Stargate — SG-1 :: Atlantis :: Universe — Solutions
Solutions Banners

Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Michael Shanks

Searching for Shanks
Sally Reeve, The Official Stargate SG-1 Magazine #04, May-June 2005

This interview was conducted right after Michael Shanks learned that Ben Browder would be joining the cast, and before Season 9 filming began. Excerpts of the interview follow. Readers are encouraged to buy this issue of the magazine, which has the full interview as well as other great material.

On Ben Browder

Despite knowing that there were changes afoot, Shanks admits to being surprised by the casting of Ben Browder. "I had no clue," he laughs. "This was a complete out of left-field surprise to me. I found out by reading it on the Internet, actually!"

Nevertheless, he has nothing by praise for his new co-star. "Ben has a good reputation," he says seriously. "We had a couple of conversations about our own approaches and sensibilities in our work, and we seem to be on the same page… I think we're getting a good actor on board who seems to have a firm idea about what's good and what's not, and wants to work in a cohesive team environment."

[Michael discusses his pleasure at the return of Vala and reiterates that Prometheus Unbound was his favorite episode of the last couple of years.]

Old Friends

Despite this exciting new dynamic with Vala, for many fans the heart of the show has always been the complex friendship between Daniel Jackson and Jack O'Neill. With the arrival of a new colonel, is it possible to transfer this dynamic to another character? Shanks is adamant in his response. "Absolutely not," he insists. "That relationship could become a parody. It'll never be repeated in regard to the relationship that Jack and Daniel had, and the specific chemistsry that Rick and I have working together."

However, he concedes that the conflict between O'Neill's military pragmatism and Daniel's humanitarianism is integral to the show. "The moral questions and the ethical questions and the basic philosophical questions [are vital]"… "I trust Ben. I trust that we would be able to find our own way and work towards a solution that would be unique at the end of the day."

On Season Nine

…But there is one thing Shanks would like to see happen next season. "I'd love to zip over to Atlantis," he confesses, "take a peek at their world for a little bit, and have Daniel's reaction to all the different semantics of that series. Just a two-parter where he can poke his head in and go, "Wow, this is so cool!' and then get the hell out!"

In fact, the world of the Ancients is something that fascinates both Shanks and Daniel Jackson, and it's a storyline the actor hopes to revisit. "There's still a ton of potential to mine in terms of what Daniel discovered during the time he was ascended," he enthuses. "I mean, there has to be more than what we discovered in Threads.

[referring to the Ancients as the metaphoric search for God]… "This is the touchstone for Daniel, the meaning of life stuff. And he always looked at the idea of finding these people as the idea of finding God."… "And so the way I look at it, it couldn't have been so great up there if he felt like going back to Earth was the more important thing. So there must have been something wrong, which is the question we're left with… And that's what I mean about there's still a ton of stuff to be uncovered about this alien race and the galaxy they came from."

Future Possibilities

…Michael Shanks' zeal for Stargate SG-1, in its past, present and future incarnations is apparent in every word he utters. It's a genuine, unfeigned excitement that's more often found in the early seasons of a TV show. But for Shanks, this enthusiasm is essential — and the primary reason for agreeing to return for a ninth season.

"I wouldn't have signed up for it if it wasn't [exciting]… There are a couple of things in my life I hate. Being told what to do, ultimatums, and outstaying my welcome. I don't do stuff just to do it. I do it because I see a future in it, a light at the end of the tunnel, and that there's something that we're reaching for, rather than an end that we're grinding to. That's why I embrace the changes so much, I look at it as if we're reinventing the formula."

…"And if we do well, and we prove that the show is stronger than any one dynamic, any one person — any group of people! — then we have a future waiting on the launch pad, if we choose to take it. And that's exciting to me."

© 2005, The Official Stargate Magazine Buy SG-1 Magazine online

Return to Michael Shanks interviews home
Return to Stargate SG-1 cast interviews home

About Solutions

Since 2002, an independent Stargate site by fans, for fans. Contact us. Read our copyright statement.

Follow Us

Twitter LiveJournal