MGM released information regarding the fifth season of Stargate Atlantis on Monday, February 5. The press release confirms that the show will be renewed for a fifth season and also offers some insight into its cast. There are some rather intriguing changes and guests.
Let’s get right to it. Amanda Tapping will be devoting most of her time to Sanctuary, her new sci-fi show that has just been picked up by the Sci-Fi Channel; thus, a new leader is needed for the Atlantis expedition. Guess who was picked? That’s right– Richard Woosley. Yes, that weaselly I.O.A character portrayed by Robert Picardo. This should lead to all kinds of confrontations, at least inside Atlantis, as everyone rebels and adjusts to his command style. Of course, on many episodes of Atlantis and SG1 it’s been demonstrated that he really has no command skills, which makes this an interesting choice, indeed. Since Atlantis isn’t really a military operation, I suppose that a bureaucratic choice is appropriate. I just can’t wait to see Woosley’s interactions with Ronon.
Tapping will still be appearing in Atlantis. She’s scheduled for "several" episodes. Another character from the SG1 days will be a guest star on Atlantis, Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks). Shanks had recently gone to work on the series 24 but the writers strike has probably derailed his plans there and in other television series. It’s driven him back to Stargate it seems. Well, his character, Jackson, always wanted to be part of the Atlantis expedition; perhaps now he’ll have a good chance. Jackson will likely be a huge help to the city since he’s got so much experience with the Ancients. He was always my favorite on SG1, so I can't wait to see him appear on Atlantis.
Dr. Beckett (Paul McGillion) will be back for five episodes in season five. His return has already made the last few episodes of season four highly anticipated and it will likely boost Season Five’s viewer numbers. It will be interesting to see if this leads to his return as a regular on Atlantis again. Jewel Staite, who took over the medical operations as Dr. Keller, was not mentioned in the press release, but it only discussed guest stars and changes. So she’ll no doubt be back for season five along with the rest of the gate team, Sheppard, Ronon, Teyla, and McKay.
It seems that every season sees characters come and go on Atlantis, and not just your average "red-shirt" character. No, they’ve been regulars who are either killed or whose fate is left in the air. It makes the show exciting but also inhibits the chemistry. Things were just starting to click with Weir’s command when they took her out. Beckett was becoming the real center of the team when they killed him. Perhaps the writers strike will be a good thing for Atlantis. If it keeps actors from getting work elsewhere, or postpones their current jobs, the writers of Atlantis can create scripts and places for them. Maybe that will lead to some long term deals with people in season five.
Maybe Daniel Jackson can assume command of Atlantis next. Wouldn’t that be wild?