerich made it clear that their enthusiasm - and presumably, their plan - hasn't changed:
"The ‘Stargate' universe is one that we missed terribly, and we cannot wait to get going on imagining new adventures and situations for the trilogy. This story is very close to our hearts, and getting the chance to revisit this world is in many ways like a long lost child that has found its way back home."
Fans will no doubt be pleased with the announcement, as Stargate has long remained one of the most refreshing and ambitious science fiction films that failed to earn a big-screen sequel (or several). It sounds as if the creators' plan is to reboot the original series by essentially retelling the same story, thereby laying the foundation for the next two installments they had initially planned. The strategy is an odd one, but not unheard of: a version of the approach was seen with The Thing, positioned as a prequel, but following most of the same story beats.
With a core premise and story hook that allows human beings to travel to virtually any world that the film's writers can imagine, some might scoff at the idea of revisiting the same ancient Egypt/alien setting of the original film. We would normally be inclined to agree - especially with X-Men: Apocalypse potentially mining similar territory - but the fusion of ancient Egyptian mythology and culture with the supernatural was more than memorable; and in the time since, has gone surprisingly unexplored.
Both Emmerich and Devlin are busy reinvigorating the Independence Day franchise at the moment, so fans shouldn't count on any serious updates or development dates very soon. But the usual questions - how much of the original will be preserved/changed, whether Kurt Russell and James Spader will return to the series - can be discussed immediately.
What are your thoughts on rebooting the Stargate series on the big screen? Does it seem like a risky proposition, or is it a move that should have happened years ago? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Stargate has no announced release date, but Independence Day 2 (ID Forever) is currently scheduled to invade theaters on July 1st, 2016.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
Source: The Wrap
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