When Stargate SG-1 ended its run in March 2007, fans of the franchise could take solace that they’d still have weekly Stargate adventures courtesy of spin-off Stargate Atlantis. Now, Atlantis is being cancelled as well.
Stargate Atlantis debuted on July 16, 2004 on Sci Fi. The series follows the adventures of a human expedition to the lost city of Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy. While Atlantis generally hasn’t been as popular as the SG-1 series, it still has a lot of fans. After five seasons on the air, Sci Fi Channel has announced that the series is ending.
The cancellation didn’t come as a complete surprise to the producers. On his blog, showrunner Joseph Mallozzi cites rising production costs and the decline of the US dollar as contributors. He and showrunner Paul Mullie broke the news to the cast and crew themselves. Thankfully it seems like the adventure isn’t over quite yet.
The second half of season five will air as expected on Sci Fi beginning in January. The 100th episode, titled “Enemy At the Gate,” will be the show’s last. The Atlantis story will then continue in a two-hour movie. The as-yet-untitled movie will run on Sci Fi and soonafter be released on DVD.
Mallozzi and Mullie will write the movie script. It’s not yet known who will direct the project. Mallozzi writes, “Obviously, I can’t say much about it at this point but suffice it to say that it should include the entire cast in addition to a certain gaunt and pallid flowing-locked guest star.” A release date should be forthcoming soon.
Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, the SG-1 and Atlantis co-creators, are upbeat about the news. In a statement, they said, “We’re excited to tell Atlantis stories on a bigger canvas. The successes of the two original Stargate DTV movies The Ark of Truth and Continuum have shown us the opportunities that the movie format offers. We have plans for both SG-1 and Atlantis to remain vital as we expand the franchise.”
“We share in the producers’ enthusiasm to move forward in this direction and we look forward to a strong and continued relationship on Stargate Atlantis in this new format,” said Thomas Vitale, Sci Fi’s Senior Vice President of Programming & Original Movies.
The network has indicated that “the show will live on as a network franchise.” What the statement actually means is unclear. Sci Fi may be planning additional Atlantis movies, or it could be a general indication that the Stargate franchise will continue, likely as a third series.
In late 2007, Cooper and Wright pitched Stargate Universe to the channel. Earlier this year, Wright told Gateworld, “The idea of Stargate Universe is that it is set on a ship that was part of an Ancient experiment that was set in motion probably millions of years ago — one that they never saw to fruition, but that we can.” He went on to say that the ship’s mission would be to help seed the galaxies with Stargates. Universe hasn’t been given a greenlight yet but, now that Atlantis has been cancelled, Sci Fi may have the funds to do it.
Though the Atlantis cancellation is surely a disappointment to fans, Mallozzi is confident the story isn’t over. He writes, “And, if [the Atlantis movie] proves anywhere as successful as the first two SG-1 direct-to-video features, you can be assured that this will be the first in a long, long line of Stargate Atlantis movies.” Stay tuned!
Photo courtesy SciFi Channel/Joe Pugliese.