So, They’re Remaking “Stargate” Now. What?

Greetings, culture lovers! (sorry, had to channel Stan Lee there for a moment)

I read this week that there are plans in the works for a remake of Stargate. What does this mean? That the Hollywood remake has officially outlived its usefulness. For a little perspective, the original movie was released in 1994. It’s only twenty years old – not even old enough to order a drink! Yet already they’re trying to reinvent and squeeze more dollars out of something that has already been fully explored with a movie and years’ worth of television spin-offs.

Stargate

Meanwhile, there are brilliant original scripts floating around out there. Some of them languish on the Black List for many years before being plucked from obscurity, and some are never picked up at all. But Hollywood has become so much of a bottom-line business that no one wants to take a risk anymore. It’s the reason Warner Brothers hasn’t moved forward with a solo Wonder Woman movie yet. They’re afraid audiences “aren’t ready” for it, despite all evidence to the contrary. To quote Frank Herbert, fear is the mind-killer, and nowhere has that proven more true than the movie industry.

Now, that’s not to say publishing doesn’t face its own version of this, because it does. For example: “Oh, you liked that one vampire book? Then for the next three years, we’ll make ALL THE VAMPIRE BOOKS!” Cut to three years later: “Oh, you’re tired of vampire books. NO MORE VAMPIRE BOOKS EVER, NOW IT’S ALL DYSTOPIAN ALL THE TIME!”

The difficult fact is that publishing and filmmaking ultimately are businesses if you want to keep doing them with any quality and consistency. Also, to be fair, we do still get some movies and books that are wildly creative and experimental – it’s just that they’re the rare exception rather than the rule. That’s the way the world works now, it seems. But isn’t there room for more risk-taking within the framework of the business? What if Arthur Conan Doyle’s editors has said that consulting detectives weren’t “popular right now” and he would have to submit something else? What if producers had told George Lucas that audiences wouldn’t understand laser swords and sci-fi monks in space, and asked him to make one of a thousand cop dramas instead?

There must be room for greater balance here. Just because it’s a business doesn’t mean it can’t also be an adventure.

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