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Feature: Stargate SG-1

Tapping,Shanks and Judge

SG-1 may be over as a TV series after 10 years for Michael Shanks, but the actor’s keeping busy. And there are the DVD movies to come…

When Kurt Russell and James Spader stepped through the stargate in 1994, nobody could have predicted the Roland Emmerich-directed movie would spin off into the longest running US Sci-Fi series ever, Stargate SG-1. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and that applies to Stargate, which has closed down after 10 remarkable years on the air. Aside from disappointed viewers, actor Michael Shanks, who has portrayed archaeologist Daniel Jackson in nine seasons, admits he was a bit blindsided by the announcement.

“Oddly enough, for the first time I was very surprised because usually I almost expect the show to get cancelled and this time, the way things had gone down with the Season 10 negotiations, it included a Season 11 option,” explains Shanks. “This was the very first time we had an option for both the show and the actors. We all expected to get picked up but as much as my reaction was surprise, I wasn’t crying any big crocodile tears. It was one of those things where you know what we had done and when I left the show after the first five years, one of the things about coming back was it was harder to have the show over at that point because something still felt unfulfilled. This time, I don’t have the same feeling. I am really satisfied with the experiences I’ve had since then. There is very little we haven’t done on that show so I am grateful for the run and I think I am a bit relieved I didn’t have to make that in-between-season decision again. The ability to move on comes a lot stronger when the choice is made for you.”

At least Stargate had plenty to celebrate this season. Not only did Daniel and his colleagues venture to Atlantis, but the series earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records and hit its 200th milestone episode, 200, which spoofed various genres.

The Wizard of Oz was a nice homage because not only had we made cracks about it throughout the show, but when I was in high school the last play I ever did was The Wizard of Oz and I was the lion in that,” reflects Shanks. “It was actually quite odd getting in that suit again. As for the Farscape one, they originally had Ben [Browder] playing the Crichton-esque character and we knew we were cutting such a fine line in parody, especially with both Ben and Claudia [Black] being on the show. I asked Claudia, ‘What do you think of this?’ and she was like, ‘It’s okay’. I thought Ben would have the most to say because Farscape is so dear to him and he was, ‘Well, if it is done properly and not offensively, I am not upset about it. The thing that is weird is it shouldn’t be me playing Crichton. This is Vala’s fantasy so it should be you.’ That was my original idea too, so at the last minute we changed things up and it made perfect sense.”

Another high note has been the current threat invading the galaxy. Previously, the Stargate team has faced the Goa’uld, the Replicators and other alien civilizations, yet during their adventures no other adversary has tested their mettle like the Ori. “There’s a sense of mystery with this group,” offers Shanks on the omnipotent beings. “It is much more interesting to have things you don’t see, things that are talked about. You don’t spend a year or a movie building up something like Kaiser Soze, who you never see, and then when they actually come around, the fear and intimidation is stronger than anything you could physically see.

by Bryan Cairns

Read the full interview and an interview with Paul McGillion from Atlantis in
Cult Times #142

Photo © The Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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Cult Times #142
July 2007
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