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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Richard Dean Anderson

Jack of All Trades
Thomasina Gibson, Cult Times #75, November 2001

Richard Dean Anderson on Michael Shanks' departure from Stargate SG-1. (Extracts from this interview are posted with permission of Visimag.)

...the biggest change in Stargate SG-1's history, namely the departure of Daniel Jackson...

"Daniel Jackson is dying – he's going away, but you know what? It's our sixth season of Stargate SG-1 and as in all good things there's an evolution, hopefully, creatively and personnel-wise and we've reached the point where something had to change. Something bigger had to happen – at least from my perspective, knowing I will definitely be leaving the show after year six."

"To be quite honest, Michael leaving is a product of the respective parties making decisions based on what their projected needs are going to be in the long term. Michael indicated that he wanted to move on, which is quite a natural reaction after five long years of the rigours of this show. He is also an actor who's young and has a lot to do with his career. I think he knew that going in and what we've done is address the issue. It is a massive, big, big change but I support his decision wholeheartedly."

Switching from his own view to that of Jack O'Neill, the actor admits, "O'Neill has looked to Daniel for the greatest camaraderie and certainly he and I have had a lot of fun with the banter for which we've become famous. As actors we do have fun in the little snippets of scenes that Michael and I have been able to play with. He's very quick and I enjoy that. But for O'Neill it will have to be life as normal without him. Life goes on."

Asked if we might see O'Neill in tears as Daniel makes his final exit, Anderson shakes his head. "I don't think so! In fact, in the script we're shooting right now there's a reference where Carter brings up Daniel's departure and O'Neill is very pragmatic about it. That's not to say there won't be moments of reflection or of sentiment, but O'Neill is a soldier. He's been through this. He's been through this stuff with his kid, which is the most emotionally wrenching. With Daniel, it's a comrade in arms that's gone down." Touching briefly on the tragic events of September 11th in New York and Washington, Anderson suggests, "If you can remotely make a correlation with what's going on in the world now, I'm sure that the guys who are dealing with the aftermath of the devastation have all shed tears within their personal families and within their 'other' families – their teams – but they pick themselves up and get on with it. That is what O'Neill has to do."

Anderson was asked why he signed on to do Season Six...

"I'm not quite sure. I talked to Brad Wright quite a bit about the future and how we should proceed with the franchise. The thought was that after the fifth year we could possibly have developed a feature film. Brad approached MGM about that but they dragged their heels and weren't real forthcoming because what they ultimately wanted was a sixth season of the TV series in order to raise as much capital as possible and then they would consider it." Now the actor hopes MGM will have, as he quotes, "The balls to give us the go-ahead to develop a franchise of features, which I'd be very interested in taking forward."

[Solutions NB: Anderson is signed on for only fifteen of the twenty-two episodes in Season Six.]

Richard Dean Anderson, Cult Times #75
Thomasina Gibson

© 2001, Cult Times.  All rights recognised.  No copyright infringement intended.  We respect all that Cult Times have done to cover Stargate SG-1 and this story and thank them for permission to post these extracts.  Our intent here is only to inform those fans who have no access to the magazine.  You can purchase this wonderful magazine from

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