Through The Gate And Back Again
Miwa Hirai, Cyberex, Feb
Michael Shanks, who played archaeologist Daniel
Jackson for the past five seasons on STARGATE SG-1, has returned.
The actor appeared in the Season 6 finale of SG-1 in September of
2002, which was his third guest appearance that season. Shanks left
the show last season for reasons that proved difficult and
distressing for all concerned, most especially for enthusiastic fans
of the series.
"I'm very aware of the strong reaction to Daniel's departure since
the end of Season 5. It's been very surprising for me and, I think,
for the people who run the show as well. I knew that there would
some sort of reaction, but I didn't realize how passionate it would
be. The character was very passionate, so maybe he would attract
people who share that trait. It's just been very lovely, but at the
same time it's been difficult. It was sad for me (to leave), too."
Shanks also believes that what he says and what gets into the media
for his fans to read are two different things. "I read something
that claimed I said I hated writers and denigrated their talents.
That wasn't it at all! It was never my intention to insult them. I
thought the writing staff was just great and did a marvelous job. In
a way, maybe I wanted to stay on the show, but I just expressed that
the character (of Daniel) wasn't being made use of as well or as
creatively as he could have been. I had begun to think the show
would work just as well without me and thatｹs when I felt that I had
to go. I also felt it was time to expand my horizons and look to
other things as an actor."
"The writers disagreed with my point of view. I thought they didn't
see what I was talking about. I realize now that I should have left
it at that. We had artistic differences, which is what a lot of
actors say, but I hated the public speculation that would create. I
wanted to be more specific, and it just seemed to cause more hurt
feelings. So now I wish I could go back and say we had artistic
differences and that's why I left. There is no right answer, given
that situation." Shanks pauses. "But," he says pensively. "I am
learning to curb what I say."
Shanks's first quest appearance since his onscreen death in Season 5
was "Abyss", which aired last July. The character of Daniel made a
"descent" to help his best friend, Jack O'Neill (played by Richard
Dean Anderson), through a harrowing ordeal. "It was related to going
beyond the Jack and Daniel friendship that began in the original
movie. Their relationship had evolved sincerely in many different
ways. Daniel wanted to try to help Jack solve the problem. They
haggled, scrapped, bantered and had fun. It was a character-driven
episode that allowed the audience to see a little deeper into the
After his SG-1 appearance in "Abyss", Shanks also made cameo
appearances in "Changeling" and returns for the final episode, "Full
"Chris wrote 'Changeling' with Brad Wright. It's like an alternate
reality that replaces your subconscious. 'Forever In A Day' (Season
3), for example, basically takes place in a blink of eye, when
Sha'uri is destroying Daniel with her hand device. The entire story
that Daniel goes through never happened, but it does happen in his
mind. Something allows him to make peace with her death.
'Changeling' is very similar to an episode titled 'Absolute Power'
(Season 4) in that way. Teal'c makes a journey in a different form.
We see him as a different person and how his life and the Stargate
cross paths all the time, how he has to deal with that and what it
means at the end. Daniel, in these lives, acts as a type of a spirit
guide to direct Teal'c, pushing him to a place where he can
reconcile what the journey is about."
"I'm always fond of those episodes. They're demanding because you're
constantly asking what's going on and then you're hooked. It's like
The Sixth Sense. You don't know what's real and what's not anymore.
To me, that's a thinking man's drama, and I really appreciate the
more emotional, intelligent episodes that we do."
"In 'Full Circle', Daniel appears to Skaara (Alexis Cruz) in the
Abydos tent village. He encourages the people to fight with Anubis,
who is hunting the Eye of Ra, the last missing piece of the six
powerful Eyes held by Goa'uld. We go back to the beginning of the
Stargate story and go through a similar battle process with the evil
forces of the alien. I always love taking the story back to Abydos
because Daniel has a strong relationship with the people there. We
managed to include a great location in Vancouver. The shoot has a
great film look."
While the SG-1 and the native people are in battle on Abydos, Daniel
makes a bargain with Anubis. He trusts Anubis' word not to attack
Abydos if he gives him the Eye of Ra.
"I think Daniel knows that he won't (attack). It was part of my
original thought process, too. I was thinking; yeah, what is he
believing this guy for? But he's not. I realized that after a second
read of the script. He's not trusting Anubis, he's saying that
making this deal will allow his friends to escape with the tablet so
that they can find the lost city. He's already told the system lord
that Anubis is there. They will come to create a distraction while
Daniel tries to get his friends out and save the people on Abydos.
Daniel also wants to actually confront Anubis one on one. He knows
if we find the tablet it will lead us to the lost city where the
weapons are that can destroy Anubis. I think that he believes in
keeping Anubis' trust in that particular moment. Daniel will do
wherever it takes to get this Eye that will allow his friends to
escape and possibly the people on Abydos."
"Full Circle" also shows another side of Daniel. In this episode, he
is darker and more determined than he was before. He thought the
Ancients that reside in the higher plane had a holy power over every
existence. He thought he had chosen the right path to help humans
and the world. Did he?
"I think he is confused. He's sort of lost. Oma Desala took Daniel
away from the battle because he committed actions that were
forbidden. Daniel took a great risk in crossing that line."
Does that mean we will see Daniel Jackson again? Is this the end of
his journey with the SG-1 team?
"I don't really know. Whether or not the character comes back to the
show is not my decision to make," says Shanks pensively. "It's
wonderful that the fans still care. I can't say how much I
appreciate their support. Sometimes it may be a little bit
misguided, but other times they're dead on the money. To have fans
out there carry your memory and want to see your character back is,
well, I can't say enough about that." He grins. "They're wonderful.
It's a very flattering thing that they're still talking about him
(Daniel). In terms of whether or not to blame Michael Shanks for
leaving the show, possibly. But don't blame him if he doesn't
return, I have absolutely no control of it at this point."
SCIFI and MGM apparently listened to the voices of unwavering
support for the character of Daniel Jackson. SCIFI has officially
confirmed that Shanks will return as a regular cast member in the
full 22 episodes of Season 7, which is scheduled to begin filming on
February 17. Shanks concludes his thoughts on the future of Stargate
"Lots of things happen in the Season 6 finale, which will be a
bridge to Season 7. I don't know if or how Daniel will descend and
reunite with the SG-1 team. The director of 'Full Circle', who
talked to Robert Cooper, the writer of the episode, has basically
said that what happened to Daniel is different than what is
happening to the people on Abydos. He may have a grand plan for it.
I guess we'll have to wait and see what that means. I'm not certain
at this point. However I am sure that whatever they do with the
character will be brilliant and the new adventures of Stargate will
be better than ever."