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Soul of the Machine
Beware of SPOILERS for Stargate Atlantis's fifth season episode "Ghost In the Machine" in this interview.

The fourth season of Stargate Atlantis capped off a major story arc with "Be All My Sins Remember'd," an episode full of drama, villains, and fantastic space battles. But it also had something fans never saw coming: a captivating (if short-lived) new character, Fran. Actress Michelle Morgan helped to make that character compelling and memorable. Now, she returns to Atlantis for "Ghost In the Machine."

GateWorld caught up with Michelle on the set of the episode! In our interview, she talks about the role she was originally cast for (but had to back out), her introduction to Fran and the mythology of the Replicators, and the very unique challenges of playing Elizabeth Weir in this episode. She also answers the question, "Does Fran have a soul?"

GateWorld's interview with Michelle runs about 16 minutes. Listen online at your leisure, download it to your MP3 player, or subscribe to the iTunes podcast! The full interview is also transcribed below.

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GateWorld: For I'm Darren Sumner. David Read and I are here with Miss Michelle Morgan. Michelle, you play Fran on Stargate Atlantis!

Michelle Morgan: Yes, I do. Friendly Android Replicator ... what is it?

GW: Friendly Replicator Android.

MM: Android. Yeah!

GW: Thanks for talking with us today.

MM: No problem.

GW: Tell us a little bit about how you got here, how you were cast for Fran.

MM: Basically, I was living on Vancouver for a short period last spring and they kept bringing me out for Stargate, for smaller roles, like an engineer here and there. And I wasn't booking anything. And then they cast me as the daughter of the Seer in that episode, "The Seer." And I was really excited to play it. It was a great guest starring role, but I had to go and do re-shoots for a film I had done called "Diary of the Dead."

So I couldn't do it. I was really upset -- I thought I finally had my chance to work on Stargate, And then the next week I got cast as Fran.

The role of Linara in "The Seer" originally went to Morgan, but prior commitments forced her to pass. Linara was played by Kimberley Warnat.
GW: Were you a fan of the show?

MM: I'd seen a episode, but I don't really get to watch a lot of television. I rent it. And subsequently, upon being cast, I went back and rented a bunch of episodes and, obviously the first episode -- it was almost a feature length film.

GW: Yeah, "Rising." [To] see what you got yourself into.

MM: Exactly.

GW: So through this experience with "Be All My Sins Remember'd" last year -- now you're in "Ghost in the Machine" -- have you gotten to know the Replicators and Fran's role in the larger Stargate story?

MM: Yeah, in my research I've been trying to understand these Replicators and I'm interested in this idea of ascension that they have. Because I was like, "What are they talking about?" And it's neat. Basically they were an artificially made race who are trying as hard as they can to be human. So I think that's interesting.

GW: To be more than human, go where the humans went, where their predecessors went. Because the people who created them left themselves and the only way that they can feel remotely equal is to see if they can achieve what their predecessors achieved.

MM: Yeah.

GW: Tell us first about "Be All My Sins Remember'd." When you think about your work on that show what stands out in your mind?

MM: I had so much fun with that because it was great to just play a completely innocent character and someone with no ulterior motives, and just pure contentedness to be in this moment and to do what she has to do. And it was really a relief, because you get a lot of complicated characters, and a lot of brooding characters, and it was really nice to play something so light and simple.

GW: She was literally a blank slate.

MM: Yeah! But I tried to bring a bit of childlikeness to her and sort of a wonderment with everything around her. So that was fun to do.

GW: As a Replicator she's extremely dangerous, but yet she's also very endearing.

Despite his team's reservations, Rodney McKay stands by his work.
MM: Yeah, that's great!

GW: You go through the episode and you're thinking, "Is she going to turn on us now, or is she going to fulfill her destiny?" Because one of the neat things that Fran says is, "Who has the chance to know what they're meant to do with their life and then get to fulfill it?"

MM: Absolutely. She really doesn't think there's any need to complicate things and she thinks it's hilarious that David's character ...

GW: McKay.

MM: McKay! -- that McKay is conflicted about this. Yeah, she doesn't understand that because it's very simple. And I think that's great that you're wondering if she was going to turn, because that thought never crossed my mind.

GW: Really?

MM: No -- yeah, she's not going to turn. She knows what she wants to do.

GW: Well, yeah, he was always worried that "Is this morally the right thing to do?" because he grew attached to her and now he's got to basically go send her off with a bomb essentially strapped to her chest, for a metaphor for our times. That was very effective.

MM: Thank you.
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