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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Richard Dean Anderson and Brad Wright

Stargate SG-1 Goes Even More Sci Fi
Kate O'Hare,, 22 Feb 02

Brad Wright and Richard Dean Anderson on Season Six on Sci-Fi and a possible guest appearance for Daniel.

Production began last week on the sixth season of MGM's "Stargate SG-1," but it's not quite business as usual.

The show's premise, loosely based on the 1994 film "Stargate," remains the same, and Richard Dean Anderson returns as Col. Jack O'Neill, who leads his SG-1 team through alien portals to far-flung worlds. And, it's still shot in Vancouver, Canada.

So, what's different?

First, the series moves original episodes to Sci-Fi Channel after five seasons on Showtime (it also continues in first-run syndication, lagging one season behind the cable airings). Sci-Fi begins airing the first five seasons starting this fall; season six begins on June 7, paired with the fourth-season premiere of Sci-Fi's hit show "Farscape." The last 10 episodes of season five begin airing March 8 on Showtime.

Second, original series regular Michael Shanks, who plays archaeologist Dr. Daniel Jackson, has departed the series. He's to be replaced by Corin Nemec ("Parker Lewis Can't Lose," "The Stand" ), whose character, Jonas Quinn — a descendant of humans living on an alien world — is to be introduced in the penultimate episode of season five.

Third, Anderson just may have a limp.

"I couldn't be greater," Anderson says, calling in from Malibu just before the start of production, "except that I twisted my knee yesterday carrying my kid to ballet class. I've been aggressively skiing since December, not an incident, then I'm carrying my baby ... . Anyway, I have to go have it looked at. The timing couldn't have been more perfect."

Executive producer Brad Wright (who shares that title with Jonathan Glassner, Michael Greenburg and Anderson), who also is a writer on the show, shares the sentiment. "It's actually a bit of a concern. I'm doing a little tap-dancing myself. I do suspect that he'll be OK, because the man has broken more bones and knees. He's one of those athletic types."

"When, like me, you just type most of the time and play golf now and then, you never hurt yourself."

Nemec makes his first appearance in an episode called "Meridian," written by series supervising producer Robert C. Cooper. In it, Daniel Jackson must make a supreme sacrifice to save a planet's population. But, as has happened in previous episodes, rather then dying, he ascends beyond his mortal body.

"I thought there would be a nice symmetry," Wright says, "if we would introduce the character that would ultimately replace Daniel Jackson on the SG-1 team in the episode that Daniel departed from. And it's not just because it was one in the door, one out the door, but because, in fact, Jonas has something to prove."

"He feels slightly responsible for Daniel's ascension, and feels he should do something to continue Daniel's work. There's symmetry in that sense as well."

The manner of Daniel's departure also allows for future guest appearances in season six. "By the way," Wright says, "I have a script in my typewriter right now where I'm writing Daniel Jackson. I'm almost 100 percent certain he's going to do it, and I'm trying to write him a fabulous, challenging, meaty role that he can sink his teeth into.

"Don't forget, he didn't die, he ascended. I can say that he will make a guest appearance early on this season."

According to Wright, Daniel appears to help O'Neill, who is being tortured by his arch-nemeses, the alien Goa'uld. "What they do is they torture you to death, revive you, and torture you to death again, revive you. That's what's happening to O'Neill."

"As strong as he is and as resistant as he is to torture, this is on a level a little higher than anybody could normally take. So Daniel appears to O'Neill, not to physically save him, but to keep him alive through this terrible ordeal."

In his short experience with Nemec, Anderson was impressed. "He really struck me as a bright guy, very respectful of the dynamic of the set, but with an awareness of what he wanted to bring. He's a great addition."

Adds Wright, "What Corin, as Jonas, will bring to the show is a renewed sense of amazement at the fact that we're crossing the galaxy in a single step [through a stargate]. It's still a profound and amazing thing that's happening, no matter how accustomed our characters are to it."

While preparation for filming season six continues, work already is underway for the "Stargate SG-1" feature film, which Wright hopes will set the stage for a spin-off series. "In a perfect world, which this isn't, we would roll into the feature after a relatively short hiatus immediately after the end of the series. So, we would wrap season six, take a very short break, then go into prep for the feature."

"You have to get the feature ready so that you can then roll into a spinoff series."

Asked about the possibility of a season seven, Anderson's thoughts go to his 3-year-old daughter, Wylie. "No one's talking to me about it. It was such an ordeal to get a season six on board. As far as year seven goes, from my end of it, it would have to be shot in Los Angeles. I can't be away from my daughter. It's going to be hard enough, coming back [to L.A.] on Friday and leaving on Sunday afternoon."

"I know," Wright says, "and that effectively kills the show. We have a fine little show here, but it's no 'X-Files.' It's not like we're making so much money that you're still in profit if you go and [move back to L.A.]."

"Besides, it's probably time to start up a new incarnation."

For information on new cast regular Corin Nemec, try his personal Website (, which is part of a larger Scientology site.

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