Joe Flanigan attended the Ottawa Pop Expo con on 22 and 23 Nov 2014.
While the fans didn’t tweet that much during the con, we are lucky enough to get a brief report covering Joe’s talk (thank you, Ally_Leja!). We copy it here below for easier reference.
As the lead on Stargate Atlantis, Joe Flanigan had some big shoes to fill from the start. Expectations were high for the newest spinoff of the Stargate series: Joe said he was overwhelmed with journalists even before filming started. At the time, he hadn’t watched Stargate SG1 – not wanting it to influence his portrayal – and remembers wondering if Colonel O’Neill sold chicken. He’d initially been hesitant about taking the part, as he didn’t want to be stuck wearing “a funny outfit and bunny ears” and spewing technobabble. The self-deprecating nature of the show convinced him. Even then, the producers weren’t sure he was ‘taking it seriously’ after filming the pilot: He wasn’t playing Colonel Jack O’Neill and they were nervous. That changed however, when the pilot broke records.
Joe’s character Major (later Lt. Col.) John Sheppard was soon a fan-favourite. He was the everyman: Never completely in charge, he always had to answer to ‘The Man’; Never a brawny fighter, he relied on wits and firearms to get by: “I don’t think my character is the stick-fighter dude. I’m the gun guy. I’m Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones. “. Most importantly, he never seemed to take himself seriously, and always had a quip ready to lighten the tension. His character embodied the self-deprecating nature of the show, and helped maintain its continuity through several cast changes.
“The beauty of Stargate is that it is a self-aware science fiction show. It is self-deprecating, it is self-referential. It is a geek’s geek show. You can talk about Back to the Future or Star Trek on the show, and that’s cool”
One of the things that Joe said he appreciated about the show was that, not only did they reference other sci-fi shows, in some cases they also adopted former cast members. For instance, Robert Picardo joined the cast after Star Trek Voyager, along with Jewel Staite of Firefly, making it THE space-based show for geeks
It not go unnoticed by the audience that Joe’s character went through the entire series in a perpetual state of bachelorhood. There had been an early romance with Dr. Elizabeth Weir, played by Torri Higginson, but the producers hadnt thought the two had enough on-screen chemistry. Joe disagreed however, saying he’d felt that there had been a good contrast between the characters (one very serious, the other not-so-much); He’d been very upset when she’d left the show. Joe discussed other relationship options (he would have been open to something with Jewel Staite’s character), and noted that he doubted the writers would ever have let him consummate a relationship with one of the regular females on the show: “The key is always having that balance. Nothing is kinda sexier than two people working together, pretending they don’t like each other.” He did however note that he wished his character could have “Kirked-out” a little bit. For a bachelor, his character had surprisingly few romantic encounters. He admitted trying to pitch something along those lines a few times:
“We’re in a really dark angry universe, but there’s a planet of tall beautiful blondes…”
We’re also grateful to have access to some footage shot by a fan from the audience. Thank you, Sandra Sarazin, for shooting and sharing it, and also thank you Lynne (author of Fanomenon, the documentary) for signaling it to us!
Joe’s Q&A session was on Sunday, 23 Nov, at 11:30, in Hall 4, and here’s the visual of his appearance.