Beware SPOILERS for Season Five of
Stargate Atlantis in this interview!
It has been an exciting year for Stargate
co-executive producer Martin Gero. Whether working in Vancouver on Season Five of Stargate Atlantis
or promoting his recently released feature film, the entertainer has constantly been on the move, meeting nothing but success.
We recently sat down with Gero for an exclusive interview, where he talks about his favorite episodes from Season Four
and the unexpected trials that came his way (from working on his new film to tackling unexpected surprises in the episode "Trio"
). We discuss the new cast regulars introduced this year, the mid-season two parter (among other episodes), and the expedition's responsibility to its enemies.
GateWorld's interview with Martin Gero runs 34 minutes long. You may listen at your leisure, download it to your MP3 player, or read the transcript below!To enjoy more of Martin's work, don't forget to pick up the Stargate Atlantis Season Four DVD set in stores now!
GateWorld: For GateWorld.net, I'm David Read, and I'm here with Mr. Martin Gero once again in his office. You cleaned out your Muppets!
Martin Gero: I did! The Muppets are gone, yeah!
GW: No longer a Muppet fan?
MG: No, it was just time -- and this is what the GateWorld people want to know -- I just needed a little cleaner look. I spend more time in this room then I do in my house. I thought I'd spend a couple days. We repainted it and put some of my art up and then some of the shots of the show.
GW: Is it a little bit bigger than it was before?
MG: No! There's less junk in it. It feels like a much, much bigger office. People feel like I got a promotion when really I just took stuff out. Also I had a TV and VCR in the corner there and I can't remember the last time I used a TV and VCR. That was the end of that.
GW: Well, we're just a few weeks in production on Season Five. Any early thoughts? Anything you're particularly excited about? How are things going this year?
MG: It's a great year. This is, again, a very focused year like it was back in Season Four. We're not trying to do two TV series. We're not even trying to do a TV series and two movies. Atlantis is really the only focus. That's incredibly refreshing.
Some people were worried because there's great cost savings in doing a couple things at once, but we've trimmed some of the fat of the production. We thought, "Oh, that's going to be a problem," but actually it's allowed us to do bigger stories this year. The first few cuts that have come back, I'm very excited. I'm very excited.
Entombed beneath a collapsed building, McKay tries desperately to avoid a panic attack.
GW: How is the season premiere looking?
MG: It's excellent, if I do say so myself. It's a lot of fun. I really like writing those big episodes that also have an enormous amount of heart and character in it. I'm pretty excited about a couple of surprises that hopefully we can keep surprises. I think it's quite good.
GW: Is there anything you're doing differently this year from Season Four? Any lessons learned?
MG: Well, for me personally, some people know last year was a very, very busy and difficult year for me. I was doing Stargate Monday to Friday afternoon and then would fly to Toronto Friday afternoon, work on the movie that I was directing Saturday and Sunday, and then come back and start working. So I was working seven days a week for about six and a half months there and traveling a lot.
I'm a "Super Elite" member on Air Canada. I know you guys are American but I flew over a hundred thousand miles last year. I can't complain because I got to work on my TV series here, which I love to do with all my friends, and I think do the best season we've ever done, and I also go to make a movie -- which was an enormous amount of fun. It took a physical and emotional toll on me that I was unprepared for.
So this year feels amazing. I'm just doing Atlantis. I'm only going to do about four episodes this year, just because there's more of us to go around, which is great. I really feel like we have a lot more time to focus on our episodes. I wrote the season premiere. I had a couple months to do that. And now I'm working on the mid-season two parter. I'll have three and a half, four months to write those two.
I really feel our first drafts are a lot better this year -- not because we're better writers but because we have more time to really think about them. When you're in a rush you tend to just be like, "What have we done before? I'll add a little twist on that." When you're sitting down to attack a scene, it's easy for us to go into gear and just do it out of inertia.
"This is how we do an episode." "This is how we write a scene." "This is how those characters talk." [This year has] allowed pause to go back and go, "OK, well we've done it like that. How can we still keep it Stargate but maybe do [it differently]?"
Gero braves the bedroom in his new movie, which opened in Canada June 13.
It's been a lot of fun for me. I'm trying to maintain that kind of feel. I think the shows just need to get increasingly more sophisticated in their storytelling and hopefully we've done that.
GW: In what ways are you hoping to advance established story arcs this year? What are you most excited about? Atlantis is an ongoing journey.
MG: For me it's always about the characters. I know I'm kind of a broken record about that. All of the story arcs are just there to expand character for me. It's important to tell great stories. I think a real combination of arc stories and one-offs.
For me, we're looking forward to episode 100 this year. It's a hundred hours that we've spent with at least three of these characters. That's an incredibly satisfying thing. We don't want to make it feel like an end, I don't think. It's a neat landmark to hit, definitely, in your characters' life. We're doing our best to make everything feel like it's leading organically to that last episode.
GW: Usually the milestone episodes are somewhere in the middle of the season and you can do something special with them, but in this case it's a finale. What do you guys want to do with that? Do you want to make it special and a finale? You're probably already obviously thinking about it.
MG: Yeah. It's going to be great. That's all I'm going to say. It will be very special and it's going to be very big.
I couldn't be happier that it's our season finale. I think that's great. There is a roundness to it that I enjoy. Those first five seasons are 100 episodes. I think, probably never been done. No one does only 20 episodes a year. It's a strange thing to do.
It's great because those are the episodes that you can usually convince people to give you a little bit more money for, and it's not even so much an arc for this season but we're coming full circle. Let me put it to you that way.
GW: What's it like writing for Woolsey this year?
MG: I love Woolsey! I'm a big Woolsey fan. I was very vocal in my wanting Carter to come over and I think she was an incredible addition to the show last year. To be very honest we were really, really sad to see her go. It was a hard thing for, I think, both her and us to get our heads around.
We definitely understand. It's tough doing something for 11 years, and I think given the opportunity to do something else, I think we all understand that and wish her nothing but the best. She'll be a presence in the show this year, too. Even in the episodes she's not in, she is referred to.
"> For me it's always about the characters. I know I'm kind of a broken record about that."
So that was difficult. When that finally looked like there was not a situation that we could make it work where she'd be in a substantial amount of episodes, there was maybe three seconds of discussion about who to bring in. It was no doubt it was going to be Woolsey. Robert Picardo is not only an exceptional actor but an exceptional person as well.