This year is Stargate Atlantis star Joe Flanigan’s first year at Dragon*Con. I sat down with Joe to get his thoughts on his co-stars and the cancellation of Stargate Atlantis, as well as his views on a variety of matters.
Daily Dragon (DD): First of all, I’ve read in several places that Ben Browder was the producers’ first choice to play the part of John Sheppard on Atlantis. What is your response to that, given that the two of you ended up playing opposite each other in the Stargate SG-1 episode “The Pegasus Project”?
Joe Flanigan (JF): That’s the first time I’ve heard that. I think they made the right choice. I know that there were a number of Canadian actors that they wanted because they’re Canadian. I think that because we’re owned by MGM and SyFy, both of whom I had a relationship with, I think they wanted me.
DD: Based on published reports on the internet, you’ve been made to sound as if you’ve spoken out against the new Stargate Universe series.
JF: I have? I don’t remember ever speaking out against it. I think the feeling was, from David Hewlett and I, that it was odd to cancel us but yet to spin off a new show at the same time. I don’t think that anybody is speaking out against Universe at all. I have absolutely nothing against the new show and I encourage people to judge it on its own.
DD: So it’s more a case of speaking out as to why Atlantis was canceled.
JF: I think mostly because David and I haven’t been given a proper explanation and I don’t think anybody has, and I think everybody’s running around wondering if we’re doing the movie or we’re not doing the movie. I think everybody wants their cake and eat it, too. I think they want the fan base but they don’t want to necessarily listen to the fan base also. I’m also a businessman; if somebody gives me a reason as to why something doesn’t work (…) I’ve been on many shows that were canceled or failed for many reasons and I get it. I just get it. We’re just looking for a compelling reason. We’re confused why—the show was doing so well, and if you look at the DVD sales you’ll know how well the show was doing. Why, if it’s a favorable economic model, why would you change or cancel it?
DD: What was it like working on Warehouse 13, working with the SyFy Channel post-Stargate Atlantis?
JF: I did a tiny little thing, inconsequential, on Warehouse 13 and it was the highest rated show in the history of the SyFy Network, higher than everything including the premiere of Atlantis. I hope they realize that the Stargate audience is out there and they want to see what’s going on. It’s a great concept.
DD: What are some of your favorite Stargate Atlantis memories?
JF: I think actually there are a lot of favorite episodes but the one that has the most resonance was “Vegas.” I just wish we had figured out that universe a few years earlier.
DD: What in your career as a whole has been your favorite role?
JF: I would say that there are two roles that I’ve enjoyed the most. One was on Thoughtcrimes. I played a bumbling dodo brain but it was so much fun. It should’ve been a series and I was looking forward to it being a series. I knew that character and I was really looking forward to playing that character but then the series didn’t get picked up. Then I did a character I did not enjoy on a show called First Monday where I played a law clerk and wore a bow-tie. It was a great cast with James Garner, Joe Montagna, and Charles Durning, but I didn’t like the character. That’s the point at which I realized I needed to pick the roles I enjoy and it’s got to be about the role first and the show second. I’d say Sheppard for sure was my favorite character.