SGA 5.10 "First Contact Part 1" Episode Guide

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Précis

Dr. Daniel Jackson comes to do research into the history of the Atlantian Ancient Janus who built a timeship in a puddle jumper 10,000 years ago. During his visit, a new enemy in the galaxy gets revealed.

Guide | Transcript

MGM/SciFi.com Official Summary

Dr. Daniel Jackson travels to Atlantis when his research suggests that a rebellious Ancient scientist named Janus may have hidden a secret lab somewhere within the city. Hoping to find it, and possibly a significant portion of his unauthorized research, Jackson enlists Dr. McKay’s help. An obscure log entry leads them to a cloaked lab where they unwittingly activate a signal on a distant planet. Hours later, the city is paid a visit by a group of mysterious aliens.

Meanwhile Woolsey, along with Dr. Keller and Ronon, have joined Colonel Caldwell on board the Daedalus, leaving Sheppard in charge of Atlantis. They welcome Todd and his delegation to the ship to discuss testing Keller’s gene therapy on live Wraith subjects. But events take a turn for the worse when Todd, suspecting them of betrayal, takes control of the Daedalus.

Modified by Solutions.

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The following are links to images concerning the production of this episode and were published by Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog:

Production Notes

  • "It really hit home this afternoon when I glanced up at the whiteboard and saw the big, empty space beneath the Season 5 heading and beside the numbers 1 through 20. Marty G. helpfully filled in areas with the following titles: Premiere, Mid-Season Two Parter, and Finale. Awesome! 4 down and 16 to go!" — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, October 24, 2007.
  • "The writers have convened in the writer's room to discuss the mid-season two parter." — Alex Levine in his scifi.com blog, January 25, 2008.
  • "Marielabbott writes: “Any chance Weir might be figuring prominently in the mid-season two-parter?” Answer: Nope." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, January 31, 2008.
  • "So far, we’ve got a terrific, BIG two-parter planned. I suspect that the page count in the Daniel/McKay scenes (featuring the two fastest-talking actors in show business) will have the scheduling gurus doing back-flips. Remember that new enemy I mentioned? Oh, and Marty G. will be doing the honors on this one." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 5, 2008.
  • "Marty G. will do the honors for the mid-season two-parter (Welcome back to Atlantis, Dr. Jackson). — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 20, 2008.
  • "Marty G. has yet to come up with a title." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, February 28, 2008.
  • "Marty G. gets a head start on the mid-season two-parter." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 4, 2008.
  • "HE'S BAAACK: Former "Stargate: SG1" regular Michael Shanks reports he's been invited to come aboard "Stargate: Atlantis." "It was the most cryptic, enigmatic pitch of a story I've ever heard," say Shanks, who'll be reprising his popular "SG1" role as Dr. Daniel Jackson in a recurring capacity. "The pitch was: 'You go to Atlantis and something happens and Daniel has to help everybody to get rid of the bad guys that are coming.' I was like, 'Wow, did you spend a lot of time thinking that one up?' But it's one of those things. Stargate is like old home. It's always nice to be able to revisit that universe and those individuals and to play that character again." — Interview with Michael Shanks, The National Ledger, March 13, 2008.
  • "Marty G. hammers away at the still untitled mid-season two-parter." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 13, 2008.
  • PG15 writes: "Would you say that there are hints/foreshadowing in any of the first 9 episodes of the season of the new race/enemy introduced during the Mid-season 2 parter?" Answer: "I would not." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 20, 2008.
  • "Thank you to Marty G. who had us spinning in the writers’ room for about twenty minutes over lunch today, trying to come up with a title for the mid-season two-parter. I kind of liked A Smattering of Scenes - but no one else did. So - still nothing. But that didn’t stop him from putting out a first draft of part one." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 26, 2008.
  • "Oh, I also found time to join with the other writers in giving Marty G. notes on the (still untitled) first part of the mid-season two-parter..." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, March 31, 2008.
  • "The premise is that Daniel shows up in Atlantis to do some research. He's been excited to come to Atlantis for five years now, and things have finally calmed down on the S.G.C. side to give him some free time. So he's coming to Atlantis to do some research on Janus. And that's all I'm going to say." — Martin Gero, Gateworld interview, April 3, 2008.
  • "First Contact is not a time travel story." — Martin Gero, Gateworld interview, April 3, 2008.
  • "McKay finds it very frustrating, because McKay feels like he's followed up any leads that are promising. So McKay is kind of angry -- he thinks it's someone coming over to check his work, basically, and is not the happiest that Daniel is coming to Atlantis. Also McKay is very territorial. He likes being the 'head Ancient guy.'" — Martin Gero, Gateworld interview, April 3, 2008.
  • Rebekah writes: “So, I have been asked to ask (by my husband who is in love with Larrin) - will we be seeing anymore of the Travelers in Season 5?” Answer: "Tell him to be sure to check out the mid-season two-parter." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, April 18, 2008.
  • "I've just read the mid-season two parter, and let me tell you you won't believe what happens to - -- -- mmmmphphp mpp pphpp. *muzzled from offstage*" — David Nykl in his blog, May 6, 2008.
  • "I bring up this topic [about telling who is pleasant to work with and who isn't] because Michael Shanks was in yesterday, shooting his scenes for the mid-season two-parter and the crew was apparently Thrilled (note the capital T) to have him back. Apparently, Marty G. came across Michael holding court on set, exchanging anecdotes and happy memories with an appreciative gathering of familiar faces from his days on SG-1. Yep. How actors, directors, and producers gets along with/are respected by their crew will pretty much tell you all you need to know. FYI." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, May 21, 2008.
  • "We're now shooting first and second unit simultaneously (insane!) on the 2 parter "First Contact" and "The Lost Tribe" and I'm pretty much in every day...thus not a lot of tap-tap typing of blogs obviously." — David Hewlett in his blog, May 23, 2008.
  • "Working with Shanks - too much fun to call work..." — David Hewlett on his Twitter, May 24, 2008.
  • "The two-parter, the first part of the two-parter that Martin [Gero] just wrote this week is amazing. It's going to be an incredible teaser for the second part." — Alan McCullough in Gateworld interview, published June 4, 2008.
  • "We've just finished the two-parter where I had WAY too much fun with the...can't say enough great things about him, Michael Shanks. That guy is such a star - funny, charming and the consummate professional...all with no attitude either!...I was bugging Mallozzi to bring him back after about an hour of working with the guy! Also had the pleasure of shooting with Gero as he directed us in a few second unit days. He really shone! He's a damn clever fellow and he really knows his stuff...certainly someone to keep your eye on...I look forward to doing battle with him! Great stuff!" — David Hewlett in his blog, June 4, 2008.
  • RG25 writes: “And did you writers have to compensate for their fast talking by writing even more dialog than normal?” Answer: "Marty G. wrote extra-long scripts for both episodes." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 5, 2008.
  • "Well I wrapped out of the mid-season two parter today - my final scenes before summer hiatus. There's still a week of production before the break, but I got let out early for good behaviour. It's been a fun episode to shoot - and a great script -finally getting some screen time with the very fine Rachel Luttrell." — David Nykl in his blog, June 6, 2008.
  • "On tap tomorrow: director’s cuts of Inquisition and First Contact, and a Day 2 Mix of Broken Ties." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 10, 2008.
  • "I got in and, first things first, joined the rest of the producers for a screening of Andy Mikita’s director’s cut of First Contact. The script was long, but the actual episode was a little short thanks to the fast-talking duo of Michael Shanks and David Hewlett. But, holy crap, do their scenes sing. They are terrific together! A really great episode." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 11, 2008.
  • "Watch for Mitch in the season premiere and mid-season two-parter." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 15, 2008.
  • "At about 10:00 a.m., everyone else got in and we retired to the writers’ room for a quadruple feature: ... the mid-season two-parter First Contact and The Lost Tribe (Marty G.’s producer’s cut - Great! Can’t say enough good things about the Daniel-Rodney dynamic, loved the heist sequence, and couldn’t help but think that a certain scene is sure to have all those Todd-Woolsey shippers out there falling all over themselves)." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, June 18, 2008.
  • "There's also a treat in store for SG-1 fans when Michael Shanks' Daniel Jackson visits in the mid-season finale to help McKay solve a mystery with some 'really good bad guys.' Says [Martin] Gero. 'It's just what the fans want to see.'" — TV Guide: Atlantis Resurfaces, accessed June 25, 2008.
  • "But I think it's one of the best scripts I've ever written. Both Mark [Savela] and Andy [Mikita] and I feel a great pressure to outdo "This Mortal Coil" and "Be All My Sins." We are on our way." — Martin Gero in Gateworld interview, published June 26, 2008.
  • "In a similar way, the midseason two-parter is going to be very big this year. It’s “First Contact” and “The Lost Tribe.” And of course, Daniel Jackson will be dropping in for an appearance and that’s going to be huge for a lot of the SG-1 fans who I’m sure have missed him and, have been asking what the hell is taking so long for Daniel to come on over to the Pegasus Galaxy. Well they get the chance in the midseason two-parter. And, you know, like last year’s “Be All My Sins Remembered,” it’s full of surprises and action, and spectacular visual effects and some really nice character moments, particularly with regard to McKay and Daniel Jackson who are two characters that really haven’t had a chance to sort of play off each other. And they play off each other really, really well. I mean, one of the things I said was these two guys -- Hewlett and Shanks -- are the fastest talking actors in Sci-Fi bar none. And as a result Martin Gero wrote both scripts and they were almost like 60-page scripts which is - there are usually, a 60-page script is usually long. And I think “First Contact” was exactly to (top) and I’m not sure what “Lost Tribe” was - maybe a minute over. So, a lot of rapid fire talk between the two. And hopefully it’ll be an episode that the fans will love just as much as last year’s midseason two-parter." — Joseph Mallozzi, Cinema Blend interview, part 1, posted July 9, 2008.
  • "Yes. In fact, actually they’ll [new alien race] be coming in a big way in the midseason two-parter. Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but what happens is Daniel Jackson comes to Atlantis because he is basically following a lead and he - [Daniel] needs McKay’s assistance. And the two of them put their heads together and they make a discovery. And by making this discovery, they alert an alien race that also happens to be looking or have been in the midst of seeking out this device that they end up discovering. This alien race ends up coming to Atlantis and it’s not a, I guess, a friendly house call you would say. Again, I don’t want to give too much away about the race but they’re kind of an interesting player that we introduce in the midseason two-parter." — Joseph Mallozzi, Cinema Blend interview, part 3, posted July 11, 2008.
  • "Stargate SG1's Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) crosses galaxies to collaborate with rival brainiac Rodney McKay (David Hewlett). "The two of them are like the intergalactic Hardy Boys figuring out a mystery," jokes executive producer Joe Mallozzi." — Ileane Rudolph, TV Guide, for premiere week, July 11, 2008.
  • "The McKay-Daniel storyline is one of three separate storylines in the mid-season two-parter, just like Sheppard’s storyline in Remnants is one of three in that particular episode." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, July 20, 2008.
  • "Going back there even though it's a different cast, there's a very similar sentiment on that show. Laughter is prevalent, having fun is priority and it's a very loose group of people. I got to work a lot with David Hewlett who plays McKay on the show, and that's a large treat, we both talk really quickly, people are going to have to watch it in slow mo. ... There might be more in the future." — Michael Shanks, IGN interview, July 25, 2008.
  • "After lunch, we enjoyed the Day 2 Mix of Whispers. What a wonderfully spooky little episode. Great performances, terrific direction, and yet another marvelous score by Joel Goldsmith who is busy working on First Contact as I write this entry." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, August 5, 2008.
  • "You know what? Daniel is like a comfy sweater. It's never too difficult. As long as the writers can remember how to write for him, the voice comes really easily to me. It was odd with such a big break to step into that character, stepping into a different world, to not have the usual players from SG-1 there but to actually go to Atlantis after not playing the character for close to a year was a little bit odd. But fortunately, in regards to Daniel's fast talking, David Hewlett managed to warm me up relatively quickly. ... But there was a character called Janus who was an Ancient who was a scientist for the Ancients on Atlantis. And Daniel, as his hobby of studying the Ancients, has been doing some research and comes to Atlantis with the idea that he might actually be able to track down this secret lab that Janus had that has is yet to be discovered on Atlantis. And he needs some help doing that. So he enlists Rodney McKay to help him track this thing down. ... I don't think Hewlett's character gets along famously with anybody. So it's kind of inevitable that there'll be a bit of butting of heads. That's why Daniel comes there, to search for this lab and the possibility that there is Ancient weapons knowledge or otherwise that they haven't discovered, somewhere locked within the city itself. ... I worked near just about everybody on the show, except for Rachel [Luttrell]. I worked near Jason Momoa and Joe Flanigan. And of course, Robert Picardo. And Jewel Staite. I worked near them. And I do say near because we crossed paths literally in a hallway once. And Joe is in it for a couple of scenes. So there's not any famous interaction with those characters. We sort of cross paths. I realized very quickly that my character had never actually met either Jewel or Jason's characters in the history of Stargate mythology. I treated them like they were extras when they went walking by. They were having this scene and I can't even -- usually with McKay or something, you can at least nod and go kind of "Hey, how you doing?" in character. And I went ... I don't even know that my character knows these people exist so I'm just going to walk by like they are just people in a hallway." — Michael Shanks in Gateworld interview, conducted at the end of August 2008.
  • Director Andy Mikita in Newsarama.com interview, published September 4, 2008:
At the time of this interview, Mikita was just starting prep for the Atlantis midseason two-parter "First Contact" and "The Lost Tribe", which features not only the return of an old friend from the Stargate SG-1 universe, but also the ever-duplicitous Todd the Wraith (Christopher Heyerdahl) and one of Atlantis’ newest allies, the Travelers.
“This morning we had our concept meeting and art department meeting just to get things up and running and talked in terms of the broad strokes as far as filming this two-parter,” explains the director. “The ship has already sailed with regard to a few key components and some of the story’s key cast as well as the design of our new spacesuit that some of our creatures in these episodes will be wearing. The suit is very cool, and due to the complexity of it we began talking a while ago about the conceptual drawings when the [story] idea first came up.
“In terms of actual prep time, we have only six days. So we’ll be doing plenty of cramming just to get it all together because there are several layers to these episodes, but it’ll be fun. Martin Gero [Atlantis executive producer] has written a couple of great scripts and, in fact, will be directing a few days on them. Daniel Jackson [Michael Shanks] appears in these episodes, and there are a lot of scenes between him and McKay. I suspect the way it’ll work out schedule-wise is that Martin will likely do the lion’s share of the work that involves just the two of them. It’s a lot of the cool stuff and I wish I was doing it, but the reality is we’re trying to condense the schedule. Martin can film those scenes while I’m shooting ones with the rest of the cast, so it makes sense from a scheduling standpoint to do it that way.
“What else can I tell you about this story? Well, the spacesuits are a big deal and we find out in 'The Lost Tribe' who and what are inside them. The suit itself is a pretty neat concept and design. Among the things we did discuss earlier today are the scenes in this episode where Daniel and McKay have to put on these suits in order to go incognito and solve a particular puzzle.
"One of the issues that came up was how do you photograph people wearing these suits that, except for their voices, the audience won’t be able to see who’s inside them. That could be kind of boring just looking at one inanimate suit basically looking at another one. So we’re taking a page from the movie Iron Man and thinking about filming really tight close-ups of the actors from an inside-helmet point of view and maybe adding some reflections and layers without getting as complex as they did in Iron Man. So there are lots of little details to think about, but, again, the scripts are fantastic and will be a blast to shoot. It’s also a treat having Michael Shanks back and I’m very much looking forward to working with him again.”
  • Concerning working with Michael Shanks: "I talked with him a couple times when I was on set. I didn't unfortunately have any scenes with him. He had most of his scenes with David Hewlett. We hung out on set a lot together and kibitzed around. Man, it would've been cool to have been on the series with him and worked with him more. I'll probably see him at conventions and stuff like that but it's really nice to get to know him." — David Nykl in Gateworld interview, September 13, 2008.
  • "I've never actually been on Atlantis since the pilot, but I always bugged the guys about it. My character spent seven years on the show looking for the lost city of Atlantis and they even made a gag about the fact that he was dying to go but wasn't allowed to. He comes to find a secret lab that contains important technology. Then a batch of unexpected villains shows up. Let's just say, Daniel has a history with them. ... [Laughs] The thing with David [Hewlett] is that he's one of the fastest talkers on the planet and apparently I speak relatively quickly as well. They wrote six to eight extra pages of the episode just to compensate for the fact that they were going to be short. David's very good at the rhythmic gymnastics that's our banter. We had a lot of fun." — Michael Shanks in TV Guide interview, posted September 25, 2008.
  • "I had pitched out the idea that given the wraith’s weakened position in the Pegasus Galaxy as a result of the heavy losses they had suffered over the past year, it would make sense for advanced civilizations that had been in hiding for hundreds of years might seize the opportunity presented by the shift in the galactic status quo to make themselves known. We went back and forth on who these aliens might be until Rob came up with a clever spin on a familiar notion. So we had our villains and we had their backstory. All we needed now was a motive. And it came compliments of Alan McCullough who pitched out an idea about the team discovering a secret lab on Atlantis that was once the workplace of the enigmatic Ancient Janus. With all of the major pieces in place, Marty G. took the week to spin it in his head, we all gathered and broke the two parter, then he wrote the script. That was easy part. Then, it came time to design the look of these new interstellar baddies. Well, we knew what we wanted. Something cool-looking. And we knew what we didn’t want: lycra, shiny plastic bits, and enormous cod-pieces (q.v. SG-1 super soldier). After much discussion between Mary G. and Production Designer James Robbins, the villains were given their look: sleek, nefarious, body armor chic. Check ‘em out in the posted pics. And in tomorrow night’s episode, First Contact, the first part of our spectacular mid-season two-parter." — Joseph Mallozzi in his personal blog, September 25, 2008.

Further Reading


--DeeKayP 21:12, 3 April 2008 (PDT)