TV & Movies

'Stargate SG-1': Why Did Michael Shanks Leave the Show?

Sci-fi television show Stargate SG-1 had a lovable and memorable cast of main characters, not least of which was Daniel Jackson, played by Michael Shanks. The beloved archaeologist left the show at the end of the fifth season, however, leaving many fans feeling bereft. It wasn’t long until shanks returned in the seventh season, and he also made guest appearances during the sixth. So why did Michael Shanks choose to leave Stargate SG-1 in the first place, and what drew him back to the show?

Why Michael Shanks left ‘Stargate SG-1’

When it comes to Michael Shanks’ choice to ditch his role as Daniel Jackson on Stargate SG-1, there are different reports on why it went down. Naturally, this depends on who you ask. 

However, the general consensus seems to be that Shanks felt unsatisfied with the direction Stargate was taking Daniel Jackson, and felt as if his character was creatively underutilized. Shanks has confirmed this sentiment himself.

“I read something that claimed I said I hated writers and denigrated their talents. That wasn’t it at all! It was never my intention to insult them,” Michael Shanks said during a chat with Stargate Solutions. 

“I thought the writing staff was just great and did a marvelous job. In a way, maybe I wanted to stay on the show, but I just expressed that the character (of Daniel) wasn’t being made use of as well or as creatively as he could have been,” he added. 

“I had begun to think the show would work just as well without me and that’s when I felt that I had to go. I also felt it was time to expand my horizons and look to other things as an actor.”

Shanks does regret how his departure was perceived and wishes he could go back and address his departure in a different way.

“The writers disagreed with my point of view. I thought they didn’t see what I was talking about. I realize now that I should have left it at that.”

We had artistic differences, which is what a lot of actors say, but I hated the public speculation that would create. I wanted to be more specific, and it just seemed to cause more hurt feelings. So now I wish I could go back and say we had artistic differences and that’s why I left,” he explained.

Michael Shanks was surprised by ‘Stargate’ fan reactions

Michael Shanks may not have realized how beloved Daniel Jackson was. When Michael Shanks left Stargate SG-1, he was shocked by how disappointed many fans were.

“I’m very aware of the strong reaction to Daniel’s departure since the end of Season 5. It’s been very surprising for me and, I think, for the people who run the show as well,” Shanks said.

“I knew that there would be some sort of reaction, but I didn’t realize how passionate it would be. The character was very passionate, so maybe he would attract people who share that trait. It’s just been very lovely, but at the same time it’s been difficult. It was sad for me (to leave), too,” he added.

Daniel Jackson soon returned 

Luckily for fans, Daniel Jackson returned to Stargate SG-1 for Season 7. It seems as if he was able to reconcile his creative differences with the crew, and missed playing the role. 

“For me, on a more personal level, I would say the acceptance of the character and the expression of sentiment towards the character was a factor in me deciding to come back,” Shanks said, as reported by Giant Freakin Robot.

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