Hey, look who’s here! It’s writer/director/executive producer/show creator/golfer/expert barbecuer Robert C. Cooper – and he’s got answers to all of your burning questions (provided, of course, you took the time to post said questions last week). Before handing things over to Rob, I’d like to dedicate today’s blog entry to birthday girl Rebecca T. who, I’m sure more than anything, wants to know what was up with those replicators. Rob…?
Archersangel writes: “1. how much of an effort was made to work in o’neill or hammond? or did you decide to save them for continuum?
Furthermore, I know fans don’t like to hear the business side of things but I would have liked to have RDA in Unending. Unfortunately, we were over budget as it was and when it comes down to it, what justifies the salary overage from a studio perspective is a potential ratings bump that might help get us picked-up. We were already canceled at that point.
2. was the story any different in the movie than it would’ve been for an 11th season?
3. regarding teal’c vs. tomin as to who did more to feel guilty about, i.e. who caused more pain, suffering and death, some say teal’c did worse things than tomin. what’s your opinion?
4. were the replicators always going to be included? if there would’ve been an 11th season, would they have made an appearance? in the same way?”
Michelle writes: “Do you see any danger in being producer, writer, and director on an episode or movie? That is, might there be a lack of checks and balances on your creative decisions? For example, did anyone try to tell you you were nuts for reintroducing old-fashioned Replicators in AoT, or did they just salute and press on? It must take a large pair of ‘em to do all 3 jobs with the future of the franchise hanging on your decisions. Thank heavens it turned out well and made someone a boatload of cash. ”
Sure there is danger in taking on all three roles. It’s a minefield where the mines are very close together. But there are also benefits. I can see the big picture as far as the production goes. I understand every facet of what is going on screen. For example, I can limit the budget by writing a scene in a set I know we already have thus saving the money for a big shot I have planned with a helicopter. Or I can tell the production designer to only build three walls of a new set instead of four because I already know how I’m going to shoot the scene. A director hopefully tries to achieve the vision of the writer with the time and money allotted. As producer, I can put money where I think the director really needs it. And on set, I know exactly what I mean as a writer but may not have conveyed properly on paper. It saves a lot of phone calls. I think the crew and cast will tell you its a lot more convenient having the writer/producer there to clear up any issues they might have with the director. Also, if the director gets behind, the writer might be able to cut some scenes by re-writing a few lines. Now, it’s always helpful to have more brains. I have benefited greatly over the years from creative collaboration with many people. That’s why I try to listen to my fellow writers/producer’s opinions and talk endlessly with other more experienced and talented directors. Yes, I suppose it does take guts to take on all three jobs. But let’s say I only wrote and produced AoT. Could a different director really have overcome the issues you have with the script? If it’s bad, I still bear a lot of the responsibility.
As far as the replicators, I do feel like I’ve answered this before but I’ll give it one last shot. Please understand, that I respect your opinion. But thankfully, opinions vary and your distaste for the replicators is not universal. I always kind of liked them myself. It’s funny to me that people complain because they don’t like the new SG-1, they want the old SG-1. Then others complain when old-fashioned elements come into play in new storylines. Fact is, you can’t please all of the people. I thought the re-introduction of the replicators was a natural evolution of the Asgard core being given to us in Unending. I felt this was a big event in the history of SG-1 and I wanted the Asgard knowledge to play into the movie in some way. One of the re-occurring themes in the series is the concept of humans using technology that is far beyond us. We get into trouble because we mess with things we don’t understand. The problem is, after a while you start to wonder, won’t those people just learn already? So, you try not to have your heroes making the same mistakes over and over. Still, I thought, if I was in a desperate battle and I thought I could control the replicators and use them as a weapon, I might give it a shot. Thus, the IOA plan was born and Mitchell gets to fight a repli-monster. I certainly remember being called crazy a lot over the years and thinking I had lost my mind even more. But not for bringing back the replicators. For example, there were those (I believe one J. Mallozzi) who at the script stage thought flipping over the crystal was too easy a solution to the problem but I wanted Mitchell’s fight to have been worth the beating he took. I also wanted the answer to be simple to communicate at that point in the movie. Maybe I was crazy.
Aurora Novarum writes: “1. One of the best things about this movie (and S10) was the development of Tomin’s character. Did you have this arc in mind from “Crusade” or was it something that developed over the course of figuring out the stories?
2. Are we to assume Adria & Morgan are in the same limbo as Oma & Anubis? Or was the battle a bit more favorable to Ganos this time around?
3. Was the Replicator storyline a Season 11 episode idea? It seemed…disconnected from the rest of the storyline of wrapping up the Ori/Ancient saga.
4. General question: What is your favorite story arc/secondary character/type of tale to write?”
Skye writes: “What did the Cast think of the Script when the first read it?”
Amac251 writes: “Regarding the scene where Mitchell fought to his “almost” death:
Was this scene purposely longer than a usual “whumping” scene in order to make the viewer cringe a lot? (If so, it worked with me!)
(2) Was the scene originally longer and edited down to what we saw?
(3) Has anyone else told you that halfway through that scene they yelled at their TV, “Make it stop! Make it stop!!” (I’m not saying *I* did! Or, at least there is no proof I did!)
Also, what was your favorite scene in the Ark of Truth?”
Ruffles writes: “In Ark of Truth, the priors are exposed to the truth and suddenly Morgan Le Fey is able to fight Adria. My assumption is Adria was weakened because of the priors’ exposure. My question is why? Just because the priors stopped worshiping, did the humans stop? What made that happen? I thought the Ori needed human worship for their power. If a pastor falls from his faith, that doesn’t stop the people in his congregation from believing. Why would it work in this instance?”
Trish writes: “OH!! My question to Robert Cooper: How are you so awesome?”
Shirt ‘n Tie writes: “In all the time of producing Stargate since 1997, what has been the single most defining change (technology wise) to affect the day to day production? I know in the commentary of AoT you mention about changing film type (with Peter Woeste)..is that it? or more green screen?”
Also, incredible increases in computer processor speed and lower costs have meant much better and higher volume of VFX per episode for the money. As you know, we now have our own in house department.
Katie Menard writes: “I wanted to ask Mark Savela a question because I am a fan of Stargate’s visual effects and I am thinking of going into that area, so I thought he be a good person to ask. I want to know how he started out and what type of schooling did he need?”
Chevron 7 writes: “1. In Ark of Truth, when Teal’c went on his journey to Celestis, how did he know which direction to go? Did Morgan le Fay direct him?
2. Cam and Sam have always had a “sibling relationship” to me. Is this how you see them? Was the scene between them in the infirmary (AoT) supposed to be so flirty or was that a direction the actors took it?
3. Do you find it difficult to stop writing once you’re “in a zone”?”
DanielFanForever writes: “1. My favorite scene is the one in the cell between Morgan and Daniel. There was a long gap where Daniel wasn’t on screen leading up to that scene. I was curious if there was a deleted scene, or if you wrote it that way so that the scene would be even more powerful?
2. As a director, which scene did you find the most challenging to film and why?”
DanJack writes: In “Counterstrike” there is a line mentioning that Langara had fallen to the Ori, but Jonas is not mentioned by name. Was there a plan to have an episode in season 11 that would feature Jonas and a battle for Langara? If so, I think that would have been a sweet episode that could have united the whole team. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part (a lot of us would love to see Jonas in a Stargate movie, series, or story again), but I was curious if that was the plan since Langara was mentioned by name.
If not, is there a chance that if enough fans beg, we could see Jonas make an appearence in a future SG project? I don’t know if you guys know, but Jonas had a huge fan following.”
Anne Teldy writes: “Did you have an idea where you wanted to take the series once the Ori were defeated? Was there to be one new main villain? If so, can you tell us about him/her/them or are you holding him/her/them in reserve for another movie?”
A loquita writes: “What was the reasoning behind the decision to promote Carter to a higher rank? And why does Mitchell get command of the ship even though he’s at a lower rank than Carter?”
When Teal’c is talking to Tomin in the Odyssey’s mess hall, Teal’c talks about not being able to forgive himself for the atrocities done in the name of Apophis, that Teal’c has to just try to do good for others. It’s a very dark take on his situation I hadn’t considered before seeing AoT. Was this concept always present in the writing of Teal’c during the series – that he carries a very, very heavy burden forever – or was it first really created/developed for AoT? It was a beyond brilliant scene by Chris and Tim.”
JoJoB writes: “This is a negative post so I understand if you skip it.
I was extremely disappointed in Ark of Truth, so much so that I felt like I wasted my money buying it (not a total waste, I put it in the unwanted DVD box at church to donate the next time they send videos to the troops in Iraq.)
Why were the characters we’ve known and loved for 10 years (Sam, Daniel, Teal’c) relegated to supporting characters in favor of the Cam Mitchell show? Guess it should not have been a surprise as most of seasons 9 and 10 were like this.
There were so many questions left unanswered and so many parts of the story that were rushed just so we could get back to Mitchell and his ridiculously long fight at the end. Even my mom, who loves Mitchell, was laughing at the fight sequences after a while. Would have been believable if it were Teal’c or Ronan fighting, totally over the top with Mitchell.
The greatness of SG-1 has always been its balance of characters. Even when RDA was in the show, the other characters got their time to shine. Since the introduction of Mitchell in season 9 it became clear that he was the focal point and the others were pushed to the side (even Vala who is a much better character). I hope the mistakes made in this movie are not repeated in any subsequent ones, but I’m not confident.
Oh, and I am not making the same mistake twice. Continuum is the number 1 selection on my Netflix Queue. We’ll decide whether to buy it after we’ve seen it.”
Bet you buy Continuum though.
Thanks to everyone who keeps watching.