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Breaking the Ice

Beware SPOILERS for the upcoming direct-to-DVD feature, Stargate: Continuum, in the interview below!

In addition to his work as a writer and executive producer on Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and the new DVD movies, it is fair to say that Vancouver native Brad Wright is the shepherd of the Stargate franchise. He co-created SG-1 in 1997, Atlantis in 2004, and this year is hard at work on a possible third television series, Stargate Universe.

GateWorld's editors sat down with Wright during our visit to Vancouver last month, where we were treated to the first trailer for Stargate: Continuum. Part One of our hour-long interview focuses on that movie, which will arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on July 29, 2008. Wright wrote and produced the film, which is intended to be a stand-alone "romp" for the team.

In this first half of the interview, Wright tells us about the Arctic genesis of the story, the return of Richard Dean Anderson as Jack O'Neill, and responds to fans' comparisons of the story with the SG-1 Season Eight finale, "Moebius." He also answers the question regarding whether future Stargate movies will necessarily include the entire cast.

Part One of our audio interview with Brad lasts 21 minutes. You may listen at your leisure, download to your MP3 player, or read the transcript below!

Part Two is available here!

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GateWorld: For GateWorld.net, I'm Darren Sumner. David Read and I are here with Mr. Brad Wright, Executive Producer of Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, writer of Stargate: Continuum. Thanks for having us back!

Brad Wright: It's good to be back, actually. I'm still in my office so I haven't left anywhere.

GW: Brad, you're the easiest interview in the world. All I have to do is come in and sit down and say, "So what's up?" You tell me everything I need to know.

BW: [Laughter] I do talk a lot, don't I?

GW: So ... what's up?

BW: There's a bunch of things going on, but obviously I want to talk about Stargate: Continuum. It's being released July 29. I just showed you the trailer and it looks pretty cool. I'm speaking at the convention tomorrow about it, and that's exciting.

This is the biggest best thing, I think, I've ever done for Stargate. I feel very proud of it.

GW: That says a lot. Twelve years.

BW: Twelve years. You know, you always have some small regret with something that you couldn't pull off. "I wish you could've done this." "I wish we could've had that." There are so few regrets in how Continuum turned out that it's not even worth mentioning. Martin [Wood] did such a good job directing it. We had such a good time on set together because I was there, unlike in the television show where I had to be worried about the next script or the next cut or the next mix.

Actor Ben Browder poses with a nuclear sub at the Arctic.
This was the only thing I had on my plate for all of last spring, and I devoted a ton of energy into the writing of it and was able to finish it with enough time ... because I had to write the arctic scenes first. I had to have the scenes ready to go for the arctic and I wanted the whole script to be finished so that the actors who read it knew where they were going.

GW: So the movie we've been told started with "Hey, do you guys want to go to the North Pole?

BW: The movie started with a man named Barry Campbell who runs the APLIS Ice Camp for the navy. What they do, as I'm sure very interesting and very cool -- it's all submarine, stealthy stuff -- but what they offered us was, at first, "Come on up. Bring some cast. Everybody would love to meet you. We know we have this one-in-a-lifetime experience to offer you and it'll be great for morale at the camp."

And John [Smith, line producer] and I, and Martin [Wood], obviously, said, "Well, why don't we shoot up there?" Which meant "OK, now I've got to come up with some sort of frame, some sort of story, that justifies us being at the North Pole on Earth. And I wanted it to be on Earth because I knew there was going to be a nuclear submarine surfacing and you want to get that. You want to make that part of the movie.

When I found out that we could, for sure, shoot aboard the submarine, and we actually had to fly to San Diego and -- not talk them into it -- but convince them that we knew what we were doing and we had a good relationship with the armed forces, as the Air Force attested.

We had this opportunity and I literally framed the story around that opportunity. "OK, now how do I get them to the arctic?" The notion of the Stargate being at its most vulnerable in history, or at least since it was dug up, was when it was being transported from Africa to North America at the outbreak of World War II.

So, OK, the Stargate's on its way across. Baal's going to sink the ship, somehow a heroic act has to take place to stop the ship from being sunk. What if the captain of that boat, by cosmic coincidence, happened to be the grandfather of Mitchell?

Another heroic figure performs a heroic act of getting the bomb off the ship before it explodes and hence the ship just keeps going on the course it was when they were navigating their way, zigzagging across the Atlantic, and ends up lodged in the ice in the Arctic.

SG-1's unexpected appearance in the Arctic will bring about lasting consequences, especially for Daniel Jackson.
So when we get back after the timeline has been altered, we emerge in the hold of a ship in present day, but we're in the hold of a ship in the arctic. How do we get out of this? It had to be a scenario that we had to be rescued by a nuclear submarine. And so that's how the whole story started. With that thought. And of course there's the "getting out of it" part, which is the rest of the movie.

GW: But it sounds like Baal's got his hands on some time travel, or time manipulation, technology.

BW: He actually got the idea from us when he was on Earth. In fact, I didn't even know how I was going to tell the story for this movie until I came up with the concept for the time machine.

It was so much fun. The visual effects are among the best we've ever done. Craig, who used to be at Image Engine, his team did the F-15 flying sequences, and they're feature quality, as you saw a little piece ... and I just had a blast.

And Joel Goldsmith just wrote the most magnificent score I could imagine, and we had the privilege of listening to it being recorded in Seattle just a little while ago. It was so much fun to go through the process of hearing his little frame, his little skeleton that he does electronically, and then hearing a whole orchestra play is just amazing. I just love that.
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