13-4-13: Stargate SG-1 Season Eight

The cast of Stargate SG-1 in Season Eight

In our look back on the thirteen years of Stargate, we’ve arrived at Season Eight of Stargate SG-1. It was a challenging year for the production office as this was the same year that Stargate Atlantis made its debut.

This season’s year also saw the debut of the Stargate SG-1 Official Magazine with its first issue dated November/December 2004. Although originally named with only SG-1 in its official title, the magazine also covered Stargate Atlantis.

Robert C. Cooper kept the showrunning duties for SG-1, while Brad Wright oversaw the spin-off. The two shows shared producers and writers, as well as directors and other department staff members. As a reality check during this most challenging time of doing 40 episodes of television in a 20-episode timeframe, Wright admitted to Kate Ritter at RDAnderson.com, “One of the only ways we could afford to do season eight was by running it concurrent with Atlantis.”

The renewal announcement for Season Nine didn’t come until November 2004, so many of the interviews included below will reflect the producers’ and actors’ uncertainty about the show’s future. Richard Dean Anderson, however, announced that if the show did get a ninth season, it already had what it needed to go on without him.

In this article, we continue down the SG-1 side of the Thirteen Weeks for Thirteen Years (13-4-13) series. If you want to go down the Atlantis path too, make sure to visit our companion article 13-4-13: Stargate Atlantis Season One.

SG-1 Season Eight

Are you watching the episodes with us as we take our trip down memory lane? Make sure to come back to our poll and tell us which are your favorites!

Brad Wright

From “Perfect 10” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine, issue #17 (Jul./Aug. 2007):

“Robert took over in season seven so that I could ostensibly start working on Stargate Atlantis and start on it the following year, but I threw a lot of my Atlantis ideas out of the window when Sci Fi said, ‘We want both.’ I guess season eight was the season that I was in a way not as much involved in Stargate SG-1.

The team in 'Moebius'

“I did come up with the notion for ‘Moebius,’ which I was pleased with. Of course I didn’t write the whole thing; it was taken over by the other guys, but it was a lot of fun. It’s a very strong season. But Robert, bless him, wrote 14 episodes and then six season finales!

“‘Threads’ could have easily been a season finale, ‘Reckoning’ could have been a season finale. It’s funny, because they are all very strong episodes. But at that point, a lot of the stories were wrapped up and so as powerful as ‘Reckoning’ is in tying up those storylines and as emotional as ‘Threads’ was and as funny as ‘Moebius’ was, they were done.

“Thus ended the era of Richard Dean Anderson. That was the biggest change. That’s when he said, ‘This is my last year.’ People would say, ‘Are you going to talk him out of it?’ First of all, I wouldn’t even try! I respect the man—you get to be friends after that many years. He wants to spend time with his child. These are all the right reasons to step aside. And I also said to him, ‘Don’t think of it as goodbye forever. The show’s going to keep going and we’re going to keep that door open.'”

Robert C. Cooper

From “New Order” at RDAnderson.com (2004):

“I don’t feel like I want to do a bait-and-switch. I don’t want to say, ‘Oh, this is going to be the biggest, best year ever.’ This is going to be a smaller year than we have done in the past. I feel the stories and scripts are as strong as we’ve ever done, but there’s not as much blowing stuff up.

Elizabeth Weir and Daniel Jackson in 'New Order'

“One of the things we wanted to do was tell a little more of a bridge between ‘Lost City’ and the pilot of Atlantis. The two-hour premiere of season eight of SG-1 airs a week before the pilot [of Stargate Atlantis] premieres on SciFi. Last we saw in ‘Lost City,’ Dr. Elizabeth Weir was left in charge of the SGC. Hammond was sort of up in the air as to what was happening with him, and O’Neill was frozen down in Antarctica. So the two-hour premiere [‘New Order’] deals with SG-1 trying to get O’Neill unfrozen and get the Ancient knowledge out of his head.

“There’s also another storyline in which we realize that in the vacuum that’s been left by us having killed Anubis with this super powerful Ancient weapon, Ba’al has moved in and claimed that territory and taken over a lot of stuff. He’s gone to war with the other System Lords and it looks like he’s winning. The rest of the System Lords are going, ‘Hey, wait a minute! The Earth people killed Anubis. We were trying to do that for a long time. Now Ba’al’s become a threat to us.’ The System Lords actually come to Earth to ask for our help in getting rid of Ba’al, to use our weapon. And of course we can’t use it anymore. The one guy who was able to use it is now in suspended animation. Plus, we don’t know how much power it has.

“So the story is about that, and the fact that our quest to save O’Neill takes us to the Asgard and Thor and what he’s been up to. And what he’s been up to is trying to make sure that the Replicator humans, who we trapped in the time dilation field in an episode called ‘Unnatural Selection’ that Brad wrote, never get out of that.

Jack O'Neill as 'The Man' in 'New Order'

“The other big thing is that at the end of the episode O’Neill is promoted to general and given full command of the base. And Dr. Weir is sent off to supervise the Antarctic project. [General Hammond] gets promoted. He’s in charge of everything that is off-world related. He’s got the Prometheus, and the fleet of ships that have to be dealt with. He has the Alpha Site, the SGC, and the Antarctic site. So there’s a lot to deal with. He’s basically given a promotion and placed out of the Pentagon. His new post is basically dubbed ‘Chief of Homeworld Security.’

“You know, we spent more money on ‘Lost City’ than we’ve ever spent, ever. One of the scenes I noticed on the fansites that everybody was talking about was the scene where they’re all just sitting around in O’Neill’s living room talking. Well, they’re going to get a lot more of that. And there’s another scene that I purposely echoed in the two-hour premiere where the four of them are all sitting around in Daniel’s lab talking about whether O’Neill should take the general’s job or not. And so that’s what we’re going to be able to do a lot more of this year. We are fortunate to say, we will be doing a lot more of the team sitting around talking!

Close-up of the SGC insignia

“A lot more of the stories of season eight center around the SGC. There’s a lot less of SG-1 going out to alien worlds. They’ve become much more the sort of expert consultants of the SGC. They get called into situations that require their expertise.

“And one of the nice things for us is we don’t have to come up with wacky reasons as to why [O’Neill’s] not on the mission. I mean, he’s a general. He’s got business to attend to. In fact, I wrote an episode that’s going to air early in the season called ‘Zero Hour,’ that is about a week in the life of General O’Neill. The idea was that we always see the adventures that SG-1 gets into, and the catastrophes that result, but there are fifteen, twenty other SG teams who are always also out there doing stuff. And it’s not like they’re always just on these really boring missions. Stuff is always happening to them, too. We just never saw it. Now that O’Neill is sort of the center of the base, we watch him as he tries to deal with being General, and all the different things that are happening.

Jared Kane and Daniel Jackson in 'Icon'

“We’ve often talked in the show about why the SGC and the Stargate is being kept a secret. Certainly the repercussions of the Anubis attack in ‘Lost City’ have led to an even bigger cover-up on Earth. One of the things we wanted to do was present the worst case scenario for why it’s being kept a secret. What could possibly happen that would be so bad? Why do they want to keep it a secret? Well, here [in ‘Icon’], we’ll show you.

“And then later, after that, we do a story [‘Covenant’] where a very rich and powerful businessman, sort of a Richard Branson kind of character, has basically gathered enough evidence that he thinks will expose the Stargate Program. And after having pressured the government to do that without success, he decides to do it himself. And what are the repercussions of that?

Screenshot of 'The Alliance' video game in 'Avatar'

“I don’t know if you read about a company in Australia that just signed a multi-million dollar deal with MGM to do a PlayStation2 platform game. We’re doing a story [‘Avatar’] where we’re using the chairs from ‘Game Keeper,’ and we’re working with those scientists. We’ve created what we think is a virtual reality simulator, a combat scenario, for training SG soldiers. Teal’c is testing it out and he gets trapped inside of it. A programming error gets him caught in this simulation. And we’re actually using footage from the video games as representation of what he’s going through. It’s inter-cut throughout the show.” [Note: Cooper is referring to the now defunct Stargate SG-1: The Alliance game that never got released due to rights issues.]

“We’re going to do a story this year [‘Threads’] where we’re going to kind of resolve the whole Daniel-Oma storyline, and what it was like for him to be ascended, and what the issues were. And hopefully when you see that episode it will feel like that story was always going to happen from the moment we first saw Oma.”

From interview with Sci Fi Wire excerpted at Solutions (Jun. 2004):

“We also are not going to completely end the show. We never wanted to end the show. Our intention was to leave it open so that SG-1 was still out there on adventures and also leave the door open for features or TV movies or direct-to-video movies or whatever, that sort of thing, so that the franchise will continue.”

Richard Dean Anderson

From “The Road Back” from SG-1 Explorer Unit Team Briefing archived at RDAnderson.com (Sept. 11, 2003):

Jack O'Neill in Asgard Stasis in 'New Order'

“I talked with Robert [Cooper]. One of the hesitations I had was just artistically, creatively, are there enough stories to tell to warrant venturing into an eighth season? Robert assured me that there were, and he kind of briefed out a couple of arcs that worked for me. But the real answer is that there was no reason not to do it. I’ll be in the process of building my house, Wylie will be in school, everything was accommodated beautifully for time. And I think Robert and Brad both felt that it would be very beneficial and helpful if we could use the eighth season as the transition into the spin-off, the Atlantis franchise.

“And you know, I’m really kind of coming to grips with the pending reality. I mean, you see how comfortable this environment is for me to be in. Without sounding like too much of a sap or a cliché myself, it’s just a little bit of a family, and so anticipating it all going away and not being a part of my life is a little hard. It’s hard to let go.

“I couldn’t make a case for not doing it. A lot of people will continue to work, and we have an opportunity to make a nice smooth creative transition in story and in franchise. And as TV Guide said, it’s the most successful show Sci Fi has ever had. Whatever that means! It’s all flattering, except that wasn’t going to sway me one way or the other. I had already made my decisions before any of that came out. But I think it will work fine.”

From interview with Sci Fi Wire excerpted at Solutions (Jun. 2004):

Jack O'Neill in the control room in 'Lockdown'

“We worked out a schedule that has me working essentially three weeks out of the month and then having a week off. And even, like, three or four days per week that I’m working, and then that one week off. So I have weekends with my daughter, and then I’ll have some time in midweek. … So it became very workable and acceptable.

“The cliché that I reference in talking about the character now in his current position is that of a fish out of water. O’Neill, on paper, really doesn’t belong in [that] position. … But he’s, you know, embraced it as much as he can. … [But] in so many ways [he] would rather be on the front lines. He’d rather be a man of action than a man of great thought or great organization. … But … we’ve made the adjustment, I think, and accommodated the character quirks that I’ve developed over the years, and to a great degree I think that it’s been successful. People are pretty happy. The writers were having a ball in the beginning, because they all know me well enough to know that I’d be putting a certain twist to it. But I still wanted to be respectful to the Air Force.”

From “Richard Dean Anderson: Leaving?” in The Chicago Tribune reprinted at RDAnderson.com (Jul. 9, 2004):

“At this point, right now, with all that’s going on in my life outside all this, it’s very unlikely I’d be able to come back. I know what’s the most important thing right now. I’m very well aware of the fact that that may interfere with a very successful franchise.

Jack O'Neill in 'Reckoning'

“Whether the show would go on without me… I think it could. I don’t know whether it will or not. Honestly I can’t answer that question, and it’s silly for me to start conjecturing, not until I’ve had conversations with MGM or Sci Fi.

“I do feel as though this is my last season. I know what I have to do right now, given my real-life situation. There is a twinge of… not remorse, but I get a little sad about it. It’s been a very unique experience. On MacGyver I was flying solo for the most part, but this is a more character driven [ensemble] show.

“It’s something I’ve been reflecting on lately more than before. I know how lucky we are to have this kind of camaraderie and rapport. It doesn’t always work out that way. There have been shows that go under because of differences of opinion. The main kids here like each other and we make each other laugh.

“I’ve been asked not to harp on it too much but I have a hard time not being honest. The fact is that I have a 5½-year-old daughter who lives in L.A. and I need to be there. I need to be part of her life. She just finished kindergarten. With my abbreviated schedule, I can go to the school and read to the class and do fundraising. I’ll go into my daughter’s school and be the maitre’d at lunch, it’s just an absolute joy. I just love it.

“Blessedly in retrospect, I was 48 when [my daughter] was born, so I had plenty of time to jam in plenty of experiences [before that]. I’ve been to so many places, and now I can take this little hand and guide it. I really do feel I’m extraordinarily lucky and fortunate. I’ve had a fair amount of success in my career and I am in a position to take time off and participate in my daughter’s life.”

Michael Shanks

From “Jackson Live!” in Dreamwatch #122 (Oct. 2004):

“At the start of the show, Daniel was very much a reflection of who I was at the time, which was sort of naive, idealistic, innocent, wide eyed and all those other things. That’s where the character began. It was a good match of the character and actor. I think over time, the idealism has remained consistent, but the character has become a little bit more harder edged. I wouldn’t say he’s cynical, but he’s no longer always expecting the best from other people. He’s hoping for the best, but being prepared for the worst.

Daniel Jackson monitoring the Stargate in 'New Order'

“I think Daniel’s become a little more action orientated, which has been a wonderful dimension to play. He’s also become a lot more independent. I’m a big fan of the team dynamic, but I think he’s now more capable of handling himself in certain situations that in the past he would have been dependent on others to help see him through.”

From “Wit and Wisdom” in TV Zone Special #58 (Jul. 2004):

“It was recently pointed out to me that Daniel seems to be coming out of his shell more. Last year I made a concerted effort to make my character more proactive, and the same holds true this season. Daniel has always been a bit of a brooder but lately he’s been finding more excuses to have fun. I just think he’s happy to be back among the group and accomplishing things he wasn’t able to before. His change in attitude could also be a reflection of me enjoying myself much more with the show.”

From “Michael Shanks: Team Spirit” in Stargate SG-1 Official Magazine #1 (Nov./Dec. 2004):

“This year we have a different dynamic, with O’Neill being a General and Carter being the commander of SG-1. I think all three individuals left on the team have proven themselves. Their roles are very defined. What you have is three people who respect each other. Orders aren’t necessarily given, because the chain of command is kind of vague. The ranking military officer is going out with a scientist and an alien. It’s very important that everyone on the team has to take control of their job. Everybody implicitly understands what the other’s role is and what the arguments will be. So it’s just about redefining the team.”

From “Sound Advice” in TV Zone Special #58 (Jul. 2004):

Daniel Jackson stands with Elizabeth Weir against the System Lords in 'New Order'

“As a diplomat, Dr Weir took on a big challenge when she accepted command of the SGC last season in ‘Lost City.’ She was learning as she went along, and that’s still the case this year in ‘New Order’. Oddly enough, Daniel can identify with that. He was no different when he began his travels through the Stargate.

“In Dr Weir, my character sees a version of his younger self, someone who is very idealistic as well as innocent about what’s ‘out there’. Daniel has to give Weir almost cynical wisdom in order to help her deal with the Goa’uld. He’s like, ‘These aliens are bad, very bad. They will kill you if they really want to. You can’t just walk into the room and expect to start a conversation with them as you might have done in the past with other ambassadors.’

“I think it’s a neat way to have Daniel come full circle, if you will. Here’s a woman who possesses some of the naive characteristics that he once had. However, before Weir can make the same mistakes as he did, Daniel is able to tell her, ‘Sorry, but the universe doesn’t quite work that way.'”

From “Wit and Wisdom” in TV Zone Special #58 (Jul. 2004):

Daniel Jackson goes off to battle in 'Icon'

“We wanted to address the continuing issue of what happens every time SG-1 walks through the Stargate, arrives on another planet and turns everyone’s lives there upside down. We don’t mean to, but sometimes the team’s mere presence can trigger events. That’s what we see in ‘Icon’. Our simply activating this planet’s Stargate creates a controversy there and Daniel feels guilty about that. He decides to go back to that world and try to calm things down. As a result, Daniel gets caught in the middle of a Cold War and stranded. While trying to work through his feelings of guilt, he comes to realise that people are going to do what they want. You can’t always help those who don’t want to be helped. That’s a pretty significant discovery for my character. I mean, he constantly finds himself in the middle of these messes that TV always manages to find the right answers to. It was refreshing to see us taking a different approach.”

From “Michael Shanks: Team Spirit” in Stargate SG-1 Official Magazine #1 (Nov./Dec. 2004):

Vala and Daniel Jackson in 'Prometheus Unbound'

“[Claudia Black] was a great pro, and we had this wonderful rapport that was established within the first 30 seconds of talking to each other. Within the first two hours [working together in ‘Prometheus Unbound’], Claudia and I had this wonderful push-pull dynamic between us, which had a lot of different layers to it. It was written in a very antagonistic, amusing way, with a lot of sexual tension and a really interesting fight scene in the middle. It was just so much fun. I had such a blast! She’s definitely the best guest star we’ve had on the show in a couple of years, and even while she was still shooting it, we were finding a way to involve her character and have her back on the show. If there’s any more future to SG-1, I’ll definitely be broaching that notion.”

From “Job Satisfaction” in TV Zone Special #61 (Feb. 2005):

“I had a ball filming Daniel’s confrontation with Kinsey [in ‘Full Alert’]. Ronny [Cox] is usually paired off with Rick, so this was the first time he and I worked together since Season One. When we finished our last take, Ronny looked at me and jokingly said, ‘I guess I’ll see you in Season 13 when we’ll get to do our next scene.'”

From “Michael Shanks: Team Spirit” in Stargate SG-1 Official Magazine #1 (Nov./Dec. 2004):

Daniel Jackson in 'Threads'

“There’s an episode that Robert Cooper is polishing up called ‘Threads’, which will have to do with some sort of visitation of the Oma Desala ascended storyline. We talked about needing some sort of closure. Some sort of explanation about what that universe was like and what conversations happened between Daniel Jackson and Oma Desala, and why he ended up being descended. When he came back, he had no memory of it, so therefore not only did we not show it, the character doesn’t remember it. We have no exposition of it in season seven, so it remains a mystery that exists only in the imagination of the fans. Rob felt we have to explain that somehow, so that will be interesting.”

From “Shanks For The Memories” in Dreamwatch #126 (Feb. 2005):

“It feels like it’s been a year already since we shot the second part of season eight. In the latter part of the year, and I would say for the last five episodes of the season, we darn near tie up every single major loose end that we’ve had dangling around on the show. Obviously, that was done on purpose and for a lot of different reasons. One of the reasons is that a lot of those threads were dangling for a very long time, and it was about time some of them got reconciled. The Jaffa, will they be freed? What happened with Daniel when he was ascended? What’s happening with Anubis? Will the Goa’uld come and destroy Earth? What happens with the Tok’ra? All of these things will be dealt with in the last five episodes of this season, and we’ll also find a way to address those people we sent off to Atlantis. We really haven’t talked about them since. So we’ll deal with that issue and whether or not we’ll launch a mission to go and save them. There’s a lot going on with the show’s mythology in general.

Daniel Jackson from Alternate Timeline in 'Moebius'

“In retrospect, I don’t know quite how they did it, but they found a way to take all those dangling threads and then bind them all together in a group of story arcs that seem to be interweaving, which is quite an accomplishment on the writers’ part. They’ve managed to do it and it will certainly be, ‘Don’t miss last five episodes’, in terms of the long term viewers of our show, because a lot of the questions people have had will be answered. For the first half of the season it seems we puttered along and told a tale or two. Then in this last half we just get to the true meat of the entire series and start hashing it around. So these episodes are quite significant within the arc of the show.

Daniel Jackson in Ancient Egypt in 'Moebius'

“Each season has its own tricks, and it seems that every year there’s some new element that’s new that makes it unique in a production capacity. Season eight has been interesting. I do know that financially we’ve been restricted this past year, so we haven’t had so much off-world stuff as we’ve had in the past, and that’s limited us. I find the show to be a lot stronger when we’re exploring, but I certainly like our ability to be introspective this year and to find out a little bit more about the characters. It’s almost like fan fiction. There are always some unique elements to Stargate. So this season has been a lot of fun to do, regardless of restraints.”

From “Jackson Live!” in Dreamwatch #122 (Oct. 2004):

“I think we’ll be back in some way after season eight. I know that something will happen down the line. We’re far from done. It comes down to the money people. If the US SCI FI channel are content with just having Atlantis, maybe we’ll just to two-hour movies. For me, I still love the cast and crew and the character. I think it’s a stranger concept for me to actually think about life without this show than to think about doing one more year. When I’m asked if I’d like to do one more year now, I go, ‘Of course I would. What the hell else am I going to do?’ I didn’t go to university for this long, so I’d be willing to sign on and embrace another year of the show.”

Amanda Tapping

From “Who’s the Boss?” in Sci Fi Magazine (Aug. 2004):

Samantha Carter in 'New Order'

“I’m glad we’re doing another year. I thought that at the end of seven, I’d be happy that we’d had a great seven-year run and we’d be calling it a day. But when we’d actually negotiated our contracts, I went to bed the night that it was finally finalized, and I woke up in the middle of the night and felt relief, and the first day back was like the first day of school, meeting all your old friends again and getting the lowdown. It was great, because most of the Stargate family is back, so it’s all good. It is going to be a different year, and I hope the fans like the direction the show will be taking. It’s a natural progression, and I think it will be well received.”

From “Tapping the Potential” in TV Zone #58 (Jul. 2004):

“One of the things I hope viewers will see in Sam this year is a sense of strength and of coming into her own a lot more. I think her relationship with Pete Shanahan has helped that in some ways. She has great confidence in herself and is a little less consumed by her job. Yes, Sam is still very much work-driven but she’s opened herself up more to the outside world. Earlier today we were talking on-set [about] what’s going to happen with O’Neill and Sam and what Rick and I would like to see happen. I’m looking for some resolution one way or another with that relationship. There are some surprising twists and turns coming this season, which some fans aren’t going to be too happy about.

SG-1 gathers around briefing room table in 'Full Alert'

“Team camaraderie is great and ever-present even though O’Neill is now in command of the SGC. The scenes with the four of us are just as much fun and the banter that the writers have given our characters has been wonderful. So far all the scripts continue to be tightly written. If I had to use one word to describe this season, it would be ‘huge’. Like last year, we’re filming two or three stories at the same time, which can be tough but it’s something we’ve gotten used to. On top of that, Atlantis is shooting right next door. That really doesn’t affect our work except that we’re very much aware of this series that is eventually going to take over from us. It’s a weird feeling but not in a bad way, you know?”

From “New Orders” in Dreamwatch (Jan. 2005):

“I think it’s been a great season so far. I honestly did have some concerns at the beginning about how it was going to work with Rick’s limited schedule and how we were going to work around that. But it’s actually a great season. It’s all worked out really well.

Samantha Carter gets promoted by Jack O'Neill in 'New Order'

“I thought that [Carter’s] getting the promotion [to Lieutenant Colonel] in the opening ‘New Order’ two-parter was pretty huge. I don’t think it’s changed her relationships with the other guys at all. I think what it’s done is given her a new level of responsibility. She’s already got such trust in Daniel and Teal’c that the real responsibility comes in the mission planning and in coordinating other teams, but not at all in how she has to deal with Teal’c and Daniel. They’re such a cohesive team. They know each other so well and they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so well that she’s not about to turn around and give either one of them an order that’s inappropriate. I think there’s a symbiotic relationship between the three of them, and they can sort of feed off each other’s energy and experience. What it does most is change how she interacts with other teams. She’s in a leadership role now. So when SG-2 or SG-12 comes with us, she’s got to take charge of those guys. What I’d love to have seen and what I’d like to see when we come back for a ninth season is how she plans missions and how she delegates that kind of responsibility.

Samantha Carter kisses Pete Shanahan after saying yes in 'Affinity'

“‘Affinity’ was a pretty important episode. Pete proposed to Sam and that was interesting because you had Peter DeLuise directing [his brother] David. But when I read it I actually went, ‘Nooooo!’ The great thing about Rob [Cooper] is sometimes I just need to call him and bounce stuff off him and he’ll talk me down, off the ledge. He made a very compelling argument as to why she would say yes.

“The only issue I had with ‘Affinity’ was that I didn’t think she’d kiss him in the work environment. I fought that tooth and nail, but then, of course, ultimately, I’m an actor on a show and it’s my job to do what’s written in the script. I didn’t think she’d say yes to his proposal and then kiss him in that environment. I thought it was so unprofessional of her. After everything this woman has been through and everything she has done it was so inappropriate and so not something that she would feel comfortable doing. Her work is her work, and that’s what’s always driven this woman. For her to suddenly say yes to a proposal of marriage from her boyfriend at the end of this stakeout situation, with Special Forces guys and the victims still there, I just didn’t think that she would say yes and I didn’t think that she’d neck with him. In the end I sort of went, ‘OK, well, I guess I’ve just got to do what I’m told.’ That’s not to say I was miserable or anything like that. I got to kiss David DeLuise, so I can’t complain too much.

Samantha Carter and Alec Colson in 'Covenant'

“After that, I loved doing ‘Covenant’ because Charles Shaughnessy was so great. I had so much fun with him. That was really a different show for us. It was conspiracy theory-driven. We’ve dealt with cover-ups and these kinds of issues before, but that was the first time it really came to a head, to a point where a civilian said, ‘I have enough information to sink you guys.’ I thought Charles did a wonderful job of it, plus he’s just a really fun guy to hang with.

“‘Gemini’ stands out because I got to play two versions of Carter. I played the Replicator version of Carter and the real Carter. We have a lot of scenes together. It was probably the hardest episode of Stargate I’ve ever done, both from a technical standpoint and from an acting standpoint. These are two very different characters and I was doing scenes with them together. So we were doing one side of the scene, then the other side of the scene. Just the memorizing alone was huge, a huge amount of homework. Then I had to do it on the set. I had to make sure I got all the nuances of the characters so that you could see the subtle and not so subtle differences between them. It was a challenge to keep them both real.

Samantha Carter and Replicator Samantha Carter in 'Gemini'

“She is one tough cookie [the Replicator duplicate Carter]. She’s a wily, wily girl. She duped us all. What I’ve liked about playing her is she’s a sexier version of Carter. She’s tougher. She had this little outfit on. She was a tough nut, a lot of fun to play. This year, really, I’ve played three different versions of Carter: Sam, the Sam we all know and love; Replicator Sam, this cold, harsh character; and later this season you’ll see me playing an alternate reality Carter who never went into the military and she’s a bit of a science geek and kind of dorky. It was quite fun, a very comedic character.

“‘Reckoning I and II’ are big shows. We’ve done a lot of very big shows this season.

Samantha Carter kisses her father Jacob Carter good-bye in 'Threads'

“Then there’s ‘Threads’, an interesting episode because, as the title suggests, it ties up a lot of the loose threads. I can’t give anything away, but we do get deeper into the Carter-O’Neill situation. It’s a big decision for Carter. She has to figure out what she really wants in life, whether she’s moving too quickly with certain things or whether she’s wasted time. It’s a big decision time for Carter. Her dad is back in the episode and a lot of things happen there. It’s a very emotional episode for her.

“Our last two episodes, ‘Moebius I and II’, are going to be quite funny. You see a bunch of different versions of us. There are alternate reality versions of Daniel and Carter. I had so much fun playing that.”

From “The Genius Club” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine, issue #17 (Jul./Aug. 2007):

“It’s interesting because I think from season one through four or five, [Carter] was warming up a lot but she was very professional and out to prove herself as a soldier, a scientist, and an everywoman.

Pete Shanahan and Samantha Carter in 'Threads'

“Then she started to lighten up a little and the writers gave her a bit more of a sense of humor, and they gave her some emotional depth—they gave her a father, which is the defining relationship in Carter’s life, her relationship with her dad, because she lost her mom when she was so young. That relationship was so important and they gave her that which breathed a whole new life into her. As a character it gave her a bigger heart, some relationships with men. Probably the most important one was Pete. This is going to sound hokey but she became a woman who has a fully realized, fully functioning adult relationship with a man whom she adored. It was sexual, it was fun, it was vital and interesting. It gave her a lot of freedom, because it was completely outside of the SGC. It was a relationship that was doomed not to last, but, it was an important relationship for her.”

From “New Orders” in Dreamwatch (Jan. 2005):

The team goes fishing in 'Moebius'

“I think that we’ve all learned that our instincts are crap. We’ve all said in the past, ‘That’s it, we’re done,’ and we keep coming back. This year we said the same thing: ‘That’s it. We’re done.’ We might really have been done this time. I think we were all in denial. I remember talking to Michael Shanks on our last day together on set. I was a bit teary-eyed and he said, ‘Oh, don’t get me started. Don’t get me started.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m just in denial. I’m not even going to say goodbye to the crew because I’m in denial about this actually being the end.’ It’s a weird thing. We had no idea if we were coming back.

“I hope that Stargate continues in some form. Whether we come back in the form of two-hour movies of the week or a mini-series or a feature film or another 20 episodes or who knows what, I think it would be great to stick around beyond season nine. I would hate for it to be the very end!”

Christopher Judge

From interview with Sci Fi Wire excerpted at Solutions (Jun. 2004):

Christopher Judge in BTS image of Teal'c with hair (image from MGM)

“It took a lot of years of begging and groveling for me to finally get it, but yeah, … [Teal’c’s having hair] will be the most obvious change, definitely. I got really tired of it. Just shaving my head every morning. And by three quarters of the way through the season it was really painful to actually shave. So, you know, this is very welcome. Very welcome. Hopefully the fans will like it.

“It first was at least considered when there was going to be all the changes this year. I’d done a bunch of conventions and had cornrows [during hiatus], so I talked to [executive producer] Rob Cooper before I left, and he said, ‘OK, maybe so.’ So I kind of unveiled the cornrows at the conventions. So we got here [when filming resumed], and it was the Friday before the Monday we started shooting, and pictures were sent down to MGM. And they didn’t like it. So I had to shave the cornrows. But this is what’s left.

“Believe me, I’m grateful for it. I think it was time for it. You know, I mean eight years for this character to be on Earth? I just think that was the next move toward his … final assimilation. So yeah, I think the timing is right.”

From “Good Judge of Character” in TV Zone Special #61 (Jan. 2005):

Teal'c in Jaffa armor (image from MGM)

“Along with Teal’c having hair this year, I’ve enjoyed the different challenges of playing him, especially when it comes to his being more vocal. That, however, has taken me a bit of getting used to. Usually, I’ll get one or two stories a season where I have a fair amount of dialogue. This time around, though, there have been quite a few stories where Teal’c has to speak volumes, and not to just his fellow Jaffa, but to his teammates, as well as the people that SG-1 has come in contact with on other worlds.

“It hasn’t been easy getting back into the swing of learning a lot of lines. I have a very good short-term memory, but this year we’d very often shoot part of a scene on one day and then finish it up a few days later, so I’d be lost. I’d forget what my take was on a scene, or what sort of mindset Teal’c was supposed to be in. So initially I really depended on the script supervisors and the directors. Thank God for them.”

From “Judge For Yourself” in TV Zone Special #58 (Jul. 2004):

“I’m really trying to take Teal’c one step closer to being more aware of Earth customs. I’d like for his behavior to be more Earth-like but at the same time I don’t want him to lose his alien perspective. The writers have been coming up with some terrific material that addresses this particular aspect of Teal’c’s growth. Again, I can’t wait to see what the viewers think. I’ve watched half the episodes we’ve shot so far this season and this is the most my character has been given to do since we first started work on the series.

An exhausted Teal'c in 'Avatar'

“Teal’c is evolving into something of a superhero, which if this is the last year of the show might just look good on my résumé. No, seriously, some of the stuff Teal’c gets to do is so cool. For instance, we finished shooting a story two weeks ago called ‘Avatar.’ I watched [director] Martin Wood’s cut of it and it’s going to blow people’s minds. The episode is, in fact, the introduction for a Stargate video game that’s being made, and from what I understand the game will play a lot like ‘Avatar.’

“We filmed a great deal of the story from a first-person perspective, which was a ball to do. Martin is a pleasure to work with and he was so patient with me. Let’s just say I was a bit moody while filming the episode. The reason being I was in the middle of carb depleting. So a lot of times I had to rely on Martin and also Candice Field [script supervisor] to keep track of where I was with my lines because I was physically and mentally exhausted. So it was quite a challenging and an ambitious undertaking and everyone from the writers to the crew gave it their all. The end product is really something to be proud of.”

From “Good Judge of Character” in TV Zone Special #61 (Jan. 2005):

Teal'c trains Krista James in 'Affinity' (image from MGM)

“‘Affinity’ was a lot of fun to do. I was really interested to see what Teal’c’s apartment would end up looking like, and was so impressed by the work that [set decorators] Mark and Robert Davidson did. The place was very much in keeping with who Teal’c is, and I was blown away by that.

“I also get a big kick out of how this episode was filmed as it made my character look like an action hero. The most memorable part of the shoot, though, was working with guest star Erica Durance. It’s funny, after we’d done one or two scenes, Michael Greenburg said, ‘This girl’s got it. She’s going to be a star.’ Of course, as we know, Erica is now playing Lois Lane on Smallville. She just fit in with everyone on this show and we’ve since become good friends. In fact, Erica is engaged to another friend of mine, David Palffy, who played Anubis on Stargate.” [Note: Durance and Palffy are now married.]

Teal'c in Jaffa robes in 'Sacrifices'

“I’m so fortunate to be working here on-set at Bridge Studios as it gives me an opportunity to sit in on Stargate story meetings. That’s where you see all the divergent personalities and how they have to fit in one room and come together in order to make a story a reality. It’s such an education for a guy like me who wants to be a writer. I hope to do more writing next season, perhaps even something for Stargate Atlantis. If anything, I see myself moving more into writing and producing as opposed to directing, and this is a terrific place in which to hone those skills.”

From “Way of the Warrior” in Official Stargate SG-1 Magazine (Mar./Apr. 2005):

“Previously, I had been a lot more free with my writing, but this year there were some definite budgetary constraints to deal with [in ‘Sacrifices’]. I found it wasn’t so easy to write this one. It definitely adds another element to the writing process that I previously hadn’t needed to be concerned with. But this is just the next step—if you actually envision writing projects like a ‘real’ writer, as it were, you have to write with that in mind.

“I watched [‘Prometheus Unbound’] with Michael [Shanks] and I was sitting there with my mouth open. It’s so small in one sense, in the performance between the characters—but then, oh my God, there’s this space battle. It’s like Star Wars! [laughs] I had written ‘Sacrifices’ where I wanted two gliders in a shot, and we couldn’t do it. They just couldn’t, it was cost-related. And then I saw ‘Prometheus Unbound,’ and I went into Robert Cooper’s office and said, ‘Damn! And I couldn’t get get even one glider?'”

From “Good Judge of Character” in TV Zone Special #61 (Jan. 2005):

Teal'c and Ishta in 'Sacrifices'

“Jolene [Blalock] is like one of the family now. I was quite pleased with how the scenes between our two characters turned out [in ‘Sacrifices’]. One that sticks out in my mind is where Teal’c and Ishta are in her quarters and things get a little bit heated. She’s arguing with him about the pact they’d made [in the seventh season’s ‘Birthright,’ penned by Judge] about the Hak’tyl not sitting around like the male Jaffa tribes and wasting time planning as opposed to taking action against the Goa’uld. That sence was tough to do because Jolene and I don’t have those kind of antagonistic feelings towards each other. So we really had to do some acting there.

“Jolene came to this episode well-prepared and with different ways to approach the material that made the work even more exciting. She and I tried hard to find the various beats in our scenes together, and I hope it shows in the episode.

Daniel Jackson, Teal'c, and Samantha Carter in 'Covenant'

“I think there’s a greater interaction now among Amanda’s, Michael’s and my character, simply because of the fact that O’Neill rarely goes off-world with them. This has also led to each of them being allowed to carry the ball more on various occasions. Acting-wise, that’s been really rewarding, especially with the resulting upswing in the ratings this year.

“I have to say, though, that I always enjoy when Rick does come off-world with us. He just brings a different dimension to the work. When Rick is there he’s very much the hub and it gives you something to bounce things off of. He never lets the ball drop. It always comes back to you.

“Talking of balls, I had an absolute blast filming the ping-pong scene with Teal’c and O’Neill in ‘Sacrifices.’ It needed to be cut down but in the original take, O’Neill probably gets hit right between the legs with the ping-pong ball eight times. It was absolutely hilarious, and Rick played it to the hilt. The man is brilliant. He was at his comic best in that scene.”

From “Christopher Judge: Team Spirit” in Official Stargate SG-1 Magazine (Nov./Dec. 2004):

Bra'tac and Teal'c in 'Threads'

“[I’ll return for another season] as long as we keep the shows to the level of excellence that we’re used to. That would be a huge factor. We work with such great people, and we truly have a common goal in that we want to keep the show entertaining. We want not to skimp on production values that we, and the fans, have become accustomed to. So I think that would be one of the major issues.

“As far as creativity goes, we’re already there. It’s a joy to go to work every day, to see the finished product and be a part of something like this and be proud of what you do. I think that’s what anybody in the business would want. Let’s face it—it’s tough out there. We’ve had a fantastic run! It’s a situation that doesn’t come along often and being a realist, we will probably never have this type of situation again.”

From “Way of the Warrior” in Official Stargate SG-1 Magazine (Mar./Apr. 2005):

Teal'c in 'Moebius'

“Honestly, I think it’s been one of our easiest seasons. It was the hardest season for the producers, but as far as being an actor, it’s been great. A lot of times in the past, even if the storyline centered on one person, you’re in the background. You’re not really contributing to the scene, but your presence has to be there. This year, we got to carry the ball a lot more. Even if you didn’t have a lot to do in one episode, you were off doing another episode. That’s the great thing, doing more character stuff. We still had this great sci-fi element, and all the CGI. But now it’s more that we carry the CGI rather than the CGI carrying us. One of the strongest aspects of the show has always been the relationships—but now you can see the characters as individuals. It was great. No one knew how it was going to work, but to have the ratings we’ve had this season has really validated all of us. It makes you feel good, to know that you’re part of something so successful.

“I don’t want the party to be over. I’ve been in this business for quite a long time, and Stargate SG-1 is a great show. But the reason that I stay is not because of Stargate SG-1 or because of Stargate Atlantis, but because I will never work with a group of people like this again. I know that. It’s a very enviable position to be able to go into your bosses’ offices and talk about the poker game on Saturday night, or about playing golf together. We know each other’s families, each other’s kids, and this just doesn’t come along in Hollywood. I’ll be in this situation for as long as they let me be in this situation.

“I think the possibilities are endless, especially with all the changes that are going to have to happen with season nine. That gives you a whole new sea to swim in, with recognisable characters and also with new characters. I think we should do 10 [seasons]. Right now, we’re going down in science fiction history. But if we go 10 years, that puts us in television history. That’s something so few shows have done, and to be a science fiction show that does it gives such validity to the genre and the fans. I think it’s important for the genre that we go 10 years. Why quit? Especially when this has been our best season ever—and not just viewing figure-wise. I also mean that creatively.”


[Thanks to Alison for her help in putting together Christopher Judge’s section.]

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