According to The Hollywood Reporter, The SCI FI Channel has confirmed that Stargate: Atlantis will not return for a sixth season, but instead a two hour movie will be ordered in its place, and that a new weekly series – the third in the 11 year-old "Stargate" franchise – has been green-lighted.
Stargate: Universe will premiere as a two hour movie early in 2009, to be followed by a weekly hour-long series beginning next summer. Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, co-creators of Stargate: SG-1 and Atlantis, will serve as executive producers and writers on the new series.
According to the Hollywood trade, Universe will involve more "space-based action" than the previous two series. SCI FI hopes the new show will fill the space travel/"opera" void being left by the end of the Star Trek television franchise in 2005 and the end of their own Battlestar Galactica series sometime next year.
Universe reportedly will introduce a team of explorers who find an ancient unmanned ship called the Destiny. "Unable to return to Earth, the crew must fend for themselves aboard the ship, which has a pre-programmed mission taking them to the far reaches of the universe."
Looking to reinvigorate and reinvent the franchise by targeting a younger audience, the news series will feature a new cast of characters, with SCI FI reportedly seeking a "known performer" for one lead role and "fresh faces" to play the rest of the ship's crew. Appearances by former cast members from SG-1 and Atlantis were mentioned as "very possible".
Co-creators Wright and Cooper told the Hollywood Reporter, "In Universe, we plan to keep those elements that have made the franchise a success, such as adventure and humor, while breaking new ground in the relationships between mostly young and desperate explorers, thrust together and far from home. Above all, we believe the Stargate itself remains an enduring icon with infinite potential as a jumping-off point for telling stories."
Also according to the report, Sci Fi has not yet made a decision as to whether the Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica, will be picked up as a series.
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