Actress Torri Higginson (“Elizabeth Weir”) spoke to Cult Times magazine recently about balancing the character’s growth in the upcoming third season of the phenomenally successful Stargate Atlantis. As the leader of the expedition to Atlantis, Higginson takes on a challenging female role — made all the more difficult by the fact that she is not male, middle-aged, or bald.Instead, the character has had to face a whole new series of problems that Stargate SG-1‘s General George Hammond never encountered.”I think she’s a difficult character,” Higginson told the magazine. “Brad [Wright, executive producer] and I meet up every few weeks and talk about where she’s going and what we can do with her. She’s a bit of an anomaly because she is a leader but she’s not a Margaret Thatcher leader. She’s a bit subdued, she’s a bit of a hesitant leader, she tries to do things as diplomatically as she can.”Making a female leader without an over-the-top shrillness is also a challenge. Higginson believes Weir has been hard to write as “a leader not leading with an iron fist. And also because we don’t have the military, it makes the structure of the hierarchy harder to crystallize.”Breathing fresh life into the role of a catalyst for the show’s events, Higginson also wants to avoid the “Hammond Syndrome,” where eventually the only purpose her character would serve is to send people off on missions.”We did joke about that a lot last season, that I’d show up at the beginning and say, ‘This is your mission’ and they’d go off and shoot in the rain and I’d be sitting having martinis somewhere and come back at the end and say, ‘Well done, everybody!'” she said.In Season Three, Weir “gets to be very much out of character,” she revealed. “And I spoke about maybe we could see this affect her afterwards; because of what she experiences in this episode there could be some shifts in her character which would be more fun to play with.”Stargate Atlantis is currently filming in Vancouver for a July premiere in the U.S. Read more about the upcoming events and Weir’s evolution in the new issue of Cult Times (#122), on news stands now.