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The remake of Stargate is not happening, and we know why: exclusive

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Oh, Stargate, why hast thou forsaken us? Despite the fact that that 1994 film from director Roland Emmerich and writer/producer Dean Devlin gave us three live action and one animated television series, plus a wide variety of novels and comic books that fans happily consumed, the franchise now seems to feel too above us to give any more. This despite the fact we’d been teased with rumblings of MGM and Warner Bros partnering with Emmerich and Devlin for a brand new trilogy. But now, in an exclusive interview with Empire, Devlin reveals that plans for a remake have fallen through.

“It looked good for a couple of months, but now it’s not looking so good,” offers Devlin, guiding force of The Librarians television series, returning for its third season next week. “There are just a lot of things that have to fire at the same time, and there was a moment where I thought it was all firing at the same time, and then it all kind of fell apart.”

He attributes much of the blame to the current system of moviemaking, where everything is driven by numbers and a desire for the idea of a franchise without the same sort of attention being paid to the product itself. “It’s one of the reasons I prefer to work independently,” he says. “Listen, I think if we did Stargate right, the fans would like it and we could do something really good. But if we screw it up, they’ll reject it. As they should. But I kind of don’t want to do it if I think that we’ll screw it up, and that’s one of the things that’s holding us back.”

The original Stargate was actually produced independently without the backing of a major studio, which granted the filmmakers an extraordinary amount of freedom. Today, Devlin notes, the situation would be very different: “You’d have several studios involved and a lot of voices and, you know, you may make something great, but you also may have something that doesn't resemble what you wanted to do. That kind of ‘collaboration’ is a terrifying aspect of the whole thing.”

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Considerably less terrifying is Countdown, the film that Devlin will be producing and writing once he completes his collaboration with David Tennant, Bad Samaritan. Written by Steven Altiere, the plot centers on a teen obsessed with NASA and space travel, who learns that his father is dying. Turning to a former NASA engineer and his best friends, he comes up with a plan to save the man’s life.

“It’s a very beautiful story told in a style reminiscent of the old Amblin movies of the 1980s,” he details. “Following a pre-cellphone world of children on an adventure is incredibly appealing for me. These are the kinds of movies I fell in love with and made me want to be a filmmaker in the first place. So once I read it, I knew I had to make this picture, because it lives in that world/tone. I’ve missed those films and have been longing for them to return. To have a chance to tackle a project that pays tribute to the films of my youth is both exciting and terrifying.”

He believes Countdown will fit in well with the body of work he’s created so far in his career, particularly the emphasis on father/son relationships. “My own father had a profound impact on me and I’m always drawn to those types of stories,” he says. “The themes of redemption, dreaming big and appreciating loved ones resonate in this script, and I hope for the audience when they see the film.”

Dean Devlin on The Librarians: exclusive interview

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