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Talking About the Team -- Rodney

The first of four posts talking about the team in the Legacy series.

Rodney was, I think, the first character we talked about in our initial concept, and in some ways Rodney is both the hardest and the one whose plot is most integral to the main plotline of Legacy. That's because Rodney is the one whose plotline is actually completed in the five filmed seasons.

In the first season Rodney is awkward, difficult, challenged and challenging, and more than a little bit obnoxious to those around him. In Letters from Pegasus we see the man he wants to be -- the calm, suave veteran interplanetary explorer cooly facing his own death with a quip and a memorable word, a latter day Gordon at Khartoum. Of course he's not that man. He's scared, desperate, and still at his post, still trying everything and doing whatever he can down to the wire. He's better than the legend he hopes to be.

By the end of season five he's become the man he wanted to be -- and more. He really is that seasoned interplanetary explorer who greets disaster with an exasperated, "Oh not again!" Rodney has successfully completed his plot arc. His story was about how Rodney McKay became a hero, and he has.

So what do we do with him? He's been Ascended, he's been dead. He's been captured and he's been stranded. He's been wrong and he's been right and he's been dying and he's been resurrected. What can we possibly do with Rodney for six books that isn't retread?

I think it was Melissa who said, "Michael!"

What if Rodney were in a situation where he couldn't rely on any of the things that have worked for him before, where he couldn't save the day with science or even shoot things? Where he couldn't rely on the team or his friends? What if he had no one to rely on but himself -- and he couldn't even remember who he was? That's Rodney pushed to the brink. That's Rodney carved down to the essentials. It's Rodney in the extreme position that the hero ultimately has to be pushed to in a long running series, like Jack O'Neill in Abyss.

Much of the main plot then falls into line. How would Rodney get in that position? How would the rest of the team react? What would Rodney do? What would be the results? What would the repercussions be for Woolsey, for Todd, for the city, for the expedition as a whole? How did this happen? Married with the plots for the other three team members, this gives us the main action plot.

In their simplest form, adventure stories are about problems. There's a problem, and the characters have to solve it. They're shipwrecked. They're under siege. They're sick. They're surviving a natural disaster. This gives us the Big Problem -- Rodney has been captured and turned by the Wraith. Will he help the Wraith? How do they get him back? If they do get him back, can they restore him? What will he do while he's Wraith?

The other characters' plot arcs don't lend themselves as well to explosive action sequences, don't lead to a chain of consequences that provide cinematic space battles and ongoing conflict. Rodney's does. As we go into Allegiance, he's the one driving the main plotline. Will Rodney remember? If so, what can he do? If not, what horrible things might he do thinking he's Quicksilver? And, if he ever returns to himself, how will he be changed by this ordeal? This is the extreme trial of the hero, the underworld passage. In an archetypal sense, Rodney has now gone into the underworld, bereft of even his name. He has been given a new name and new identity and now dwells beneath, literally brought before Death's throne. Who will he be when he reemerges?



( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 2nd, 2011 11:30 am (UTC)
the answers to your questions have us on the edge of our seats waiting and biting our nails...lol

And waiting to read just how much he is going to need his family.

And when he realizes he nearly killed John...Well he can always say...that John shot him before first....(in Phantoms..)lol..Can hear rodney saying that...

And how this experience is going to change them all and bring them closer...and how it affects his relationship with jennifer...all so interesting and what an adventure...

Are you sure we cant get the next book ..like tomorrow...lol


May. 2nd, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, when he finds out he nearly killed John.... Well, that may not be the worst thing he's done by then! :)

The next book is on track for the very end of June!
May. 2nd, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC)
Rodney is by far one of my favorite characters, so i was shocked by the story so far. Really looking forward to seeing how he will get through this.
May. 2nd, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Rodney has a tough road ahead, one that will really put him through hell. Which, of course, is the hero's journey! He's got to go there and back again, so to speak.

And of course it will change him. One thing we do know about Inheritors is that Rodney will make a decision that he would never, ever have made in season one. Hopefully we can pull this off, and this will be the moment where the readers stand up and cheer "Oh my God Rodney!" at the same moment that they're biting their nails!
Melissa Jenkins Cross
May. 2nd, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
LOL at one point while reading The Lost I looked at my hubby and said 'They pulled a Micheal on Rodney! Sweet!' I'd wondered if the Wraith would try a reversal of Michael when the show was still running. Can't wait to see what rabbits Rodney and the team pull out of their hats this time. The changes in his relationships with the entire team are what I'm curious about. Ronon's feelings on the Wraith are so sharp, how's this going to change their friendship? Eagerly awaiting the second book.
May. 2nd, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
Ronon is seriously having trouble with this, even in The Lost. Yeah. This is really hard for Ronon. And that's all going to hit the fan in Secrets. Melissa's section with that is just --- I nearly cried, and I knew what was going to happen!

But that's a big part of Ronon's plot arc too. Is his whole life going to be about nothing except killing Wraith? Really?
May. 2nd, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
I'm looking forward to see how the relationship between Ronon and Rodney develops, especially given Ronons detest with Michael being a wraith, will this be the same with Rodney? I can see this being testing times for Ronon.
May. 4th, 2011 08:56 am (UTC)
It's a very hard time for Ronon, yes. Rodney's Wraithification is really challenging for him. And then it gets even more complicated....
Melissa Jenkins Cross
May. 2nd, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC)
I got that in Homecoming when he was considering Sam's offer. I was really glad to see it. There are so many untapped angles to Ronon, I'm glad we get to explore them.
May. 4th, 2011 09:23 am (UTC)
Sam's offer was genuine. And what a team that would be! Ronon and Lorne and Cadman on the Hammond!

Sam thinks that oddly enough Ronon reminds her of Jacob Carter. Ultimately, maybe what would make him happy is Jacob's life.
May. 4th, 2011 11:18 am (UTC)
Sam thinks that oddly enough Ronon reminds her of Jacob Carter. Ultimately, maybe what would make him happy is Jacob's life.

Sorry for interrupting, could this maybe, remotely be some kind of a hint of what might happen in Ronon's future? Well, obviously, he won't meet any Tok'ra or symbiotes, I suppose, but will there be parallels between Jacob and Ronon?

Surprisingly, I'm very much looking forward to Ronon's role in Legacy. He will have to face some serious issues regarding his past and his friendship with Rodney, and I'm wondering whether he will come to terms with himself and the Wraith.
May. 4th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Ronon
It could be remotely a hint! :)

If the destruction of Sateda hadn't happened, where would Ronon be now? Career military, a captain and a father, married to Melena who is a medical professional. He would be following the same path as Jacob, and it's way too easy to see Ronon with a daughter like Sam. He lost that life, but is it irrevocably gone?

That's the question he has to face on Sateda in Allegiance, the question Sam raised in Homecoming. It's the question about Sateda as a whole.

And unsurprisingly (at least to me)the one who has the most useful things to say about that is Radek. The pre-war world will never return. But that doesn't mean the culture is dead, or that there will never be anything worth having again. To Radek there is no reason that buildings can't be mended, that bombed out parks can't have trees again. Burned out buildings need elbow grease, and eventually there will be a new generation who don't remember the war.

We were very, very conscious of this part of the story. That's why in Allegiance the museum is very deliberately based on the Neues Museum. (But I'm sure that's something you'd recognize! :) )
May. 2nd, 2011 05:09 pm (UTC)
I think you summed him up perfectly. I always liked to see more than just the snarcastic and "untouchabled" genius in Rodney. It seems like to a lot of people he was just that. The comic relief of the show.
So for me it's just great that you gave him such an intense storyline, where he later have to deal with what he experienced (at least that's what I assume at the moment :) ).

So great work *thumbs up* and I really can't wait for the next book of the Legacy series!
May. 4th, 2011 09:02 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!

Rodney has a really intense storyline, and yes, he's going to have some difficult stuff to deal with. What if he feeds? And what about this thing with Jennifer?
May. 4th, 2011 10:05 am (UTC)
Oh, Jennifer, right :D I always forget about her *blushes*
still having problems to see them as a couple

May. 5th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
It took me a while to get it, but the trick is realizing that they're both stubborn mad scientists. He's just a physicist and she's a doctor. When he stubbornly refuses to accept someone else's idea, you lose 5/6ths of a solar system; when she refuses, Rodney almost dies of a brain parasite. (Who's to say which is the worst outcome?) Jennifer's just more polite about her ego because...I'm assuming anyway...her dad didn't pit her against an equally gifted sibling from a very young age.
May. 3rd, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
I'm still waiting for a miracle about the Stargate on TV. So in the meantime I was glad to discover all the stories edited by Fandemonium and I want to thank you all the writers for giving us more books about the Pegasus Galaxy.
McKay is still a pain in the ass, and I love that. Thank you to Jo Graham, I'm looking forward to the next episodes : Allegiance, Avengers, The Secret and the Inheritors and the next, the next, the next...
May. 4th, 2011 09:24 am (UTC)
Re: Rodney
Thank you so very much! I'm delighted that you're enjoying the series! It's so much fun to write.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )