It’s now been over two full years since the final episode of Stargate Atlantis graced our television screens, and for actor David Hewlett, parting truly was sweet sorrow. But while many members of the Atlantis cast ended their Stargate time with “Enemy at the Gate” as their characters’ swan song, Hewlett (along with fellow Atlantis actor Robert Picardo) got the chance to reprise the character one more time, earlier this spring on Stargate Universe.
Hewlett took a few minutes to talk exclusively with GateWorld just after the airing of his SGU installment, when the actor was a guest at Creation Entertainment’s Official Stargate Convention in Vancouver. Over the course of the conversation, Hewlett discusses his time on Destiny, a world without Stargate in production, new signs of life with his Starcrossed project, and his pride over his role in this summer’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes — opening in theaters tomorrow! (Watch a scene with David now.)
Also be on the lookout for David in The Whistleblower, which also sees a limited release in the U.S. on Friday.
GateWorld: Let’s talk about “Seizure.” What were your thoughts on the finished episode?
David Hewlett: It’s hard for me because I haven’t seen enough of the show. I feel guilty, like I should have seen more to know more where they were in the scheme of things. So, I did find myself having to go back and figure out what some of the stuff they were talking about was. It’s interesting — it’s sort of bittersweet, because they got canceled. I’ve been more thinking about that than the show, which makes it sadder for some reason. It was good. I felt like I would have liked to have seen more Atlantis.
GW: Was it kind of like home — but not so much home as maybe the next door neighbor that you don’t know that well, but it’s kind of familiar?
DH: Oh, look, the actual process was great. The people were fantastic to work with. The show is gorgeous. The cast are incredibly good at what they do. I guess it’s just not my world. It’s not Atlantis. Atlantis has a very different feel to it. And I don’t mean the people — obviously the people are different. But there was a need to be slightly restrained in the performance in and in the role.
Hewlett (and Robert Picardo) returned to their Stargate roots -- perhaps for the final time -- in SGU's 'Seizure.'
GW: I felt like it was decent blend, and it was handled well ultimately.
DH: Yeah! It was a nice blend, except that it would have been nice to see the show keep going. Because I think then you could have actually then incorporated a bit more, you know what I mean? I could have come back.
It was like a taste. I feel like I went into the ice cream store and I just had the ice cream scoop, just the little taster scoop instead of actually getting myself a good helping. I mean, it was fantastic, it was good to do and stuff. I just wish there was more. But I guess that’s how it is with all Stargates.
GW: Was it good getting the chance to work with Bob [Picardo] again?
DH: Yeah, yeah. Bob and Lou Diamond Phillips and Louis [Ferreira] and David Blue. It was just great. But that was the other thing, I only worked with like a bunch of them. I didn’t work with everybody, so while I met a lot of them, I didn’t get the chance to work with a lot of them.
GW: The first establishing scene with Eli and where they’re talking over the equations and fighting, probably one of the funniest back and forth scenes in the episode.
DH: Good! It’s fun, we enjoyed that.
GW: He’s coming from a Stargate geek background, himself.
DH: Well, we’re both geeks that grew up. He’s luckily younger so his sci-fi is a little different, but it was really fun. I really enjoyed it. I don’t want to sound down about it but the fact that it was canceled makes it that much more disappointing to me. I felt like we got a taste of McKay and a taste of Atlantis but we didn’t get to the meat of it as much.
Obviously it’s their show, they’ve got other things going on, it completely makes sense. But I do think it was a good blend.
GW: A nice little coda to the character.
DH: Exactly. A taster. A little McKay taster!
GW: What are your feelings about where the franchise is at now? With Universe done, there’s nothing in production, it’s the first time in essentially 17 [seasons]. What does that feel like, having been a part of it for so long?
DH: Well, it’s weird. I must admit I got my hopes up because we did an episode of SGU and it was like, “Oh, it’s so nice to be back in the fold.” So, as an actor, it’s always about you. There was hope that there would be more. I mean, Brad’s coming tomorrow [to the convention], let’s hear what he has to say … but as you say, there’s nothing in the works. I think it’s too bad. But I don’t believe that this is the end of the franchise. I can’t believe that’s going to happen.
GW: Do you think maybe it needs to take some time and maybe regroup itself?
DH: I don’t know if it needs to. No, no, I don’t. I think part of the charm of Stargate was it’s continual. It was always on. There’s something comforting in that, it’s a bit like Coronation Street or something. I think it’s sad that it’s going to be off the air because the great thing about Stargate was that it sort of explored as it was shot. You know what I mean? As the episodes progressed and went off in different directions — I think stopping and starting again, what are you going to do?
If you reimagine it, if you do like a Star Trek reimagining of stuff, I think it’s going to have to be a while because the reality is, if you just start again trying to sell the magic of the Stargate … it’s not new. So the sad part of it, I think, is that if something doesn’t happen, I don’t think it’s going to happen for a while.
NEXT: Apes and Starcrossed