With the addition of Claudia Black (Vala Mal Doran) as a full time cast member, an obvious and foreboding problem comes into play: How will a five-person team squeeze through the gate? Amanda herself admits that she is just as in the dark about the future of the character as the fans are. We can take this as a bit of comfort, because it may mean that this whole debacle is over-exaggerated minutiae. Carter may not be going anywhere.
“I’m glad Claudia’s going to be back as a full-time cast member,” Amanda Tapping tells GateWorld. “That’s really awesome and her character’s amazing. I don’t know how it will affect Carter. I hope that it doesn’t have a negative effect on my character or I’m diminished in any way because of this. But I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what the writers have in store.”
Not that Vala’s qualifications will put her nose-to-nose with Carter’s astrophysics degrees, but other factors have been brought to the attention of fans. Will Sierra Golf One function with two female team members? (Some fans don’t think so. Others ask “Why not?”) Will 43 minutes of show time be enough to give all five personnel balance in a story? Will that tub of hair product run out before the end of a production year?
At some point, speculation was rampant that Carter’s duties would be split evenly between SG-1 and Atlantis. Tapping explains. “I think it’s widely known that I’ve been asked to do both shows next year, but I have no idea to what capacity. Nobody’s told me. I’ve heard rumors that I’m doing ten and ten but actually I don’t think that that’s true. All I was told when I negotiated was to be available for both shows. So I don’t know if that means that Claudia’s going to take on a bigger role and I will take on a lesser role in SG-1. I honestly have no idea.
“It’s a little daunting, actually,” she tells us. “I’m a little intimidated by the whole thought of it. I feel very much that my place is on SG-1 and not necessarily on Atlantis. I think Atlantis is a place where I can go once in a while, pop my head in and help McKay figure stuff out. I’m not sure my place is there. But again I don’t know. The writers are so incredible the way they do this tapestry that they’re building that I’m sure they’ll find a way to make it all work.”
But even Tapping will not be told definitively. “I know you’ve heard ten and ten, and I’ve heard ten and ten, but I’ve also heard five and fifteen and I’ve also heard maybe a couple of Atlantis, so I honestly don’t know. You may know more than I!”
Perhaps we should take the fact that Tapping has never been told for sure to be a good sign. “Yeah. It’s not like they’re getting rid of me or pushing me over or anyone from Atlantis is being replaced at all. It’s my understanding I can just pop my head in now and then.
“It was never ‘Would you like to go to Atlantis,’ or ‘This is how we can better service your character,’ or anything like that,” she says. “It was never argued. ‘Would you be happy going to Atlantis? Are you unhappy on SG-1?’ Nothing like that has never ever been discussed. So it’s not like it was a calculated move. It was simply ‘Let’s leave our options open.’ This is the way I’m looking at it. Rob Cooper and Brad Wright never sat down with me and said ‘We really want you to go to Atlantis.’ Ever.
On top of this, what would Carter’s purpose in the city of the Ancients be beyond a sidekick to McKay? That position has already been filled by the irresistible David Nykl (Dr. Radek Zelenka).
Tapping continues. “Carter and McKay have an amazing chemistry. David and I do as well, and we really enjoy playing off each other. Like I said, I can see her popping in every now and then and saying ‘Hey, you need somebody smarter than you to figure this out?'”
In any case, the road ahead promises to be both exciting and terrifying. “It’s exciting in that it opens up whole new territory for Carter. It’s terrifying in that ‘What does that mean for Carter and her place on SG-1?’ That’s where my heart is. That’s where my home is and that’s where this character works.“
The extra-long, two-part interview is available on GateWorld now! Go take a look!
(Thanks to Cynthia for a tip!)