Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks and Christopher Judge look back on 10 thrilling years of Stargate SG-1
After a decade’s worth of episodes, Stargate SG-1 concluded its televised run while it was still at the top of its creative game. The series had morphed over the years from a cable TV vehicle for actor Richard Dean Anderson to a standard bearer for science fiction.
The show may have concluded its 10th season this summer, but the series won’t be gone completely: Next year, two direct-to-DVD movies are due out—Stargate: The Ark of Truth (now scheduled for spring 2008) and Stargate: Continuum (fall 2008)—with more movies a strong possibility.
On set, in the shadow of the Stargate itself, original cast members Michael Shanks (archaeologist Daniel Jackson), Christopher Judge (Jaffa warrior Teal’c) and Amanda Tapping (Lt. Col. Samantha Carter) gathered one more time to take a moment and reflect on the series’ past, present and future. Amanda Tapping, 10 years of SG-1, two movies and now taking command of Stargate Atlantis (in season four):
Would it be fair to say you still love Stargate?
Tapping: If it weren’t fun then I wouldn’t still be here. It’s an amazing gig. It’s kind of an embarrassment of riches for me at the moment. There’s the joke that I’m sort of the Kelsey Grammer of sci-fi, but it feels completely different this year for me playing her, so …
How is the Sam Carter on Atlantis going to be different, beyond her new rank as a full-bird colonel?
Tapping: She now has to make decisions that affect thousands of people. Carter being in charge, having her own command, changes her character so much that it’s not at all boring.
And you have the new, longer hair, too.
Tapping: And I have hair. When we finished season 10 it wasn’t a cliffhanger, and I had been growing my hair and growing my hair, and then I did this other series, Sanctuary, and when I went to the producers I said, “There’s no cliffhanger this year; does Carter have to cut her hair?” Because every year we ended and I had to match my hair exactly to the year before. So it always meant in the hiatus cutting my hair, and I was always like, “Boo hoo.” It sounds silly, but I’m a girl, and after 10 years I wanted to have a new hairstyle. They said, “No, you know what, there isn’t actually, and there’s nothing saying that the time between Atlantis and Stargate has to be concurrent. There can be a bit of a spread there.” And so, yeah, they let me keep long hair, which was great. Yeah, I know it’s goofy, but I’m so happy. It’s the little things.
Do you feel any pressure, now that you’ve joined Atlantis?
Tapping: Pressure on me only that if it fails, I’m sure that there will be a lot of detractors out there who will say, “Ah, it’s because they brought Sam Carter over.” So I feel a certain amount of pressure to kind of prove myself in that forum. But the franchise is alive and well, and we’ve just finished the second SG-1 movie and there’s, I think, a very strong possibility that there’ll be more ordered. The franchise is doing OK. I’m just happy to be along for the ride. I just grabbed onto my surfboard and went, “OK, here we come, next wave.”
What is the flavor of Stargate Atlantis, and how does it differ from your experience on Stargate SG-1?
Tapping: SG-1 is a bit more irreverent. SG-1 has certain sense of humor to it. Even though we’re stuck on Earth on a military base, in a way we’re more accessible, because we’re present-day human beings on Earth, whereas Atlantis has a bit more otherworldly feel to it, and the show is a bit darker in a lot of ways. It still has an amazing sense of humor because of the nature of the characters on it—they all have a sense of humor. But it’s a lot different. I don’t think it’s as self-deprecatingly funny as SG-1 was.
Are you satisfied with how the Ori storyline was concluded in The Ark of Truth and how things were wrapped up?
Tapping: I am, actually, yeah, I am. Because I think it still had a human quality to it. It wasn’t just a blow-’em-up, shoot-’em-out … There was still a very human element to the story, so I am happy with how it ended.
Tell us about working with Ben Browder in the Arctic for Continuum.
Tapping: Oh my, it was unbelievable. It was amazing. We lived on an ice floe, a moving ice floe, in plywood [huts], 8 by 8, with a kerosene heater and six bunks. We chipped our own ice to make water and worked in minus 58 degree Fahrenheit, and slugged through wind and hail and all manner of inclement weather and did not want to leave. When it was over I did not want to leave. But for coming home to my daughter I would’ve been happy to stay there another week. It was really beautiful. I mean, I had this moment of “Oh my God, I’m on a snowmobile on the Arctic Ocean.” I was giddy. It was fun. I had gotten up at 2:30 the last morning so I could see the northern lights, and it was unbelievable.
Did you think the timing was right to end Stargate SG-1?
Tapping: That’s a hard question. In some ways, yes, I do, ’cause 10 years is a long time and I think the fact that it didn’t end succinctly, that we’ve got these movies to carry on … The first movie is a definite wrap-up of season 10 and all of the Ori storylines, so we sort of finish that storyline out. And now the movies can be stand-alone. It was weird for us, because every year we thought we were going to be canceled, and then they kept bringing us back. So this year I had another year on my contract, so I was like, “Oh, well, for sure it’s coming back for another season,” and then we all individually got called into Rob Cooper’s office, where he said, “The show has been canceled.” Like we all knew we’d hear those words one day; you have to, it’s inevitable. We’d had a decade-long run, but suddenly to hear those words, it was like, “What? Canceled, SG-1 in the same sentence? Impossible.” But now that we’re just doing the movies, it does make sense. We’re having a lot of fun doing them, and I think, yeah, in some ways [the series] ran its course. Ten years is a good run.
Source: Sci Fi Weekly