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Feature: Stargate Atlantis

Making Waves

 Rachel Luttrell and Paul McGillion

She beats people up, he puts them back together; actors Rachel Luttrell and Paul McGillion discuss the symbiosis of Teyla and Dr Beckett

It’s a cold winter’s day, but tucked up in a swanky London hotel are Stargate Atlantis stars Rachel Luttrell (Ethosian dignitary and tough cookie Teyla Emmagan) and Paul McGillion (Scottish doctor Carson Beckett), fresh from finishing up their work on the second season. A third was commissioned quite a while ago, and the pair are delighted. “I think we were all pretty optimistic,” McGillion says of the pick-up. “The show was doing quite well so that’s always a good sign. Everybody feels like we have something special and Stargate’s picked up for its tenth season. You can’t expect anything, but we’re really happy to get that pick-up, that’s for sure.”

The second year of Atlantis has been an interesting one, attempting to build on the strong foundation of Season One but without forgetting its roots. Indeed, there’s even been the chance to enjoy a crossover or two. “Next season is going to be a lot more crossing over,” reveals Luttrell. “I think perhaps, in the eyes of the creators of the show, that this might be the last season for SG-1, and so some of those characters will either continue on in Atlantis, depending on how Atlantis goes…” “But who knows?” interrupts McGillion. “It could go for another five years too. Nothing’s been set in stone as far as that goes, and I think also the fans like it when there’s crossover as well.”

McGillion wasn’t officially part of the regular cast for Season One, only finding his way into the opening credits sequence for the second year. However, he was around enough in the first year that, “I kind of felt like a regular last season in a way. They ingratiated me like that in the cast.” “I was going to say something evil and witty but I couldn’t come up with it in time,” smiles Luttrell. “He was there so much that it just kind of felt like, ‘What the hell’.” She gets a sarcastic, “Thanks,” back. “We were all really happy that they finally brought him on as a series regular. That’s how it should have been from the get-go, truthfully.”

It did look that way; after all, McGillion was all over the Season One publicity photos. “Paul just showed up uninvited,” Luttrell deadpans. “They did invite me, believe it or not,” insists her fellow cast member. “I was wondering that too, like, ‘Why am I here?’ But it was a good thing. They thought that maybe I might become a regular and I did. Brad [Wright, executive producer] told me he always thought it’d be like that. They didn’t know to begin with where the character was gonna go, so when it started catching on and they seemed very happy with me, they said, ‘We wanna make you a regular but we can’t do it this season but we’re gonna do it next season’ and they kept true to their word and I’m very happy.” “And the fans loooove Mr McGillion,” smiles Luttrell.

by Paul Spragg

Read the full interviews in
Cult Times #127

Photos © Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2006. Not for reproduction

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Cult Times #127
April 2006
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