Exclusive Interviews: Picardo and McGillion Talk Stargate Atlantis Finale (and a little Star Trek)

Tonight five seasons of Stargate Atlantis comes to an end. Ushering in the finale  as part of the SGA crew are Robert Picardo, veteran of seven seasons of Star Trek Voyager and Paul McGillion, who has a small role in the new Star Trek movie. TrekMovie decided to check in with both for exclusive interviews talking about the SGA finale and a little Trek as well.  


McGillion’s on quite a ride
Another new face in Star Trek appears in tonight’s SGA finale. Paul McGillion’s Dr. Carson Beckett has been an on again off again and now back on again character over the five seasons. TrekMovie talked to Paul about it all coming to an end, and about his Trek spotting.

TrekMovie.com: Now that it is over, how do you feel about the arc of Beckett through the series?

Paul McGillion: I think Beckett had a tremendous arc over the five years of SGA . In the first season he was a guest character and by the end of that season he appeared in almost every episode. Season two came along and the character was made a main cast member (much to do with the fan support) and in Season three the good doctor went out in a ball of flames only to be resurrected at the end of season four, thanks to all those ‘Save Carson Beckett’ fans. In season five Carson comes back as a clone but still the same heart and had some great episodes to take part in including the series finale! So Yes I think Beckett has had quite a ride.

TM: So what can you tell us about the finale and beyond?

PM: I can’t say much, but I will say that Beckett helps in a big way due to one of his special traits! As far as the character being involved in the DVD movies I think it looks Good for Beckett !

TM: How did you feel about your appearance in the new Star Trek trailer?

PM: I went to see the new James Bond Movie with a Friend in L.A. and the trailer came on for Star Trek — (an amazing trailer, I’m super excited to see the film). I did catch a glimpse of myself up there on the big screen — it was very cool!

Paul McGillion hands out ship assignments in the ‘Star Trek’ trailer

Picardo gets the last word
Star Trek’s favorite Holographic Doctor had been a recurring character on both Stargate SG-1 as well as Stargate Atlantis for years, but for this last season he came on board as a regular with his stiff but lovable Richard Woolsey being made the leader of the Atlantis expedition. TrekMovie checked in with Bob to see how the year went, and what is next.

TrekMovie.com: With only one year on the show, how do feel about the arc you were able to take Woolsey on.

Robert Picardo: Thanks largely to the shows writers and producers, they had the outline for Woolsey’s transformation from a briefing room guy with bad people’s skills into a very credible leader who trusts his principles. I think he grew most impressively in his ability to listen and to make judgments simply by the rule book. I think it was a good arc as a leader and a person and I am happy with it. I think it was done in very quick moments where we established he had a bit of a sense of humor. I think we got some of the audiences sympathy with the fish out of water elements. ‘I am here to run the expedition but don’t quite to know how to use the briefing room door…’

TM: Do you feel they took better advantage of your skills as an actor this year, especially your comedic skills?

RP: Yes. There has always been humor in the Stargate shows, but I think they liked the idea of being able to laugh at the commander, that he didn’t have to fit the brave mold. He is the opposite of the rogue — Stargate was founded on Richard Dean Anderson’s O’Neal who is sort of the rogue military guy who goes his own way but always saves the day, and Woolsey is the exact opposite. 

Image from the finale of SGA  "Enemy at the Gate" finale
– Bob and Paul on far right

TM: Can you tease a little bit about what is in store for the finale?

RP: I can say this unequivocally…Woolsey gets the last word! [laughs] I have the final spoken line in the 100 episodes of Stargate Atlantis, which I am proud of. I said in another interview that I thought it was ‘well-crafted’ and I was criticized by some other website, one of the ‘blogspots,’ who criticized me for calling it well-crafted,. Even though they acknowledged that the show was very high-paced and had perhaps too much plot for one hour, like we tried to do a two-hour show–all the things that I think are pluses, but they said ‘Picardo has been in enough quality television to know what well-crafted is’ insinuating that I didn’t know what well-crafted was. Having said that, I will certainly say that their commentary was…well-crafted. [laughs]   

TM: Is this the last word from Woolsey? Or can we expect to see him in the DVD movie?

RP: Yes you can expect to see him in the DVD movie. I am confident of that and Woolsey will be in command. I have been told it is definitely happening and will shoot in the first half of next year. And also there will probably be guest star opportunities in the new show [Stargate Universe]. Let’s put it this way, it seems likelier I will be doing more Stargate than more Star Trek [laughs].  

TM: Speaking of Trek I noticed they have dropped some Trek references this year, including one about Star Trek the Experience in the "Vegas" episode.

RP: I sold that little bill of goods to [executive producer] Robert Cooper. He thought it was funny. We shot it and he put it in. It is one of those things I love about Stargate. Not only do they not take themselves too seriously, but they are quite irreverent at times. I thought to make a reference to the other franchise simply because the show was set in Vegas was real tribute to their rogue soul.    

Trek ref in last week’s episode of SGA "Vegas"

Catch the SGA finale tonight
"Enemy at the Gate," the series finale of Stargate Atlantis, airs tonight on SciFi at 9 PM. You can also catch a repeat of last week’s episode "Vegas" at 8 PM. In fact SciFi is running an SGA Season 5 marathon all day long, more info at SciFi.com. For much more (including spoilers) check out Gateworld’s full briefing on the finale.

SGA "Enemy at the Gate" finale promo

Bonus Bob

Here is a recent video interview from UGO of Bob Picardo answering some Trek fan questions. Our friends at UGO are geeks, but the guy they had asking questions is clearly not up on his Trek…which is part of the entertainment value of this clip.


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I wonder if 2 in the morning gets you first? either way good interviews love the shows and love the characters. Oh and love this site.

I have to see that Stargate Episode.
By the way, i didn’t notice Paul in the Star Trek Trailer…

I loved that moment in SGA. It’s almost more real for characters to have little geeky side conversations like that.

A nice end to a great show. I loved it from the pilot and never watched SG1 until about season two or three of Atlantis… Such a shame these type of shows end (BSG ending any time soon too). If only we could set up our own network!

Thank you so much for your article and delightful interviews with Paul McGillion and Robert Picardo.

I personally think it’s quite fitting for SGA to go out the way it’s headed, and for the leader of the Atlantis expedition to get the final line of the show, is also fitting.

I hope to see more of Richard Woolsey and the Atlantis expedition in future Stargate movies.

ha! – the Experience reference was cool.

I’ve never seen Stargate (any flavor) and I didn’t like Voyager and YET … I think Robert Picardo is ten chords of awesome on an all-awesome guitar. I alway perk up when I spot him in anything.

I’ve been a fan of Stargate for a while and I’m disappointed that SGA is ending. I look forward to a great Series Finale, great SGA movies, and SG Universe.

That was a nice reference to ST: The Experience in SGA: “Vegas.” I also love that shot of the entire crew standing on a platform on Atlantis. I hope to find a high quality version of that photo in the near future.

4, I’ve never been a big fan of BSG myself but for those who are it must seem to be ending too soon as well.

I love “The Cowboy!” Congratulations on another excellent run on TV.

#10 – heh
“Howdy, Big Jack!”
“You see Outlaw Yosie Wales? What a flick!”

Fitting end for SGA. I really enjoyed it. Let’s see what SG Universe will bring.

I fell for SGA after the first episode. I am sad it’s “ending” but, then, all good things….etc.

I have always loved the humor of SG. It never took itself to seriously which made all seem more human. I was very impressed with JFlanigan. He did a great job and was always quirky_cocky_sarcastic_focused_funny.

Kudos to the cast – past and present. Great work!

It was a fitting ending, esp considering they didn’t know they were gonna be canned when it was written.

Picardo was very good, if under-used this season. His journey from antagonist to colleague, and in some cases, friend, was great character development for Woolsey: a man who was always on the outside forced to make judgements. This season he could see what it was like to be on the inside, and how in some cases, rules and protocol come second to true leadership decision making.

Beckett was also under-used this season, but was always great to see him. The clone angle became irrelevant as soon as he was revived properly, and I didn’t really think of him as a clone in subsequent appearances.

Very sorry to see the end of Atlantis.
I truly liked the characters of Beckett and Woolsey.
I wish they had never killed off the doc in the first place and Woolsey was a wonderful addition to the show.
Wish it had lived to see another season.

Somebody should compile a list of all things TREK in the “Stargate” franchise.

I remember one episode of “SG-1” where John Billingsley’s character was huddled behind cargo boxes in an enemy ship: “We might as well be wearing red shirts!”

That kind of stuff is priceless!

The episode was called “The Other Guys”.

This show sucked. Thank god.

#18 No it didn’t!

Om, I saw the final episode almost two weeks ago. Are you guys on a different timeline or what?

Is there a picture of Gozer painted on the side of that shuttle?

#20 it was an unfinished version, which I also saw. A lot of the special effect work was temporary.

I’m truly going to be missing this show. Sure I know they are making DVD movies but it’s just not the same as a weekly visit. If you haven’t taken a trip through the gate be it SG-1 or Atlantis you are missing an extremely well made show.

I got into this show after Enterprise went off the air; it’s pretty cool, better than previous Stargate show. Good characters, production, effects… sorry to see it end, but hopefully they will go out with a bang!!

I am saddened that Atlantis is leaving. I’ve been watching Stargate ever since ENT ended. But as one franchise comes to end (until this summer) another one is reborn (ST XI)! May both franchises Live Long & Prosper!


Stargate does not end. Stargate Universe will launch later this year.

Is this show still on?

I love it when insecure people use my screen name.

26 one day there wont be a Stargate series on the air .
Everything eventually ends.

As a fan of Stargate, I can’t wait for the episode tonight. If it weren’t for Picardo, I’d never have even seen one episode, now I own all their episodes.

#30 interesting. Do you mean since ge guest starred in SG1 or since he became a regular in Atlantis this season? My reason for checking out Stargate was Ben Browder and Claudia Black. Ever since I was hooked.

In reference to The Experience shutting down, I wonder if they will change it when The Experience reopens Downtown? They have said it will reopen on Fremont St at the Neonopolis. Quark’s before the Star Trek movie opens in may. The rest to follow.

Not really a fan of Stargate, but it’s always good to hear from Mr. Picardo. He was one of the consistently great things about Voyager.

There *were so* consistenly great things about Voyager — don’t look so shocked!

Huge fan of ENT, VOY, DS9 and NXG here. But never got on to SGA.
All the comments above makes me want to follow SGA, will give it a try soon.

3 cheers to the doc.

They take my Firefly then my Trek and now my Atlantis. What will THEY take next?
They=evil TV people=TV executives

Someone spelt O’ Neill wrong, this article spelt it “O’ Neal”.

Yes. I know I’m nitpicking.