Shanks' Redemption: Full And Uncut|
Mary McNamara, Infinitely Better.com, 16 Sep 02
Redemption: Viewers Rally to Return Their Favorite Character to Stargate SG-1.
And It Works.
In the wake of a heated viewer campaign to reinstate the character of Dr. Daniel
Jackson (Michael Shanks) to the screen, can Scifi Channel's "Stargate SG-1"
weather the departure of this popular star? For months, "Danielites" (as they
are commonly referred to on the Internet) have implored MGM Studios and SciFi
Channel to return their treasured Daniel, who "ascended" last season, to the
This week, Stargate's Executive Producer and Showrunner Brad Wright sought to
reassure viewers that Shanks may well return. "Two or three additional stories
are in development," he said, "and Daniel is very much a part of them."
Mr. Shanks, who said he has yet to be contacted, was amused by all the
scuttlebutt. "I know noth-ING," he quipped, mimicking "Hogan's Heroes'"
befuddled Sgt. Schultz, "I'm unaware of any more scripts written for my
character at this point."
Wright stated that Shanks would be contacted as soon as the scripts were
complete. He expressed hope that Shanks would be "willing and available."
Dispirited by "Stargate's" creative direction, Shanks reluctantly quit the
series after five seasons. "I found that I was dramatically changing my
character to keep him involved in the more military plot lines. I just no longer
wanted to compromise the character I had such respect for."
Shanks has already taped one episode, entitled "Abyss," and said he would be
happy to return for more. "I have great friends there [in Vancouver] and I love
the staff." But he cautioned that the opportunity would have to "present itself
in the correct fashion. I like the show. I like the character but the situation
would have to be appropriate to the character."
Shanks is a cult figure among "Stargate" viewers. He has as many amateur,
fan-produced websites dedicated to him as Matt Damon or Brad Pitt. Fans were
shaken by the departure and they've been tilting at the MGM/SciFi Channel
windmill ever since. Viewers launched a well-oiled, web-based campaign, spending
over $12,000 on print ads alone in "Variety" and "Hollywood Reporter" while
showering MGM and SciFi Channel with letters. Brad Wright, for his part, assured
that he's taken the time to read every letter he's received.
Shanks seemed humbled by the world-wide viewer attention. "It's nice to know
that the character was well-loved but," he hesitated, "it does seem that the
money could be better spent on more important causes."
At one point in the conversation, Mr. Shanks and I were discussing "Abyss" which
he called a "wonderful, refreshing, positive" experience, and the conversation
led to the following:
"I straightened everything out
with Brad [in regard to creative differences] when I went back to do 'Abyss' [in
March]. I'm happy with that. There were some issues he couldn't control. I don't
think he wanted me to leave. Brad is a wonderful, humble Canadian who does
an amazing job, a great job meeting so many different criteria, so many people's
agendas - a fantastic job. To come up with quality consistently, given the
circumstances and agendas that were presented to him, to come up with a show
season after season that actually makes sense anymore - and is poignant as well
- is an incredible accomplishment. I have nothing but respect for Brad Wright. I
still feel that passion for him and the work that he's done."
Additionally, while discussing the viewer campaign, Shanks
expressed some reservations.
"It’s very flattering, of course. It’s nice to know the character was
well-loved. That part is great but….I’m very reticent to give it any kind of
stamp of approval. I feel awkward about it in some ways because this money was
probably hard-earned by someone. It does seem the money could be better spent on
more important causes."
© 2002, Infinitely Better.com.
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