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13 JAN 04:

MGM announced in early December that "Stargate Atlantis will debut as a two-hour movie event on Sci Fi and will feature cross-over appearances by select members of the SG-1 team. The show is based on the well known Stargate franchise and will premiere in the summer of 2004.  Brad Wright and Robert Cooper will serve as executive producers on the new series. Cooper is currently executive producer on Stargate SG-1; Brad Wright is co-creator of the series and served as the series' executive producer for six seasons."

At the recent French City Con in Paris (Nov 03), actor Michael Shanks was asked what he thought about the idea of being in Atlantis.  Fans report that he smiled enigmatically and replied, "Yes.  Sure." but did not elaborate.

In December, an MGM source told Solutions, "It appears that Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks will star in the Atlantis pilot,  but this is subject to final confirmation upon completion of the screenplay and their subsequent review. Other SG-1 stars may be added to the pilot, but this could also be dependent upon the content of the final script."

Shanks was interviewed on 11th December for cult radio talk show Sci Fi Overdrive, his segment airing 12th January.   The Sci Fi Overdrive team asked Shanks about the possibility of his character Daniel appearing in Atlantis.   "I think, um, the last I heard, there was a strong possibility of both the O'Neill character and the Daniel Jackson character appearing in the pilot for the spin-off," Shanks replied.  "Um, whereas everything seems to be in the real baby stages in terms of creating Atlantis,  we're not sure what the concept is going to be.  But there basically is a group of people are sent off to a completely different universe, and unfolds a whole different universe of enemies and technologies and races and all those other things, so I'm not sure how they'd manage to swing our characters in now and again.  But it is supposed to take place in the same timeline.  It's supposed to be around the same timeline using humans from Earth as well." 

Sci Fi Overdrive host Erich Landstrom announced, "This has Spike written all over it!"

In a Yahoo news report from 12th January, Stargate SG-1 star Richard Dean Anderson said, "The success of Stargate is spawning a spin-off, called Stargate Atlantis.  We're shooting it concurrently and it will hopefully pick up the ball. I'll help launch it. I'll be in the pilot but after that I'm done."

Casting information confirms the presence of Jack and Daniel in the early scenes of the pilot episode of Stargate: Atlantis.  Daniel Jackson is at the Atlantis outpost in Antarctica with Dr. Elizabeth Weir, advising the civilian and military teams investigating Ancients technology.  He is joined by General Jack O'Neill, described as a two-star general, meaning he's been promoted through two ranks.  Jack has to deal with the logistics of getting the Atlantis team from Antarctica to the SGC, then through the Stargate to the Pegasus Galaxy, identified by Daniel as the location of the lost Ancients' city, uprooted and moved from Earth five to ten million years previously.  He also has to convince Major John Sheppard to join the Atlantis team as he is one of only a hamdful of people who possesses the rare gene allowing him to interact physically with Ancients technology.

As Anderson and Shanks play the two original Stargate characters, Col. Jack O'Neill and Dr. Daniel Jackson, it seems eminently fitting that they reprise their roles and open the gate on Atlantis as their characters did in the movie.   It's also a smart move on the part of the Stargate producers, who can bank on the popular two drawing many Stargate SG-1 fans into the spin-off series.  The character of Dr. Elizabeth Weir will be established in SG-1 Season 7 finale The Lost City, but the advantage of familiarity will be lost as the role is being re-cast.  Actress Jessica Steen will not be reprirsing the Weir role in Atlantis.

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