Comic Con & Stargate Universe Podcast
We attended the San Diego Comic Con a few of weeks ago and the experience was quite overwhelming.
We’ve put together a podcast featuring the best of the experience including Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, new products from Quantum Mechanix and interviews with Stargate Universe creators Brad Wright and Robert Cooper as well as the members of the Universe cast including Robert Carlyle, David Blue, Brian J Smith, Jamil Walker Smith, Ming-Na, Elyse Levesque and Alaina Huffman!
Random Comic Con Photos
Win Cool Stuff
We’re giving away some Stargate Universe posters and Quantum Mechanix are offering three ways to win the one of the cutest Serenity replica items ever – Inara’s Shuttle (pictured left – click to enlarge) . The shuttle is identical to the one that comes with the full Serenity replica that is being released very soon (Andy tells us all about it in our podcast), the quality and attention to detail is amazing and these shuttles will not be available for sale.
To enter our poster giveaway there are four things you need to do:
- Listen to the podcast for the answer to the Trivia question (which proves you’ve listened to the podcast). Hint: the trivia question is asked at the MGM booth.
- Leave feedback either here on the website or through iTunes
- Follow QMxInsider on Twitter
- Email stargate [at] fannishinquisition.com with your name & answer to the trivia question
Instrumental track “Fret” featured in the opening/closing of this podcast thanks to Thanks to Marian Call. To find more by Marian Call visit her website (link below).
There’s so much we had to leave out of the podcast but we really wanted to try and keep it under an hour. We have however provided a transcript of the Stargate Universe panel for you below. This took a lot of effort and we would appreciate it if you do NOT copy and paste the entire transcript elsewhere. If you’d like to use part of it, please provide a link back to us. Thanks.
Fannish Inquisition Photo Sets from Comic Con (flickr)
If you are in one of the photos we took at the MGM booth either in front of the Stargate or during the Amanda Tapping & Martin Wood signing and would like a high resolution copy please contact us (no charge). You can view all the photos on our flickr page (links below).
- Stargate Universe Panel
- Amanda Tapping Autograph Photos
- MGM Booth Stargate Photos
- Dr Horrible Signing
- Browncoat Booth (inc Nathan Fillion)
- Sanctuary Panel
- Miscellaneous Photos from Comic Con
- Fannish Inquisition on iTunes
- David Blue Twitter
- Brian J Smith Twitter
- Alaina Huffman Twitter
- Ming-Na Twitter
- Quantum Mechanix Twitter
- Serenity Shipworks Website (Serenity Replica updates)
- Quantum Mechanix Website
- MGM Stargate Universe Website
- San Diego Comic Con Website
- Marian Call
Stargate Universe Panel Transcript
Disclaimer: There may be typos in the transcript, please forgive me. This took a lot of effort and we would appreciate it if you do NOT copy and paste the entire transcript elsewhere. If you’d like to use part of it, please provide a link back to us. Thanks.
SGU season 1 is season 16 of Stargate (plus a couple of movies), Brad and Robert are excited about the show. They are especially excited about the cast.
Robert Cooper: There’s a lot of anticipation about the show, certainly fans of Stargate have been with us for a long time and we certainly respect you and know the reason we’re here is because of you. We’ve worked really really hard to keep the franchise going and make sure that people who love Stargate have something to watch. We’re really excited about this show because it’s different and we’re hoping you really like it.
Brad Wright: It’s different in the sense that it has a different feel, a different energy. We are shooting it in a slightly different way than we have in the first two series, it’s much more hand held, much more dynamic. Do you like the trailer? [Crowd screams]
Wright: Can I watch Stargate Universe if I’ve never watched Stargate SG1 or Stargate Atlantis? The answer is yes. Beyond yes. It is quite a different feel. It will reintroduce what a stargate is and it will give you a whole new sense of what Stargate is in the introductory scenes but it will very much reward the SG1 and Atlantis viewer. Richard Dean Anderson will be recurring periodically through the season. Amanda Tapping is appearing in the pilot episode.
Cooper: We looked really hard about what we loved about Stargate and what we thought the fans really loved and I think there’s a lot of speculation a bout what the show’s going to be like and anticipation from fans and I think at least if I could address some of those fears… at it’s core Stargate Universe while many people are talking about it in terms of being darker and grittier, it really is still Stargate and that’s because it’s coming from Brad and myself and our spirit is very much what Stargate has been over the years and that is to write something that is about people in extra-ordinary circumstances, people like you and I. One of the things that made Stargate so interesting to me is that it’s contemporary it was people from the here and no in these fantastic situations and I think we’ve tried to bring that element back into the series. It had gotten to the point where everyone was a super hero and a genius – not that these people aren’t smart and heroes – but I think that trying to make the characters identifiable and at the same time put them in a situation where they could really face challenges and deal with incredible experiences of exploration and there’ll still be a sense of humour and hope, it’s not all going to be depressing and dark.
Wright: These guys are all convention virgins [crowd screams – cast reacts] A funny thing happened to Jamil and Elyse.
Jamil Walker Smith: Elyse and I got to San Diego and decided to check out the MGM booth.
Elyse Levesque: I had been earlier so I decided to be Jamil’s tour guide. We wandered up to the Stargate booth, Jamil is one of those people who’s very easily excited, his face gets very shiny, so needless to say we looked like fans.
JW Smith: We took pictures in front of the Stargate
Levesque: but before we got in front of the stargate this girl that was working the booth came up to us “hi, would either of you be interested in entering a contest? It’s a chance to make a guest appearance on the new Stargate”. What?! We should have given it a shot, I don’t know why we didn’t enter. but instead we took a picture in front of the stargate.
Cooper: One of the other things I think fans have truly loved over the years about Stargate is the teams, the chemistry of the cast and the characters and that’s why they keep coming back. It’s always a little scary to start that situation again – for you guys too, am I going to like these guys? – this has been an unbelievably special experience. I know people say that all the time, you know, the chemistry’s great and people get along and it’s one big happy family it’s a cliché and I’m sorry for sounding that way but I’m the biggest cynic in the world which anybody on the show will tell you and everybody’s “oh wow this has been really weird isn’t it everybody’s getting along and having a good time” and I was like “Yeah, so far…we’ll see” but we’re 12 episodes in and everyone still likes each other and still having a phenomenal time and very happy to come to work every day, it’s the most exciting experience I’ve ever had in my career and I think that that chemistry, that feeling we’re getting on the set it translating to the screen and that doesn’t always happen, a lot of times you’ll have a situation behind the scenes where having a great time and for some reason it just doesn’t end up on film and that’s a tragedy but in this case I really feel like right from the get-go in the pilot you’re going to see these characters emerge in three dimensions and you’re going to fall in love with them.
Wright: One of the other reasons I think we hit the ground running in a really positive way too is thanks to the incredible support we’ve had from MGM specifically Charlie Cohen at MGM who is a fan of the franchise like nobody’s business. He’s in a neat position for being able to green-light a series that he can watch himself because he likes it and the joy of actually being properly funded – and I remember saying at at a previous Comic Con – well I hope we get to do the show we want because what Robert and I pitched is an expensive show that has a large ensemble cast and a big shiny ship and we got to do that and that is thrilling for us and we really have a huge thanks to MGM and to Sci-Fi for being incredibly supportive.
Cooper: Charlie’s our barometer in a big way, we know that if he likes an episode chances are that fans will like it
Wright: And he’s straight forward too “eh, I didn’t like that one so much” he’ll say that.
Audience Question: Why did this series not receive the place it deserves on NBC for those without access or not aware of Syfy channel?
Wright: I would like it to air on all the major networks actually, you know, while it would be great to be on a major network in some ways, we’re at home in Syfy we’ve been on that network now for 11 seasons including five years of SG1 and five of Atlantis and we’re happy to be there. We do appreciate the sentiment and there’s always the DVD and your friends house if you don’t have Syfy.
Audience Question: One of the things that sold me on SG1 right off is one of the behind the scenes shots you did. One of my most cherished memories is Amanda Tapping saying she didn’t want to have a deer in the headlights look. Are you going to do the same thing with these folks here so we can grow to love them as much as we did them?
Cooper: You mean behind the scenes stuff? There’s tonnes, there’s going to be over, Ivon Bartok who does a lot of our behind the scenes stuff is shooting 40 pieces this year that are going to be used on the web and on the DVDs, basically anywhere. Both the studio and the network are very excited about the show. This is very much the beginning of the launch of the publicity push and I think that as the airing of the show guest a little bit closer you’re going to get sick and tired of hearing about Universe, at least I hope so.
Audience Question: I think of you more as a feature film actor I’m wondering how working in an incredibly successful franchise like Stargate compares to working in feature films?
Robert Carlyle: I always find that it’s about the piece itself, it doesn’t really matter to me whether it’s television or film or theatre, it’s about the part, it’s about the people that you’re working with, that’s the most important aspect so it’s been very easy for me.
Brad and Robert were very welcoming for me in the beginning and they’ve given me a wonderful platform here to express myself and I’m enjoying it a great deal.
Cooper: When we first spoke to Bobby on the phone one of the first things he said to us was “What do you want m for?’ he said “I don’t see myself as the typical Stargate guy” and we said well we’re trying not to make the typical Stargate and we want an actor who had the courage to play character that we thought was going to be very different from the type of character you normally see in the franchise. Someone who is not the hero and not the villain, more of a very complex person and that was something that really attracted us to Bobby, was the fact that he is first and foremost an actor who is not only brilliant but plays the character with courage.
Audience Question: Are we ever going to find out anything in Stargate Universe about the Furlings and the 9th chevron.
David Blue: No.
Cooper: I’m going to answer that and the answer is yes.
Cooper: Well, yeah.
Wright: I don’t get it
Cooper: Well we do answer the 9th chevron thing
Wright: Oh, the 9th chevron thing, I was thinking more about the Furling thing.
Cooper: Maybe (joking)
Audience Question: In the first two Stargates you had strong, intelligent, beautiful women cast, when you cast for this Stargate what was your criteria in choosing these actors?
Wright: Strong, intelligent, beautiful women! We’re delighted, we should actually get you guys to talk about your characters, Alania, why don’t we start with you?
Alaina Huffman: TJ is a strong, intelligent woman! You know, they’re great at developing these strong women that I think are great role models and that carry themselves very well and this show is no different all the women are very strong.
They have their flaws and have their moments I know my character has her weaknesses and that’s what makes her human and that’s what makes her a whole woman.
Ming-Na: Camile Wray, that’s the character that I play and she’s a strong, intelligent, lesbian woman. It’s been an amazing ride and it’s such a challenge to take on so many different aspects of the character and the premise that Brad and Robert have placed these characters and I just have to say I was a huge sci-fi fan but Stargate is sort of a new series for me but now everything I see… I look up on the ceiling and I see stargates [laughs] that’s how much influence this show has had on me.
Wright: We’re from Vancouver so I see is the Olympic rings .
Levesque: Well, not to sound redundant, but Chloe is also a strong, in the physical sense, intelligent young woman. You know what I think is great about all these characters?
Touching on what Alania said, they’re all human, they’re all flawed but it’s how they band together that makes them who they are and it’s an honour to continue playing these characters that so many women all over the world look up to.
Wright: Jamil, Bobby, Brian and David are strong, intelligent men.
Audience Question: Was there any trepidation from the actors and actresses approaching such a large genre in Universe and be able to put their stamp on it.
Blue: I can only speak for my own perspective and being someone who has seen every episode of SG1 and every episode of Atlantis and damn nearly every sci fi show out there, it was on one side of things I definitely wanted to give respect to the world that already existed but even more so I was looking forward to contributing to it, to build on what was already there and give you guys a perspective that you might not have been given on previous shows, so for me it’s a matter of pride to be part of it but immense responsibility in every scene to make sure we get it right for you, that’s the way I look at it anyway.
Wright: It’s great because Robert and I can’t be there all the time and little things like “how does the stargate work” and David already knew the answer to those questions so we got an actor/tecahnical adviser [laughs].
Audience Question: How did you prepare for the role?
BJ Smith: First you have to have some kind of response to the writing, that’s immediately what grabbed my attention, the writing for the pilot, it was incredibly complex.
For me it was more important that I was playing a soldier, I did a lot of research into the military what this kid’s training would have been like, how he holds himself, how he talks, how he looks at the world and that’s been a pretty big part of my preparation to get into the show.
Wright: We’ve always had an association with the military and Stargate and a respect for the people who serve in the military and these guys are embodying these characters very seriously and Camile and Brian come across as really tough guys and really great soldiers and I think that serves them proud.
Audience Question: Atlantis was ended prematurely and I wonder if there were still more Atlantis stories to be told?
Cooper: I agree there were still more stories that could be told on Atlantis but I think it’s unfair to say that after five seasons and 100 episodes it was premature, a lot of shows don’t last one season so we had a really good run with Atlantis and we were really grateful to be given the opportunity to explore those characters and tell the stories in that world as long as we did. It’s always tough to field those types of questions because in some ways we kind of look at each other and say “hey, our second season went 5 seasons” and that’s pretty good, that’s kind of what you hope for when you start out and we consider ourselves very fortunate that this went five seasons. Premature is probably not the right word but at the same time we’re obviously still keeping all the elements of the franchise alive any way we can. As everybody knows, characters, shows, nobody dies in science fiction …
Wright: ..except the doctors (jokes)
Audience Question: SG1 and Atlantis seem to be more episodic but I’ve heard for Universe it’s going to be more serialised….
Wright: You know, we’ve always respected a series arch in SG1 and Atlantis, we’ve always tried to acknowledge what came before and never reset back to zero in an episode so that we didn’t undo things (except the sarcophagus) and we wanted the casual viewer, the occasional viewer, to be able to access the show. It’s difficult when you get too serialised, I love some television shows and because you live your life and you’re busy you miss a couple of episodes, you turn it on and you go “what the hell’s going on”. We don’t want that to happen in SG:U there’s no question that it does have a broader more continuing storyline however it will reward any viewer though that just turns on episode five – but please start from one!
Cooper: The serialised nature of the show will come more from the aspect of the character stories and in many ways that came out of our desire to tell stories more from the character’s perspective. We’ve done 300 and something episodes of Stargate and you know, when you’re sitting around in the writers room you do end up saying yeah, no, we’ve done that one before, and we’ve done that one before.. But what’s new and what’s fresh is seeing certain experiences from these character’s points of view and that’s how we’ve approached this show. In many ways the serialisation is going to come from what’s happening to them on a week to week basis, hopefully what will keep you coming back as a viewer is “I can’t wait to see what Dr Rush does this week” rather than what the specific adventure is.
Wright: The other fun thing about these characters is none of these folks are supposed to be where they are in the series, they were supposed to be evacuated back to Earth so that’s enabled us to put characters together that wouldn’t in any other circumstance be on another planet or another part of the Universe. They knocked on Eli’s door, and that’s how he got there.
Cooper: The other thing that I think I can tell you is that big things are going to happen very quickly. In terms of what happens and what unfolds in the show even in the first ten episodes… Brad and I are not big fans of shows that have one little story that they’re going to try and stretch out over seven seasons so you’re going to find that if you do skip an episode you might miss something huge, that there will be major revelations in terms of what’s going on with these characters and the storylines, I think you might be surprised at some of the major changes and shakeups that go on even in the first ten.
Audience Question: I’m one of the seven people (that haven’t seen any Stargate), I have seen everything that Mr Carlyle has made, my question is what drew you to this role specifically?
Carlyle: I guess this is a personal story, last year in the summertime I went to Los Angeles I was looking for something different to be honest, the film industry back in Britain is kind of struggling and I was looking for something with a different challenge, something fresh. When this came up it was completely left field for me, completely from nowhere and to be honest I didn’t know much about Stargate, I knew it was there and that it existed but it was through chatting with Robert and Brad.. My first reaction was “Why the hell do you want me”, but it was through the conversations that we had and the scripts that they sent me, I began to understand what they were trying to do. This is very much a character piece and they were looking for someone who could maybe do that. One of the things that was interesting, I think Brad said to me, they were looking for someone who could make dislikeable things quite likable. I thought, “I’m your man for that” [laughs], so that’s what really drew me to it, the spirit of these to guys here and what they put on the plate.
Audience Question: Since the new premise of the show is going to be spreading out across the universe in this rock and roll ship are we finally going to see a lot more non-Jaffa, non English speaking aliens out there?
Cooper: Well, this first thing we did was make a blood-pact that we would not have rubber faced, English speaking aliens in the first season. We really wanted a universe, because it takes place out on the frontier, it was about exploring the universe, the galaxies that we’ve never been to and we realty wanted that experience to feel somewhat realistic. Find alien life forms that you feel like you might actually find out in space. There was a rationale for having human beings in the Pegasus and Milky Way galaxies in our mythology, they were kidnapped from Earth, they were taken to those planets so there was an explanation built into Stargate as to why their were human-like people on other planets. So in Universe in the first season there are some very alien aliens they’re entirely CG and not human, you we do encounter aliens but they don’t say things to us in the ways the Wraith would or the Goa’uld would.
Wright: It also comes from a desire to be more character driven, in SG1 and Atlantis we had a very difficult time when our characters came up against each other because there was the Goa’uld out there, you can’t be petty, this little arguing about each other doesn’t make any sense we’ve got a big enemy out there to fight. In Universe all of our characters are both heroes and villains and have remarkably because of their ability to perform they’re able to slip in and out of the skin of both and it’s really fun to watch and it’s really interesting for us to write and to watch it evolve. It’s still very much a science fiction, we’re aboard an Ancient ship, a beautiful place to explore and it’s stunning, built by our production designer James Robins I think it’s his best work and I think as a set it’s the best set I’ve ever been associated with, it’s stunning, and there’s still a stargate and we’re going to go through that stargate and have adventures and meet alien races that are just not going to try and suck the life force out of us.
Carlyle: In my experience the only similarity for me was the Bond sets I’ve worked on, it’s that good, the workmanship and the craftsmanship on the sets are absolutely stunning, it films beautifully and photographs beautifully and works incredibly well as a set, it’s like a major budget features set.
Audience Question: What is it like working with the original actors who created the original legacy that is Stargate.
Blue: One of the first things I got to do was one of the scenes with…. Kind of trial by fire, Robert Carlyle and RDA knocking on my door, it was great, having seen it before, I was spoiled as an actor, I was being brought into this [Stargate] world as a character and I got to do it as a person too so very little acting was really required. It was nice, it didn’t feel like a handing off of the torch or anything like that, it was nice to kind of be welcomed with open arms by the previous cast, for me it was an honour, I enjoyed it.
Ming-Na: Working with Richard Dean Anderson was a hoot because he is such an old hand at this franchise and he’s so comfortable with the people on the set and it was like pretty much our first week when I got to work with him and being in Vancouver and being on this amazing set and for him it was kind of like, peeling an orange an being blaze about it all and it gave a really good perspective and in a way it was just, it felt really good to have this legacy and yet we’re doing something new. He was a cool guy.
B J Smith: I didn’t get to work with Amanda Tapping or RDA but I did get to work with the crew that if you ask me has had just as big a role at making this franchise a success and you know really some of the most skilled, dedicated, laid back, funny, awesome people I’ve ever worked with and they really make it a joy and they’re just darn good at what they do and sometimes I wonder if they get the recognition they really deserve because they’re awesome.
Ming-Na: It just made our job so much easier, we love our crew.
Audience Question: Will Stargate Universe continue the grand tradition of building up really likable doctors and then killing them off?
Cooper: No, we kill the doctor off right away in this one.
Wright: He’s not kidding.
Audience Question: How familiar were you with the Stargate franchise before you got involved with this project?
B J Smith: I wasn’t familiar with it at all, I was a Trekkie, but part of working on this show, for research, you want to know what’s going on, I’ve watched most of SG1, it won me over.
Wright: We gave Brian a list of episodes we didn’t want him to see.
Audience Question: What’s it like acting with CG explosions, monsters and things where you can’t actually see what you’re reacting to?
B J Smith: I can say this ever since I first saw the trailer, you get this image in your mind, this imagination image formed when you’re shooting the scene against the green screen or something like that and on a scale of one to ten you’re picturing a 7 maybe 7 and a half and then you see something like this (trailer) and it blew my mind, you spend almost every day acting with stuff that isn’t there and the scale of how amazing it is was even impressive to me and I was there doing it. You start to wonder should I have maybe acted a little better to go with this? It’s really great, it’s a challenge as an actor I think but in the end it looks phenomenal.
Ming-Na: I’ve become such a huge fan myself of the show, not to like pat ourselves on the back but for us we really do have to imagine a lot of the things and as a large ensemble a lot of the times we’re not in the scenes together and so I get to watch a lot of things that I’ll be seeing for the first time, like you, so in so many ways there’s so much about this show that’s an absolute surprise and it’s great to see the CGI surpass your own imagination.
B J Smith: Andy Mikita has a little explosion track, any time you see an explosion in a scene… boom!
Cooper: He had a subwoofer on the set during the pilot because there were a lot of explosions going off and Andy has it hooked up to his iPod and he just went crazy with it after a while.
Blue: It helps a lot when the entire set is shaking.
Audience Question: This is your first convention will we see you folks coming back next year to celebrate the anniversary of SG:U?
Wright: There’s actually a couple of our cast members who aren’t here, Louis Ferreira and Lou Diamond Phillips and there’s a lot of characters in the show who are part of the whole vibe of the crew aboard the Destiny, there’s a lot of people there and there’s some really fascinating characters that all these guys get to play with too, if everyone were here we’d fill the whole stage..
Cooper: Well we’d have to move to the bigger room…
Wright: Maybe we’ll get to do that next year.