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I've recently been reflecting on your shows, and one thing that's really jumped out at me is that every one of them I've seen is extremely arc and continuity based, but also has, rather than a single "Big Bad", at least two core villains who contrast with and play off each other- Xanatos and Demona, Nerissa and Phobos, Tombstone and Norman Osborn, the Light and the Reach. Even the unproduced Stargate spin-off you posted about a while back had Osyros and Anubis. I was wondering if this was a conscious decision on your part to deliberately include this element in your shows, or if it's just something that flows naturally while designing a series?
Huh. You know, it's clearly not conscious, since I never noticed it before now.
Maybe it's about trying to world-build something convincing, something that logically plays out the consequences of the world created, which therefore sets up multiple responses from different antagonists to a set of circumstances. And perhaps it also comes out of my belief that nothing is truly monolithic. Even the bad guys aren't just a unified mass of evil. They have agendas of their own.
But honestly, you're guess is as good as mine at this moment.
VERY INTERESTING POST THOUGH.
Because I think I've done the same thing in RAIN OF THE GHOSTS without trying.
Regarding Stargate: The Hunted.
I would have watched it. (I think I tried the first ep of the cartoon that did get made. Whatever it was, it wasn't Stargate.)
You said "Besides, night looks cooler om action animation than day does." That reminded me how day shots in Gargoyles used to jump out due to their rarity. Though I must add that one of the best tv action sequences anywhere is Elisa evading and taking out the goon squad while running through Central Park in the morning. (I also thought of B:TAS, but who doesn't think of Dark Deco when they hear nighttime and animation?)
One thing intrigued me; you made the large alien (name escapes me at the moment) only 12- a member of a long lived, quick growing species, but still a child. I would think living thousands of years would lead to an extended childhood, not quick growth. What made you choose that? (If you don't recall, what are your current thoughts on it?)
I'm a little lost. Are you referring to Ohnu? If so, I think the idea was to keep the cast young and inexperienced. And I liked the idea of a man-child.
1) Reading the Stargate bible, have ever considered a Star Trek animated series? I know Paramount is very strict on that property.
2) Will you ever do another series of your own creation?
Thank you very much. Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
1. I'd love to do one, but no one's asked me. (Keep in mind, I was asked to develop Stargate. I don't just go out and independently develop series based on properties that somebody else owns.)
2. Again, I'd love to, but no one's bought anything original that I've pitched in a VERY long time.
I simply wished to thank you for posting the Series Bible for Stargate: The Hunted. It pleases me to no end, and makes me declare with the utmost sincerity 'WHY WAS THIS NOT MADE?' (Rhetorical) Good luck in all of your future projects.
Thanks. Glad you liked it.
I'd like to thank you for recently sharing with us the series bible for the "Stargate" series you had worked on but which never got made. I've only skimmed it so far, unfortunately, but it looked appealing, especially with its use of Egyptian mythology (and the hint of Norse mythology with the mention of "Asgardians", though I know, of course, that both elements were part of the "Stargate" property before you had the opportunity to write for it).
You're welcome. Let me know what you think after you've read it.
I don't know how the first person who asked about this found out (http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?qid=7729), but I was very, very surprised to see that you were involved in an animated spin-off of Stargate. I'm also surprised that not only would it have been faithful, but also was approved by all of SG-1's execs (which is I assume was why it was approved in the first place), neither of which was the case for Stargate: Infinity. It's a shame that your Stargate couldn't have been made instead of DIC's.
I know that with most shows you haven't worked on in long time you usually don't remember much, but I want to take a chance and ask a few questions because info on Stargate: The Hunted is scarce and when I say "scarce" I mean there's nothing except for what I already read in the archive questions.
1. Had you watched the show or movie beforehand and asked to be involved in a production that was already starting or was it something you pitched yourself?
1a. If it's something you hadn't watched before how much research did you have to do to be prepared?
1b. How much had been prepared before it was halted (i.e. was anything written beyond the pilot?) and how long were you involved for?
2. What was it like meeting RDA and the other execs? How interested were they?
Maybe The Hunted can be Stargate's comeback, although it would have to be in another form due to the show's change in development as you even said in one response (http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?qid=8784). Of course that's one of many possibilities of one of many fans and the fact that you're already working on YJ makes it impossible anyway.
Thank-you for your time.
(Of course the above was never a request just a one fan's feeble thought.)
1. I had already seen the movie and the television pilot, but nothing beyond that, when Jay Fukuto, who had been one of my bosses on Gargoyles but at the time had moved to MGM Animation, hired me to develop the animated series.
1a. I then watched every episode of the live-action television series that I could get my hands on. And I got hooked, and kept right on watching as long as the series (plural) were on the air.
1b. The pilot wasn't scripted, though a basic outline for it was written, and character designs for all the leads and a few villains were done, as I recall. I was involved for as long as the project was alive - which wasn't long.
2. It was very cool. They were all really nice and seemed to like what we were planning/trying to do. They showed us around. We saw a scene being shot for an episode.
Also, you're in luck. I happen to be in my Beverly Hills office today, and so here's the bible. [[Notes in double brackets were added TODAY.]]
STARGATE: THE HUNTED
(development bible for the animated series)
November 6, 1997
Revised: November 12, 1997
Revised: July 12, 2001 [[NOTE: This 2001 date was long after the project had died. I must have done another pass at some point while trying to reignite interest in it.]]
STARGATE: THE HUNTED
[NOTE: I've attempted to include all the relevant backstory that I can, from both the original feature and the live-action series, as well as my (hopefully modular) additions. I've intentionally tried to work this so that the live-action series can choose to incorporate or ignore the embellishments of the animated series without damaging the continuity of either show.] [[As you'll soon see, though this was approved by the SG1 E.P.s at the time, since then they did things with their continuity that would now render this development incompatible.]]
THE (ANIMATED) HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE
Eons ago, when the Universe was young, a benevolent alien race, known even then as the ANCIENTS, journeyed from planet to planet, from galaxy to galaxy, bearing great gifts of peace and prosperity to the primitive native species of these alien worlds. How did they traverse the void? Did they use STARGATES or STARSHIPS? No one knows. No one remembers. Long ago, the Ancients just vanished. All that remained (almost all) were the legends and the icons of these godlike beings.
Millennia passed. A new race rose to prominence: the GOA'ULD. Parasitic, worm-like creatures, they appropriated host bodies to survive and interact with other aliens, and they appropriated the legends and the aesthetic of the vanished Ancients to instill instant respect (and eventually fear) in all the species they encountered. They used their advanced technology to create ominous retractable helmet/masks for themselves and their servants. Masks which resembled the faces of the Ancients. Masks which would inspire awe, terror and worship.
Over ten thousand years ago, a dying Goa'uld named RA brought his spaceship to the planet EARTH (in what is now EGYPT) and took a new, HUMAN, host body. To the primitive EARTHLINGS, Ra was a God. He introduced them to the mythos of the Goa'uld, (counterfeited from the Ancients). He set up a Stargate and enslaved the natives, sending many to mining camps on the planet ABYDOS.
Once the Stargate was erected, other Goa'uld followed. They scoured our planet, removing pockets of civilization, seeding humanity throughout the cosmos. They used guinea pigs from the human race to create a new and separate species, the JAFFA. The Jaffa have marsupial pouches which they use to incubate larval Goa'uld.
The Goa'uld weren't the only aliens to come to Earth. At least one other race, the benevolent ASGARDIANS, sojourned here as well. It seems that much of human mythology has been confused with and by all these various invaders.
Eventually, however, the humans had had enough. They rebelled against Ra and the others, forced them to flee back through the Gate to other worlds. Then humanity sealed the Stargate and buried it, so that it could never be used again. To the Jaffa and to the descendants of the repatriated humans, Earth became the legendary "TAURI" -- the WORLD OF THE PYRAMID, the FIRST WORLD.
Ten thousand years passed. Earth developed a science and technology of its own; primitive by Goa'uld standards, but more advanced than most. In 1928, PROFESSOR LANGFORD (accompanied by his daughter CATHERINE LANGFORD) uncovered the buried Stargate in GIZA, Egypt. By 1945, the Langfords had discovered the Gate's purpose, though not how to use it.
In 1994, Catherine Langford, working under the aegis of the U.S. AIR FORCE recruited an anthropologist and linguist named DR. DANIEL JACKSON to join the STARGATE PROGRAM in CREEK MOUNTAIN, COLORADO. Jackson was able to decipher the symbols on the Stargate, allowing it to be activated for the first time in centuries. Air Force COLONEL JACK O'NEILL, accompanied by Jackson, led a team through the Gate to Abydos.
On Abydos, the team encountered a primitive human civilization, the descendants of the slaves that Ra brought from ancient Egypt. Jackson assumed that Ra had appropriated the mythology and iconography of the ancient Egyptians in order to pass himself off as a god. (Jackson was only half-right.) O'Neill, Jackson and the others helped the Abydosians gain freedom from their evil master by destroying Ra once and for all. Convinced that the Abydosians were no threat to Earth, O'Neill brought his team back through the Gate. Only Jackson, who had fallen in love with an Abydosian named SHA'RE, stayed behind.
And that was it -- for three years. Then in the fall of 1997, another Goa'uld, APOPHIS, came through the Gate to attack Earth. O'Neill, now accompanied by Air Force scientist CAPTAIN SAMANTHA CARTER, took another team to Abydos, but APOPHIS wasn't there -- yet. O'Neill and Carter met up with Jackson, who in the intervening years had continued to study the Gate. He took them to a cave covered with symbols: a map of a vast network of Stargates. But while they were in the cave, Apophis attacked. He kidnapped Sha're and O'Neill's friend SKAARA and stole them away to the planet CHULAK, where both were taken as host bodies for two other Goa'uld. O'Neill, Carter and Jackson pursued Apophis to Chulak. There they met TEAL'C, a Jaffa and the leader of Apophis' royal guard. They managed to convince Teal'c to rebel against his master, but even with this Jaffa's help, they failed to rescue Sha're and Skaara. They returned to Earth.
In response to the new Goa'uld threat, the U.S. PRESIDENT and the JOINT CHIEFS created STARGATE COMMAND (SGC). Headed by GENERAL HAMMOND, the SGC consists of multiple small teams who use the Gate to travel to other worlds, make alliances, gather new technology and battle the Goa'uld or any other dangers they encounter.
SG-1 is led by Col. O'Neill and includes himself, Jackson, Carter and Teal'c. For four years they've gone on mission after mission, searching for their lost friends, facing danger, etc. This series ISN'T about them.
QUANTICO, VIRGINIA, September 2002. [[Again, this is probably a revised date from when I tried to renew interest in the project. The original date was probably 1998 or 1999.]] P.F.C. MATEO ROBLES JR. doesn't know anything about aliens or worm-gods or Stargates. He doesn't even know that much about the Air Force. He's a U.S. MARINE, and he's been a Marine... for all of ten months. All MATT really knows right now is that if he doesn't get to that Marker before the enemy he's dead meat. Well, that's the duty. No sense griping about it. SERGEANT QUAID signals him forward. There's forest for the first hundred yards, but the Marker's in the clearing. Matt takes off; he runs a serpentine pattern through the trees. So far so good: he's at the clearing. The Marker stands alone. Matt does a tuck and roll, comes up back to the Marker and sweeps the clearing for anything larger than a fire ant. Nothing. He gives the "all clear" through his throat-mic, and the other four members of his team move in. And BAMM! O'BRIEN takes one in the back. BAMM! BAMM! WASHINGTON and CHUNG are down. Where's it coming from?! BAMM! Matt's tagged in the leg! Man, that stings! But now he knows. Those shots came from above; the bogies are in the trees. UP in the trees. Matt shouts a warning to the Sarge, and both men train their scopes high. BAMM! Matt's hit in the shoulder with so much force it whips him around 180°. BOOM! Matt hears his own weapon discharge. He looks up, his eyes tearing with pain. Quaid's on his knees, staring at Matt with a look of complete betrayal frozen on his face. There's a big red stain soaking his chest. Matt mouths the words "I'm sorry." Then BAMM! Another shot from above -- and it's over.
Matt Robles had joined the Marines the day after his eighteenth birthday. He went through Basic in SAN DIEGO. It was tough, but he was getting through it all right. Then when it was just about over, everyone in the unit was given a written exam. Multiple choice. A lot of touchy-feely questions that didn't make much sense at the time. Matt either failed the thing or passed it with flying colors, because he was one of only ten guys on the whole base who were pulled from duty to undergo personal "interviews" with three different Marine shrinks. These questions here were even stranger. But he must have had the right answers. The shrinks sent him for special training at Quantico.
There were 53 Marines in the SGC program. (No one knew or would say what SGC stood for.) Most were officers. Matt was one of only four privates. And he was clearly the youngest, least experienced guy in the bunch. The testing began the day they arrived. Psych tests. Intelligence tests. Medical exams. Stress tests. Endurance tests. And the training -- like Basic times ten, with an emphasis on Covert Op Combat. Small teams. Matt wondered if SGC wasn't a cover for the CIA or something.
So far, nineteen men and twelve women had washed out. Matt had done all right though. Until tonight. He dragged his sorry butt back to HQ. Purple paint covered his left calf, his right shoulder and was splattered across his face. He could live with that. It was that big splotch of his own weapon's red paint on Sarge's chest that made him want to crawl into a hole. He knew he had washed out for sure. Quaid agreed. When questioned by the C.O., Sgt. Quaid didn't hesitated to relate how Matt had led his whole squad into a "deadly" ambush and then had personally "blown away" his own Sergeant. Matt stood rigidly at attention through the whole tirade. It was all he could do. The C.O. got right in Matt's face: "You're the luckiest piece of bug-smear I've ever met, Marine. They picked you. If it had been tomorrow, I'd have told 'em to pick again. But they called two hours ago, and I already gave my O.K. So don't blow it kid. Or else."
They still wouldn't tell him who or what had picked him. They barely gave him time to shower, pack and hit the tarmac for a flight to Colorado.
Creek Mountain, Colorado. Some kind of Air Force Base he had never heard of. Matt stood in a line with eight other individuals. There was one other Marine, a captain. Plus a Navy SEAL, an Army Green Beret, four Air Force officers and one civilian (who looked like FBI). They stood in that line, waiting in silence for over an hour. Then one by one, the others were picked up and taken to join their new squads. Matt waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, a Colonel came in. Matt stole a quick glance; the man looked familiar. The Colonel scanned the room. "Where's Robles?" he asked.
"Sir, right here, sir!"
The Colonel turned. His nametag read "O'NEILL". Matt definitely knew this guy from somewhere. O'Neill glanced at Matt, then said dismissively, "Mateo Robles."
"Sir, yes, sir!"
"Son," the Colonel said through gritted teeth, "I know Matt Robles. I fought with him in the Gulf War. He's a hard-as-nails Sergeant. Not a wet-behind-the-ears recruit. Matt Robles is a friend of mine, and you are no Matt Robles."
"Sir, you're talking about my father, sir!"
"Sir, I'm P.F.C. Mateo Robles JUNIOR. I think you're thinking of my father, Gunnery Sergeant Matt Robles SENIOR.... Sir!"
O'Neill actually groaned.
And that's how Matt got the job. A screw-up. Two of them, in fact. The C.O. at Quantico giving Matt the thumb's up before the last combat drill. And O'Neill, too busy or too lazy to read the files, picking what he thought was Matt's father's name off a master list of possible candidates for SGC.
Colonel O'Neill was tempted to toss Matt out. But he was buddies with Matt's dad and figured he'd give the kid a chance for his father's sake. O'Neill reached a reluctant hand out to Matt for the Marine to shake. "Welcome," he said "to SG-1. Don't get too comfortable. You won't be on the team for very long."
THE PILOT STORY
We are quickly reintroduced to the Stargate, SGC, SG-1, O'Neill, Jaffa, Goa'uld, etc., all through Matt's naive eyes. For any viewers who've seen the movie or the live-action series, they can get a kick out of watching a "virgin" learn the ropes at warp speed. But for viewers new to the Stargate properties, we won't take anything for granted. Matt is going to be as blown away by all this as you or I would be if someone actually pulled us off the street and proved to us that all this was real.
That is, Matt would be blown away, if he had the time. We soon find out that the SGC wants to double the amount of SG-Teams that they currently operate. They don't want to break up working squads, and they don't want new teams to be exclusively staffed by virgins. So they've set up a training program. Each squad gets an apprentice. SG-1 gets Matt -- and a new mission.
The team is sent to a new planet, RAMSYS IV. They step out of the gate into a huge arena: THE TERMINUS, a cross between the Roman Coliseum and Grand Central Station. There are TWELVE Stargates in almost constant operation lining the walls of the stadium oval. Goa'uld, Jaffa, slaves and traders of all description come and go as casually as you please. L.A.X. has better security. SG-1 is able to quickly lose itself in the crowd. O'Neill immediately grasps the implications of their discovery. Ramsys IV could be the answer to SGC's prayers: a source of new technology, of new allies, of mapped routes to other worlds, of Goa'uld movements and who knows what else.
The squad splits up to investigate, Matt tagging along with O'Neill. They soon encounter a Goa'uld named OSYROS and his exotically beautiful sixteen-year-old ward, ISIS. When it turns out that Isis is being groomed as a host body for Osyros' Goa'uld mate, Matt impetuously attempts to rescue her before O'Neill can object. He nearly succeeds, but Isis has other ideas. She betrays Matt to Osyros, because she wants to be a host to the worm-god. She's been raised to believe that it is a great honor, and that once the RITUAL OF TRANSFERENCE is complete, she will be a goddess.
Matt is thrown into the Ramsyan brig. There he meets OHNU, one of the last of the Ancients. Ohnu's very existence threatens the Goa'uld hold on the known universe. Across a thousand worlds, Goa'uld are believed to be gods -- the Ancients of myth and legend reborn. If word spread that the Goa'uld were simply an alien race who had appropriated the mythos of the Ancients, revolution would surely follow. The Goa'uld ANUBIS has been assigned the task of making sure that revolution never happens. He has scheduled Ohnu's execution to take place in the Terminus the next morning.
O'Neill and the rest of SG-1 stage a prison break. They rescue Matt, but he insists on going back for Ohnu. When Teal'c hears about the Ancient, he helps convince O'Neill that Matt is right. Unfortunately, it may not be that easy. The Goa'uld are now alerted to their presence. With or without Ohnu, SG-1 needs to escape to Earth. And the only way back is through one of the now heavily guarded Stargates in the Terminus.
With no where else to turn, Matt once again sneaks into Osyros' palace to talk to Isis. He tries to convince her to help SG-1. He also tries to convince her that she's got this host thing wrong. Once the worm-god invades her body, then her mind, her will, everything that makes her the person she is will cease to exist. She refuses to believe that. The Ritual of Transference, her ascension to godhood, will take place tomorrow in the Terminus immediately following the execution. Matt pleads with her, but she won't help him. She won't even help herself. Still, something has changed. This time, when Osyros approaches, she doesn't betray Matt. She allows him to escape.
Dawn approaches. O'Neill drills Matt on the plan. Priority-One is to get the team back safely to Earth. Priority-Two, if at all possible, is to rescue the Ancient and bring him along as well. Matt asks about Isis. O'Neill shakes his head. The whole team is sympathetic, but they're not going to be able to save someone who doesn't want to be saved.
The sun rises, and in the Terminus... all hell breaks loose. Our heroes manage to free Ohnu, who uses his great strength to help them fight their way toward a Stargate. But they are still greatly outnumbered. Osyros has Matt in his sights, ready for the kill. At the last second, Isis uses HORUS, her pet URSHAWK, to deflect Osyros' shot. Matt realizes that Isis has finally seen the light. He and Ohnu break away from the rest of the team to save Isis, who is fighting off Osyros' attempts to complete a hasty transference. They succeed, but wind up at the opposite end of the Terminus from the rest of SG-1.
There's no way they can survive inside the Terminus. There's no chance for either group to fight their way back across to the other. There's no time for good-byes. Matt and O'Neill exchange one look. One look that says it all. And then SG-1 dives into one Stargate, a Stargate that sends them safely back to Earth. And Matt....
Matt, Ohnu, Isis and Horus dive into another Stargate. And finally, our series begins.
Matt Robles hadn't been on the team long enough to learn all the ins and outs of Stargate travel. For example, he doesn't know how to work the Gate. Isis does, but she doesn't know the "address" for planet Earth. And neither she nor Ohnu has anywhere else to go. She lived her whole life in the shelter of Osyros' Palace, while the remnants of Ohnu's once great people now live as nomads, constantly on the run from Anubis and the other Goa'uld determined to wipe them out of existence. So Earth is the goal; it represents home, family and normalcy to Matt; sanctuary to the others. But finding Earth won't be easy. All our intrepid band can do is continue to try one of the billions of possible combinations that the Stargate allows until they either (A) arrive back on Earth by pure chance or (B) run into one of the SG-Teams on another planet or (C) find a world where the address to the legendary "TAURI" -- the WORLD OF THE PYRAMID, the FIRST WORLD -- has not been forgotten.
Option C is what carries our series along. Earth's address consists of seven out of the 39 symbols visible on the Stargate. Each symbol represents a constellation. The six constellations necessary to reach Earth are (in order) AURICA, CETUS, ANDROMEDA, CANCER, PISCES AUSIRINUS and PERSEUS. The seventh symbol changes depending on what planet you're "dialing" from. As our series progresses, Matt and the others will gather the address, piece by piece, until they ultimately find their way home in the last episode of the first season.
In the meantime, they'll be bopping from planet to planet, finding adventure, meeting alien races and trying to dodge the multitude of enemies who are relentlessly hunting them down. Sometimes, they'll get stuck on a planet for episodes, other times it'll be in and out in one. But every time they'll learn a little more about themselves and what they're capable of surviving, not to mention what makes surviving worthwhile.
THE CAST - REGULARS (THE HUNTED)
Matt - P.F.C. Mateo Robles Jr. is nineteen years old. He's not particularly tall (5'9" tops), but he's well built, solid. He's well trained, but he's got no real combat experience. He's green, raw, a work-in-progress.
Matt enters our series with a massive inferiority complex. He's keenly aware that he only got into SGC because of multiple screw-ups. And the events of our pilot, the events that send him off on his little Space Odyssey, don't do much to change his self-image. He may never see his family again, and he has no one to blame but himself.
The truth is, you couldn't ask for a better leader. You couldn't ask for a better man to bring everyone home safely. What Matt forgets is that there was a reason why he was in place to benefit from all those military SNAFUs. Out of the thousands of men and women tested for their SGC potential, Matt was one of the very few to make it to anything resembling the final cut. He's smart and open-minded. Doesn't draw conclusions based on appearances. A natural good judge of character. He believes in things like freedom and loyalty. Semper Fi actually means something to Matt. Plus he's tough, and -- Sgt. Quaid's red-stained fatigues aside -- he's good at his job.
The events on Ramsys IV should make all that clear to everybody except Matt himself. He's still got a self-confidence problem. If he slows down, the whole situation becomes completely overwhelming, and he becomes convinced that he's in way over his head (which, of course, he is). But only when he thinks too much. When he goes on instinct, he's a formidable (if occasionally fallible) guy.
Matt's greatest strengths can also be his greatest weaknesses. He does tend to wear his heart on his sleeve. He's probably a bit too trusting, too ready to sacrifice everything for a hopeless cause. He's going to have to learn some hard lessons along the way, but he'll come out of all this a better man.
It should go without saying that Matt has no "super-powers". But early on in the series, he will acquire a couple of alien weapons that he quickly gets proficient with. One of these is a big old plasma cannon. The other is a metal gauntlet, which can be worn or thrown, and acts as a taser to stun his opponents. Matt also wears a slim headgear (earphone and microphone) which translates all the various alien languages he'll encounter.
Isis - Isis is human, sort of. That is to say, Osyros created her from largely human genetic material. But he wasn't experimenting at random. Osyros designed Isis to be the host body for his Goa'uld mate. And not just any host body, but the perfect aesthetic compliment to his own Magnificence.
Isis looks like the Ancient/Egyptian ideal brought to life. She is beautiful and exotic. She wears no make-up, because she doesn't have to: those Cleopatra eyebrows, in fact that whole Cleopatra look was built right into her genetic programming. It's all organic, not add-ons. Same with her hair: she has none. Instead, she's got a completely organic fin-like crest that feels like silk and looks exactly like an Ancient/Egyptian headdress. She also has snow white skin. (We're talking WHITE here, not Caucasian.) And like the Ancients, she has four digits on each hand and foot instead of five.
Physically, she's quite literally perfect. She's 5'7", light as a feather, slim, but shapely. Designed to be enthralling, she's grace personified. Not a clumsy bone in her body. Every movement is precise and elegant. (A little challenge for our animators.) Pragmatically, this translates into speed, fluid motion and agility. When she needs to, she can perform like an Olympic-level gymnast or a center-ring circus acrobat, as if someone had flipped on a switch inside her. In a short sprint, like a fifty-yard dash, she'd beat Matt without working up a sweat. In fact, I'm not sure if she does sweat. These abilities should border on, but not quite achieve, the status of super-powers. Nothing she does should come across as impossible, just extremely difficult.
But Isis is more than just the sum of her genetic programming. She's a person. A sixteen year old girl. Unfortunately, this girl's entire life to date was spent under Osyros' watchful eye. Because it suited his purposes, Osyros treated Isis like a princess. He taught her that the Goa'uld are Gods and that someday she would be one of them. Therefore, she starts our series a bit on the haughty side. She's used to having servants at her beck and call; she's not used to life on the run. Still, she's not the whiny type. She may feel like whining on an on-going basis, but she's got too much royal dignity to act like a spoiled child. Around an alien campfire, she may expect Matt to wait on her like a servant, but when he doesn't, she doesn't complain. She's very bright, a quick study.
Isis and Matt have immediate chemistry from the moment they lay eyes on each other. Major post-doctoral chemistry. Neither knows quite how to deal with it, let alone how to admit to it. So in unabashedly standard TV fashion, that chemistry is initially translated into open hostility. After Ramsys, that hostility tones down a notch into a kind of begrudging mutual respect. Over the course of our first season, however, it'll be clear that these two are falling in love. One of those great archetypal loves, where they literally can't live without each other.
Ohnu - Ohnu is short for OHNUBYS (pronounced oh-NOO-bis, as opposed to Anubis which is pronounced AN-yoo-bis). Ohnu is one of the last of the nomadic Ancients. His skin is charcoal grey, with a slate like consistency. (The Ancients are silicon-based life forms -- whereas humans are carbon-based.) Ohnu has four digits on each hand and foot instead of five. He's over seven feet tall and carries the proportional bulk to match. He's bipedal, but he has the head of a jackal. In fact, the face of one of his ancestors literally provided the inspiration for the Goa'uld/Egyptian Jackal-God. (Believe me, there's a strong family resemblance.) Ohnu is impossibly strong. (And, yes, this strength could qualify as a super-power.) He has a deep booming voice. And, by the way, he's about twelve years old.
It's easy to forget. Easy to see him as the strong, silent type, because God knows he is that. But he's also shy and childlike, with a real appreciation of beauty and the desire to be gentle. The Ancients mature fast physically, and Ohnu is a bright (and formidable) kid, but emotionally he's still very much a child. Lonely, even scared.
The Goa'uld have been hunting his people for centuries. He and his family had been living in secret on a backwater world when they were discovered. His parents made him hide while they created a diversion. But he had been found almost immediately. Now he has no idea whether his parents survived or not. Either way, he's got an unhealthy share of "survivor's guilt." He doesn't like to hide anymore. And he has a tendency to lash out, which can be dangerous. He's also as impatient as any child and just as impetuous, which is a problem, because Matt and Isis are both impetuous too. We don't have any cautious types in this group.
When we start out, Matt is Ohnu's absolute hero: the guy who saved him from the Goa'uld, the guy who watches over Ohnu and keeps him safe. This could present a problem later on, because Matt's far from perfect, and Ohnu may not like having a hero with feet of clay. Eventually, however, this hero-worship (and the reality check that follows) will evolve into a real friendship. Matt and Ohnu are as much like brothers as two guys could be.
Initially, Isis won't know how to deal with this young giant. But eventually, her feelings for him will become truly maternal. Through Ohnu's eyes we'll see beyond Isis' little princess to the loving, nurturing woman, just waiting to bloom.
Horus - Horus is an Urshawk. An alien animal that looks sort of like a cross between a falcon and a bear cub. He's small enough to perch on Ohnu's massive shoulder, or to rest briefly on Matt or Isis' arm, but he's got a truly impressive wingspan, and with the right air currents he can fly faster than a sky-sled. He's got short, soft brown fur and a mean set of talons.
He can't talk, but thanks to Osyros (who genetically bred Horus to be a companion for Osyros' mate), Horus is a linked psychically to Isis. He feels what she feels, knows instinctively what his mistress wants. It's no different for her, except that her mind has more distractions, so she has to focus more to understand Horus. Particularly since the Urshawk's mind doesn't articulate desires or information, rather it emotes needs or sends the occasional image.
Horus isn't sentient by human standards, but he's about as smart as Lassie on an average day, and he's an innately good judge of character. Decent people must smell better to him, I guess. Or maybe it's body language. At any rate, Horus took an immediate shine to both Matt and Ohnu. In fact, Horus' good opinion of Matt was one of the reasons that Isis started to trust Matt on Ramsys IV.
Horus' ability to fly and fight is invaluable to the others. It's important to remember that he's a real part of the team and not just an alien mascot.
CAST - RECURRING (THE HUNTERS)
Osyros - Osyros is a Goa'uld. The Governor-King of the entire Ramsys system. His host body is human, but when traveling to other worlds he wears the helmet/mask of the Ancient Pharaoh-God Osiris.
Osyros likes to consider himself an artiste. His canvas is the test-tube, his paints, DNA. In fact, he's an extremely talented geneticist, who takes great pride in his "compositions," no matter how monstrous. He considered Isis to be his greatest creation, the culmination of two decades worth of work. He regarded her escape as a personal betrayal. To say he was infuriated doesn't nearly cover it. Now he'll use every resource at his disposal to reclaim Isis for his beloved mate (and to destroy the human who stole her away).
Osyros has all of the standard Goa'uld technology. The ribbon weapon, the force field, etc. His eyes glow periodically, and he has a Goa'uld's enhanced physical strength. He has all the resources of his kingdom at his disposal, including his Jaffa guards. In addition, he has his creations, living organic weapons to unleash against our heroes.
Fortunately, he has his share of weaknesses too. He's arrogant, vain and something of a showman. He can't just kill somebody; he's got to make a production number out of it. On that level he's a bit of a cliché, which just might give our guys a chance.
Naph-rauc - NAPH-RAUC is the captain of Osyros' PHARAOH GUARD. She is Jaffa, the same species as Teal'c. She has that X-shaped marsupial pouch in her belly and incubates the larval Goa'uld -- Osyros' mate -- that Isis was supposed to take into her own body. This Goa'uld keeps Naph-rauc healthy and enhances her physical strength. Naph-rauc wears a version of her master's retractable Pharaoh helmet-mask, and she has a pharaoh tattoo on her forehead. She wields the Jaffa's standard laser-staff weapon.
Naph-rauc is in love with her master, whom she truly believes to be a god. She's fanatical in the performance of her duties, and wishes there was some way that she could become the true host to Osyros' mate -- she's really bought into all the things that Matt convinced Isis were untrue. Unfortunately, a Jaffa cannot be a permanent host to a Goa'uld, so all the prayer and worship in the universe could never convince Osyros to grant her request. Osyros is not above leading her on, however, playing on her feelings as long as she's of some use. But he has no real interest in her, beyond the practical.
Creature - CREATURE is Osyros' main enforcer. His intelligence is limited, but he obeys his master without question. Osyros is constantly "improving" Creature's design. Early on, he might appear largely human (like a male version of Isis), but with each successive appearance, he'll be looking more and more monstrous -- and not incidentally he'll be more and more pissed off about it. Genetically incapable of blaming his boss, he'll want to take it out on our crew. Take it out in a big way.
Anisis - Halfway through the series, Osyros will introduce his newest creation: ANISIS, a second-generation version of Isis. She was speed-grown from Isis' genetic material after Isis escaped. The Ritual of Transference was performed, and Anisis now hosts Osyros' Goa'uld mate. Anisis looks exactly like Isis, but is physically stronger. As a Goa'uld, Anisis' eyes glow periodically. She also has all of the standard Goa'uld technology: the ribbon weapon, the force field, etc. But the speed-growth process was flawed. The worm-god within cannot remain there indefinitely. So this Goa'uld has a very personal reason for wanting Isis back, for needing her back.
Anubis - Anubis is a Goa'uld. Like Osyros, he has all of the standard Goa'uld technology. The ribbon weapon, the force field, etc. His eyes glow periodically, and he has a Goa'uld's enhanced physical strength. His host body is human, but he wears the Jackal-headed helmet/mask of the Ancient/Egyptian god Anubis.
Anubis is a thinker. Shrewd. Methodical. Stable. His assigned task is to rid the universe of the last of the Ancients. He takes his job very seriously, and until Ramsys IV, had met with tremendous success. Ohnu's escape was horribly humiliating. The fact that Ohnu's a jackal-headed Ancient, and thus a personal threat to Anubis' own mock-godhood, only exacerbates his problem. Anubis is determined to hunt Ohnu down and execute the Ancient, along with anyone else who's ever laid eyes on him. There can be no witnesses.
Anubis and Osyros do not get along and won't be joining forces until the very end of the first season. Normally, Anubis would have ordered Ohnu's execution the moment he was captured. But Osyros wanted to make an "event" out of Isis' Ritual of Transformation. He wanted to use Ohnu's execution to add glory to the ceremony. Anubis had reluctantly agreed, but only because he was on Osyros' turf. The end result was disastrous, and so Anubis has no intention of playing anymore of Osyros' games.
Emir'c - EMIR'C is Jaffa, the same species as Teal'c. He has that X-shaped marsupial pouch in his belly that houses a larval Goa'uld. That Goa'uld keeps him healthy and enhances his strength. Emir'c is the captain of Anubis' JACKAL GUARD. He wears his master's retractable Jackal helmet-mask, and he has a jackal tattoo on his forehead. He wields the Jaffa's standard laser-staff weapon.
Emir'c is an out-and-out sadist. Anubis is too pragmatic to indulge in that sort of thing, but he tolerates it in his captain, because Emir'c ultimately gets the job done with considerable efficiency. Matt and Emir'c will particularly detest each other.
Kraytor - In one of our first episodes, Horus will run afoul of an alien who has nothing to do with the Goa'uld. He is called KRAYTOR THE DEVASTATOR or sometimes KRAYTOR THE UNRELENTING. He's a single-minded brute, massive, tusked, grim. If his prey is inside a small village, his usual M.O. is to nuke the whole province and then move in to identify the corpses. Kraytor's pursuit therefore causes multiple problems for our team. In addition to the threat from Kraytor himself, potential allies can turn into enemies because they don't want our gang bringing the Devastator to their hometown.
Vlash - VLASH is a bipedal, four-armed, felinesque alien with a devilish grin. He's the Captain of THE WHITE TIGER, an honest-to-god spaceship. (Vlash doesn't know how to work the Gates, though he'd sure love to learn.) Vlash is a mercenary and space-pirate, with his eyes squarely fixed on his own self-interest. Or at least that's how he likes to think of himself. Actually, he's a decent guy underneath it all. This decency expresses itself through his laissez-faire attitude, his sense of humor and a slight tendency to flaunt authority and aid the underdog.
Vlash begins the series as an occasional nemesis of our gang. But when he finds out what they're up against, he helps them out once or twice. Perhaps once too often. Halfway through the first season, his multi-species pirate crew will get tired of all the trouble Vlash has gotten them into for the sake of four penniless fugitives. The crew mutinies and strands Vlash with our group. At that point, Vlash will become a regular. The fifth man on the team. Though with a slightly different goal. Vlash is as determined to get his ship back as Matt is to get home. [[Sounds a bit like Captain Jack Sparrow, though of course this was written long before the first Pirates movie.]]
Vlash is dashing or vain, depending on your point of view. He's as arrogant as Osyros, but a lot more fun to be with. He's proficient with an energy cutlass and a Magna-Blaster, and he's not above using his own claws in a fight.
Me-Tok - ME-TOK starts out as Vlash's First Mate aboard The White Tiger. He shares all of Vlash's selfish qualities and none of his charm. Initially, Me-Tok seems like Little John to Vlash's Robin Hood. Later, 'Tok's the guy who leads the mutiny and takes command of the ship. He seems like a good ol' boy at first, but he's actually fairly contemptible.
A NOTE ON THE ANCIENTS
The race of the Ancients is the animated series' main addition to the STARGATE continuity. Millennia before the Goa'uld surfaced, this largely benevolent and highly advanced silicon-based alien race traversed the known galaxies, exploring and (unintentionally) influencing untold civilizations. At the time, the Ancients were shape-shifters, able to morph their slate-like bodies to resemble whichever primitive race they encountered. This ability, combined with their advanced technology and a few Herculean feats, helped make the Ancients into the godlike legends upon which the Goa'uld would later build their Empire.
Over time, the Ancients lost the ability to shape-shift, trapping their bodies in specific forms that were then passed down from generation to generation. The Ancients came to be identified by CLANS, which were in turn based on their newly fixed forms. The major clans included the JACKAL CLAN, the SERPENT CLAN, the FALCON CLAN and the PHARAOH CLAN. (There were other minor clans as well.) This new existence caused much strife. Individual Ancients would battle for supremacy within each clan, and the clans would also battle each other. The CLAN WARS decimated the Ancients', (though they did add drama to the legends surrounding these "gods").
Despite the in-fighting (or maybe because of it), the Ancients continued to desperately stretch their influence across the cosmos. Ultimately, however, they stretched themselves too thin. Their own great civilization began to atrophy and collapse, fading into the realm of myth. The Ancients themselves, those that survived, became nomads -- and later fugitives, once the Goa'uld had surfaced.
Ohnu, obviously, is a member of the (largely dispersed) Jackal Clan. Because Ancients physically mature so quickly, Ohnu's parents (who may resurface at some point) might be relatively young. In addition, it's very possible that many of Ohnu's ancestors -- going back for generations --might still be alive somewhere.
Goa'uld & Jaffa - Goa'uld technology in our series comes right out of the movie and the live-action series. Lots of stylized Egyptian metal. Retractable helmet/masks. Stylized jet fighters with retractable wings. The Goa'uld favor the ubiquitous Stargate for instantaneous travel, but they also have immensely immense pyramid-shaped starships, complete with ring-like teleportation devices for ground to orbit transport. The Goa'uld favor ribbon-like handweapons that can blast or sear but can also be used to put a victim into a trance. Their Jaffa Guards favor primitive-looking fighting staffs that double as laser blasters or "Zat-Guns" that can stun or destroy. Again, refer to our live-action predecessors.
Human - Standard issue military hardware, with a few minor additions that the average civilian may not have seen before, but could easily believe might exist as classified. However, Matt won't have access to any of this stuff once his odyssey begins.
Matt, Isis, Ohnu - As previously noted, Matt will acquire a couple of alien weapons. One of these is a big (very big) plasma cannon. The other is a metal gauntlet called a TALEX, which can be worn or thrown, and acts as a taser to stun opponents. Isis will also have a talex. Matt will also wears a slim headgear (earphone and microphone) which translates all the various alien languages he'll encounter. As to vehicles, our only limitation is what will fit through the Gate. Matt may find a great flying tank on one planet, but it's not going with him to the next world. On the other hand, when Matt finds MULE, the computerized talking SKY-SLED with an attitude, he takes the thing along for the rest of their adventures.
Pirates - Vlash and the other pirates travel in the Starship White Tiger. Unlike the Goa'uld ships, the Tiger is a lean, mean fighting machine. But not everything is always gonna be working perfectly. Vlash and his men favor hand weapons like energy cutlasses and Magna-Blasters. When making a raid, they skate through the air on fast-moving airsleds.
Alien tech - Most of the worlds our heroes will visit are going to be primitive by Earth standards, but there will also be plenty of exceptions to that rule. Alien technology should be very strange looking. For example, some of it might be organic. We can have vehicles, weapons, robots or whatever seems to make sense for a story, a planet and its people. (Kraytor's equipment in particular, should be as deadly and devastating as he is.)
TONE & STYLE
Although we'll be treading on some of the same turf as the live-action show, we don't want to simply become a junior version of Stargate: SG-1. We want to distinguish ourselves as a separate entity so that we aren't constantly suffering in the comparison. We start out in their sandbox, but then we'll take off on a decided tangent to their whole playground. Let's take full advantage of that tangent.
The Animated Stargate: The Hunted should make use of what animation does best. We should open up the scope of what we're creating. It's as easy (and cost-effective) to paint a truly otherworldly background, as it is to draw one that looks like it could be found somewhere near Vancouver. So we want weird environments: underground cities, water worlds, cloud deserts or whatever. It's also as easy to design a truly alien alien as it is to draw one whose look could be achieved by a human wearing great make-up. We want inhuman aliens (although not so weird that they're unrelatable to our audience, unless that's the point of a specific story). Similarly, new alien technology should be shocking and stunning.
We don't ever want our audience to forget they're on an alien world. Let's use a dark but rich color palate: purple, navy, magenta. As a guideline, unless there's a specific reason to set a scene in daylight, let's keep the starry night sky above our heads, to remind us how far Matt is from home. Besides, night looks cooler in action animation than day does (at least in my opinion).
Let's open up the scope of our stories as well. Space Opera is fair game. So is mysticism. The live-action series makes a point of the fact that they're doing science fiction and not science fantasy. Same with us, but we'll traverse a section of the cosmos where science hasn't always caught up with religion and magic. This is a true odyssey through the unknown.
We can have bittersweet moments, even bittersweet endings -- even tragic endings. Although each individual episode should tell a complete story from beginning to end, we don't always have to tie up all the loose ends by the last commercial break. We should be weaving a tapestry, a one season epic novel that begins with Matt leaving Earth in the pilot and ends with his return home in the season's final episode. Along the way there'll be setbacks as well as triumph, mystery as well as revelation.
For all that, don't be afraid to lighten things up a bit too. It probably goes without saying, but comedy offers a nice counterpoint to drama. Don't hunt down a joke or gag, but don't shy away from humor when and where you find it. Depending on how many episodes are ordered, we might even do an entire episode dedicated to slapstick.
We're doing Romance here. High Adventure. Strangeness. Pursuit. Discovery. Intrigue. Politics. Exploration. Friendship. So go to town.
A typical episode will find our heroes gating to a new planet, where they search for part of the "address" back to Earth, run into an alien culture and/or escape from one of the many villains who are hunting them down.
Having said that, I don't want this series to become too formulaic. How we choose stories will depend a lot on how many episodes are ordered in the first season. The more episodes we have, the stranger some of our choices can be.
Hopefully, all this will allow us to mix things up quite a bit: big space battles, spiritual mini-quests, alien persecution, episode-long chase scenes, comic opera, etc.
And if we make it to the second season, we'll turn the whole premise on its ear. The Hunted will become the Hunters. Matt and his team will join SGC and attempt to turn the tables on their former pursuers.
STARGATE: THE HUNTED
The Steadfast Knight, the Good Princess, the Child of Power, the Loyal Beast (and later the Rogue). These are archetypal characters lost in a big dangerous universe, hunted by nemeses with powers and resources that dwarf our heroes' meager skills. Yet somehow, they'll find a way to triumph over their enemies, and somehow, they'll find a way home. Really, it's pretty dependable, classic stuff. Should be fun. Wish us luck. [[Obviously, we were pretty much luck-free on this project.]]
Er, I just realized my Stargate question is irrelevant because you DON'T have it at Warner Bros; I must've misread the archives when I was inspired to write that question.
Whoops. Sorry about that.
Though, I do have a question. Petros Xanatos, besides being one of the few people to truly dominate the Xanatos Tag, also takes what happens to his son with ALARMING calmness. While I don't want to ask why (since that would, quite rightfully, give me a "No comment" response), I do want to ask: in whatever terms you'd be comfortable with, how broad is Petros's knowledge of the supernatural or magical (prior to or without counting "Vows" or "The Gathering")?
Pretty much zero.
I was browsing the archives a little and saw you never put up your Stargate development because, at the time, you weren't at Warner Brothers.
I'm not huge into Stargate...but I am a fan of your work (obviously) and just in case someone out there wanted to see it, I thought I'd ask: Since you're now at Warner Brothers, would you be able to put your Stargate animated series development sometime when not swamped with making delicious DC cartoons?
Stargate was MGM, not Warner Bros...
As a big Stargate fan, I've been curious for some time...what was the premise of your proposed "Stargate: The Hunted" series? What was the overall plot, who were the main characters, who would the villians have been? I understand if it's been too long or you simply don't feel like looking it up, but should you choose to respond, I would be very grateful.
I'm not opposed to putting it up. I can't see the harm at this point. But I don't have it here at Warner Bros.
Stargate: The Hunted?
You mean we could have had a GOOD animated Stargate show? I don't suppose you could give us a taste of what we could have had? Would have involved alien races and chracters made familiar on Stargate SG1? Are you allowed to divulge any details about it?
I'd like to think it would have been a GOOD animated Stargate show.
The cast of SG-1 (i.e. Teal'c, Samantha Carter, Daniel Jackson, Jack O'Neil & General Hammond) would have appeared in the pilot, hopefully with the actors from the series doing the voices. An outline was written for that pilot that everyone seemed to love. There were long term plans. New Go'auld. An ancient. Though it was all approved at the time by the executive producers (Brad Wright, Jonathan Glassner, Richard Dean Anderson), the live-action series has since gone in directions that have made that old "The Hunted" development impossible to fit into the current continuity. Oh, well.
What is Stargate the hunted? Were you involved in the show's creation?
"Stargate: The Hunted" was an animated spin-off series that I developed for MGM Animation back in the late 90s. We were about to head into pre-production -- and I even took a trip up to Vancouver to meet with the live-action show's Executive Producers (including Richard Dean Anderson) -- when MGM's animation division imploded.
The show never got made. I attempted for years to get people interested in the property. It seemed like a natural, what with how well the live-action version was doing. But no one would bite.
Then one day I found out that DIC had made a deal to produce their own Stargate animated series. Their show was practically on the air before I even heard about it. I've never seen it. (Why torture myself?) They're development, I'm sure, has nothing to do with mine -- other than, I'd imagine, elements that are naturally common to both versions because of the source material.