the exposition queen (regann) wrote in sga_virtual,
the exposition queen

SGA: VS4 -- Discussion: Major Lorne & Canon

One of the things that is really nice about a virtual season is that you don't have certain constraints on you since most of it happens in your imagination. Two of my favorite constraints to be free of is budget and actor availability. This means that I can use the minor characters I like as much as possible as long as it makes since within the context of an ep -- whereas TV shows such as SGA have been known to have to rewrite eps to accomodate unavailable actors.

One of the characters that has come up a great deal in episode discussions is Major Lorne. Lorne's become something of a fan favorite since his introduction in early S2 and rather a fixture on Atlantis. (At least when his actor, Kavan Smith, wasn't off taping episodes of The 4400...)

When I was discussing ideas for VS 402 with the crew, one of us brought up a good point: what is Lorne's actual role on Atlantis? Is he really the "second in command" after Sheppard? Is his team really the equivalent of the same?

It certainly seems that way on the show, if only because Lorne's team seems to be the de facto one whenever Sheppard and team are gone -- I'm thinking of S2's "The Lost Boys" which I just watched in syndication -- and there's something about his place in the show that makes me want to think of him to Sheppard the same way I think of Zelenka to McKay.

What do we know about Major Lorne? Not much. In fact, I don't even think we know his first name. (At least, I don't, but there are a few late Season Three episodes that I haven't watched...) I know there's a healthy fanon!Lorne out there even though I don't know much of it.

Most of what I know about Major Lorne, I learned watching him on SG-1, which is where he started. Major Lorne was one of the SGC members involved in the mining operation on P3X-403 which is eventually disturbed by conflicts with the native Unas on the planet. (For more information, here's the ep's Wikipedia entry.) This first appearence tells us a little about him, if only that he's been with the SGC program for at least two years before he took a posting in the Pegasus Galaxy. (I'm counting SG-1 S7 as a year, and SG-1 S8 (SGA S1) as another.)

I also thought that maybe this assignment meant he had some background in geology or a related earth-science. It would seem that the SGC would need people with real expertise in this to be on-site and I don't remember any scientists, per se.

But that's mostly speculation, which is all we have. In fact, I have a burning list of questions about Lorne, which include the ones listed above but also --

Is his ATA gene real or artifical? I know he can fly a jumper but which is it? Also, does he fly because he's a pilot (like Sheppard) or does he just happen to fly? Before SG-1, I didn't even realize AF officers could be anything other than pilots. (Why, yes, I am a sad, un-informed slob!)

The point is -- as much as we love him, we don't know much about him, except for what he didn't learn in "Major School," LOL. And this is exactly the kind of thing that makes virtual seasons so great, is that I can take the time to discuss this with people and make an effort to rectify it. I want to know what we should know about Lorne. Perhaps y'all can tell me?

So, yes, please -- comment, discuss, disagree, whatever. I'd love any and everyone's opinion and speculation on Lorne and what depths we may have been missing in canon that should be addressed in alterna-canon such as a virtual fourth season. The problem with this kind of exercise is that in alterna-canon, we don't want fanon as much as we want a way to create new and more "canon." With fanon -- and fanfiction -- you can take certain risks and try certain things. In something like this, you're more typically restrained by what has actually happened in the show.

This becomes a big problem with something like this. We need to have more than fanon, more than "what ifs" to flesh out a loved character like Lorne in a realistic way. RL and canon concerns come into play, such as "Does it make more sense for Lorne to have a natual ATA gene or a synthesized one?" given what we know about the ATA gene and the way people were/weren't chosen for the Atlantis mission. Each of the questions that I've asked have these kinds of concerns attached to them, hence the difficulty here. It makes me wish that TPTB had done a little more of this on their own!

So, thoughts?

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Tags: character:lorne, general discussion, public
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I think, for me, one of the most interesting things about Lorne is that he's not a 'first waver' he's a second wave dude. He didn't come through the gate in round one. I draw several conclusions:

* Lorne probably has and artificial ATA gene. I assume they ran most sgc personnel through a dna thing in order to see if they already had some military ATA folks to send through.

Although I think this has a little fanon: the first wavers are *not* the best of the best. They are some dudes who thought a one way trip to another galaxy was more worth it than staying home and doing whatever they were doing. For McKay it may very well have been escape from Area 51. For Zelenka maybe he got out of a Naquada Generator program. When the President opted against declassification Weir lost her SGC position and decided professional discovery was worth more than personal. I don't think I exaggerate when I say Shep was written as a screw-up no one needed on Earth. Which leads me to:

* Lorne either wasn't asked to go or didn't want to go. He was either too valuable or too attached to Milky Way, both are interesting options.

Maybe Lorne does have some attachments on Earth, maybe being cut off is something he never expected. Letters to mom, dad, sisters, brothers, whoever were something that was very important to him.

* He's a smartass.

I didn't really have anything to add other than that. SG (1 and A) characters tend to be smartasses. I don't know what that says about SGC recruitment policy.

* He's a bit of a flirt.

As a matter of fact I read him as more flirty than Sheppard actually. He flirts with Weir at least.

* I vote for a geology degree of somekind

There is something about the way he lights up at '2.3 parts per million' that twigs my dork alarm. He also throws up/heaves at the sight of a mauled body so he might not actually have much combat experience back in season 7 of sg1. He also apparently missed the 'search and rescue' course in major school as well according to enemy mine. He's *really really* not an archeologist or anthropologist. His response to artifacts is 'well they were in the way'. I think that's very traditionally military, miner, and geologist, but maybe that's just me ... He's also the only military guy running around with mostly a handgun for most of the episode.

I feel like Lorne and really most of the other second wavers are going to have more of a story to tell, more loss, more Earth attachments. He's probably a better soldier and more emotionally healthy than first wavers as well. He's probably a bit of a prankster. Maybe he pulls together some military social things. That's it. Someone else can contribute now. :)


March 12 2007, 18:14:00 UTC 11 years ago

Hm....I would have said his ATA gene was natural. Perhaps he turned down the Expedition until he found out it was possible to return. He strikes me as the well adjusted family type, even if he is unmarried himself.

We haven't seen him in an F-302, but he is defintely more natural in the jumper than Beckett or McKay. For the record, I thought he was a marine, but that is only because I have a bad memory.

The Gateworld article makes it sound like Lorne was picked for SG-2 because it was a mining operation, which may also explain why he wasn't assigned to the Pegasus right away: they needed naquadah more than they needed another gene-inspired member of the expedition.

But you're right...a lot of what he does doesn't entirely made sense.

Deleted comment

It's a SPOILER for the finale, but we have seen him pilot an F-302.
I don't know if it's been said on the show, but the actor has said, and one of the books (via the official magazine) has stated his first name to be Evan.

Here's the thing - I don't necisserily think that the 'first wave' are the best, simply that they were there when there was no option of leaving and it build a kind of bond and forced adaptability to them. They HAD to learn how to survive Pegasus, because ther was no Earth back up, they HAD to rely on Lantean technology, because though they brought their own it's more falible (come on, life of a PC laptop + 10,000+ years old and still working perfectly) and less advanced and again, no earth back up. Had to ration what they did have in way of part replacements.

And because of that, they are more adapted to Pegasus in many ways, maybe saying they're the best of the best is wrong, but it's not entierly incorect.

After that, I think the second wavers were those who tentively stuck in when communications were in, and though not the same still have better status than all those who came by just recently when someone puts an personel aquisition form in or the IOA decides there needs to be more non-US people there...

Um, for Lorne personally, I do see him as Sheppard's 2IC. There's this episode in S3 called the game, and a scene with him and Radek in it and... lets just say there are back ups there, lol.

I think he's a fun guy with a sense of humour, less worried about looking like he fits in but probably does it more naturally that some others. He's smart, and he uses it, but that's not his priority really. He's loyal to his friends and happy to make new ones - once he's loyal to you that's it.

I think he respects the scientists a lot - he came from teh SGC after all and was there for two years where Carter and Jackson regularly used smarts to save the day. But he still teases them (in a way they mostly know he's kidding).

I don't think he gets angry easily, but when he does you don't really want to kid with him - he's far more stable than Sheppard and though he was never special opps he knows his stuff.

I can see where as Sheppard and McKay are the on high leaders and bridge of the two branches, they're kinda like the leader of the group, leader of a people in a way that though you're friends and some of you tease them, they have that odd, special status. Where as with Zelenka and Lorne, they're the more down to earth, people's leaders who look out for them and socialise with them and so on, and though I don't think they have the same relationship as Rodney and John, I do think they're the more informal, underground bridge of the two departments.
OH Valen, the typos in that!


Sorry, I've had a really crappy day and I'm not thinking properly.
For some reason, I've always assumed Lorne's gene was natural.

Also, I don't really subscribe to the fanon that the first wave of Pegasus people were people the SGC felt they could afford to lose, who had no other options open to them or whatever. For one thing, that really doesn't make sense. The idea was to find the lost city and mine it for technology and knowledge that could benefit Earth in its quest to defend itself from hostile off-world entities. Yes, they knew that coming back might be impossible, but I think that just means they would want to send the best people they could find, on the assumption that better minds meant a better chance of getting a return on this investment. The mission was certainly not just a way to offload problem personnel - it was far too expensive to justify using it as a human resources dumping ground.
And that latter paragraph would have been better addressed to one of the posters who actually were discussing that fanon, rather than to you, regann!
Yeah, that would be me. :) I'm not saying it was a dumping ground, per se. I'm just thinking ... they don't send Carter, they don't send Lorne. Most of the people on the expedition seem to be implied to be new guys to the 'SGC complex'.

I don't think the original expedition members are the bench warmers, but they are definitely the 'B list'. But I think the type of person who choses not to go for round one but does chose to go for round two is a different type of person than the round one guys. And Lorne is one of those guys. :)
There is an interview where Kavan Smith says his characters name is Evan. I'm not sure if the writers will stick to that or not though.

I do agree with the fanon about the 'best of the best', as in their 'stars' or 'heroes', being kept at the SGC, NID etc. Had they defeated the Goa'uld at that point? Because Jackson would have been desperate to go, O'Neil would have had to have come up with a significant reason for him to not be allowed.
Halfway through season 8 they did attempt to get there on the Daedalus or the Prometheus but were thwarted by a ship stealing Vala.
There's something in the way that Sheppard is the only USAF in Atlantis till they re-connect that suggests it. Not that Lorne might be considered 'the best' or that the people who went weren't worth their salt, just as some people may have turned down the opportunity as they have connections to Earth or feared going into an absolute unknown. I don't think the ones that went were 'no good, lets get them to another galaxy quick' just they may have been those brilliant kind of people who have zero personal skills or may have blown up the wrong thing or put their foot in it at the wrong point in front of the wrong IOC official. Maybe they have a tendency to blow up Really Dangerous Things a lot. More of a 'we can't afford to send idiots but we can afford to loose them' kind of thing.

Maybe Lorne has an engineering degree or his masters, I though that because the even more geeky dude who has the results, was the one who got those results first and they were thinking about mining the place so they might have needed one of those. I think he was excited about the '2.3 parts per million' thing, but still had to told it wasn't really that good, because he's OK with hanging around with the geekier sections of the SGC. This doesn't seem to be the norm in SG1, not that I've watched much of the earlier seasons but there seems to be a bit of a divide between the 'science' and the military personnel. Although he comes of more soldierly in Runner and -Minor FINALE SPOILER- he is a pilot as he does fly an F-302 and had command of the Orion in season 2.

I think his gene is artificial, although I can't discount that it is natural. Something about the sheer number of people who now have the gene/gene therapy (especially on Lorne's team) just puts the odds too far up. Maybe he was just needed where he was although in season 7 the Unas were taking over the mining operation themselves and SPOILER ->in an AU episode of season 10, he leads SG1 instead of Mitchell. I'm guessing he was on an SG team during season 8 or even before, they would have wanted to send someone with Gate Team experience.
... just curious if this project is still going ahead: haven't seen any new posts in .. a month? .. though I know its exam time. How's everyone doing?