We are still anxiously awaiting SCI FI Channel’s press release announcing the cast of Stargate Atlantis for the show’s fifth season, which begins filming later this month. That release has been pushed back to tomorrow (Tuesday), according to executive producer Joseph Mallozzi (blog). But tonight we can squash a few rumors and speculation, thanks in large part to the executive producer.
The items below are tagged as CONFIRMED, DENIED, or — if we don’t have solid confirmation either way — RUMOR.
SCI FI announced and Tapping (“Samantha Carter”) confirmed to GateWorld this week that she will star in 13 episodes of the new fantasy series Sanctuary, which goes into production in March. Stargate wanted Tapping back and made a competitive offer, but she finally chose to pursue the new series, for which she also serves as an executive producer (interview).
Tapping will make a still unspecified number of guest appearances in Season Five.
As Tapping departs the show, Colonel Carter will also depart Atlantis. Mallozzi has told fans that the new base commander will be a “familiar face,” someone we have met before and not a brand new character. This actor will be a regular, full-time cast member — and, in fact, he or she made the short list when the writers were considering Weir’s replacement a year ago.
Mallozzi confirmed today that “there has never been any discussion about promoting Sheppard and his leadership responsibilities as team leader will remain unchanged.”
There is understandably a great deal of speculation as to who will be taking charge of the Atlantis base. So far they can be chalked up to educated guesses. There are certain characters who have been up for the position in the past within the show’s universe (Caldwell, Woolsey), and certain actors which the producers have expressed a lot of positive feelings about working with in the past.
What does seem clear, based on Mallozzi’s comments to date, is that one of the show’s current main characters (notably Sheppard or McKay) will not be promoted to base commander. The new guy or gal will be a new addition to the main cast.
Well, yes and no. She won’t rejoin the cast as a series regular and will not be commanding Atlantis again, but the actress behind Dr. Elizabeth Weir will return as a guest star for an on-going story arc in Season Five. Check out the last 60 seconds of “Be All My Sins Remember’d” for more on that.
Luttrell’s (“Teyla Emmagan”) pregnancy was written into Season Four, and she delivered her son late in 2007. But don’t expect Teyla to stay on the sidelines: “Rachel remains a series regular and an important part of the team,” Mallozzi said. “Two of the first three episodes see some major developments for the character.”
Captain Porter, described as a 28-year-old, fiery new addition to Atlantis’s military contingent, will be introduced in the Season Five premiere, “Search and Rescue.” It is not known yet who will play her, and whether she will be a regular cast member or a recurring guest star. Mallozzi did confirm today that Porter will not be assigned to Sheppard’s team.
The manner in which the character is introduced in the episode suggests that she is a significant new addition (not a one-off guest, or a female Lorne), but the number of already-confirmed regular cast members make it less likely that she will be quite at that status.
The good doctor returns in the upcoming Season Four two-parter, “The Kindred.” Hint after hint dropped by Mallozzi indicates that the Scotsman with a heart of gold will return to recurring status in Season Five … but of course, this has not been confirmed, and won’t be until the press release is issued.
Both are currently expected to return. Momoa recently cut off his long dreadlocks, which Mallozzi has discussed in terms of the challenge of character continuity at the beginning of Season Five. (The dreads will be painstakingly reattached for a few episodes, after which Ronon will no doubt get a haircut of his own.)
Nothing specific has been said about Hewlett’s return, but McKay remains a central part of the Atlantis team and appears in the script for the first episode.
In sum, our expectation on the eve of the press release is that the main cast of Stargate Atlantis for Season Five will include Joe Flanigan, Rachel Luttrell, Jason Momoa, David Hewlett, and a new cast member playing the new commander of Atlantis. We anticipate that Jewel Staite (“Jennifer Keller”), Paul McGillion, and perhaps the actress cast to play Alison Porter, will be recurring.
Both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis have had either five or six regular cast members each season, and making Porter (or Staite’s character, for that matter) a regular would probably mean bumping that number to seven.
Note that the distinction between “regular” and “recurring” does not necessarily affect the number of episodes in which an actor will appear. (Series regulars appear in the show’s opening title sequence.) As a regular Tapping appears in 14 of this season’s 20 episodes; as recurring McGillion appeared in some 16 episodes in the first season, and about the same after he was made a regular. Jewel Staite was recurring in Season Four but was widely treated as a full-fledged cast member in the show’s promotional efforts, including cast photos.
Again, remember that everything here is based on educated speculation from the evidence currently available. Stay tuned to GateWorld for the official news as soon as SCI FI Channel announces it!