Paul McGillion Describes Leaving Atlantis

The latest issue (#347) of the UK genre magazine Starburst has an extensive interview with Paul McGillion plus other content related to this campaign and the casting changes to Stargate Atlantis. Paul finally speaks out about his experience being written out of the show. It makes for a very moving read and should inspire all of us to fight ever harder on behalf of Paul and Carson.

Here is an excerpt from the interview with Paul McGillion in which he talks about how he was let go from Atlantis.

Just as work on Phantoms was ending, McGillion received some news that would affect his future on Atlantis. “We shot most of this story on location, and when we got back to the studio for the final day of filming, one of the ADs said that the producers wanted to talk to me,” recalls the actor. “I didn’t think anything of it. Truthfully, I thought they might be telling me, ‘Great job in Phantoms’. However, when I went upstairs and they closed the office door, I knew it was serious. They said ‘Stargate SG-1 isn’t being renewed, and we’re not sure yet if Atlantis is going to be either. We need to shake things up a bit, and the long and short of it is we’re going to kill off Beckett.’

“Needless to say I was stunned, for lack of a better word. I didn’t see that coming at all. Personally, I felt like I was doing a good job on the programme and I think the producers thought so as well. I sat there and listened to the reasons behind this move and what they were looking to do. I was sad and disappointed by their decision , but yet this is a business. I understand that and I respect these guys for giving me the chance to play a character like Carson Beckett. I’m not being political when I say that. I’m being honest. Most actors never get a dream job like that in their entire career, and I had it for three years.

“After they told me, I said ‘I’m disappointed and shocked, but obviously you’re smart guys. The Stargate franchise has been around for a long time, so you know what you’re doing. So how do we move on from here? How do you want me to handle this?’ We would shoot Beckett’s final episode [Sunday] out of sequence, and the producers asked me if I wanted to leave after that. I said that I wanted to finish my contract the way I went into it, with integrity. Not only that but I wanted to honour the character as well as the cast and crew that I had been working with all this time.”

After finishing work on Sunday the actor returned to the Atlantis set to film the remaining episodes leading up to Beckett’s swansong. “The final story I did this season was The Ark,” says McGillion, pausing briefly to collect himself. “Only a few people knew it was my last day, including Martin Wood. He wanted to make a speech about me in front of the cast and crew once we wrapped, but I said to Alex Pappas ‘I can’t be there on set because I’ll break into tears. Just tell everyone that I’ll see them at the wrap party and shake each of their hands for being so wonderful to me over the years’. So I just let it go like that, and I hope I went out, hopefully, with dignity and class.”

Elsewhere in the magazine is another letter from a Carson Beckett fan and this editorial note about the campaign:

SAVE OUR STARGATE REGULARS

Will ‘Save Dr Beckett’ campaign become ‘Save Dr Weir’?

Well it’s not news, it’s history. Dr Carson Beckett was killed off in the Stargate Atlantis episode, ‘Sunday’. Scottish born McGillion was initially cast in Stargate as a recurring guest, but his character of the Scottish doctor Carson Beckett appeared so frequently in the show’s first season that he was promoted to main character at the start of Season Two. The savecarsonbeckett website had this to say: “We as a group would like to express our disappointment at ‘the powers that be’ for their disgraceful handling of the death of Dr. Carson Beckett, and the resulting dismissal of Paul McGillion. They have never given us any reasonable explanation on Paul’s removal from the main cast…It is an insult to the actor, Paul McGillion, who has been nothing but loyal, enthusiastic and supportive to this show”. A recent message from McGillion to fans on his website said “I am truly overwhelmed by the support that is happening for ‘Carson Beckett’. Although I can not comment on the situation at this time, please know that I have had the time of my life working on Atlantis and wuold embrace the chance to keep the good Doctor around! Lots of Luv, Paul”….

We’d like to note that the campaign quote above was taken from the “Save Carson” thread on Gateworld, not from this website. It does of course reflect many fans’ feelings on the matter.

Visit this link to order your own copy of the issue. Many thanks to SueKay for typing up this excerpt and providing it on the Gateworld forum.

106 thoughts on “Paul McGillion Describes Leaving Atlantis

  1. I can understand the reaction of the fans that see Dr. Beckett as an important part of the show, but if you judged the show by the comments here, Stargate: Atlantis should be called The Paul McGillion Show.

    I liked Beckett, and was as shocked as everyone else by his being killed off, but Atlantis is an ensomble show, and there are seven other main characters played by seven other actors that are all hoping to continue to make a living doing this show.

    Sure, write the producers, the studio, raise money for ads in Veriety, or whatever, but if you go so far as lowering its viewership, or chasing off sponsors, then there won’t be a show to watch, and there are plenty of good actors and characters on this show still.

    I look forward to Amanda Tapping coming on board, and Jewel Staite is a solid actor who, given a chance, will bring her own heart to the show.

    Paul is a fine actor. Beckett was a great character, but the show is not suddenly trash because both are gone from the production. This industry is a hard one to get into, and a harsh one at times, but decisions are made and actions taken, and just like in the real world, sometimes you just have to accept that things change.

    I’ll be glad to see Beckett come back (if they can do it without a Dallas like moment), but if he doesn’t, I will continue to watch the show for the other characters that make it worth watching.

  2. I agree with the comment that these guy’s didn’t know what they were doing. Because… If they did, SG1 would still be around. It Died because of similar reasons. This show will too if you don’t wake up and hire back Paul and Torri.

    Geee! What would have happened if they Killed William Shatner of of ST. Would the show have gone on to what is has become today. No way!

  3. IM SO PISSED! I WANT BECKETT BACK NOW! I CANNOT BELEIVE THEY DID THAT CRAP! HE WAS PERFECT FOR HIS PART! UGH! :(:( im so sad :( they better bring him back in season 5! im willing to do w/e i can! and i will continue to do what i can to make that happen!

  4. Sorry for my bad english. In romania we talk better Russian.
    I would like to say few word.
    For me Sga ended with SUNDAY, i wont continue to watch anymore
    It is a shame how they kill Carson, and i can take it almost like an insult. I wont continue anymore to watch SGA.
    For mee this was the end, what is much is much.
    Salute with respect, i hope that erson who decide ti kill carson, to feel the payn much more than a great actor feel it with no reason.
    I still cant belive it

  5. me too, stop seeing SGA after Sunday, can’t accept that. sorry to the one who made this decission, this is your big mistaken.

    no SGA on air(TV) in my country so I’m a customer who buy your dvd sets. I want to tell you, the producer, I’m not your customer anymore, don’t have motivate to see another episode.

    oh i’m not crazy too much about Paul if you think it that way, but what i think is every actor/actress in SGA is perfectly fitted their character. i’m not ready for cutting any main actor/actress at season3, it is too fast for me, i love every characters every actor/actress. and at this time i do search the internet and know that you bring him back in some episodes. but sorry, you already pushed me to end my motivate to see this movie. i’ll not see SGA anymore, no more season4 5 6 7…

    good-bye SGA.

  6. i just see the episode sunday and i didn’t know what happend !!! they send it here in Belgium on the tv and i am a great fan, but now i am chocked, why remove such a great charactare in SGA ???

    My suggestion, find a way that he’s coming back, this is the fun part of SF .

    Arnauld, Belgium

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