Shakeup on ‘Stargate’ (again)

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tapping.jpgNo sooner than she had joined the cast of Sci Fi Channel’s Stargate Atlantis, veteran Stargate SG-1 star Amanda Tapping (Col. Samantha Carter, seen left) is leaving the franchise altogether to bring her pet project, an HD Web series called Sanctuary, to Sci Fi. bobpicardo1.jpgTapping’s character will be replaced as the Atlantis base’s leader by an established pencil-pushing civilian character named Richard Woolsey, played by sci-fi veteran Robert Picardo, pictured at right. He played the holographic AI ship’s doctor on Star Trek: Voyager and the nasty Coach Cutlip on The Wonder Years.

Says the NBC Universal/Sci Fi press release:

“The team, led by Lt. Colonel Sheppard (Joe Flanigan), Dr. Rodney McKay (David Hewlett), Teyla (Rachel Luttrell), Ronon (Jason Momoa) and Dr. Jennifer Keller (Jewel Staite), must adjust to his unique leadership style.”

The changes will come in the just-announced fifth season of Atlantis, in which Tapping will make several appearances as will SG-1 alum Michael Shanks (as archaeologist Daniel Jackson) and former Atlantis cast member Paul McGillion, whose character Dr. Carson Beckett was actually killed off last season.

The Stargate franchise is no stranger to cast turnover. Tapping came to Atlantis this season after producers ejected the base’s original commanding officer, Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson). SG-1 rode the airwaves for 10 season before signing off last year, and was based on the 1994 feature film Stargate starring Kurt Russell and James Spader.

Spader’s role was given to Shanks in the series and Russell’s to MacGyver star Richard Dean Anderson, who departed near the end of the series. Shanks left SG-1 for a whole season in the middle of the series to pursue other projects, but his character returned from the dead.

In other Stargate news, Big Finish Productions, which produces licensed full-cast audio dramas based on such classic sci-fi franchises as Doctor Who, Dark Shadows and Judge Dredd, has added Stargate to its lineup.

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