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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Michael Shanks

Cause and Effect
Steven Eramo, TV Zone Special 71, July 2006

Michael Shanks

"We finished up last year by opening up an incredible can of whoop-ass on our characters," jokes Shanks. [...] "There we all these pieces of the story that had to be put together in one episode before SG-1 could get back to their usual adventures through the gate. It was a little bit daunting, but we managed to pull it off," smiles the actor.

Much to his chagrin, Daniel's natural curiosity has contributed to his and his teammates' current dilemma. "His past experiences with the Ancients has more or less put him in the position he's now in," explains Shanks. "Also, Daniel was a catalyst of sorts for bringing the Ori to Earth's galaxy in the first place. So he feels a lot of guilt insofar as wanting to help resolve this problem. Because a number of episodes this season have to do with the Ori and the Ancients, Daniel is more involved in the plot. As an actor, those stories have been a great deal of fun as well as responsibility for me in terms of expositional storytelling."

[Regarding Memento Mori] "Daniel legitimately cares about Vala and has seen some sort of redemption in her and wants that process to continue. He's proud of the headway she has made and there's a strong bond of trust and friendship growing between them. During the search for Vala in this episode, Daniel is dealing with all these feelings he's having for this person who was once such a pain in the ass to him. While I think it was fun to play the absolute antagonism between these two people, the fact that we're seeing their relationship develop into something more says a lot about the characters."

Despite all the headaches that the Ori are causing, Shanks considers their presence to be a plus for SG-1. "I enjoy the Ori stories because it's fresh material for us to mine," notes the actor. "There's just a different feel to them as compared to our previous episodes, and in some ways I like the Ori better than our past villains. So I'm enjoying the unpeeling of the onion of really finding out where this is going and what it's leading to."

[Regarding working with Richard Dean Anderson in 200] Although they didn't have much onscreen time together, the two men did share one brief scene. "I don't want to spoil anything and I don't know how much of it they'll keep in during the edit, but Rick and I certainly had a ball with what I'll call fan fiction theorizing," chuckles Shanks. "There was the one little beat written into the script that the two of us just milked for all it was worth. It'll be interesting to see what the producers do with that."

"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."

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