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Feature: Stargate SG-1

The Buddy System

What's in store…

Who says Humans and Jaffa can’t get along? Stargate’s Christopher Judge and Michael Shanks prove otherwise

It’s picture day on the Stargate SG-1 set. The show’s four leads are being shuttled between hair, make-up and finally wardrobe in preparation to be photographed for new gallery shots. While waiting for background changes and lighting set-ups, Michael Shanks and Christopher Judge hang out in the latter’s trailer. Along with being cast-mates, both actors are also close friends. As such, they are merciless in their good-natured ribbing of one another. Last season, however, Judge had to carry on without Shanks, who left the series to pursue other creative outlets.

“I’ll never forget the episode where Michael left and [director] Martin Wood and I were shooting a scene in one of the death gliders,” recalls Judge. “Man, I just bawled my eyes out. I couldn’t stop, and that’s how I, Christopher, felt. I think my relationship with Michael translates to the screen and is probably the most of what you see of me in Teal’c. This season, of course, Daniel Jackson descended and returned to Earth. While he was regaining his memory, Teal’c was there to offer him support, which also helped in the further humanization of my character. That interaction has kind of been extended throughout the season. I mean, Michael and I have had more to do this year than ever before.”

Says Shanks, “Funnily enough, one of the rare instances where we really got to do scenes together was in [Season Six’s] The Changeling. Suddenly it was like, ‘Jeez, we actually get to work with each other’. You didn’t see much of that in the early days of the show.”

Continues Judge, “The only other time previous to that was when Amaunet [Valtiare Bandera] had Apophis’s [Peter Williams] baby in Secrets…”

“And,” notes Shanks, “in Forever in a Day, Daniel and Teal’c had a couple of scenes that were poignant but then things never really flourished after that.”

Says Judge, “It’s nice this year that the writers/producers are really letting Michael and I do quite a bit of stuff together, you know? Personally, I enjoy it, and character-wise I think it makes for a very interesting combination.”

As friends and members of SG-1, Daniel and Teal’c share an undying loyalty, but, as Shanks points out, this was not necessarily supposed to be the case. “When we first started working on this show, someone had it in their head that, for whatever reason, our two characters should have animosity towards one another. So they’d write that into the scripts. Aside from the fact we were good friends, Chris and I as actors would look at each other and say, ‘They’ve got to be kidding. These are two people who’d certainly get along. Daniel, for one, would be fascinated by Teal’c’s background. Meanwhile, Teal’c would be quite respectful of this Human who has a similar nobility to him but behaves in a very different manner.’

by Steven Eramo

Get the full interview and much, much more in
TV Zone Special #55

Image © Visual Imagination Ltd, Stargate SG-1 © Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

Taken from
TV Zone Special #55, see below for ordering options
TV Zone Special #55
Stargate 7 Vol 2 2004
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