By Joseph Mallozzi
Writer and Executive Producer, Stargate SG-1
After production wrapped on Season Seven, the writers got together to hammer out stories for what would be Stargate's eighth and presumably final season. We spent a couple of days pitching out ideas, ultimately agreeing on about ten initial episodes for the coming year. Two of these episodes, slated to kick off Season Eight with a two-hour premiere, would address a number of issues: 1) Frozen Jack, 2) The consequences Anubis's defeat would have on the other System Lords, 3) The Ancient weapon in our possession, and 4) Jack's new position at Stargate Command. Along the way, we visited the Asgard, checked in on those pesky Replicators who were about due for a return appearance, and even found time to promote Carter to Lieutenant Colonel.
We managed to accomplish what needed to be accomplished, told the story we want to tell -- but truth be told, things didn't turn out exactly as planned. Well, to be honest with you, things never turn out exactly as planned. Be it scheduling concerns, script changes, on-set mishaps, or acts of God, production is never a smooth, predictable process. There'll be changes, compromises, and even some surprises along the way. Usually, these little events are forgotten as soon as they happen. But for posterity's sake, I've jotted down some points of interest, behind-the-scene snippets, about Season Eight's two-part premiere: "New Order" parts one and two.
This was the season that Teal'c finally got hair. That blonde(?) soul patch he sported a couple of years back doesn't really count. In the first couple of episodes, you may note some slight inconsistencies with regard to Teal'c's "coiffe" (due in large part to the shooting schedule that necessitated our jumping back and forth between "New Order," "Lockdown," and "Affinity") that had more than one producer pulling his own hair out in frustration. For my part, I wasn't really that bothered. As everyone knows, the effects of the Asgard beaming technology do have a peculiar effect on Jaffa hair follicles. (I believe this was established somewhere in Season Three.)
Michael Shanks sustained an injury when he was thwacked in the eye by a rope hanging on set. Ever the trooper, he ignored his red, tearing eye and finished his scenes before heading off the hospital to get the injury checked out. I'm happy to report both eyeball and actor are doing well.
Rick's ad-libs in this episode included "Something about twins" and "Who's your daddy?"
The idea to end the episode with Fifth's creation of the Replicator Carter was not in the original outline. Robert Cooper came up with the neat twist while he was writing the script.
The casting of this episode went fairly quickly. From the get-go, Robert Cooper already had Steve Bacic in mind for the part of Camulus, as he was already familiar with his work (some of you may remember Steve as Major Coburn from "Maternal Instinct"). Kira Clavell's audition for the role of Teyla in Atlantis caught our attention. Although she wasn't quite right for Teyla, we knew we had to find a way to use her -- and did, much sooner than we'd expected.
The part of the human-form Replicator who faces off with Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c aboard Thor's ship was played by James "Bam Bam" Bamford, Stargate Atlantis's infinitely talented stunt coordinator.
In the first draft of "New Order, Part 1," Richard Woolsey, not Dr. Weir, assumes command of the S.G.C. -- setting up a less-than-smooth working relationship with Daniel, and a real "fish out of water" scenario when he is forced to negotiate with three System Lords. In the end, however, it was decided that the character of Dr. Weir better suited the story as she possessed a background in diplomacy, offered a link to the coming Atlantis spin-off, and was a better candidate to offer Jack his promotion.
That said, I'd love to find a way to bring Woolsey back at some point. Not only is he a great character but, of all the guest stars we've had on the show, Robert Picardo was my favorite.