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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Michael Shanks

Daniel Dares
Sharon Gosling, Stargate SG-1 * Atlantis Official Magazine Yearbook, March/April 2006

Even nine years on, Michael Shanks is still finding new aspects of Doctor Daniel Jackson to explore, as he explains... "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."

"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."

[...] "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."

"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."

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Copyright © 2006, Titan Magazines

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