Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dr. Elizabeth Weir

The recent reshuffling news on Stargate Atlantis alerts fans to the latest casualty. After two solid announcements concerning the casting of 'regulars' Robert Picardo and Jewel Staite it was reported that the lovely Torri Higginson who played Dr. Elizabeth Weir will not return for Season 5 of the show. The news comes amidst a swirl of strained relations after Higginson was not properly picked up as a 'regular' for Season 4. Higginson had signed a 6 year deal when she was cast in 2004 and made her first appearance on Stargate SG-1.

Here is Jessica Steen playing Dr. Elizabeth Weir in the character's first appearance on SG-1 for Lost City Part 1 at the end of Season 7.

Jessica Steen (Earth 2) was lovely, but fortunately the creators had the good sense to recast the role and give the part to Higginson who infused the complex part with a touch more finesse. Higginson was perfect for the part. Would the real Dr. Elizabeth Weir please step forward?

This was Higginson's first appearance at the start of Season 8 in New Order Part 1. I was a bit tentative initially about her part, but the actress expertly handled command. Stargate Atlantis showed a great deal of promise with Higginson at the helm.

Higginson had these comments (taken from Gateworld): "The very last day of filming Season 3 as I finished filming the last scene on the last day, I was called up to the office and was told that my character was going to become recurring if I chose to be, so, I thought that was not a very dignified way to deal with it, and I was a bit surprised. So my reaction was -- I was a little bit surprised. I was a little bit upset by how it was dealt with" (extracted from DTRN's Sci Fi Guys Internet radio program). To quote Weir in the first clip above, "well there's gonna be a lot of changes and not everyone's gonna be happy about them." Steen discovered this after just two episodes. Unfortunately, Higginson, too, sees the character part come to a close.

Coupled with the loss of Amanda Tapping from the show as a regular, Tapping will make appearances, the latest blow results in losing Higginson completely. There was indeed a sexy, commanding coolness about her and I will miss her presence on Stargate Atlantis. Her role was noticeably absent in Season 4, and from the sounds of it, the relationship between her and the creators ends on a sour note. It doesn't appear she'll be back.

Still, does Jonas Quinn ring a bell? Michael Shanks came back from the wilderness following his own grievances. It's certainly unlikely for Higginson, but never say never in science fiction.

Update: Higginson made an appearance on Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie's Dark Matter (2015-present). Given Mallozzi and Mullie's connection to Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe it would seem time does indeed heal all wounds.


Falcon Horus said...

As a proud member of the Save Elizabeth Weir campaign, I support Torri's decision not to reprise her role as Dr. Elizabeth Weir on Stargate Atlantis' season 5 a full 100%.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

I would agree. I really don't care for how she was demoted on the show. As much as I like Picardo, I would prefer to have my cake and eat it too. Clearly it has to do with the writers/ creators. I certainly would love to know more regarding why the character/ actress was handled this way. I can understand her decision completely despite selfishly preferring to see her recur than not at all. Her character will be missed.

eri13 said...

Thanks for the article. I'm a supporter of Torri and loved her portrayal of Weir. She will be very missed. But I hope Torri does get to move on and we'll see her again soon.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Thanks for the input eri13. It's nice to see I'm not the only one who really grew to love her performance.

Anonymous said...

Words can't describe how disappointed I am to see Elizabeth go. I'm sure TPTB will just kill her off again, off camera, just out of spite.

The way they've dealt with Torri Higginson is a disgrace. Anyone in a 'normal' industry would be able to sue their employers. Instead, Torri has to put up with one of the showrunners gloating on his own blog about how he was one of the people who decided to dump her, and how proud he is of that decision.

Why should she comes back? I hope they're scared now. They've lost Torri for good, and even they must realise she's a drawcard, or they wouldn't have asked her back. They were using her for ratings spikes and to string her fans along. Not anymore. Torri's put an end to that, and I'm so proud of her.

They're also scared about Amanda going. Every Carter fan who came over to SGA from SG1 just to see Carter will leave with Amanda. They don't like the show. It was of no interest to them before, and it'll be of no interest to them once Amanda's gone.

These idiots have screwed up bigtime. I predict once Atlantis gets its magical 100th episode, it'll be history. And the showrunners will deserve to be out of work.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Clearly there are strong feelings here and something doesn't smell right about her handling to be certain. Despite appearances that things were mishandled and I hope to learn why she was relegated to this status, I do want Stargate Atlantis to prosper just the same. I loved SG-1. I love this show's many threads and cast as well. I can't say that I hope it tanks despite being very disappointed with the treatment of Torri. She clearly made the right choice rather than being dangled out there with regard to her status. If she was a draw for the show why did they make this move back in Season 3? This is unfortunate.

Mia said...

They lost me in S3, when they started disrespecting Elizabeth. In a way, I guess it mirrors their treatment of Torri. I'm certainly sad she's gone. Atlantis isn't the same without its leading lady and leader. The cast was a family, and now 2 of them are gone. This isn't the show I grew to love more than SG1.

I wish Torri all the best. She deserves to bring her quiet strength to a show that will appreciate it.

Nik said...

Thanks for putting this up...I loved the character of Weir, and even though I was originally disappointed that Steen wasn't going to play her in Atlantis, it took me 'til about 10 mins into 'Rising' to join the ranks of Torri Higginson's fans!

I'm gutted that Weir's no longer going to be part of SGA as I thought the decision to reduce her was a big mistake, but it was the writers' decision to make, and they must've known when they did that they were running the risk of not being able to get her back whenever they wanted.

I completely support Torri's decision, and to be absolutely honest, I'm glad she seems to be cutting ties with the show once and for all - I don't think I could've taken another season of hanging on and hoping the writers would see fit to bring her back for more than a brief appearance. Although I wish the fans of the show the best, for me all the reshuffling and changes have put me off following it any further down the road. Such is the way things go, though!

marielabbott said...

Interesting entry and blog. I've bookmarked it to explore later. =)

I'm also a member of the Save Elizabeth Weir campaign and I'm chiming in with support for Torri. I've watched SGA season 4 so far, and without Torri as Dr. Weir, the dynamic that I loved between the characters has been shattered. I've liked a few episodes, but most of them--in my opinion--are lackluster. And we're going to get yet another major cast change? I wish SGA well, but I fear my enjoyment of it is nearing an end. Which is a real shame, because it used to be my favorite show.

And all the best wishes to Torri! She had a guest spot on NCIS this season and I hope she gets a recurring role, and/or other great offers soon.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

I'm shocked based on this small sample they would let Higginson slip away. I had heard mixed feelings on Tapping's role as leader. Obviously Picardo will be a gamble, but I'm willing to give him a chance since he certainly has nothing to do with the creative decisions that were made back in S3. As much as I loved Staite on Firefly I would easily request to have Higginson back over Staite. I guess that seems to speak volumes for alot of our SA fanbase. We all seemed to already have missed her strong, unique leadership style and the latest announcement was the dagger in the heart. I submit that I will still roll with the changes. Thanks for the support Nik, Mariel and all for the conversation.

Anonymous said...

I missed Torri in season 4. I don't care much for the cast anymore especially McKay. Carter was a big miss for me this sure I will tune in anymore after those executive idiots messed up the cast! Why could they not dump McKay?

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

I must admit it is interesting to see the fan backlash on some of the decisions made by executives regarding Atlantis. I don't hate McKay, but I agree I would very much like to see Weir return but that seems a distinct impossibility at this point.

Anonymous said...

Please bring Torri back. Tapping was dull and had none of the qualities that Torri brought to the show. The show runners now have Picardo as the S5 leader, me fears S5 will be the last.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

I know what you mean. As much as I enjoy Amanda Tapping and she was one of the reasons I loved SG-1. This wasn't SG-1. This was Stargate Atlantis and I felt Torri really owned that role. It was a better fit for me as well. I do hope Season 5 surprises folks and we're looking at another Big 10.