13-4-13: Stargate Atlantis Season Three

Cast of Stargate Atlantis in Season Three

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.

Jack O'Neill and Richard Woolsey captives of the Asurans in 'The Return'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

Please cast your votes in the poll and leave your comments in the box at the bottom of the article. We’d love to hear from you!

Joe Flanigan

From “Good Sheppard” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #9 (Mar./Apr. 2006):

John Sheppard in 'No Man's Land'“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):

John Sheppard in 'Common Ground'“[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):

Sheppard downs Kolya in 'Irresponsible'“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):

Team examines Michael's lab in 'Vengeance'“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):

John Sheppard in action in 'Phantoms'“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.”

David Hewlett

From “Weird Science” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #13 reprinted at David-Hewlett.co.uk (Dec. 2006/Jan. 2007):

Rodney McKay in 'No Man's Land'“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.

Ronon Dex and Rodney McKay trapped in Wraith cocoons in 'No Man's Land'“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.

Rodney McKay downed by an arrow in his rear in 'Sateda'“‘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):

Rodney McKay and sister Jeanie Miller in 'McKay and Mrs. Miller'“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?’

Jeanie Miller figures out the equation in 'McKay and Mrs. Miller'“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.

Rod McKay from an alternate universe in 'McKay and Mrs. Miller'“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):

Rodney McKay says goodbye to Carson Beckett in 'Sunday'“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):

Rodney McKay says goodbye to Carson Beckett in his mind in 'Sunday'“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.”

Torri Higginson

From “Exclusive Interview: iF Magazine and Torri Higginson Get Lost in Stargate Atlantis” at iF Magazine (Aug. 11, 2006):

Elizabeth Weir in command in 'No Man's Land'“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!

Elizabeth Weir in 'The Real World'“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.

Elizabeth Weir in 'Submersion'“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.

Elizabeth Weir in 'Progeny'“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].”

Rachel Luttrell

From interview with Digital Spy (Jul. 12, 2006):

Teyla Emmagan in 'No Man's Land'“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):

Teyla Emmagan in 'Sateda'“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):

Teyla Emmagan with the Wraith Queen in 'Submersion'“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.”

Jason Momoa

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.”

Ronon Dex threatens suicide in 'Sateda'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.

Ronon Dex in 'Sateda'“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):

John Sheppard, Ronon Dex, Elizabeth Weir with Wraith Queen in 'Submersion'“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.

Teyla Emmagan teaches Ronon Dex how to meditate in 'Echoes'“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.”

Paul McGillion

From interview at The SciFi World (Dec. 15, 2006):

Carson Beckett cries in front of John Sheppard in 'Irresistible'“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):

Carson Beckett as Michael Kenmore's captive in 'Misbegotten'“‘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.

Carson Beckett in 'Phantoms'“…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.

Carson Beckett in 'Sunday'“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!

Carson Beckett in Rodney McKay's imaginary goodbye in 'Sunday'“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.'”


[Many thanks to Alison who helped put together the Jason Momoa section of this article.]


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

SG-1 Cast - Season Ten

Can you believe that we’ve been traveling down memory lane for 10 weeks?! We’ve arrived at Season Ten of Stargate SG-1 in our Thirteen Weeks for Thirteen Years (13-4-13) series in our look back at all the years of Stargate since it started in 1997. We’ve still got three more years to go, though, and that says a lot about the incredible journey the writers, crew, and actors have taken us on. Having run ten seasons wasn’t overlooked by the editors of the 2007 Guinness Book of World Records when they submitted an entry for SG-1 as the “Longest Consecutive Running Sci-Fi TV Show.”

200th Episode CelebrationRichard Dean Anderson returned to the sets to do two episodes, the most notable being the show’s 200th. Michael Shanks told TV Zone, “In general, it was just great to have Rick with us once again. He was a huge part of the show for such a long time and it was only right that he was here for the 200th to share in its success and that of the franchise. An added bonus was Rick agreeing to do another SG-1 and three Atlantis episodes. He brought along his sense of humour and irony together with the other stuff that makes him who he is. The moment he stepped back onto the set, it was like he’d never left.”

Season Ten was the last for SG-1, and the announcement of its non-renewal brought the most comments that our blog has ever had as fans expressed their surprise, anger, and disappointment.

Robert C. Cooper named the series finale “Unending” because he knew that even though the show was not returning in its television form, the stories and characters would continue, first in the two direct-to-video movies—Stargate:The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum—and next in the spin-offs.

SG-1 Season Ten

Our last SG-1 poll for 13-4-13! Make it a good one! Make sure to vote for your favorites here:

Brad Wright

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

“I knew it was going to be it for me. I knew it was possible that we would continue, but I also saw the writing on the wall. Ten years is a very, very long time in television and it’s a gift. I think to squeeze out another year might have even harmed the franchise. So I was quite happy. In some ways you are disappointed, but I was sanguine in myself that it was going to be my last year. But yet again, it was a very strong season of television with some great writing from Robert and from Paul and Joe. Martin Gero actually wrote an episode [too].

“‘The Pegasus Project’ was very strange because I was schizophrenic the entire time! I didn’t know if I was writing a Stargate Atlantis or a Stargate SG-1! I enjoyed the cross-over, and obviously that opens a door in future seasons of Atlantis to bring SG-1 people over. And of course we all wrote the 200th episode! That was so much fun.

“I think [‘Unending’] is incredibly moving and very good television, very good science fiction. I was intending to [be there to see filming wrap], but Robert was directing it and he went on a little longer the last day. Wrap was at three in the morning! I knew at that point we were going to be doing two movies. So I thought to myself, ‘You know what? I’ll go to the wrap for those!’ It’s funny, I knew we were going to be doing the movies, I knew it wasn’t really the end. It was the end of an era certainly, but not the end entirely. And so I didn’t get as misty as everyone else, because I guess I had a little more inside information. But there were a lot of hugs, a lot of congratulations. There were a lot of good feelings, and not all television series end that way. When you’re together for this long, there is quite often enmity, anger, bitterness and terrible things said on the last day. ‘Oh, I’ve always hated you.’ I’ve seen it happen! With this cast, this crew—there was a desire to continue to be together, and that allows us to do the movies. That says a lot.

“Though Stargate SG-1 hasn’t been a huge hit domestically, by network standards, it is certainly a hit worldwide. We’re not Lost, we’re not a 25-million-people-per-week show. But we certainly are important to a lot of people, and I think those ten years are going to stand up for many years and decades to come. I’m going to be an old man and I’m going to flick onto a channel and Stargate SG-1‘s going to be on somewhere. That’s going to be cool.”

Robert C. Cooper

From “Ark Welding” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #21 (Mar./Apr. 2008):

STARGATE: THE ARK OF TRUTH“Well, unfortunately the SCI FI Channel called us the week before the 200th episode celebration party in August 2006, and told us we were canceled. We had sort of been prepared for it, but we weren’t necessarily expecting it. We were kind of hoping for an 11th season. One of the contingency plans that we had discussed with the studio was to do two, or three, or more TV movies and turn it into a movie franchise. With the unfortunate timing of the cancellation of the series, we thought the 200th party was going to be kind of a bummer if we didn’t have something positive to announce, so Charlie Cohen, who is the executive in charge of Stargate at the studio, stepped up and said he would announce that MGM was going to produce two straight-to-DVD movies.

“Because we heard about the cancellation of Stargate SG-1 so late in the process of producing season 10, we couldn’t really wrap up all of the loose ends that we left hanging out there—it would have seemed rushed to try and defeat the Ori and deal with all of the issues that we had to deal with. The SCI FI Channel really wanted us to come up with an ending that would provide some closure for the end of the series on the network, so that’s why we wrote ‘Unending.’ Even though that didn’t deal with the Ori storyline, we thought it was a fond farewell to the fans in the form of the series.

STARGATE: CONTINUUM“I had already been thinking ahead to season 11, should that come about, and had come up with a story that I thought would introduce that element, the Ark of Truth, that potentially would help us defeat the Ori. The idea was that we wouldn’t find it right away—should we be doing season 11—it would be more like the Sangraal was in ‘The Quest’ in season 10. So when the show was canceled, I just took the idea for that two-parter, and really condensed everything.

“We really didn’t want to start stretching the story out and making the movies serialized. Stargate: The Ark of Truth is very much a conclusion to the series, but then we also wanted to show that the movies could be a new beginning for the franchise, as well as be a continued series of one-off Stargate SG-1 movies. The first one is a resolution of sorts to the season 10 storyline and the second movie, Stargate: Continuum, is a stand-alone adventure, a time travel thing that Brad Wright came up with.”

Ben Browder

From “Southern Comfort” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #17 (Jul./Aug. 2007):

Cameron Mitchell in FLESH AND BLOOD“You know, there is no Mitchell centric episode this season. We have Carter episodes, Teal’c episodes, we have Vala episodes, but there’s no Mitchell episode, so you’re not going to point to that as an actor and go, ‘That was a great moment.’ The writers did that last year, and Mitchell settled in and grew up in a way. There wasn’t the need to address any major issues, and with a cast as large as ours, you don’t necessarily have time to address all the stuff as an actor or as a storyteller. Even with 20 hours, you don’t have a chance to address all the issues that you might want. So that lives out in the minds of the audience. ‘Where does Mitchell live?’ ‘Does he have an office?’ Simple questions like that. ‘Where are the bathrooms in the SGC?’ The salient issues of life! [Laughs]

“The last episode has been fun. We’re doing things that we don’t usually do, and as an actor it’s always good to step up and do something different. It’s a lovely gift that Robert gave us, the last episode. Hopefully the audience will feel that way as well.

“The fact that Stargate SG-1 has been going for so long says a lot about the audience. The great mystery is why things work, why they stick. Some of it is timing, some of it is luck, a lot of it is skill and determination.

“We got past season nine and got into season ten and made it the longest running science fiction show in America. From my standpoint, it’s gratifying that we got the extra two years, and I say ‘we’ guardedly, because there are people who have been doing it a lot longer than me. I’m very hesitant of taking any kind of credit for the successes that Stargate SG-1 has enjoyed, because, in most places, two years on a show…you’re there every day, you can take a certain amount of credit; but this one, all of the groundwork had been laid and my job is to just not screw up too much.

Cameron Mitchell in action in INSIDERS“I’m thinking of the highlights, but often my highlights center around the people that I’m directly working with. When we get down in the action sequences, I cherish those because I really don’t know how many opportunities I’m going to have to do that. It may be that I’m unemployed for the rest of my life anyway, but if I do go to another job, it’s far less likely to contain a lot of the components that are so much fun on this show. I’ll miss my fellow cast mates and I’ll miss the people that I work with day-to-day on this.”

From “Military Precision” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #21 (Mar./Apr. 2008):

“I think the humor was spread out a bit in the last years. I think Vala is very funny. I think Teal’c had a lot more funny moments in the last years. The jokes got spread out a little bit, which is good. I wouldn’t want to be the sole joker, especially as the relatively new guy on the show. It’s odd to think I’ve been on the show for two years and I’m still the new guy, but Stargate SG-1 has been running since the Middle Ages!

“It’s amazing that Stargate lasted 10 years, it’s amazing that any show lasts 10 years—that’s a huge accomplishment for the people that worked on it for so long. Because there was so much work done on the show well before I got there, it’s very difficult for me to take any credit with regards to my contribution to the show, because other people did it for so long, and did it so well. I always feel like I’m talking about the show with an asterisk next to it, like ‘showed up late, should refer to others, ask Amanda Tapping!’

“A lot of the stuff that Stargate SG-1 does is arc driven, so instead of taking 10 episodes to tell a story, you do a movie, and it lends itself to it—it has big stories and short stories. When you go through a big blue puddle to another world, you can create two hours of material as easily as you can an hour.”

Cameron Mitchell in the explosion in THE ARK OF TRUTHStargate: The Ark of Truth: “Mitchell is taking a big o’ ass whoopin’! That’s what I remember of that! My last four days of shooting were literally about me getting my ass whooped. Rob Cooper’s wish fulfillment I think! ‘Give him more! Throw him against the wall one more time!’ It was tremendously fun. It was playtime, where I get to throw myself around and pretend I’m still a boy. At least I was the last time I checked!”

From “Commanding Presence…” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #23 (Aug./Sept. 2008):

Stargate: Continuum: “It’s not like Stargate: Continuum is Mitchell-centric, but he has some interesting beats in the movie. I think Brad Wright does a good job of writing interesting stuff for all of the characters, and he gave Mitchell some very nice moments. … We had a wonderful time shooting the movie. We had a whole refrigerated set, they built a freighter on the sound stage, there was so much cool stuff. And things that really we haven’t seen in 10 years of Stargate SG-1. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a submarine coming through the ice while we’re standing there, and it’s a real submarine. I don’t think there are many movies that could get a real submarine coming through the ice, if any! We spent a week shooting in the Arctic, again something exceedingly rare for actors and a crew to do.”

Michael Shanks

From “A Decade of Daniel” from Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #12, excerpted at Solutions (Sept./Oct. 2006):

Daniel Jackson in THE PEGASUS PROJECT“I’ve enjoyed the character development of Daniel. I think that if you play the character the same way and he reacts the same to situations, it’s absolutely absurd. He has to learn with experiences, grow with them. I think he’s become a little less idealistic, a little more cynical, a little more eager to get involved in the action aspect of things. Certainly, enough of Jack O’Neill rubbed off on him, as well as vice-versa, that they’ve become cross-pollinations of each other in a lot of regards. I’ve enjoyed making those changes. I like to grow with the character and, with every new script, decide what the ramifications are going to be. I’ve struggled with the idea of how excited he gets about certain things and how unexcited he is about other things and [how] that changes with time.”

From “The Book of Daniel” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #21 (Mar./Apr. 2008):

“I enjoy playing characters that have tremendous fallacies and problems, those are always much more—you know, when somebody talks about their character in glowing terms, I always go, ‘Really? Are you sure you understand that character?’ Because there’s not a person I know that goes ‘I love me! I’m so fantastic! Aren’t I awesome?’ With Daniel, especially with the way he was described in the movie—he’s the foster kid, disliked by his peers, sort of a loner, a social misfit, and I was like, ‘Wow, this guy’s got some issues—this is gonna be fun!’ Even he doesn’t realize that he’s so driven by something underneath all of that intelligence. For whatever reason, he seems to have this tremendous driving ambition to uncover the mysteries of the Universe, and has no idea why.

Daniel Jackson in MEMENTO MORI“He’s a fun character to play because he does occasionally get to use his smarts to overcome obstacles where aggressive force wouldn’t necessarily do it, and that’s a wonderful thing to play too—it’s a wonderful thing to teach, and be the intellectual, thinking man’s hero. It’s nice to have that and not be turned into a sneezing, fumbling over himself, oh-look-he-slipped-on-a-banana-peel, the bad-guys-beat-him-up-again, kind of joke. It’s nice to have a character with redeeming qualities and ability of spirit and all those other things. Those are the parts I really enjoy.

“Over the years, the character’s had to go through tremendous angst and drama and even make mistakes and say the wrong thing, react to a situation poorly—that’s the most fun to play. Actors always say heroes are boring, the villains are the fun ones, but its the same thing with the heroes, if they’re fallible, if they fail every now and again and have to overcome it, there’s a wonderful arc to play. To be the big guy that’s always right, as an actor that’s no fun. Daniel’s always been an interesting character, with so many faults—it’s great to keep inventing new ones too!”

Daniel Jackson has lost hope in TAOTStargate: The Ark of Truth: “The main thing I can say about Daniel’s role is that his role as the ascended being he used to be and arguing with the Ancients comes to a climax in the movie. It becomes a part of the evolution of the story—the argument that Daniel had with Morgan Le Fay in ‘The Pegasus Project’ comes to a peak as well. There’s a great scene that Rob Cooper wrote between Daniel and Morgan that really illustrates his frustration in a very different way than we’ve seen before. I thought it was a nice way to bring a climax to that storyline.”

From “Action Jackson” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #23 (Aug./Sept. 2008):

Daniel Jackson (AOT)Stargate: Continuum: “I remember specifically when we were filming going, ‘Wow! I don’t really do much expositing of previous storylines!’ I’m actually just reserve comic relief, so in that way, it was kind of fresh. … I couldn’t go to the Arctic and they had to find a way to justify me not being in certain shots. Brad threw this [Daniel losing a leg to frostbite] in and I remember reading it going, ‘Well, it gives me something to play!’ It gave me not only a different thing to play, but in terms of the story it gave me a different dimension of the character to latch onto, and gave it a far more interesting turn than it would have been had I gone along for the ride with Ben and Amanda’s characters. When I watched the movie it resonated as an interesting thing to see too, so I was happy with the end result.”

From “The Book of Daniel” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #21 (Mar./Apr. 2008):

“It’s wonderful [to play Daniel], and it’s always nice to come back and play the character. It’s not like I sit and talk to Daniel in my head or anything like that, but when I read scripts it brings the character out of me, ‘Oh, there he is again—he’s lurking around there!’ I’ll never truly say goodbye to him—I’ll end up in an asylum, just rocking back and forth going, ‘But Jack, this is the way I feel about it—what do you think?!’ The character has been such a big part of my life for the last few years—I think he’ll always be there in some way. To hear that we may do more, I’m like, ‘Well, let’s put him over here, in the waiting room and he can rumble about my noggin that way!’ I have no intention to say goodbye to the character. The best part of the strange animal that is Stargate is before we were even done shooting Stargate: Continuum, there were already rumblings of ‘Hey, if they like these, we might do another one—we might do two more, what the heck!’ so it’s just like, ‘Wow! This is the show that never ends!'”

Amanda Tapping

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

Samantha Carter in INSIDERS“As we talk, it’s the last day of shooting and I’ve just finished the final scene of shooting for an episode called ‘The Road Not Taken,’ which we started shooting a couple of months ago. It has David Hewlett in it, so it’s been a matter of co-ordinating his schedule with ours, but that sticks out for me as an important episode for Carter. I had a lot of fun with that and it was very challenging.

“‘Line in the Sand’ sticks out as a challenging episode for me, but then there are episodes like ‘The Quest, Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’ when we’re all together, and we had Cliff Simon as Ba’al. You know, there were seven of us in every scene and it was really fun, so that sticks out for me in season 10. It’s this massive two-parter where we’re running around all over the place. But it was really cool to hang out with all the actors. We all get along so well.

“In a way, [Carter’s growth] mirrors me, because I feel I’ve come into my own as a woman especially in the last few years, especially since having a child. But prior to that, I just felt like I came into my own. I felt like I suddenly stopped trying to apologize for my faults and my weaknesses and I stopped trying to be something that I wasn’t.

“You can’t please everyone. I’m not perfect, Sam Carter is not perfect, and that’s OK, our imperfections are what makes us all interesting. I feel like in a lot of ways, my growing up has been channeled into Sam Carter. There’s definitely a symbiotic relationship now, the lines are so blurry between the two of us, whereas it was very delineated before. But is was bound to happen after 10 years, I mean it would be interesting to play another character and see what I bring with me, to her, and how hard I think it’s going to be letting go of Sam.

Samantha Carter and Daniel Jackson in MORPHEUS“This is the longest relationship as an actor that you could ever imagine having, I mean 10 years… We’re journeymen, we expect to do a gig and move on, three months here and three months there, and you never get 10 years. When you do, well, you’ve just got to grab it, and realize how special it is. It informs everything, it informs all your relationships. I think it’s a blessing in some ways that we’ve had this much time.

“Christopher and I or Michael and I, because we’ve worked together for so long, it’s just a look now, and it means and it says so much more than any words any writer could ever come up with. We create these looks and they are just there because of the depth of the friendship and the depth of the emotion that we shared together.

Samantha Carter and Teal'c in THE QUEST“We did try to create a sense of family, and I think people who come on the show, guest stars that come on, journalists, feel that hopefully. That chemistry, not even just between the cast, but that chemistry from the top down, translates on to the screen. There’s something about it and you see it on the screen. I don’t know what, I don’t know why. I don’t know why this particular idea works so well. … But for some reason we’re just this little show that could, this little sci-fi show that did it, and 10 years later it’s still got some sort of spark.”

From “Get Carter!” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #21 (Mar./Apr. 2008):

Samantha Carter in CONTINUUMStargate: The Ark of Truth: “Well, in Stargate: The Ark of Truth, [Carter is up to] not a lot to be completely honest! It’s a continuation of the Ori storyline, which is really Vala’s story, and Daniel’s very involved, but Carter and Teal’c are around! We’re peripheral in some ways in terms of just helping to facilitate the story, but the story is not about us.”

Stargate: Continuum: “In Stargate: Continuum it’s a bit more about us, especially Carter, Mitchell and Daniel. It’s about what happens to us—it’s more of an autonomous storyline. There’s an alternate timeline and we actually go back in time when things have changed. There’s a sense of loneliness, there’s a sense of ‘oh shit, how do we get out of this?’ There’s a huge sense of imbalance in the universe, and we have to set it right. Then we meet Ba’al, who comes back and he’s such a great bad guy, because he’s so smarmy! So he’s back and Cliff Simon is great, he’s so lovely to have around, but his character is such a dick! Filming Stargate: Continuum, for me, it felt like there was so much happening, especially because I went up to the Arctic to shoot part of it. You know she gets to fly again. It’s quintessential Carter—it’s great—she’s a true adventure woman!”

From “Tapping into Carter…” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #23 (Aug./Sept. 2008):

“Now I am able to watch the early seasons and step back from them without being so self-critical. I look back and am blown away by the production values and the chemistry that was apparent right off the bat. Even though I was living it and loving it, when I watch it, I can see the friendship. That is cool to me. And the fact the show still stands up after all this time…”

Christopher Judge

From “Living Among the Gods” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #17 (Jul./Aug. 2007):

Teal'c in THE SHROUD“Well, I had some conversations with Coop [Robert Cooper], Brad [Wright], Joe [Mallozzi] and Paul [Mullie]. I thought seasons seven through nine were great, but Teal’c had become so much of an orator that it kind of took away from the essence of who he was, and that’s a warrior. And I think [in season 10] they really made an effort to get him back to his roots, more doing instead of talking about it.

“I think ‘Talion’ [was the highlight of the season]. For me that was the one that really stuck out last year. That was the last episode that I was actually heavy in for the season. It represented a lot of closure for me personally. It not only got back to who Teal’c truly was, but there were a lot of other things about it—it was directed by Andy Mikita, who we started with. He was a first AD [assistant director] on the pilot and it was just really wonderful to do my last episode where Teal’c was the ‘A’ story with Andy.

“I think it became increasingly difficult to write ‘A’ stories for Teal’c. And because the omega of his storyline was the freedom of the Jaffa, for a year we explored what happens when slaves become free. When that was wrapped up with the rebuilding of Dakara, it became increasingly difficult to find new avenues of expression for Teal’c—from a writer’s standpoint and also from my standpoint. There were such narrow parameters that I had built for him as a character. He couldn’t be a Vala character [for example] that could shoot from the hip and was gregarious, because that wouldn’t be believable as Teal’c. So I really think it had come full circle for him in all the different ways that he [could] be explored.”

From “Judging Teal’c” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #21 (Mar./Apr. 2008):

Teal'c in TALION“I’ve liked him from the beginning, I always have. He’s an honorable, honest character and being an alien, there’s really no wrong way to do it! To have him be able to progress and become more human over time, and we were able to articulate what he was thinking over time in a very natural fashion— let’s face it, over 10 years, nothing had to be rushed!”

Stargate: The Ark of Truth: “I had to do a lot of stuff that I’ve never done before, and probably will never do again! In a couple of scenes I get to traverse an actual mountain—it’s not CGI’d, I’m actually on the peak of a mountain, running across a snowy mountain-top—it really as a real mountain! That was quite an experience. I’m not saying that I’m in a rush to do it again, but it was a new experience and I think that sums up the entire movie. When I first read the script, I was talking to Coop [Robert Cooper] and I said, ‘Are you on drugs? There’s no way that we can shoot this in 16 days!’ It was quite an ambitious undertaking. Two weeks ago I had the chance to do the behind-the-scenes commentary, with Coop and Producer Pete Woeste, and when you see up on the screen what Coop’s vision was—it’s quite phenomenal, and I must say, he pulled it off! It was so absolutely impressive. I refer to it as Stargate SG-1 on steroids! It’s just so much bigger and so much more expansive than the show.

Teal'c on the mountain in TAoT“It had been the plan, from probably season five, to start doing the movies and we kept getting renewed. I think this larger scale format had been in Coop and Brad Wright’s minds for a very long time, and to see what they did with it is absolutely incredible. Sometimes while we were doing scenes, and some of the shots were quite elaborate, you’d sit there, because a lot of the stuff was going to be CGI’d in afterward, and go ‘This is weird!’ But seeing it, I’ve got to give Coop all the credit in the world, that he knew in his mind what it was going to be, and it is exactly that. To see on screen what Coop’s vision was, it’s quite fantastic.”

From “Teal’c of the Town” at Total Sci-Fi Online (Aug. 20, 2007):

Stargate: Continuum: “It was very interesting to revisit where Teal’c initially started from. That is the good thing about the alternative reality aspect of it. You can be in the same situation but your reality can be altered. I really took enjoyment in finding little moments where Teal’c, as we know him, would have reacted in certain ways but this Teal’c, who is in the same predicament of being a slave to the Gou’ald, reacts completely differently.

“I really liked that entire concept and let me tell you, the stuff they did in Continuum like going to the Arctic, is incredible. It is incredible that we were able to do the amount of things we are doing in 18 days. I really think our next step is to do features. Certainly, their imaginations are limitless when it comes to different avenues to take the show.”

From “Living Among the Gods” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #17 (Jul./Aug. 2007):

“I don’t ever think you can thank the fans enough for 10 years of unwavering support and love. It’s greatly appreciated. I’d like to say it’ll be greatly missed—but I expect all these fans to be with me on my next show too!”

Beau Bridges

From “Follow the Leader” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis/Universe: The Official Magazine #33 (Apr./May 2010):

Hank Landry in MEMENTO MORI“I felt in terms of how the General came into Stargate, it was with an attitude of cleaning the house and making sure everything was being done the best it could be and nobody was dragging their heels. That’s what I was asking for. Landry was a hard ass in the beginning, but I also wanted him to have a sense of humor. That’s what I thought Richard Dean Anderson brought to the show that made it so unique and wonderful. I wanted Landry to be a bit of a practical joker and have a fun side to him too, which we got into more in the second year.

“Then I thought it would be interesting to give him some personal problems. That’s one of the things I learned about the generals I read about. In the end, they were all human beings with tremendous challenges. How they dealt with that was almost as important as how they were on the battlefield. I thought Landry should be a Vietnam fighter pilot who had married a Vietnamese woman. They had a child, and they were estranged. That’s when we decided to have my daughter work at the SGC, which upped the ante and made it even more awkward for Landry.

“What I finally ended up doing was I took all this stuff about various generals, and handed it to Rob, who gave it to all the writers so they could glean whatever they wanted. One of the things that grew out of that is Landry is a history buff of warfare and generals. If you recall, I was quoting a lot of the old generals.

“Lexa [Doig] and I had a lot of fun. I think the most successful episodes about our relationship were in the very beginning when they first introduced her. There was a lot of good dramatic stuff to mine for two actors. Then it kind of fizzled out. I don’t know what the reasoning behind that was, it wasn’t really my place to ask. I thought the writers knew the material better than anyone. I also know in her private life that Lexa was having a baby at that time and maybe needed to be a mommy at home because her husband, Michael [Shanks], was also working on the show. Lexa is a wonderful actress.

Landy and the team in the cabin in UNINVITED“One of my favorite episodes was where I take everybody to the cabin in the woods [in ‘Uninvited’]. That was a lot of fun. I wish he could have gone out more, but that really wasn’t his place. He was sending the young bucks out to fight the good fight. There was enough dramatic stuff back at the base to keep me happy.

“I was happy with everything they gave me. One of the strengths of the show was the team of writers. I was amazed at the ideas they came up with. I also like the fact they were open to suggestions and invited everyone to the creative party. There was really nothing I can think of that I missed out on. It’s not easy to juggle all those characters and give them full representation [dramatically]. They pulled that off pretty well.

“It was just a really well-oiled machine. Stargate was a hugely successful show and they all knew that, so they had confidence in it. They were very relaxed to the point of goofing around a lot, which you have to get used to. Once I did, I realized they were bringing their best to the show. They were really professional and when it came time to work, they were prepared. I like them all and they were so gracious to me when I first came on, and made me feel welcome. The set itself is so imposing and I remember seeing that actual Stargate [prop] for the first time. It was pretty profound.

“I really was [happy with how Landry evolved over the two seasons I was on the show]. I felt it was really good run and enjoyed it thoroughly. … I had a great time and it really opened me up to a whole new audience. I dabbled a little in the sci-fi universe and found fans are such a wonderful loyal group of viewers. I’ve enjoyed going to a few of those Stargate conventions, too.”

From “Interview: Beau Bridges” at About.com (2008):

Hank Landry in CONTINUUMStargate: The Ark of Truth: “I was really pleased that they—at that point we knew that the series had been canceled, so to be able to come back and do some more was exciting. Because I felt that the fans were sort of owed that. So to come back and search for that ancient artifact and defeat the Ori knowing that the Ori are going to launch their final assault on Earth, that was great. And I think like most of them it was very well written. … I love the look of it. I was pretty much relegated to the sets and the SGC. The guys went up to the Arctic and got into the underground passages there, that was pretty wild, but I didn’t get involved in that.”

From “Legendary General” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #21 (Mar./Apr. 2008):

Stargate: Continuum: “Well, the one where I have the most to do is Stargate: Continuum, where I get to play Landry in a different timeline, it was a lot of fun. When you catch up with this Landry, he’s kicked back, he’s retired, he’s not excited about doing anything, and SG-1 come and try to get him involved, and he basically blows them off—it was really a lot of fun! We filmed out at the airbase so we had some of the fighter planes, you know with the real guys out there. It’s always a good time when the Air Force guys come out. That was one of the things that caught my attention about the series right from the beginning—we had the blessing and the input of the US Air Force, which I thought was kind of unique for a sci fi show. They’re really big fans of it and it’s always good to see the real guys out there.”

Claudia Black

From “Grand Mal” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine #17 (Jul./Aug. 2007):

Vala Mal Doran in THE PEGASUS PROJECT“Well, I’m doing this interview on the penultimate day of season 10 filming, and tomorrow will be the last day of filming for the series in the current incarnation. It’s been fantastic. Vala’s an amazing character to play, she’s very different to the last character I played—that’s always a real incentive to accept a role, to extend yourself and do something different, to take risks. Rob Cooper’s been very supportive of that, so I play with Vala a bit, and what they keep, they keep and what they don’t, we still had fun doing on the day. I love my new buddies and I’m not prepared to say goodbye, I refuse to say the word tomorrow, I shall see them all again.

“We’ve seen a lot more of Vala’s back-story revealed this year. She of course had a child this season and got married, so she’s changed from being a single renegade who always flies solo. She’s now got quite the entourage from when she started. I think her friendship with Daniel is a genuine friendship now, and it’s really sweet to see the show go that way, because they really obviously do care for each other. He’s been a huge influence on her ability to open up and be vulnerable, and clear some past issues that she hadn’t had the time to, because she’s been too busy trying to survive, and being on the run.

“‘Memento Mori’ was really fun to do, and even though I wouldn’t say it was Vala-centric, because her story was the B-story, I think it was a terrific thing to play.

“‘Family Ties’ in the second half of the season was Vala-centric. She gets to go on lots of missions now! It’s the ultimate job for her really, it’s the ultimate job for the wild child who’s settling down, she still gets to go on adventures, but it’s funded by the government [laughs], and with a group of people that she quite likes hanging out with. So I think it’s a really good place for Vala.

Vala Mal Doran and Daniel Jackson in Farscape scene in 200“Any opportunity I have to do the Daniel and Vala scenes [are personal highlights], because I really love working with Michael [Shanks]. We have a great laugh together. I haven’t seen him that much this season on set, we haven’t done as much stuff together. Just all the laughing we’ve had every day, you know, no matter how bad the hours are, we still find a way to giggle our way through it. Every guest [star] that’s come to play and do stuff with me, they always bring something fun and playful to the table. I got an opportunity to work with Fred Willard and Wallace Shawn, just terrific people this year.

‘200’ was fun. I was sort of on the periphery of that emotionally. I said to Coop [Robert Cooper] that I didn’t feel like I’d earned my right to be there, I felt like the player that gets the medal, even though they were on the bench the whole time. But it was fun creatively, to see all the departments that make this show possible—as hard as they worked—they still managed to throw something additional in to that episode and then some. I was impressed to see the energy and enthusiasm that was put into that. The overriding thing for me was pretty much just been the laughter, it’s terrific.

Vala Mal Doran jumps onto Teal'c in LINE IN THE SAND“I’ve been a part of it but I really am on the reserve bench as far as that accomplishment [of a record-breaking series] is concerned. I have been a part of it and I’m so delighted for everyone working on it. I worked on a show with Ben Browder and we ended up working together on this show, and I said to the guys it’s not goodbye because, so far, Ben’s and my track record is one of continuity and working together. It has been an incredible year. I think that Vala’s such a fun, brilliant character to play, and that makes it a lot easier to get through the day. It was tough on Farscape because I played the tragedienne and she carried the weight of the story on her shoulders in terms of the drama. Ironically on Farscape, my character informed my life and made it harder to stay positive. [Stargate SG-1] has had the opposite effect; Vala is so positive and such fun that it informs my life in a really positive way. For the most part, it’s definitely kept me in good spirits.”

From “Slice of SciFi Interview with Claudia Black” at Slice of SciFi (Jul. 15, 2007):

Vala Mal Doran in THE ARK OF TRUTHStargate: The Ark of Truth: “There are some nice little details that Tim Guinee and I were able to explore in the Vala-Tomin arc. I liked how that wrapped up. Or at least how it did on the day. Not sure what made the cut! In general the loose ends which we tie up seemed to be in keeping with the style/tone of the series: things wrap up as they need to in order to restore order. … I think the writing was probably on the wall where Adria and Vala were concerned. No room for a grey area. So there are two ways things could go for them at story’s end; Happy families or see ya later!”

Stargate: Continuum: “I think they [the SG-1 team] are aware of her strengths and moral limitations and keep her on a leash for the sake of national security and damage control while trying to capitalize on her resourcefulness in the meantime. She is not part of the team out of pity. She certainly has proved more than useful. In Continuum we see a hint of that give and take but she really only makes a brief appearance in this one.

“[Filming] Ark of Truth as good as killed me. We did way more overtime than I ever have on the show before. Continuum I was outta there in just over a week.”

From interview in TV Zone #226, excerpted in the Solutions Blog (Mar. 2008):

“Vala was low-ish maintenance in Continuum … I was on strict doctor’s orders to work limited hours with Continuum due to a miscarriage scare during the first movie, so that put a lot of pressure on production to get me out every day on time… On both movies I struggled monumentally with shocking morning sickness. If anyone mentioned food I started to cry, and then dug my knuckles into my palms until they were close to drawing blood… Cliff [Simon] was incredibly sweet and careful about what he consumed around me, but one day I caught a whiff of something and gagged through my lines ’til I heard Martin Wood yell, ‘Cut!’ and then raced to a trashcan just next to set. I hope Cliff didn’t take it personally.”



13-4-13: Stargate Atlantis Season Two

Stargate Atlantis Cast for Season Two

Our next stop on the Stargate Atlantis side of our Thirteen Weeks for Thirteen Years (13-4-13) series is Season Two.

One of the biggest differences between this season and its predecessor was the change in the regular cast. Paul McGillion was added after his character’s remarkable contribution to the first season and Jason Momoa was added once his character Ronon Dex entered the scene in the season’s third episode “Runner”.

SGA on cover of TV GuideUp until Momoa’s reveal, Rainbow Sun Francks appeared in the opening credits, but afterwards, he was noticeably absent. His character Lt. Aiden Ford left Atlantis after he underwent a life-altering ordeal at the hand of a Wraith. Discussing this change, the actor confided in an audio interview for the “Ramble with Russell” Podcast at the Polaris 22 convention in Toronto in July 2008 that he was at first hurt by the decision but eventually came to understand it. “You know, Ford didn’t really get any meat on the character’s bones until late in the first season, to be honest, and we talked about that—me and Brad—and tried to figure out what to do and then, I mean, really in the second season is where he—I knew what I was doing once I became a junky! That’s when all of a sudden it clicked for me! It was like once I was a killer junky that was when it worked, but I think I didn’t know what the hell was going on for the first while.”

It didn’t take seven years for Stargate Atlantis to make it to the cover of the TV Guide (on the July 10, 2005, issue), since it was breaking all kinds of viewing records for the Sci Fi Channel. With the trend still going, the show was renewed for a third season in October 2005.

Atlantis Season Two

We’d love to hear from you about this season! Please cast your votes in the poll and leave your comments in the box at the bottom of the article.

Joe Flanigan

From “In Sheppard’s Care” in Stargate SG-1: The Official Magazine (Jan. 2005):

John Sheppard in 'The Siege 3'“Well, first and foremost you can’t possibly give enough credit to Stargate SG-1 [for Stargate Atlantis‘ success]. It paved a very comfortable place for a spin-off, so there’s no doubt we have an edge on a lot of shows in that regard. We’re probably going to get a greater audience flow than a new science fiction show would, so that helps quite a bit.

“But on top of that, to give Stargate Atlantis its own credit without the outside help, I would say that Brad [Wright] and Robert [C. Cooper] are phenomenal creators and producers. They have a real knack for knowing what people want to see.

“I’d also give the cast good kudos. All the cast members have created very distinct characters. It’s gone berserk on the Internet—every character is pushing buttons. There actors have made very specific choices and it’s great, because they’re having very specific reactions from the audience. One of the big problems with a lot of new shows—whether it’s science fiction or anything else—is that they introduce far too large a cast. [The producers] want to introduce everyone under the sun, and the audience never really gets to know anyone in particular. What they want to do is see which one the audience likes and then start focusing on that character in stories, which I definitely think is a bad approach. They have to get a small group of people and let those become known to the audience and stick with those people.

“We’re fortunate in that regard. The last series I was on, we had 15 regulars! It’s impossible to service each character. Consequently, each actor finds it very difficult to obtain some three-dimensionality for their character, because they’re just not given enough to do.

“So I think those are the three main elements. Stargate SG-1 was just a big boon for us; [then there’s] Brad and Robert, just as a producing force; and we have a cast that I think people like to see in their living room every week. At least that’s how it appears to be so far.”

From “Exclusive Profile: Stargate: Atlantis Star Joe Flanigan” with iF Magazine (Jan. 5, 2006):

John Sheppard in 'Conversion'“I once had a bug attached to my neck for the entire episode. That was very uncomfortable. This season I had to turn into a bug, which was challenging. There were a lot of prosthetics and that was interesting. I wouldn’t want to be under prosthetics for too long, but the guys who do ours are such artists and it’s nice to watch them work. As an actor it’s fun to morph physically into something else.

“Being morphed into a bug was something interesting. I had been asking for the character to have a real arc, in a couple of episodes where he would go through a really serious transformation of some sort. There are two schools of thought about the dramatic parameters of a hero on the show. Some of us feel that the character should go through all sorts of difficulties and see all sorts of adversity. Then there is a group of people who wonder at what point a hero stops being heroic in exposing the character flaws. A hero can’t have too many character flaws. For the bug we came up an ingenious way to do it so that we didn’t lose the heroic qualities. At the end of the episode you see he’s still the leader and can continue to lead; his judgment is not skewed.

From “Being John Sheppard” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine, Issue #24 (Sept./Oct. 2008):

John Sheppard firing at a Wraith dart in 'Duet'“I tend to be more in the Harrison Ford vein [motions to taking out a gun and makes a shooting sound]. That’s pretty much where my skills come in. I have a sloppier, more improvisational approach to winning battles. They’re not well choreographed. It’s funny because James Bamford, our stunt coordinator, and I talked about that. In the beginning of the show, he was like, ‘Oh, you know this guy is going to be like, ‘Waaa Waaa” [Mock karate sounds]. I thought, ‘I don’t think this is actually the character. I think the character is a more regular guy in extraordinary circumstances who just feels like he is flying by the seat of his pants, and will be lucky if he pulls this thing off, as opposed to ‘Waaaaa….” It’s fun to have those characters on the show, but I just thought my character is not going to be that. Chances are, on his off-time, he won’t be sparring… He’ll be drinking beer or playing golf.”

From “In Sheppard’s Care” in Stargate SG-1: The Official Magazine (Jan. 2005):

“I think he’s definitely recalibrated into finding a home in Atlantis, using it as a base. [At first] he had one foot back on Earth and one foot in Atlantis, but now both of his feet are firmly planted in Atlantis. He’s attached to his team and he’s very excited about all the elements of exploration. There’s so much to discover, jusst in the City alone. So he’s far more comfortable. He’s also a lot more comfortable being in charge of the off-world teams. That was thrust upon him, and it’s something [about which] he’s learned his potential.”

From “Exploring Atlantis with Joe Flanigan” at UGO (Dec. 2005):

John Sheppard in 'Epiphany'“I pitched Brad Wright a number of different ideas, some of which had already been done, because they’ve done five million episodes of SG-1. The ones that I came to him with had been done in one form or another. I had another idea and he liked the basic concept and he had some other ideas with it, so we just collaborated. I came up with the storyline and he wrote the script. … I had an idea that there was a void that I walked into and got stuck in. I didn’t think of doing it as a different time dimension. Robert came up with that idea and it was a good one, so we ran with it [in ‘Epiphany’].

“I have said before that I feel science fiction is as profound as you want it to be. If you choose to look into it, there are quite a few layers and it’s interesting. There are very many eerie parallels and those are generally intentional. The type of analysis that’s applied to the show is interesting and I certainly think about it when I read it, which is kind of nice because in science fiction you can get away with all sorts of stuff. People don’t recognize you’re making commentary about society, most people don’t and then a few people do and some people are wildly off track. I believe that science fiction is as profound as you want it to be or it can be very simple entertainment, and I’m all for very simple entertainment. Every now and then we all need to come home, veg-out, watch something and not think too deeply about it. It’s what you want it to be. We tend to steer clear of being pedantic; it’s entertainment first, otherwise we’d be on a lecture circuit.

“I’d like to see [Sheppard] face a little more personal adversity. I think that would be interesting and probably bring up more backstory. Now that we’re into a third season, we’ll have the opportunity to explore the characters’ backstories a little bit more, but I wouldn’t want to get too much into that. I like to be forward looking and I like to keep things in the hard and real. I like to keep plotlines moving forward and the place that we’re at, as opposed to going back too deeply into personal lives.”

David Hewlett

From “Rodney’s Dangerous Field” in Cult Times #120 archived at David-Hewlett.co.uk (Sept. 2005):

Rodney McKay in 'Trinity'“Fortunately, the more you see of McKay the more you realize, yes, he’s incredibly arrogant, but he’s also incredibly daring, and there are other facets to the guy as well. Last year my character was put in situations where he got to be a hero, a villain, a Space explorer, etc., and that’s something we’ll be doing more of this [second] season. From a character arc standpoint it’s a dream come true for me. McKay has gone from being a bookworm to a full-fledged member of the Atlantis team. Throughout it all, though, we haven’t lost the fact that McKay doesn’t play nice with others. Not that he doesn’t want to. It’s just that sometimes he forgets to try because he’s far too busy in his own little world.

“There are limits to just how far intuition will take even the most brilliant of minds, including McKay’s. In this story [‘Trinity’] we find a piece of technology that the Ancients screwed up and with fatal results. It’s something that will literally change the way we would live our lives, not only on Atlantis but also on Earth, and McKay is so close to unlocking its secret. He’s convinced he can do it, but ends up being wrong.

“This episode was amazing for me because it gave me the opportunity to do so many things with my character. You see McKay conniving, wheedling and doing everything else possible to get a crack at this device. At the same time everyone is trying to talk him out of it. However McKay is like ‘Look, when am I ever wrong? No one understands this the way I do.’ So they let him at it and that’s when you really get to see how McKay’s mind works. When he’s convinced he’s right there’s nothing you can say to discourage him and even when he knows he might be wrong, his response is always the same unabashed arrogance and single mindedness.

“In this case, that sends him and all the other characters in different directions. Suddenly their trust in McKay and his ‘don’t-worry-I’ll-figure-it-out’ attitude is gone. It was getting to the point where Major Sheppard was literally saying ‘McKay has a plan; let’s just go with it’ type of thing. Now the Major looks at him and says ‘Shut up’. McKay even pushes his boundaries with Weir and she has to sort of come down on him and once again remind him who’s in charge.”

From “Geek Unique” in Stargate SG-1: The Official Magazine, Issue #5 , reprinted at David-Hewlett.co.uk (Jul./Aug. 2005):

Rodney McKay hung upside down in a tree in 'Runner'“It’s like the monkey’s paw…If you make a suggestion, all of a sudden it shows up in a script and it’s just not what you planned. Last episode [‘Runner’] they had me hanging upside down in a hazmat suit, hanging from one leg, in the middle of a forest at night, while it’s pouring with rain. Which was fine—until they started spinning me. And then it sort of fell apart for me. That’s when McKay leaves and David just fights nausea! I’ll just say something like ‘Could it possibly be more miserable that shooting ‘The Storm’?’ And then Robert Cooper will step up to the plate and go…’Sure! It can be! You can be wet, dead and upside down!’ So that’s the monkey paw aspect of it. Useful comments that I make are very few and far between!

“My life becomes sort of disrupted [in ‘Duet’]. I’ve got these two people fighting for control of my body. Every time I fall asleep she keeps wandering off and going for runs and things—with my body! And she’s trying to give me tips on dating and how one should act with a woman. I’m kissing everybody in this show. There’s nobody I don’t kiss. I don’t know what happened but Martin Gero [writer] has fallen in love and started writing lots of kissy episodes. It’s a non-stop cavalcade of kisses!

“I love the idea of McKay trying to date, because there’s something very, very funny to me about how woefully inadequate he is—but that might just be based on my own inadequacy! I’ve heaped all my inadequacies onto McKay now! But it’s one of those things with romance, the fun of the show is the stuff leading up to it, and I think that it’s something these guys are smart enough to handle. They’ve kept it at bay in Stargate SG-1 for years and it’s great! That’s the kind of tension that really helps.

“What I like about it is that it’s actually less written funny than it is about the ludicrous situation. As always with Stargate SG-1, it’s more about how people, like you and me, would react to this ridiculous science fiction situation. What are the politics of having two people vying for control of a body, and of course, it being McKay’s body, who’d want it anyway?”

From “Man of Science” in TV Zone Special #67, reprinted at David-Hewlett.co.uk (Dec. 2005):

Rodney McKay and his imaginary Samantha Carter in 'Grace Under Pressure'“[‘Grace Under Pressure’] has some great banter between Carter and McKay which began for me and my character back on Stargate SG-1. It was, of course, a total pleasure to work again with Amanda. I couldn’t believe how full of energy she was considering all she had to do work-wise plus taking care of her new baby. To top it off Amanda was filming both SG-1 and Atlantis at that point. Even with all that on her plate she still came to the table with so many ideas.

“The biggest challenge with ‘Grace Under Pressure’ is that I had an awful lot to say and no-one to blame except myself if I messed things up. So there were plenty of monologues I had to do and I’m not a big fan of those. One of the things I love most about acting is bouncing ideas off and reacting to other actors and what they do. That said, Martin Gero wrote this script and his dialogue rolls off the tongue nicely. In this episode there’s even some funny stuff as well. The same is true of Brad Wright’s writing. He’s like the king of comedy but its comedy that comes out of the situation and not just comedy for the sake of it. Funny things happen all the time in horrible situations, especially to McKay.

“Since the start of the season, McKay has been right in the thick of things and it’s just been episode after episode of incredible amounts of dialogue. It’s a weird double-edged sword thing, though. I go home at night and learn all my lines and I’m having such fun doing it. At the same time I can still come to work the next day and [jokingly] complain about how much I have to do. How sweet is that?

Steven Caldwell, Rodney McKay, Carson Beckett in 'The Long Goodbye'“The reality of it, however, is that I’ve been given so much great material to sink my teeth into with this role. If I’d written this I couldn’t have written myself a better part. I keep saying this and it sounds so cheesy, but there are always a couple of scenes in every episode where I get to cackle to myself while rubbing my hands together and thinking ‘Ooh, I can’t wait to do this.’ There’s a fantastic scene in this season’s ‘The Long Goodbye’ where our two leaders Dr Weir and Colonel Sheppard have gone ballistic and are shooting at each other because they’re possessed by alien beings. Meanwhile, me, Mitch Pileggi [Colonel Steven Caldwell] and Paul McGillion are up in the Atlantis control room and, in this particular scene, are yelling at each other and going ‘OK, I’m in charge now! No way, I am! Shut up, you’re like so not in charge!’ To me that dynamic was just so hysterical and we had a ball shooting that scene. It was one of the best days I’ve had on Atlantis.

“That’s the beauty of an ensemble show, though, in that there’s plenty to go around. You definitely do get stories that are heavier for some characters than others, but there’s always a B-story and other stuff going on that makes you still feel part of things. I think the scripts have worked out beautifully this year and what’s nice is they’ve all thrown us for a loop. The producers and writers set up the parameters of our characters last year and we’ve spent season two tearing them apart. That really adds to the whole sort of turmoil of these people and the friction between them. In the best TV shows and movies it’s all about characters butting heads and sometimes not getting along, and one of the strengths of the Stargate universe has been that prickly dialogue between characters.”

From “Inside Stargate Atlantis” Q&A in Sci Fi Magazine reprinted at Solutions (Feb. 2006):

Rodney McKay faces a Wraith in 'Allies'“I sound like such a suck when I say I really don’t have a favourite episode. Off the top of my head, in no particular order: ‘Duet,’ ‘Grace Under Pressure,’ ‘Runner, ‘The Long Goodbye.’ There are some that are my favourite action shows, and others that are my favourite acting shows, and then there are some that just ended up being my favourite episodes to shoot.”

From interview with Stargate Reunion reprinted at David-Hewlett.co.uk (2005):

“Like I said, the second season is a hard one for McKay (or maybe just the poor bastard playing McKay!) I’m loving it! The range of perils seems much more diverse than last year and it’s definitely darker in some areas than season one. The first season of any show requires a lot of groundwork to establish characters and the new environment and all. The second season we get to break all of those things down and play with the expectations…that and blow stuff up! I really don’t have a favourite episode, they all do something else for McKay and they all have different strengths. It seems like my favourite is always the one I’m working on at the time, each time!”

Torri Higginson

From interview at sci-fi online (Dec. 2004):

Elizabeth Weir not quite herself in 'The Long Goodbye'“I’d like to be out there doing the exciting stuff.

“I did a lot of action films in Toronto for a while. I did about five or six “d” movie action films over about two years over there. I had great fun doing them. I find that stuff is enjoyable—the jumping and running and shooting guns and all that kind of stuff. It’s a lot of fun. It’s very childlike—like playtime again.

“I miss that to a certain degree, but I understand that my character, Elizabeth Weir, will never do that. She comes from a point of criticising the military. I think she would like, and I would like her, to go out more often in terms of meeting the different cultures. I think her interest is in human nature and having different cultures see each other as individuals and learning from each other’s cultures. I think she’s missing doing that. Right now she does feel stuck in this place and she can’t leave. She’s missing, what comes naturally to her—human relations.

“The first season is a learning curve for everyone. These guys that do the show are amazing. They are a great bunch of people and you can go up to them and say: ‘I want to do this…’ and they’ll say: ‘No! It’s never going to happen.’ [laughs] ‘Get that out of your head! It’s never going to happen.’ And then you can go up to them with something else and they’ll go: ‘Oh, okay that’s interesting, maybe. Maybe we can use that.’

“So they’re very open but they won’t pander to you. They’re not afraid to say: ‘Get out of your head right now,’ and they’re not afraid to say: ‘I hadn’t though of that. That’s a good idea.’ Or sometimes they’ll say stuff like: ‘Yeah, we have thought of that, but we’re waiting until the end of Season Two because that’s an arc and we want to get there slowly because we have these other ideas of how we are going to get there.’

“It would be great to see her have to deal with a situation that went against everything she believes in—if she had to physically defend herself, or another person. I think that would be a really fun episode to explore—making the decision, having to go back on what her politics might be and then the repercussions of that decision and whether she was able to pull it off. I think that would be a fun thing to explore.”

From “Ascension au Soleil” video interview, conducted and transcribed by Gateship-One.net (Jul. 2008):

Elizabeth Weir as the troubled leader in 'Allies'“I always thought it would be interesting to have the episode where you see all of the characters at 3 in the morning, right? Lying awake in bed and worrying about the decisions that they made that day or regretting choices that they didn’t make and I always thought that would be very interesting. Because I think Doctor Weir made some very tough choices and she was in a world that she didn’t know existed a year before she was put there. You know a year before it’s like somebody says to one of us, ‘You know, you’re going to work on another planet,’ and you’re like, ‘What?!? You’re crazy, that doesn’t exist!’ So she went from that to all of a sudden living that and I think she made some bad mistakes too. You know, in order to learn you make mistakes and I think she is a very compassionate person and I think that was hard for her to deal with the guilt of having made certain mistakes and hurt some people because of those mistakes.”

Rachel Luttrell

From interview with Gilles Nuytens at The SciFi World (Jan. 25, 2006):

Rachel Luttrell and James Bamford train “I will say this about bringing Teyla to life, she presents so many challenges, but one of the biggest ones to me is that she is meant to be human, but is meant to be other worldy from a different galaxy. So there has to be something about her that sets her apart, though she is human. That was a particularly interesting challenge for me when I started to portray her to make sure there was always that balance, the fact that she was human, but she’s different. And then the second largest challenge, to me, was learning the martial arts and starting to incorporate that into who Teyla is. The physicality of that was also challenging. But both of those have added to my enjoyment of portraying her. They were two things that I had to surmount, but I’m still finessing them but when it comes to the physical element.

John Sheppard kisses Teyla Emmagan in 'Conversion'“I’ll share this funny (story), or I think it’s funny, the day we shot the kiss [in ‘Conversion’], it was a day when my parents happened to be up visiting me from Los Angeles. They had come up for a few days and they wanted to be on set. (So) they were there front and center, and even though I love them and they are so supportive, it was very very nerve-wracking, and it was a particularly challenging scene to shoot because it was a fight sequence that ended up in a kiss, and my parents were right there watching every moment, so that that was a unique situation…They thought it was great, they were champions of it, they thought it went wonderfully well. They thought Joe looked great. They’re big fans. They were happy, they were pleased.

Teyla Emmagan sings in 'Critical Mass'“I [was the one who came up with the idea for me to sing], because I love to sing, and it was always something that I thought we would be able to use in terms of a link [to] her people, to Teyla’s people. It would be very interesting, kind of a historic look into who her people are, and their beliefs. I went and I talked to Brad Wright about it, and how I thought song and dance have been historically used for funerals and grief, and spiritual purposes, in various different cultures. I thought it would be an interesting way to incorporate it, and also to get to know a little bit more about the assertions. Which I’m always anxious to learn more about, Teyla’s history and their people. (Brad) was game, and incorporated it [into ‘Critical Mass’]. Something that I brought forth.

Teyla Emmagan“They flew me to Los Angeles twice. I had a few conversations with [composer Joel Goldsmith] over the phone about the feel of the piece, what I had envisioned, what he had envisioned, and we came to a common ground. I had a lot of fun working with him. It was really exciting, because we built the song from the ground up, put various instrumentation to it, and discussed how we wanted the song to feel. It was really, really good. The funny thing is, I flew to Los Angeles and recorded the song with him, then immediately flew back to continue shooting in Vancouver. Then one of my producers, John Smith, came up to me on the set, and said, ‘Rachel, we’re going to have to fly you back to Los Angeles to re-record the song because it sounds too good.’ So they then sent me back to Los Angeles to rerecord it and to not to make it sound quite as polished. That’s what we ended up with. It was a very interesting experience working in a sound booth, and working beside the composer, the musicians and what have you. There is a lot that goes into recording a song, but I really did enjoy working with him.”

Teyla Emmagan and Michael Kenmore in 'Michael'From interview at SciFi Brain (Mar. 2006):

“The ones that stand out for me are probably pretty obvious. I mean, like ‘The Gift’ first season was a really good one for me—for Teyla. And then this past season, I really enjoyed ‘Michael,’ for whatever reason. It stood out in my mind, it had a different rhythm, for me, than any of the other episodes did. I like seeing the characters in situations where they are uncomfortable and no precedence has been set, so they really don’t know how to operate. I like those kind of episodes, and that one was definitely one of them.

Ronon Dex and Teyla Emmagan in 'Trinity'“I think in the first season I had more fight sequences, and in the second season they had to establish Jason’s character, Ronon, as being kind of a go-getter, scrapper, fighter—will throw himself into the fray at any given second. So yeah, that has definitely changed the dynamic a little bit. It’s also a good thing for Teyla from the perspective of character that she now has somebody onboard the team who shares her references, and being that he has grown up with a similar background, and that has been a good thing for her. Ultimately, it will be a good thing for the show. I think he definitely has changed the dynamic for the best.”

Teyla Emmagan From interview with Gilles Nuytens at The SciFi World (Jan. 25, 2006):

“I’m so anxious and excited about really looking into [Teyla’s] past, why she became the leader, how she really feels about it, who are her relatives, where are they, what happened to her father and mother, and does she have siblings. I mean there is so much that we could dive into, and hopefully will. I take my hat off to the writers, its tricky for them because they have a lot of pressures that they have to cater to, and I think that although she presents many wonderful possibilities, she also is maybe a little more difficult to write for because there are endless possibilities for her. Where do we begin, whereas some of the other characters, it’s a little more easy to write for them because the writers can obviously think, ‘OK, they are from Earth, their history is similar to something that I would understand.’ Their sense of humor is something that perhaps mirrors me, so yeah, I’m hoping that this year there will be a bit more. I’m going to be up in the office more this year, talking to (the writers), helping them with ideas! … Our writers and producers are quite open to any ideas we might have, or hopes where we see the character going. But I don’t know, I don’t know what the season is going to bring. Hopefully good things.”

Jason Momoa

From interview with Stargate Project (Feb. 2006):

Ronon Dex picked by the Wraith in 'Runner'“I went to high school in Iowa before moving to Hawaii where I worked on the shows Baywatch Hawaii and North Shore. … I auditioned for the role of Ronon, but I had met the casting director, Paul Weber, about a year before on something completely unrelated. So he thought of me for the part of Ronon Dex when it came up and I was immediately attracted to the whole package. I had never done any action based roles before and Ronon is my complete opposite—I’ve never shot a gun in my life! So this has been a totally different mindset for me.

“Ronon is kind of like a Native American Mad Max. He’s a real rebel and he’s very primal. He was captured by the Wraith and tortured and they planted this tracking device in his back then released him so they could hunt him down. It’s part of the Wraith’s ritual to find out how humans work. So Ronon has to be smart and keep moving so he can avoid being caught. He was a weapons specialist so he has an affinity to guns and weapons of course—and he definitely knows how to use them! He also is an expert at martial arts so I had to train a lot to take on that part of his character.

“Because he was always on the move, he’s a real loner and he certainly doesn’t trust anyone… he goes on his instinct. The Atlantis crew is always trying to tone him down, to stop him from just pulling out his gun and shooting someone because he doesn’t trust them or he doesn’t think they have time to find out! He’s had to live very defensively for the past seven years, so he can’t just turn that off.

Ronon Dex“I’m actually the opposite to Ronon Dex. We’re the same height and have the same hair, but other than that, we have nothing in common! So where Ronon’s intimidating and gruff, I’m kind of a softie and a goof ball! He’s more comfortable with a gun or a sword in his hand and I’m happiest doing my art or writing. We both like action though…I just prefer to be out in nature rock climbing or something, and Ronon prefers to be fighting someone!

“I had watched the Stargate movie with Kurt Russell, but to be honest, I never really watch TV at all. I still don’t even own a television! … When I got the role, they gave me all the tapes of season one so I could watch them and get caught up on what had been happening. I went over to a friend’s house to watch them—because of that not owning a TV thing! The season opener for season two is really exciting, but you don’t meet Ronon until the third episode. Then it REALLY gets exciting!”

From “Chasing Jason” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine, Issue #24 (Sept./Oct. 2008):

“The stunt work has been interesting because I knew what I wanted for the way he would look. And with Stunt Co-ordinator James ‘Bam Bam’ Bamford, it went to a whole other level. I didn’t know how to do any stunts when I came on. I didn’t do any stunts on any other shows. He called me up when I was in Australia and he was like, ‘Uh, have you done any fights? You know any karate? What kind of sports do you do?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’ve only been in fights and been beat up.’ I grew up on an island where I was always getting beat up, and being in bar fights, so he had no idea what he was going to get. And to me, doing the fight scenes are like dancing, because I know how to dance, so it’s just an aggressive, violent dance. Find the way Ronon moves was basically it.

Ronon Dex with his gun in 'Condemned'“When I first showed up on set, I was grabbing Ronon’s gun and spinning it. If you feel a real gun, it weighs three or four pounds. I came up with this idea right on the set, to just spin it, do these shots, and they loved it. I just made it a part of my thing, that he was to be flash in some ways, and it’s just like watching old Samurai movies and getting into that, ‘I’m an action hero.’ It’s great, man. I’m never going to play a cowboy. I will probably play the Indian, or the bad guy in some way, but I’m not going to play John Wayne. I’m not going to play that, so it’s fun to play a gunslinger and be able to do all this kind of stuff And with it being a laser gun, I can do all kinds of stupid stuff that no one would do with a 9mm gun. I’m not going to play SWAT team but it’s going to have that flash. With swords, I’m not going to play a Samurai either but we have a great action adventure show where we do stuff very fast like, bam, bam, bam. Something that should take a couple days to shoot, or should be at least eight hours, we get in two to three hours sometimes. We cram it in.”

From interview with Stargate Project (Feb. 2006):

“I’m having so much fun working on Stargate Atlantis so I hope it goes on for many years. I have some ideas of where I hope Ronon Dex will go, but my character has been mapped out already for this season. He has to be introduced and integrated into the Atlantis team properly first. So I’m happy being the new guy for now and developing the character as the writers see fit.”

Paul McGillion

From interview with Gilles Nuytens at The SciFi World (Oct. 21, 2005):

Rodney McKay's body is used to kiss Carson Beckett in 'Duet'“Dr. Carson Beckett is a very interesting and complex character who wears his heart on his sleeve. He is passionate about his work and has a very moralistic backbone. The character has developed greatly since the pilot—thanks to his interactions with all of the other characters and great story lines from great writers. From comedy to drama—Carson has seen it all and will hopefully continue to get bigger and broader with every encounter and challenge.

“In the episode ‘Duet’—when we rehearsed the infamous kissing scene between myself and David Hewlett, he surprised me by planting me right on the kisser for REAL in the rehearsal—everyone on set lost it! I’m still in therapy for it.

“My favorite episodes are the pilot ‘Rising,’ ‘Poisoning the Well,’ ‘Duet,’ just to mention a few. All the episodes show a different side of Beckett and give me, as an actor, the ability to portray range in the character. … The continuous medical jargon can be challenging at times. But overall, he is a JOY to play.”

From interview with The SciFi World (Feb. 24, 2006):

Carson Beckett in 'Critical Mass'“I love my cast mates, they have become really great friends. Again not to sound cliché but it is like a family in a lot of ways and I really learn to respect all their individual talents as well as their friendship. David Hewlett is one of my closest friends now and I wouldn’t have met him if it wasn’t for Stargate.

“Also I love the character and being able to get great scripts. Like Martin Gero’s ‘Duet’ is a fun script, Damian Kindler’s ‘Poisoning the Well,’ for me, and working with Brad and Robert; those guys really took a chance on giving me Beckett and I just hope that I can step up to the plate every time I get a chance, every opportunity. And the food’s good too!

“My expectations for season three are to continue as season two has been going. In season one I think the character’s getting more fleshed out as the seasons go on. I think Beckett is one of the more fully developed characters in the ensemble cast at this point and if he can continue doing that, that would be fantastic. I’d also like to see, personally maybe see, a little bit more of Beckett’s back story. We haven’t seen Beckett’s quarters yet at all. So that would be kind of neat to see that in season three. A little bit more history about where the character comes from, more personal history, because we’ve never seen where he lives in Atlantis yet, not once, and I think everybody else we have. Except for Beckett. So maybe that’ll happen in season three.”



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

SG-1 and General Hank Landry in 'Ripple Effect'

If you’ve been keeping up with us in our trip down memory lane in our Thirteen Weeks for Thirteen Years (13-4-13) series, you’ve probably noticed all the warning signs that Stargate SG-1 was heading toward a major change for a season that they didn’t even know they were about to have. Richard Dean Anderson had been cutting back his time with the show for several years prior to the renewal, aiming to have more time with his young daughter in California, and finally he declared that Season Eight was his last. With his exit and the show’s renewal, as well as the fact that many of the storylines were ended in Season Eight, the show had to make a fresh start.

In addition to needing a new leading man, the show also had to accommodate Amanda Tapping’s multi-episode absence at the start of the season while she was on maternity leave. With only two members of the SG-1 team remaining, show-runner Robert C. Cooper made the choice to have the legendary team disband. As a matter of fact, because of all of these changes, Cooper felt that the show should have been ended and replaced with another spin-off. “I’m sure many of you have heard how season nine was at one time supposed to be season one of a new series,” Cooper wrote in the Afterword in Stargate SG-1: The Illustrated Companion: Season Nine. “If you hadn’t heard, you’re now up to speed. We even had a title: Stargate Command….However, for various reasons a nondisclosure agreement does not permit me to discuss, the show continued on as Stargate SG-1.”

Farscape‘s Ben Browder finally said ‘yes’ to the producers and became the show’s new leading man. His character Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell also became the new commander of SG-1, even if for a little while, SG-1 as just “SG-Me” as Mitchell had to pick the members of his new team. As fate would have it, that would change as the new threat was revealed in the Ori and the talents of the original remaining members were needed on the front line once again.

Another new cast member was seasoned Hollywood actor Beau Bridges. His Maj. Gen. Hank Landry became the new commander of Stargate Command to replace Anderson’s O’Neill who had received another promotion and had become the new commander of Homeworld Security in Washington, D.C., replacing the retiring Lt. Gen. George Hammond.

And finally, Claudia Black returned as Vala Mal Doran from the previous season’s ‘Prometheus Unbound’ to make life difficult for Daniel Jackson and the rest of the galaxy. She was given several episodes at the beginning of the season to not only fill in for Amanda Tapping’s absence, but also to drive the story forward. Tapping didn’t want her pregnancy to be written into the show’s storyline, but interestingly enough, Black’s own pregnancy was made a crucial part of the show’s main story arc. Although her name didn’t appear in the opening credit sequence for this season, Black’s valuable contribution is acknowledged with a section of her own in this article.

This season also saw the debut of Robert C. Cooper as a director as he helmed an episode that he wrote, ‘Crusade.’

Going on to Season Ten seemed a sure thing, given all of these changes and a new story to tell. Apparently MGM and Sci Fi agreed, and news of the renewal for a record-breaking tenth season was announced in October 2005.

SG-1 Season Nine

Please make sure to vote in our poll for your Top 5 favorite episodes of Season Nine.

Brad Wright

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

Michael Shanks, Claudia Black, Christopher Judge, and Ben Browder play behind-the-scenes“I would argue season nine is season one of a new series. In fact, Robert and I pushed very hard for that to be the case. We thought it would have more of a chance of running more than one or two years if it were re-branded and altered. We would have changed it even more significantly than we did. But Sci Fi wanted it be Stargate SG-1 and they had their reasons for that. And actually, it was MGM that wanted it to be Stargate SG-1 more than anything else. At the end of the day it didn’t matter, because it was still going to be a continuation of the same mythology.

“It allowed Robert to recreate and bring in new life and new blood, and thank God for it. For me it was exciting. One of the highlights was being on the phone with Beau Bridges and having him say he’d like to come on board. I’ve always been a fan of his work. And Stargate Atlantis was going on too, so there we were, struggling [doing] two seasons again back to back. We said we could do it for one year, and of course season nine was the year we did it for the second year! It was quite exhausting, but very rewarding too.

“Obviously I liked ‘Beachhead,’ because I wrote it! It was the one that I was most involved with. But I think the first three episodes were incredibly strong. ‘Origin’ and ‘Avalon’ are very, very strong. I think Claudia brought something to the show that was wonderful and really ensured a season 10 with her spark. Claudia Black was—I wouldn’t say a surprise, because we all knew she had it in her—but we weren’t quite sure how much life she would be breathing into the show. And that really helped us, and when Amanda came back in my episode, that was another breath of life. Like I keep saying, people come and go and it adds something. It’s emotional when they leave and it’s joyful when they come back.”

Robert C. Cooper

From “Writer/Director/Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper Answers Your Ark of Truth Questions – And Then Some!” at Joseph Mallozzi’s Weblog (Jul. 27, 2008):

Daniel Jackson and the Doci face the Ori in 'Origin'“Hey, we thought we ended SG-1 several times. For me, the last chapter was ‘Moebius.’ It was a new story after that. The show just happened to have the same name and some of the same great characters and I was happy to have a job. I don’t ignore criticism but at the same time, I can’t obsess about the fact that some people don’t like everything I do. If I did, I would be paralyzed to the point of inaction. I’m not always happy with everything either. Or the circumstances under which things unfold. Or the way they ultimately turn out. But I do the best I can at the time, try to understand what I can do better and make choices that will hopefully satisfy me when I look back in the future.

“If I write one thing for too long I tend to get bored. That’s how Vala happened. Doesn’t mean I don’t like the old stuff. I loved it at the time. I still love the old SG-1 characters but when things start to get stale it always helps to mix in a new personality. Vala for example. Daniel has always been a great character. Early on, it was his passion for finding Sha’re that drove him. But eventually that was resolved. I think Michael Shanks would agree, Vala reinvigorated the character of Daniel. In general, I do love writing the bantering dynamic of two characters at odds. Like Daniel/O’Neill or Daniel/Vala. Two people who always agree might as well be one.”

From “Stargate SG-1 Finale Focus: Robert C. Cooper, showrunner” at M2tv (Jun. 2007):

Daniel Jackson holds Vala Mal Doran in 'Avalon 2'“I think we’ve been consistent [with the touchstone moments]. Right out of the gate in Vala and Daniel bonded in a way that made their characters interwoven. They have a depth to their relationship that happened right out of the gate. The moment she was burned [in ‘Avalon Part 2’] he went over to her and held her. It was incredibly powerful; it was very well directed and acted. Michael did a wonderful job, Claudia did a brilliant job. Vala’s façade was gone for just a few moments. That’s what I wanted to play with and expand upon in ‘Crusade,’ to see what Vala was like when she was around the team and what would happen when she fell into a situation where she really did start to feel comfortable again, even though there was something wrong with the situation.

“Some of this [consistency] is just the talent of the cast and they know that’s what makes the show work. … It doesn’t just happen naturally, it’s work, you have to work at it. It comes a little bit from the chemistry of the cast. The moment is there on the page but it was made into a powerful moment on screen by Michael and Claudia. And there are times where you write and it just doesn’t happen and it doesn’t work the way you imagined it. And there are other times you haven’t imagined it. You’ve written it but you haven’t imagined it quite that way and it happens and it’s a surprise and it’s wonderful and natural. So, I do think there have been those moments in Stargate.

Cameron Mitchell battles the knight in 'Avalon 1'“When Mitchell—this was something that happened as much off screen as it did on screen—but when Mitchell is fighting the knight in ‘Avalon Part 2’ and he’s unwilling to quit and absolutely killing himself and giving his all to get past this challenge, the other characters felt like, hey, this guy is a good guy to have in your foxhole. He’s willing to go to the ends of the earth. That was a thing that happened on set as well, Ben just went all out, physically and energy-wise, to actually do that sword fight. He nearly killed himself throwing himself around the set that day.

“And the other actors kind of looked at him and thought, ‘[This guy cares.] This guy is the kind of guy who isn’t just doing a job, punching a time clock.’ That was that something that helped the chemistry between the actors. He watched all the previous episodes. We said there were some we would prefer he didn’t watch but he said ‘no, no, I want to see the dogs too. I want to see the failures as well as the successes’ because sometimes the failures are the result of reaching. You’re trying to do something that either ends up being too esoteric or production-wise didn’t ultimately work out or is something that you thought would work but just didn’t. In many cases, some of our lesser episodes are really more a result of trying to do something that ultimately just didn’t work as opposed to not caring.”

From “SG-1: Directors Series: Ep: 919 ‘Crusade'” in the Season Nine DVD set:

Robert C. Cooper directs 'Crusade' - his directorial debut“I always wanted to be a director; that’s what I grew up wanting to do. I went to the movies and I saw the director as the guy who was kind of making the movie, and that’s what I wanted to do.

“I was seven years old when my dad took me to see Jaws, which was an odd choice, but I didn’t sleep for the next two years, and that is when I realized that I needed to control the power that the director had to affect people’s lives.

“Writing was always a part of that, but it was not necessarily the thing I even thought I would do best, so I think having worked on the show for nine years really prepared me for the process of directing. I didn’t feel as though I was completely a babe in the woods when I appeared on stage. It was still a very exciting and challenging experience and I recognize that it requires a tremendous amount of skill and talent, and I spent a lot of time with our regular directors—Andy Mikita, Peter DeLuise, and Martin Wood—picking their brains and planning what I was going to do.

“I have to give a tremendous amount of credit to Peter Woeste who was the director of photography on this episode and one of our regular directors as well. … He has a tremendous eye, he’s a brilliant cinematographer, and he was like a right arm in this process and invaluable in helping me to get what I want and sometimes tell me what I should want.

“Good directing tells the story without drawing too much attention to the camera; you don’t want to make people aware of the directing. You want to be able to keep people immersed in the story, but at the same time use all the ‘magic tricks’ at your disposal to try and be as inventive and tell those story points in an interesting way.

“There’s always challenges, and I think I always understood those challenges as a producer, but living through it as a director is a different experience.”

Ben Browder

From “Work in Progress” in TV Zone Special #64 (Jul. 2005):

Ben Browder as Cameron Mitchell“I had met Brad Wright at Comic Con back when we were promoting The Peacekeeper Wars. Prior to that, I’d met Joe Mallozzi as well as Paul Mullie at the Saturn Awards, and had also shared a plane ride from Los Angeles to Canada with Michael Shanks. Then Claudia Black happened to call and told me that she thoroughly enjoyed her experience working on Stargate, and that speaks quite highly of them. She’s a discerning lady and we know each other pretty well having worked together on Farscape.

“So when the character of Cameron Mitchell was first being talked about, I got on the phone with Brad, Rob Cooper and a few other people involved with the series. Things sort of took off from there. Eventually they felt it would be a good idea for me to fill the fourth slot on the SG-1 team, so here I am today.”

From “Sci-Fi Guy” in Starlog Magazine #344 reprinted at Ben Browder Portal (Feb. 2006):

“I did have copies of the Stargate Illustrated guides, and I also watched the series from the beginning to the end in one giant couch-potato session. I literally viewed the entire series, Seasons One through Eight, which was more TV than I’ve seen in the last decade. It’s quite an experience to sit down and watch that amount of work in a relatively short space of time; it’s almost surreal. But that’s what I did to familiarize myself with the Stargate mythology. I had a conversation with Richard [Dean Anderson] while I was still in LA, just to touch base, say hi and maybe pick his brain a little bit to see what advice he might have for me. I don’t know if it was useful; it was probably more comforting than anything else. He spoke very highly of everyone up there, and everything he said was true.”

From “Work in Progress” in TV Zone Special #64 (Jul. 2005):

SG-1 and Vala board Prometheus in 'Beachhead'“What I can speak about with certainty is the fun I’m having working with the SG-1 cast. Chris Judge is a terrific presence on set. Anyone who thinks he’s anything like his character of Teal’c is sorely mistaken. In fact, I’m always trying to draw a little more Judge out of Teal’c. Michael Shanks is a consummate professional who works diligently at his craft. Because he’s played his role for so long, he has a great perspective on the show and is very much the pace and rhythm of the series. As for Amanda [Tapping], I think she’s amazing to be back at work and be a mom at the same time. She has an incredible ability to focus on the task at hand as well as remember her lines and do everything that she actually does. To top it off, she’s a real sweetheart.”

From “Creating Cameron” in Stargate Official Magazine Yearbook (Mar./Apr. 2006):

“I think I came in without expectations. My first job was to figure out where to fit in and to figure out the routine. It takes a while to do that. Even now, six or seven months later, some days I’m still figuring it out. The last six months have flown by. You get into a rhythm of shooting the show, and after a while it’s like watching a deck of cards being shuffled: they blur in front of you. It’s gone by very quickly.

Cameron Mitchell leads his team in 'Babylon'“Mitchell has been busier in the second half of the season. In the first six episodes they were not yet a team so there was no team to lead. There was less adventuring, as it were. So, once you get the team back in place there’s more for all of SG-1 to do, in a way. As team leader, if SG-1 is busy, then Mitchell is busy.

“He doesn’t really have a standard interaction with any of the characters. He has a fairly clear response in a different way to each. So, depending on the situation and who he’s interacting with he has a very different way of operating. For the team as a whole the question is, where is Mitchell’s place, what is his voice? He is kind of back to the roots of the show, in his enthusiasm for getting out there, and a certain naivety and innocence, even though he is neither particularly naive or innocent. So it’s fun to play, because you have characters he’s surrounded by who have saved the world 160 times. So for me there’s a fun element in being able to go, ‘Wow! Check that out!’

“He’s an interesting sort of hybrid leader. His leadership style within the context of the team is not how most people perceive the military to be, which is a regimen of orders. His leadership style is more akin to what occurs in elite teams like Delta units, where everyone participates to the fullest of their abilities and when you need a specialist, you defer to the specialist, and defer quickly. It’s an interesting thing because Mitchell doesn’t have much in the way of technical expertise, and certainly has no technical expertise above and beyond any of the other characters. The only thing he has is enthusiasm and the ability to be a pivot point for the team. That’s an element of all forms of leadership. When you’re dealing with a team it has to do with adjusting to the team. A really good coach is always adjusting his form of leadership. Mitchell is in a very unusual situation, and he has a rather unusual team to ostensibly be leading. Hopefully, he’s done a good job of it.

SG-1 beam in ready to fight in 'Off the Grid'“I like the guy, which is a good thing. No self-loathing for Mitchell! Especially as the series has gone on… I think he’s revealed a bit more of his foundation as the year has continued. The more it goes on, the more interesting a character is. Not necessarily the ‘dark side’ either, but here’s this beat, here’s that beat. It informs you as you move on to the next stage of playing him.

“I am always wary of saying where the series is going. Particularly with introducing a character like Mitchell into the fray of these already well-established characters. I worry about concocting a definition of the character too early, and saying, ‘This is what the guy is.’ Then you’re locked into a place which may or may not work for the breadth of the story. You trust the writers and the other actors, and that the story will unfold at an appropriate time.”

From “Lights…Cameron…Action!” in Dreamwatch #138 (Feb. 2006):

Cameron Mitchell in the mud in 'Camelot'“I think ‘The Scourge’ turned out well. Ken Girotti came in as a director for that and I’ve got a lot of time for Ken. He directed [season one’s] ‘Cold Lazarus,’ which is an episode I really liked. ‘The Scourge’ was one of the scripts I wasn’t too sure about when I got it because it skirts into different territory for us, but I think it’s going to be a good episode. It’s got a great guest cast, which includes Robert Picardo.

“I also like the season ender, ‘Camelot,’ a lot. There’s a good mix of team stuff, where all four people accomplish tasks. I think we’ve all got a really good feeling about ‘Camelot.’ I had the best day I’ve had on the Stargate set doing that episode. I had 40 pounds of mud on me and I was carrying a large sword. That’s my idea of a good day! It was great. And, of course, I had a much higher level of comfort doing that episode than I did when I first joined the show.

“It’s a big galaxy out there, so there’s a lot of ground to explore. We’re in the early days of Cameron Mitchell—the very early days of Cameron Mitchell. It will be interesting to see how he develops, because I’m not a fan of static characterization. I don’t believe in it. As people know from Farscape, I believe characters should evolve and change. I like to see the effects of the story as they play out on the character.

“For me, the more interesting days as Cameron Mitchell are to come. And I’m excited about doing a 10th season of Stargate because of that.”

Michael Shanks

From “Curious Mind” in TV Zone, Special #64 excerpted at MSOL (Jul. 2005):

Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran examine puzzle in 'Avalon 1'“We bring back Vala, played by Claudia Black, an amazing actress, and our two characters spend a great deal of time kind of joined at the hip and doing their frick-and-frack routine, which you saw a bit of last season. They end up going to the Ori galaxy and crossing paths with these guys, and in doing so bring their wrath to bear upon Earth’s galaxy. Yes, Daniel inadvertently unleashes this threat as only he can do it. He’s like, ‘I’m just so curious about you. Oh, oh, wait, it’s a mistake! It’s a mistake!’

“Throughout the years, my character’s naivety and curiosity has always been a key factor in creating all sorts of obstacles for the team. This time around, he creates a massive one for our galaxy and introduces this little black cloud of a nemesis that will hang over their heads this season. Not only does Daniel have to accept responsibility for this, but he also has to help try to clean up the mess. Naturally, that’s easier said than done.”

From “Daniel Dares” in Stargate SG-1 * Atlantis Official Magazine Yearbook excerpted at Solutions (Mar./Apr. 2006):

“There’s a lot that’s been based around the character [this season], especially with this new villain. It’s based a lot on what Daniel’s through-line has been for the last several years, which is all about these Ancients, and Atlantis being their original home. We’ve taken that detail a little bit further and thought, if we’ve got this good group of Ancients, we must also have this bad group of Ancients.

Daniel meets the Ori in 'Origin'“I really like this villain. I think they’re far more interesting than the Goa’uld, just because they’re veiled in mystery. There’s a wonderful way to peel away layers and keep finding out different things. It keeps the audience interested.

“With Daniel’s knowledge of the Ancients, he takes a central role in terms of how we’re going to deal with them and all the technologies that we’re going to find—especially at the beginning of the year, when he opens Pandora’s Box by visiting that galaxy with Vala and letting them know we exist on this side. A lot to do with our main antagonists has to do with what Daniel dredged up, and so it’s been a lot of fun from that perspective.

Daniel Jackson and 'New Guy' Cameron Mitchell in 'Prototype'“We’re also breaking in a new colonel, so to speak. Ben [Browder] and I have talked about this. As much as his character being the leader of SG-1, it’s kind of in title and theory only, because in actuality he doesn’t lead by dictatorship, he leads by suggestion. He’s leading a group of people who are far more experienced than he is, one of which is equal rank with him in the military, one’s an alien, and one’s a civilian. So there’s not really a lot of hierarchy for him to draw on because of his lack of experience in certain sectors. With O’Neill, Daniel was able to trust that [the action] side of things was looked after a lot more. So Daniel’s had to take a little bit more of a leadership role in certain sectors of the storytelling, not just as an advisor who sits back and watches but to make sure and saying, ‘No, we’re not going to do it that way, we’re going to do it this way, I understand your point of view but you don’t really know the lay of the land.’ It’s been a balancing act all season, I think, to find when those moments are. We’re also finding where those voices mesh together.

Daniel Jackson and Cameron Mitchell in 'The Fourth Horseman 2'“They did a very good job of making sure that Ben’s character didn’t walk in and was given too much assumptive knowledge. I think the audience would have rejected the idea that this person was just embraced wholesale. He’s got to earn his stripes, and both Ben and the character of Mitchell have slowly evolved that. This guy can hold his own, he’s got his own strengths. There’s a layer of reality in the characterization—we play these characters so many times for so much of the year that, obviously, some of our own personal dynamic has to take hold of these characters. I think that they did a good job of making sure that his character is as Ben is—very enthusiastic and gung-ho about stuff, but very uncertain about a lot and it’s up to us to advise him. It’s been a very natural dynamic.”

From “Team Player” in TV Zone Special #67 excerpted at Solutions and MSOL (Dec. 2005):

Vala Mal Doran is comforted by Daniel Jackson in 'Avalon 2'“With the first six episodes of this season it was almost like a completely different TV show. Richard Dean Anderson was, of course, no longer there, we had Claudia Black replacing Amanda [Tapping] in our first five stories, and Ben Browder, Beau Bridges and Lexa [Doig] had come on board, too. After those initial episodes we headed back into more familiar territory, but at the same time it was somewhat confusing ground because we had established a new rhythm when we started the year. So in the remaining 14 episodes of Season Nine we were still trying to find our sea legs and mine the depths of our new characters.

“Working with Claudia is like working with an old best friend even though the two of us had never acted together before doing ‘Prometheus Unbound.’ So the relationship between Daniel and Vala in those first six episodes this year was a very easy one because it was one that Claudia and I had previously discovered.

“Establishing Daniel’s dynamic with Ben’s and Beau’s characters was far more challenging. With Daniel and Mitchell it would have been extremely cliché to go back nine years to the original dynamic of Daniel and Jack O’Neill, which was the military versus the diplomatic. None of us wanted to be repetitive in that regard, so we tried to figure out a way for Daniel and Mitchell to work side by side, find some commonality and still have an entertaining rapport with one another.

“With Beau’s character, he started out as someone who was frustrated with Daniel’s exposition, technobabble or whatever. General Landry quickly got beyond that, though, and was able to see the person he was working with, so he warmed up a bit to Daniel. Even so, there wasn’t a strong bond that I could list all the dimensions of. I revere Beau Bridges as an actor and sometimes I’d be sitting there like a little kid doing a scene with him and thinking, ‘Don’t kick me out of your office.’

Samantha Carter, Daniel Jackson, Cameron Mitchell in 'Arthur's Mantle'“It was especially tricky working with Amanda and Ben in this episode [‘Arthur’s Mantle’] because Daniel isn’t supposed to acknowledge their characters’ presence. There were scenes, however, where Carter and Mitchell are having a conversation with each other and Daniel is in the same room and talking with someone as well. We had a few good guffaws where Ben would improvise a line that I wouldn’t expect, so I’d just sort of look at him and say [jokingly], ‘Shut up already.’

“The one [episode] I enjoyed most is probably the last story, ‘Camelot.’ You have SG-1 fighting the bad guys, solving riddles, and interacting with aliens from different cultures. It just felt like good old-fashioned classic Stargate.

“I certainly enjoyed the different character interactions this year and I’m just hoping we can take those relationships to the next level next season. I want to see more of who these people are, and I’m sure the fans do as well.”

Amanda Tapping

From “Maternal Instinct: Amanda Tapping” in TV Zone Special #64 excerpted at Solutions (Jul. 2005):

Samantha Carter in 'Babylon'“Obviously, Sam had been away … and during that time a whole new dynamic had built up among Daniel, Vala, Teal’c and Mitchell and with the actors who play them. For the first couple of days I felt like the captain of the school chess club trying to hang out with the football players, do you know what I mean? I can make jokes about the captain of the chess club, seeing that my twin brother was one.

“Sam has to be slightly different because I’m quite a bit different. Last year we focused a great deal on her soul and the woman who is Carter, and I’m pleased that this season we’re somewhat suppressing that and taking her back to her roots, those being the scientist and the soldier and what makes her strong.

“However, having done so much exploration into her heart and soul, she has a softness to her now. We’ll see what happens, though, the next time she’s in battle. By that I mean with me, Amanda, there’s the mother lion in me now. I’ve realized that for the first time in my life I’m actually capable of killing, and that makes me cry. If anyone tried to lay a finger on my child I’d kill them, and that’s quite a revelation. I relate that to work insofar as there’s a new level of fierceness to Carter that we’ll see. I always knew that as a soldier she could kill, and she has, but now there’s an entirely new drive behind it, because as an actress I can bring that to the table.”

From “Carter and Co.” in Stargate Official Magazine, Issue #6 excerpted at Solutions (Sept./Oct. 2005):

Samantha Carter studies alone in 'The Fourth Horseman'“I just feel like the strength of this character and the joy of playing this character is the fact that she’s a strong, capable, smart and powerful woman. I love the fact that there are so many sides to her—I loved the Pete side, because I loved working with David Deluise, and the whole ‘Jack and Sam’ thing was fun to play at times and a bit of a pain at other times. We were exploring all of the different sides of her, which is great. Now we know that she’s capable of love and she’s capable of hurt and all these things to do with her heart and soul. We know all that, so now lets [sic] get back to what made her the character that she is!

“So I think it will be interesting. As long as I don’t become exposition girl—because that’s what I was for a while. … I want to have a pro-active role on the team. She’s back, so let her be back. Let her be pro-active. We know enough about her backstory now. It’s there, it’s settled. We don’t have to show her breaking up with her boyfriend and making eggs in the morning. It’s time to go back to the old Carter. I was starting to feel a bit that the whole angst over Jack was weakening her, and I think the fans were finding that too. We’re going to go back to what SG-1 was about, with a new vigor.”

From “Sam Kind of Wonderful!” in Stargate Official Magazine, Issue #07, excerpted at Solutions (Nov./Dec. 2005):

Samantha Carter and Daniel Jackson in battle in 'Stronghold'“You know, I have an interesting thing about [Mitchell’s] being the leader of SG-1, because Ben and I have this constant thing—hey, we’re both of equal rank, but I’ve been on SG-1 much longer. How come you get to lead? I actually went up to Rob Cooper after this one episode that I had just read and said, you know, Carter kind of takes control of this mission and does all the intel on it—how come Mitchell comes in and ends up calling in the troops and leading them? That seems terribly unfair, you know, when they’re both the same rank. And Rob said, no, no, you’re right, — you’ll be leading that mission.

“And I think that we were doing that [sharing command] last year when Carter was ostensibly the leader of SG-1. She always deferred to Daniel and Teal’c out of necessity and pure respect. You know, you can’t know everything. And I hope that’s the way the show is going.”

From “Coming Home” in TV Zone reprinted at AmandaTapping.com (Jan. 2006):

SG-1 in leather! in 'Off the Grid'“This past Spring I really did question whether or not I’d made the right decision as an actor, a mom, and a person to come back to work. Character-wise, I definitely felt Sam Carter needed to return. For me, though, as I sit here now with only seven days left until we finish filming Season Nine, I know that, yes, I made the right choice. This season of SG-1 has gone really well, and I’ve had my daughter here with me every day and we have a wonderful nanny on set. I’m lucky in that Olivia is such an easy-going baby and is much-loved as well as treated wonderfully by this cast and crew.

“Acting-wise, this season has been about me trying to figure out how Sam fits into this new dynamic without making it obvious that I’m trying to do so, if you know what I mean? My character has always been so centred at the SGC. Sam is comfortable there and so aware of her surroundings and how she deals those surroundings. It felt good for her to walk back into such a familiar place again.

Samantha Carter comforts Cameron Mitchell in 'Collateral Damage'“Conversely, there’s this brand new dynamic she’s dealing with when it comes to the Colonel Mitchell character and what he’s all about. At times, he’ll say something and Carter will think ‘What?’ and then other times she’ll be like, ‘OK, I get it.’ It’s interesting because he leads very differently than Jack O’Neill did, and then, of course, there’s the question of why is Mitchell and not Sam in charge of SG-1. That’s something I hope the writers will explore further next season. After all, it could be an ensemble team where there is no patriarchal line of command, or maybe Mitchell and Carter could share the leadership responsibilities. However, because Sam is military and a good military girl, she will do exactly what she’s ordered to do. It wouldn’t be so bad, though, to see her rebel every now and then against an order she truly does not agree with.

“One relationship I thought was going to be fleshed out and explored in Season Nine was the one between Carter and Dr. Lam [Lexa Doig]. The show’s producers and writers had talked about doing that but, again, there just wasn’t time. I’m hoping we can address that next season because I always enjoyed the dynamic between my character and Teryl Rothery’s [Dr. Janet Fraiser]. They had such a beautiful and special friendship and I think it would be neat if Sam could strike up a similar type of rapport with another woman at the SGC.”

From “Got Carter” in Stargate SG-1 * Atlantis Official Magazine Yearbook reprinted at AmandaTapping.com (Mar./Apr. 2006):

Samantha Carter hugs AU Janet Fraiser as AU Martouf stands nearby in 'Ripple Effect'“Because of the nature of ‘Ripple Effect,’ it wasn’t our Dr. Fraiser and Martouf. There is a clear recognition, but somewhere the lines of communication are not the same. It’s not the same perspective, and we don’t speak in the same vernacular because we’re dealing with different experiences. So it was weird. It was like, ‘But Janet, come on, it’s me!’ The one thing that I wished for in ‘Ripple Effect’ between Carter and Janet. I think it was a matter of telling as good a story as we could in the short period of time as we had. We had a big story to tell in 44 minutes. There wasn’t time to show all the interpersonal relationships. Carter had to deal with Martouf. So if we had had a Carter and Fraiser scene, then we wouldn’t have dealt with the story as well. But that’s the one thing with ‘Ripple Effect’ that I missed. That was a scary one. I looked at that [script] and went, ‘Oh, crap. No sleep for the next seven days.’ Up at 4 o’clock in the morning, sitting with a breast pump trying to learn my lines…”

From “Coming Home” in TV Zone reprinted at AmandaTapping.com (Jan. 2006):

“The SG-1 episode we’re filming at the moment [‘Camelot’] is big, really big. I was speaking earlier with [director] Martin Wood and we have something like a half million dollar visual effects budget. This is also an interesting story in that, and I don’t believe I’m giving away any spoilers by saying this, it’s a cliffhanger in the truest sense of the word. Any number of things could take place. It could signal the end of a particular character or even characters, and then again, everyone could survive.”

Samantha Carter at the Supergate in 'Camelot'From “Woman of Substance” in TV Zone reprinted at AmandaTapping.com (Jul. 2006):

“I think that [my scene in ‘Camelot’] was the final thing we shot last year, and it was me in space and wearing a full NASA spacesuit. They even have a specialist who comes up and helps you get into it. The suit itself is quite heavy and it really weighs on your shoulders. Afterwards I literally felt like my back was permanently curved because you’re sort of crunched into the thing, so it’s really uncomfortable but it looks great on screen.

“Martin Wood directed this episode and for these scenes he had me up on a platform and lying on a jib arm or camera crane [long pole] that they hoisted up in the air. I’m not a big fan of heights, but it was kind of cool. The difficulty with a scene like this is that it was all green screen and one tiny piece of set, which was the Ori Supergate. There I was ‘floating in space,’ and meanwhile poor Martin is down below yelling, ‘And there’s a battle going on overhead, and one ship blows up! Now they’re firing on each other, and then the gate kawooshes. Oh, my God, look at that!’ You have to react not only to Martin who, God bless him, is just amazing, but also to something that’s clearly not there. It’s really tough to know whether you’re going over the top or what you’re doing is enough.

“The trickiest part about doing Sci-Fi and dealing with green screen is paying the proper credence to it. The idea is to give it the right amount of weight without making it look hokey. So you basically have to dial in and put 110% belief in what you’re saying and what’s happening, all the while praying that you don’t look like a fool. That’s the nature of the genre, I guess.”

From “Got Carter” in Stargate SG-1 * Atlantis Official Magazine Yearbook excerpted at Solutions (Mar./Apr. 2006):

“I don’t know what the line up is going to be next year—who will be here and who won’t be here. But we’re looking at going to 200 episodes, and I want to be here for that! It’s worked this year with Olivia, and it’ll be easier next year because I won’t be breastfeeding.”

Christopher Judge

From “Judge for Yourself” in Stargate SG-1 * Atlantis Official Magazine Yearbook excerpted at Solutions (Mar./Apr. 2006):

Teal'c in 'Babylon'“The last thing I thought they were going to do was turn Teal’c into an orator! It’s been fun, getting to do scenes with all these great actors and actually talk during them. I never envisioned that. I’ve said more in these last two seasons than I have in the previous seven put together. I had a talk to the writers about getting Teal’c back to the ‘less-talk, more ass-kicking’ character he was before. So I think for next season, he will talk when it is appropriate, but he’ll also do a lot more ass-kicking!

“Getting to work with Lou Gossett was wonderful. I had it in the back of my mind that Gerak was really Teal’c’s father. I think that would have been a very interesting thing to explore, because they seemed to have a very uneasy relationship. I would have loved for that to have happened. But I think him going over to the Ori was also very interesting, and it shook the relationship up.

“Teal’c realizes that there are some limitations as to how day-to-day he can be with the outside world. He has to be respectful of the fact that the populus of the Earth doesn’t know that we have made contact with aliens. He’s learned that through his time off base [in season eight’s ‘Affinity’]. And I just think he’s being respectful of the situation and that the time will come [to move off base], there’s no need to push it. He just thinks that it will take some time. Whether or not that will become a reality or not depends and how many more years we go!

“I think it’s been one of our best seasons. We’ve just scratched the surface of this ensemble, and I think we’ve got another few years in us.”

From “Loyal Warrior” in TV Zone Special #67 excerpted at Solutions (Dec. 2005):

Teal'c in 'Camelot'“I’m ecstatic to be doing yet another season of SG-1, and I can’t wait believe we wrap next week.

“I’m enjoying the mythos that we’re delving deeper into now that our heroes have come to what they think or hope to be Camelot. They’re in search of a device that Merlin may or may not have left behind and in the process become entangled with some of the townsfolk. There are other things that also happen during the episode which I’m not at liberty to speak of, but the climactic scene is truly just that. It’s a terrific way to end the year, and will leave fans on the edge of their seats for next season.

“This episode [‘Camelot’] is a wonderful example of how our characters have come back together as a team this year. The first few stories were really to establish our new characters, including Ben Browder’s Colonel Cameron Mitchell, with viewers, as well as reintroduce them to the Vala character, played by Claudia Black. Once everyone got to know a little bit about just who these people are, we were then able to focus on the team dynamic.

“I’m happy that our old characters have found the beginnings of their relationships with our new characters and vice versa. Ben and I have discovered our onscreen niche, which is that Mitchell and Teal’c are both warriors and leaders. I think in those first few episodes my character was a bit taken aback by how gung-ho and yippie-io-ki-ay he was. That’s because Jack O’Neill was more reserved. However, I feel Teal’c has grown to appreciate those attributes in Mitchell, and I certainly have grown to appreciate them in Ben as an actor.

Daniel Jackson, Cameron  Mitchell, Vala Mal Doran, Teal'c in 'The Ties That Bind'“Because the Vala character is so ‘out there’ I wasn’t sure if Teal’c could ever truly like her. However, in one of the scenes we shot just the other day [in ‘Crusade’], Vala was talking about a man she’d met in another universe and had grown to love and what he’d been through and what he would be going through. What she was describing was Teal’c’s life. It was truly beautiful the way in which Claudia related this whole series of events, and it got to me not only as Chris the actor but as Teal’c as well. It was like a light switch had been turned on. Suddenly I realised that there is honour in this character and what she’s doing, so I finally had a platform from where I could take Teal’c’s relationship with her next season.

“It’s funny, you eventually find yourself in a place where you know your character and the other characters so well, you know what you’re going to do here, here and here, and no one rocks the boat. Well, that’s exactly what Ben and Claudia do, but in a totally good way. They love to challenge you and I love to be challenged as an actor. That’s a great thing they’ve brought to SG-1, and it’s increased everyone’s energy and focus. We still play around as much as ever, but I don’t think there’s been a time this year that we haven’t all been on top of our game. To have that level of professional commitment and still allow yourself to have fun, too; it’s the perfect work environment.”

From “You Be the Judge” in TV Zone Special #64 excerpted at Solutions (Jul. 2005):

Teal'c and Gerak face off in 'The Fourth Horseman'“So we started out SG-1’s ninth season with great hopes and dreams, and Ben and Claudia as well as Beau Bridges and Lou Gossett, Jr have not only met but far exceeded anything we expected insofar as how they would fit in and what their work ethic would be. It’s been absolutely terrific. … We’re having so much fun, and to have this new dynamic is incredible. It’s as if the first eight seasons we were building the rocket and now this year we’re blasting off to even greater heights.

“I used to think that being successful had to do with where your name is in the credits. Sure, that’s great, but in the big picture it doesn’t really matter. Nowadays, I wake up in the morning happy to be alive, happy to have my family, and happy to be working on a TV show like Stargate. So for me, I’ve got it all.”

Beau Bridges

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

Hank Landry in 'Avalon'“A couple of years ago Brad [Wright] and Robert [Cooper] called me and asked me if I would be the new general on Stargate SG-1, and I said, ‘Well fine, send me some of the scripts.’ I hadn’t seen too much of the show at that time, so they sent me a bunch of episodes from the past, and I really liked them. I liked the stories that Brad had written. About 10 years before, he had written a two-hour show that I was in, called Sandkings. It was a pilot for The Outer Limits, a series which also ran for almost 10 years, so Brad and I had that in our history.

“There was no script, so the character was really unformed. It was just a blank sheet of paper, but I knew they were a talented group of writers. I liked the actors, so I said, ‘Well, do you have any idea who this general is?’ We started talking and they invited me to be a part of thrashing out this guy’s back-story.

“Robert Cooper and I started talking about who we wanted this guy to be, and we kind of came up with the character between the two of us. It was a collaboration, and I really liked that—it was a lot of fun. We made him a fighter pilot in Vietnam. He’d flown a lot of missions, fell in love with a Vietnamese woman, they married and had a child, but he’s estranged from her because he’s never home, he’s flying all the time and getting into undercover stuff. That’s where he meets Jack O’Neill, and he spends even less time with his wife and daughter. He gets totally estranged from his family and divorces his wife. His daughter doesn’t speak to him, she goes off to medical school and becomes Dr. Lam [Lexa Doig], and Jack arranges for her to come to work at Stargate Command. I liked the whole story.

“I remember thinking, ‘Okay this is good’ because I think leaders have challenges in life just like everybody else. That’s what makes it possible to get into some interesting dynamics. Without it, I’m just the usual, ‘Go get the Ori,’ or whatever else is out there. He’s an interesting man. He’s a leader but he’s got a sense of humor. He can be tough when he needs to be, but he’s got problems at home, and that makes him more human.”

From interview at The SciFi World (Jun. 23, 2007):

Hank Landry greets Gerak in 'Origin'“And because I was stepping in a pair of shoes that I’ve not experienced—I’ve been in positions of leadership, but I’ve never been a general before—I went out and researched all the American generals from General George Washington up to present and made a collection of things they said and believed. Wrote it all down and then actually put it into categories, because the generals, I found out, were talking about things they had in common: like family, battle strategy, life, death, and all these things. So I categorized all my notes, my findings, and then I handed that into the producers and the writers and they used a lot of that in developing my character. I had played presidents before, the head of the CIA, and guys who were in positions of leadership, and have directed films before, so I have been in positions of leadership myself. I also had two men that really impressed me in my early life, who were leaders: that’s my dad Lloyd Bridges, who was an actor and kind of a leader in his field, and also my college basketball coach, John Wooden, who was one of the most successful college basketball coaches that ever lived. He won ten straight national championships. I use those guys as inspiration a lot. My father, my coach. That’s kind of how I came up with General Landry.”

From interview with About.com (2008):

Hank Landry in 'Origin'“He’s a man who really loves his service to his country, loves his job. He’s sort of married to that aspect of his life. And because of that, that’s one of the reasons he had problems personally, with his family—he loved his job so much, he kind of short-shrifted his wife and his daughter. And I think he’s the kind of guy who—if you meet him out on the field of battle, he’s the kind of guy who’s going to enjoy the fight. And the tougher the odds, the stronger the enemy, that just jacks him up, because he’s that kind of a warrior.

“And even though, because of his age, he’s not the young buck going out and killing the dragon, he still felt very motivated and very excited about the whole proposition of it and being a master tactician. And also he’s good at getting out of his troops the things that he needs, the people that work for him. I liked doing him. Because I think as a younger man, he had been there, done that. So it wasn’t a problem in terms of not being on the battlefield himself, because he’d been there. He felt that he owed it to the people he was sending out there to make sure they had what they needed, and gave them the best advice he could before the battle.

“And when I came into the show—yeah, it was a transitional period, and as the new general coming in I felt it was time to kick ass and take names [laughs], and tighten the ship. So I was a pretty serious guy and had a short temper. As the show went on I became more relaxed as an actor in the show, and so did my character, and more of the practical joker aspect of his character came out—it was neat, you don’t often have a chance to have that kind of evolution for a character.

Cameron Mitchell and Hank Landry in 'Origin'“I must say they were really gracious to me coming in in the ninth season. I didn’t really know anybody there. I had met Richard Dean [Anderson] years before, but he was not really doing them anymore. But the rest of the people, they were just so kind to me in welcoming me to the show, it made me feel really at home quite quickly. So it wasn’t a tough transition at all. And Ben Browder, who also was new to the show with me, we happened to live very close to each [other] in L.A., so we got together before I even came out, which was nice. And we’ve become good friends.

“…I think the whole milieu of science fiction is [‘very today’], the fun thing about is you can take on really heavy, modern problems and discussions and have fun with them, you don’t have to be so serious as you would if you were using the names and characters of people and cultures living today. And I think also what really stands out with Stargate is they have such a great sense of humor about it. Richard Dean was one of the guys who had the most hand in that, and I tried to bring as much of that in my own way as I could to Landry. Because I think that’s what the fans enjoy about it.”

From interview at The SciFi World (Jun. 23, 2007):

Hank Landry on his deathbed in 'The Fourth Horseman'“I had one [favorite], I really love an episode, I forget which season it was in, but it was with Dr. Lam, with Lexa Doig, and we were beginning to break through our estrangement and I had basically asked her for forgiveness when I thought I was going to die. And it was a good scene. One of those scenes that you never know quite how it’s going to turn out but you hope for the best. And in this case I thought it turned out pretty good.” [Note: Bridges is referring to ‘The Fourth Horseman Part 2’.]

“…I love Stargate. I enjoy watching it. And I hadn’t seen too many before hand. They sent me a bunch to watch and I liked them because of the stories. I think it’s fascinating how Brad Wright and Robert Cooper are able to create this whole world. It’s just amazing. And I think one of the things that drives them is they feel a responsibly, as all the actors do as well, to this incredible group of fans that we have that who are so dedicated to the show. So we always want to make it the best we can. It starts with the guys who write it. And I think Rob Cooper and Brad Wright and all the wonderful team of writers they have turned out some great stories.”

Claudia Black

From “None More Black” in TV Zone Yearbook excerpted at Solutions (Dec. 2004):

Vala Mal Doran in 'Prometheus Unbound'“Apparently, the casting people from Stargate were trying to track me down for a while. They had, in fact, contacted me last year about a part, but the timing didn’t work out. When you’re on a long running show such as Farscape, people discover you and want to use you in their project. However, you either never seem to be around, or are in the wrong country. If both sides are lucky, you’re eventually able to connect, which is what happened here.

“Initially, I didn’t think I’d be able to do Stargate. When I got the phone call, I was in Australia doing Automated Dialogue Replacement work for the Farscape mini series. Obviously the ADR work was a priority, but as luck would have it, I finished a day or two early. The Stargate people told my agent, ‘If you can get Claudia to the embassy, get her work papers, and on a plane to Canada, we can do this.’ So that’s what we did.

“Let me tell you, it was the worst case of jet lag I’ve experienced in my entire life. That said, I wouldn’t have missed doing Stargate for the world. It’s funny, when you’ve been a regular on a TV series, you sometimes forget how lucky you are to be working.

“When I guest starred on Stargate I was one of those people who was in awe of everything around me. It was an absolute blast and I was lucky enough to bring with me all that I had learn’t as an actress from doing Farscape. I mean, David Kemper has always said to me, ‘You were fine when you came on the show but everyone gets better with time.’ There are things that you won’t even realize you’ve learn’t and they will just come naturally to you now. It was wonderful to be able to walk onto a new set in a foreign country and be able to get on with the people and do the work quickly as well as deliver a solid performance. It was just an amazing experience and the cast and crew were very good to me.

“As soon as I read the script [for ‘Prometheus Unbound’], I fell in love with the character of Vala. She’s a hoot. Talk about a real piece of work. I’d never played someone who was that manipulative, and I thought it would be a wonderful acting challenge for me.”

From interview in Starburst #328 reprinted at Vala-Dictorians (Oct. 2005):

Vala Mal Doran in 'Avalon'“Vala tends to fit and suit the moment in terms of survival, and I think the textures and layers we saw of her in ‘Prometheus Unbound’ are typically all she’s willing to give away about herself. What’s interesting with her six story arc this season is that just when you think you’re peeling away another layer of the character, she’ll flip everything on its head again, which I believe is just a part of her survival mechanism. So she’s intriguing to me. At the same time, there’s a potential for the character to become a one trick pony. I was lucky though, in that she was important to the story. Vala drives the story forward in the beginning, because she brings the adventure to them, the SG-1 team, even though she’s not part of the group.

“One of the most memorable things for me is the spirit of the cast and crew. Everyone was extremely enthused about starting their ninth season with some new people in the mix, and I was very taken by their positive outlook. As for the episodes [‘Avalon 1 & 2’] themselves, I was impressed when I read the scripts and discovered how dense they were, how many layers there were to the story and the scope of it. In part one for example, Ben had to do this long and really exhausting fight scene on his own, and Vala is standing on the sidelines making the odd sarcastic quip. Going back to what I said earlier about her helping drive the story, if Vala wasn’t actually doing that, she had to then be saying something cheeky or else shouldn’t be in the scene at all. Vala is such a loud character that you almost expect something obnoxious and funny to be coming out of her mouth. She’s a total joy to play and such a total opposite in terms of character type, to Aeryn, that I was challenged by the comedic aspects of the role. However, that type of challenge, I enjoy.

Vala Mal Doran in the fire in 'Avalon 2'“I’m an adrenalin junkie, so I love doing slightly dangerous things, but in a controlled setting and around a team of professionals. When we were shooting this [death] scene, they to put a mat across the fire, rather than extinguishing it when it got too hot for me and I needed to get out of there. As I stepped on the mat though, all these flames sort of shot out from under the mat and towards Dan Shea. I said something not fit for publication. I ended up staying in the shot for quite a while. I remember thinking how cool this would look for director Andy Mikita and for his sake, let’s keep the camera’s rolling for as long as possible. Obviously they used a professional stunt person for the final bit, and then one of the stand-ins, Nicole, who had been doing a lot of stand-in work for me, was put into what someone referred to as the ‘crispy critter’ make-up. That’s when you saw Vala after she had been burnt, and Nicole did some incredible stuff. She got herself into positions that were both very uncomfortable and visually amazing. Much of the footage wound up being too brutal and violent so it didn’t make the final cut. However, we shot extensively and with real stakes, pardon the pun, in the sense that storywise it actually happened. Apart from Vala being resuscitated by one of the Ori minions, who are called Priors, she really does go through that death experience. There’s no wink to the camera about it at all.”

From “Vala Unveiled” in Stargate Official Magazine Yearbook (Mar./Apr. 2006):

Vala Mal Doran defends her people in 'The Powers That Be'“As we started to get into the more macabre elements, such as when she’s burnt [in ‘Avalon’], I was actually very impressed. I really didn’t think they would go that far with it. I know that that would have been disturbing, because it is an early time slot and it’s got a big family audience. So in terms of the story telling I was very impressed that they took that risk and they took it that far, because it’s rare to be surprised in television these days. So that’s when I started to feel as if I was edging more into the Aeryn territory, when things were getting a bit more tragic and serious. But it’s a welcome texture and shade to her as well, and I think it’s important for Vala to have those layers and levels of complexity. I think that she operates in a very childish way, on a superficial level. But she’s had to survive a lot. Robert [Cooper] and I have talked about this. She has been damaged. A good liar always keeps as close to the truth as possible, so I would say a lot of the time when she is talking about what’s happened to her, most of it is true. She will lie and steal and do whatever, but she has a moral compass.”

From interview in Starburst #328 reprinted at Vala-Dictorians (Oct. 2005):

“The producers have left it in such a way that it’s possible to bring her back if my schedule permits and if it appropriately fits their story. I as an actor and Vala as a character, are at our best when we’re heavily involved in the action. Michael Shanks would often joke with me and say I was spending all my time chewing the scenery and milking absolutely everything, but you kind of need to know what Vala is thinking and doing all the time because she reveals so little of herself. So the character was very alive in every shot in every story, and if she does come back and we can keep her at that same level it would be wonderful. But Vala is something to be treasured and perhaps, enjoyed in small doses.”



13-4-13: Stargate Atlantis Season One

Cast of Stargate Atlantis Season One

We’ve reached a kind of fork in the road in our trip down memory lane: Stargate SG-1 and the new spin-off Stargate Atlantis ran concurrently during SG-1‘s eighth season! So, we’ve got a treat here: two articles in our Thirteen Weeks for Thirteen Years (13-4-13) series this week, and this will be true for three weeks since both shows ran concurrently for three seasons! (Visit the SG-1 article for Season Eight for that side of the journey.)

SG-1 stars Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks helped start the adventure that Atlantis had to offer by appearing in the new show’s premiere “Rising.” Shanks shared in an interview, “That was, for me, a flashing back to when we first started doing our series. Here was this new group of people who were very excited about what lies ahead and also interested in any advice Rick and I might have to pass on to them. The main thing I tried to focus on telling the actors that I talked to was ‘Just relax. Concentrate on the work as well as the big picture and let all the little things take care of themselves.’ The Atlantis cast has a great deal going for it in terms of acting and scripts. I’m sure things will be just fine.”

In order to set the stage, SG-1‘s Season Eight premiere, “New Order,” followed Dr. Elizabeth Weir’s trek from being the commander of Stargate Command in Colorado to becoming the leader of an international investigative team at the new Ancient Outpost in Antarctica that SG-1 discovered at the tail end of Season Seven in “Lost City.” So, if you’re starting from the beginning and are wondering at what point you should pick up Atlantis, make sure to watch SG-1‘s “Lost City” and “New Order” first. To be fair, if you’re interested in the entire saga of the search for the Lost City of the Ancients, you should start at SG-1‘s Season Six finale “Full Circle,” or visit our article in the Stargate Wiki for the summary. 😉

Faced with having to produce 40 episodes of television in a regular 20-episode production schedule, Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper split the responsibilities: Cooper stayed on as showrunner for SG-1, while Wright took the reins for Atlantis.

Atlantis Season One

Make sure to return here and vote in our poll below once you’ve finished watching Season One’s episodes:

Brad Wright

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

John Sheppard and Jack O'Neill in 'Rising'

SG-1 has become a little bit more mainstream now than it was, say, in season one or two. And Atlantis isn’t so far out there either. It’s not going to be steeped in such mythology that if you miss an episode you think, ‘I don’t know what’s going on!’ We’re trying to tell slightly more mainstream stories and just good solid science fiction stories.

“Here’s the thing about any television show: As much as we like to think it’s the writing, and a lot of it is, what it is in terms of ratings numbers is, do people want to invite these characters into their homes every week? If they like these characters, if they want to spend an hour with them, care about what’s going to happen to them, that’s a successful show. I mean, what’s the plot of Friends? They’re friends! But you would love to spend a half an hour with them every week. You just love that friend. A science fiction show is that plus the worlds we take them to, the imagination that we bring to it on top of that.

“It is a different show [from SG-1]. I mean, it’s set in a different milieu, it’s got different characters. It’s got the same writers, though, with our sensibilities of storytelling.

Wraith attacks Marshall Sumner in 'Rising'

“We wanted to set up the human Replicators as a potential villain for Atlantis, but with us doing Atlantis and SG-1 at the same time, which we really never planned to do, we had to come up with another villain for Atlantis.

“Right now, for the whole season, we’re cut off. But we’re going to make it home at least once at the end of the season, or connect with people from Earth at least once, to touch base, to provide the opportunity for the Stargate universe to occasionally cross over. After this season it will become much more possible for any one of the SG team members to appear.”

Joe Flanigan

From “Sheppard’s Try” in TV Zone #180 (Sept. 2004):

John Sheppard in 'Rising'

“At one point in college I was so shy that I’d drop out of a class if asked to speak in front of other people. After graduating from college I worked at a variety of jobs, from banking to politics. I enjoyed whatever I was doing at the time but I didn’t love my work. That changed, though, after I was fired from Interview magazine. I was living in New York City and flat broke. My next door neighbour was an actor and he always seemed to be having more fun than I was. He convinced me to give acting a shot, but because of my shyness I was sure it would be a lost cause. Even so, I went to the New York Neighborhood Playhouse, began to study the craft, and after a while realized, ‘This might just work.’ So I went out to Los Angeles and was lucky enough to start getting jobs right away.

“My manager was at the Golden Globe Awards with one of his clients, who won an award. MGM TV President Hank Cohen also happened to be there and he came over to my manager to congratulate him. He also said, ‘By the way, we’re making this TV show and we’re desperate to find a leading man. Do you have anyone?’ My manager said, ‘Actually, yes.’ The next day I met with Hank and within 48 hours the deal was done. It wasn’t one of those long painful audition processes, which I’ve been through before.

“So all the pieces fit together right away and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Of course, I love my character. There’s a level of self-deprecation with Sheppard that I feel is critical, especially with this type of genre. Shows that take themselves too seriously are ones I tend not to watch. The exception being a programme such as Cops, which deals with serious real-life events. However, on Atlantis, we’re facing situations that are in some ways incomprehensible, and in the real world you’d need to be able to laugh a bit in order to survive.”

From “Gating Away From It All” in Cult Times Special #31 (Sept. 2004):

John Sheppard shoots Sumner in 'Rising'

“[Shooting Colonel Sumner] was the ultimate crux for my character in [‘Rising’]. I mean, he had to kill his commanding officer and that made for an odd emotional tug of war. On one hand there was appal at what Sheppard had done, and conversely there was a level of celebration in that his actions saved the lives of everyone else. It was an odd balance to strike. However, having a guy like Robert Patrick there made it easier. When you’re working with such a great actor everything just seems to fall into place.

“Funnily enough, ‘Rising’ was my first real foray into the world of Sci-Fi. Before that, I was used to doing more tightly-knit dramas. With a programme like Atlantis you have to be a little bit more expressive and extroverted because that’s the genre. So that was the transition I had to make and it was an interesting one for me.

“Then, of course, there are the SFX, which at times were bewildering to me simply because there were so many. Although you’re reading something on paper you don’t really know what’s going on. For instance, we’d be choreographing a fight scene and it was like, ‘The Wraith are over there. OK, now there’s one over there, and another to your left.’ That took a little getting used to. On the whole, though, shooting the Atlantis pilot was a very exciting and enjoyable experience. Again, it was especially fun to have Robert Patrick with us. He was quite helpful in explaining what to expect from the sci-fi world because he’s been in it before.”

From “Chicago 2009: Joe Flanigan, Man of Action” at WormholeRiders (Aug. 2009):

The iratus bug clings to Sheppard's neck in 'Thirty-Eight Minutes'

“Probably that bug episode [‘Thirty-Eight Minutes’] with the bug on me [was my least favorite episode]. We had not built the sets properly. For some reason we built the space ships as though they were really space ships, and we couldn’t get in them. We’re like, ‘But this is for TV. We need to get a film crew in there!’ So we were all shoved in there. It was like the fourth or fifth episode, and it was hot and sweaty and they wouldn’t pay for the air conditioning because they weren’t sure whether we were going to last, I think. They went, ‘I ain’t paying for air conditioning!’ It was hot, and sweaty, and miserable. And Rainbow [Sun Francks]—who I love to death—kept messing up all of his lines and my bug was stuck on my neck, and I was like, ‘Come on! Come on! Get me outta here!’ And it was frustrating. But I learned.”

From “In Sheppard’s Care” in Stargate SG-1: The Official Magazine, issue #2 (Jan./Feb. 2005):

“My favorite episode to shoot was a show called ‘The Defiant One.’ We’re marooned on this island and the Wraith and I are at each other. That’s just complete action, and it’s a lot of fun because I love doing action stuff.

John Sheppard in 'The Storm'

“I think the most interesting episode we’ve done so far is the [two-parter] ‘The Storm’ and ‘The Eye.’ I haven’t seen the cut yet but I think it’ll cut together pretty well.

“We also have a show called ‘Underground’ with Colm Meaney, and that one is particularly good. That’s one of the first times we’ve really hit all of our targets. My issue is [always] ‘Are the characters getting the right storylines?’ It continually gets better, and I thought it worked well in ‘Underground,’ so I was really happy. It’s been great. Things are a lot easier now than they were in the first six to eight weeks.

“‘Home’ definitely explores [the loneliness of being stranded away from Earth]. I think that when one is idle, one will certainly want to get home. However, the amount of threats that are coming in our direction at all times—and we know there is an imminent attack—are all very frightening. It’s leading towards a climatic place where we have to prepare ourselves for something intensely serious. So we’re not really finding that we have time to reminisce and wax nostalgic over Earth. We’ve become a fairly self-sustained group.

John Sheppard in 'Underground'

“There are characters I have played where I’ve dreaded the idea of a long run. This is a character that I think would get continually more interesting, so I look forward to hopefully doing this role for a long time and seeing where he ends up in five years’ time. It would be fantastic if we can explore that.”

From “Sheppard’s Try” in TV Zone #180 (Sept. 2004):

“I’m hoping that my character retains his sense of humour as well as that level of self-deprecation, both of which are what drew me to the role. Yes, John Sheppard is in many ways a hero, but he’s not always certain that he’s going to end up the hero, do you know what I mean? He’s not one of those stereotypical sure-footed types of guys who can save the whole world without blinking an eye. Call me crazy, but I like the potential uncertainty of the outcome where the major is concerned.

Elizabeth Weir and John Sheppard in 'The Gift'

“The relationship between Sheppard and Dr. Weir tends to be slightly combative because she has to act as an administrator. She’s driven primarily by her intellect whereas my character is driven primarily by his instinct. They’ll handle a situation differently and have the occasional clash of opinions, but the two definitely respect one another.

“As the season unfolds, I think you will see a greater level of confidence with Sheppard. There’s also a little more playfulness within the group because they’re not under as strict a leadership as before. For example, Sheppard has developed a certain repartee with Dr. McKay, which I don’t think was expected. McKay was originally conceived as a very different character, but the writers decided to go in another direction after David Hewlett was cast. He brings a neat comedic element to the stories and one that plays nicely off the military aspects of our characters.

Sheppard's Team in Season One

“There’s a solid camaraderie between the major and Lt. Ford. He’s a young guy who likes to have fun, which is essentially who Sheppard is. He doesn’t really want responsibility; he just ended up with it. Paul McGillion’s character of Dr. Beckett is great. He’s the medical whiz kid. Then, of course, there’s this attractive young alien woman named Teyla, but I can’t tell you anything more about the major’s relationship with her. [smiles]

“Everyone on Sheppard’s team has his or her own expertise and together they get the job done.

“Collaboration [is what I find the most rewarding about my job]. I don’t like doing things solo. I’ve tried writing, but I hate being alone in a room. I’d rather be around people and that’s especially true here on Atlantis. Everyone is open to ideas and making things work, and I’m betting that’s what’s going to make this show a success.”

David Hewlett

From “Doctor on Call” in TV Zone #181 (Oct. 2004):

Dr. Rodney McKay in '48 Hours'

“On Traders I played this very strange fellow who lived in a broom closet. Apparently, Robert [Cooper] liked the idea of someone like that on Stargate. Originally I was supposed to play a very similar character in an episode. However at the time I was working on a project in Los Angeles, so things didn’t pan out. However the part of McKay in ’48 Hours’ then came along and they just offered me the job, which was great. As a guest star you really have the hardest job on TV shows because you’re coming into a totally new environment where everyone knows each other. I’d watched Stargate a few times but I didn’t know anyone on the programme. Fortunately, my first few scenes were with Amanda Tapping. She is just so lovely and we immediately got along. Amanda has the same sense of humour as I do and that allowed us to get a nice on-screen banter going. From that point on I was able to relax and have fun with the role.

Rodney McKay and Samantha Carter in 'Redemption 2'

“I’m always pleasantly surprised when I get invited back to someone’s house for dinner. My dad always said that the testament to a relationship is if someone is willing to pay you to come back. Chances are you weren’t mistaken in believing your first visit went well. It was marvellous to be asked back to Stargate. As before, the problem was timing. The producers would call and I’d be like ‘I just got another job.’ Thank God we were eventually able to work out the scheduling because doing that second story was even more of a treat. Let that be a lesson to all young actors—be as obnoxious as you can in the role and chances are good that as long as you don’t offend anybody you’ll be back. It also helps if your character dodges bullets and any other dangers that comes his or her way.

Dr. Rodney McKay (first season)

“Originally the producers were looking to bring me into the series and then decided to go a different way. They created a new character called Dr Ingram and were casting for that. So I was both flattered and disappointed. However one day I received a phone call saying they had re-thought their approach and would I like to come in and read for the part of Ingram. I said ‘Sure.’ I think I have an advantage in this genre because I’m such a big Sci-Fi fan anyway. The technical jargon doesn’t seem like jargon to me. Half the fun is figuring out why you’re saying what you’re saying. The most important thing is to get the information out to the audience and still keep some personality to your character.

“So I did the audition, had some laughs with the material and before I knew it they had changed the characters name back to McKay and offered me the role. Filming had already begun on the pilot by the time I was flown up to Vancouver. My first day on the job, Brad Wright took me on a tour of the Atlantis set. There were all sorts of people putting things together, standing on ladders and painting walls, etc.; I was stunned. This is such a huge undertaking. Two days later we were shooting on the set and it was just incredible. The set is designed in a very modular fashion so that sections can be pulled out and that allows you to extend spaces. It’s like a new room every day, so invariably I always get lost while wandering about trying to find where the food is. I’m like a rat in a maze. They keep changing things around so I can’t get a snack. As you can probably tell, food is very important to me and McKay.”

From “The Man from Atlantis” in Dreamwatch #122 (Nov. 2004):

“For me, there was never any question of wanting to do this show. And it’s been amazing. The time, energy and money they’ve spent on this thing is incredible—there’s something about walking on set and seeing this 30-foot tall Stargate and this massive Frank Lloyd Wright-style set. It’s just perfect for people like me. I get a kick out of it!

Carson Beckett and Rodney McKay in 'Hot Zone'

“From the pilot episode [‘Rising’] on, the thing that I’ve really noticed—and I was quite surprised by it—is that the episodes are really quite dark. We do some very questionable things. SG-1 is a military operation, so there are rules and regulations and checks and balances as to how they approach things. We don’t have the benefit of that. Because this is a research trip, with the military obviously a big part of that, we make some huge political mistakes and we make a lot of enemies because of that. We’re out here floundering around in a galaxy we know nothing about with technology we know nothing about.

“I’ve always liked the darker aspects of the sci-fi genre. Part of science fiction to me is the ability to explore both the positive and the negative sides of the future. What I like about this is there are enough loose ends to debate about. There’s nothing worse than pat, black and white answers in sci-fi, because technology invariably doesn’t solve the problem for people.

Rodney McKay examines Genii bomb in 'Underground'

“Speaking of making mistakes, [‘Underground’] is an episode about us really nudging a race into the atomic age, simply so that we can get food. If you looked not too far into the future, you would see that perhaps that’s not a good idea. And as it turns out, it’s not! But it’s all about survival and I think that’s quite a topical theme. We are forced to use technology we don’t understand and there are repercussions to making those choices. So that’s the stuff I’m loving.

“There have been so many things that I’ve worked on where it’s just been so obvious that it’s just been a matter of ‘OK, whatever. Let’s just get through the day.’ The thing that I loved about Stargate SG-1 and that I love about Atlantis, is that people love being on the show, and they love working on it. The whole crew is behind it—and there’s nothing more surprising than when there’s some huge guy standing behind a lamp holding your lines up for you! You know you’re getting through when people you wouldn’t think care at all about the dynamics of the character are throwing back lines to help you.”

Torri Higginson

From BBC Cult interview (Feb. 4, 2005):

Elizabeth Weir steps through the Stargate in 'Rising'

“[Dr. Weir] had been introduced before and [I had to] make decisions about how much I researched the actor that played this character before and how much do I just go from here and make it my own. I didn’t really worry too much about it. I discovered that she’d been introduced already after I was offered the job, which was great, because if I’d known that it might have been a more intimidating process, I might have second-guessed my instincts in the audition room wondering what it was they liked about the other actor.

“I just made my own choices based on my instincts and the scripts they gave me. When I discovered that she had been introduced already I decided to see her episodes, to get the backstory, but every actor is so dramatically different, it’s apples and oranges no matter what you do. I think Jessica Steen made some very interesting choices. I liked what she did and I allowed it to sit in the back of my head, [feeling], maybe that can add some texture somewhere, but I can’t be her, and if they wanted me to be her, it would be her here doing it.

Elizabeth Weir

“I love conflict and insecurity in people; that’s my love affair with human nature, and I get frustrated that I can’t explore that side of her more. I can’t explore her loneliness or her fear, her insecurity; she has to just be powerful because she’s responsible for a large number of people who are not military, who haven’t been trained to take care of themselves. They’re there just as researchers and scientists and she feels very responsible for those people, very mother lion-like.

“What I like about her strength is she doesn’t have the ego to be scared to say, ‘I don’t know what to do here right now.’ That is a great sign of strength, which I don’t know that I have. When you are insecure you cover that with bravado, and I like she doesn’t do that.”

From interview with Stargate Alpha during Level 3 convention (Nov. 2004):

Elizabeth Weir in 'The Storm'

“I have a few [favourite episodes] for different reasons. I loved ‘The Eye’ cos that was just fun, that was just hard. … We had wind towers and rain towers and literally I was shaking and shivering for two days and soaking wet…and you couldn’t see because water was in your eyes and you were screaming every line. But it was just fun, it was very sort of—it was that thing of no action required.

“Then I did ‘Before I Sleep’ and it was a really great one for me to do because I had to age ten thousand years and play opposite myself. That was really challenging because I think I got three hours sleep in two weeks. It took four hours to put the make-up on and then you’d shoot my half of the scene as an old lady and then take the make-up off and shoot half my scene as myself younger and I was having to act with video tape of what I’d done that morning. So it was really challenging and really fun, so probably they’re my two favourite episodes.”

The two Elizabeth Weirs in 'Before I Sleep'

From interview with iF Magazine (Aug. 11, 2006):

“You know what was one of the coolest things about that episode [‘Before I Sleep’] is I lost my grandmother about three years ago, and she was my favorite person in the world bar none. She still is, she was just an amazing human being. When Todd Masters did all the make-up and I saw myself in the mirror, I saw my grandmother. I went to him almost in tears and I said, ‘I can’t believe you’re that good,’ he had aged me in the way that my family would age. He’s amazing and does extraordinary work.

“I am such a non-business actor, I really am. I’m one of those actors that on a whole, hates talking about it, I hate the business part of it, but I like doing it. Guys will come in every Monday and list the numbers and the ratings, and I just say, ‘Do I still have a job next week, am I still coming in to work?’ I really am not aware of it. I was aware of the huge buzz the first year, because we were all scared about our fate. We were the spin-off of a spin-off; we’re spinning off of a show that has a loyal fan following of ten years that will probably hate us. They’ll think we’re coming in to take over. We were so nervous, but people loved us. There were rumors that they were going to cancel Stargate and we were going to take over, and I’m glad that didn’t happen. I think had it happened we would’ve been faced with a lot of animosity.”

From interview with Darren Rea archived at Review Graveyard (early 2005):

Elizabeth Weir in 'Home'

“We’ve been much too sincere in the first season, but it’s something that we talk about. Every thing is still being established on Atlantis. I think that’s one of the elements that makes SG-1 so successful: that absolute irreverence and that wonderful fine balance they have of exploring things seriously and having great ideas, but at the same time stand on the side and take the piss.

“Richard Dean Anderson’s character does that so beautifully. It’s a very hard balance to achieve and I think with Joe [Flanigan]’s dry sense of humour and [David] Hewlett’s very manic and self-deprecating character, we have the ability to explore that more. I think that it’s a very important thing to do and the more we do that, the more successful we’ll be.

“I think we have laid more on the sincere side this season and I truly believe that they will lighten up a little more next year [laughs].”

From BBC Cult interview (Feb. 4, 2005):

“[I’m] very excited [about the renewal for Season Two]. As a medium television is not very loyal, and as an actor I’ve learnt to live as a pessimist, as that allows me to always be pleasantly surprised instead of continually disappointed. I feel very very lucky and very grateful.”

Rachel Luttrell

From interview with Joel Murphy at Hobo Trashcan (April 2007):

Teyla Emmagan in 'Rising'

“Initially, way back in the audition process, [Teyla] was described to me as a leader of her people. I remember someone saying, ‘Just think of her as a sweet little islander taking care of her island tribe,’ which is a much more tepid description than I would ever endeavor to use for my character but that’s kind of how it was posed. There was no real talk about the fact that she was going to be a fighter, warrior, any of that kind of an aspect. Obviously, there was a sense that she had to have a knack for leadership and that kind of a weight to her.

“And the audition process was initially not so different from any of the other auditions that one goes through during pilot season. You go in, you meet with casting agents. Then, if the casting agent likes you, you go back and you might meet with one producer. Then you go back and you meet with a director. It’s like several, several stages before you actually get to do the screen test, which is done in front of a committee of people, suits as well as people who are creative. The producer and the creators of the Stargate franchise were there.

Teyla Emmagan in '38 Minutes'

“And I remember it going incredibly well, except for the fact that I had to sit outside in the waiting room for two hours. It was painful waiting for my turn to go in there and do my job. I took my best friend with me to keep me calm. But it went great. I stepped outside and everybody was congratulating me including some network executives and it just seemed like, okay, I guess this is meant to be.

“A few days went by, a few days turned into a week and we hadn’t heard anything and finally my agent put a call in and I found out I did not get the part. There was somebody at the network who just couldn’t quite wrap their head around me being the right choice. And so, I moved on and started to audition for other things and it wasn’t I think until, oh my goodness, it might have been even like three weeks after that screen test that I got a phone call from my agent saying that they had finally made up their mind and I got the job and I needed to be on a plane the next morning and I think it was 5 p.m. the night before that I found out I had to be on a plane and we were going to start shooting the pilot in three days and I hadn’t read the script. It was really quite a whirlwind. So that’s the incredibly long-winded story, I hope you are still awake.”

From interview with Gilles Nuytens at The SciFi World (Jan. 25, 2006):

John Sheppard and Teyla Emmagan spar in 'Dead Zone'

“[M]ost of my physical training in the past has been dancing, and no, I had never done any martial arts whatsoever. When I got up here, our stunt coordinator, whose name is James Bamford, I was introduced to him, and he saw I had an athletic form, so he decided he would start teaching me the basics of a martial art, called Kali, which is a martial art out of the Philippines. That was my very first introduction to it. When he showed it to me originally, I was quite concerned because it looked like something I would never be able to do, but I practice, and practice, and practice. I think because of my dance training, it’s a little bit easier for me to pick up the choreography. I break it down as if it were a dance when we are doing fight sequences, and that is how I learn it. I’m learning more, but I was a novice when I started.

“I’m a physical person, I like to be physical, and I like to keep my body strong, and any other physical activity that I can do, I always embrace. It’s been very very interesting, I’ve gotten to meet quite a few interesting people, and learn about different martial arts disciplines, their background, their history, and philosophy. It’s been quite fascinating. I do enjoy it quite a bit.”

From interview with Sci Fi Brain (Mar. 2006):

Teyla fights in 'Suspicion'

“Obviously I’m learning how to make it look a little more convincing—more like a fighter, and less like a dancer. That was something that, in the first season actually, our stunt coordinator every once in a while would try to get me to bend my knees a little bit and that kind of thing. But, I think, what has happened is we’ve developed a style that is uniquely me. It makes Teyla look a little more… I don’t know… ethereal? It’s different, and my dance background has definitely helped with that.

“…I knew that SG-1 was incredibly popular, and that we were in the hands of the same people so there was potential, but I was just here taking it one step at a time. The truth of the matter is, I thought that I probably was going to be up here for like six months, and I was like, ‘Okay this is going to be cool. Go up there, get to explore this new character, check out the city and then go back to Los Angeles.’

Teyla in 'The Siege'

“We did start with a bang, but that’s because we’re in good hands. Our guys upstairs—Brad and Robert and all of our writers—they’ve got a handle on what works, and they did a great job with season one…”

From interview with Gilles Nuytens at The SciFi World (Jan. 25, 2006):

“What I love is her mystery, her untold story and depth. I think she has so much depth, whether it be compassion, or, I love that there is so much yet to be discovered about her, and that she is just brimming with possibility and intrigue and that makes me very excited. When I auditioned for her, that is what drew me to her. That there is so much sadness in her life, and so much that is different (in her) from our own sensibility. And that makes me excited about playing her.”

Rainbow Sun Francks

From interview conducted at Polaris 22 in Toronto for “Ramble with Russell” Podcast (Jul. 2008):

Aiden Ford in 'Rising'

“I was actually living here in Toronto at the time. I was a MuchMusic VJ—which is like MTV—about three years and I decided to stop that and go back to acting, which is what I had done since I was four years old. I started on Sesame Street—American—I’m a dual citizen. So, I had stopped that job and I actually have a hip-hop group called The Oddities and I toured the country twice: once with solo members, once with Blackalicious. When I got back, I decided I wanted to get back into the audition room. So, the first audition I had—I called my agent and was like, ‘OK, I’m off my contract…I’m allowed to act again, put me in a room!’

“The first thing she handed me about two days later was a Stargate Atlantis audition. She said, ‘Stargate spin-off, you know, here you go; here’s a script.’ So I got this pretty much blank script that had nothing on it. I went in, I read, I ended up auditioning maybe five…six times that week and then went back. I had to do a live stream audition to Vancouver and Los Angeles, and I did two that day. I hadn’t slept because I had a radio show that I hosted called Circle Research here in Toronto and so it went till six in the morning, so I ended up going—I had the audition at nine…so I called my agent. ‘I can’t do the audition! I can’t do the audition!’ She said, ‘Do you want the job?’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah, I want the job!’ And she said, ‘Well, then, you better get your ass over there!’

John Sheppard and Aiden Ford in 'Rising'

“So I went over, did the audition—tired. They said, ‘Wait here a minute.’ I found out that Brad Wright wrote a small piece that was just for the audition—I found this out later—but, it was this story that the Ford character would have to tell about Sheppard and I did it…I did it…did it again…went out of the room…did it again…all streaming. I did about twelve auditions in a like a three-day period and then finally I went home. They called me and they said, ‘You’ve got to get on a plane in twelve hours or fourteen hours and fly to Vancouver and they’re shooting the pilot.’ One of the craziest weeks in my life to—really fun, though—it was really cool. Next thing I knew, I was shooting the pilot.”

From “The Diary of Rainbow Sun Francks” in the Season One DVD Set (2005):

“It was more than a whirlwind for me; it was a hurricane, a tornado, and a tsunami crashing in on me all at once. It was incredible; it was a good feeling, but overwhelming all together. I’ve only been here a couple of hours ’cause it was an interesting time at home in Toronto. This is overwhelming!

Aiden Ford and Marshall Sumner in 'Rising'

“So I got the script in my hands, started shooting the pilot with Martin Wood and had no idea who Ford was, had no idea who Rainbow was at that point. I was just a body walking around talking. No friends, no family, no nothing, but I had some of the most fun times in my life during the pilot. Got to work with Robert Patrick and almost the entire cast of SG-1 and then right away got into the mix on Atlantis. I had no idea what I was in for!

“Everyone kind of became friends quickly, I think, right after the pilot. We hung out a bunch of times. It also helps being a part of something like the Stargate family. When I got there all the directors that we have in-house are wonderful and they’ve done it for so many years that they’ll show you the ropes. It’s not like they’re coming into it fresh as well, and so I think that has a lot to do with it, too. We’re getting into such a big cushion coming in that all you gotta do is lay down and feel comfortable and we all did that and so…it worked.

“‘Thirty-Eight Minutes’ was a big episode for Ford. It was so intense to do that episode and it was early on in the season. So for me, it was like I wish I could have shot it now.

Aiden Ford leads Beckett and Teyla to the rescue in 'The Eye'

“The mid-season two-parter, ‘The Eye’ and ‘The Storm,’ is one of my favorites, mostly because for Ford, it gave him a chance to lead his own team for the first time. Sheppard’s in trouble and they have to get back as soon as possible and he got to lead his team once he got back. It was like, ‘OK, you guys, now we’re in a military situation and I’m the leader, so listen to me and we’ll get things done.’ And we did.

“‘The Siege’ two-parter: that is ridiculous! I never thought I’d be doing some of the stuff that I’ve been doing as far as, you know, getting on a huge rail gun that shoots at four times the speed of sound and ripping around with the team. The Wraith are trying to take over the city and get back to Earth and there are so many things that go right and go wrong. So, it’s definitely one of my most memorable episodes.

“It’s a brand new show; we’re all working together for the first time and it’s been a long year. I’m just getting to know Ford now and we’re at the end of the season [laughs].

“But now that it’s over, I don’t really remember when we started…seems like it’s always been a close-knit family. We’re all such good friends now, but throughout the season, I mean, there’s been some good times…there’s been some good times.”

Paul McGillion

Even though Paul McGillion wasn’t in the opening credits as a regular cast member until Season Two, he appeared in enough episodes of Season One that it would be a shame not to include him here, providing some of his impressions of how he got the part and what he was allowed to do with the character that led up to his becoming the “beloved” Dr. Carson Beckett.

From The Gateroom Interview (Jan. 28, 2005):

cast portrait of Paul McGillion as Dr. Carson Beckett (season one)

“Well, firstly, the script, the pilot, for ‘Rising,’ was just phenomenal, and when I got that passed to me, I was very excited about reading for the character of Beckett. And following up the great success of SG-1, any chance to work on a franchise like that was a great opportunity. Of course, the character of Beckett originally was a recurring character, with an international flavour, and I, being born in Scotland, I decided to bring the Scottish accent to the table and I thought it was really appropriate for the character and luckily it seemed to work out for me. So I would have to say that the wonderful script was what originally grabbed my attention.

“I initially had a lot of input, because they didn’t know what the character was going to be—he was very open ended. Beckett was, as I mentioned earlier, a character with an international flavour, so they were reading actors, I believe, both men and women, for it, primarily men though, I believe, anywhere from about 25 to about 55. There were characters going with Russian, German, Czechoslovakian, English accents, and I came in as Scottish. So I guess I had a great input in making him Scottish initially.

Carson Beckett in the chair in Antarctica in 'Rising'

“So Brad Wright and Robert Cooper…are the creators of the project, and they give you a lot of liberty as far as playing with the Scottish dialect. As the character started developing, they started writing more for the character, and they’re very open to suggestions—it’s a very open set like that. Of course, when you’re getting great scripts to begin with, it’s just a matter of tweaking it, and throwing suggestions up, but they’re very open to that, which is a great benefit to have. The atmosphere is just wonderful, and right from the get-go, from the pilot, it was just a great feeling—we knew we were doing something special.

Carson Beckett in 'Sanctuary'

“I think that every character an actor plays is an extension of yourself to a certain degree, and I think the well-rounded character that the writers have developed for Beckett is a great pleasure to be able to play. I think I bring my sense of humour to the character, and, when given the opportunity, which I have been in the first season, there a sense of drama that also comes into the character—Beckett could be the cowardly lion as well as the reluctant hero at times. And, so, it’s a really nice opportunity to play a character like that. As far as me, Paul, I think there’s a lot of me in Beckett! I think I’m a little more confident, though, than the character is with the ladies, being honest with you! Or I’d like to think I am, anyway!

Carson Beckett at microscope in 'Poisoning the Well'

“I think when you are dealing with human lives and bio-ethics, you have a moral dilemma to deal with. It’s a very interesting plot to deal with. It’s something that’s not easy, and the character struggled with that. It’s a wonderful aspect that Damian Kindler wrote into ‘Poisoning The Well,’ this internal struggle that Beckett has with Perna, and it really develops the humanity of the character. I think, for me, that was the episode that fans bought into Beckett. Prior to that, he was more of a comedic character, and you saw the real human side of Beckett in ‘Poisoning The Well.’ When I got the script for that, I was overwhelmed—six episodes in, and a fairly large Beckett episode! It was such a pleasure, as an actor, to chew into that. I really, really loved it—I was grateful to have that kind of script.

Carson Beckett with the dying Perna in 'Poisoning the Well'

“It had a very different tone to the rest of the scripts in the season—it was very dramatic, and it wasn’t heavily action-orientated. It was a real pleasure for me to be able to work with Allison Hossack, who played Perna, and Alan Scarfe, who played the Chancellor. They did a terrific job, as did the director for that episode, Brad Turner. When we were shooting the pilot, Martin Wood said to me ‘Damian Kindler wants to have a word with you. He’s shooting a heavy Beckett episode.’ When he said that to me while shooting the pilot, he wanted me to jump in the office, so I went up, and I really felt like I was part of the team. Right after Martin said that to me, I felt this was going to go great places. I just make sure I’m prepared, and do my job, and I just have the time of my life out there. What a great place for an actor to be in!

Young Ernest Littlefield in 'The Torment of Tantalus'

“I was fortunate enough to do an episode of SG-1 a while back, called ‘Torment of Tantalus,’ and my character in that episode was called Ernest Littlefield, and that was my first taste of the Stargate world. I really enjoyed that process, and to become a regular on Atlantis, well, all actors strive for something like that—the security on the job, and, not only that, the atmosphere on the set. It’s like playing cops and robbers as a kid—you go onto a set every where there’s a new adventure in every episode, and it’s just a delight for me to play that. Not only that, but the scripts can be comedic, they can be dramatic, and I think that Brad Wright, Robert Cooper, Martin Gero, Damian Kindler and all the many other writers have just been so gracious in developing the character. That gives you, as an actor, such a wide opportunity, and I really couldn’t be happier.

Carson Beckett in 'The Gift'

“I know where Beckett lies, and I’m a piece of a very large puzzle. I was very happy with the way he developed in the first season, and I was in 17 of the 20 episodes, so I was pretty regular anyway. If he does a bit more [in the second season], that’s fantastic—I’m totally game for whatever happens. More importantly, I’d just like to see the series develop, and, if that involves a bit more Beckett—great! If it doesn’t, then that’s okay too. I have no problem taking a back seat to a great script, and we have lots of great actors who can do the job, so if I can do my piece, then I’m happy. Hopefully, the fans are happy.

“I’m really enjoying the character, I’ll be honest with you. He’s grown into such a fully rounded character that he’s just a pleasure to play. I look forward to it every day. I’m blessed that I had an opportunity to play this character.”


[Thanks to Alison for her help in putting together the Joe Flanigan section.]


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.]


Gallery: 35 New SG-1 Character Wallpapers

We’ve posted 35 new SG-1 character wallpapers in the gallery. The focus has been on getting a nice quality image at a reasonable size of 1024×768. Some are screencaps, some are publicity photos, the originals of which are oftentimes dark and grainy. There are 15 new wallpapers for Daniel, 10 for Daniel and Sam, 10 for Daniel and Jack. You can check out the new wallpapers here in the Solutions gallery.


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

SG-1 Season Seven

Our Thirteen Weeks for Thirteen Years (13-4-13) series continues as we now visit Stargate SG-1 during Season Seven. Amazingly enough, the show didn’t make it to the cover of the weekly television magazine TV Guide until this season (in the July 26-August 1, 2003, issue)!

TV Guide Cover 2004

Just like with Season Six before, the producers thought that Season Seven would be their last, but the ratings were so impressive after the show’s premiere in the summer of 2003 that the Sci Fi Channel announced their renewal for Season Eight after only four episodes had aired. What was even more exciting was that the Sci Fi Channel also wanted 20 episodes of the spin-off Stargate Atlantis to run alongside the new season.

Executive producer Robert C. Cooper took over as showrunner for SG-1, while Brad Wright put the groundwork in place to launch Stargate Atlantis. Amanda Tapping made her directorial debut, helming returning cast member Michael Shanks’ first script, “Resurrection,” while Christopher Judge penned his second script for the show, “Birthright.”

Joseph Mallozzi began writing his Production Diary during this season and gave Solutions first-publishing rights. Starting with the pitching of story ideas, this journal gives a detailed look at the writing and production process from the inside.

Jonas Quinn and Daniel Jackson in 'Fallen'

In the episode “Homecoming,” Daniel Jackson returned to the SG-1 team and Jonas Quinn returned to his homeworld as a leader, taking with him his year of experience in continuing Jackson’s work while living on Earth. As a result, Quinn’s actor, Corin Nemec, was not part of the regular cast this season. Solutions got to do a Q&A with him in 2003, and when asked which of the actors he most enjoyed working with, he revealed, “Michael Shanks. I really enjoyed working with him. I always enjoy working with Chris. And Amanda is great. The two of us really work well together. We had some great moments. Rick is obviously good to work with. But I really enjoyed working with Michael and would love to work with him some more. I feel really comfortable with him.”

Season Seven is when Hugo-nominated “Heroes” appeared. This episode is often referred to by the actors—even to this day—as their favorite and among the best that SG-1 had to offer.

SG-1 Season Seven

Watch the episodes and the come back and vote in our poll!

Brad Wright

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

“For me, that was the year that Robert Cooper really came into his own as an executive producer and proved himself to be a showrunner. I stepped back and took a number of weeks off in the summer just because I have to do that every now and then. I have a family and I wanted to spend some time with them—this can be the type of job that consumes you a little too much. But having said that, I wrote some episodes and stayed very much a part of the show and helped Robert with all the problems that arise when you’re in charge, so I was probably on the phone every day. When I tell my wife I took most of that year off, she says, ‘No you didn’t!’

Jack O'Neill in the chair in 'Lost City'

“The highlight for me of course is ‘Lost City.’ I wanted to do that story so badly as a feature, and I can’t even say that what you saw as ‘Lost City’ was the feature, because it isn’t. It evolved so much, because it had to. It was just a natural transformation. It was, I think, one of our strongest episodes, one of our strongest two hours.

“‘Heroes’ is really good. What makes that remarkable is something that the audience could never know, and that is that it was written as a means of saving money. It was supposed to be a second-unit episode that was written and directed in fits and starts over many weeks, if not months. It was not supposed to be this epic reportage of this character in a two-hour episode. It was supposed to be one hour. And when he [director Andy Mikita] put it together, he realized he had a lot of film. We looked at each other, and said at the same time, ‘So, two parter!’ In a way, the additional scenes made it more epic than it was ever going to be, and therefore quite strong. But those are some pretty good pieces of TV right there.”

Robert C. Cooper

From “Stargate SG-1 Finale Focus: Robert C. Cooper, Showrunner” at M2Tv (Jun. 21, 2007):

SG-1 at the start of Season Seven in 'Fallen'

“I sort of started here at Stargate.

“I went to film school at York University in Toronto and studied directing/writing. I worked for Northstar Entertainment. Their claim to fame was Prom Night. I wrote a bunch [of] low budget features for them. It was an education. I got stuff produced. It was nothing to brag about. They were all schlocky horror, teen movies, but being involved in the process was a real eduction. I got a couple of television gigs in Toronto and ended up writing for about a half season of Psi Factor (with Dan Aykroyd). That introduced me to television.

“I started out as story editor on season one [of Stargate SG-1]. I sat in on the read through at the pilot as a babe in the woods and I owe Brad Wright a great debt of gratitude. I also shake the tree and grab what I want. Jonathan Glassner wasn’t interesting in staying in Vancouver for long and I knew there would be openings, so I measured the office. [a quip.] Season five I became executive producer and took over showrunning duties for season seven.”

An active Stargate (practical puddle)

From “Still Going Strong” at RDAnderson.com (ND/early 2004):

“I think everyone was a little surprised at how well we did out of the gate, just because I guess it’s unusual for a show to be stronger than ever in its seventh season. Before we even started shooting year seven, we’d been talking about season eight. I think that the success that we had early on in season seven on the network was just a reassurance that they were proceeding down the right path, the right course, that Stargate still had a life.

“The thing about season seven, I think, was that they are all kind of departures. Because we were dealing with the Rick issue [in scheduling], and because it was season seven, we took the opportunity to do some stuff that was totally different than anything we’ve ever done before. I think people probably watch it and say, That didn’t feel like a Stargate, but yet, it still was entertaining.’ I mean, it still was something that I think they enjoyed watching for that hour.

SG-1 in 'Revisions'

“One of the things we did last year more than ever, I think, was episodes that stand alone. We haven’t done serialization so much. ‘Revisions’ was, I think, more like a classic Stargate. The team goes to a planet, meets some people, gets into trouble, gets out of it, and comes home. We have definitely been doing much more of that. However, all of the episodes have some sequel element to them. ‘Space Race’ was about Warrick, who was in ‘Forsaken.’ ‘Avenger [2.0]’ was Pat McKenna’s character, Felger, from ‘The Other Guys.’ So they do have sequel elements to them.

Daniel Jackson and Sarah Gardner/Osiris in 'Chimera'

“‘Grace’ was a wonderful sort of departure episode. Carter has to deal with the fact that, what if she dies out here in space, is this what she really wanted for her life? And I don’t mean career achievement, I mean personal life. She has to explore a lot of the elements of her personal life, and then the repercussions of that get played out in ‘Chimera,’ which is a wonderful parallel story of Carter dealing with a relationship on Earth, and Daniel dealing with his lost relationship with Sarah, who’s become Osiris. To me, it’s as interesting to tell that story, about how do you have a relationship when you can’t tell somebody what you do for a living? You can’t come home and say, ‘Gosh, I nearly died today, on another planet.’ So how do you have a relationship? And that’s why Carter has looked at O’Neill in a romantic way, because he understands what she’s going through. So in a way, he’s the perfect mate for her. And yet she can’t make that happen because of the Air Force and their respective divisions. So I don’t know how you DON’T tell those stories.

Samantha Carter in 'Chimera'

“Evaluating where her life was going came out of a conversation that Amanda and I had. I mean, she tends to be, in our scripts, the person who does all of the techno-babble exposition, and we sometimes lose track of the fact that she’s also a woman, who has a life, and we wanted to explore that too. So then ‘Chimera’ was about her meeting some guy, and this guy having to decide whether he really wants to be involved with someone like that. So, I think that’s all fun. We considered [Ben Browder] for casting [as Carter’s love interest]. I love Ben. I think he’d have been great. I would have loved to use him, and I think the crossover would have been a lot of fun. But he turned us down.

“‘Birthright’ explores Teal’c and his putting his lost wife behind him, and moving on, and how tretonin has changed him, and how he’s come to deal with those issues. Chris did a wonderful job. Chris is a talented writer. But that comes from being on sets as much as he has, from being an actor, from seeing the process, from reading the scripts and seeing what he gets on his plate every day that he has to perform, and having a good ear for dialogue, and then having the commitment as an actor to come and spend time in the room with us writers. I mean, it’s not like he just wrote a script and handed it in. He spent a long time with us, breaking the story, and listening to what we had to say about the process.

Daniel Jackson and Chaka in 'Enemy Mine'

“And Peter DeLuise is sort of the same thing. I mean, Peter DeLuise is much much farther along in the process now, but he started as an actor, decided that maybe that wasn’t ultimately going to be a long term successful route for him, and became a very good director, and then also decided that he had it in him to want to write as well, and be a fully rounded contributor to the creative process. And you know what? He went through a real process of growing and learning how to be a writer, and he has achieved wonders now. I mean, his scripts are great now. He was heavily, heavily rewritten on his first scripts, and will tell you that it was a very frustrating process for him. But he’s learned. And it’s come from having had the opportunity to do it as much as he has, writing as much as he has, and that opportunity was given to him because he’s such a good director. I personally think his scripts last year, ‘Orpheus,’ ‘Evolution Part 2,’ ‘Enemy Mine,’ I think they’re some of the best episodes we’d done that year. He’s been rewritten to a certain extent for the sake of production drafts, things change in prep and stuff, but very much what you see was what he brought to the table. And he deserves a ton of credit for having come that far. And Chris, if he sticks with it, will one day get there.

Janet Fraiser and Daniel Jackson with wounded Wells in 'Heroes'

“I think Andy Mikita did a wonderful job directing ‘Heroes,’ and I think the cast really raised the bar a little bit on their performances, and embraced what we were trying to do with it. I hope people watch the show and appreciate it for what it is. I think it’s one of the things that makes Stargate good. People say why is Stargate successful, why is it good? Well, you know what? The jeopardy that we put our characters in is real. People do die. And ‘Heroes’ is kind of a tribute to all of them as characters and what they do.

“As far as the movie goes, the script that Brad and I were paid to write as the, quote, feature film, in Brad’s original plan, was supposed to be the stepping stone, the intermediary creative step between SG-1 and the spin-off. When SciFi and MGM began to talk about doing a spin-off concurrently to SG-1, in order for them to order more episodes of SG-1, to keep that going, suddenly having a transition, a hand-off, the passing of the baton so to speak, wouldn’t work. You couldn’t end one and start the next one, which is what the movie was designed to do. So we had to rethink everything, and ultimately turned the story that was the feature script into the season seven SG-1 finale.

Jack O'Neill in stasis at the end of Season Seven

“We had been building towards it for a long time now. Where is the Lost City, who are the Ancients, the confrontation with Anubis, all those things were something we had been building to, and we couldn’t postpone that for another year. It just didn’t make any sense. So rather than resolve all those issues in the feature script, we took that feature script and we turned it into a two-part finale for season seven that would introduce concepts and characters that will ultimately head off in the spin-off series. [Ending with a cliffhanger] was certainly not how we would have ended the SG-1 series. Had we thought this was going to be the last year, we wouldn’t have ended it that way.”

From an audio interview with SCI-FI Overdrive on Interstellar Transmissions (Jun. 15, 2003):

The crew on location for 'Fallen'

“We think our crew is the best ever. We don’t really hold back when we’re talking about these guys. We have two Directors of Photography—Peter Woeste who also directs and Jim Menard—who are just fantastic. Our camera guys are great; Will Waring is our camera operator who also does some directing and our steady-cam guys—everyone—including Michael Greenburg who is another Executive Producer and is basically on set every minute of every day from—I’m sure he’ll tell you—from five o’clock in the morning until what ever time we finish shooting. And they all really give one hundred percent in terms of making this show as visual as we can.

“And Martin Wood and Peter DeLuise are both Producers on the show. They’re regular directors. They each do about seven episodes each a year. And having directors who are full-time on staff makes such a difference to us in terms of developing the look of the show and having them being a part of the preproduction process as opposed to just walking in and hanging their hat and coming on set and deciding what to shoot. They help us design the look of sets and from the point of view of ‘how am I going to shoot this.’

“I think our show has almost a feature level of quality to it and it’s very much because of the people behind the scenes and their efforts.”

Richard Dean Anderson

From “Executive Orders” in Cult Times Special #26 (Jun. 2003):

Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson talk to Teal'c in 'Orpheus'

“On a personal level, I am delighted Shanks is back. I’ve missed him. There is no doubt there is a certain chemistry between us and we both enjoy the interplay between our characters and enjoy our scenes together and have fun with the roles. Feedback suggests that the people who watch the show also enjoy what we do so it’s all good.

“I think the greatest thing about the whole concept of Stargate is that we have this wonderful prop, this ring that we start with every week, and who knows where it’s going to go or what kind of story is going to unfold. Sometimes we do stuff that is out and out fun. Sometimes the story leads us to investigate some strong moral dilemma issues and sometimes we delve into stuff that is very poignant. ‘Heroes’ has elements of all of the above and is a very strong and different kind of story for Stargate SG-1.”

From an online chat hosted by Sci Fi (Jun. 18, 2003):

Jack O'Neill and his young clone in 'Fragile Balance'

“It was odd [to work with Michael Welch as a young O’Neill in ‘Fragile Balance’]. When I arrived on set he’d already been working so I was able to see the dailies of his work and I could see his audition tape. We had to calm him down a bit. Some of his ‘O’Neillisms’ were too mature. It was fun working with ‘the young me.’ I thought I would be much taller. 🙂

“My job as executive producer is not the classic definition. My duties have become more limited as time goes on. In the early going, as we were finding our rhythms to the whole franchise, I’d be involved with my partner in editing, script editing and development and such, mostly fine tuning what comes out of the writers’ cage. In some regards I became a liaison connecting the writers with the actors, connect some of the problems the writers were having in relationship to the script and the storylines. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what retirement means to a work-a-holic like myself. I may afford myself some time off when all of this goes away. By then I’ll have to pay attention to what my priorities are. At this time it’s my daughter. At this time I will not fall into the trap of saying that I will not work again. But I’d like to enjoy some of the fruits of my labor.”

Jack O'Neill talks about Mary Steenburgen in 'Heroes'

From “The Road Back” at RDAnderson.com (Sept. 11, 2003):

“The source of it [O’Neill’s infatuation with Mary Steenburgen] is my cell phone message. When I first got up here, I programmed in Mary Steenburgen. ‘Hi, this is Mary Steenburgen. Please leave a message…’ It was my phone, my voice, the whole thing. And I have no idea why, except that I really liked the sound of her name, and there was just an oddity involved in having people who, either I knew or didn’t know, friends or never to be friends, calling and getting a voice message for Mary Steenburgen. People who really knew me knew enough that I was just kidding around, and playing, and being mischievous. I had a lot of hang-ups early on, you know? [laughing] But it just kind of bled over, and I think I might have ad libbed it on set after all that. It just kind of came up, so I played with it. There was a speech [in the episode ‘Heroes’] where I’m walking down a corridor, and Saul Rubinek is about to pester me with questions as a reporter, and I said my favorite color is peridot, and I think Tibet should be free, and if I could spend any time with anybody it would be Mary Steenburgen. I mean, the color peridot?? Nobody says that! [laughing] I think what was written was my favorite color was salmon, or something like that, so I just played with it. Who’s ever heard of peridot? So anyway, it’s just one of those Rickyisms.”

From “Richard Dean Anderson” in SFX (Apr. 2004):

Jack O'Neill going into stasis in 'Lost City'

“I can’t pretend to know what the state of the universe is, but the franchise certainly could be a little more resolved. Robert and Brad and the boys really hadn’t drawn the series to a proper conclusion in the seventh year, and in a great part, that’s why it made sense for me to come back and be a part of an eighth year. I know it doesn’t all revolve around me, but I wanted to make sure that we did have the opportunity to bring some closure to the franchise. That helped me to make a decision, and MGM and the producers here were all able to accommodate my needs.”

Michael Shanks

From “Stargate SG-1’s Descending Order” from Zap2It.com (Jun. 6, 2003):

Daniel Jackson as Arrom in 'Fallen'

“There has to be a catharsis for the character that could justify why he wants to come back. You know, you’re sitting on a cloud, hanging with the gods. You get the wings, you get the space babes—everything’s smooth. Why would you want to go back to the mess that it was before?

“He’s been chewed up and spit back out, shows up buck naked in a field in Surrey. It’s very tastefully done. I’m not spread-eagled on a plate of grapes. So, he’s spat back to Earth, and as a result, he has no memory of anything. The team comes across him at some point, as they’re searching for the lost city to which he tipped them off [last season]. Over the course of the season, he gets his memory back of who Daniel Jackson was, but he still has no memory of the Ancients or where he came from—a sort of heaven.

“When he interfered, he was faced with the ultimatum of, ‘You have a choice with us. You can either stop screwing around and interfering, or you can go back to being human.’ And he chooses to go back to being human, because he believes his journey is not complete on Earth.”

From “Back to the Gate” in CFQ Magazine, August/September 2003 issue (Jul. 2003):

“Daniel was a peaceful explorer, an archaeologist, a linguist and a member of SG-1. He was the person who, when dealing with a military organization, was bent on resolving that organization’s agenda. Daniel thought he had to be that voice reminding them not to wave flags. He had to be the one to suggest that maybe there was a better way. No matter what circumstances he was in, he always thought peace was a better solution for everyone. His soul is pure, and sensitive, and he has a shyness and passion within him. But now, since his descent, the character has changed dramatically.

An Ascended Daniel Jackson visits Erebus in 'Orpheus'

“In a lot of ways, he’s more enthusiastic, but he’s also more stubborn, more of a soldier. He’s more confident and he knows he has a clear duty to his people. He’s had to make tough decisions, and those decisions led to his return. In an episode called ‘Orpheus,’ he realizes he’s come back to do something proactive, to push forward their cause, not just be the passive observer all the time. He realizes that his journey is not the end. It’s just the beginning.

“The Jack and Daniel relationship is at more of a crucible. Daniel is getting his memories back, and the love/hate relationship creeps back on them. There’s a lot more gentleness and appreciation for one another. Less bantering will happen this year between the two. They’ll be trying to put things back in proper perspective. They are like good brothers, like a father and a son, and you know, also like an old married couple. I think that it’s getting much tighter, stronger, and closer in every way than before.”

From “Resurrection Dan” in SFX #107 (Aug. 2003):

Daniel Jackson in the rewritten scene in 'Fallen'

“There was one scene from the first episode back [‘Fallen’], a strange scene that Robert Cooper had written, about Daniel recognising something again about Jack because he’s lost his memory. They’re in the locker room getting changed and he sees a picture on Jack’s locker of Charlie, and says, ‘Is that your son?’ It’s a strange conversation that takes place. Except that it was originally written with Daniel walking in after just having had a shower, with a towel wrapped around his waist, and he starts getting into this personal conversation with Jack! I was just like, ‘Oh my God, this is so… so… like a ‘drop-the-soap’ kind of conversation!’ [laughs] I don’t know if Robert had written it to get that point across, or whatever, but we just said, ‘Look here…[I just can’t do that]!’ Because the actual interaction in the conversation was very personal, and it was upstaged by this whole not-so-heterosexual context. So we asked if we could remove the distraction, so to speak, and make it about the content of the scene, so we did that. They’re pretty savvy and they’ve gotten better over the years with not asking you to do things that you’re not comfortable with.”

From Q&A at Fan Odyssey Convention (Jun. 2003):

Daniel Jackson possessed by several personalities in 'Lifeboat'

“A great acting challenge was ‘Lifeboat’ by Brad Wright. He wrote it originally back in the fifth season and didn’t get the chance to use it. … In this episode I got to play many different characters that are downloaded into Daniel. All these characters are played different from each other. They all have their own agendas and their own personalities. The fact that they (the writers) trust you that way is respect enough and that’s a great honor that Brad could give me the credit that I could pull this off. It’s a great gift.” [Note: Michael Shanks won a Leo Award for his performance in this episode.]

From Sci Fi Overdrive radio broadcast transcript at Solutions (Jan. 12, 2004):

Michael Shanks as Daniel Jackson in 'Evolution'

“I actually didn’t write it [‘Evolution’]. It’s listed in the TV Guide that I co-wrote it, which isn’t even true at all. What I did was that at the beginning of the year I pitched a story for a completely separate episode concept which I came up with which was sort of a continuing saga of the ‘Crystal Skull’ episode we did in the third season [with] Nick the grandfather who ends up going off with the aliens. I wanted to continue that story and sort of end up in another mythological quest, which is the quest for the Fountain of Youth. So they liked the idea and they thought that instead of having a stand alone unit, they thought it could be incorporated into an episode that was already being fleshed out. So that’s what ended up happening with ‘Evolution 1 and 2.’

From Gatecon 2003 Q&A transcript archived at Unlock the Universe (Sept. 2003):

“[For me to write a script is] kinda like putting a square peg in a round hole. I have a real story notion for broad strokes, and I suck at detail. So, like any good ex-University student, I waited till the last possible moment. There’s a reason why final exams and deadlines were created. That’s the sense of ‘This is it, pal, hand it in.’ So it was very frustrating for me. It’s not my forte. I’m really good at coming up with some idea and putting it down on paper. But when I have to turn it into rapport with dialogue, I kinda suck. Rob did a good job at polishing [the script for ‘Resurrection’], so I’m pretty happy about it.

Daniel Jackson in 'Resurrection'

[Amanda and I] spent so much time together on set, before I even went off and wrote it, so that we had so much time to talk a lot about it—about different ideas and sorta meet the two in the middle. It was pretty straightforward. She was very reverent to my ideas for it, and I was very hands-off once I wrote it and handed it to Rob Cooper, and he…did what Rob does. So at the end of the day, once I handed it off—I think that’s the best way. I watched Christopher Judge rewrite ‘Birthright’ and…pull what little hair he has on his head out, so I’m very emotionally attached to the fact that…here’s the baby writer, you take the script, you hand it in, they make the changes for whatever reason they want to, and then you should just emotionally back off and have no more say in it. And I watched Chris stand by and say ‘No! Don’t cut that!’ and stuff. So I think after awhile, I just handed the script in and let Amanda do her thing. There was great symmetry, so…

“[Between writing and directing,] I realize that the writing is the one I’m probably the least talented at. Directing, definitely in the future. Although I think the confines of science fiction TV, in terms of what kind of stories you can tell—I think I’m much more of a character piece kind of director, more than a technical director. So I think I have a lot more of that to learn before I can be confident directing highly technical stuff. And the acting thing, I think I’ll do a little while longer, until they kick me out of the club.”

From “Star Man” in Dreamwatch #111 (Nov. 2003):

Daniel Jackson hands over his tape in 'Heroes'

“‘Heroes’ has probably some of the best work we’ve ever done. We have the culmination of some great guest stars mixed with some of our funnier moments and some of our most angst- and pathos-ridden moments. I think they all blend together into a wonderful combination, and the story allows us to see a side of the SGC we’ve never seen before. The episode puts you on a bit of a sentimental roller coaster and I think the audience will really get a kick out of it. We enjoyed making it and I think it’s turned out rather well.

“I also think the two-part season finale is something to look forward to. The script was originally the feature film that was intended to be made at some point, but the producers decided that because of the path the series was going in, we’d shoot it now as two hours of television. It was hugely ambitious and it was shot like a film. I think the audience will be very excited by the outcome. The episode also goes back to the old dynamic and it’s wonderful for all four of the characters to be in a scene together at the same time.”

From “Back to the Gate” in CFQ Magazine, August/September 2003 issue (Jul. 2003):

Daniel Jackson in 'Lost City'

“It’s been a philosophical journey, but I think that the real reason the show’s a success is because it involves what every human quests for, the search for answers. Modern-day people have a chance to step through this amazing portal and go to some place completely unknown, where there are no guarantees, just like on the original Star Trek. As human beings, we all ask the same thing: What is out there, how did I get here, who am I? I think Stargate plays into that universal curiosity, and here we have a doorway that opens out into those answers. And also—even though it’s an alien perspective—it’s intriguing to think that there are other people out there who want to know about us. That kind of scale is somehow relevant to the form we’re taking in the show. I think that’s pretty rare.”

From “Star Man” in Dreamwatch #111 (Nov. 2003):

“It’s very important to grow as an actor and I think that’s what an eighth season would continue to provide for me. There’s always something new to learn and because we do have a very nice, family atmosphere on the set, you feel comfortable enough to latch on to new things easily. I’ve had a great time on season seven and I’m looking forward to season eight.”

Amanda Tapping

From “Amanda for All Seasons” in Dreamwatch (Feb. 2004):

Christopher Judge, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping - O'Neill's Angels

“Corin did an admirable job coming in. It created a very different dynamic on the set and I think it was actually very good for all of us. But having Michael back seems to have brought us all full circle. It’s just comfortable; it’s the way we started out. We’ve got the team back together again. For all of us, it was great. I felt bad for Corin, but it was good for the dynamic and what was happening on the show, and bringing Michael back was also very natural. From a personal perspective, it’s been wonderful.

“When we started doing the show I was very interested in writing, but now I’m leaving it to the experts! I found that when I tried to write a Stargate episode, I was almost too close to the characters. I had a hard time doing it, I could come up with really great stories, but I couldn’t come up with the dialogue. So I think if I were to write anything, it would have to be something that wasn’t Stargate.

From “Major Player” in TV Zone (Feb. 2004):

Sam Carter and Grace in 'Grace'

“[‘Grace’] was a difficult one because my character is suffering from a head injury for 90% of the story and she’s hallucinating. As an actress, it’s my job to make that believable and yet not go over the top with it, so I chose to play my scenes very softly. There are some neat moments between Sam and her team-mates and also her dad Jacob [Carmen Argenziano]. Then, of course, there’s this little girl named Grace. Who is Grace? There are varying beliefs on that. Some people think she’s Sam’s inner child. Others feel she’s Sam’s child if she had chosen family over career. That’s the one I’m going with. The actual character of Grace is played by this gorgeous little girl, Sasha [Pieterse], who is so sweet.

“It’s interesting because in this story the guys aren’t their typical selves. Daniel is somewhat different, Teal’c is more laid back, and there’s the ‘big’ moment between Sam and O’Neill, who’s not quite himself either. I think this has to do with the fact that this is my character’s subconscious view of the guys. For example, this is the first time Teal’c calls her Samantha instead of Major Carter. I’m sure it’s something she’s always wanted him to do, so in her hallucination he does. Chris Judge and I had a blast with those scenes. We started out very low key and then ramped things way up to where he wasn’t speaking at all like Teal’c but a regular dude. We were laughing so much we were in tears.

Sam Carter in 'Death Knell'

“A great deal of ‘Grace’ was shot using the second unit, so it took over a month to finish because I was going back and forth between it, ‘Death Knell’ and ‘Chimera.’ Talk about a bit of a head-trip for yours truly. It was really funny because on ‘Death Knell’ we shot two days where Sam is running from a super soldier and she’s covered with blood and is just dirty and filthy. The very next day we did a scene from ‘Chimera’ where I’m completely dolled up and wearing lipstick, and smart little dress and high-heeled shoes. It was like, ‘Whoa, where am I today?’ I didn’t know whether or not I was coming or going.” [Note: Amanda Tapping won a Leo Award for her performance in ‘Grace.’]

From “Amanda for All Seasons” in Dreamwatch (Feb. 2004):

“The episode [‘Chimera’] is mostly about Daniel and Osiris, and then you have this storyline where Carter gets a boyfriend. It’s very funny because when we finished that episode I turned to Michael and said, ‘This is so not a Stargate episode!’ In ‘Chimera’ I’m in a very sexy dress with three-inch heels! I had a chance to show that other side of her—the sexy, flirtatious and fun Carter—but I don’t want her to be the ‘girly girl’ all the time.”

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

Sam Carter and Pete Shanahan in 'Chimera'

“I’ve actually upset most of the female population by having my character have an affair with this very delectable young man, because I’ve betrayed my one true love, and lost complete integrity of the character as a human being. At least according to the letters I’ve been getting. There’s a very interesting, very big section of fandom called ‘Shippers, and they find the whole relationship with Pete quite distasteful. And yet I say to the ‘Shippers, Carter has had no relationship experience in the truest sense for over seven years. I mean, the last relationship she really had was with her ex-fiance, who turned out to be a megalomaniacal freak. You might recall the episode in season one [‘The First Commandment’] when she went back and he had taken over a planet, as one’s ex-boyfriend does. I don’t think that outcome did much for her confidence, and I think the relationship with Pete does.

Jack O'Neill and Sam Carter in 'Chimera'

“I think it’s rounding her out as a person, and I think that any experience she gets in the love department, in terms of how to foster and keep a relationship, and how to open herself up and open her heart up, will only serve her for the future when she does eventually get together with O’Neill.—No. I don’t really mean that.—I mean, for sure, Carter loves O’Neill. She adores him, and she’s allowed herself the knowledge that she cannot keep pining for this man that she can never have. Plus, as a professional and as a woman, it’s bordering pathetic if she hangs on. It doesn’t mean that she has any less feelings for O’Neill or that she’s not attracted to him. She still has deep feelings of love for him, as is evidenced even after she meets Pete. She still shows it to O’Neill, and that’s never going to go away, but I think what she’s learned to do is to be a pragmatist about it and say, ‘OK! I can’t have this guy, and he’s pretty fantastic, but this guy over here is not so bad either.’

Pete follows Sam to her stakeout in 'Chimera'

“I think it’s really smart that she thinks like that. I know some fans aren’t pleased. I know that they call him Stalker Pete because he did a background check on Carter, and again I say, she didn’t know. She is not aware of what he did. She knows he followed her to the stakeout, but that’s his cop instinct. It’s just human nature to be inquisitive, and if you add to the fact that the person is a cop, and knows that the person you love is going to be in danger, his actions are completely excusable. I would do the same thing, so I don’t think any less of him for that… Plus, he’s cute and he’s charming and is a great kisser.”

From “‘Heroes’ Worship” in Dreamwatch (Feb. 2004):

Sam Carter in 'Heroes'

“[‘Heroes’ is] a great showcase for every single member of the cast. It was directed by Andy Mikita, who did an amazing job, and it’s got every element of Stargate in it. It’s a huge drama, it’s got a bit of comedy and it’s also a great science fiction story. It’s told from the perspective of a documentarian who comes to do a documentary about the SGC. You get to see all the characters out of their element a little bit because they are being interviewed and they don’t know how to deal with that! I think that’s one of the highlights of the year.”

From “Amanda for All Seasons” in Dreamwatch (Feb. 2004):

“[Directing ‘Resurrection’] was highly stressful but really fun. It was difficult in that I was shooting beforehand. Normally a director gets days of prep before shooting an episode, but because I was acting in the previous episode I didn’t have as much prep time. But I absolutely loved doing it. Michael Greenburg, our on-set executive producer, was there every step of the way for me. If I wanted to talk through any of my ideas for a shot, I knew he was there. He was phenomenal. Michael Shanks and Christopher Judge were so supportive, as were the guest stars and the crew. Everyone was great. And being so comfortable with the crew and knowing how talented our camera department is, I was able to come up with some really crazy shots and I knew that they would be able to pull them off.

Amanda Tapping directing 'Resurrection'

From “Get Carter” in Sci Fi Magazine (Feb. 2004):

“It was amazing: All our directors stepping up on this, everyone wanted to give me advice, which was wonderful. Because what I didn’t expect was the sheer volume of questions that I got, and the immediacy in which people wanted answers. The first day of directing was my birthday. The first time I said ‘Action!’ it was very exciting. It’s not just that I’m an actor who’s been on a series for seven years and wants to direct an episode. I want to be a director. As a woman in this industry, I know that I need to have other skills. Eventually, there comes a time when no matter how talented you are, no matter how valid you are, only a very small percentage of older women get work.” [Note: Amanda Tapping was nominated for a Leo Award for Best Direction for this episode.]

From “Amanda for All Seasons” in Dreamwatch (Feb. 2004):

Sam Carter in 'Lost City'

“There was a part of me creatively that said, ‘OK, how much further can I take this character? How much further can we go?’ But we were all of the mind that we wanted to finish what we had started, and that leaving—especially with the way season seven ended—wouldn’t have been right. It wouldn’t have done the characters justice. It didn’t feel right to walk away from it. Michael, Christopher and I all did want to come back. If we hadn’t come back, I would be down in LA right now trying to find a job!

“It’s funny, I talked to Rob Cooper the other day and he said, ‘If you can think of something you would like to have happen with Carter next year, let us know.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, wow, that’s hard to think about!’ I don’t know really, as long as I’m still being challenged. I’d like them to bring back her boyfriend! I think we’ve opened up an entrance into her personal life and I’d like to see that explored more. Teal’c and Carter have had some great moments over the years and I hope that continues to grow. And I’d like to see the dynamic between the team keep growing. I love the character, and I think she’s come a long way. It’s so refereshing to play someone that strong, and she doesn’t make any apologies for it. She’s strong without being bitchy. It’s going to be hard to hang up those boots!”

Christopher Judge

From “A Teal’c of Two Planets” in Cult Times #96 (Sept. 2003):

Christopher Judge and Michael Shanks in 'Homecoming'

“Season Seven—wow! What can I tell you? The prodigal son has returned and everyone is ecstatic about it. I can’t tell you who is most thrilled. It’s probably me, although I’m not totally sure whether it’s me or the writers because they’re enjoying getting stuck in to some really juicy stuff that Michael can actually get his teeth into. Having Michael back full time even further highlights how much he was missed last year in so many ways. You know, I don’t want to make too little of Corin Nemec because he was great, but Michael and the character of Daniel Jackson—you just couldn’t really fill that with anyone or anything else. Just the work that he’s done since being back, his renewed energy and insight to the character—it all points to how much he was missed last year.”

Teal'c and Daniel Jackson do research in 'Fragile Balance'

From “The Buddy System” in TV Zone Special #55 (Feb. 2004):

“It’s nice this year that the writers/producers are really letting Michael and I do quite a bit of stuff together, you know? Personally, I enjoy it, and character-wise I think it makes for a very interesting combination.”

From “A Teal’c of Two Planets” in Cult Times #96 (Sept. 2003):

“The writers have been great at allowing Teal’c’s personality to evolve gradually throughout the seasons. We sit down at the beginning of every year and discuss what is going to happen with his arc and I know there is going to be a lot more insight into what makes Teal’c tick this year.

Teal'c in 'Orpheus'

“One of the pivotal episodes from last year was ‘Changeling,’ which saw Teal’c lose his symbiote. Fans have asked how losing that would change him and all I can say is that though the thing that made Teal’c alien was the symbiote, he is originally from Earth. I think he is returning to his roots and getting closer to being more human-like, but I don’t know if he will ever be a ‘normal’ human being in spite of the loss of his symbiote. There is an episode right at the start of the season [‘Orpheus’] that deals with just that particular issue and we do investigate the repercussions of that situation later on too.”

From “Teal’c Cuts Loose” at Sci Fi Pi (May 31, 2008):

Female Jaffa in 'Birthright'

“We’d always had pitches for shows about Amazons, but they always seemed a bit like Wonder Woman type of thing, so I came up with concept of these women under one particular god who so wanted warriors that he would kill off the children until he got a boy—which led to one of their princesses spiriting their children away and so on.

“The way a normal story is written—you pitch an idea, if the writers like it, then they all sit in a room and they break the story. Break the beats, break the acts, break everything. And then you basically write the dialogue. I asked Brad, ‘Would you mind if I didn’t do that, because I would really like a real assessment if I have a future in this or not.’ And he said, ‘Sure.’

SG-1 meets Ishta in 'Birthright'

“So I actually turned it in early. Then we went on summer hiatus and I didn’t hear anything from Brad or Martin Wood, who I’d also given a copy to, and also to John Smith. And nothing. So I’m just sitting there thinking ‘guess I’m an actor’…

“Then on the Saturday before we were to go back to work, there were three messages on my phone. And they swear they didn’t talk. Brad, Martin and John each saying how much they enjoyed it, blah blah blah. Structurally, Brad definitely fixed that, but for the most part, we pretty much shot what I wrote, which I learned is not the way it always happens. As a writer, especially as a TV writer or film writer, you can’t be ‘married’ to the work or take it personally. The whole thing, I really owe to Brad Wright.”

From “A Teal’c of Two Planets” in Cult Times #96 (Sept. 2003):

Teal'c and Ishta in 'Birthright'

“‘Birthright’ is not by any stretch of the imagination gratuitous sexiness. … It really does deal with the warrior part of a powerful group of women and then explores the mythos from a different perspective. It has aspects of The Underground Railroad in it and stuff like that so it is not at all a cheeseball take on spandex and all that kind of nonsense. There is a valid message within for anyone who cares to ponder on it.

“It was great fun to write. I really, really enjoy that process and just think it’s great that our producers allow us to be part of that procedure. I’m eternally grateful for their encouragement and support. Writing is a skill I am very keen to develop and I can’t think of a better place to learn and hone that craft.

“There is, however, absolutely no chance of my directing. I couldn’t even think of trying with Richard Dean Anderson nor Michael Shanks. They would give me so much trouble. Amanda Tapping would be a delight but I’ve been too much of a pain in the past and joked around too much to even think about trying to direct an episode of this show. Even with a crowd as sympathetic and supportive as the guys we have on SG-1.”

Teal'c at the memorial service in 'Heroes'

From interview with Sci Fi Weekly archived at ChristopherJudgeOnline.com (Aug. 20, 2007):

“I think our definitive story was ‘Heroes.’ I think ‘Heroes’ probably captured the true essence of what the show was about from the humorous aspect, from the human aspect; the battle scenes and stuff were just absolutely feature-quality, and the effects were feature-quality. You can’t afford to do a show like that every week, but I think that so encapsulated everything that encompassed Stargate.”



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

SG-1 Season Six Team - Cast

We’re looking back at the ten-year run of Stargate SG-1 in our Thirteen Weeks for Thirteen Years (13-4-13) series, and now we’ve arrived at Season Six. There were changes both on screen and behind the scenes after MGM’s Hank Cohen saved the show from its cancellation from Showtime at the end of Season Five by selling it to the US’ Sci Fi Channel for Season Six. In addition, the Sci Fi Channel got the rights to show reruns of older seasons, so a new audience was opened up to them. The move from Showtime to the Sci Fi Channel turned out to be a boon for both the cable channel and the production.

Another major change for the show was the introduction of a new member of the SG-1 team: Jonas Quinn, played by Parker Lewis Can’t Lose lead actor Corin Nemec.

The return of Daniel Jackson as an ascended being also played into three pivotal stories of the season, one of which was “The Changeling,” Christopher Judge’s first script for the show.

At the beginning of Season Six’s production, plans were in place to end SG-1 with this season and go on to a feature film that would act as a bridge between the adventures of SG-1 and the non-military team in the spin-off. At the time that Season Six was starting its principal photography in February 2002, Brad Wright said, “In a perfect world, which this isn’t, we would roll into the feature after a relatively short hiatus immediately after the end of the series. So, we would wrap season six, take a very short break, then go into prep for the feature. You have to get the feature ready so that you can then roll into a spinoff series.” By June 2002, the spin-off had a name: Atlantis.

And then something unexpected happened late in 2002: they were renewed for a seventh season!

SG-1 Season Six

Are you rewatching at home on your DVDs or through Hulu? However you’re doing it, once you’re done, come back here for our poll:

Brad Wright

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

“I respect good notes. I listen to good notes—but I’m not changing the series just for the sake of change. [Sci Fi] didn’t want to do that. To their credit, they knew what they were buying. And obviously, at that point we had done over 100 episodes of it. We seemed to know what we were doing, so they were very hands-off and quite respectful of the show for what it was. And at that time it was doing very, very well for them in re-runs. So it had a significant value for them.

Jack and Daniel in 'Abyss'

“Season six was the first season that we thought was likely our last, but it wasn’t. Who knew that resurgence of season six [would happen]? Basically, the show found an audience that had never seen it before. That’s one of the reasons we were able to grow, to expand the show even more. It was a watershed year.

“‘Abyss’ I would have to call my highlight episode. There was a lot of fun scenes in that and it was nice to see the spark between Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks on screen.”

Richard Dean Anderson

From “SFX Profile: Richard Dean Anderson” in SFX (Jun. 2002):

“Given that there was a request of six years for me to do the show, and I’d done a series before for seven years, I was kind of…well, not running out of gas, but… I have a three-year-old daughter, and I wanted to spend some time with her. That was my only requirement about doing a sixth series: I needed more time at home. I didn’t need more money or anything like that, I needed time.”

From “Stargate SG-1 Goes Even More Sci-Fi” at Zap2It.com (Feb. 22, 2002):

Jack and RDA share an injury in 'Redemption'

“I couldn’t be greater, except that I twisted my knee yesterday carrying my kid to ballet class. I’ve been aggressively skiing since December, not an incident, then I’m carrying my baby … . Anyway, I have to go have it looked at. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.”

From Live with Regis and Kelly (Jun. 7, 2002):

“Listen, we had General Ryan come on and do a little cameo for us, and he’s a real live four star, one of the big guys, and he came on. And I had to ask him point blank, because there’s a certain irreverence that I bring to the character, and denseness, but while we were doing this scene, I just looked at him and said, ‘Do you have guys like me in…?’ and he stopped me and said, ‘Yes, and worse, and you’re doing a fine job, son.’ So I guess that was license to misbehave. You gotta have fun.”

From an interview in TV Zone #158 (Jan. 2003):

“I’m very happy with how this year went. We dealt with the introduction of a new character [Jonas Quinn, played by Corin Nemec] as well as the loss of an old one [Daniel Jackson, played by Michael Shanks]. Everything just seemed to fit. It was a comfortable transition and, I felt, a credible one, too.

Jack and Daniel in 'Abyss'

“I got to work with Michael Shanks a couple of times this season, even though he wasn’t a regular ’employee.’ We had the opportunity to do some fairly intense scenes where they threw our two characters together in a paper bag and shook them up. I really enjoy acting opposite Michael, partly because of his awareness of rhythms coupled with his propensity for speed and reaction. The relationship between Jack and Daniel has, I think, found a really nice levelling off place this season.

“I thought it [Jack’s relationship with Jonas] unfolded nicely. Certainly, the seed was sown for conflict and distrust between the two of them. However, throughout the season, Jonas proved himself to O’Neill, who also had some revelations about Jonas’s relative innocence in regard to Daniel’s death. Oddly enough, we’re shooting a scene today that I think further proves that O’Neill has come to accept Jonas. My character actually says something complimentary to him such as, ‘Get well soon, we need you out there.’ That’s O’Neill’s mid-western way of saying ‘You’re OK, kid.’ [Note: ‘Prophecy’ was the last episode to film for Season Six, even though it was the penultimate episode.]

Jack O'Neill in 'Paradise Lost'

“Martin [Wood] did a wonderful job with ‘Full Circle.’ It was a big production and we wanted to make sure that it was in the hands of somebody who’s used to doing our show. I really enjoy working with him and Peter DeLuise [writer/producer], who also directs several of our episodes each year. Along with being great human beings they’re also very talented and innovative people. Both Martin and Peter aren’t afraid of exploring new ways of doing things and I truly appreciate as well as admire that.

“I’ve received so many compliments about the sixth year. The Sci-Fi Channel really lucked out and got qualitatively a wonderful season’s worth of work. Hopefully, we’ll be able to give them that again and more in Year Seven.

“I have some pressing issues on a personal level as well as career-wise that I have to deal with that will affect my future on Stargate. In fact, last night I jotted down some points in an effort to clear my head as far as what my objectives would be with regard to a career move. Because I tend to write honestly to myself, I concluded that the ideal situation for me would be to stay on this show for a seventh season, albeit in an abbreviated form. I’d rather do that than the alternative, which would be to say goodbye and look for something else down the road. Honestly, I’m not interested in doing that, and with good reason. In this cast and crew of Stargate I’ve got a spectacular sense of community and virtually a family. There really is a warm feeling on our set. So it would be great to somehow work out an arrangement in which we do a seventh season.”

Amanda Tapping

From “The Carter Command” in XPosé (Oct. 2002):

“It’s all gone to Hell in a handcart—the whole show. Honestly, it is so much fun. This is probably the most fun we’ve had in the show since Season One. Not to say that the others haven’t been great. I mean every season had its own personality and it’s always been fun but this year… maybe because we know it’s our last… we’re just digging it. We’re loving each other, we’re laughing our asses off. We’re having a great time.

“It’s been a good season actually. There’s a lot more humor in Carter this year. She’s cracking a lot of jokes, or at least she’s attempting to and we get to see a lot more humor in Teal’c too. Part of it is that we’ve got this new team member in Jonas Quinn and we’re all still a little wary of him. He, maybe, in some ways has bonded the three of us together more. It’s kind of like ‘Watch out for this guy!’ because, you know, he makes mistakes based on his naiveté and we’re all rolling our eyes.

Jack O'Neill and Sam Carter nearly drown in 'Descent'

“For Carter it’s been a cool season. For example, Richard and I got sunk underwater in one episode [‘Descent’]. Actually, we nearly drowned in this set that goes underwater. The set was meant to go underwater but it flooded. However, aside from the near drowning experience, the episode had a major cool factor for us.

Jonas Quinn, Sam Carter, and Teal'c in 'Nightwalkers'

“Richard had an episode off whilst he went down to Chile so Carter led a mission. It took place on Earth so Teal’c, Jonas and Carter got to wear real clothes and, I swear, we were like the Men in Black. We got to wear these long, black coats just like MiBs and that was very cool. We have all these little aliens on Earth and was such fun to do. It was one of those episodes where Christopher and I are finding ways to make the relationship between Teal’c and Carter lighter. Especially with Jonas in ‘Nightwalkers,’ you’ll see a lot of looks between us that just sort of show how solid the relationships are.

“Then, of course, my dad [Carmen Argenziano as Jacob Carter] has been back and is coming back again—which is a huge treat—and we’ve been to the Antarctic [‘Frozen’]! So yeah! All in all it’s been a really cool season so far.

Sam Carter in Season Six

“It’s kind of like being in your very last semester at school. It’s like everyone has grown up and now we’re like—wow—we can just sit back and enjoy. Plus the episodes seem bigger. The scope of that seems bigger. The sets are bigger and we’ve been on lots of locations. I can’t stress how great it’s been so far because when all is said and done, all things come full circle and we’re back to how we were in Season One which is—’This is it! Let’s just have blast and enjoy each other.’ One thing that’s always made working on Stargate SG-1 such a pleasure is that we really are a family. It’s the one thing that I so appreciate about our show. I adore the way that not only does this apply on set, but in the way that our producers and our writers foster that. For instance, Brad Wright and Robert Cooper and Michael Greenburg are never too busy to listen. Our producer John Smith is on set first thing every morning and he’s the last face you see here at night. It’s full on for him. I get my hug in the morning, then he’s around for the remainder of the day and like the rest of us, he really does enjoy what he’s doing.”

From “Amanda’s Army” in Starburst (2003):

“The season as a whole I thought was fantastic. I thought that it was such an interesting dynamic bringing Corin in, or bringing this Jonas character in, and it changed the relationships of everyone and it sort of infused the show with new life. It was a really strange season for us, but I think that it was a really good one.

Sam Carter in Season Six

“[For] Sam’s development, no, but I’m not complaining. Her job in Season Six was to help move the story forward, doing a lot of explaining or taking us to places. She facilitated stories, but she didn’t have a huge emotional mark in Season Six. She was the go-to girl. You need the information, go to Sam. You need something explained, go to Sam. You need some back-story, go to Sam. There wasn’t a lot of character development for her. There were certain episodes that I thought were fun to play, like ‘Nightwalkers’ and ‘Smoke and Mirrors,’ which were sort of Earth-based stories about ‘Who do you trust and who don’t you trust?’ I certainly had a great time shooting Season Six, but I don’t feel that the character of Sam had a huge amount of development.”

From “Amanda’s Q&A with Fans” (Oct. 30, 2002):

“We’re all cautiously optimisitic about a seventh season. It’s a double edged sword in terms of feeling the need to move on creatively and loving the family and security of Stargate. But, the show is still great fun and the character is still interesting to play so I guess we wait and see what happens. If there were a seventh season I would like Sam to expand her emotional base. She is much warmer and nurturing than she was in the beginning but there is always room to grow. I would like more stories that show us as a team in real peril.”

Christopher Judge

From “Passion of the Chris” at Blockbuster.co.uk (Aug. 2008):

Teal'c in 'Allegiance'

“The first years of the show, you’re just so giddy about getting something like a Stargate, it’s all about having a good time…and I wasn’t alone. Oh no—I had some knuckleheads with me! It’s just when you get to the point that you don’t ever grow up, that’s when it becomes a problem. But I was very fortunate. Our producers were very patient with me for a number of years and, frankly, had more faith that I would come around than I did. I had a talk with [series co-creator] Brad Wright and told him of my desire to write, and he not only facilitated that but encouraged me as well. From that point on I started to see the possibilities of a future writing, producing and things like that, and I pretty much owe that to Brad.”

From “This Alien Warrior” in Starlog #308 (Mar. 2003):

'T' and Dr. Jackson in 'The Changeling'

“We’ve had a great year, but I had my doubts going into it, because Michael Shanks left, and he’s one of my best friends, and Teal’c had such a good relationship with Daniel Jackson. It ended up that the stories were good, Michael came back a few times and Season Six was one of our best years ever. And as for Teal’c, I had always said I wanted him to have a slow and steady evolution, and in Season Six he evolved even further. Now my only worry is: Where do I go next season?

“There’s so much going on with this guy. I wanted him to have this slow evolution, and now that we’re in Season Six, we’re starting to see that pay off. This year, we’ve seen him finally have some resolution with his wife and some closure with his son, Rya’c. He had left his family and now he finally got his son to understand the ‘why’ of it. That was definitely a defining moment.

“For me, personally, ‘The Changeling’ was the most important show. I wrote it, and Brad did such a brilliant rewrite on it. And what [director] Martin Wood brought to the table just far surpassed my own personal vision of the script. Every department had suggestions and input. I felt that on that episode, everyone and every department just went above and beyond the call of duty. It was so touching to be a part of it. And not only that, but my girlfriend and two of my sons were in it. We had a bunch of old friends in it, too. Tony Amendola was there as Bra’tac, and so were Peter Williams [Apophis] and Musetta Vander [Shan’auc]. It was a fantastic experience on every level, just so satisfying to me personally and professionally.

The human side of Teal'c in 'The Changeling'

“Storywise, I got to touch on some things I had wanted to see for a while. Many people had forgotten that the Jaffa were originally taken from Earth, so they’re actually descended from humans. Teal’c is very much like a human man. Yes, he has certain advanced physical abilities and healing and recuperative powers, but in his heart and is his mind he’s very much a man, and he dreams and aspires to things just like human men do. I wanted to make him human for a bit and go into his mind and see some of the things that he has been thinking and dreaming and wondering about. And I think we did that.

“Several people have said to me—and I agree with this—that Season Six has been about taking Teal’c forward, whereas Season Five was about exploring his past. It’s the furthering of his journey. It’s even more about his evolution and getting back to his humanity, if you will. It really continues on down to the season’s end. Whereas in the past Teal’c used to kind of sit on the sidelines while everyone else made decisions, he has now become a part of the decision-making process. He’s an active part of the group and not an observer anymore.”

Corin Nemec

From interview in TV Zone Special #46 (Jul. 2002):

Jonas Quinn in Season Five of 'Stargate SG-1'

“The casting people from the Sci-Fi Channel just happened to be walking through the courtyard [at MGM’s Santa Monica offices while I was preparing to audition for a feature film]. I’d worked on two projects last year for the USA Network. They own the Sci-Fi Channel, which now airs Stargate. Apparently the Sci-Fi people were looking for an actor to play Jonas Quinn, a new character being introduced into the show to fill the void being left by the departing Daniel Jackson. So they came over to me and introduced themselves. We started talking and they briefly mentioned something to me about Stargate. I didn’t give it a second thought. That afternoon my manager called and told me that they were interested in me for Stargate.

“I met with Hank Cohen [President of MGM Television Entertainment] along with several other people to find out a bit more [about] the part because I’d never seen the show. I was familiar with the Stargate film but not the TV programme. They picked out videotapes of four episodes that they liked and gave them to me to watch. I remember enjoying the movie a great deal but obviously I didn’t know what to expect from a spin-off series. Well, I was blown away. The production design, the cinematography, the acting, etc, were all top notch. That truly impressed me as I love Sci-Fi and action-adventure types of shows. I was also fascinated with the mythology they’d come up with. I thought it was neat how it weaves right in with our Earth mythology and supports Stargate‘s overall story arc.

Jonas Quinn as a member of SG-1

“Having watched the tapes I called MGM and said, ‘This is definitely a project I’d like to become involved in.’ After a couple of more meetings I was cast as Jonas Quinn in the episode ‘Meridian.’ As far as my long-term involvement with the programme, we agreed to wait and see how the character looked on film and how everybody worked together in that one episode. Once the final edit had been done on ‘Meridian’ and it looked like everything had turned out OK, I got a call from MGM saying, ‘We’re very pleased. If you are, too, then let’s more forward.’ So we did and here I am.”

From video interview conducted by Movie Geek Feed at the Trek Expo in Tulsa, OK (posted on YouTube on Jun. 27, 2009):

“But coming to the show, you know, replacing [Daniel Jackson], it could have been harder. Because everyone was so cool—all the cast, the crew, the producers—everybody was just really welcoming and really laid back, so it made the transition for me really easy. The actors, the entire crew, all the directors—everybody on Stargate was like a big family, and just like a family, they were very welcoming.”

From interview conducted by “Fist Full of Comics” at the Mid-Ohio Comic Con (posted on CorinNemec.com Dec. 19, 2006):

The team in 'Shadow Play'

Well, [there was] not necessarily any training [to prepare for the role] really, except only for my own workout regimen, because I had to put on a lot of weight. For myself, personally, I wanted to put on a lot of weight—a lot of bulk—in order to be able to fit in with the look of the entire group, especially with Chris Judge. He’s such a big guy, you know, and if you don’t bulk up, you’re gonna disappear on screen next to a guy like that. And Richard Dean Anderson is like 6’3″, so the fact that he’s so tall it’s also easy to lose youself on screen with someone like that, even though I’m six feet. So I put on about 20-some-odd pounds in muscle mass, really, and a little fat, to be able to [fit in]. So I did that for the show in order to—just for myself—in order to get the look I wanted.

“[By] the time that I started on Season 6, I did watch every single episode of all of the first five seasons within like two-and-a-half to three weeks of having started up on the show. So, like by say the second or third episode, I was completely familiarized with everything that was going on storyline-wise.”

From “Nemec Previews ‘Stargate'” in Sci Fi Wire (Jun. 6, 2002):

Jonas Quinn joins SG-1 in 'Redemption'

“‘Redemption, Part I and II,’ is a really wonderful show. Essentially what it does is it introduces the audience to Jonas Quinn, to his abilities, and it gives you a glimpse of what he has to offer, what he brings to the table. [It] shows his enthusiasm about wanting to do all he can to assist the SG-1 team. It’s also like a trial period for him, because he’s trying to convince the rest of the team that he’s a good candidate to be on SG-1. He’s got to prove himself to O’Neill and the others. Over the two episodes he achieves most of his goal. They finally say, ‘OK, we’ll give you a shot.’ But that’s only the beginning. He’s got to keep proving himself and proving his credibility and prove that he’s actually got something to offer. It’s exciting and a little scary, because I think the audience will be watching him just as closely and going, ‘Can this guy really be worked in? How can he help?'”

From interview conducted by “Fist Full of Comics” at the Mid-Ohio Comic Con (posted on CorinNemec.com Dec. 19, 2006):

[There’s] only one [acting challenge] that developed over time, which is kind of funny because I really don’t talk about it too often, but the use of props as a character became an issue close to the end of Season 6. It came from somewhere on high that they no longer wanted me to use any props and that, to me, was really disconcerting as an actor and confining because suddenly I was not allowed to explore as an artist in the scenes and find what’s organic and natural to me in the beats and moments. I felt that the allowance of that previous to the last like maybe…three episodes of the season where they put that rule into effect, the character had developed these interesting quirks because of the use of props: the eating of things, the experiencing of all of the new and the interesting kind of items that exist in this new world.

Jonas Quinn and his banana in 'Descent'

“For instance, there was an episode [‘Descent’] early on in Season 6 where me and Teal’c are in outer space and I produce a banana partway through the scene and we have this alien-on-alien conversation in outer space while I eat this banana. That was purely just an idea I came up with at the craft service table because the scene to me lacked—it was just two guys talking, which is fine, but there was nothing really happening for me that was of interest outside two guys talking. So, when I saw the banana, I was like, ‘Now that’s interesting.” And Pete DeLuise, the director of that episode—who is Dom DeLuise’s son and, you know, he’s a brilliant comedian in himself and he really understands humor—and he loved the idea and it turned into one of the most memorable moments. In fact, out there in the web world and fandom, there’s a group of young fans called The Order of Jonas’s Banana—The OJBs and they’re mostly European—but there’s a whole group of them and they go to the European cons and they wear these banana-colored capes and stuff, and it’s all because of that one moment. That came out of having the freedom to explore and discover moments, so that [the restriction concerning props], to me, was very, very strange and confining at the tail end there.”

From “Stargate – Interview with the cast and crew of Stargate SG-1” by Cyberex Online (Jan. 2003):

Jonas swimming in 'Descent'

“It was fun to swim on the set and hold my breath a minute and a half. I’m enjoying the action aspect of the show. Jonas has become a contributing member of the team. It’s just a balance around background, so as the storyline develops more, the character becomes more involved in the storylines. It’s becoming more exciting for me as an actor.

“Jonas is absolutely based on a part of me. He has a number of attributes true to me. I’m bringing those aspects of myself to the character because it works with him. Of course he’s an alien, but I just imagine myself in those fantastic situations and act accordingly, whatever they are.”

From interview in TV Zone Special #46 (Jul. 2002):

Jonas Quinn and Jack O'Neill in 'Full Circle'

“Carter is the first character that the producers had warm up to Jonas quicker than anyone else. Jonas and Teal’c end up bonding because they have similar backgrounds. Both are aliens who left their worlds as well as their lives behind to join SG-1’s cause. As for O’Neill, the nice thing about him is he’s a loyal guy. He’s loyal to his team mates, his mission and he was and still is loyal to Daniel Jackson. They went through a lot together, so he can’t just blindly accept this new guy taking Daniel’s place. Jack is the person that Jonas has to prove himself to the most, and even when he’s allowed on the team, the colonel doesn’t automatically accept him.

“As I said before, Jonas still has to get out there in the field and pay his dues. So his relationship with O’Neill is a bit strained but I like that because it makes things all the more interesting.

“I have a feeling that by the time this season ends we’ll have a pretty refined character in Jonas and one that’s in a position to develop further. If I get the chance to do that with him, cool. If not, I’ll be grateful to have at least walked in Jonas’s boots for 23 episodes.”



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

SG-1 in battle in '48 Hours'

Next in our Thirteen Weeks for Thirteen Years (13-4-13) series is Stargate SG-1 Season Five, one of the most shocking of the seasons for long-time fans as they suffered through the death of a team member. Dr. Daniel Jackson began his year-long journey as an Ascended Being after dying from radiation poisoning saving a world. The team had up to this point been solid and extraordinarily fortunate to still be intact after this long, and after losing Daniel, they had to deal in the only way that they could during a time of war: by moving on.

The show itself also had to move on after being effectively cancelled by Showtime at the end of this season. Why? Brad Wright stated in a chat with fans at that time, “I suppose it was because Stargate appears so much in syndication that Showtime thought the series was no longer identifiable with them. I was surprised because we were still among their highest rated shows. But the Sci Fi Channel has been very welcoming to us and we’re happy to have a home.”

So at the end of this season, the producers were aware that they’d be moving to the Sci Fi Channel and getting Season Six, which they then thought would be their last, with the hope that a movie, or even a movie franchise, would follow close behind.

SG-1 Season Five

After watching Season Five’s episodes, make sure to come back and vote in our poll below!

Brad Wright

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

The TV team of 'Wormhole X-Treme'

“[‘Wormhole X-Treme’] was a highlight of that year, [but] I think all of the actors felt a little bit as though the 100th episode should have been about their characters. At first I thought, ‘that’s silly’—because we were trying to put the entire crew into the story, and to laugh a little bit at ourselves. That was the goal. I think that was a good idea, [but] I think Michael and Amanda were right in pointing out to us that it would have been nicer to be a little bit more front-and-center, because it was the 100th episode. Who knew then, of course, that we would get a chance to fix that in the 200th!”

Daniel departs

From “Brad Wright on Michael Shanks’ Departure” in Cult Times #74 (Nov. 2001):

“It’s not an easy thing just to say goodbye to a character who in many ways is the heart and soul of your series. Richard (Dean Anderson) is the name above the title but Michael Shanks’s Daniel character carried the morality of the show and that is something we will simply have to struggle to replace…ultimately it will be up to the fans to decide how successful we are. Of course, the method by which Daniel is leaving completely leaves the door open, and if things work out he will return.”

Joseph Mallozzi

From interview at SF Signal (Oct. 2, 2009):

“At the beginning of each year, we would sit down and discuss a general arc for the upcoming season. One of the great things about SG-1 was that it lent itself [to] a variety of stories – arc-driven vs. stand-alones, off-world vs. Earth-based, dark mythology vs. comedic outings, etc. The sandbox was wide open. We just had to find a spot and dig.”

From “Joseph Mallozzi’s Weblog” (Feb. 4, 2007):

Ba'al in 'Summit'

“As much as I’d love to take credit for Ba’al, he’s a character that owes as much to Cliff Simon’s portrayal as he does to all of the writers who developed him over the years. When I wrote ‘Summit,’ I did so with a mind to making it a try-out of sorts for the various system lords. Ba’al certainly stood out amongst them.”

From “Joseph Mallozzi’s Weblog” (Apr. 15, 2008):

“In SG-1’s ‘Summit,’ I introduced about a half dozen system lords and used the episode as an audition of sorts to find out which of the characters would pop—and have potential to come back. Cliff Simon’s turn as Ba’al was great and, based on his performance in ‘Summit,’ we brought him back. Many, many times.”

Favorite Moments and Episodes from Season Five in “Q&A” with sg1_hc Yahoo! List (Jan. 12, 2002):

“Moment #9: Watching the dailies of ‘Threshold’ and seeing Chris lying, shirtless in the snow, solemnly delivering his lines, then, the second the director yells cut, seeing him jump up and ‘eloquently remark’ how cold it is.

“Moment #10: Michael pokes his head into my office and informs me Jelly [Mallozzi’s pet pug] ate his tuna sandwich.

“Episode #4: ‘Summit’: One villain is cool. A whole host of villain is just indescribable.

“Moment #11: Going down to check out the set of ‘The Tomb,’ taking a wrong turn and briefly getting lost. Now THAT is an impressive build!”

Richard Dean Anderson

From “Jack of All Trades” in Cult Times #75 (Nov. 2001):

“O’Neill has looked to Daniel for the greatest camaraderie and certainly [Michael] and I have had a lot of fun with the banter for which we’ve become famous. As actors we do have fun in the little snippets of scenes that Michael and I have been able to play with. He’s very quick and I enjoy that. But for O’Neill it will have to be life as normal without him. Life goes on.

Jack alone with his thoughts in 'Revelations'

“In fact, in the script we’re shooting right now [‘Revelations’] there’s a reference where Carter brings up Daniel’s departure and O’Neill is very pragmatic about it. That’s not to say there won’t be moments of reflection or of sentiment, but O’Neill is a soldier. He’s been through this. He’s been through this stuff with his kid, which is the most emotionally wrenching. With Daniel, it’s a comrade in arms that’s gone down. If you can remotely make a correlation with what’s going on in the world now [with 9/11], I’m sure that the guys who are dealing with the aftermath of the devastation have all shed tears within their personal families and within their ‘other’ families—their teams—but they pick themselves up and get on with it. That is what O’Neill has to do.

Jack O'Neill in 'Meridian'

“I talked to Brad Wright quite a bit about the future and how we should proceed with the franchise. The thought was that after the fifth year we could possibly have developed a feature film. Brad approached MGM about that but they dragged their heels and weren’t real forthcoming because what they ultimately wanted was a sixth season of the TV series in order to raise as much capital as possible and then they would consider it.

“The major focus of my life is my daughter, Wylie. She’s three years old now and in the last year I’ve been away from her so much that it’s very important that I re-establish a stronger bond with her, especially now when the groundwork of our relationship is being done. She truly is the light of my life and if any interesting projects come up I will have to work them around Wylie. If it’s the Stargate movies, great, if there isn’t anything for a while, even better. I’m actually putting some serious thought into the time management of my career and for the rest of my life. I can actually tell you that I’m informally retiring after Season Six. It’s time to pursue the things that interest me and that is first and foremost Wylie, then the Rivers Project and the Sea Shepherd Society—two non-commercial ventures I hope to become more involved with. It’s the right time for me to do this. I’ve been working my ass off for years and now it’s time to reap the benefits of the life I’ve been leading.”

Michael Shanks

From “Through the Gate and Home” at Stargate SG-1 Solutions (Mar. 2003):

“Daniel is a kind of loner. He was an adopted kid and probably was very disappointed in what he saw around him. I think that over time he decided to make up his own set of rules, to trust himself. At the same time he is very anti-social. He’s not very good at expressing himself without stepping on toes. So he is very ethical because I think he doesn’t know quite how he fits in with humanity.

Daniel cries for the loss of Reese in 'Menace'

“I think his job with the team itself operates like his conscience. He is the person who, when dealing with a military organization, is bent on resolving that organization’s agenda. He’s in the back row reminding them of the human factor, reminding them that they are ambassadors of their people. We have to operate in terms of how we can mediate and dispel the differences between us, to recognize what we want and what is best. Each member of the team shares that responsibility, and Daniel thinks he has to be that voice reminding them not to wave flags. He has to be the one to suggest that maybe there’s a better way.

“He’s the team’s squeaky wheel. And I think he’s a bad dresser! Daniel’s sported a lot of different hairstyles throughout the series, too. His taste is improved, though. He’s a very sensitive New Age guy. Most of my friends probably say I’m not! But there’s a certain shyness and sensitivity within him that’s also in me. He has passion and idealism, and I like to think I do, too. Maybe together we make one good parallel.”

From “Problem Solved” in TV Zone (Aug. 2001):

Daniel hands Chaka a zat in 'Beast of Burden'

“Last year, whether by design or not. I’m not quite sure, Daniel became a voice of morality for the SG-1 team. His is a non-military viewpoint, and I think that’s very important given the nature of the military hierarchy. If an officer says, ‘Jump,’ a soldier will ask, ‘How high?’ However, a person who doesn’t fall under that hierarchy or who can’t be court-martialled may ask, ‘Why am I jumping?’

“So in the SGC, Daniel tends to be the voice of morality. However, there are some moral dilemmas that have no right or wrong solution and this is true in ‘Beast of Burden.’ My character has to face the fact that his way is not always right and people don’t always have to accept the ‘right’ way. Some things aren’t going to change no matter how hard you try. I think you’ve got to take a stand, though, when it comes to an issue. It may not necessarily be the most popular one, but it’s what you believe in at the time for whatever reason. Daniel is forced to do just that here. There are some ramifications that follow from the action SG-1 takes in this episode and I hope we have the opportunity to revisit this planet in a future story to see what’s happened.

Daniel solves the puzzle to open the ziggurat in 'The Tomb'

“The episode we’re shooting now [‘The Tomb’] is a great one for Daniel. As the archaeologist on the show he gets a big charge out of being in his element, and for me as an actor, the character is the most fun to play when he’s feeling that way. So this story plays perfectly into that. Our heroes are sent on a mission to investigate an ancient Babylonian temple or ziggurat. In order to uncover the mystery surrounding the tomb, they first must decipher an archaic Earth language. This is where Daniel’s problem-solving skills come in handy. Even the door to the place itself is a puzzle and one that my character is able to solve. Of course, once he and the others eventually get inside they find a surprise or two waiting for them.”

From “So long, Daniel Jackson, until we meet again…?” in TV Zone #146 (Dec. 2001):

Daniel and Janet in 'Rite of Passage'

“Because we’d work together for so long, the four of us—Richard, Amanda, Christopher and myself—had become a squabbling, playful family. If you came in off the streets and saw us you’d think, ‘They’re so unprofessional,’ but we were just having a good time. When you’re with the same group of people so much you have to tease each other like that, otherwise you’d go crazy. Luckily for her, Teryl Rothery [Dr Janet Fraiser] wasn’t with the rest of us all the time. So she’d come in every now and then and be this wonderful professional. It was great to have that sort of grounding or calming influence. At the same time, it was fun to throw Teryl off every now and then and watch her sweat it out because she was so concerned about doing a good job. She always had a good sense of humour about it, though.

“I enjoyed playing Daniel. I think what I liked most was his excitement whenever he discovered something new. We saw this in the episode ‘The Tomb’ with some of the discoveries he made. Certainly they were less important to the story once we got through the front door of the ziggurat but it was fun for a while to see the character in his element. It was the same in ‘2001’ when he put together the pieces of the puzzle to solve a mystery. Daniel never lost his passion for exploration and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

Amanda Tapping

From “Tapping Talks New SG-1” with Sci Fi Wire(Jan. 15, 2002):

Sam Carter in 'Desperate Measures'

“I actually issued myself a challenge at the beginning of season five, because I knew the character had developed so much over the four years, and I didn’t know what was going to happen to her in season five. And so I sort of issued myself a challenge of finding a new way into the character. Which meant everything from the way she walks to rediscovering her whole physicality to rediscovering her love of certain things and what makes her tick. … It helped me to reinvent her in my own mind, which made it interesting then to play her.”

From “Who’d Live in a House Like This?” in Cult Times (Jun. 2001):

“[‘Ascension’] is a huge, huge episode for Carter. We get to see where she lives. I get to wear normal clothes. I drive an amazing car. It’s sweet. You know what? I think Carter is very cool. She has a 1940 Indian motorcycle; a 1961 beautiful, mint, vintage Volvo and she’s got a Harley in her garage that she’s working on, too. How great is that?

Sam Carter and Orlin in 'Ascension'

“I have a man. Of course, at first nobody believes he exists. He’s a bit like ‘my imaginary friend’. Actually it’s a great episode for me because everyone thinks I’m crazy and plays into the fact that Carter has no life outside the SGC. They play into the fact that she never relaxes, so they keep saying things like ‘take it easy’, ‘rest’ and ‘go home’. So you get to see her house and see that she does have a normal life. It’s not like she’s a complete loser, you know. Well, she might be a little bit of a loser, but not totally.”

From “Amanda’s Q&A with Fans” (Dec. 5, 2001):

Sam Carter smiles at her counterpart in promo for 'Wormhole X-Treme'

“We laughed our fool heads off [during ‘Wormhole X-Treme’]!! There was a great sense of joy on the set because our crew was so involved in it. Many of our crew were extras and they had a blast. Michael and I, unfortunately, were not in a lot of the show. We shot most of our scenes separately from Rick and Chris. The briefing room scene when we were watching the promo for the show was a lot of fun.

Sam Carter in 'Between Two Fires'

“More now than at the beginning [my personality is in the character Samantha Carter]. I think it’s impossible to play this character without putting some of myself in her. She is much more serious than me, though. I laugh way easier than she does. But the line is definitely blurrier than when the show started. I’d like to think we have the sense of loyalty and the same level of commitment.

“My biggest strength, I guess, is my commitment. I am a workaholic and will spend a huge amount of time doing research and homework. I commit 110% to any project I’m involved in. My biggest weakness is my lack of self esteem. I don’t always fight hard enough for my ideas and I am easily bullied by directors. That is the thing that has changed the most since Stargate started, but I have a long way to go.”

From the interview in Starburst #284 (Mar. 02):

“There are times when you feel creatively frustrated, and I guess that I’m feeling it a bit at the moment. This year has been very mixed. In this season, we’ve had a lot of emotional episodes for Carter, and some great stories. But, there’s also been a lot of techno-babble that I’ve had to speak, and if that’s all this character is going to be next year…”

Christopher Judge

From interview in Xposé reprinted at Jaffa Kree (Aug. 2001):

Teal'c in '48 Hours'

“Five years down the line I am more enthusiastic about the show than I have been for a long time. During the third and fourth seasons I was kind of looking forward to the gig being over, but with season five it seems that everybody has come back really fresh and excited. I know I was looking forward to coming back more than I had for ages. It really is fun again. It’s a lot lighter and everyone is getting along really well.

“Seasons three and four were like the dog days of summer when you just wanted to get through it. Seems now there’s a real vibe, a real sense of adventure again. It’s a bit like a relationship between two people. You start off and everything is wonderful and then you get into a deeper understanding and things aren’t always that great but then you rediscover what it is that brought you together in the first place and it’s fantastic again. We’re really going for it this year.

Daniel Jackson and Teal'c in '2001'

“Daniel and Teal’c are spending more time together, which is great because really, the only relationships that have been fleshed out previously are Teal’c’s relationships with O’Neill and Bra’tac. Teal’c’s relationships with everyone else were pretty unsubstantial. But the writers are spending more time actually getting into his relationships with Daniel Jackson and Carter, which is something that we welcome very much. The whole relationship between the entire group is getting more attention and focus. I don’t just talk to O’Neill.

Teal'c before becoming First Prime in 'Threshold'

“The first two episodes of season five are really tremendous for me as an actor and for Teal’c as a character. ‘Enemies,’ which was the first episode we shot when we came back, was the continuation of the cliffhanger from the last season and also the first part of the second episode called ‘Threshold.’ Combined, the two really deal with my character’s whole back-story and lead in from and tie up directly with the show’s pilot episode. In ‘Children Of The Gods’ there was basically no development as to why Teal’c chose to help SG-1. So what ‘Threshold’ really does is kind of deal with my life and how I came to feel like I did about the Goa’uld; why I was teamed up with Bra’tac and about my training with him. It also focuses on my life as a young warrior before I was Apophis’s First Prime.

Teal'c in the snow in 'Threshold'

“[‘Threshold’] really was a fun episode to do and I got to work a lot with Tony Amendola [Bra’tac], who is a delight to work with. We had to shoot this thing in the snow, which was interesting, especially as I had my shirt off again. However, there are no photographs because none were taken. Our publicist didn’t think it was important enough to have a photographer on set that day so there are no photos of me, near naked, freezing my ass off.”