'Stargate' Explores a New 'Universe'


Apparently, when Sci Fi closes one "Stargate," it opens another one.

A day after announcing that "Stargate Atlantis" is ending its series run, the cable channel said Friday (Aug. 22) that it's planning to launch the third series in the franchise. "Stargate Universe" will premiere as a two-hour movie next summer and then slide into a regular weekly spot.

"Sci Fi has enjoyed tremendous success with 'Stargate SG-1' and 'Stargate Atlantis,' and we're proud to be the home of the new 'Stargate Universe,'" says Mark Stern, head of original programming at the channel. "'Universe' will continue the 'Stargate' legacy of vibrant storylines and compelling adventures, but will re-invent the format in a whole new way."

Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, who co-created both previous series, will executive produce the new show as well. It will follow a group of explorers who reach a starship called the Destiny, which was launched by the Ancients as part of a never-finished experiment. Once aboard, though, the crew discovers that the ship can't return to Earth, so they're fated to spend their lives there.

The crew also can't control the ship's navigational schedule when it comes within range of Stargate, meaning there's no way to go back if someone gets left behind.

"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," Cooper and Wright say. "Above all, we believe the Stargate itself remains an enduring icon with infinite potential as a jumping-off point for telling stories."

"Atlantis" will end its five seasons as a weekly series in January. The show's world will remain alive through a two-hour movie that will air on Sci Fi and be released on DVD soon thereafter.

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