Days of Stargate Atlantis past wraps up SGA’s third season with…
Atlantis’s third season concludes in fine style. Under threat from a powerful Asuran weapon, Atlantis has no choice but to do the unthinkable – leave! And the City of Atlantis does just that, rising up off the surface of the ocean and taking flight. It was an awesome sight and it opened the door to some wondrous possibilities – that were only explored for about two episodes, which was the length of time it took for Atlantis to find a new planet’s ocean to settle down on. As much as I love the visual of Atlantis being surrounded by water, I was even more intrigued by the visual of Atlantis surrounded by stars, for all intents and purposes one giant space ship. The argument against keeping Atlantis aloft (or having it touch down on a complete different setting like, say, a desert milieu or a snow covered expanse which were both ideas I pitched), came down to budget. Over the course of the show’s three seasons, we had banked some amazing establishing shots, all of which captured Atlantis surrounded by water. By placing the city in different surroundings, all of these establishers would have been shelved, necessitating the creation of all new establishers. Ultimately, I understood why Atlantis had to end up on another body of water, but I still feel we could have extended the journey through space over a few more episodes.
This episode marked the introduction of Dr. Jennifer Keller played by the amazing Jewel Staite. In the episode, she sports a Canadian patch on her uniform – which was later changed to an American patch through the magic of visual effects because Paul felt that Canada was already more than well-represented on Atlantis.
Also, that lovable technician played by actor Chuck Campbell finally gets a name. After much brainstorming and careful consideration, the writing department decided to name him…Chuck. Inspired, no?
First Strike also marked Torri Higginson’s final appearance as a series regular. Despite the serious injuries Weir sustains at episode’s end, a decision on the fate of the character wasn’t made until shooting on the episode had almost completed. I liked Torri a lot, both professionally (I couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role) and personally (as a fellow dog-lover, she had my respect), and felt she had to know as soon as possible. And, since Paul and I were going to take over as show runners in the show’s fourth season, I thought it only right that we be the ones to tell her. Sure, it would have been easier to follow the lead of other productions, put off the talk and let the studio tell her agent, but, after three years, we owed her that much. Torri was a consummate professional, graciously accepting the news and the opportunity we pitched her to continue on the show (as we had plans to take the character in what we hoped would be an exciting new direction, one that wouldn’t see her appear in every episode but would make her the point of focus of every episode she would appear in). Unfortunately, the planned arc we had envisioned for Elizabeth didn’t pan out (for reasons I’ll touch upon in future blog entries) and so, in retrospect, this will always remain a bittersweet episode for me.
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