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Heads up, Stargate fans: Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, David Hewlett, and Jewel Staite are getting together in a drive-by reunion. The actors will reprise their roles of Samantha Carter, Dr. Daniel Jackson, Dr. Rodney McKay, and Jennifer Keller, respectively. But it’s no ordinary reunion. No, this is almost a real-life version of one of those “we forced a bot to watch 1,000 hours of Olive Garden commercials” memes. They even recruited Bill Wright, who wrote for SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe. The main event is a table reading of a Stargate script, written by an AI.
The whole script — every single line, every stage direction — was, according to the teaser, produced by an AI from Google. Some of it is in clear homage to classic Stargate’s sense of humor. But there’s also some of the gravitas that Thor and the Asgard brought to their interactions with SG-C and allies. If what we know about Markov chains is any indication about what is to come, this reading may include word salad, but it’ll be light, and pretty meme-ready. It isn’t the reunion we deserve… it’s the reunion we need right now.
The trailer for this table reading gives a few hints about what to expect. There is much full-throated laughter, Rodney being Rodney, and a classic Daniel Jackson burn delivered in perfect deadpan. But there is also a lot of obvious love for the shared history of the Stargate universe. At the end, Tapping sounds like someone’s chopping onions when she says “The fans are gonna love this.” And who can blame her?
The Companion website will make its 90-minute interview available exclusively to subscribers, and will also be hosting the reading of the AI-generated script. This event also appears to require that users sign up for a trial or paid subscription. Nevertheless, the informal reunion includes the table reading and a Q&A session afterward. It will be streamed online on November 6 at 2pm PT/5pm ET.
By the way: Recent reports have indicated that there is yet more Stargate content in the pipeline. In May of 2021, GateWorld released a video summary of what we know. To wit: Wright and Tapping have been in conversations with Shanks and several other people involved with the original series. The scuttlebutt concerns a potential new Stargate series, with Tapping at the helm.
No studio, producer, or streaming service has yet formalized a relationship that’s public knowledge. Wright was reported to be in conversations with MGM in 2018. While the effort has been set back by the pandemic, Stargate executive producer Joseph Mallozzi said that if a show is a process of seven chevrons, there are “five chevrons locked.” While highly unsatisfying, this is still encouraging.
To the returning Stargate cast, from ExtremeTech and the Stargate fans in our readership, we would like to say: It’s good to have you back, guys. We’ve missed you. Please do stay a while.