Late in Atlantis’s fifth year, when we were working on the final few scripts of the season, we had no way of knowing what the future held. A sixth season? A wrap-up movie? Robert Cooper suggested we hedge our bets by preparing for both. His idea was to add an extra month to the production schedule during which we would shoot the sixth season opening two-parter that, in the event the show wasn’t picked up, could become a direct-to-dvd feature. It was a brilliant plan which I, in turn, proposed it to the decision-makers. Given the green light, we could roll right into production on the heels of Enemy at the Gate. We just needed the go-ahead sooner than later in order to make sure we had all the actors on board.
Sadly, we never got the go-ahead and, although we did end up eventually writing the script for the Atlantis movie (Stargate: Extinction), in hindsight, that window of opportunity at the end of the show’s sixth season was our last, best shot at seeing it made. The bottom fell out of the dvd market, the script was shelved and, well, here we are today.
As I already mentioned in past entries, the movie would have opened on a shot that revealed Atlantis’s new home on the lunar surface. We learn that the gate has been offline since its return to Earth but, under pressure from the IOA, the decision is made to bring it back online, have it supersede the Earth gate, and make it a permanent lunar base. The decision isn’t embraced by everyone. Woolsey and McKay, for instance, point out that they still have a responsibility to the people of the Pegasus galaxy. Of course the IOA are hardly moved.
Unfortunately, when the gate is finally brought back online, Zelenka reports a build up of energy in the capacitors. Too late they realize that the Ancients put a failsafe in place in the event Atlantis was moved. McKay realizes – the city will self-destruct unless it returns to the Pegasus galaxy.
Woolsey gets the band back together, transporting John and Ronon up from the hospital emergency room where they are getting fixed up following a bar room brawl (an opportunity to write in the scar actor Jason Momoa had received at the time). John, in turn, pays a visit to Area 51 and, again under the heavy protests of the IOA, springs his buddy, Todd.
The plan is to use the wormhole drive to execute a series of jumps to Pegasus – however, the drive burns out partway through their journey, stranding them in the Triangulum Galaxy, some 300 000 light years from home. They manage to muster up enough power for one, final short range jump, putting them within range of a subspace anomaly they detected.
What follows is a high-flying adventure involving a mysterious civilization tapping the limitless potential of the accretion streams between two stars, time travel, and a race against time to avert not only the destruction of Atlantis but the extinction of an entire race.
Some of the standout sequences that come to mind include one in which Sheppard ends up trapped on an enemy mothership, falling back to a room holding some of the tech the enemy has stolen from Atlantis. Enemy soldiers surround the locked chamber, preparing to storm it when – the door shakes, buckles, and blows outward to reveal Sheppard in one of the Asgard exo-suits. Cue kickass Iron Man sequence.
Another involves Todd risking all to ambush a future version of himself aboard the bridge of the enemy mothership, saving Atlantis from a final, devastating attack. The two battle. “So young and impetuous,”remarks Future Todd. “So old and foolish,”counters ours. Eventually, Future Todd gets the upper hand and pins his opponent. He raises his dagger for the finishing blow – only to have someone reach in and grab his wrist. Rodney McKay to the rescue. Allowing our Todd seizes the opportunity to turn the tables.
John and Todd make the most unlikeliest of odd couples in this one, forced to work together for the greater good. “If I had to pick one thing I like best about you,”says Sheppard during one hair-raising moment, “I’d have to say it’s your sense of humor.” A stone-faced Todd informs him: “Yes, back on the hive, I was known as “the funny one”.”
Enemy fighters are scrambled, Beckett takes the chair, the mother ship faces off against Atlantis, the city takes significant damage, Teyla suffers a terrible loss, some wonderful heroic moments for Ronon, McKay, and Teyla as well.
Atlantis ultimately returns to the Pegasus galaxy where Todd is granted his freedom. “You did save the city after all,”explains Woolsey. “Of course I did,”says Todd. “How else would I have gotten home?”. And, in a moment that demonstrates how far things have come, John gives his former enemy a parting handshake. Woolsey hopes that, some day, their paths will cross under better circumstances. Todd agrees. “It would be wonderful to have you for dinner sometime,”he says before heading through the gate.
Atlantis re-establishes itself, Beckett gets his turtles back from Rodney and assumes a permanent position as Atlantis’s new head of medical R&D, and John comforts a grieving Teyla now aware – via the revelations of time travel – that they are destined to be together.
And we fade out on a night shot of Atlantis, a jewel on the water…
Yes, it would have been a great movie, but I think it would have been an even better sixth season two-part premiere.
And, yeah, we had long-range plans for that too:
Now that I think about it, I believe 619 and 620, the two-part season finale, would have involved an idea I’d been kicking around involving our team returning from a mission to an AU Atlantis that has been taken over by a mysteriously resurrected Michael, its personnel (Woolsey, Keller, Beckett, even Chuck!) now hybrids in league with their former enemy. Damn. So many opportunities missed!