June 6, 2012: Days Of Stargate Past…atlantis

Last year, I took us all on a trip down memory lane as I reflected back (and attempted to recall what details I could of) my seven seasons on Stargate: SG-1.  Our journey began here (April 24, 2011: Days of Stargate Past – SG-1 Season Four!) and ended here (November 9, 2011: Ending my SG-1 trip down memory lane with Unending!).  Along the way, we reminisced on the shipper controversy, Daniel Jackson’s untimely demise and fortuitous resurrection, and even offered some insight into ideas and scenes that never made the final cut.  If you missed anything, just use this blog’s handy search function for the terms “memory lane”, “Days of Stargate past”, or “SG-1” and they should lead you to the appropriate entries between April 24 and November 9 of 2011.

While SG-1 was my first love (We were together for seven years!), my time on Atlantis proved equally memorable.  The show was possessed of a similar tone in its mix of high adventure and humor, yet proved distinct in its exploration of Ancient mythology and an unfamiliar galaxy as seen through the eyes of a new set of heroes.  Atlantis offered a sense of wonder and camaraderie born of isolation and constant danger. Whereas SG-1 could always go home at the conclusion of their adventures, the members of the Atlantis expedition (at least for those first few seasons) could only draw comfort from the city of Atlantis itself – and, of course, each other.  It was unique and compelling yet, at the same time, comfortingly familiar.  Nowhere is this more evident than in opening theme, composed by the late Joel Goldsmith, which is, at turns fresh, haunting, stirring and, throughout, discernibly Stargate.

Stargate: Atlantis wasn’t envisioned as a companion to Stargate: SG-1. It was intended to replace the long-running series.  The only problem was, with eight seasons under belt, SG-1 wasn’t quite done yet.  And fans (and the network) weren’t done with it either.  And so, instead of passing the torch and seguing to a new Stargate series, we ended up producing both.  In retrospect, it was quite a feat: 40 hours of television!  Lesser productions can barely manage a third that output, but Stargates SG-1 and Atlantis delivered two fantastic 40 episode seasons before SG-1 took it’s final bow.  It wasn’t easy, but it was certainly made easier by all of the enormously talented individuals who made it happen, from the office staff and crew to the cast and my fellow writer/producers.

That first season of Atlantis was special for a lot of reasons.  Not only did it introduce viewers to an exciting new world, but it also introduced them to two equally exciting new writer-producers in Martin Gero and Carl Binder who would both make their debut’s in the show’s first year (with Childhood’s End and Before I Sleep respectively) before joining the staff and eventually leaving their notable marks on the 5-year production.

As for me – well, while our burgeoning writing staff (made up of series creators Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, my writing partner Paul Mullie, Damian Kindler, Alan McCullough, Peter DeLuise, Martin Gero, and Carl Binder) straddled both shows, spinning ideas and helping to break stories, there was a wavering demarcation between the two productions.  While Paul and I wrote three episodes for SGA’s first season (Suspicion, Home, and Siege II), we were, for the most part, on Team SG-1, writing six episodes and (more importantly) producing more than half the show’s eight season episodes.

Still, as I said, the entire writing department was involved in all things Stargate.  And, prior to the commencement of principal photography on the SGA series opener, Rising I and II, we were privy to exhilarating/frustrating/surprising/ultimately satisfying road to putting together the pieces of the puzzle.

And, one of the most challenging of these puzzle pieces was the casting.  It may surprise you to know that, when it comes to producing a show, not everybody cares about costumes or set design or whether the script’s fifth act denouement is emotionally satisfying, but everybody  – and I do mean EVERYBODY – has an opinion on casting. Studio and network execs, producers, hell, even your significant other peering over your shoulder as you screen the auditions on your home computer will want to weigh in.  Of course, the more voices in the mix the more likely there will be disagreements.  So it is with every production and Atlantis was no different.  Different individuals envisioned these characters in very different ways and, as a result, consensus was only achieved after many auditions, calls-backs, heated discussions, and not-so-gentle reminders that our start date was drawing closer and we really needed someone to say the lines on camera.

To be honest, I don’t remember a whole lot about that whirlwind casting process, but I do recall:

June 6, 2012: Days Of Stargate Past…atlantis

The part of Carson Beckett was one of the first ones cast.  The other producers were in Rob’s office, screening the first batch of local auditions when Brad called me in and told me to check out the guy onscreen.  I hadn’t imagined Beckett with a Scottish accent but, after watching Paul McGillion in the role, I couldn’t imagine him without one. He’d brought something unexpected to the part and we all responded to it.

June 6, 2012: Days Of Stargate Past…atlantis

Elizabeth Weir was not an easy character to pull off.  She had to be smart, confident and strong yet needed to exude a certain warmth and empathy we were looking for in the civilian leader of the expedition. When it came time to (re)casting the role, several established names were considered (one had her own hit show back in the day while another went on to break out on a hit show soon after), but it was Torri Higginson who managed to strike just the right balance and vault her to the top of the list.

June 6, 2012: Days Of Stargate Past…atlantis

The role of Teyla Emmagan was a tough one to cast.  Like Weir, she needed to be a strong, empathetic leader. But she also required something even more important – quite literally, an other-worldly quality that made her unique.  Although she may have looked human, Teyla was an alien and, as a result, we needed someone who could make use buy into her character, convince us and never make us doubt.  Some equally excellent actresses auditioned for the role but, as good as they were, they were never quite able to achieve that gravitas Rachel pulled off with such seeming ease.

June 6, 2012: Days Of Stargate Past…atlantis

The role of John Sheppard was the second to last one cast.  It came right down to the wire and there were several candidates in play.  The character was originally envisioned as a good ole southern boy, so it only made sense that Ben Browder’s name was bandied about early. However, he was busy shooting Peacekeeper Wars.  A number of other actors were  considered (one went on to play the lead in a hugely popular show the following year while another made his mark as a handsome heart throb on another hugely popular series still on the air) but it was Joe Flanigan who won the part based on his ability to pull off the devil-may-care attitude Brad and Robert were looking for.

June 6, 2012: Days Of Stargate Past…atlantis

We come to the final role cast, a character who, in many ways, embodied everything Atlantis was about: exploration, discovery, fun, humor, and seat-of-your-pants-Holy-Sh&%-how-the-hell-am-I-going-to-get-out-of-this-adventure.  And he almost didn’t make the trip to Pegasus.  Originally, the casting call went out for a completely different character, an earnest young doctor who would lend the team much-needed medical support on their off-world ventures.  Unfortunately, no one could agree on who that actor should be.  If the casting of Sheppard went down to the wire, then the casting of this final role went a step past it.  Finally, days away from production, Robert Cooper had an idea: Forget the doctor character.  Why not use an established character from SG-1?  How about Rodney McKay?  We all loved the thought of McKay being part of the expedition but others weren’t sold. They found him annoying!  Hell yeah, but he’d be sooo much fun to write for.  Rob got on the phone and pointed out that the character had come a long way since first being introduced way back in SG-1’s 48 Hours.  He’d evolved, going from annoying jerk to endearingly irritating.  To this day, I’m convinced that they weren’t totally convinced but, with production poised to commence, relented, I suppose figuring they could just replace the character somewhere down the line.  No one, even those of us who loved the idea of having the endearingly irritating Rodney McKay on board couldn’t have predicted how hugely popular the character would become.

Whew!  Didn’t expect the intro to be this long.  In the next few days, we’ll start getting into the actual production as I offer hazy reminiscences and insight into the individual episodes.  So, buckle up and keep your arms and legs inside the ride as we begin our journey down Atlantis memory lane…

I’m finalizing my Comic Con plans.  I will be there, of course, in support of my SF comic book series, Dark Matter, but would be happy to chat macarons, pugs, french bulldogs, oh, and Stargate while I’m there.  I’ve already heard from some fans who’ll be there.  Anyone else?

June 6, 2012: Days Of Stargate Past…atlantis

47 thoughts on “June 6, 2012: Days of Stargate Past…Atlantis

  1. Ha! I just started rewatching SGA a couple of weeks ago, so your timing is impeccable.

    And you were most definitely right in your blog post way back when that the sequence with the city rising HAS to be seen in Hi-Def. Big improvement over the regular def.

  2. Greeeeeeeeat. You post a mega Atlantis entry right before I go to bed. 😛 I gave it a quick look-see, but will have to read in detail tomorrow – very tired right now. Also, in my brief scan, I didn’t notice anything about certain pallid, epalpebrate creatures who really stole the whole show. I hope you plan to dedicate an entire entry to them, perhaps even two. 😉

    das

  3. Five years…. five years! Watched every episode of Atlantis multiple times in all its high definition glory and not once (not once, mind you!) did Aquaman ever appear!!! I know, I know, it was all in the plans for season six. Just kidding!

    Actually, I loved SG-1 so much that back when Atlantis was announced I was excited but also really scared that it would signal the end of SG-1 because like you said 40 hours per year is pretty much unheard of. Thankfully both shows seem to only strengthen each other… and amazingly both shows really upped their game with the writing/storylines (Atlantis gave a fresh take on the stargate world, while SG-1 kept getting better and better). I still don’t know how you guys pulled off 40 episodes like that for those years… the quality of the shows never faltered.

    And as for the initial Atlantis cast… I thought each actor ended up being a good match for their respective characters. As a long time fan of SG-1, the idea of McKay (and Lorne) being a part of the Atlantis crew went a long way to (at first) accepting Atlantis as a continuation of the Stargate mythos but also with enjoying the character interaction of the new cast. (ie- we knew how McKay was able to push O’Neill’s & Sam’s buttons but how would someone like Sheppard or Weir respond?) The other great thing about Atlantis that first season was that you never knew for certain what team members would make it back or not.. when some of the early episodes first aired, I was afraid that Lorne was going to be a redshirt at some point but thankfully not.

    When all was said and done Atlantis was a great show (one of my all time favorites) that ended way too soon. If SyFy would’ve bookended Atlantis & SGU back to back like they did w/ SG-1 & Atlantis then chances are we would still have new stargate episodes airing today. Unfortunately you can’t change the past… well, until Superman flies around the earth backwards that is!

  4. Joe thanks so much for doing this. I have done a broad, arm sweep of everything on my table, tossing all to the floor. I have retrieved my 5 season Stargate Atlantis DVD sets which now sit alone on the table and will begin watching season 1 tomorrow. I have seen season 1 in bits and pieces, so this will be the first time to watch it straight through. I came in whole heartedly during season 2 (the 4th episode) thanks to the drop-dead-gorgeous Jason Momoa. So I’ll be with you all the way.

    Your casting choices were flawless. Everyone was perfectly cast and I felt they all liked each other and came together to form a great team and family. And look how young they look in those pictures! The city of Atlantis was awesome! Joel’s music was awesome! Special effects were awesome!

  5. Atlantis – Woohoo! I can’t wait to start watching the episodes again. Except for Game of Thrones, I haven’t found any other shows that have hooked me like Atlantis did. I loved the characters, and can’t wait to here about some of the behind the scenes adventures, and the details in how the episodes evolved. I wish at some point in time, you could write a book about Stargate.

    I was very sad to hear about Ray Bradbury’s passing today. I was lucky enough to have had several great conversations with him on the movie set for “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit”. He absolutely loved life, and rarely was without a smile or laugh. He was a brilliant writer, but equally a kind and caring person.

  6. Atlantis never quite hit the mark for me. I liked the more dramatic attitude that Universe had. Atlantis still had the “go out, kill bad guys, get back without catching on fire” attitude I found in SG-1. SG-1 just did it better. My life still isn’t quite the same without SGU. Perhaps you could write a few “blogisodes” to introduce the Destiny as it was being built or in its early days before the events of ‘Air’ occured….

  7. Thank you, thank you for the Atlantis entry, and those to follow! I never got hooked on a series, before or since, the way I got caught up in Atlantis. The cancellation hit me hard, and I still wonder what would have happened to those characters. It was the first time I ever bought DVDs for a series.

    I’d always known I was a sci-fi geek, but for the first time, I also became a fangirl. (There. Said it.)

  8. Thank you so much for your Atlantis memories! This is my all time favorite show and nothing since has even come close to how much it meant to me. These initial casting choices were pitch perfect, loved them all (particularly Sheppard)! I look forward to hearing more in the future. Damn, do I miss that show. It’s almost physically painful how much I miss it!

  9. Thanks so much for this Joe!

    I thoroughly enjoyed finding out how the casting process was made. Beckett in particular. I still miss the series as I think it had a lot of life left in it. Never mind…I’m looking forward to the rest of the background stories you have to share!

  10. So looking forward to your reminiscences about Atlantis. Great timing since Space channel has started the Atlantis plot from episode one all over again as of today.

    Btw, found some great quotes for you –
    “The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring”–Victor Hugo

    “20 years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please don’t let Kevin Bacon die.” – Bill Murray

    “One day, Youtube,Facebook and Twitter will all be bought by one huge company (probably Google). The name will be condenced to YouTwitFace” – Anon

    Patricia

  11. Yay! And, thank you. I’ve been hoping to read more of your thoughts about Atlantis. It was my favorite of the Stargate shows. I enjoyed it from the beginning, and once season 3 was partway through I was committed to watching it twice on Fridays.

    I loved the character interaction, especially how it developed between McKay and Sheppard. I thought Zelenka was a great character too, and I wish he had been given triple the screen time he had. Zelenka and McKay also had many great moments together. I miss them all so much.

  12. Awwwww….that was bittersweet Joe! 😀 You got me all nostalgic. 🙂 Stargate Atlantis was a ton of fun to watch! I plan on rewatching Stargate Atlantis starting this weekend maybe, and now you just made it more meaningful. Thank you Joe for your writing and creative talents for SGA.:)

  13. I always wondered something about SGA season 1, why did the wraith ability to cause illusions and such just seem to suddenly disappear in season 2? Was it too convenient or ‘unrealistic’?

  14. Joe, Excellent! I’ve been really looking forward to these posts as I really enjoyed the insider info looking back during your time on SG-1.

    Could you eventually tell us who the other actors/actresses you all considered were for the principle roles on the show, rather than the teasers?

  15. SGA! Whoot! Thank you!

    Okay, I now know I read your blog a little too faithfully… last night I dreamt a skinny long-haired blonde in a bad white vinyl fur-trimmed coat had dog-napped your fur kids. While she was on the phone trying to get a ransom, I called the puppers by name … and they came with me. Now dreams are tricky on details, they can be elusive, but in this one, I knew all the doggie names perfectly. And I knew I knew them in a dream state, which is one of those weird lucid dreaming things I do.
    If you tell me you know someone with an old fashioned parlor with green flocked wallpaper and long emerald green velvet curtains, I’m going to freak out a little. In the dream, that’s where the dogs hid with me until the cops came to rescue them.

  16. Very cool on the Atlantis entry! I wish I was going to be at Comic Con, but I might get my brother to find you so you can autograph my copies of Dark Matter. Pretty please??? 🙂

    Have a great day!!!

    Lisa R.

  17. I still don’t understand fully why this show got pulled. It was always nothing less than great entertainment.

  18. At last, I’ve managed to post a comment without the incredibly frustrating “You’re posting comments too fast” prompt that’s blighted me on this page for the last few weeks. One of those lost comments was quite long too.

  19. I beamed in delight the moment I saw the Atlantis Title on today’s blog! I can’t wait to start the journey down Memory Lane!

    Now to read today’s blog in its entirety! (I skimmed so I could hit reply.)

    I know you’re a busy man, Joe, so BIG thanks for doing this! Prepare for lots of responses.

    CountryGal

  20. I forgot to mention … just as a starting point – Season 1 will always be my overall favourite and it (almost) goes without saying Carson Beckett/Paul McGillion will always be my favourite SGA character! 🙂

    CountryGal

  21. Joe ya-t-il une possibilité pour reprendre le show, on est tous frustré c’est pas facile de se sevrer et de ne pas connaitre la fin surtt d’un final aussi prestigieux que celui de SGU ou la suite de SGA stp essaye de faire quelque chose

  22. Whew, great post Mr. M.! Those sounds like good years for you. The casting department did a great job. I love Ben Browder but it’s hard to imagine him as Sheppard. I’ve read that Ben B. went up for the role Mal in Firefly. Malcolm Reynolds would have been a completely different character without Nathan Fillion. Just like Chricton wouldn’t have been the same “person” without Ben. I suppose the talented actors just take over the part.

    I remember a comment Jewel Staite made once in jest. She asked if she had pissed off the writers because, for a couple of shows, she was running through the woods falling down a lot. So my question is do writers do that? Do any of the writers you know, or yourself take out frustrations against an actor by putting them in demanding situations? I could see myself doing that (insert evil chuckle).

    JeffW: good luck with your cheesecakes! My son would pull out last minute cookie requests for school parties. “Mom I need three dozen cookies tomorrow.” Now I keep a couple dozen cookies in the freezer.

    Das: You are sounding like your old self again. How are your hands doing? Oh, did you hear about that Russian singer you liked? Eduard Khil: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/russian-crooner-dies-youtube-fame-175040202.html We’ve been losing some good people lately. Sorry Das.

  23. Joe, not trying to suck up here, and am being completely honest. Both you and Paul did a fantastic job on Stargate Atlantis, just a shame you didn’t get your Season 6, which I’m sure you would of made better than the fifth.

  24. Yay for Atlantis memories! It was the show that got me hooked into Stargate in the first place and I’m so glad I went back and watched all of SG1 and then continued on with SGU. STILL the best series franchise ever, in my opinion. Seriously.

    Anyway, I’m out of town again for the weekend, this time fly fishing in Maine. Hope for good weather!

  25. @Joe on the SGA Memories:

    My daughter Jackie was excited to hear this, and as a result we’ll be watching the Season 1 episodes in order while following along on your blog. Maybe this will be an excuse to push my family to get me the Bluray version of SGA for Father’s Day. We already have the DVDs, but it would be nice to see SGA in high def and it sure would be a nice “Welcome Home” present when I get back from Vancouver (Hint, hint, Barb and Jackie!).

    On Comic-Con, I’ll have to see what my travel looks like. It looks like I may have a customer visit in Foothill Ranch California that week, so I might be able to take a trip down to San Diego (about an hour and a half away). But I’ll have to see how my final travel works out…

    @Tam Dixon:

    I have been in a little bit of a “headless chicken mode”, due to work, travel arrangements, customer visits, and of course, Cheesecake orders. I’ll be making two tonight (for the Saturday picnic) and the last one on Sunday (for the boy scout meeting on Tuesday). For the boy scout cheesecake, I did require that my son help me; since he was the one who promised his troop, he should be responsible for at least some of the work!

    For the picnic I’m planning on a White Chocolate/Strawberry (always a favorite it seems) and a Butterscotch/Caramel Cheesecake. My Air Force friend (now retired) loves the Butterscotch/Caramel version, so I can’t make a cheesecake for an event that he is attending without making that one.

    For the scouts it will be a Chocolate Cheesecake (with a single strawberry garnish, but that is just for show).

    I really should try to freeze some cheesecake sometime to see how it turns out (stealing your frozen cookie idea), but I’m a little afraid that freezing will impact the flavor. I guess I’d just have to try it and see. Of course, with all the different flavor requests I get now, I’d have to clean out the downstairs freezer to make it all fit, so maybe that’s just adding more work to my plate?!?

  26. Thank you, Joe! 😀

    If I could make that grin any bigger, I would. Can’t wait to hear the behind-the-scenes stories for each episode. Atlantis was my favorite Stargate series.

    @ Susan Bowden — Second that. Carson Beckett (Paul McGillion) was my favorite SGA charactor, also. My fave episodes of his were Poisoning the Well, Whispers, and Outsiders.

    Adventure, cameraderie, and comedy is my favorite recipe for entertainment. With a little romance for spice. The whole cast had this chemistry together that exists to this day. They were amazing together on screen. So glad you posted everyone’s picture, Joe. It’s good to see them together again, even if in that way.

    Thank you, thank you for the SGA walk down memory lane. 🙂

  27. Oh super YAY! Stargate: Atlantis retrospective from Joe! Oh, calm down now, don’t have a tizzy fit – (imagine middle-aged lady jumping up and down squealing and clapping)

    I will be re-watching my SGA DVDs for the ump-teenth time to follow along down memory lane. How I miss that fabulous series.

    Thanks so much Joe 😀 😀 😀

    2cats

  28. not everybody cares about costumes or set design or whether the script’s fifth act denouement is emotionally satisfying, but everybody – and I do mean EVERYBODY – has an opinion on casting.
    even people who have nothing to do with the show.

  29. @ Tam Dixon – Yeah, I was sad about the Trololo guy, but at least he had his 15 minutes of fame. Unlike me, who has had a lifetime of lame. 😉

    Back to my old self? Mebbe. Nothing much I can do about my hands right now (even if I need surgery I can’t do anything until next fall/winter since I’m the only one in the office), Besides, now I have another problem – my eyes. Last week I noticed a blurry spot that I hadn’t seen before. Not a black spot, or a spider web, just an unfocused area – very small. I thought it was a scratch on my contact, so I put in new ones today and the ‘blur’ is still there. I’ve also had problems with dizziness (more like a lightheaded feeling) when I move my head too fast, or stare at something too long. Went to the doc and he checked my eyes and feels that the problem is with my contacts not keeping up with my eye movement. He dilated my eyes and said that – with the exception of a very small area showing some weakness – my retinas look good (especially for someone with my degree of myopia), no signs of any sort of disease that he can see. Still, he’s sending me to a specialist just to make sure. I’ve had this ‘dizzy’ feeling over the years – on and off – and feel that it does have something to do with my eyes not focusing properly, but the blurry spot is new, so I will follow up because I can’t risk losing my eyesight.

    Right now I’m typing with ‘doll’s eyes’ as Mr. Das says, and my vision is still blurry from the drops, so I’m going to have a lie-down and sleep this stuff off.

    das

  30. …Think I’ll watch some Hot Fuzz while I’m at it – I’ve been [re-]hooked on this movie the past week. Great flick.

    Joey, have you ever seen it? If so, whatcha think – or don’t you get British humor? 😉 (Just answer that here on the blog ’cause i doubt you’ll remember it by the time the next mailbag rolls around. 😉 )

    das

  31. What a coincidence… Atlantis has rebooted and begins again with Rising on the Space channel today. I miss both shows; I miss the characters and really would like more along with the rest of the gang here. Again, coincidentally, Michael Shanks’ new show “Saving Hope ” starts today as well. It really is going to be hard not to visualize him at Stargate Command. Rising is just a fabulous start to this series.

    Question Re Dr. Mackay’s tablet: Did the writers think of it first or was it already on its way to being developed by Apple at the time?

    Thanks Joe, for having the time and energy to do this.

  32. YAY! Almost perfect timing, I just finished watching my SGA Blu-rays in a crazy week and a 1/2 marathon of all 5 seasons. Now if only we could get a conclusion season to Atlantis to finally finish off those pesky wraith! It’s a shame it ended so soon as season 5 really had everything really rolling well with how together the characters were and with the flow of the show. I wasn’t sure about how the addition of Woolsey would be to the show but he turned out awesome, especially how his character progressed through the season.

    One thing that I found slightly inconsistent was with episodes in the later seasons was where McKay would sometimes be the confident guy slamming a new clip into his P90 on a wraith hive, to the next episode having just a hand gun going into combat situations like in the final episode going onto the wraith super-hive. I know he’s the science guy and is there to solve the technical issues, but still seemed odd as in previous episodes he’s proven himself that he can handle the big guns so it seemed odd for him not to at least be carrying a P90 going into known combat situations. One of my ever so slight gripes 🙂

    Also by the time season 5 rolled around shouldn’t McKay be in like super shape from all the running away he does? Well that and the always running towards explosions. 🙂

  33. Dear Joe,

    As a die hard Atlantis fan, it was unique to go down memory lane with you. Remembering all of the adventures over the course of the 5 seasons (all of which I’ve seen at least 3 times through, 4 if you count the first 4 seasons alone before 5 came out), and remembering how excited I was to buy each season with what little money I had at the time (in college now with job so no big), boy it was a lot of fun, and still is. It was so much fun, that after 18 years of growing up and watching Star Trek: The Next Generation it replaced that show as my ultimate favorite.

    The cast for the show couldn’t have been better. Joe Flanigan had the Captain Kirk attitude that I loved (and McKay seemed to be sarcastic about him haha), Torri captured Weir’s role really well (although I wished she didn’t give in to Shepard so easily sometimes), Rachael was (as they say in my neighborhood) a boss!, Rainbow was awesome (why was he killed off and never brought back except for the 2 parter The Lost Boys/The Hive?), and McKay, my favorite character of them all, was as smart as he was idiotically annoying. In fact, a lot of my fellow Atlantis fans (friends who have either been fans of Stargate for years or whom I’ve recently recruited to the franchise, 20 people so far…) note that when they see me they see McKay! That’s why my nickname to them is “McKay” and why my Xbox Live gamertag is DrRodneyMcKay12, for the character and 12 for 2012.

    As for how the series wrapped up (and SGU), I will not be able to afford any Comic Con or Stargate conventions so I hope to have these questions answered here if possible. The Wraith are still in control in the Pegasus Galaxy. Unlike the Goa’uld will they eventually destroy themselves or will a new enemy appear (like the Replicators, I hated when they got killed off by the way, but then again Be All My Sins Remember’d was my favorite episode of the series)? Will Atlantis ever leave Earth? We never saw a body, so is Michael really dead? Will the alternate Atlantis team (from Vegas) find out who are characters are in our universe and try to repair what they’ve done before it starts (time travel?)? Will McKay and Keller get married?

    I’m sure I have other questions, but unless I get to a convention myself I may never know. But again thank you so much Joe again for the memories, and good luck with any future projects you will endeavor to embark on.

    Sincerely,
    Chris
    aka “The Real Life McKay”

  34. Something isn’t quite right in the casting memory though. In the first episode guide Joe Flanigan is listed as being the first one to be cast and he even read with Rachel!
    Who is right, Joe?

  35. There was plenty of mixing and matching going on with various contenders for the roles reading with others. It could well be that Teyla was cast after Sheppard, but two things are for certain: 1. Rachel was our first choice from the get-go and 2. The search for someone to play Sheppard was long and did come down to the wire.

  36. Sorry, I just ran across this. Thanks for answering questions and revisiting Atlantis. The “this” that I just ran across was:

    “Although she may have looked human, Teyla was an alien…”

    How was Teyla a non-human alien? She’s not like Teal’c where physiologically she’s different, or is she? I never saw that mentioned on the show. What I remember from “The Gift” is this:

    WEIR: Well, I translated the first part of the log that you brought back, and … are you sure you don’t wanna have a seat? (Teyla just looks at her. Elizabeth takes a deep breath.) The Wraith were conducting experiments on your ancestors. I-It was just one Wraith, actually, and he was doing it against the wishes of the other Wraith, which was why he was doing it in secret.

    TEYLA: What was he doing?

    BECKETT: I think he was trying to make their food source more compatible with their species.

    TEYLA: I do not understand.

    BECKETT: It was very easy to miss. In fact, I couldn’t even make the kind of comparison necessary to isolate the specific strand. We needed Wraith cells, which we eventually got, (Teyla sighs and looks away) but then we need a full mapping of the genetic code contained within those cells, which wasn’t even fifty percent complete …

    TEYLA: Please! (Elizabeth and Carson look at each other again.) Tell me.

    BECKETT: You have some Wraith DNA in your genetic make-up.

    CONFERENCE ROOM. Elizabeth and Carson are breaking the news to John, Rodney and Aiden.

    SHEPPARD: You’re saying Teyla’s part-Wraith?!

    BECKETT: A very small part.

    WEIR (to John): Which makes her about as different from us as you, because of the Ancient gene you possess.

    McKAY: Well, and some other things!

    FORD: Still, Bates is gonna go nuts over this.

    SHEPPARD: Let’s just keep this one under our hat.

    WEIR: Well, obviously Teyla’s very concerned about how everyone will react.

    McKAY: So you think this Wraith scientist was trying to make humans what? More tasty?

    WEIR: The log seems to indicate that he was looking for a way to make the feeding process more efficient.

    What I got out of this was that Teyla’s people have always been human, and that a Wraith did some experiments on some of them causing those people to have some Wraith DNA in their systems. The people that survived and were able to settle back in with the rest of the Athosian population at that time had children and the Wraith gene was passed on to them, and so on and so forth for generations.

    Carson said from a medical perspective he couldn’t tell the difference from Teyla and everyone else because that tiny bit of DNA wasn’t obvious in her genetic make-up. That would lead me to believe that she’s human, and the other worldliness she possesses (and that Rachel gets down so well) is just because she’s literally from another world and not because she’s a non-human alien.

    And if this does mean she’s a non-human alien, then where does it end? Is clone-Carson also not human because Michael gave him some Wraith DNA so he could control him? Is Sheppard not human because he was infected with Iratus DNA that almost irreparably turned him into a bug? Was Weir no longer human when she was infected with nanites? RepliWeir was obviously not human, but I’m talking about original Weir. Then there’s Jeannie, she was injected with nanites too. It would be good to have some clarification on this if you can. Thanks again.

  37. I’m sorry, I was thinking of 38 minutes when I mentioned Sheppard. He was actually infected with altered Wraith DNA when Elia attacked him in Instinct (not the best episode, but it was ok). He actually started to turn into a bug in Conversion. And I didn’t mean to imply that Weir was injected with nanites by saying Jeannie was “injected too.” I just meant that she also was given nanites against her will.

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