Just a few days ago news broke that a Space: 1999 reboot was in development in the form of Space: 2099…and already executive producer Jace Hall has graciously answered some of our questions about the project! Jace and his company, HDFILMS, have partnered with ITV Studios America on the production, which will update the classic ITV production.
SFS: There have been many grass-roots efforts on updating Space: 1999 over the years, even using the name “Space: 2099”, but this appears to be the
first with buy-in from the studios – why is the time right to bring back this classic show?
Jace: My general belief is that any time is ALWAYS the right time to bring a truly compelling story to audiences. From my perspective, the timing of a new Space: 1999 franchise related project coming into existence has primarily related to ITV being presented with a concept that they could feel strongly enough about to warrant and authorize the effort. Now finally, that time has come and we hope to work closely with them to bring something engaging to audiences!
SFS: Space: 1999 was one of my favorites as a kid, and had models and playsets…what is your history with the original show? Why did you choose this project?
Jace: My history with this show is commensurate with others from my generation. I saw it on TV in the 70’s and was amazed at the presentation. I had the toys and playsets, but the best item to me was the lunchbox which some friends had but I could never get (I had the Marvel Comic Super Hero one.) I’ve been a fan of the Space: 1999 franchise for nearly my whole life and also science fiction, comics, computers, games in general. My geek/nerd street cred runs deep and I love everything about it all.
In regard to your question, I wish I could say something epic and profound like “I didn’t choose this project, this project chose me…” but that wouldn’t be honest or informative. The truth is that there was a day where I was deeply contemplating Space: 1999 – appreciating its depictions of larger and more thoughtful concepts than what television shows normally reach for, and it hit me like a thunderbolt that there was a fantastic opportunity to re-imagine and present this franchise in an incredibly new, relevant and compelling way. I reached out to ITV to explain my vision and it was clear that they were very intrigued.
SFS: One of the things I liked most of the original show was the model work – although not necessarily true to physics, they at least seemed functional and realistic, plus the expansive, well designed Moonbase Alpha…in the current posters, I can see the familiar-looking Eagle cockpit. How much can we expect to see in the new show that we’d be familiar with, vs. all-new designs? Will we get the expansive Main Mission set, or the cramped Command Center of Season 2?
Jace: This is a great question and I desperately want to answer it – particularly after reading forum posts on Space2099TheSeries.com – however we are not releasing any specific content information at this time. I can only refer you to our released posters and your individual imaginations regarding them!
SFS: Among the hard-science fanbase, a major criticism was often about how the Moon got around so fast…Can you give us a hint of how you plan to tear the Moon from orbit and get to other star systems?
Jace: It kills me to say this, but please refer to my answer for question 3…. We are just not ready to talk about it yet.
SFS: Often times with SF shows, especially those dealing with current or near-future plausible science, consistency and realism can get in the way of plot. Where do you see the balance? For instance, will there be a bible to be adhered to or will writers be given total freedom, potentially creating inconsistencies?
Jace: I hate inconsistencies in storytelling. Hate them with a passion. In my opinion it just shows a lack of time/energy/creativity to be able to think things through far enough. One of the running themes in Space: 2099 is going to be plausibility. Believability is very important in this. It is going to be our challenge. There already is a bible that has been worked on for quite some time. Everything needs to make as much sense as possible. The less the audience has to suspend its disbelief, the better. I am not a believer in the idea that consistency and realism have to clash with plot and excitement. I think it is our responsibility to work as hard as possible to think creatively and thoroughly so that all the elements work together in symbiosis, effectively allowing each element to equally drive each other. It is not going to be easy, but it is our goal and we owe our best effort to the audience.
SFS: How much of the characters will be based on those from the original, vs. all new characters?
Jace: Again, this is content specific and I can’t answer at this time. I will say that it is crystal clear to us that the audience has a strong desire to see some familiar names…
SFS: Will there be a focus on an overall story arc, or more traditional episodic stories like the original? Or something in between?
Jace: Without getting into specifics, I can say that it is definitely our desire to have an overall point and direction to Space: 2099 story effort. How this manifests itself remains to be seen.
SFS: How much commitment from the studio is there at this point? Script, pilot, etc.?
Jace: It has been 35 years since ITV has made an announcement like this regarding the franchise. Without further comment I will let that speak for itself.
SFS: If you were given your choice of any classic SF/Fantasy show to remake next, what would be your choice?
Jace: I am so completely focused on Space: 2099, it’s hard for me to fully consider your question. For me, re-imaginings aren’t things I do just for fun or for some kind of paycheck as a hired gun. Quite the contrary. Space: 2099 represents a very serious, comprehensive and deep commitment on my part as well of that of my company HDFILMS. This project is an incredible opportunity on numerous levels, and I have a deep personal appreciation for it all. Here is a rare chance for a great story to be told about the human condition, and we get to do it through science fiction no less! We are in a deep concentration mode as we work together to realize the potential of this franchise and we are endeavoring to engage the audience and fans in an open manner as we develop it. We are hoping that the fans receive us well, and accept our invitation to discuss and participate over at space2099TheSeries.com.
This is the real deal and we are excited. We appreciate all the fans out that and want them to know that we are fans ourselves as well.
Much thanks to Jace Hall for getting back to us so soon…obviously things are early at this point, and as more work gets done we’ll hopefully get new details…stay tuned!