We have already waited so long!
I know right! On SciTrek we have been talking about the revival of Stargate for 2 years now… 2 long years… An absolute rollercoaster of a ride too with different
plans, different teams in charge.
Its been a long road, getting from there to here… NO WAIT… wrong show.
Over the last 8 or 9 months though the rumors shifted away from MGM producing a new TV series to Amazon studios producing a straight to Cinema Movie. Why a movie? Well it may simply come down to the fact that Amazon has budgeted to spend a Billion dollars a year on cinema releases so the money is already there or because that’s how traditionally these things are done? Either way that seems to be where Amazon are going with this.
So I decided to speak to a couple of sources and look at other similar projects and figure out just how long would a Stargate movie take to get to the big screen.
How to make a movie
Making a movie basically splits into 4 sections.
Development: This is the one part of the process that is almost impossible to put a timeframe on. It can take YEARS or even DECADES for a movie to get from the initial idea to greenlight to pre-production. We have all heard those stories of development HELL and how series or movies just never get made.
So what is the development stage? Well it is simply where you go from idea to planning. An executive somewhere has the idea that they want to do a new Stargate project and at a management level the idea gets knocked around. At some point they start trying to find creators that might be interested and continue to talk and talk and talk. Now in 2019 this process was stream lined a little because MGM had Brad
Wright, the original co-creator of Stargate SG1, SG Atlantis and SG Universe. He is Stargate! So they went to Brad and asked him very nicely to do a pilot script… Then COVID happened. It showed though that development period can be quite simple, get the right person in to start work, get a few drafts of the script done and get on with it.
Or it can take ages!
So for Stargate Amazon, in their wisdom, decided not to go with Brad and instead started looking for another production partner. They let it known that they were going to be accepting pitches and several companies approached them. This began a long process of meeting and discussion that resulted in, we believe, Penguin in a Parker, being asked the develop a script for a movie. Eventually.
During development work lots of work is done on the budget and planning the movie, considering expectations and the Studio will spend a lot of effort trying to gather as much information on the target audience as possible. We actually watched Amazon do this as they sent several questionnaires out to select Prime members and, according to sources, they watched the reaction to channels like SciTrek.
Pre-production: This stage for a big Sci-fi movie takes something like 6 months. In Pre-production everything has to be got ready for filming. Hopefully in the development stage you will have found the core of the creative team, a Director, Producer and Writer but now you need to start hiring the rest.
Sound stages need to be arranged, sets need to be built, food trucks need to be arranged… the list is almost endless. External locations need to be scouted and arrangements made for filming, licenses and permits applied for. It goes on and on.
Of course as well actors need to be hired too. Now big names for the Movie will be approached in the development stage to make sure they want to do the role, there is no point planning a Ronan Dex movie (I wish they would) if Jason Momoa is not interested in doing it. The rest of the actors wont be approached until Pre-production though and then, because this is Amazon, everyone signs a Non-disclosure agreement (sigh).
The rumors SciTrek has been hearing is that in fact a Stargate project is actually in this stage right now, hampered by the Hollywood strikes of course. We hear that sets are possibly already being worked on in stages in Eastern Europe, mainly Poland, and that a company in Germany has been approached about taking on the CGI work.
Production: Sometimes called Principal Photography this phase of the Movie really depends on budget. They money they have the longer a director has to get each scene right. Lower budget movies get the filming done in just weeks while others get 6 to 12 months. if there are lots of locations all over the world to film for example, that stretches out the filming period significantly. Talking to sources and again, looking at similar projects recently we believe Production will run for 4-6 months.
Post Production: Again this phase can vary. If you have lots of CGI or you end up doing several reshoots (never a good sign the movie will be good) then Post-Production can drag on but 12 months for Sci-Fi movie of the scale we are hoping to get from Amazon is about right. The editing alone can take months, creating the music score, test viewings etc.
This is really the phase for me where the movie gets made. The edit alone can completely change the tone of a movie, the music used etc. This is where the Director can really make or break a film.
So what does all this mean for Stargate?
2 years from when the Strikes end.
I bet you thought I was going to drag that our right… Well we have waited long enough so I am not going to make you wait any longer. 2 years. That’s basically the number. We are reasonably confident much of the development work is done and that pre-production is very slowly happening right now. With the Strikes going on and Amazon having no idea when they will end, it seems to have been decided that work will continue, but with a limited crew and at a snails pace. But at least they are still moving in the right direction.
The strikes do though mean that we cannot be sure of anything. Studios are looking at ALL their projects right now and all are looking to cut costs. NOTHING IS SAFE and we have seen that several times over the last 6 months when project after project have been cancelled. It is still possible Stargate could not happen of course it is, or maybe Amazon will switch to a straight to streaming movie or to what fans actually want, a SERIES! All the development work done to this point could be easily re-tasked to any of these other options without significant cost.
So when will we know?
The truth is any announcement is very unlikely until after the strikes end and some analysts are saying that could be Spring 2024. Even then it is believed by sources that Amazon may then choose not to announce until they have no choice and that would probably be at the point where they are just about to start filming. You see you can hide sets being built and a lot of the development stuff but when filming starts? The cat will get out the bag pretty quickly.
So once the Strikes end we will not be waiting very long… hopefully!