Why Stargate’s Ninth Season Wasn’t A Spin-Off

Doci and Stargate

The eighth season of Stargate SG-1 brought what felt like a natural conclusion to the show. Earth’s major foes were defeated, the Jaffa were finally free, and General Jack O’Neill was moving on (as series lead Richard Dean Anderson entered retirement). But Syfy Channel wanted the hit show to continue, and the writers definitely had more gas in the tank.

So where might Stargate go next?

With a hit spin-off show in Stargate Atlantis, the creative team chose to reset SG-1 with new cast members (Beau Bridges and Ben Browder, along with a 6-episode guest arc by Claudia Black), a new villain in the Ori, and new storylines that explored the Free Jaffa, Arthurian legend, and the state of the galaxy after the fall of the System Lords.

But Season Nine of Stargate SG-1 was almost the start of a new show altogether: a second spin-off, titled Stargate Command.

Ben Browder as Cameron Mitchell ("Avalon")

Ben Browder joined the cast of Stargate SG-1 as Cameron Mitchell. From “Avalon”

“The way in which we tried to keep the show fresh — replacing characters, changing villains — I think there was just a point where we were like, ‘How much of this can we do?’ Or do we need to, instead of trying to pump new energy into the old dog, maybe we can just rebrand and kind of refresh things that way [and] give it a whole new feel,” Cooper told “Dial the Gate” host David Read in a new interview premiering this weekend. “We felt like we were transitioning a significant enough number of the cast, and the leads, that it was going to feel like a whole new show anyways.”

“I felt like the show had worn out the villains with the Goa’uld, and we had defeated them so many times they had lost their impact as a bad guy. ‘We win every time!’ was the joke. So coming up with not just new heroes but also a new adversary was important, regardless of whether it was called SG-1 or Stargate Command.”

Here’s an early sneak peek at the conversation, which will debut this Sunday, July 14 (12 pm PT / 3 pm ET) on “Dial the Gate”:

Together with Syfy Channel and MGM, producers weighed the decision to rebrand as Season One of a new show or push forward under the established marquee of “Stargate SG-1.” In the end, Cooper says, the choice to stick with SG-1 was made because the benefits would not have outweighed the out-of-pocket costs.

“At the end of the day it was the studio and the marking guys,” Cooper said. “To rebrand a show, to launch a new show with a whole campaign, was going to be expensive and was going to not necessarily bring enough of a bump to the franchise as just the excitement they can build around new cast members joining SG-1.”

Resetting the production as a new show would have brought some significant benefits, not only as a point for new viewers to jump on but also for the production to renegotiate contracts with the crew — always one of the more expensive parts of any long-running show.

General Hank Landry ("Avalon, Part 1")

Beau Bridges as General Hank Landry

“If you start fresh you start with new rates for things like crew,” Cooper said. “As you go on people get raises every year, and the cost of making the show gets bigger. So yeah, rebranding [and] making a whole new show would have brought the budget of the show down. That could have perhaps made the show go on longer, but the other issue you have is that then the contracts needed to all be reopened with Syfy. There was already an agreement that’s already in place, and it’s just [a matter of] are they going to renew it or aren’t they? So it was ultimately also easier to continue to do SG-1 under the current contract.”

Visit to “Dial the Gate” on YouTube to catch the full interview this Sunday, July 14, starting at 12 p.m. PT (3 pm ET)! And subscribe to GateWorld’s YouTube channel for more Stargate content.

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