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Stargate SG-1 Crew Interviews: Michael Shanks

Curious Mind
Steven Eramo, TV Zone Special #64, July 2005

Introduce Dr Daniel Jackson to a new group of aliens and he'll play for hours. One of the many qualities that has endeared fans of Stargate SG-1 to this character since the show's first season is his desire to learn about other cultures. It's difficult to believe that such an admirable trait has landed Daniel in hot water more than once. That's the case once again this season, and it has his alter ego, actor Michael Shanks, very much excited.

..."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," chuckles the actor.

..."This year, our art and construction teams have built a film-quality mediaeval village on the effects stage. It's the largest set we've ever had on Stargate," says Shanks. "For Avalon, we shot a scene where there's a ritual sacrifice of someone being burnt to death right in the middle of this village. The sheer scale and visual of that was just phenomenal. To have the biggest set we've ever built filled with 120 extras all dressed in period costume and film this movie-like sequence really made you believe that we're doing something special again.

"Trust me, we're not flogging a dead horse here.

"With Rick no longer a regular and Amanda not being around for the first few episodes this season, I'm sure some fans were wondering, 'What are they doing? Why don't they just end the show?' I've always believed, though, that Stargate is bigger than its actors and characters, and with the mythology of both SG-1 and Atlantis, we've only scratched the surface of where we can take these shows. Being involved in the sequence that I just spoke of really drove home the point that we're back to telling epic tales. Again, the show's producers have given SG-1 a new lease on life and it's great to be a part of that."

...Shanks admits that initially he was somewhat apprehensive about the new direction that SG-1 was being taken in this year. However, any doubts he had soon disappeared after his first day back at work. The actor feels confident that the series is on the right track, especially with regard to its new antagonist.

"The Ori are dark and much more enigmatic than the Goa'uld were," says Shanks. "Viewers will be asking themselves, Jeez, how are SG-1 going to handle these bad guys?' and in Season Nine of a TV show I think that's pretty neat."

© Visimag. All rights reserved. Buy the magazine and read the entire interview at Visimag.

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