One upcoming episode, titled “Sabotage,” will feature a lead guest character who is a quadriplegic. Dr. Eleanor Perry comes on board the Destiny via the Ancient long-range communications device, which allows her to trade bodies with someone on board the ship. For the duration of her stay, she is able to walk for the first time in her adult life.
Today series creators Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper posted at GateWorld Forum in response to outcry about the character’s description, which surfaced this week at sites like SpoilerTV. Here is how the original casting breakdown read:
ELEANOR PERRY, (35-40) and quite attractive. A brilliant scientist who happens to be a quadriplegic. Affected since childhood, her disability has rendered her body physically useless. However, after being brought on board the Destiny as the only person who may be able to save the ship and her crew from certain annihilation, she is given temporary powers that enable her to walk again and to finally experience intimacy. Strong guest lead. NAMES PREFERRED. ACTRESS MUST BE PHYSICALLY THIN. (THINK CALISTA FLOCKHART).
Critics challenged what appears to be an insensitive description of a disabled person, such as calling her body “physically useless” and suggesting that she would have been unable to experience true intimacy throughout her life without the use of her arms and legs.
There are also unconfirmed rumors that Perry will have a sexual encounter with a male crew member in the course of the story.
In response to the criticisms, Wright and Cooper said (via GateWorld Forum):
Recently, a casting breakdown was released to agents for a upcoming character in our television show, Stargate Universe. The character, Doctor Eleanor Perry, is a brilliant scientist at the top of her field, who also happens to be a quadriplegic. As part of a science fiction conceit that is core to our series, Perry’s consciousness is temporarily exchanged with one our series main characters, Camile Wray, who is a lesbian.
In the course of the story, Perry has the experience of being able bodied for the first time since she was a child. At the same time, Wray, temporarily encumbered by Perry’s physical disability, experiences the unconditional love of her life partner.
The language of the breakdown was insensitive and inaccurate, and we sincerely apologize to those who may have been offended. The audition pages that have been under scrutiny were from an early draft and released out of context. It is our desire and intention to portray both characters with dignity and respect, while remaining mindful of the ethical issues we’re raising.
As the producers explain, the ethical matters pursued in this episode of Stargate Universe go even deeper than disability and inhabiting someone else’s body — two huge topics for exploration in science fiction (calling to mind stories like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s “Melora”). Dr. Perry trades places with Camille Wray (played by Ming-Na), a lesbian woman who is in a long-term relationship back on Earth (story). Perry explores the possibility (and acceptability) of not only a sexual relationship inside Wray’s body on board the ship, but also a heterosexual relationship.
Meanwhile, Wray wakes up back on Earth in the other woman’s quadriplegic body and has her own personal issues to face.
The producers’ comments acknowledge and apologize for the failings of the breakdown, which is used for casting purposes and not intended for public consumption. But the question remains: How will “Sabotage” deal with these sensitive issues of disability, sexuality, and respect for another person’s body when it airs?
Read more on the criticisms and an SGU spokesperson’s response at AfterEllen.com.
Stargate Universe premiers Friday, October 2 at 9 p.m. on Syfy in the U.S. “Sabotage” is written by a still unnamed freelance writer and directed by Peter DeLuise, and will air in 2010.
aside from the premier “Air” which (based on a trailer) looks awesome, is there really any episode that looks good. the characters don’t seem interesting so i’m thinking either the survival desperation theme is big, I hope.
I got really upon finding out about an openly gay character on the show, equally as burnt was a lot of people, and they ignored us just fine. IF YOU’RE BOLD AND EDGY ENOUGH TO IGNORE US, BUT SUDDENLY GETS ALL WIMPY WHEN OTHER BOTTOM FEEDERS get offended, then you’re not only hypocritical but you had no reason of canceling Atlantis in lieu of an EDGIER show. If you’re going to be Political Correct, then maybe, making edgy shows isn’t your thing, I know; Keith Olbermann need nodding compliant yes man, if you’re interested, I know a guy…
I don’t see the controversy.
There can be different levels of quadriplegia.
There’s a man in Perth who is a quadriplegic and has to be fed with a feeding tube who wants to end his life. He was given the right to starve to death (as he requested) by the court just two days ago.
“Physically useless” describes exactly how that character should be played.
It does not say “all quadriplegics are physically useless.”
This sounds like a very bad scifi B movie that only a teenage boy would love. Lesbian body swapping.
The people who wrote this crap episode are the same ones who ruined SGA.
Color me not surprised.
Since when does Lesbian mean soft core? Cause that’s the way you are portraying it. Maybe it is time that Scifi shows start exploring the issues of our time like Star Trek used to do. Actually use the medium to challenge the social norm.
I have read the sides. Unless they make some major changes to the storyline (which I hope they do) it is foul and disgusting and nothing I would find worth watching.
I have already decided against watching SGU, for a variety of reasons, this only adds another brick in the wall.
ABSOLUTE FAIL dudes!
My first reaction to this was, ‘Great, more things to make this show a space soap’. This could go terribly, and I emphasize terribly, wrong. On the other hand Wright and Cooper have brains in their heads. They’ve done good by things that could have gone terribly wrong before. Hopefully this won’t go wrong and we’ll get a fantastic, introspective, character episode. Here’s to hoping…
You know what else? I just read on the Afterellen site above that, according to the MGM spokesperson, Camile and her female lover have the “only” healthy relationship on the show, and also that this body swapping for sex is going on long before we get to the episode that has caused the current controversy.
I am now 50000000000% sure I would never want to watch this show if this is how adult sexual realationships are handled. I am disturbed and disgusted with what Stargate has become. A true shame.
wow! i didnt realise this episode had aired, where can i see it? how about all the naysayers hold off on the negativity and watch the damn show when it airs! i feel sorry for the producers having to hear all this negativity before the show airs on things they have ‘heard’. grow up, watch the show!
I agree with ‘hotz694.’ it hasn’t aired and all of this is really just rumor. They redid Children of the Gods to take out a nudity scene. You really think they are going to make this series what they just took out of SG-1? They want Stargate to be family friendly. They just want this series to be more life like, not make-believe to the point SG1 and SGA was. All you STARGATE fans, if you really are true fans, you will watch SGU and like it. It’s made by the same people; just with more money, some more experienced… Read more »
Their excuse is that “sex between bodies (i.e. body swapping) is introduced early in the series, and is an ongoing moral dilemma on the show with serious moral consequences, and this event is no different.”
I think I’m going to be sick. So basically, more than once they will use other people’s bodies to have sex. And it’ll be introduced early on. And obviously, rape – because tell me if using the body of someone who never consented to sex to have sex isn’t rape? – is a “moral dilemma” now? Nauseauting doesn’t even describe it.
I’ve always felt ambivilent towards Universe. As a big fan of SG1 and Atlantis, the reported shooting style and premise of the show just haven’t appealed to me. The Producers words haven’t always sat well with me either, to be honest. After seeing the latest trailer from Comic Con, I was pleasantly surprised. After reading more and more of what the producers have to say about the new show, I’m very wary again and concerned that this new spin-off is going to be all controversy just for the sake of it, in bad taste and quite honestly cheap and nasty.… Read more »
I think all of the optimists have been giving SGU the benefit of the doubt for far to long. It’s obvious that this will no longer be the Stargate we know and love. Writers who ran SGA into the ground are still on board and aren’t planning on letting up any time soon.
The show was initially billed to be character driven. Fair enough. More of what I wanted to see on SG-1, that’ll be cool. I’m a little sceptic, but I’ll give it a go, I might be pleasantly surprised. But this? Sex? Whilst using someone else’s body? That’s just not what Stargate is about. I loved the subtlety between characters in the other Stargates. I loved having relationships hinted at and left to the imagination. A little more detail of this kind would’ve been great. I think TPTB have taken it way too far now though. I’ll still give SGU a… Read more »
@Sylvia & cynatnite
You two have absolutely NO IDEA what this or any other episode of SGU is going to be like, so stop being so melodramatic. You two are being just as pathetic as you are portraying this show to be.
Once you’ve seen the show, then you’ll have grounds to comment. Until then you ranting diatribes are based solely on a couple of lines of text and not representative of the final product.
“The people who wrote this crap episode are the same ones who ruined SGA.”
Oh, really? That’s interesting, considering that the episode is being written by a WOMAN(*gasp*), who has never written for a SG show before!
Yesterday, I watched “Pegasus” – an episode from the second season of Battlestar Galactica. To avoid spoilers as much as possible; a character who appears human in that episode – but is in fact artificial – is raped. The scene is not graphic, but thanks to the quality of the direction, it is a gut-wrenching and powerful scene. Two of the “main” characters rush to her defense, and end up killing the rapist… and are then due to be executed for their troubles because “you can’t rape a machine”. Battlestar Galactica was critically aclaimed for tackling dark and gritty issues… Read more »
I so agree with o6untouchable. I usually avoid reading the comments to many of the stories posted to this site because I cannot believe the reasons people have for saying they will not watch SGU.
There is a lot of prejudgement, basing ones opinion on rumors or what they read somewhere like its the gospel truth.
Watch the show … then judge.
Using other people’s bodies for sex without their consent? Is the running title of the show Stargate: Rape? Wow, this sounds like a real winner.
I may not have seen the episode, but the storyline is absolute and utter crap. As someone else said…using someone else’s body for sex without their permission. I’ll say it again…it’s a crap storyline.
If by some miracle, this series turns out to be actually good…I’ll say so loudly.
So far I’m not impressed with what’ve seen and read.
You know what was great about the original series of Star Trek? They spoke out against racism and misogyny in a time when racism and misogyny ran rampant. Of course, they ended up getting cancelled… But you know what I like about SGU thus far? The fact that there are under and misrepresented minorities in society today (gays, the disabled) and the fact that they’re getting representation. Granted, a male gay character would be nice too. Maybe they have a few kinks to work out, whatever. I give them respect for having a strong, intelligent gay female, and for having… Read more »
Also remember that the ‘controversial’ part of the episode that you all are complaining about is only PART of the story line, and will probably not be as huge as what you might think. there will be other things going on in the episode as well!!!!
I don’t mean to be crass, but I found nothing offensive in that statement. It was a description of a character and how they were to be played. Not a statement that was meant to offend all quadriplegics! People are so sensitive anymore, that you cannot say anything for fear of being reprimanded or branded as unsensitive.
Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Rescue Me, The Cleaner, all edgier shows and all a success and all on the other “cable” channels. Give these guys a break until you see SGU. As for the leaks about the show, they would be better off just to shut up now and let us have some trailers to tease us until October. Enough said.
I believe this is the first Stargate episode in a long time (and the only one this season) to be written by a woman, so hopefully she managed to portray this situation gracefully.
I am registered to post just because of this topic. Let us not forget that SG* is SciFi show first. The character driven show, set in the SciFi environment, does not work most of the time. Think BSG finally and Moor comment “It all about characters stupid” or last season of Heroes. The right balance between technology and characters development what made first 5 seasons of SG-1 brilliant. And then came season six. And we tried to make character driven shows. Nightwalker, Allegiance, and Sight unseen was a characters development. Was it the best shows? Same thing happened by mid… Read more »
I want Science Fiction to challenge me. “alalyse the human condition.”
Bring on the challenging issues! I’m glad SGU has the .. guts.. to do something like this. Shades of gray is where a great story comes to life. Dark Knight anyone?
HaxMii said…”All you STARGATE fans, if you really are true fans, you will watch SGU and like it.”
Alas this all rather adds to the feeling of impending doom with the show. It feels almost like the producers are caught in panic mode now, and true or not, it just doesn’t give a good vibe to the show. I was unimpressed before this latest fiasco, now I’m disgusted
Obviously there are fans of the Stargate franchise that appreciate different aspects of the shows than others…for example…yankl just posted that they thought the first 5 seasons of SG-1 were brilliant implying that the others were not. I know I feel exactly the opposite…the first few seasons of the show they seemed to be hanging off plot arcs set up by the movie. It wasn’t until late season 4 that it really started taking its own identity. I know that Christopher Judge feels the same way, as he said so in a season recap special. I also don’t know why… Read more »
oh, almost forgot about the second episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation…entitled “The Naked Now”…you know the one where Data and Tasha Yar get it on and every one is flirting and acting drunk. That was the second damn episode of the entire show…and no one seemed to complain…in fact I know a few people that really love that episode
Why are you excusing the rape in this show?
If you don’t like the show, then don’t watch the show.
I laughed till I choked.. TPTB DOES read this forum.. I Can prove it. Please read my comments: https://www.gateworld.net/news/2009/04/cooper-sgu-has-gay-characters/?cp=7 where I (quite tongue-in-cheek) mentioned about a quadraplegic person.. and GUESS WHAT??? they put one in.. HAHAHAHAHAAAAA
You know what’s really too bad about all this? That fans are telling each other what to think. Who do you think you are? Can you really tell someone else, because of a couple sentences, that they are not a fan if they don’t watch? They *have to* watch to judge? If I watched on that premise, I’d be sitting in front of my TV 24/7! We have to judge before we watch. That is precisely what commercials, trailers, & even spoilers are for – to tell us more about the show/movie before we decide to watch. Further, everyone is… Read more »
For the first time, I am worried about SGU. There’s a reason I couldnt get into BSG.
dalene, I think your comment is a good one. We need to lighten up and allow others to have their points of view and opinions. That said, I am part of the “you can’t judge what you haven’t watched” camp. That needs some qualification, though. There are tons of shows on television that I have no interest in — I dislike most reality TV, daytime soaps, and “family” sitcoms. I don’t need to watch an episode of “Celebrity Apprentice” to know that it’s not my cup of tea. I can pass judgment insofar as it’s just not the kind of… Read more »
I usually just lurk these posts, but I had to signup for this one.
This is utterly disgusting. Using someone else’s body for sex? There is no “moral dilemma” here, it is just wrong, on all accounts.
Why don’t I just go and have sex with someone who is not my wife while I’m at it, just cause she acts like her. – Example
I was actually pretty hyped about SGU until I read this article.
I for one am looking forward to seeing how SGU tackles this sort of serious subjectline. Sides aside, it sounds like the plot is going to touch on some very real issues.
I loved SG1, I loved Atlantis, and as different as it is sounding, I’m going to give SGU a chance. I won’t know if I like it before I see it.
Dr. Rush is not meant to be a honorable character. Robert Carlyle has said himself that the character is “not to be trusted.”
So, I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments on the latest editorial by Darren, but just wanted to comment again here, maybe raise a question: What if Wray gets pregnant? Who’s child is it? Would it have her DNA & therefore she can raise it or decide, well, not to? Or, if Perry was in charge of the body would it be her child? What if Wray wants to abort but Perry (or Rush I should say since the baby would be on the ship) wants to raise it somehow? What if Wray’s body gets an STI… Read more »
Oh, & one other thing. As far as some people reacting very strongly to this & others telling them to chill out: I work at a college & read a statistic that in the USA, by the time graduation rolls around, 75% of all women have been sexually assaulted in some way. That is staggering. I am a woman & fortunately was never assaulted. However, even being a woman, I can’t even imagine what it must be like to watch sexual assaults in movies, tv, etc. Maybe once some Destiny members commit suicide we’ll see others on forums very upset… Read more »
I honestly cannot understand how swapping bodies and using it for any kind of intimacy could be justified in any way. Does that mean if I was in a coma my body could be used to fulfil someone elses sex fantasy, how gross. And would anyone willingly agree to such an invasion. I see nothing about this scenario that could be appealing or entertaining.
[…] week, a character description got leaked and it causes an uproar. Read Here. Why? Because it was offensive in its description of a severely physically impaired person, […]
Listen, I don’t know if I am the only one thinking this here, but doesn’t it sound a little horrific to swap bodies with someone and have them take extreme liberties with your body. Within the context of the show where the military has control over the Stargate program (along with the I.O.A.) it would seem much more realistic to give an extensive briefing (or mention that there was one) to individuals who have just swapped bodies for the first time in order to drive home the point that the temporary user is only ‘borrowing’ the property of someone who… Read more »
What if instead of writing: “her disability has rendered her body physically useless”, they had written: She is not able to use her body. Would that wording have been as bad? To me, it almost means the same thing, but the word “useless” carries other negative meanings. I would have preferred “control her body” rather than “use her body”, but I wanted to point out how sometimes a word/term might have social consequences, when a similar word/term would have been a better choice. As far as the body-exchange/sex topic, if somehow it became a reality in our real world, how… Read more »