Today Paul McGillion (Dr. Carson Beckett) and Rachel Luttrell (Teyla Emmagan) were kind enough to take a few minutes between filming scenes to chat with Solutions about the cancellation of their show, Stargate Atlantis, as a regular series. They had some very interesting insights as to how the news struck them, and about moving on.
Rachel and Paul chatted with us from their location at the forest of Stokes Pit in Surrey, where they are filming scenes from Season 5’s “Identity“.
Rachel learned of the cancellation last week, not long before we did. She said, “Paul Mullie and Joe Mallozzi came into my trailer last week, and they broke the news to me. They came in, and their faces kind of said it all. I think, truthfully, we were all very shocked by the news. We all kind of figured that we’d be going for at least another season. You know, we’ve been here for five years, and have become like a family now. So it’s sad that we’re moving on, but, you know, onwards and upwards I guess. One has to be positive.”
Paul was not in Vancouver when the decision came down. “Martin Gero gave me a call because I wasn’t on set. He called me up and broke the news to me. From all indications, I’d thought we were going to go a sixth season, but like Rachel said, five years is a great run of a show. Hopefully we entertained the fans with that. And apparently there may be some movies in the future, but we’ll see what happens with everybody. You move on from something, and hopefully you leave a bit of a legacy.”
Agreeing that fans were shocked too, in spite of show-runner Joe Mallozzi’s public worrying, Rachel noted, “We started the year winning the People’s Choice Award and the ratings were fabulous, and the stories were great this year. You know, all of this. I think I speak for the entire cast when I say we were all quite surprised by the news. But we’re actors, and we jump from role to role. It’s par for the course, but it is sad.”
Paul expressed his gratitude for being able to play great characters for five seasons, and amazement that his character died and come back as a clone. “You kind of grow into these characters and they become part of you. It’s sad to see them go, but like Rachel said, you move on and look forward to the next challenge.”
But even so, it’s not so easy to leave their Atlantis family behind. “We’ve become a family. We’ve been here for so long, and the cast are really good friends, and the cast and the crew care about each other. Most of the crew have been with us from the get-go,” said Rachel.
In spite of all that, the cast and crew are having some good laughs on set for these final weeks of filming. Apparently Rachel is having a “fabulous” song sung to her all day, but she and Paul didn’t share more about it. At the same time, they want to finish strongly. “We want to make sure we honor the franchise on the way out,” Paul noted.
Both Paul and Rachel expressed extreme gratitude for the fans, Paul saying, “The fans have been so great to us. I’ve never been part of a genre like this before, where they have such a great fan base and such loyal fans. It’s certainly been a real eye-opener for me and something I’ll never forget.”
Rachel agreed completely, adding, “It’s been a wonderful experience. We’re having a great time and honoring our characters for these last few episodes.
Asked how they felt about Atantis fans’ anger at the cancellation of the show and the announcement of Stargate Universe right afterward Rachel said, “It’s wonderful that the fans are loyal. That’s terrific. We have no idea what Universe is going to be like, so I can’t put it down. I have no idea how the decisions came about. First and foremost, thank you so much to all of our fans for being as supportive as you are.”
Paul added, “It’s so great to have a fan base and to know that over five years you’ve established a fan base that becomes that upset over the show being canceled. We’re honored by that. And all we can say is thank you so much for being so supportive of our careers and the show. The fans are just awesome. I’ve never seen fans like this in my life!”
As to whether they would accept an offer to guest appear on Universe, Paul said, “We’ll see what happens. Obviously when something like this happens, you pursue other avenues. If opportunities come available to reprise the roles and we’re available, and they’d like to have us, I’d come over and do something.”
Asked what they won’t miss after the show ends, Paul and Rachel playfully named each other. Rachel won’t miss those very, very early mornings, but aside from that, there’s not much they won’t miss. As Paul said, “As actors, you can never take anything for granted. These things are always fleeting. But when you look back, you are going to miss it. It’s steady work, it’s a fun job. I always kind of compare it to playing cops and robbers in space. We’re adults playing kids’ roles, and it’s a lot of fun. At the same time, you look forward to new challenges in your career. That’s the great thing about acting.”
Rachel noted how well her pregnancy was used for the storyline of the show, saying, “It gave me more colors to portray for Teyla, and I think she became a richer character because of it. And I’ve grown so much through this process.”
As to how they’ll keep in touch with their friends on the cast and crew, Paul joked that he has a restraining order against David Hewlett. They’ll get together for dinner, Paul said, noting Rachel is busy with her son and calling her the “yummy mummy” for how lovely she is. Rachel added, “It is sad that we’re saying goodbye to each other and to seeing each other on a regular basis. But we are friends, we truly are, and so we’ll be seeing each other, going to each others’ places, hanging out in California or here. Gosh, it’s an emotional time.”
Paul added, “Rachel was just saying yesterday, it’s kind of bittersweet. You’re moving on to something, but it is sort of sad. You see all the crew, and it’s truly the crew who are a big part of the family. You’re so consistently working with the entire crew. They’re so great on this set. And like Rachel said, it might sound cliched, but it is like a big family and you get to know everybody really well. I think the cast will see each other quite a bit, because we’ve all remained pretty close friends.”
As far as future work, Paul is reading for pilots (new shows) that interest him, and he and Rachel are looking at different projects that they’ll be available for once shooting finishes in late September. Paul will head back to California to look for work in Hollywood. He’s also involved in an independent film project that may film in the Fall or early in 2009. It would be more of a comedy than his previous indy film, See Grace Fly. For now Rachel is focused on finishing Season 5, but then will seek other projects.
As for last words for the fans, Rachel said, “I just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support. You’ve been fantastic throughout this entire journey. I don’t think any of us knew how loyal and how wonderful the fan base was, and it’s been terrific. All I can say is thank you, and we really, really do appreciate it. You’ve made this journey even more rich than it would have been. So thank you, we’ve had a blast and we really appreciate you guys.”
Paul added, in the voice of Carson Beckett, “Dr, Carson Beckett loves you guys, and so does Paul McGillion.”
Solutions would like to thank Paul and Rachel for taking the time to chat with us, showing the grace and kindness for which we love them!