SGA 5.04 "The Daedalus Variations" Episode Guide

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A drive malfunction aboard a mysterious duplicate Daedalus sends the team jumping through various alternate realities where they encounter sinister alien life forms, a searing sun, and a pitched space battle over Atlantis.

Guide | Transcript

MGM/ Official Summary

When a mysterious, duplicate Daedalus appears in orbit over Atlantis, the team is dispatched to investigate. Once aboard the deserted and severely damaged ship, the team discovers an ominous video message from the former captain. But before they can make sense of the situation, the ship is propelled into an alternate reality.

As McKay tries to figure out what is going on, the ship continues to jump through various alternate realities, encountering an alien armada and the blistering heat of an expanding sun. Worse - the team realizes that if they don’t find a way back to their reality soon, they risk being lost forever.


Guest Stars


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Stills Galleries

Production Galleries

The following are links to images concerning the production of this episode and were published by Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog:

Production Notes

  • "A final of Alan McCullough’s Daedalus Variations came out today and we shifted focus to Alan’s second - extreme Shep-whumpage - script, co-storied by Robert C. Cooper." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 11, 2008.
  • "Despite the delay, I got in about five minutes before the prosthetics meeting. We discussed upcoming episodes Whispers, The Daedalus Variations, The Seed, and Broken Ties. Among the subjects covered: visual versus practical effects, stunt people vs. acrobats, fog, elements of the visual we saw in Spoils of War, yogurt, and, of course, methacil." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 12, 2008.
  • "Ascended Tauri writes: “Based on your posted picture, is ‘The Daedalus Variations’ slated to air as No.4 in Season 5?” Answer: At present, yes it is." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 16, 2008.
  • "Oh, and I’m sure fans will be thrilled to hear that we finally did it. Yes, spread the word! The casting process is complete! We have our Captain Sobol!" — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 10, 2008.
  • "Looks like the Visual Effects department is going to have their hands full with The Daedalus Variations." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 13, 2008.
  • Belouchi writes: "I figured from a recurring pattern in the past seasons that in the first half of the season that is the first 10 episodes there is always a tech savy episode with cool visual effects involving either space fights or ancient technology in general. […]. Might I be somewhat close to say Daedalus Variation is the one for season 5?" Answer: "Somewhat." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 14, 2008.
  • "We've been shooting "Deadalus Variations" all week and it ended with a bang thanks to our pyro pyrotechnical team...they've always got those huge grins on their faces...then again if I was blowing stuff up all day I would too." — David Hewlett in his blog, March 22, 2008.
  • "Production continues on The Daedalus Variations, most of which is being shot on the FX Stage." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 24, 2008.
  • "Two huge playback-heavy episodes in The Daedalus Variations and Ghost in the Machine will have that department on their toes for the next few weeks." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 25, 2008.
  • "Watched the director’s cut of Daedalus Variations this afternoon. Andy Mikita did a terrific job on this one. Wow! Talk about a visual effects extravaganza! For those of you who enjoy “team” episodes in particular, this is one to look forward to." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, April 11, 2008.
  • "We watched the producer’s cut of The Daedalus Variations. Alan did a great job on it. To be honest, I was worried about this script at the outline stage but it’s turning out to be a great, fast-moving episode." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, April 17, 2008.
  • "It's a great team show, and it's a real visual effects spectacular, too. It's going to be an amazing visual effects show. The idea of that story is the Daedalus just shows up in orbit, unexpectedly. And it doesn't make sense, because we know for a fact it should be back on Earth. When we try to radio we receive no response, and when we scan it we learn there are no life signs on board. So we head up to investigate and very quickly find ourselves in trouble because there is a strange energy reading coming from somewhere in the ship. We can't figure it out, we don't know where it's coming from. Suddenly it spikes, a flash consumes the ship, and a moment later, when it dissipates, we learn that Atlantis is gone and we have shifted realities. So we are essentially on a Flying Dutchman. This drive is caught on auto-pilot, and every time it charges it bursts, and we jump reality after reality after reality after reality. It was a neat opportunity to see a bunch of different alternate realities. We don't have to build a new set every time -- we are on the Daedalus. You get to see through the visual effects what might have happened in this reality ... just outside of the Daedalus, for the most part. Although there is one important interaction that takes place on the Daedalus: when we jump to another reality, we get boarded. I won't say more than that! But we do end up having to win back our Daedalus from an alien species. It's a wild romp. It's pretty much a one-off adventure story that gets the team into trouble and gets them out at the end. But it's a lot of fun. It's a fun script." — Alan McCullough, Gateworld interview, April 21, 2008.
  • "We’ll certainly see more of Teyla than we did in season four. As a fan of the character, you’ll no doubt love Search and Rescue, Broken Ties, and The Queen, and no doubt enjoy The Daedalus Variations, Ghost in the Machine, and The Shrine." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, April 28, 2008.
  • "Paul locked The Daedalus Variations... — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, April 29, 2008.
  • Jenn writes: "Will there be any sort of epic episodes in S5 with big (space) battles, explosions and the like? Like BAMSR and The Return and such?" Answer: "Daedaus Variations will be big." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, May 15, 2008.
  • "There are a number of standalone episodes that contain bigger arc elements (ie. The Seed, Broken Ties, Whispers, Tracker, The Queen) in addition to your one-offs (Daedalus Variations, The Shrine)." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, May 19, 2008.
  • "The crew of the Daedalus is completely missing. In fact, it's an alternate reality Daedalus. It came from dozens of realities ago. We see video of a captain and the former colonel who is in charge of the Daedalus, and it's not Mitch [Pileggi playing Col. Steven Caldwell]. Hey, we'd love to use Mitch whenever we can, but when you're going to shoot just a lock-off of a final log entry we're wasting his talents on something like that. ... I haven't had the chance to write for Robert Picardo because he hasn't been in any of my episodes. We have him for 14 episodes this year. We have to use him judiciously. In an episode where the team is trapped on a ship jumping in alternate realities, there's no good reason to cut back to Atlantis. So we have to use his talents, again, judiciously. Just like we do with Mitch -- with Caldwell." — Alan McCullough in Gateworld interview, published June 4, 2008.
  • "We capped the day by watching a Day 1 Mix of The Daedalus Variations. I believe I’ve already mentioned - it’s a visual effects spectacular featuring a couple of great battle sequences and the introduction of some brand new alien ships." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 10, 2008.
  • "We introduce kind of another new look alien this season in Episode 4, an episode called “Daedalus Variations.” Actually, I love the look of this race and we only used them in Episode 4, but they are a race that I would love to bring back. And in fact, we’re - you know, we’re already discussing the possibility of bringing them back as well." — Joseph Mallozzi, TV with MeeVee interview, posted July 8, 2008.
  • "We capped off the day with a Day 2 Mix of The Daedalus Variations. Usually, I’m sick of an episode by the upteenth viewing but this is one I’m enjoying more with repeat viewings. Great stranded-team script by Alan McCullough, terrific direction by Andy Mikita, and some MAJOR visual effects battle sequences courtesy of Mark Savela and his crew. If you thought Search and Rescue was big, LOOK OUT!" — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, July 15, 2008.

Further Reading

--DeeKayP 16:12, 6 March 2008 (PST)