Rachel Luttrell talks about her character, Teyla, as well as what fans can expect from season four

In the role of Teyla Emmagan in Stargate Atlantis, Rachel Luttrell is the definition of brains and beauty. This Tanzanian born actress is given moments where she can showcase her dramatic side, her smart side and also the side of Teyla that isn't afraid to kick major butt. We recently had a chance to sit down with Rachel to discuss the show, her character and the recent DVD release of Stargate Atlantis: Season 3.

When do you a show like Stargate Atlantis, do you ever think about what the fans are going to think as you're doing it? In regards to what they might think of your character's actions?

Rachel Luttrell: Well, the beginning part of your question I was just about to jump on the bandwagon and say, "No, it's not something that I'm thinking about day to day when I'm shooting," but absolutely, there are certain times that I'll get a script and I'll think, just to protect my character, that something doesn't make sense or that I don't think the audience would respond to. If that ever comes up than I am apt to go up and discuss it with the writers and the producers, but for the most part they are pretty much on the same page as I am in terms of keeping her true to who she is. So yes, when I am done shooting I don't really think about the legions of people who will be following it, I just hope that what I am doing is going to be something that they appreciate.

Before you got involved with the show, how familiar were you with the Stargate franchise? Do you think that maybe not being familiar with it could be a good thing?

Rachel Luttrell: Yes, ignorance is bliss and that was certainly my experience when I started. I obviously knew about the show and I had watched the movie from which everything kind of spun, or at least the idea spun, years and years ago and I really enjoyed the movie. I loved the movie and the various questions that it posed and I found it rather exciting, but I was quite naive when I came up here (the show shoots in Vancouver). I had no idea how many people followed the show and I think that that is probably a good thing. I was sequestered in my own naivete when I began. Right now, I'm so grateful for the support that exists out there, it's pretty amazing.

Are there certain things on the show that you'd like to see Teyla do that she hasn't done yet?

Rachel Luttrell: Had you asked me that question last season I would have probably had a good solid list of stuff to talk about, but this season I feel like I got to bite into quite a lot of things that I wanted to last season. It was kind of a jumping point for next year, hopefully, fingers crossed that there is a next year! (Laughs) I'm a pretty satisfied gal at the moment.

What was it like having your real life pregnancy written into the show? Was that ever something you were ant?

Rachel Luttrell: It made perfect sense. It was something that I knew they were going to do from the get go, obviously, they didn't have a clue about my pregnancy when they were fashioning the storylines for season four. They found out a good month before we started shooting. I went and I told them we had a lovely discussion about the whole thing in terms of where it was they wanted to go, initially, and what they would do now that they were armed with this new information. We pretty much decided that it was going to be something we would incorporate, otherwise I would be hiding behind barrels and all kinds of ridiculous things and that just wouldn't be true to the character.

I was very, very happy that they took it and they ran with it and I think it actually created some really wonderful colors and some great storylines. Not just for myself but for the rest of the cast as well.

I know that you're busy but have you had a chance to go through the season three DVDs, yet?

Rachel Luttrell: No, you know what? I haven't. I've watched a couple of them but I haven't gone through the whole series of them. While we are shooting a season they make available to us the various different episodes so that's what I did. Last season I watched a couple of the episodes as I was shooting, as they were putting in all the visual effects, etc. I haven't had a chance to see the finished product. I've probably watched about 30% of them. So I'm looking forward to it. I guess we launched on the 18 and I will be getting my own very little package soon and I'll be sitting down and watching them myself.

Why do you think the sci-fi fans have really supported Stargate Atlantis so much? Do you think it's the story, the action, or maybe a mix of all that?

Rachel Luttrell: I think it's a mix of it, I do. I also think that one of the great things about the franchise is that it doesn't take itself seriously. There's always a sense of humor within each of our storylines which gives it, I think, a humanity. Having said that it's science fiction as well and I think that science fiction is just something that embraces the imagination of audiences because it can be anything, it can go anywhere, but I think what sets the Stargate Atlantis franchise apart is that it has a sense of humor.

What can fans expect from season four of Stargate Atlantis?

Rachel Luttrell: I have watched a couple of the episodes and they look absolutely wonderful. From a visual standpoint I think that the effects and quality... just how the city looks and the battles look, the new worlds we encounter this season look, it's just amazing. Its kind of stepped it up a notch. I really do think that the storylines this season are quite wonderful as well. This season the characters get to go to some new places, certainly for Teylam it's kind of a roller coaster ride and I think it's like that for a lot of the different characters. It's just a really wonderful, colorful season and I think the shows look great.

Stargate Atlantis: Season 3 is currently on DVD from MGM Home Entertainment.

Evan Jacobs at Movieweb
Evan Jacobs