While at Creation’s 2005 “Celebration for the Fans” convention in Vancouver, British Columbia, GateWorld had the opportunity to catch up with Joe Flanigan, Lt. Colonel John Sheppard on Stargate Atlantis!
In our latest interview with Joe he brings us up to speed on a story he has been developing with Brad Wright, one that should bring about a great deal of growth for his character. He also talks about fan response to his just-completed appearance on stage at the convention, his hopes for addressing Sheppard’s closet of skeletons, and updates those who have not received a response to that fan letter you sent him!
GateWorld’s video interview with Joe is runs about 13 minutes, and is also transcribed below. You can also listen to the audio-only version of the interview, or download it to your favorite listening device and take GateWorld with you!
GateWorld: Joe, what is your overall evaluation of Season One?
Joe Flanigan: I don’t have an overall evaluation. I leave that to the critics. [Laughter]
GW: Well, picture yourself as a critic.
JF: Riveting! Suspenseful! What are other words they use?
GW: What is your favorite episode, or favorite scene, or favorite moment from the first season?
JF: From the first season I would say … I should have this stuff at the tip of my tongue and I don’t, because it’s all a lot of mush in my head. I don’t really look at it in moments but in terms of episodes I would say that my favorite episode, as I told them, was “Defiant One.” And my least favorite was “Thirty Eight Minutes” because I had a bug stuck on my neck.
GW: That’s what you told us!
JF: And as far as moments go, I’m not really sure that I have the mental capacity to make that recall right now.
GW: How did the cast gel over Season One?
JF: Pretty quickly. Yeah, real quickly. It’s an easy-going group of people. We have a remarkably functional group of people. Unlike a lot of sets on other shows you don’t have temper tantrums and freak-outs and stuff like that. It’s an amazingly well-balanced group of people.
GW: “The Siege, Part 3,” which is the opener to year two — tell us a little bit about it from Major Sheppard’s perspective. Now obviously you don’t die, because you’re here.
JF: I don’t die. “Siege 3” … You know, I haven’t even seen the cut of “Siege 3” yet. They haven’t finished the vis effects. So I haven’t watched it. So I can’t give you an overall on that one. But it was mostly exciting to get back into the show.
I’m skeptical about three-parters. I think two-parters tend to work better. Three-parters tend to be a little bit difficult. But it’s going to be good.
GW: Tell us a little bit more about “Epiphany.” You mentioned a little bit of it today, [but] for those who weren’t there …
JF: Yes! It’s just a story idea that Brad [Wright, executive producer] and I came up with. And it follows the storylines a little bit of “Magnificent Seven,” if you can picture that, essentially. That’s effectively what we do: go to a different planet, and there are a group of people there that are afraid to fight these hideous monsters. We have to get them to buck up and fight.
It turns out to be a process that will allow them to go to the next level. They’re descendants of Ancients but they’re not evolved Ancients. So this actually helps them evolve to another level.
GW: So these creatures, they are not Wraith.
GW: This is a new foe?
JF: No — well, yes. I don’t want to give too much away on the show. But no, they’re not Wraith.
GW: Sheppard and McKay’s relationship, that’s just mind-blowing for year one. The amount of stuff that you guys did, is there anything to look forward to in Season Two?
JF: Sure, oh yeah.
GW: Can you give us an example?
JF: I think it’ll still have that McKay-Sheppard banter. The idea that I had after a few episodes was Bob Hope and Bing Crosby on the road. All those road shows were very funny. So why don’t we have the road show in space? We just get ourselves into trouble all the time and have to kind of maybe dance and sing our way out of it.
That’s effectively what a few of the episodes are, so you’ll see that a little bit. And then you’ll see also a couple more serious moments between the two of us. We’re shooting something like that right now [“Trinity.”]
GW: Tell us about the new dynamic that Colonel Caldwell will introduce.
JF: He will be the voice of Big Brother.
GW: The Pentagon.
JF: Yes. And his interests and my interests are sometimes similar and sometimes not. So that’s a very interesting dynamic, along with Dr. Weir. Because my loyalties are with her, and yet I find myself at odds with her sometimes and in an uncomfortable alliance with him.
GW: Tell us a little bit about Jason Momoa and the new dynamic he’s adding to the show, and also Sheppard’s relationship with Ronon Dex.
JF: Well, I’ve only really shot one episode with Jason. And I was involved in reading these guys down in Los Angeles.
GW: Oh, really?
JF: Yeah! So I had thought he was definitely the best choice, and it was one of the few times that I give my two cents sometimes in casting. Usually they say, “Oh, thanks Joe.” And they end up not casting them at all. In this case we won out and he was, I thought, absolutely the right character.
And he’s been a lot of fun to work with. I think he plays the part perfectly. I did his first episode. We don’t really have any material together in this episode we’re shooting now, but the following episode we do. And the dynamic is that, I think I said it to you guys on set — yes, that he’s my Chewbacca.
GW: I missed that part!
JF: And I said, “He’s going to get pissed out when he finds out I said that.”
GW: He’s not a small man, is he?
JF: No, he’s not a small man.
GW: He reminds me a lot of Michael Dorn and Michael Dorn had such a huge presence.
JF: He’s got a presence and he’s big. So stay on the good side!
GW: GateWorld reader Lisa would like to know how you enjoyed your first solo performance in front of fans today. Solo talk.
JF: Oh, I guess it was my first solo experience. It’s great. I loved it! I loved talking to all those people and hearing from them. They give quite a bit by supporting the show. It’s nice to give something back. I like interacting. I really do. I’m a social person. I’m not a recluse.
GW: Were you surprised by anything the fans said? [They] brought up your ears and all this.
JF: No! I thought they were remarkably playful. That was nice. They had a sense of humor.
GW: As he pulls on his ear, you notice that.
JF: [Pulls on ear.] They’re great!
GW: Moriah would like to know, “Do you read your fan mail?”
JF: I actually do read my fan mail. I have been remarkably slow to responding to it and it’s not my fault. It’s the fault of the studio. It’s not giving me pictures. I have no pictures!
GW: Like those boxes of those out there.
JF: The pictures I sold today that I was autographing. I was like, “God, I’d like some of these! I could actually get my fan mail done.” So it’s been building up and I need some photos. I need to get it together.
I do read them and I plan on getting that stuff done. They have to get me those photos and they keep saying they’re going to.
GW: God forbid if Season Two was the last year — which it won’t be, not with these ratings — where would you like to see this character go? If you had to get all of the swan songs out of the way.
JF: Don’t even think that way. But if I had to, I think I’d like to see him return to Earth and reconcile his place in the military, and with some of the back-story that we’re going to discover. I didn’t explain that today.
I don’t mean to make reference to “today” for those who don’t know what happened today. I was talking to an audience and they asked me about a show called “Epiphany,” that we discussed earlier. In “Epiphany” there will be some discussion of back-story about my experiences in Afghanistan.
JF: Yes, flashbacks. And those flashbacks will be critical to understanding some other things down the road. I would like to see the story go back to Earth and let him reconcile those issues and so forth. Find a really hot alien priestess.
GW: Any final thoughts to your fans who are going to be watching you for these years to come.
JF: Ahh. I just am very grateful with the support. I’m very grateful of everybody watching the show. Get more people to watch the show!
I really believe in the show. I really do. I was saying to a few people that I believe in the show because it’s an increasingly divided world. We’ve got a show that young people can watch and old people can watch. People from all over the world watch this show, and I think that’s a very hard thing to accomplish. I’m proud of it in that regard.