It’s been 13 years since Atlantis Stargate left our TV screens, and the show’s abrupt ending still stings longtime fans of the show.
What ended up being the final season was one of Atlantis‘ better, with new creative energy and new directions in the story: villains from a parallel universe, antagonistic Asgard, Replicators who pretended to be good guys, Todd the Wraith who grows in power and influence, a coalition of planets in the Pegasus Galaxy seeking to hold our team accountable for their actions…and much more.
In season five, there was a new expedition leader (Richard Woolsey, played by fan favorite Robert Picardo). And the writers were delivering stellar hours of sci-fi television — from “The Shrine” and “The Daedalus Variations” to Daniel Jackson’s appearance in the midseason two-parters, to the alternate reality “Vegas,” and the explosive finale, “Enemy at the Gate.”
This last hour of Atlantis was actually the 100th episode of the series. He brought the ancient city to Earth, in order to defend the planet against a Wraith superhive (using a previously unknown technology, the wormhole reader). When the curtain fell, the city was parked outside San Francisco Bay, Todd was a prisoner, and Earth was safe…for now.
But “Enemy at the Gate” wasn’t written to be a series finale. The show wasn’t supposed to end here. And in a conversation with “Dial the Gate”, Atlantis Stargate Writer and executive producer Joseph Mallozzi spoke about what was in the works — and what he hoped a sixth season would have accomplished.
“Atlantis will return to Pegasus, and on the way they end up having engine trouble,” Mallozzi said. “And they find themselves stuck between Pegasus and the Milky Way in another galaxy. And they end up detecting an energy source coming from a world… and eventually the story that unfolds ends up laying the groundwork for what [instead] Be the Stargate Universe story [‘Common Descent’ and ‘Epilogue’]», where our team meets its own descendants.
Listen to the full breakdown in this clip of Mallozzi’s conversation with host David Read:
Network renewal is still an uncertain affair, and while season five was in production, series co-creator Robert C. Cooper made a forward-thinking suggestion. According to Mallozzi, Cooper recommended that MGM expand the episode order from 20 to 22. This would allow them to close out the 2008 production schedule with a 2-parter, and if the show was canceled, the first Atlantis movie would be already in the box. If the series was renewed by SCI FI, “Extinction” would become a 2-parter to kick off season six.
“It was something that we pursued and unfortunately never gained popularity,” Mallozzi said. “But looking back, I wish we had really pushed a lot harder.”
After the show was canceled, the story became Stargate: Extinction. MGM commissioned Mallozzi and Paul Mullie to write a film script, and SCI FI announced that it would release the film after its premiere on DVD.
Extinction reportedly saw Atlantis on a wild time travel to the Pegasus Galaxy. Along the way, the team would be attacked in another galaxy and also encounter a After hostile version of Todd from the future.
“It was a lot of fun,” Mallozzi said. “…It was such a good Todd episode too. Basically, you have the current Todd, who is locked up, meeting a future version of himself – who has plans on the planet and plans on Atlantis.
The film script was released in 2009 (due to lower than expected DVD sales for both SG-1 films, The Ark of Truth and continuum), and in 2010, MGM declared bankruptcy. Spin off Stargate Universe was cancelled, and it became clear that Extinction would not be done.
“Between the time when these [SG-1] direct-to-dvd movies have been released and we have sent our script for Stargate: Extinction, the DVD market was dead,” Mallozzi said. “Essentially, the bottom had fallen. And MGM has decided to suspend production of the film.
Be sure to watch the clip above to learn more about what was planned Atlantis Stargate Season Six, including a big role for Teyla and a story that would have brought another popular villain back in a big way. “Dial the Gate” also recently welcomed Mallozzi and Mullie back together for an all-new interview about their 11 years working on the franchise.