Like every Farscape cast member, Claudia Black spent the first three seasons of Sci Fi Channel's cult hit convinced it could be yanked off the air at any moment. "The fourth year was the first time I actually believed we'd be back," says the actress, who played steely Peacekeeper warrior Aeryn Sun. "We were shooting the last scene of the final episode, and I said to Ben Browder [aka Crichton], 'We'll be back. We always come back. It's the boomerang show!' And he said, 'No, I don't think so.'"
Unfortunately, Browder was right... until now, anyway. Against the odds, Farscape is returning to Sci Fi this October in a four-hour miniseries called Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. As happy as Black was to be back onboard Moya, the project came at an awkward time. "It was filmed just before Christmas," she says. "We had all scattered to the four winds and getting everybody back was really difficult. Everyone had so much going on that they had to put aside because we had to make the series in a specific window of time. If we couldn't do it then, it was clear that it would never happen. So, eventually, we all made the decision to just go for it."
The night before filming started was "like the night before the first day of school," Black remembers. She worried about being able to hit her marks, not to mention adjusting to the relentless pace of the shoot. She reveals that the first few days of filming were a little awkward, mainly because the cast spent a lot of time filming "bits and pieces" instead of more dramatic scenes, which were saved for later. But Black soon recovered her Farscape legs, particularly when playing opposite her on-screen lover, Browder. Smiling, she recalls: "Working with Ben, it was like there hadn't been a pause."
The other reason Black initially felt out of sorts was her changing relationship to her character. "Aeryn's in a really different place now. When I first read the script, I didn't know how to approach it," she admits. Fans will recall that the series ended with Aeryn revealing that she was pregnant with Crichton's child. In the miniseries, her condition is clearly showing.
"How do you deal with a woman who was bred to be a soldier, who was never supposed to have emotions for other people, and who is now pregnant?" she says. "This time, you see a more improved, upgraded Aeryn. She's a woman now, not a girl so much. But it was bizarre at first, because I was used to Aeryn the warrior. Here, I was Aeryn the woman first, and the warrior second."
In early 2005, viewers will have the chance to see Black as a different kind of alien — a villainous one — on the popular Sci Fi series, Stargate: SG-1. "She's a pretty manipulative character," Black says. "I've never played that type before." Although she's currently set to appear in only one episode, the actress hopes they'll bring her bad girl back in the future. "Doing both Farscape and Stargate has reminded me how much I love being on a set. I have to act! Every day, when the going was getting tough, I'd tell myself, 'Just do your job and you'll never have to waitress again.' Because, damn it, I'm terrible at that!"
Heads up, Farscape fans: Read Monday's Insider for our exclusive interview with Ben Browder!