GateWorld talks with Michael Shanks
After more than seven years as the iconic Dr. Daniel Jackson, Michael Shanks needs little introduction in the world of Stargate. GateWorld's David Read caught up with Michael as he grabbed a bite to eat following an incredible stage appearance at Creation's recent Official Stargate SG-1 Convention Tour
in Chicago, right before Michael and Don S. Davis (General Hammond) headed out for an evening flight to Sacramento, California -- where the busy actors were set to make another stage appearance.
Be warned: this interview is filled with minor spoilers
regarding upcoming episodes in Season Eight, including the two-parter "Reckoning"
-- though no major plot information is revealed.
GateWorld's video interview with Michael is about five minutes long, and requires QuickTime 7.0
or higher. It is also transcribed below!
GateWorld: Well, it's all over with. Are you glad that it's out of the way? Now you're moving on to California?
Michael Shanks: I'm in flash paralysis right now.
GW: [We've been] talking with Mel Harris lately. She's really excited. Has "Threads" and "Reckoning" already been shot, or is that going to be later on?
MS: "Reckoning," to a large degree, has been shot -- the two-parter. "Threads" -- which is sort of a three-parter in a strange way -- "Threads" doesn't start I think until Monday or Tuesday, so Mel hasn't been around yet. We're taking her scenes and putting on the same schedule as "Threads" from "Reckoning."
GW: So "Reckoning," as far as Mel Harris is concerned, has yet to be done.
GW: Is "Threads" going to air after "Reckoning," or is it just the sequence of production?
MS: It'll have to. It'll definitely have to. Yeah, "Threads" is -- the way they did the order, so the way it goes -- or I think it'd be a colossal mistake on their part. No, I think it is sequential, so it is going to air afterward.
GW: Are you glad getting back with her?
MS: What do you mean, "getting with her?" [Laughter]
Oma Desala (Mel Harris) pays a fateful visit to Daniel. From "Meridian"
GW: In front of the cameras.
MS: Oh, well, the last time -- I don't know. It's hard to say. I've got mixed emotions. You know, the last time I was with her I was dead! No, it's been a long time, so I'm looking forward to. I mean all the scenes -- it's quite clever the way "Threads" has been written, in terms of touching on the ascension issues, sort of taking metaphors. I think it'll be a lot of fun, as long as it's not played too strange. It's already got a strange premise to it, so I think it'll be a lot of fun.
GW: Other than "Icon" and "Prometheus Unbound," Darren -- err, "Darren." Daniel hasn't been extremely --
MS: Nor Darren!
GW: -- extremely front and center. But I guess "Reckoning" is going to bring that. We don't really want to ask that much about it, we know you're bound by contract by not saying anything.
MS: Right. There's a lot of episodes this year, in terms of being front and center. There's a lot of episodes this year that Daniel does a great deal in, even though he's not the central focus in lot of different episodes. So, it's not like these are the only two episodes this season with "Reckoning," or whatever. Because he's not, actually -- in terms of the amount of time devoted to, there's a lot of other stories going on at that particular time. There's an important one which is, you know, a main, major storyline in "Threads." But "Reckoning" one and two is about so many different things, it's hard to actually put a finger on it.
So I would say "Threads" may be a little bit more about Daniel because of the specific ascension storyline, but there's still a lot going on in that, too. But I think this year, although there still are episodes where one character is sort of leading the way, the other characters are finding ways to be much more involved, as well.
That's one of the benefits of having O'Neill as the General, and us spending a lot more time around the base, is that we can all sit around and get involved in the storylines moreso.
What was the question? [Laughter]
GW: Would you rank "Reckoning" next to "Heroes" in terms of the quality of the story?
MS: That's a toughie, because "Heroes" is my favorite episode. So ...
MS: Yeah! In terms of the kind of stories that I appreciate watching. And Rob [Cooper] really wrote that one really well. "Reckoning" is just different agendas, with something like "Reckoning." "Reckoning" is so much about resolving storylines, where "Heroes" was much more an emotional journey for the group.
Farscape's Claudia Black guest stars as Vala in the upcoming SG-1 episode "Prometheus Unbound."
I wouldn't actually put the two in the same ballpark. "Reckoning" is much more like a season finale of sorts. It's talking about things that have been ongoing in the Stargate universe, important themes and threads, whereas "Heroes" is more like getting a microscope in and looking at the people, more specifically. And "Reckoning" goes back to the action and the broad storylines: Will the Jaffa be free? Will Anubis take over the universe? Will Betty end up with Phillip on Guiding Light? So I wouldn't actually compare the two.
GW: OK. But other than that -- you said "Prometheus Unbound," the last time we met, was your highlight. Is it still your highlight for this year?
MS: Oh, yeah! I had so much fun doing that. I'm not really even one to really enjoy anything I do [when] watching it. I usually sit there and pick it the hell apart. When I watched it the first time, I kind of went [cringing]. Then I started watching and went, "Hey, that's kind of funny." "Oh! That's funny!" It's not even -- Don's in it, and Gary Jones is in it, Ellie Harvie's in it -- plays a great role, supporting character -- and Eric Breker's in it. And it's just like, it's almost like this whole, separate show where you sort of get lost watching this new dynamic take place. And then Claudia [Black]'s and my storyline, it sort of fleshes it all out.
And I think that there's a lot of stuff in it. There's some action sequences, a lot of laughs. It's the right kind of mixture where I just really enjoyed it. And we had such a good time doing it, shooting it, that yeah -- it still is the highlight, certainly the highlight of my year so far.
GW: A lot of Daniel fans are really looking forward to how the character plays out. Obviously "Threads" and "Reckoning" will probably play a really big spin on Daniel's character in the direction that he's going. What can you tell fans to look forward to, in the most general way possible?
MS: Oh, God ... lots of stuff!
GW: Lots of stuff? [Laughter] That is pretty general, isn't it?
MS: That's pretty general -- that's about as general as I could get. What can they look forward to? I think no matter what happens, Daniel will be just fine.
GW: OK, excellent. Michael Shanks, thanks very much.
MS: Thanks, man.