The return of “Stargate Universe” took place Friday, April 2 at 9 p.m. ET, and the show will continue to air in that timeslot every week. The second half of the first season promises to take the stranded survivors aboard the Destiny into new dangers, new realms and more conflict.
“I’m completely shocked with where they went in the second half of season one,” said Brian Smith, who plays 1st Lieutenant Matthew Scott and spoke to journalists this week through a press conference call. But he added, “We’ve been told not to really give away any plots. We can say things like, 'the aliens are coming, the aliens are coming.'”
“Stargate Universe” has already eked out a separate existence in the scifi TV landscape than its predecessors, “Stargate: SG-1” and “Stargate: Atlantis.” Designed to be more character-driven and dramatic than “Stargate”’s previous iterations, “Stargate Universe” has faced a fascinating challenge: refreshing a 15-year-old franchise. So far, so good.
Louis Ferreira, who plays Colonel Everett Young, said via the conference call, “It’s been amazing to me to watch these guys who created a very specific type of other series in their 15 years of a franchise. It would be easy to have them go back into that formula because they know it. But to watch the evolution of their new series take shape the way it has, has been for me very interesting--dynamic, challenging and super-exciting.“
Here’s what we do know about the next 10 episodes coming this spring: soldiers, scientists and civilians continue to change and evolve as they try to figure out what works in this new situation, which is unlike anything else they’ve ever had to deal with before. They each undertake journeys of personal growth as they try to work with each other to make sure this group of 90 differing personalities survives under dire and unique circumstances.
Smith said, “You’ll be seeing Scott and myself really starting to find our power, and really starting to find a certain kind of stillness, a certain kind of purpose. He went into the military to find some sort of purpose, in order to wipe the slate clean and to turn into a new human being. And this situation that he’s in is actually providing him with the experience that he may need in order to be a leader.”
Ferreira said, “They’re writing with him sort of a metamorphosis as that happens when we have that period of morning in someone. And you need to take that time. The death happens and you ultimately come to a place in your life where you make the choice and that choice is always about surviving. So I think amidst everything that’s going on there is a sort of rebirth that will happen with my character, and that impacts how he looks at everything…I think not just myself, but every character starts questioning their own identities. Not just who they are, but what they represent and what it’s been for them right now for their lives. You start dealing with the bigger issues.”
This is exactly the point of “Stargate Universe,” which clearly draws some inspiration from its timeslot predecessor, “Battlestar Galactica.” That show, too, was an edgier version of a franchise that dropped all its main characters into a tragic and unexpected situation. The characters found themselves evolving to survive in the new world order, and had to learn to subsist in less-than-ideal conditions. But what next for the people stranded on Destiny?
Ferreira revealed, “[The writers] are really looking at this as like a journey over a certain amount of time…This will start here and end--and we don’t know where, but along the way we do know that the changes that will happen with all the characters will have no parameters to it. And I am ecstatic at the idea that who you meet in episode one--my character, for example--is not necessarily the person that will be there in episode 60--knock on wood, we should be so lucky.”
He added, “I would say that we’re still sticking with the show, and we’re still sticking with these characters, and we’re still interested in the relationships. The difference is now that we have established who these people are, we can know throw them in the pool and see how they swim or not.”
The actors say that the show gets richer and more fast-paced during the next episodes, and that Destiny itself becomes more of a presence; a true character in its own right. Relationships will be tested, including the one between Scott and political aide Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque). The crew, strained to the breaking point, will show their flaws as well as their genius and contribute to the changing dynamic of the situation.
But as the show continues into an already-approved second season (set to air this fall with 20 episodes), surely the question on viewers’ minds tends to the basic: will any of our favorite characters die?
“We can’t give that away, come on. I love that question. It’s a good one,” said Smith. “We all try to be on very good behavior. We know that much. There will be changes.”