Third Stargate TV series

Robert Carlyle has been tapped as the lead in Sci Fi Channel's new series Stargate Universe.

SGU, the third installment in the cable channel's Stargate franchise, hails from Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis co-creators Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, who will write and executive produce the new series.

Shooting for the series is set to begin in Vancouver in February. A two-hour premier is targeted for the summer. The American Sci-Fi Channel is expected to order 20 episodes for SGU's inaugural season

Described as edgier, darker for a younger audience than its predecessors, SGU follows a group of soldiers, scientists and civilians left to fend for themselves when forced through a Stargate after their hidden base comes under attack. The survivors, who emerge aboard an ancient ship missing in the far reaches of space, are led by Dr. David Rush (Carlyle), who works to unlock the ship's mysteries and return the group home but also might have ulterior motives.

The network had said it was looking to cast a well-known actor as Rush and fresh faces to play the rest of the ship's crew.

"Robert Carlyle brings a depth, intelligence and complexity to his roles, which will fit perfectly with the fresh, new reinvention of this franchise," Sci Fi original-programming chief Mark Stern said.

Scotland-born Carlyle, best known for his roles in Trainspotting and The Full Monty, recently starred opposite Kiefer Sutherland in Fox's 24: Redemption.

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