There’s one very significant addition to the costume that turns actor Jason Momoa into Ronon Dex this season – a wig. His own dreadlocks, which he has sported since even before he took up the role in Stargate Atlantis‘ second season, are no more. During the hiatus, the actor decided that he wanted a change of look, and cut them off. As a result, as of the show’s fifth season, Ronon’s hair is actually an elaborate hairpiece.
“I’m trying to grow it back,â€ Momoa admits, from his trailer during a break in filming on season five. “This wig is really hurting my neck. The dreads are actually heavier than my original hair!â€
The plan was only to have the actor wear the wig for the first three episodes. However, there were concerns that losing such an iconic part of the character would be detrimental, and so it was decided that the hair had to stay.
“In ‘Broken Ties’, we see Ronon on the dark side, kicking ass, which was supposed to be the episode where they shave my head,â€ Momoa explains. “But the gentlemen at the SCI FI Channel wouldn’t let me do it. So this is a wig. It’s real human hair – it’s just really heavy.â€
The actor admits that he wasn’t happy with the decision that his locks had to stay, and would have liked a chance to prove that Ronon doesn’t need dreadlocks to be an impressive character. “I fight 15 times faster without them,â€ he points out, “because I can see! It’s impossible to fight properly with this thing on – you can’t tie it back.â€
Despite the slight contention with his hair, Momoa says season five has been great so far. ‘Broken Ties’, the third episode to air, is a particular highlight. A follow-up to the fantastic season four story ‘Reunion,â€ it sees the unwelcome return of Dex’s former friend Tyre… and his masters, the Wraith.
“It’s the greatest episode I’ve ever done,â€ says Momoa. “There’s a lot of stuff going on. A little too much to make it one episode – it should have been a two-parter! Ronon goes to the dark side. His friend, Tyre, comes back, played by Mark Dacascos. Before, Ronon was betrayed, and now he’s being sacrificed by his ex-friend. Ronon is just in disbelief at what this guy can do. That’s heartbreaking for him. He stands strong and he tries to not fall to the dark side… but he does.â€
‘Broken Ties’ gave Momoa a chance to explore the idea of Ronon as a bad guy. Knowing how powerful the character is, the idea of Ronon as a servant of the Wraith is really quite terrifying. Sure enough, when he lets go, the results are shocking. The fight scenes in this episode are some of the biggest ever choreographed by stunt coordinator James Bamford, and really gave the actor a chance to show what he could do.
“They’re huge,â€ Momoa agrees, “the biggest so far. We trained really hard for it. It was fun – Ronon has a drug inside him that makes him super-strong, and it’s fun to play that.â€
Of course, since this ‘dark’ Ronon is in part drug-induced, the actor also had to work on how to portray the final scenes. The character, now returned to his true friends in Atlantis, has to be weaned from his addiction.
“To have to come off it – he has the highest dosage he’s ever had, and he’s chained to a bed. You just get to let out so much anger and frustration. I broke two gurneys,â€ Momoa laughs. “It was amazing to go to those places. It was only a couple of flashes, but you can see it. I heard voices coming out of myself that I was like ‘whoa – what was that?’ It was pretty cool.â€
Momoa has now been playing the character of Ronon Dex for four years, and fans will be pleased to hear that he’s still having fun.
“Ronon is a fantastic character to play, I love him. And this year has been the greatest episodes so far, and the most fun work as an actor. That’s really what makes you want to stay and do more, when they give you something that good. All you can do is hope that people like it and they give you more.â€
Interview courtesy of the official Stargate Website