Roland Emmerich seems to be too busy assembling his Independence Day 2 cast to discuss anything else at the moment.
Since it was announced that Stargate would be joining the seemingly neverending list of Hollywood franchises to get the reboot treatment (here), we’ve heard very few specific details about it’s development. What we do know could fill a matchbox. Clearly Emmerich and production partner Dean Devlin were not entirely happy with the direction taken by Stargate SG1, the first television incarnation of Stargate.
It seems they had their own ideas for a movie franchise back when Kurt Russell played Jack O’Neill in 1994. They originally had a trilogy in mind which would’ve seen Russell and James Spader (Daniel Jackson) continue their story on the big screen, however MGM had other plans and SG1 was born.
Since the inception of the television arm of the franchise, there has been very little doubt as to what fans thought of that decision. As a television franchise, Stargate had one of the most successful runs of any syndicated television series with no less than 17 seasons incorporating 3 separate series across one universe in addition to a further 2 straight to DVD movies.
With a cult following reasonably close to that of Star Trek, and the full support of the United States military, a reboot was always going to be risky and divisive at best. The interesting thing about it though, is imagining the format of the reboot given that the TV show introduced new principal characters and recast the old ones. In general it seems most fans would prefer to continue the stories of the TV franchise, particularly that of the Atlantis crew whose journey seemed to be cut short.
However those among us who have reached that acceptance stage are simply curious as to what aspects of the TV shows Mr Emmerich will retain, if any, or if he will in fact return to his original vision for Stargate and go off on a tangent nobody expects. The latter seems far more likely. It will, at the very least, be interesting to see the story unfold eventually. All fanboy notions aside, as with any reboot, it’s always fun to speculate about who could take on the mantle of your favourite characters, doing justice to the various roles, even if we don’t feel anyone else could adequately fill the shoes of the iconic actors who made us love those characters in the first place.
It’s like replacing your wife with a younger, hotter model. Who the hell would want that! Anyway, here are my picks based on the original film and SG1, just in case some of the popular characters from the television show are retained, which I hope Emmerich has the good sense to do.
Jack O’Neill – Bradley Cooper
This has got to be the most difficult casting of the entire reboot universe. The original Jack O’Neill was a hardcore military professional who had little time for irrelevancies or empathy before the Stargate mission. Richard Dean Anderson brilliantly transformed him into a much more likeable and relatable character. He retained his bravado but humanised the character with an innocent sense of humour and a wonderfully sarcastic wit. Of course it’s easy to see why Russell’s take on the character was much more serious given that his portrayal was set immediately following the death of O’Neill’s son.
This brings up another question. Is this going to be part of the back story for new O’Neill? If so, how do you find a middle ground in the reboot which would retain the original spirit of the character but also appeal to the majority of fans who loved Anderson’s portrayal. I can certainly see both sides of that particular coin in Bradley Cooper. Oscar nominated for some of his more serious roles and made famous by his comedic roles; throw in the fact that he is now 40 years old, which is pretty darn close to Jack O’Neill’s age in the original film and I can see me one day accepting him as the heroic Colonel.
Daniel Jackson – Aaron Taylor Johnson
Definitely a much easier casting than O’Neill. Both versions of Daniel Jackson have been extremely similar, a fact highlighted by Michael Shanks himself who admits he completely ripped off James Spader when auditioning for the role. Jackson is a total geek as O’Neill repeatedly pointed out. He is an intellectual badass actually. A hero to geeks everywhere. He maintains his air of sophistication even while showing a hefty pair in the face of extreme danger. His bravery is a surprise even to O’Neill who saw very little potential in Jackson to begin with but owed his life to the archaeologist on numerous occasions. Daniel Jackson is potentially the most important character in the entire Stargate universe. He was the link between action sci-fi and mythology, two genres which Stargate successfully married with incredible precision. Whoever takes on the role will almost certainly need to display a measure of intellect coupled with a sense of honour and courage, somewhere between “Kick-Ass” and “Godzilla” for Johnson?
General West/Hammond – Hugo Weaving/John Goodman
An interesting conundrum indeed. The original leader of Stargate Command was General West; a classic military commander whose single greatest concern was the possibility that the Stargate mission would be successful, and that potentially hostile aliens could find their way back to Earth. Given the fact that this is exactly what happened you can’t really call him paranoid.
So what can you do to prevent such an eventuality? Well clearly a suicidal mission commander with a thermonuclear device at his disposal is a fairly direct approach. O’Neill was under orders to hit the big red button if he thought Earth was under threat. The first time we met General Hammond he was about to authorise a virtually identical mission, until his humanitarian side shone through and forced him to explore other options. It will be interesting to see which approach the remake favours. Will the General be trigger happy like West or diplomatic like Hammond? Casting the part will depend very much on which approach the producers take which is why I have two actors in mind for this one.
For Hammond I’d go with John Goodman. He can carry himself with authority and also has a very soft side to him. I could see him giving orders one minute and consoling a weary soldier the next.
If they go with West, you want someone you love to hate. He’s gonna give orders and take no shit. He won’t laugh at your jokes and you may want to reconsider disobeying his orders. Sounds like a Hugo Weaving kind of role to me. On this occasion, technically, he wouldn’t be a villain, but close enough if he just wants to nuke everyone in the galaxy. Almost a tragic hero style role. Do the ends justify the means? There’s potential for conflict in the character if they go West with him and Weaving has all the attributes necessary to pull that off in my view.
Teal’c – Idris Elba
This one writes itself. Of course it’s unlikely that Teal’c will appear in the reboot but if he does, can you imagine anyone better to portray him? Elba is fast becoming hot property in Hollywood and is hotly tipped to take on the mantle of 007 after Daniel Craig is done with it. He is also up for a role as (potentially) the villain in Star Trek 3. I can think of nobody better to play the strong, silent yet massively aggressive Jaffa than Elba.
Captain Samantha Carter – Jennifer Lawrence
When casting a young woman in Hollywood today, Jennifer Lawrence is one of the first names that springs to mind. Her magnetic personality and endearing ability to laugh at herself have helped make her a particularly popular figure among movie fans. Throw in the fact that she is one of the best young actresses to appear in the last decade and it’s easy to see why her career continues to flourish. The reason I’ve chosen her for Carter (and again, this character is quite likely to be excluded from the reboot) is because Carter needs that innocent, feminine side to counter her military persona. Between X-Men and Hunger Games I can certainly see the best qualities of Carter in Jennifer Lawrence. Strong, intelligent, warm and full of heart.
It will likely be some time before plot & cast details emerge so Emmerich has plenty of time to come to Following The Nerd and read my suggestions. If only there was an online network where I could reach out to him and digitally slip my suggestions across the table under his nose, so to speak. Maybe someday!