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SG-1: Beyond The Gate - Part One

Executive producer Robert C. Cooper and director Martin Wood talk about STARGATE SG-1's final season and the show's future

By Miwa Hirai     June 07, 2002


The sixth season cast of STARGATE SG-1
© 2002 The Sci-Fi Channel
After airing on Showtime for five years, STARGATE SG-1 has a new home for its final season. 22 new one-hour adventures begin airing tonight on the Sci-Fi Channel. Although STARGATE SG-1 has been slated for a new time slot, the quality of stories, performances and special effects will be better than ever. Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) and SG-1 will continue to explore the uncharted regions of the universe. Robert C. Cooper, an executive producer of the show, and director Martin Wood recently took time out of their busy schedule to talk about the direction of Season 6.

STARGATE: SG1's Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks)



"Right now we're shooting two episodes at the same time," says Cooper. "Obviously we have changed our course of direction, especially from 'Meridian' in Season 5. Fans of the show will remember what happened to Dr. Daniel Jackson [Michael Shanks] in the episode. He dies in a science fiction way. It's sci-fi, so anything can happen. Nobody ever dies on the show. That's what we are all saying."

After portraying the character for five years, Shanks departed from the series after "Meridian" to expand on his acting career. As Shanks left, a new SG-1 member came aboard the show. Corin Nemec portrays Jonas Quinn, a leader from another planet who finds himself embroiled in the SG-1 mission.

"I wrote 'Meridian,'" says Cooper. "But Brad Wright was the one who first suggested the new character of Jonas. I agreed with him. I thought it had a nice symmetry. The fans of Daniel Jackson have been very upset about his leaving and thought we were unfair in not giving him the proper send-off. They felt he at least deserved an entire episode of his own in order to be able to say goodbye properly. To me, I think there is something very interesting about having his work, his life, honored by someone culpable for an ending."

Daniel Jackson fans have also been voluble in their dislike of the Quinn character. "There has been a lot of criticism about Jonas being a coward, being someone who betrayed his country. I don't understand that. Because to me, I think that it's very realistic. Quinn is a guy who is not at all accustomed to the situations that Daniel has been involved in. Daniel obviously has much more knowledge about the universe. Then here's Jonas, who is seeing it all happen for the first time and he's like 'Oh, my god! There are aliens out there! There are other worlds!' All that stuff. It's his reverence, his hero-worship, of Daniel that forces him to make a choice. And Jonas wasn't so much betraying his country as he was saying, 'Look, the best way I have to save my world from destruction is to do what?' He takes over Daniel's work. He is young to be taking Daniel's place, and fans who didn't want to see Daniel Jackson leave the show are going to naturally be kind of bitter about that."

Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) leads the crew of STARGATE SG-1.



"After you see the two-parter of this season and 'Descent' written by Joe Mallozzi and Paul DeLuise, you'll very clearly see that Jonas is a guy well worth having on the team. Not every character on the show will accept him right away either. It's not like we've just replaced actor A for actor B. I think that you have to give us some credit for honoring the Daniel Jackson character and what he meant to SG-1. Jonas and Jackson are two very different guys from two different worlds, and I think we should let it play out a bit before making character comparisons."

Fans still seem to struggle with the show's new course, and they are campaigning en masse to bring Daniel back. A great many fans are claiming that core of STARGATE - and the very reason they watch - has to do with the almost mythic bond of friendship between Daniel and Jack. They are unhappy to be deprived of it.

"True. But let's face it, Richard Dean Anderson is the star." Cooper points to a STARGATE poster on the wall behind him, where Anderson's face and upper body and full name - figures very prominently in the top center of the frame. "He is the leader of the team. He is great playing that part. He is also very aware of the fact it's a team show, and he's very generous in sharing screen time. I think we try very hard to be balanced in giving each character a story and focus."

Cooper pauses for a moment. "When I started on the show, I was most attracted to the Daniel Jackson character, so many of the episodes I wrote were Daniel-heavy stories. Daniel was certainly an important part of the show, but I also feel like there should be an eventual closure to the journey we took him on. He was the most spiritual guy on the team, so it was natural that if [he] were given an opportunity to ascend to a higher plane of existence that he would take it. It was obviously a poetic end for the character. I think that it was the best ending he could possibly have had."

The sixth season cast of STARGATE SG-1



As one of the top STARGATE writers, Cooper penned a two-parter opening of "Redemption," where Teal'c's son Rya'c comes of age. Cooper has also just finished "Frozen," which is tentatively scheduled to air in late June.

"There was a Season 1 episode written by Brad called 'Solitudes,' in which Carter [Amanda Tapping] and O'Neill are caught in a wormhole and sent to the second Stargate," says Cooper. "They discover another Stargate in a glacier in Antarctica, and the speculation is that the gate would be older than the Egyptian gate. Eventually that gate became a part of a running storyline. This team has been down there for the last five years looking for some sign of what the gate has done under the ice. In "Frozen," SG-1 goes down there to help figure it out and discover a woman frozen in the ice. The mystery becomes how long she has actually been there. In fact maybe a lot longer [than] we thought, causing questions about human evolution, how long humans have been around. Also how she manages to survive all that time frozen in ice. So, it's going to be a fun revelation, and of course we get to go to another exciting location."

Be sure to check back soon for part two of our STARGATE SG-1 profile.

Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at feedback@cinescape.com.

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