Brian J. Smith (Lt. Matthew Scott) and Louis Ferreira (the somber Col. Everett Young) tackled fan questions head-on, talking about everything from character development to those much-reviled communication stones. Plus take a look at the show's brand new aliens. Spoilers...
After reminiscing about playing a holographic video-game tree on Star Trek: Voyager, Ferreira and Smith tried to address the most pressing SGU questions, talking to a pack of journalists on a conference call.
What is it like interacting with the Stargate fans?
Ferreira: For me, it's been two-fold. I think that what we have recognized [is that] some of the fans are a little discouraged because their version of the old Stargate is no longer the same. For me, personally, I was always aware that they wanted to do something different with the franchise.... To me initially I thought [changing up a 15 year old franchise] was fairly bold, to take that risk it made me personally feel that this was kind of neat in that perspective....
Smith: You can't really make everyone happy. Now that I've gotten to know lot of Stargate fans at conventions and in other places. You hear a lot of people say that they were kind of disappointed in the lack of character development, especially in Atlantis. I think that's something we tried to address in the show, especially in the first 10 episodes. We said ok, we're still going to be a show that had action and adventure and all the scifi elements, but we're going to take our time to really set up the chessboard and really set up who these people are, and what's at stake for them. We've got a lot of feedback from people saying "That's fantastic. Now I know where these people are, I want to see the crisis situation. So now we can say the aliens are coming. I think people that spent the time getting to know the characters are going to experience a big pay-off Friday Night.
Ferreira: And these aren't regular aliens, we're talking CGI District 9 aliens. [See below.]
I want to ask you, I think a great plot device on the show are the stones that you have that allow you to got back to Earth. Let's talk about that and how that impacted your characters.
Smith: I think it's a really great device. I think it's an important device. I think the whole flashback thing is so tired, we do some flashbacks on the show but it's done in a smart way and a different way. What I like about the stones is that they are kind of a stand in for the flashback. You get to go back in real time, as the story is moving forward. You get to see Scott and the implication of his past. What's happening with the son, and the girl he got pregnant. The same thing with Young and his wife. And with Chloe and her Mom. It's a really smart way to go deeper into the characters. And for us as actors, it's nice sometimes to get off of the ship. It's nice to be wearing regular clothes. It's nice to be talking about something that has to do with a personal, human problem, and not just how to survive a crisis situation that I'm in. It helps keep me invested.
Ferreira: I think for me, the stones have various significances... It allows for the audience to see how the characters are really feeling. For example, stoic Young can go onto Earth and you see the pain, you see the hurt, you see the boy that exists there. You can see behind the mirror because the emotions are exposed. For us, using the stones as well, it's a bit of a mind trip. As you're adjusting to the reality of what's going on for us, I'm trying to comprehend it itself, and the more you use it the more you get used to it.
The flip side of that is that the stones, some have said perhaps are a little bit too convenient and takes away from the idea that these people are really trapped, in that it allows them an escape. So I think that if there were several episodes when stones aren't accessible, then I think that you would also understand just how stranded and alone these people are, in their situation. We certainly love playing it. But it's an interesting idea to also have a period where the stones can't be used. And you see what's left.
Will you guys be at Comic Con this year?
Smith: Yeah I think we will be in Comic Con this year. It's kind of been built into the schedule, I don't know if it's been announced officially, but it's something the show loves to do. We all love to go out there. I'm 90% sure.
Ferreira: Yeah, I didn't go last year. But I'm super excited about going this year.
Rush and Young appear to be mortal enemies. I know some of that will be addressed in the coming episodes, do you think in the rest of the season there will be a resolution between these two, or will it be heightened?
Ferreira: I think like any relationship, it's the push-pull tactics that have to be there. We have two very different agendas and we need each other to survive. And like those unhealthy relationships that people stay in way too long, this is even more because you're trapped on the ship. You don't have that out. I think it will forever be a journey of extremes and at time balances. It's absolutely necessary to the heart of the show.
A lot of the producers and writers have reached out to fans online to ask what they would like to see in the second season. I'm wondering if you guys have seen any of that input implemented and how?
Ferreira: The answer is yes. [But] we were told not to give away too much plot. We can say things like the aliens are coming. Because the aliens are coming. But I think as far as anything else...
Smith: I remember sitting down and having this talk with Rob [Cooper]. He would say that they have heard what a lot of people have had to say. And you know this is really a new show. This is not a continuation of Atlantis or SG-1. This is a completely new series, and you learn a lot as you go. I think they've also learned from some of the more tasteful and intellectual criticisms of the show. I think you might see some of those things as we move forward. But it's actually really exciting to see where they are going. I'm completely shocked with where they went in the second half of season one. I think a lot of the concerns people had were addressed in the second half of the season.
What character are you most excited to see more from in the new episodes?
Smith: TJ. You're going to see a lot with TJ in the second half. There are going to be some developments with her that are pretty shocking. I gotta stop myself because I will start talking about the end of the season, and I don't want to do that. Alaina [Huffman] is a fantastic actress, and she brings so much to the role. And it's a very interesting role to begin with, I was really happy when we got some scripts about midway through the second half of season one, where we really got to see a lot more of her. And see her tested, I mean really, really tested. I think that's a really strong episode and people are going to enjoy that glimpse into who she is.
Louis Ferreira, I've noticed that your character seems to pull in a lot of non-scifi fans because they relate to his actions. Could you talk a little bit about your character and his flaws? Because he seems like such an everyday man. But he always seems to do the most dramatic things on the ship.
Ferreira: I think that is the intent. I think we are all flawed. That's the duality everyone of us has a human being. The variations are a little more extreme under the guise of a television show. But I think that speaks to everyone as far as what's ethical and you wanting to do the right thing. And there's this version of the person you want to be, and are trying to be, but the journey to get there that's not always taken. So you're falling and blundering, but you're accepting and growing, so you're a survivor. You're a survivor abandoned on So that what this show to me is what this about. Not just my character
Do you think more people are on Team Rush or Team Young?
I don't know — this isn't Team Edward and Team Jacob fighting, I know that much. [Laughs] I think I'll get Rush to take his shirt off next time there's a problem. Anyway, I think that what the intent is not just with Rush and Young, but with everyone. You're gonna go from, "I love him!" to "why?" I love him, I hate him. I think that's part of the natural progression and order. As far as Team Young or Team Rush, I don't think about it. I play my role and he plays his role beautifully. We're dear friends and I feel honored to work with him.
Brian, what team are you on?
Smith: I have a Team Young flag. That's what's hard about the show — you can't just say that one of them is right. I find myself saying, "Why don't they just freaking get along? Why don't they find a way to get together," but they are complex, very driven people, and very opinionated about how the circumstance should be handled. It's one of the beauties of the show you can't say this person is 100% right or 100% wrong.
Meanwhile, here is a new promo shot of the brand new aliens the crew aboard Destiny comes face-to-blue-face with this Friday.