All Actors Return for New Season

Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis return with full casts, plus one

FROM SCIFI WIRE: SG-1 Adds Black As Regular

Claudia Black (Farscape) joins the regular cast of SCI FI Channel’s original series Stargate SG-1 in its upcoming 10th season, and the principal cast members of both SG-1 and its spinoff series, Stargate Atlantis, have signed on to reprise their roles in the recently announced new seasons, the network said.

Black, who plays the recurring role of Vala in SG-1‘s current ninth season, becomes a regular, joining stars Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Michael Shanks and Beau Bridges, who will all return.

Meanwhile, Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, David Hewlett, Rachel Luttrell, Paul McGillion and Jason Momoa will all return to Stargate Atlantis.

Stargate SG-1 becomes the longest-running SF drama on U.S. television and will mark its 200th episode in the upcoming season.

SG-1 wraps up its ninth season with new episodes starting on Jan. 6, 2006, paired with the final new second-season episodes of Atlantis and new episodes of Battlestar Galactica.

[Thanks to Aurora for the tip — DeeKayP]

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SG-1 Wins SyFy Portal Awards

‘Stargate SG-1’ Big Winner At Genre Awards

Author: Michael Hinman
Date: 06-19-2005
Source: SyFy Portal

SciFi Channel’s “Stargate SG-1” was the big winner at the 2005 fan-voted SyFy Genre Awards this year, taking home four awards, including BEST SERIES/Television.

The winners were announced in a live chat at SyFy Portal’s Yahoo Group, which was attended by a handful of faithful readers from around the world, from as close as the United States, to as far as Toronto and even Croatia.

Besides winning for Best Series, “SG-1” also won for Michael Shanks as BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR/Television, BEST SPECIAL GUEST/Television (for Claudia Black in “Prometheus Unbound,” and BEST EPISODE/Television for “Prometheus Unbound.”

Black was very popular in the awards this year. Not only did she win Best Special Guest, but she also won BEST ACTRESS/Television for her role in “Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.” Her co-star in that movie, who moves over to “Stargate SG-1” this season, is Ben Browder, who won his third SyFy Genre Award in the BEST ACTOR/Television category.

Michael Hinman, founder of SyFy Portal, said that more than 80,000 votes were counted for this year’s Genre Awards, a record. The Genre Awards have been a staple of SyFy Portal since 1999, and is open for all fans to vote once per day for 30 days. The awards were held every year, except 2002, which took place right after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Read rest of story at the SyFy Portal website
[Thanks to morjana and sueb45 for the tip — DeeKayP]

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Claudia Unbound

Claudia Unbound
David Bassom, Stargate SG-1 Official Magazine #04, May/Jun 05

Throughout Prometheus Unbound, viewers are left guessing as to whether Vala (played by Farscape’s Claudia Black) is a villain or a heroine. Black feels that the ambiguity that surrounds her character creates a lot of potential for Vala’s six-episode story arc at the beginning of Season Nine.

“We really don’t know yet about Vala,” she explains. “I think Daniel Jackson finds her very frustrating. I don’t think he feels he can trust her much, but he does find her intriguing and I think he respects her ability. So I think she’s going to be an interesting character to watch in Season Nine.”

Season Nine will also feature Claudia Black’s leading man from Farscape, Ben Browder, in a new regular role as a military hero who becomes involved in SG-1. Black has no doubt that her former co-star will prove to be a fine addition to Stargate SG-1.

“They are so lucky to have Ben,” she states. “I actually don’t know if they realise how lucky they are yet. Ben’s energy knows no bounds, so I think he’s going to run them ragged. He’s got the spirit and the enthusiasm as a performer of someone a third of his age.”

Many viewers have already noted the physical similarities beween Browder and longtime Stargate SG-1 star Michale Shanks, and Black is only too aware of what they’re saying. “They do look alike,” she agrees with a grin. “It certainly was weird for me to walk onto the Stargate SG-1 set and see Michael in an almost identical costume to what Ben wore on Farscape! I’m sure there will be some tongue-in-cheek comment on the show on their similarity. One of the joys of Stargate SG-1 is that there’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour.”

“The one thing Michael and Ben really do have in common is that they take their work as actors very seriously. I also think that their way of working is very similar; they’re both very professional and both very technically proficient. And I think they’ll be delighted to find those qualities in each other. I’m very happy they’re getting a chance to work together. I know they have met, and Michael spoke very highly of Ben, so they’ll give each other a run for their money and I know they’ll have a lot of fun together. And I’m sure the onscreen chemistry between the two of them is going to be phenomenal.”

In addition to appearing alongside Michael Shanks, Browder seems destined to appeare opposite Black in Stargate SG-1 – and that’s one reunion Black is excited by. “It will be nice to do something with Ben where I have the opportunity to be a lot more playful,” she notes. “Our characters could even hate each other! That would be fun.”

As excited as she is about what the future holds for Shanks and Browder, Claudia Black is even more thrilled about what Stargate SG-1’s ninth season has in store for Vala. She has relished her Stargate SG-1 experience to date, and feels that Vala could captivate viewers like never before during the coming year.

“I do believe Vala is an interesting character and there’s room for her to grow,” she declares. “There are just lots of possibilities for the character, and I think she’s going to be fun to watch. I know the show’s producers were very clear about her back-story and where she came from but not all of that was revealed in Prometheus Unbound, so I think there’s a lot of scope for her in Season Nine.”

Buy the official Stargate SG-1 Magazine online to read the rest of this lovely interview

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Black and Browder Talk About New SG-1

They are excited that they have the opportunity to create two new characters

Former Farscape star Claudia Black told SCI FI Wire that her character in the upcoming ninth season of Stargate SG-1 will bedevil Michael Shanks’ Daniel Jackson for the season’s first six episodes. Black reprises the role of the mischievous Vala first introduced in last season’s “Prometheus Unbound.” “I’ve come to make Michael Shanks’ life a misery,” Black said in an interview at the Saturn Awards in Los Angeles this week. “The character I’m playing is sort of the hair-pulling variety. She’s really infuriating, but, I hope, funny.”

Black finds herself again sharing a show with Farscape‘s Ben Browder, who joins the regular SG-1 cast as Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell, a new member of SG-1. But Browder said that he won’t share much screen time with his former Farscape on-screen flame. “They’re trying to keep us apart,” Browder said. “But we’ll break them down eventually. They’ve got to give us one [scene together]!”

Black added: “There’s a good reason, though, [for keeping us separated],” she said. “It underlines how obviously different our characters are this time around. It’s a whole different ballgame.”

Read the remainder of the interview at SCI FI Wire and find out who is now in charge on the set of Stargate SG-1!

Discuss this interview on our Stargate SG1Solutions Forum
[Thanks to Sueb45 for the story — DeeKayP]

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SG-1 Takes Home Two Saturn Awards

Stargate SG-1 still considered among the best on TV

Special Recognition for Stargate SG-1:

Stargate SG-1 received two Saturn Awards, one for “Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series” (its second year in a row), and one for Amanda Tapping as “Best Supporting Actress on Television” (her first Saturn Award).

Also included in the honors, are Season Nine‘s Ben Browder (joining the cast as a regular, Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell) and Claudia Black (recurring character Vala), who picked up awards for being the best actors on television for their roles in “Farscape: Peacekeeper Wars”.

From the announcement made on the Official Saturn Awards site:

(Los Angeles) The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films handed out their 31st Annual Saturn Awards on May 3 and two films dominated the accolades for the evening: “Spider-Man 2” and “Kill Bill: Vol. 2”. “Spider-Man 2” walked away with a total of five Saturn Awards which included Best Film (Fantasy), Best Actor: Tobey Maguire, Best Director: Sam Raimi, and Best Writer: Alvin Sargent. It also won Best Special Effects. “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” also received multiple honors for Best Film (Action/Adventure/Thriller), Best Supporting Actor: David Carradine, and Best Supporting Actress: Daryl Hannah.

The television series, “Lost”, received two Saturn Awards for Best Network Television Series and Best Supporting Actor: Terry O’Quinn. The mini-series, “Farscape: Peacekeeper Wars” received three Saturns: Best Television Presentation, Best Actor: Ben Browder, and Best Actress: Claudia Black.

Receiving Life Career Awards this year were Fox Filmed Entertainment Co-Chairman Tom Rothman, and producer/writer Stephen J. Cannell. Also honored was Kerry Conran with the Filmmakers Showcase Award. “Star Trek” was commemorated with a Special Recognition Award for it’s 18 year run on television.

The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films was founded in 1972 by Dr. Donald A. Reed to honor and recognize the achievements of genre entertainment. Many of the industry’s leaders have attended the annual event. They include: Rod Serling, Fritz Lang, Rouben Mamoulian, Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Bryan Singer, Roger Corman, Gale Anne Hurd, Brian Grazer, Nicholas Cage, Stan Lee, John Carpenter, Kevin Spacey, Sherry Lansing, Ron Meyer, Gore Verbinski, Walter Parkes, Christopher Lee, Lon Chaney Jr., and Boris Karloff. Currently serving as President of the non-profit organization is Robert Holguin.

SCI FI Wire Saturn Award Announcement
Announcement of the winners of the 31st Saturn Awards on the Official Site
Discuss this on our Stargate SG1Solutions Forum
[Thanks to Sueb45 for the announcement — DeeKayP]

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Claudia Black on Shanks, Vala & S9

Welcome Black!
Cult Times #113, Feb 2005
Extract from an interview with Claudia Black by Thomasina Gibson

Asked how much fun it was to slap Michael Shanks around on the set of “Prometheus Unbound,” Claudia Black hoots with laughter and says, “You know what? He [Michael Shanks] was such a good sport. He really was and he came out with a lot of those original little beats and ad libs that made the whole thing such fun. Michael went in and blocked a lot of those scenes to his character’s detriment and he really was so generous with the scenes. He was really trying to find the best way to interpret each scene and we both trying to make the most of the scrupt because they wrote such a beautiful script and such a wonderful character for me. So Michael put in his own inclination to be playful. He was such a great sport about it [playing it for the gag]. It was fantastic.”

“One of the nicest things is that Vala just has a lot of potential. She is just a very interesting material character. I’ve never played anyone that unpredictable before. Vala is very like Chiana from Farscape in that she is amoral, and that is a really interesting arena in which to play.”

And what was her experience of filming? “They are an extremely happy crew on Stargate, so a lot of that first day tension recedes immediately when you’re welcomed by everyone as I was by them. I had had a very quick chat with Andy Mikita on the phone beforehand and loved him straight away. It was the same with Michael.”

Claudia Black has been invited back to fulfil a five-episode arc in Stargate’s staggering ninth season. Even better news if the fact that Ben Browder will also be joining the team. “I’m delighted for him,” announces his friend. “Delighted. I really don’t think they realise what a gem they have with him. He’s amazing. I am so delighted that they appreciate him enough to invite him on to the show because he gives his all.”

Is Black going to be working with her former Farscape co-star? “I think it would be too much of a delicious opportunity to ignore. I haven’t spoken to the producers about it since Ben officially came on board, althought I did see something online where Robert Cooper said something about if there was an opportunity to put us both together on screen they would take it. I would love it if it happened.”

“I think I’m only coming in for a short time and I really want to work with all the other directors because you learn so much working with different people but I really want to work with Andy again because he was just so gorgeous.” Black is looking forward to working with all the Stargate stalwarts, including Peter DeLuise – she’s a huge fan of 21 Jump Street – and that noted sweetheart Christopher Judge, whom she socialises with.

“Sadly,” says Black, “Although I have met Amanda Tapping, I don’t think I’m going to work with her because I think my function is to be there whilst she is attending to a very significant event in her life.” Tapping’s baby is due just as Season 9 goes into production.

You can buy Cult Times #113 online and read much, much more of this fantastic interview!

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Claudia Black talks Stargate with the BBC

Claudia Black recently gave an interview to BBC Online for its Farscape website. In the interview, she was asked several questions about her experiences filming Stargate and her character, the feisty, manipulative alien Vala.

BBC:What was it like playing Vala on Stargate?

CB: I found it interesting. I only did my scenes with Michael Shanks, I didn’t really meet any of the other actors, but I found that he was, professionally, very similar to Ben.

They were very open-minded on the set about the banter between me and Michael and what we could improvise if required, but it was a very well-written episode.

BBC:And there’s a possibility you might reprise the character?

CB: It was funny because the crew said to me at the time, “Your character doesn’t die in this episode, so you might come back,” and they’re very consistent in Stargate, they do bring a lot of guest characters back.

So there’s definitely the scope for Vala, and I’ll be interested to see what they come up with. And I’ll be very interested to see Ben and Michael Shanks working together.

BBC:If both you and Ben end up working on Stargate, there’ll be a campaign to have you acting opposite each other within moments.

CB: Oh god! That’s a really frightening prospect.

Won’t 50 per cent of the shippers want the dynamic to be exactly what they know and love from Farscape? I don’t know, maybe 100% will be hoping it’s the same dymanic, and I don’t know how I feel about that. What an interesting propect!

I would work with Ben in an absolute heartbeat. What I would like to do is test my range and his range, which I know goes way beyond the scope of what we were doing. Farscape gave us a lot of scope and a lot of opportunity to try many different things – the blind episode, the crazy episode. But I’d love to test our respective ranges.

For me, as an actor, I really want to get into a realm where I’m taking huge risks, and I know that I can do that with no one more so than with Ben, so if the opportunity arose for me to go back, work on Stargate, and work closely with Ben, I’d really want to mix it up a bit and have a play.

BBC: Do you think science fiction is challenging for actors?

CB: I still think sci fi actors are underestimated by audiences who may not know what’s requried of them. They work even faster on Stargate than we did on Farscape, but Stargate often get their scripts on time. [giggles] There’s a reason why Patrick Stewart was hired to do the job that he did, even though he came from a Shakespearian background. You have to understand how to play the stakes for heightened drama, and you learn that or die in theatre. While it’s a little bit safer on television or on a film set to call cut and go again, you don’t have the time, so a disciplined actor is really going to save the producer time and money if they can be a one-take wonder.

So it takes someone with high intelligence and dedication and a lot of discipline.

Read the full interview with Claudia Black at the BBC Online website

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Season 9 spoilers to date

Main regular cast members for Season 9

Michael Shanks – returning as Dr. Daniel Jackson
Christopher Judge – returning as Teal’c
Ben Browder – joining the cast as Lt. Col “M.M”

Recurring cast members

Amanda Tapping – recurring as Lt. Col Samantha Carter for 15 episodes
Claudia Black – recurring as the alien Vala for a 5-episode story arc

Daniel and Teal’c

“Fans of both Daniel and Teal’c should be very happy with the back half of SG-1’s 8th season. Prometheus Unbound, Full Alert, Reckoning I and II, Threads, and Moebius I and II promise some major developments for both characters (and, incidentally, allow Michael to flex his comedic muscles more than a couple of times). DJ and Teal’c will have their hands full in the second half of season eight, and that’s a trend that will continue through season nine (and hopefully beyond) as the developments/revelations from the aforementioned episodes will see them front and center as we kick off a new year of SG-1. …We’ve got big plans for the boys.” –- Co-Executive Producer and Writer Joseph Mallozzi

Daniel and Vala

“[Next season] Claudia [Black] is going to appear in a five-episode arc in the role of Vala. She’s great. You’ll get to see just why we wanted to bring her back in “Prometheus Unbound,” which has yet to air.” –- Stargate: Atlantis showrunner Executive Producer and Writer Brad Wright

“She’s [a] human from another planet. And she’s a bit of … an enigma. You’re not quite sure what her true story is in the episode ‘Prometheus Unbound.’ She’s a bit of a rogue who tells a long story about her planet and her people and her past, and then in the end you’re not really quite sure whether it’s true or not. So she’s a bit of a wild card. She’s a very … sexy character, who isn’t afraid to take whatever … she wants in any given situation. And we had a lot of fun writing the role, and I know she had a lot of fun playing it, and we’re going to try very hard to maintain the integrity of that character and still have her sort of join up with the team, but still sort of keep the essence of that wonderful friction that went on between her and Daniel, and I’m sure it’ll continue to sort of play out with the rest of the characters as well.” –- Stargate SG-1’s showrunner Executive Producer and Writer Robert Cooper.

Lt. Colonel “M.M”

“Ben is playing a military guy, a lieutenant colonel. And I can’t tell you his name yet. It hasn’t been legally cleared yet, so it could still change.” Browder’s character, who joins the show in the upcoming ninth season, has a past history with the Stargate program, Cooper said. “The audience just hasn’t met him yet,” he said. “He’s actually played a key role in some major events that went on … in the Stargate universe and was in fact very instrumental in helping SG-1 succeed in one of their more important missions. And as a result of that, he was given … his choice posting. And he ultimately chooses to join SG-1. So when he first appears on the show, SG-1 will already know who he is. And we’ll see some of those scenes and how he was basically woven into the tapestry of the show through flashbacks.” –- Stargate SG-1’s showrunner Executive Producer and Writer Robert Cooper.

Q: If Ben’s character has already been somewhat defined – will his character be a member of the military? A Stargate SG-1 team member? An alien? Can you talk at all about what kind of man Ben will be playing?
A: Rob will tell you this, but yes, he’s a military man. Specifically, he’s the F-302 pilot (our Earth-designed space fighter) that led the squadron that fought Anubis in Antarctica. He was badly injured when his fighter crashed, nearly killed but was promised a place on SG-1 if he made it back to fighting form. I’m not concerned with Crichton comparisons that may arise. SG-1 is a unit of the U.S. Air Force and so he should be an officer, but it’s a very different show. –- Stargate: Atlantis showrunner Executive Producer and Writer Brad Wright

Browder hopes his new, higher-profile series will help the cause of another Farscape project. “It’s not only a good career move for me, but it could be good for the whole Farscape cast.” — Ben Browder

Jack O’Neill

Q: Is Richard Dean Anderson coming back at all for Season 9? There was some talk of 4 appearances for Season 9, but has anything been confirmed? If he does not come back for Season 9, what happens to him at the end of Season 8?
A: O’Neill will continue to be a part of the SG-1 universe. Whether we actually SEE him is up to Rick, but the character will continue to exist on or off screen. He may appear in one or two or more episodes. But let me add this: I handed over the reins of the SG-1 to Robert in season seven because I needed a rest and wanted to spend more time with my family. That’s all Rick wants to do, and I don’t blame him. I came back. The door is open for Rick to do the same. –- Stargate: Atlantis showrunner Executive Producer and Writer Brad Wright

The character of Brig. Gen. Jack O’Neill will remain a part of the show in the upcoming ninth season, whether or not Richard Dean Anderson returns as a regular cast member. “His character is going to remain very much alive in the Stargate [SG-1] universe. He … is going to be integral in commanding what goes on at the SGC. As to the appearance of Richard Dean Anderson in the series, that’s really still undetermined. We are very hopeful that Rick is going to agree to participate in a number of episodes, but I have no idea as to how many or when that will be resolved.” -– Stargate SG-1’s showrunner Executive Producer and Writer Robert Cooper.

“My decision to leave the show is purely a personal one, based first and foremost on my desire to spend as much time as possible with my 6-year-old daughter in Los Angeles.” –- Richard Dean Anderson

Samantha Carter

“We are having to … deal with a brief absence of Carter, [played by] Amanda Tapping, who’s pregnant. And we had already discussed a storyline that involved the return of Vala, … the character played by Claudia. And so we thought it worked perfectly to have that sort of miniarc play out maybe while Amanda was less available to us.” -– Stargate SG-1’s showrunner Executive Producer and Writer Robert Cooper

“I know there are also a lot of questions about season nine of Stargate. I will be returning. I am slated to do 15 of the 20 episodes. I will return to the show in May. I will bringing the baby with me, (not through the gate of course..heehee) and we’ll see how it works out. I know I am not the first actress to do this and I sincerely hope I am up to the challenge. I am very excited! It’s going to be o¬ne heck of a year.” –- Amanda Tapping

Season 9 in general

Meanwhile, Cooper said the ninth season would introduce new villains and take the show in a new direction. “While we say new direction, … the concept of the series is very much pulled from the mythology of SG-1, and I think fans are going to be very excited about the direction we’re going. … One of the things we’re going to be exploring in season nine is the origin of the Ancients and the Gatebuilders. And it’s something I know fans have been sort of very curious about, and have sort of asked to see. And that is … one of the things we’re really going to be delving into: … Who the Ancients really are, and where they came from, and we may even get a chance to go there.” –- Stargate SG-1’s showrunner Executive Producer and Writer Robert Cooper.

Season 9 will have a new beginning with a new enemy. I think once you’ve seen the end of Season 8 you’ll understand why we’re doing that. –- Stargate: Atlantis showrunner Executive Producer and Writer Brad Wright

A Solutions source has revealed that Emmy and Golden Globe winner Beau Bridges has been cast as Stargate Command’s new general. Bridges will succeed Don S. Davis as Major General George Hammond and Richard Dean Anderson as Brigadier General Jack O’Neill.

Discuss the Season 9 spoilers on SG1Solutions Forum

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Black & Browder reunite in SG-1

Robert C. Cooper, executive producer of SCI FI Channel’s original series Stargate SG-1, told SCI FI Wire that Farscape star Claudia Black will reunite with her co-star Ben Browder in several episodes of SG-1’s upcoming ninth season. Black will play Vala, a human character who will be introduced in the 12th episode of season eight, “Prometheus Unbound,” which airs early next year when SG-1 resumes original episodes.

“It will air in January [28],” Cooper said in an interview. “It’ll be the second episode back in our run on SCI FI. And we thought she was absolutely wonderful. The character really worked out. She had wonderful chemistry with Michael Shanks. She plays opposite [Shanks’] Daniel Jackson in the episode.”

Black will return to SG-1 in five season nine episodes, which begin shooting in March. “We are having to … deal with a brief absence of Carter, [played by] Amanda Tapping, who’s pregnant,” Cooper said. “And we had already discussed a storyline that involved the return of Vala, … the character played by Claudia. And so we thought it worked perfectly to have that sort of miniarc play out maybe while Amanda was less available to us.”

Cooper added that Black will play several scenes with Browder. “She’s [a] human from another planet,” he said. “And she’s a bit of … an enigma. You’re not quite sure what her true story is in the episode ‘Prometheus Unbound.’ She’s a bit of a rogue who tells a long story about her planet and her people and her past, and then in the end you’re not really quite sure whether it’s true or not. So she’s a bit of a wild card. She’s a very … sexy character, who isn’t afraid to take whatever … she wants in any given situation.

“And we had a lot of fun writing the role, and I know she had a lot of fun playing it, and we’re going to try very hard to maintain the integrity of that character and still have her sort of join up with the team, but still sort of keep the essence of that wonderful friction that went on between her and Daniel, and I’m sure it’ll continue to sort of play out with the rest of the characters as well.”

Sci Fi Wire article
Discuss this article at SG1Solutions Forum

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Farscape SG-1? Browder and Black join Stargate

Farscape’s Ben Browder and Claudia Black to join star Michael Shanks in Stargate SG-1’s pivotal 9th season

Season 9 of Stargate SG-1 is shaping up to be the most challenging and interesting of all the seasons to date.

Star Richard Dean Anderson [General Jack O’Neill] has been adamant on the subject of his retirement in recent interviews and this week Sci Fi Channel confirmed on their news service Sci Fi Wire that “the show?s producer, MGM, is still working on a deal to bring back SG-1 star Richard Dean Anderson in some capacity.”

Co-star Amanda Tapping [Colonel Samantha Carter] is pregnant and expecting the birth of her first child in March 2005, just as the show goes into production on its 9th season at the Bridge Studios in Vancouver. Producers have confirmed to fans that she will be missing for at least the first five episodes of the season.

So how have MGM, Sci Fi Channel and the producers at Bridge responded to these huge challenges?

This week, TV Guide Online broke the story of Farscape star Ben Browder joining Stargate SG-1 as a regular member of the main cast. Stargate’s Co-Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi, posting to the Gateworld forum, has this to say about the casting of Browder:

“Yup, its true. Ben Browder will be joining the cast for SG-1’s 9th season. I met Ben at this year’s Saturn Awards and, while telling him how much my wife and I enjoyed Farscape, he told me how much he and his son enjoy SG-1. In fact, Michael Welch was on the red carpet being interviewed at the time and Ben looked over and noted ‘Hey, it’s Young Jack.’ He’s a terrific actor and we look forward to working with him.”

In response to fan speculation about the as yet undetermined role Browder will play in the production and of course in the SG-1 team, and the incredible physical likeness fans have remarked on between Browder and series star Michael Shanks[Dr. Daniel Jackson], Mallozzi noted, “More on his [Browder’s] character in good time but, suffice it to say, as a series regular he should be appearing in all episodes. As for his being DJ’s long-lost brother or other relative…don’t hold your breath.”

Mallozzi went on to confirm that series star and fan favourite Michael Shanks will be back in Season 9 to reprise his role as Dr. Daniel Jackson.

As for Amanda Tapping, a Solutions source said today that she *may* have signed a contract to appear in ‘up to’ fifteen episodes in the 9th season. If officially confirmed, this is a generous gesture on the part of MGM, Sci Fi and Bridge to keep Tapping as part of the production while accommodating her schedule and needs as a new mom. She will therefore take a recurring rather than regular role, offering her some flexibility and freedom. As a regular, she would have been expected to be available for every episode in the season.

A source revealed last night to Solutions staffers that Ben Browder’s Farscape co-star Claudia Black had just that afternoon signed a contract to appear in a recurring role as the alien Vala. British fans will see Black as Vala on their screens in the highly-anticipated Season 8 episode “Prometheus Unbound” on 21st December. Black’s contract commits her to appear in ‘at least five episodes’ of Season 9 ? clearly a safety measure put in place by the show makers should Tapping’s new family responsibilities keep her from appearing in the production for longer than expected or for fewer episodes than hoped. The news was confirmed when MGM gave fansite Gateworld.net the go-ahead to report Black’s casting in a ‘five story arc.’

Co-star Christopher Judge [Teal’c] has not yet been confirmed as a cast member for Season 9, while fans of Don S. Davis [General George Hammond] will be disappointed to learn that although Don is expected to appear in Season 9 [writer, director and producer Peter DeLuise, at London Film and Comic Con] it will not be as the SGC’s original commanding officer. Our source tells us that the producers are seeking to cast a ‘new’ general.

The casting of Browder and Black is both a publicity coup and a possible controversy in the making. The pair are popular with the British and American scifi press and with the influential TV critics of key US publications such as TV Guide, who joined in the very public mourning when low ratings proved the death knell for the original and innovative Farscape. Stargate SG-1, in securing higher ratings and without the complicated financing that dogged the Sci Fi/Jim Henson production, is inextricably linked for some with the demise of Farscape. Even Stargate’s Executive Producer Brad Wright drew a connection between the two productions. How will those critics and the legions of loyal Scapers react to the casting of both of Farscape’s stars in Stargate SG-1?

The enthusiastic response of the stars themselves to Stargate SG-1 is unequivocal. Browder is a self-avowed fan who watches the show with his son, and he and co-star Black were joking with fans at recent convention appearances about her ‘new leading man’ Michael Shanks, with Browder wanting to kick his ass in at least a ‘three story arc’. Now Browder will have all season to kick Daniel Jackson’s ass, while Black has been raving about her experiences on set filming “Prometheus Unbound” with Michael Shanks.

“When I guest starred on Stargate I was one of those people who was in awe of everything around me,” Black told TV Zone for its 2004 Yearbook issue. “It was an absolute blast and I was lucky enough to bring with me all that I had learnt as an actress from doing Farscape. 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, I fell in love with the character of Vala. She’s a hoot. I thought it would be a wonderful acting challenge for me. What I especially liked was that the action…was very much self contained. It was its own story within the episode, and that allowed me to be introduced into the Stargate world, at a comfortable pace. To top it off, I was working mainly with Michael Shanks and the director Andy Mikita, both of whom are extremely kind and giving.

“Fortunately, as with Farscape, the onset environment is both encouraging and collaborative. For example, I noticed that Michael Shanks had a great deal of excellent input and Andy Mikita respected his opinion and was keen to listen to him. As an actor, it’s preferable to be thought of as part of the wheel that turns as opposed to something that makes the wheel stop.

“I can’t tell you what a buzz I got from working on Stargate. It allowed me to test my acting wares and get out there in front of the camera and really takes some risks. At one point Michael Shanks said to me, ‘It’s all up to you now’, meaning that I had made some very specific choices and was either going to fall flat on my face, or make it work. Andy Mikita was terrific about it. The more he encouraged me, the more I pushed. We were all working together to achieve a common goal and I loved every minute of it.”

Black loved it enough to step in for the absent Tapping and accept an ‘at least’ five episode arc in Season 9, with the inherent uncertainty of balancing out her recurring role as Vala with Tapping’s dual commitments to her new baby and to her own recurring role as Carter.

The show makers have without a doubt made a casting coup within the scifi world, with Browder and Black worth their weight in gold in publicity terms to a show which is reeling from the double-blow of losing Anderson and Tapping as regulars and which has never been courted in the press as the cool, critically acclaimed scifi success Farscape was. The hope may be that along with the additional press attention and coverage their casting will garner, Browder and Black will draw in even the disaffected Farscape fans who have never watched Stargate SG-1 or have abandoned it in the wake of Farscape’s loss.

It’s possible that in creating this hybrid ‘Farscape SG-1’ MGM, Sci Fi Channel and the producers at Bridge may have given the Stargate SG-1 franchise an infusion of new energy and creativity which will see it run and run, a powerhouse continuing to buck the customary television trend with increased ratings into a 9th season and beyond.

Michael Shanks and Ben Browder are confirmed as regulars for Stargate’s now pivotal 9th season. Claudia Black is confirmed in an open-ended recurring role in order to balance out Tapping’s reduced availability or replace her if called upon to do so. Chris Judge is expected to sign as a regular but has not yet been confirmed. Don S. Davis is expected to reprise his role as Hammond but now the producers are seeking to cast a ‘new’ general in command of the SGC. MGM continue to court departing star Richard Dean Anderson, who remains obdurate about not appearing after the Season 8 finale, “Moebius,” perhaps robbing the producers of the opportunity to write out his character O’Neill on-screen.

All that can be said with any certainty at this point is that the fans’ beloved SG-1 team no longer exists as we know it. Daniel Jackson, Teal’c and likely Ben Browder’s new character [logically, with the loss of SG-1’s military team leader, an Air Force officer] will form the new SG-1, aided in their turn by either the manipulative alien Vala or the absent Samantha Carter, with the SGC commanded by an as yet unknown general who may prove to be antagonist or sympathiser.

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