Sci Fi Channel has ordered a new series that continues the Stargate franchise from MGM Television, "Stargate: Universe," that will mark the third entry in Sci Fi's longest-running original series franchise.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the green light comes on the heels of Sci Fi's confirming Thursday that Stargate: Atlantis will not receive a sixth-season order. The "Universe" pickup ensures the continuation of the popular Stargate franchise, which has been on the air in various incarnations since 1997.

"Universe" will premiere as a two-hour movie early next year and will assume a regular hourly slot in the summer. Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, co-creators of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis, will serve as executive producers and writers on the new series.

"Universe" introduces a team of explorers who find an ancient unmanned ship called the Destiny. Unable to return to Earth, the crew must fend for themselves aboard the ship, which has a preprogrammed mission taking them to the far reaches of the universe.

The series will employ a new cast of characters, with the network seeking a known performer for one lead role and fresh faces to play the rest of the ship's crew. Appearances by former cast members from Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis are very possible.

Howe said the new series will reinvigorate the franchise by targeting a younger audience.

"This is an opportunity to reinvent this franchise and make it relevant to a new generation," Howe said. "We really don't want to be more of the same. It's going to build clearly off the existing franchise but with a cast that gives it a younger vibe."