One thing that Robert Cooper was adamant about when it came to ‘The Ark of Truth’ was that it should contain a few genuine surprises for long-term fans. What better way to insure that than to bring back a foe that at one time struck fear into the far reaches of the Universe – and our favorite team?
The terrifying mechanical menace that is the Replicators first appeared in Stargate SG-1’s third season (in the episode ‘Nemesis’). Having ravaged the home world of the Asgard, they seemed an indomitable foe – though of course, SG-1 was never going to say die. Now, fans of those big bad bugs will be glad to see that Cooper has once again put them to good use – as the fatal flaw in the IOA’s plan to stop the Ori warriors. Having thought they at least had the robotic version of these alien nasties beat, SG-1 would once again have to stop them from gaining a foothold in the galaxy.
“I like them!â€ Cooper says simply, with a laugh, of why he chose to bring the Replicators back. “When it’s just me sitting down with my computer and I have to fill a blank page, I’ll write something I want to see, and hope that there are enough people out there that are fans like me and want to see that stuff! I’ve always loved the Replicators. I thought it would be a nostalgic element to the movie that would kind of recall the ‘glory days’ of SG-1.â€
Having the Replicators return might be a nice nod to the early seasons of the show, but Cooper still had to find a good reason for them to be there. The machinations of the International Oversight Advisory were the ideal excuse.
“I think it made perfect sense within the evolving arc of the series,â€ says Cooper. “The fact that the IOA would look at the technology that was provided to us by the Asgard in the core, and say, ‘You know, what is the greatest threat we can throw at these Ori warriors that can buy us some time?’ Why wouldn’t they try that? It seemed like the logical evolution to me. A lot of people often criticize the show for not utilizing the technology that’s given to us,â€ he adds, “So I thought this was a great opportunity. We do kind of have ‘Pandora’s box’ here. The team is smart enough by now – hopefully – not to just go into those things and do whatever they want. But the IOA is not as cautious as that.â€
In this case, of course, the IOA is represented by Marrick. A bullish character who rides roughshod over SG-1’s suggestions and experience, the role is played by Currie Graham, previously seen in, amongst other things, Desperate Housewives and Boston Legal.
“I said to [casting director] Paul Weber early on, ‘Look, I’m going to need someone who can instantly carry this role. He’s basically the bad guy in the movie, but we have never met him before.’ So I wanted him to have that weight, to be the adversary and the opponent for Mitchell, and obviously his character is so strong you need to have someone that can almost look unbeatable. It’s that attitude, to instantly be that guy that you love to hate.â€
Cooper was familiar with Graham’s work, and so could immediately picture him in the role once the suggested casting list landed on his desk.
“I had seen Currie before because I’m a fan of Boston Legal,â€ Cooper explains. “I immediately thought he was perfect and that’s one of those situations where it’s fortunate that the timing of your shooting schedule and the actor’s availability all falls into place. I absolutely love Currie in the movie and I also loved working with him. He was hilarious. He’s an incredibly energetic and funny guy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come across in this movie because it was not a comedic role! But he’s tremendously funny.â€
Marrick is most definitely not played for laughs in the ‘The Ark of Truth,’ especially since he meets a nasty death at the hands of the very creatures he let loose. After becoming part of the Replicator plan – quite literally – Marrick has to appeal to Mitchell to stop him. It’s an image of pure horror, something rare in Stargate SG-1, and another way in which Cooper marks out the differences between ‘The Ark of Truth’ and the rest of the series.
“We were pretty conscious of that,â€ says the executive producer, of the horror level, and reveals that they were careful not to take it one step too far. “There have been things in the show that have been pretty graphic and violent. You always want to strike a balance between what people will think is cool and belongs in a movie as opposed to on television but not going so far that it freaks out little kids,â€ he laughs. “There were definitely scenes [in ‘The Ark of Truth’] that I know I would have not wanted to see when I was really young. But hopefully it’s cool that there are some darker, more edgier moments.â€
In our next, final installment, Robert C. Cooper is joined by Director of Photography Peter Woeste!