Stargate: Atlantis Plots Course for Series End

In a recent interview Andy Mikita one of the shows main producers has talked about his years filming on the Stargate Franchise along with a few sneak peeks at the up and coming Stargate Atlantis movies.

Here is an excerpt of the interview:

Those who saw Stargate Atlantis’ fourth season finale “The Last Man” know that by the end of that episode the immediate future looked rather bleak for some of our heroes. One of their more formidable adversaries, the human/Wraith hybrid Michael, had lured Colonel John Sheppard and three of his colleagues to one of his off-world experimental facilities in the hope of finding and saving their kidnapped teammate Teyla and her unborn child. Instead, the building they were in exploded, burying Sheppard and the others beneath the debris. Fortunately for them veteran Stargate director Andy Mikita came to their aid in the Atlantis year five opener “Search and Rescue.”

“The big challenge with that episode was to convincingly film people who were trapped deep under rubble from a structure that had fallen on top of them,” says Mikita. “So I sort of took my visual cue as well as design cue from the [2006] World Trade Center feature film because they shot a number of scenes showing people buried beneath the remains of the Twin Towers. With Atlantis, we had to show two different teams of people; we had Dr. McKay [David Hewlett] and Major Lorne [Kavan Smith] in one debris pocket, while Ronon [Jason Momoa] and Sheppard [Joe Flanigan] were in a second pocket.

“It was very difficult for the show’s art department to come up with a set design that would be believable and show that these people are trapped underground, without resorting to using just Styrofoam rubble. On top of that, we had to keep the [work] environment very safe as well as user-friendly and do things on a TV schedule and within budget, which isn’t always easy. Basically Sheppard is completely immobilized and Ronon is trying to offer his support and at the same time assist in freeing him. The two of them eventually get ‘beamed out,’ but prior to that there are some neat character beats between these guys as things aren’t looking too good given Sheppard’s condition and the fact that both men are stuck so far below the surface.

“Ultimately, James Robbins [production designer] and the rest of his art department along with the construction team designed and built a really cool set. It was very effective and I think allowed our story to come across quite well to the audience. Besides the two debris pockets, we also built a debris surface that our rescue teams, led by Colonel Carter [Amanda Tapping], could physically climb up onto and walk around on before eventually locating Sheppard and the others and then begin the process of digging down to extract them.

“So it was a big art department show insofar as those particular scenes, and from a shooting perspective they were also the most interesting component for me. All in all this was a really fun story to work on and a nice way to start the year off as well.”

In “The Daedalus Variations”, Mikita’s next fifth season episode, Colonel Sheppard and company are trapped onboard a duplicate of the Earth battleship Daedalus and on a seemingly endless journey through parallel universes thanks to the ship’s malfunctioning alternate reality drive. “That was a wonderful team-based story where our heroes have to solve the puzzle of how to get themselves back to their own reality,” notes the director, “and in the process they encounter a new and dangerous enemy.

You can read the full interview here