We’re now in Season Three of Stargate Atlantis in our trek down memory lane in the Thirteen Weeks for Thirteen Years (13-4-13) series. This was the last year that both Atlantis and Stargate SG-1 were produced concurrently, for Sci Fi decided that Season Ten of the mother show was to be its last after gaining a place in the 2007 Guiness Book of World Records as the “Longest Consecutive Running Sci-Fi TV Show.” Atlantis would be left to carry the torch without SG-1‘s leading audiences in on Friday nights once they began Season Four, the renewal for which was announced in August 2006.
Stargate legend Richard Dean Anderson made three appearances this season. He had a pivotal role in the mid-season two-parter “The Return,” teaming up with Robert Picardo as Richard Woolsey for most of his scenes. The two needed Sheppard’s team to rescue them from the Asurans, the Pegasus version of the Replicators.
It’s not easy to understand all of the reasons why the production office felt the need to “shake the show up a little bit,” but a controversial decision was made during this season. As much as the office wished for it to stay a secret, fans caught wind of the changes coming, and finally with the airing of “Sunday,” their biggest fear had come to fruition; a regular cast member was given the pink slip as Dr. Carson Beckett died horrifically in an explosion caused by a tumor he had only moments before successfully removed from a patient. Fans from around the world organized the Save Carson Beckett Campaign, which was deemed successful as Paul McGillion was invited back to do appearances in both Seasons Four and Five as the beloved late doctor’s clone. The campaign was even featured on the Season Four DVDs!
There were other cast changes coming, too, but we’ll let the actors tell you as we present their words from those days in the excerpts from interviews below and in next season’s installment.
Atlantis Season Three
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From “Good Sheppard” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #9 (Mar./Apr. 2006):
“One of the interesting things is that there are parameters for a hero—to be a pillar of morality and strength and to come through at all times. That is what the audience wants, and it’s funny, when you watch the show sometimes [as an actor] that’s what you want too. But as a performer, the richest material is in problems and weaknesses. And so I find myself not able to explore problems and weaknesses that maybe other characters can explore. You can’t lead and be indecisive or have problems. And those problems are what’s interesting from a creative standpoint. So you actually have to exist within pretty tight parameters, that a heroic character has to exist in lest he become less heroic. At some point, his heroic properties will be diminished if he continues to explore weaknesses and bad decisions.
“Brad [Wright] and I have had this discussion, and I’ve never really thought along those lines before. … So we are always trying to find some sort of challenge or obstacle that my character can overcome, to go from a point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ in a story as opposed to being static and always knowing what he’s going to do. It’s a challenge. It’s a trick line. When I think of the shows that I really enjoyed as a kid, I don’t remember those heroes going through any dark exploratory periods, either. I liked The Rockford Files and things like that. To me, those were great shows. These guys had to keep things relatively simple, and it certainly didn’t hurt the show. It may have been a little static for the performer at times, feeling a little unchallenged by certain things. However, that’s the dynamic.
“I think Rick [Dean Anderson] had the same problem. He didn’t like playing the hero because he wanted to play an anti-hero, so to speak. And I can see how it’s going to be challenging in that regard. You can take David Hewlett’s character and do almost anything, because there’s no bar set for him. So you can see his greatest weaknesses and his greatest strengths, and it won’t make him inconsistent.”
From “Third Strike” in Starburst #346 (Feb. 2007):
“[Working on ‘Common Ground’] was a great time from beginning to end. Will Waring is one of my favourite directors on the show, it was a strong script and Sheppard got to go toe-to-toe with a Wraith. It’s what I said before about us having more individual stories this year and more character development, the latter of which really comes out in this episode. ‘Common Ground’ was mainly Sheppard and a Wraith and we had some neat scenes that are both funny and dramatic. Even if the episode hadn’t turned out as good as it did, I still would have said it was a positive experience and I’m thankful to the writers for putting it together. Luckily, the final cut was great, and hopefully they’ll decide to do more of these mano-e-mano type stories. The only thing I didn’t like, though, were the prosthetics. They take forever and I can’t stand them. I’m just praying I look a heck of a lot better than Sheppard did when I get older!
“Of all the stories we’ve done this season, [‘Irresponsible’] is the one I have the most conficted thoughts on. I really enjoyed ‘Irresistible.’ It’s nice to do a lighter episode every now and then, although as I just talked about, I tend to lean towards a somewhat darker tone for the series while still maintaining its sense of fun. That story was more outright humour and a blast to do. With ‘Irresponsible,’ I have to watch it again. The thing is I keep getting different cuts of the episode. Every time I’m about to watch one version of it, a new one comes along. There were certain challenges to shooting this story because we had Robert Davi, who’s a dramatic actor, as well as Richard Kind, who’s a comedy actor, and there was supposed to be friction between their two characters. I have to look at the final cut, though, before deciding where I stand. Once again, I’m honest about things like this. I don’t really say I like an episode if I don’t. I’ve been wrong about a lot of stories that I’ve questioned and didn’t think were going to work, but they ended up turning out just fine. So for now I’ll have to reserve judgement on this one.”
From “Chicago 2009: Joe Flanigan, Man of Action” at Wormhole Riders (posted Feb. 5, 2010):
“Robert Davi is a superb actor, and so he knows exactly what to do, which is cause tension in a scene, and he’s good at it! He took something small and sucked the life out if it. He did it for, what, seven episodes or something like that. And they killed him off and they didn’t even need to. He could have gone on and on. He was a formidable opponent, and it was hard to find a formidable opponent, and when you do you need to keep them coming. Colm Meaney was another guy that was very good. Those guys were good. They’d just lay it into you and it just comes through, and it’s hard to find guys like that.”
From “Third Strike” in Starburst #346 (Feb. 2007):
“I just love working with Connor [Trinneer]. He’s a talented actor and a great guy. As for this story itself, I made a point of going up to Brad Wright’s office earlier today, as well as phoning writer Carl Binder yesterday and told them what a good episode I think ‘Vengeance’ is going to turn out to be. Sometimes we [actors] will call the producers with notes about things we feel might be wrong about a script, so they were probably surprised to hear that in this case I thought all the elements came together. I’m a pretty tough critic when it comes to my work and the series, and I like this episode a lot because it enters into the psychological arena. It becomes very much an X-Files-ish sort of thriller, and, honestly, if, like our characters, you’re exploring space and running into weird and spooky creatures, then things are going to turn deeply psychological, do you know what I mean? This is a direction that I’ve been trying to get Atlantis to go in for a while, but for one reason or another it just hasn’t been possible. Then this script came along. I’m a big fan of Carl Binder. He’s a very strong writer and the dialogue in ‘Vengeance’ is wonderful. It was a fun episode to work on, but the actual location wasn’t so hot. We shot in the hollowed out tunnels underneath an abandoned mental institution, which were dark, dank and had this ‘stuff’ on the walls. After a week, most people’s eyes were red and I got sick, so as cool as the story looks, hopefully now audiences will know that there were ‘sacrifices’ involved in making it look that way!”
From “Good Sheppard” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #9 (Mar./Apr. 2006):
“I like the big action episodes, and I’m always pushing for more. I actually like being out and about. I prefer to be outside more than I do being inside. All I can do is say to myself is, ‘Is this a show I would want to watch?’ I’m not a big TV watcher, but I will watch certain things, and that’s the only measure I have. So I try to push for that. One of the things that I watch for in a show like this is a lot of action. I’m probably less interested in the interpersonal relationships, although I’m happy that it goes on in our show. I think that’s always tied in with the action, although I think revealing character moments happen during the action. Simply exploring relationships is not what I’m interested in. I’m just a simple guy, what can I say? I’m just a two-dimensional man. I like action and great looking girls!”
From “Third Strike” in Starburst #346 (Feb. 2007):
“Last season it was about my character becoming a team player rather than a solo player. I think this year for me as an actor, the scripts are that little bit stronger, and that manifests itself in meatier scenes. So more about Sheppard is revealed because there are, in fact, more character beats. For a while there the writers were trying to craft scenes involving all the characters and gave them each one or two lines, but the truth is you don’t really accomplish much that way. Not only do those types of scenes take longer to shoot, but it also leaves the actors feeling slightly shortchanged because they can’t reveal anything of real significance about the characters. This year has been somewhat different in that we’ve had more individual vehicle stories and I think everyone—the fans, the actors, the writers etc.—are much more satisfied. I’m curious to hear what viewers have to say about this entire season and I can tell them now that they have some pretty awesome story arcs to look forward to in year four.”
From “Weird Science” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #13 reprinted at David-Hewlett.co.uk (Dec. 2006/Jan. 2007):
“It’s kind of difficult for McKay to evolve, because once you know people like the character, you can’t change him that much. He goes through stuff, but the reality is, people don’t want too much of a dramatic change. The advantages that I have with McKay are that the situations he gets put in change him temporarily. Every single time something goes wrong it’s an absolute disaster for McKay. I get so much range within my episodes—which I think is a fine line to walk. I remember when we first started; the original concern was that you have this sarcastic bastard, who came in for a couple of episodes of SG-1. How does that become part of a show without turning it into Lost in Space’s Dr Smith? Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but that’s not where they are going with this.
“If anything, what this guy is learning is how to have friends. I don’t think he’s ever had friends. It’s ‘one step forward, 10 steps back’ for McKay. He acknowledges one nice thing about somebody, is slightly sympathetic for a moment and then he’s right back to being a jerk again. The thing about McKay is, it’s all bark. He cares very deeply for these people; he just has no social graces at all, and doesn’t know how to acknowledge that. If there is an overall change with McKay, it’s getting used to people being his friend as opposed to just his competitive co-workers. He’s there to stir things up. And that’s the beauty of the show. I love the fact that it’s a bunch of scientists, brilliant people all put together with different agendas. So there’s not so much politics to play, because I think they tend to bond together as they need to, to battle their various enemies.
“I’ve got to say that one of the characters who I hadn’t had a chance to really play with up until this season was Ronon. We got to do a number of scenes stuck in a cocoon. Ronon and I are from different worlds. Our characters, and in fact in life as well are absolute opposites—what he does for cool, tall and good-looking I do for the nerds of the world. We’re like Romeo and Juliet. So being stuck in a cocoon with him was fun, because his reaction to being trapped is very different to McKay’s, who gives up before they’ve actually finished building the cocoon. So there’s a lot of fun there. We actually got to shoot that a couple of times because they had a change in design halfway through, and they decided to re-shoot stuff. We’ve been doing lots of exciting things. They’re really concentrating on the characters this year, on bonding all of the characters together. I don’t know how that works for McKay! I’m not supposed to get along with anybody. Its fun making that work—the anti-bond.
“‘Sateda’ is a season unto itself—people might get hurt watching it! They witness McKay getting hit in the ass by an arrow. I am struck by an arrow in the gluteus maximus in one of the first scenes and spend a large portion of the show on my front on morphine. It was interesting—one forgets that one has an arrow in one’s ass after a while, and then the jokes eventually just get tiring, because every single person on the crew has to mention something ass related or arrow related, I suppose. Those were definitely some of my funniest scenes to do. [Robert] Cooper, I believe has no other life. He sits just coming up with awkward, possibly embarrassing situations for McKay to be in, and then he smiles about it! He comes in like he’s done you some big favour. ‘I wrote you some great stuff!’ And it’s like, ‘Well, no you didn’t, you wrote me some embarrassing stuff that my parents will disown me for!’
“McKay was generally being injured and making a nuisance of himself. It’s a big Ronon back-story thing. I ran around a lot, mocking it. Jason would see the rushes because he was really excited about it. He’d be like ‘Oh dude, you gotta look at this,’ so you’d follow him in, and he’d show you these amazing shots of [him in] slow-mo, pulling the pins out of grenades and tossing them over his shoulder, walking towards the camera, things exploding. Then I would recreate them the next day using a donut. What would happen if McKay had this scene? McKay walking down a hallway, and he’d take a bite out of a jelly donut. He’d maybe dip it in a coffee, and then toss it back at his enemy…”
From “Kate Hewlett Cast as McKay’s Sister” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #11 reprinted at David-Hewlett.co.uk (Aug./Sept. 2006):
“When we did ‘Hot Zone,’ where [McKay] confesses he has a sister it had originally been written as a brother. And I said, ‘Look, just on the off chance, I’ve got a lot of sisters and one of them happens to be an actress. I’m not saying you have to cast her, but on the off chance, can I say ‘sister’?’ And they said ‘Oh that’s a good idea. That’s fine.’ I’ve just worked with Kate, because we just did this film together in January. And she’s fantastic. And that’s me saying it—I’m usually tougher than anybody on that kind of stuff. And one of the producers actually saw a couple of things she did recently as well, and said she’s good.”
From “McKay’s Catalogue” in Cult Times #130 reprinted at David-Hewlett.co.uk (Jun. 2006):
“It was a big challenge, of course, deciding on how McKay would behave towards his sister. That’s something Martin Wood [the episode’s director] and I discussed at great length. After all, my character is someone who is used to always being right. McKay also has a tendency to snap at people and is constantly assuming that they’re not as intelligent as he is. That’s the dynamic he has with Samantha Carter, who is in this episode as well. She’s introduced to McKay’s sister and suddenly you’ve got this situation where Sam is like ‘Oh my God, she’s solved this problem before her brother.’ Meanwhile McKay’s reaction to his sister’s work is one of ‘Well, it’s all right I suppose,’ but deep down he’s thinking ‘How did she do that?’
“In McKay’s mind, he’s done the legwork and really committed his entire life to his profession. As such he’s become part of Atlantis. His sister, however, just happens to speak the language of mathematics and has this innate flair for it. One day she’s playing at home with her children and out of the blue solves a scientific conundrum that she sees no practical use for but it is, in actuality, and interesting theorem that bridges parallel universes. For laughs, Jeanie posts it on the Internet and it attracts the attention of Stargate Command. So my character’s job is to persuade her to sign a nondisclosure agreement and give us a hand implementing her theorem. Sadly I can’t reveal the precise repercussions of all this, but suffice to say we discover that the parallel universe has a few more things running around in it than we expected.
“Funnily enough, this is a very scientific episode in that it deals with an awful lot of the Science Fiction elements of the show, but it’s also one of the most character-driven stories we’ve done yet. There’s this incredible family dynamic between McKay and the rest of the team and then his sister comes along and they’re like ‘She’s quite nice. Why can’t we have her around all the time?’ It’s a pretty neat story, and Kate is fantastic in it. She’s almost as good as me. Seriously, it’s a pleasure to work with Kate, especially as I was personally responsible for trying to stop her from acting. When she first said ‘I want to go to theatre school,’ I was like ‘Are you nuts? Get a real job and forget this acting stuff.’ I did everything I could to dissuade her from acting, but, quite wisely, she ignored me, and things could not be going better for her.”
From “Sheer Genius” in TV Zone #219 reprinted at David-Hewlett.co.uk (Sept. 2007):
“Filming that last scene [in ‘Sunday’] with Paul was quite subdued. We’d goof around all the time, no matter how serious the scenes were. Even in ‘Sunday’ where we lost Paul’s character, he goofed around to the end; that’s Paul. However, prior to us shooting that little tag scene at the conclusion of ‘Sunday,’ everyone was laughing and saying ‘Oh David and Paul on the blue-screen. Like that’s not going to be goofy,’ and it actually ended up being kind of morose and really quite depressing. That said, it seemed like a suitable send off for Paul and his character, and it was heartfelt.”
From interview with DVD Snapshot (2007):
“It’s so odd because I think as the years go by, the more you do a show, the more like life it becomes. You begin to react to it in the same sort of way. Like in life, you have these horrible, horrible things happen; there’s no rhyme or reason, and you sort of begin to take that on with the show as well. It was quite a shock. We lost a very popular guy—both on set and off set—we lost a very popular character. He’s got that great sort of Scotty-like quality. He’s just a fun character to play with and we had a lot of fun bouncing our various grating personalities off each other. It was an odd episode. In fact, it was over before I think we even really figured it out. That last scene was really quite… I was amazed at how sort of choked up I got. I was like, ‘What the hell? The guy’s not dead! Just his character died.’ They can always bring people back. It was a tough episode to do. I certainly had my doubts when I heard about the exploding tumors.”
From “Sheer Genius” in TV Zone #219 reprinted at David-Hewlett.co.uk (Sept. 2007):
“These guys are really good at doing the unexpected, you know? They’ve been working on Stargate for 10 years and they know how to make an impact. I think last season’s ender is a perfect example of how they can sort of shake you up and make you want to come back and find out what’s going on. It definitely spins the programme off in a different direction for year four.”
From “Exclusive Interview: iF Magazine and Torri Higginson Get Lost in Stargate Atlantis” at iF Magazine (Aug. 11, 2006):
“I think it’s interesting that the writers chose to put a woman in charge on Atlantis, because Stargate has always been very military oriented, so putting a woman who isn’t military in charge in very interesting. I think it puts out great challenges for the writers and the actors, because how do you write a person in authority who is not military; commanding military people. We’re always going back and forth of which choices empower her, and which choices lessen her power. Also being a woman, men are really not wanting to listen to what women say, just ask my ex-boyfriend! [Laughs]
“This is actually my favorite season so far. One, because the writers have a huge clean canvas after writing ten years of Stargate and three years of Atlantis, they’ve written everything they can write. This year they are being very brave with each episode being its own and blowing up borders and boundaries, I mean two episodes this season are sitcoms. When you get a script you never know what you are going to get.
“I am so tempted to tell you things that I shouldn’t. I’m a tell all or tell nothing girl. Something crazy happens second half of season three, that it will blow people’s minds. It is so crazy and so unexpected, and there will be uproar and the internet will be on fire. Weir goes on a date this season! My dog is in this season again, and it makes me very happy. I’m working on having her as a regular.
“We have a brand new enemy that is incredibly insidious, and whatever hint I give will take away from the drama of it. Our first introduction to them is through the gate we go to them thinking they will be our greatest allies. There is a version of them that has been spoken of in SG-1, and they come back for three or four episodes this season.
“The Wraith will show us another side this season, which justifies a lot of the stuff from season two thinking that the Wraith were a disease we could cure.
“We had Robert Picardo this season. He is such a kind, sweet, and funny man. Richard Kind was wonderful. We got to work with Richard Dean Anderson three times, and that’s a big treat for all of us girls!
“Jason Momoa had an amazing episode [‘Sateda’] this year, which I think our entire year’s budget went to this one episode. It was filmed like a feature film, I think they shot it for 20 days, and our usual shooting time is 6 days. So my episode this year [‘The Real World’] was just me alone in padded cell. [Laughs] But I liked that more, because I come from a theatre background and SCI FI is new for me, so the less money they have for special effects usually the happier I am. It’s about acting then, and goes back to the stories and characters.”
From “Ascension au Soleil” video interview, conducted and transcribed by Gateship-One.net (Jul. 2008):
“[At] first I thought [science fiction] was just entertainment and I didn’t get it. It’s too fluffy, I don’t get it. And then when I worked with it I went—and especially at the time in America where politics have been very strange the last few years—and I thought this is a beautiful way to talk about politics and talk about religion and explore philosophy without ending up in a fight. You know, you’re not saying your country is doing this, you’re saying that planet is doing this so let’s look at that separate from us and it allows you to explore and I think that’s really important and beautiful about science-fiction.
“I think we [Weir and I] are similar. I think it is compassion, I think we both have a lot of faith in human nature; I believe that most people are good, I always say it is just unfortunate the bad people are louder. But most people are good and I think she believes that too, and that was her battle with military all the time because the military attitude is beyond the defensive, it is most people you don’t trust. And she was for trust first until they tell you not to trust. So I think we are very similar. She has a lot to teach me as far as discipline and ambition [are concerned], she’s much more disciplined and ambitious than I am.”
From audio interview with The Sci Fi Guys (mp3 file at link) (Jan. 2008):
“Most of my [mail] comes from young women from all over the world, like, you know, all over the world! I get these fantastic letters from these young women just saying thank you for being a strong female character and I never ever would’ve expected that because I was always fighting—that was my job on the show was to have her fight for her strength to say ‘what is she doing’ and ‘why is she not doing anything’ and ‘she’s got to justify her existence, you know, her merit here.’ So I was always frustrated with her seeming lack of strength and to have that response, though, from so many young women, I feel terribly grateful. I’m very proud of that.
“I think all the spaces in between is everything I brought and I think that I did. Something I get moved by when I get letters of people [who] make that comment too, [who] say ‘you didn’t have much to do in this scene, but the pauses in between…’ Because I was trying to fill her, because I was frustrated with how she was written a lot of the time when I just went, ‘She’s not being active. She’s being quite passive,’ and I thought, ‘How can you be a leader and be passive?’ There has to be—so I had to find what I would do in that situation in order to find her strength. So I think I brought a bit of myself that way. But she’s much more patient than I am, she’s much more measured than I am, and she’s definitely much brighter than I am.
“The very last day of filming in season three as I finished filming the last scene on the last day, I was called up to the office and told that my character is going to become recurring if I chose to be. So I thought that was not a very dignified way to deal with it; I was a bit surprised. I was a little upset with how it was dealt with, but I wasn’t upset at the decision, because I understood it.”
From “Close Up: Torri Higginson” at MGM’s Official Stargate Website (Dec. 10, 2007):
“I wouldn’t go back to do a regular thing, but I’m more than happy to go back to do one or two episodes. As long as Weir had something to do—was there for a reason and was emotionally and intellectually engaged with the story, then it would be a lot of fun. Because it’s great, it’s a great job, it’s great to go to work up there [in Vancouver].”
From interview with Digital Spy (Jul. 12, 2006):
“In season three we get to see a lot more of the light-hearted side of who Teyla is. We’ve got a lot more humour injected into the season—in fact, two of the episodes are purely comedic. For me, I play a character who doesn’t really get to laugh all that much, so that was fun for me. We also get to see a little more of who she is when she isn’t on duty, a lot of her interests. There’s an angle that has been touched on right now, which is love interests. It’s always been toyed with for a couple of seasons… I think we’re going to get right into something, which is intriguing and fun for me to play, cos it’s a totally different aspect of who Teyla is.
“I believe that in the very beginning she was influenced solely by her people and the influences of the galaxy that she’s from. Since joining the Atlantis crew, she’s been influenced by those of her crew that are from Earth and that’s changed her perspective on how she deals with the greatest threat in her life, which is from the [Wraith], and how she deals with her people, so that’s been a very large shift for her. And another one of the big shifts for Teyla, which has influenced her character, who she is, is just slowly moving away from her people to a certain degree. The fact that she’s joined the Atlantis crew, we haven’t really been touching upon her people that often. She’s joined ranks with a group of people who she thinks can really really effect change for her people, the galaxy and the rest of humanity. That shifts her perspective quite a bit.
“My writers have assured me that there will be [Teyla-centric episodes]! In the first part of this season, we were onto the second part of the season finale, and Jason had a large episode to bite his teeth into, and it was kind of like, what is there going to be for Teyla? My writers have assured me that during the second part of the third season there’s going to be a lot more Teyla-centred episodes. I’m looking forward to it. I’m already starting to toy with that, getting some good and interesting episodes to sink my teeth into.”
From interview with The SciFi World (Sept. 16, 2006):
“To be truthful, we really haven’t had a chance to bite into anything … I haven’t had a chance to bite into anything that I feel really progresses Teyla in the eyes of the audience. I mean I have my ideas about who she is, but this season thus far we really haven’t had an opportunity to show that to the fans so … so yes, that’s how I feel. So we’ll see if we’ve got a few more to do, the season is not over yet but we shall see.
“There will certainly be another cliffhanger, you know, there will definitely be another cliffhanger … I don’t know, I don’t really know… there’s a script floating around, it’s not the next one we’re shooting it’s the one after, but that one I’m told it’s a very heavy Teyla episode and I know there’s something to do with the wraith queen and that’s one of our final episodes. I don’t know what they have in store for us. I can promise you it will be a cliffhanger, and I can promise you there will be a lot of peril involved … we don’t know who is going to survive! [laughter] But I have no idea about that for the moment, so we shall see!” [Note: The episode that was Teyla-centered and that dealt with a Wraith queen was ‘Submersion’.]
From “Slice of SciFi #103: Interview with Rachel Luttrell of ‘Stargate: Atlantis'” at Slice of SciFi (Apr. 4, 2007):
“It’s wonderful to bring [Teyla] to life. I mean, she’s feminine, but she’s also tough. She doesn’t lose any of her womanliness by being a kick-ass girl, and I love that about her…that’s something that the fans really enjoy as well. I’ve met a lot of young, cute girls who are inspired to take action and to learn martial arts and to just be empowered just by watching Teyla, so to me, that’s a thrill.
“The funny thing is, I tend to be more kind of light-natured and quicker to laugh obviously than Teyla is, but when push comes to shove—every once in a while my fellow cast members, and particularly the guys, push a little too much, I remind them that I wouldn’t have been cast in this role if I didn’t have it in me. So there definitely is a lot of Teyla in me.”
From interview with Digital Spy (Jul. 12, 2006):
“There’s so much of her I don’t think has been fully explored. I would love to have the element of Wraith that’s in her explored, because that’s something she found out about in season one. Nice to see how much that affects her, and what she can do with it and what powers it’s imbued her with. I’d also like to see some more connections between her and her people and where she stands right now with them, and how she’s being pulled between her alliance and her loyalty to her people, and that of her loyalty towards [the Atlantis crew]. That’s something I would like to see explored. I also want to see some interesting love interests—that would be cool. I’m always interested in the fight sequences, see some more of that as well.”
From interview with Stargate-Project.de (Feb. 2006):
“Oh man, the Wraith are so ugly looking! When you see them with those eyes and the pointy teeth and that hair… you don’t have to act! They’re very imposing! Ronon is definitely ready to do battle against them though for what they’ve done to him and all the people he cared about on his planet.”
From “The Warrior Within” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #13 (Dec./Jan. 2007):
“‘Sateda’ was unreal. I usually do four or five days per episode and if it is every day, it is with the whole group and I have little lines here and there. ‘Sateda’ was a 12-day shoot when we normally shoot in seven. It was the biggest budget I think we’ve ever had and the most stunts and explosions. We’ve never had that many locations. I was exhausted. We basically shot a full-on movie in 12 days on a TV schedule.
“I had so much to do in ‘Runner’ and this year, ‘Sateda’ just blows it all away! They finally gave me something to act with. Being an actor, I want dialogue. My guy doesn’t say much but when he does… ‘Sateda’ was an amazing episode and worth everything. We shot it as the third episode, it aired as the fourth, and it was like, ‘Oh man! Now there’s not going to be anything! The rest of the season is going to suck’ but it has been pretty good!
“You can’t expect [Ronon] to get real emotional. That’s hard to write for. That is why in ‘Sateda,’ there’s a lot I don’t say but I am suffering through. [Robert] Cooper and a lot of the crew guys were coming up going, ‘Wow! That was amazing!’ I don’t necessarily have to say anything but that doesn’t mean I’m not acting. As long as there are good things to chew on and you don’t have to ramble off all this mumbo jumbo like McKay. I would never want to say all that sci fi garbage or Beckett with his doctor terms. I speak through my actions and the way I hold myself. I’m not the way Ronon is in real life so it is still fun to play but it is an ensemble cast and they write for everyone.
“Robert was fantastic to work with. I hadn’t talked too much with him before that. He’s a very quiet guy and I never go up to the office unless there is a serious problem. I came with my ideas and when I first met him, they were having a little meeting so I went in and gave him the hugest hug. I had to prove to him that I could act. He was there every scene, if I needed the set to be quiet, he would make sure they were. He gave me my time. Not to float his boat but he is definitely one of the top directors I’ve worked with on the show, let alone my career.”
From “Dex Appeal” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #9 (Mar./Apr. 2006):
“I love being Sheppard’s ‘sidekick’, because the way Joe plays his character, he’s like the unsung hero. And it’s nice, because Ronon was one of the top [military] guys on his planet, and when he came in, he had no trust for anyone else. Sheppard is the one he does trust, and throughout ‘Runner’ he trusts him more and more. I think it’s just a level of respect that we both have [for each other]. It’s really nice. Whether they call it a sidekick or his partner, it’s great and we’re a perfect match. I think it’s good for Joe because he’s got someone to go, ‘Ronon, kill!'”
From “The Warrior Within” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #13 (Dec./Jan. 2007):
“Ultimately, Ronon is still kind of a loner but has taken direction from Sheppard as long as he thinks it is right. That is the great part about him though. He’s military so he’ll still react and have that instinct within him but at the same time, he’ll listen to commands.
“Sheppard is Ronon’s commander but to me, he and Teyla are the only ones I can trust. I go to Teyla for everything because Sheppard isn’t big on the emotional things. If I had a problem, I would go to Teyla since we are both aliens. She’s like my sister. Shep is like my best friend through the whole thing. Weir is just my boss. I don’t know too much about her but at the same time, I respect her. Rodney is the brains and I’m the brawn and it will always be like that between us. I can kick his ass but he’ll outwit me. Beckett saved my life numerous times and in these episodes, you’ll see he’s probably saved me more than anybody. He is someone I trust and Beckett is like a good buddy now.
“[Shifting from the Wraith-heavy adventures to something more light hearted] is what is great about the show; we don’t take ourselves too seriously. The most serious character on the show is me. In that respect, Joe Flanigan plays the lead so great. He’s this unsung hero. I love the way everyone acts on the show and that it has that comedy element to it.
“I’d really like to do a story and have a credit for that. If I stay on the show longer, I’d love to do a director’s attachment where you sit down and go through the whole thing with him in post-production. I’d eventually love to be behind the camera, going through the dailies, editing, and enhancing what has been shot. I’d love to do that. Hopefully that may be possible next year.”
From interview at The SciFi World (Dec. 15, 2006):
“Season 3 has certainly been an eventful one for Carson Beckett. Stand-out episodes for me include : ‘Misbegotten’ – the retrovirus story is very interesting and I believe it’ll be developed further. ‘Irresistible’ – working with Richard Kind was a real pleasure and Beckett crying with Sheppard in a puddle jumper is always something to behold. ‘Phantoms’ – I thought it was such an interesting script that Carl Binder wrote. Seeing all the main characters encountering moral dilemmas made for a really exciting episode of Atlantis. And finally ‘Sunday’ – well, when you watch it you’ll know what I mean!
“I believe Beckett has very good moral intentions, but the pressure of war-fare has compromised some of his decision making abilities. At the end of the day, he’s a good man with a strong moral code that seeks peace.”
From interview in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #20 (Feb./Mar. 2008):
“‘Misbegotten’ for Beckett was interesting. The whole Michael/retrovirus aspect of the storyline is really developed heavily in that episode. The great thing about Beckett is they wrote him with such humanity, and he stands up for his cause. As much a cowardly lion as he is, when push comes to shove, Beckett is very brave which I really like about the character.
“I really enjoyed watching Jason Momoa’s work in ‘Sateda.’ It was a really great episode for him and I was proud of the work he did. Robert [Cooper] did an excellent job of directing it. It was like an action movie and stepped outside the realm of a regular Stargate Atlantis episode. David having an arrow stuck in his ass for half the episode was pretty funny.
“…I loved ‘Phantoms.’ It was great because every character was stepping outside their normal beats and insecurities surfaced. It was a cleverly written episode by Carl Binder and i enjoyed the opportunity Beckett had in it. As an actor, it really let your muscles stretch.
“‘Irresistible’ with Richard Kind was definitely a highlight and so much fun, especially for Beckett because he’s the first one going down with the potion. Everyone enjoyed that one because it was really comedic. It was almost like doing ‘Duet’ from the season before.
“Beckett doesn’t do a whole lot of action so I love the dramatic and comedic stuff. That is a neat thing, the multi-layered character that they’ve developed with Beckett. A lot of the time, he is the comic foil but other times, he’s the dramatic eyes because he deals with life and death situations.
“I initially found out about Beckett’s demise right after I filmed the episode ‘Phantoms,’ which Martin Wood directed and Carl Binder wrote. Shortly after we finished that, I was back on set and John Smith, Brad Wright, and Robert Cooper asked to have a chat with me and brought me up to the office. To be quite honest, I thought they were going to say ‘Really good work on ‘Phantoms.” To say the least, I didn’t see it coming. They said ‘We want to shake the show up a little bit, we don’t know if Stargate SG-1 is going to go for another season, and in doing that, sometimes you have to kill a character off that will make a big impact. Unfortunately, it is your character we are going to kill off.’ They told me their reasons for it and what their thoughts were. I was a little shocked and at the same time, disappointed. On the other hand, it has been such a great opportunity. I’ve done almost 60 episodes of the show and went from a recurring character to a main cast member, so I have nothing but good things to say about those guys.
“When I received [the script for ‘Sunday’], as far as I know, it was the only script that had a confidentiality clause on the front page asking everyone to keep it top secret. After you have grown with the character for so long, it is a difficult read. Martin Gero did a good job writing it. It was noble and touched on a lot of different aspects of Beckett. It showed different sides of the character and a lot of reasons why he’s become a fan favorite. He was such a likeable, regular guy and that was the nice thing about the character. It kept true to his spirit. As for the exploding tumor thing, it’s a tough way to go!
“Initially, that scene [at the end with McKay] wasn’t in the script. They added it in later which I thought was a nice move. It was really difficult. David Hewlett and I are such good friends and have really grown close over the years we’ve been on the show together. McKay and Beckett had a terrific energy together and David and I certainly do. I think the fans would agree on that one. We didn’t rehearse a whole lot and I think it was difficult for David. He was amazing and supportive throughout the whole process. That is the goodbye scene and you could hear a pin drop on the set.
“I was absolutely blown away by the campaign [Save Carson Beckett]. You never think as an actor you are going to have a pipe band for your character playing in the pouring rain in front of the studio and protests in New York, Los Angeles, and Germany. There was a huge letter campaign so it is flattering and I was honored. It just says a lot about the character that the guys, obviously with my help, created. The sci-fi fans certainly feel that way about a lot of characters but they love their Beckett. I’m thankful for that.
“The Stargate Atlantis experience for me has been the time of my life. Most of that has to do with the fans, so I can’t say thank you enough to all of them who have been supportive of not only the character, but my career. They have been great to me and every time I have an opportunity to travel down to conventions to talk to the fans, I always say ‘Without you guys, we wouldn’t have a show and I wouldn’t be Beckett. I’m flattered and humbled by the support so thank you.'”
- Stargate Atlantis Main Page in the Solutions Stargate Wiki
- Season Three (Episode Guides and Transcripts)
- Solutions On-Site Forum
- Other Thirteen Weeks for Thirteen Years (13-4-13) Articles
[Many thanks to Alison who helped put together the Jason Momoa section of this article.]