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It’s All About The Ensemble On ‘Stargate: Universe’

Actors Lou Diamond Phillips and Ming-Na reveal the glue that makes it all work


The “Stargate: Universe” family is one that likes to stay together. Whether it’s hanging out on set, or joining Lou Diamond Phillips for a barbecue in his backyard.

The latest entry in the Stargate franchise — which premieres its second season Sept. 28 on Syfy — is different from its predecessors simply from the fact that no single actor is meant to stand out, creating a true team trying to pilot the Destiny galaxies away from Earth.

The cast is a mix of veterans — like Phillips, Robert Carlyle and Louis Ferreira — along with some new faces like Brian J. Smith, Elyse Levesque and David Blue. But in the end, no one is bigger than anyone else, and the family either rises or falls together.

“I think we got very, very fortunate,” Phillips recently told reporters in a conference call with news outlets including Airlock Alpha. “I mean, sometimes, the chips fall differently, and you get different personalities put together literally from Day One. [But] no matter the level of experience, the ensemble treated one another with respect, had expectations of high standards and nobody was a diva. And that hasn’t changed.”

Filming on Season 2 continues even as the first episodes begin to air on Syfy, now on a new night (thanks to wrestling taking over Fridays). And while Phillips — who has had a strong career in films like “La Bamba,” “Stand and Deliver” (with Edward James Olmos) and “Young Guns” in the 1980s — has become one of the leaders of this ensemble, so has Carlyle and Ferreira.

“And yet, the actors with perhaps not as much experience on their resumes still come with their A game, and they come with a lot of respect,” Phillips said. “And everybody is very supportive of one another. And I truly feel like that’s reflected in the final product.”

Although Phillips’ character of Col. Telford has made his way directly to the Destiny, his frequency of appearances won’t change much. However, Ming-Na is expecting to see some character changes with Camile Wray when the second season gets underway this week.

“I think Camile is interesting because she starts off as someone who really wanted to maintain the status quo of what she was used to on Earth and” with the Icarus program, Ming-Na said. “And she’s had to really learn to throw that book away and be more instinctual and think more on her feet.

“So for me I find it fascinating that here’s a woman that she feels like she can compartmentalize her two worlds, her personal life and life in the work force. And now it’s kind of meshed into where her life and her work is just on Destiny.”

But Wray has had to let her hair down, and resort to tactics she wouldn’t normally use, Ming-Na said.

“And find allies and making friends with people she normally probably wouldn’t make friends with, especially the military, I think,” she said. “She works alongside them, but it’s interesting how those challenges have been brought to light with the character.”

Syfy premieres Season 2 Sept. 28 beginning at 9 p.m. ET with “Intervention,” picking up from the cliffhangers of last season, and giving us a continuation of the story involving the invasion of the Lucian Alliance.

To read a spoiler-free preview of Tuesday’s episode, click here.

Robert Carlyle shares what’s happening to Dr. Rush this season from the red carpet at San Diego Comic-Con in a video interview.

And get your first look at a scene from Tuesday’s episode right here.

So what can fans expect to see from Telford this season? Phillips himself explains.

“The writers have done an incredible job of maintaining a core of integrity to Telford,” Phillips said. “His mission from the start, and even through Season 2 quite honestly, is very, very specific. And that is to be the hero to save these people, to get them home.

“He still feels very, very committed to this mission. I think that he feels frustrated that he was not able to perform the duty that he was called to perform. I think that when it comes to being a soldier and an officer, that he has a very strong code and must adhere to that.”

Plus, Phillips teases, now that the brainwashing from the Lucian Alliance is gone, we could be seeing some significant changes in Telford this season.

“Stargate: Universe” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy.

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