Exclusive: Paul McGillion Talks Star Trek (and Gate)

Last September TrekMovie.com first broke the news that Stargate Atlantis actor Paul McGillion auditioned for the role of Scotty in the new Star Trek. After Simon Pegg got the job we were happy to report that Paul still landed a different (albeit smaller) role in the film. This week Paul talked to TrekMovie.com about his audition and his time on the new Star Trek as well as his impending return to Stargate.

TrekMovie.com: When your character was written off of Stargate Atantis during the 3rd season, it sparked a fan campaign, something well-known to Trekkies. What was that like for you?

Paul McGillion: Overwhelming! It was crazy. When I initially started doing Stargate I was cast as a recurring character and I think the fan base were so behind Carson that the producers saw that in the first season so they made him a regular part of the show in the second season. I think a lot of that had to do with the fan response and so I am very grateful for that. I never fully grasped the magnitude of sci-fi fans until Stargate Atlantis. There was a rally for me at the studio in Los Angeles with hundreds of people in the pouring rain with a pipe band playing and a bunch of girls flashing Carson Beckett on their butts. It was flattering and overwhelming.

TrekMovie.com: So you attributed the campaign for being brought back again as a recurring character in seasons four and five?

Paul McGillion: I think the producers listen to the fans. Anyone who makes a show will pay attention to the fan base. They were getting inundated with letters and calls. People make changes in shows for dramatic effect and I understand that. I did the character for three seasons and they decided that it was time for the character to bow out and that is the way it goes in the business.

TrekMovie.com: Speaking of ‘coming back’ you have two episodes coming up soon, what can you tell us about your come back?

Paul McGillion: Yes I am in the final two episodes of the season. Friday the 22nd is "Kindred Part 1" and part 2 is the following week. I can’t tell you much about them except to say that I do come back. It is a great reveal and its clever with the way they have done it. It does have something to do with previous episodes of Atlantis and there is a connection there. “Kindred Part 2” is a heavy episode for Carson and I think the fans are going to love it, especially the ‘save Carson Beckett’ fans who spent so much time to get the character back. He is a character that wears his heart on his sleeve and I think a lot of fans can relate to the guy and it is a nice tip of the hat to the fans.

TrekMovie.com: Regarding season five, I understand you start shooting soon. What can you tell us about that and are your episodes bunched up or spread out?

Paul McGillion: I can’t tell you anything about season five because I really don’t know that much about what they have planned. I just got the first draft of the first script and they might kill me again if I tell you  [laughs] I will be back for at least five episodes and I believe it will be peppered throughout the year, they will not be consecutive.

TrekMovie.com: OK now moving on to Trek. When you auditioned for Scotty in Star Trek, did you do ‘Carson’ or did you do ‘Doohan’ or did you do something different?

Paul McGillion: I never did Doohan doing Scotty. I was born in Scotland so I can do many variations of the Scottish accent. I think Carson has what my mom would say is a ‘Kelvin side’ accent which is a little more high brow than my interpretations of Scotty was. Scotty is an engineer and is more blue collar than Carson and so I gave it that twist.

TrekMovie.com: Is that something they asked for?

Paul McGillion: No, they just wanted a Scottish accent. My manager had sent in my tape which starts off with Scottish scenes and they called and said they wanted to see me. For me that was great. Ever since I started to do Carson people have asked me if I would ever want to play Scotty and I always said ‘Absolutely!’ What a great iconic character. It was a thrill to have the opportunity to read for it and as an actor you put your own twist on it. Obviously I would have loved to have gotten that role. But Simon [Pegg] is a terrific actor. I loved him in Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead; and I think he will do a terrific job. I am not one of those actors that gets all worked up. For me I applaud anyone who gets any role. I think that you just do your best and champion those who get the roles. It is a great opportunity for anyone and I am very happy for him.  Obviously it would have been great to play Scotty, but at the same time even being part of the movie was a pleasure.

TrekMovie.com: Picking up on that. What can you tell us about the role you did get in the movie? And how long did you work on it?

Paul McGillion: As you know I have signed pages of confidentiality clauses. I can say that I had a scene with Kirk [Chris Pine] and that was pretty of cool. And I am not a ‘red shirt’ so there you go. I was around for about a week.

TrekMovie.com: What was it like on the set and working with JJ Abrams?

Paul McGillion: Well [First A.D] Tommy Gormley is from Glasgow and it was a great environment. And I can’t say enough about JJ. When I got to the set he came right up to me and said "Paul thank you so much for doing this,  sorry I couldn’t give you anything bigger but I wanted to have you in the movie and the fans love you. But I had Simon in mind" And I was like ‘Wow.’ He really doesn’t have to say any of that. It really shows you that nice guys can get ahead too. From the short time I spent with him I really can’t say enough good things about him. There is a reason he does so well. He sets a tone for a really great environment and hopefully that will turn into a great movie.  

TrekMovie.com: So besides the Star Treks and Gates, what else have you been working on lately?

Paul McGillion: I just finished up a play in Vancouver called "Reservation for Four." And I have a film coming out in early March with Melora Hardin, who plays Jan on The Office. I play her husband in that, no Scottish accent, it is a drama Lifetime movie. It is about divorce and its called "Me, Mom, Dad and Her."

TrekMovie.com: By the way, another Star Trek/Stargate crossover is coming up with Voyager’s Bob Picard joining the cast of Stargate Atlantis.

Paul McGillion: Yah he’s a great guy. I have worked with him once or twice. He is really nice to work with and I am really happy he is coming to the show. I also had a great time hanging with him and Jonathan Frakes and the other Trek people at FedCon in Germany last year. Actually I think I am the only one from Stargate main cast that’s ever crossed over the other way and gone from Stargate to Star Trek, which is kind of cool.

A final note…After finishing the interview Paul went out of his way to say how much he appreciated all support he has got from the Stargate and Star Trek fans and he wanted to be sure the fans knew he thanks them.

Audio clip Bonus
At conventions Paul has recounted the story (complete with Scottish accent) about how when he told his father he was cast in Stargate his dad kept confusing it with Star Trek. I asked how it went when he told his dad he really was cast in Star Trek…take a listen.



The original ‘Stargate/Star Trek’ story from SFX 2006

Catch Paul tonight (and next Friday) on Stargate Atlantis, airing on the SCI FI Channel.

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Not a red shirt, good to know. lol

Being of Scottish blood myself – I really like this guy!

Man I wish he was playing Scotty still … but ah, well!

If I had to speculate … he’s probably FINNEGAN!

#3, I second that! Finnegan!

FIFTH!! (I feel impressed by that?)

Sounds good to me :) Atalantis is one of the few new sci-fi shows I’ve liked….

Great guy! Glad we’ll be seeing him in the film.

Paul McGillion is such a cutie pie. I LOOOVE his accent *drools* I was one of the many who signed the Save Carson Beckett petition and Im glad they listened to us fans! Can’t wait to see him in Star Trek! :D

#3 and 4.

I have a second for Finnegan. All those in favor?

A scene with Kirk–I agree. Likely Finnegan!

He really seems like a nice guy. I’m really hoping the new Trek movie does well when it is released, I know i’ll be there opening weekend.

I’ve really been enjoying Stargate Atlantis lately, mainly since it is one of the few sci-fi shows on the air. I was wondering if they were going to replace the actress from Firefly that they brought in to be the doctor but i guess no t if he is only going to be a recurring character.

I guess some Carson is better than no Carson.

Guys….Finnegan is Irish.

He should have been Scotty.

Nothing against Pegg, but I just don’t see it.

Isn’t he too old to be Finnegan anyway?

Who would mistake a Scot for Irish?
Not me . . . and my family left Scotland in 1755!

Simply put…PAUL ROCKS! Thanks for the cool interview Anthony!!!!!!! :)

I cant imagine what part he has but it appears he missed his call as Mr. Scott

Paul is Scotty. End of story.

I’m very familiar with Pegg. Love his comedy work. but he’s not Scotty.

JJ may well have had Pegg in mind, but he’s wrong, and clearly doesn’t get the character at all.

It makes no sense to have Quinto be so close to Nimoy’s Spock, and then throw that hard work out by miscasting Scotty. It’s just dumb.

It would be pretty cool if he was Finnegan. And even if he isn’t, Finnegan better be in there pulling pranks on Kirk somewhere!

I always liked this guy – as an actor, and as a person. He makes me proud of the Hutcheson blood in me veins. :-)

My guess is that he’s ascended. That way he can pop in once in a while to help, a la daniel jackson in the middle seasons of the first show

OK, I’m jumping on the bandwagon – I’ll bet he was cast as Finnegan. Being a born Scotsman, I’m sure he could handle the dialectal gymnastics of the Emerald Isle with ease.

That’s right he is not a ‘red shirt.’

Because I am Red Shirt!

By the way, did someone say this movie has been delayed?

‘By the way, did someone say this movie has been delayed?’

Yeah – the mugatu that was supposed to kill you on page 31 doesn’t like the commissary food, and he won’t come out of his trailer until Paramount hires him a personal chef. LOL :-)

Sounds good to have him along for the big epic ride! Come on May 2009 already!!!!!

Viking- LOL!

Love ya, Paul.


i totally forgot about finnegan!!! my folks are irish and now cos of you wonderfull people im jumping arong shouting “COME ON JIM LAD!!!”

yes this movie needs finnegan and leonard nimoy pretending to be his cousin like he did in yesteryear!!!

still fed up with having to wait an extra five months tho, i convinced everyone i know trek fan and non trek fan alike to come with me xmas day and now were all like “what are we going to watch now!”


Looking forward to the Trek movie and also to Paul’s appearances in Stargate Atlantis.


hey jim baby! i see you brought up reenforcements!. that would be so cool to hear paul doing that if he plays finnigan. i think he wouldbe a great finigan. giving kirk a ver hard time in the academy and the kobioshimaru test.(sorry if i spelled it wrong)what a great cast on the new startrek movie. nd i can’t wait to see dr. crson beckett on stargate atlantis. im glad the prodcers had the intellengence to listin to us fans.

Yeah he still should be Scotty BUT I’m just happy he’s not a red shirt. All us Carson fans can stop holding our breaths.

He is THE reason I will see this in the theater. If he wasn’t in it I doubt I would see it at all.

So glad Paul’s not a red shirt this time around; every time I turn on a movie he’s eaten by a dinosaur, killed by some whacko or blown up by an exploding space tumor (pfft).

Since he’s in the TREK fim, now I guess I will go see it. I was waffling quite a bit before.

He would have been perfect in he role of Mr Scot.

Never seen any Stargate, but he seems like a cool dude.

I never saw much Stargate Atlantis, but McGillion seems like a good guy. I hope that Simon Pegg does a good turn as Scotty despite some of you already having written him off. Unless you’ve already seen Pegg perform as Scotty, any claims that he’s blown the role are unfounded, at least until May 2009. I suspect there’s still some sour grapes over McGillion being passed over.

#30 LOL-so very true!
And count me as one of those back in line.
Thanks for the interview.

#29 Yay!

Trek Potential-Audience-Profile Target No. 304: Stargate Fans. :)

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

Not a “Redshirt”, too bad!
There is almost nothing better than being a Redshirt…
And we should all remember: Scotty was a Redshirt!

Classy as always Vulcanista, Peace and Long life.

Any of you that haven’t taken Stargate out for spin yet, I urge you to please do so…I’m willing to bet that you will enjoy it! It took me a while to jump on the Stargate bandwagon, but I am so glad I finally did! It is an awesome show, and I now never miss an episode!

I’m also anxiously awaiting to see Paul’s return, as well :)

Not for nothing they did not have red shirts in Pike-Era!? HA HA! Maybe those young guys that stood by the turbolifts in blue were the security.?

HE IS ROBERT APRIL! Believe it or not.

#33 Yeah and if Pegg sucks as Scotty everyone will go…why the hell didn’t they cast McGillion???? So Pegg not only has the original role to be compared to, the poor bugger has the fan-favourite McGillion to be compared to! I still think considering EVERY single other cast member is a good fit, face wise, that makes Pegg the sore thumb and means he’s gonna have to absolutely nail it to win over all those in doubt over…

#40–I choose not.

I’ve never seen Stargate Atlantis (never been a fan of non-Trek sci-fi), but I’ll reserve judgement on Simon Pegg vs. anyone else until he has been given a chance to succeed or fail on his own. I’m sure there is a good reason that Abrams had Pegg in mind when casting the role. Perhaps he knows something that the rest of us do not. Go figure! He seems to respect Mr. McGillion’s talent, however, or he would not have found another role for him in the film.

Love how people write off Pegg, but they know nothing about the film at all. Smart.

#43 Personally i would have preferred Paul McGillion, but Simon Pegg Can more then handle the role of Montgomery Scott. I have seen him Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz both really good comedic roles . He played a very nasty villian on an episode of Dr Who. the funny part is I did not recognize him in that role because of all the make up he had on. No doubt he can do a serious role and I am not writing him off.

Paul is such a gentleman. I’m glad that he’s going to be back on SGA but… he should have been Scotty! This is the only casting decision about the movie that I’ve had a hard time accepting from the beginning and I still can’t bring myself to embrace it. I just hope I’m wrong…

#41- This is soooo true…

44 – – Everyone is entitled to an opinion, I just thought some of these posts read a little too critical, especially considering Star Trek is an unfinished product.

I’m sure Paul McGillion is a great actor, and I hope he gets some good face time.



Oowww didn’t notice the audio file…hahahahaha I love that story about his folks and ‘Star Trek’…no StarGATE!!

#46 Not all critical, I feel for Pegg in this situation because he has an extra hard job. Out of all the casting, it was clear Pegg was far from favrourite, even after he was cast it was a mixed bag and definately not a unanimous approval. So while the other cast members have the huge task of standing up to their predacessors (like it or not they WILL be compared to them), Pegg has that AND the fact it was such a close race to Scotty. It’s obvious both are great actors but Pegg won out at the end of the day, most likely due to his high profile so the look & ‘flawless accent’ which was original asked for was conceded. It means he has extra pressure on him to nail it….thats must be pretty scary so GOOD LUCK PEGG!

But as much as people have doubts, no one can judge until they see the film! Gah which we now have to wait til May for….DARN IT!

As for Paul, the guy absolutely rocks! For my experience, the ‘nice guy’ image that comes so clearly through in interviews is 100% true to life in person too! That and he’s bloody hilarious!

#46 No question there are a few negative opinions on this one and alot of other aspects to this film , which underscores how controversial this movie has become in the eyes of fans. I look at this way, personal preferences aside, If Abrams thinks Simon Pegg is the best man for part of Mr Scott then thats good enough for me . When all is said and done and the final product, the movie is revealed, most of us will be pleased by the end result. True there is going to be a significant portion of Trekdom, consisting of Cannon fanatics and purists who either wont see the film for their own reasons or will see it but not with an open mind.


Real mature there, pal. What are you, 11 years old?

Why don’t you actually contribute something besides name-calling?

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|