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R.A. Goodyear is an author, screenwriter, ghostwriter, editor and book/film reviewer with over twelve years' experience, including positions in two independent publishing houses. Rebekah has published ...

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Rita Lewis Avalon, Parts 1 and 2: Season 9, Episodes 1 and 2
02 August 2017
: what a fantastic job reviewing these controversial episodes and explain to this Scaper why Ben pla...

Reviews and Journaling By R.A. Goodyear

Who Is Lt. Col. Cameron "Camshaft" Mitchell?


In 2005, Stargate Command was forever changed. The former leader of Blue Squadron and hero of the Battle of Antarctica against the forces of Anubis - the man who protected SG-1, sacrificing himself and breaking his back and legs in the process, who almost became a quadriplegic, yet made a miraculous recovery - Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell, was given command of the elite team SG-1



Lt. Col. CamGeneral Jack O'Neill had told Colonel Mitchell he could have any position he wanted, and after spending his days recovering in hospital and reading every last mission report, Colonel Mitchell knew he had to be part of SG-1, to "learn from the best." He did not expect to be assigned as the new leader, nor to discover that the team he expected to join - consisting of Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter, Dr. Daniel Jackson, and Teal'c - was now reassigned in various places. Yet through sheer force of will and determination, Colonel Mitchell (called "Cam" or by his callsign Shaft, by his friends) "got the band back together," and eventually allowed Vala Mal Doran to join the team as well. Heroically leading SG-1 through many travails - the war with the Ori, war with the Lucian Alliance, defeating the last real threat among the Goa'uld System Lords, Baa'l (and his many clones), destroying Anubis' genetically-engineered weapon of doom, and even fighting off an IOA-sponsored resurgence of the Replicators, Cam left an enduring legacy in the Stargate universe.

Named in honour of the Apollo 14 astronaut and founder of the Institute for Noetic Sciences, Edgar Mitchell, Cam Mitchell is the son of an Air Force test pilot. His father lost his legs in an accident and eventually became a farmer in Auburn, Kansas, (another nod to Edgar Mitchell, who completed his flight training in Kansas in 1954), where Cam went to high school. The places he lived in childhood are not documented, though being an Air Force brat it is likely his family moved around a lot before his father's accident, and the Stargate novels, which are considered canon, give Cam's place of birth as Tennessee, explaining his Southern accent.

As a child, Cam Mitchell dreamed of being a pilot and astronaut. He became a fighter pilot, serving in Afghanistan, among other places, before joining the Stargate program. His own great-grandfather was also the Captain of the Achilles, the ship which secretly transported the Stargate from Egypt to the United States in 1939, in an effort to ensure the Nazis would never find it. This fact alone surely meant that Cam was destined to one day join Stargate Command and lead missions off-world. Honourable, loyal, and passionate, Cam Mitchell was noted as having a "perfect record" by General Hank Landry in "Avalon Part 1," though he was sometimes rash and made mistakes as all leaders do. Yet, that same impulsive nature, as his best friend Bryce Ferguson would later point out (season 9, "Stronghold") is what led him to make split-second decisions such as beaming an entire naquadah-laced building into space, and saving countless lives.

What Ben Browder Brought to the Role:

Ben played Cam Mitchell with a stoicism, dignity, intelligence, depth, enthusiasm, sense of wonder and humour, making him the quintessential choice for this role. He stepped in to take over as the lead of Stargate SG-1 in its 9th season when Richard Dean Anderson chose to leave the series (except for occasional appearances).

Stepping into a popular series so late in the game and replacing a beloved character is no easy feat, yet from the moment Ben strode into the Gate room and touched the Stargate with deep reverence, he held the audience in his hands. Ben imbued Cameron with deep qualities expressed through silent reactions to events, even during scenes when he had little dialog. Through Ben's performance, personality traits such as integrity, loyalty, protectiveness, affection for his team, adventurousness (even rashness and risk-taking), passion, and refusal to give up no matter the odds were visible. These behaviors and subtle acting by Ben made it obvious that Cameron was heroic and had become invaluable to Stargate Command, even if the scripts didn't always spell these things out. Ben also offered powerful glimpses into Cam Mitchell's friendships with Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter, Teal'c, and Vala Mal Doran, and his rapport with Hank Landry. The interactions between Ben and the rest of the cast are often the highlights of the final two seasons of Stargate SG-1.

Ben has spoken about his perspective on Cameron Mitchell in the series' companion books:

"I liked who Mitchell was. I think that by the time we finished, Mitchell was well integrated into the show. Obviously there are a lot of things that you could address, but the show has run for ten years. Every character has a lot of baggage and Mitchell doesn't have as much baggage because he was only there for two years, and Stargate SG-1 is not a purely character-driven show. There are a lot of plot-driven episodes, and the series itself is driven by the device known as the Stargate, so in a certain sense, the characters service those plots and service those stories. If you had ten years you would learn more about Mitchell, but I think for two years we know enough. It's that thing where you can know someone for ten years and they'll do something and you'll say, 'Wow, I didn't know that about you,' and that's true of life as well - the idea of a character as a rigid construct isn't particularly interesting or effective storytelling, But Mitchell still has lots of secrets..." (Stargate SG-1 The Illustrated Companion Season 10, pp.112-114, Copyright (C) 2008, Titan Books)

In regards to the details about his character's history, Ben also said:

"Because television is a different beast from film, the character doesn't exist for two hours, [it] exists for twenty hours per season, potentially existing, in the case of Teal'c, for example, for nine seasons of the show so far. There may be a single moment in a single episode that's important. They get revealed in places of the story which you don't necessarily think are about Teal'c, or about Mitchell. That's one of the things about being an actor, you're carrying this story with you. Your moments of revelation may occur in places where no one really expected it. Then the audience will pick it for themselves in context. What's a really important Mitchell moment could be a single scene in an episode which is otherwise carried by someone else entirely." (Stargate SG-1 The Illustrated Companion Season 9, pp.118-119, Copyright (C) 2006, Titan Books) 

And that is the heart of this new weekly blog: an exploration of the subtle Cameron Mitchell moments throughout seasons 9 and 10 of Stargate SG-1, in addition to the films Ark of Truth and Continuum, and the indelible mark Ben left on on the franchise with his highly underrated performance. 

External Publication

  • Stargate Solutions
  •   Monday, 24 July 2017
Avalon, Parts 1 and 2: Season 9, Episodes 1 and 2
Doctor Who: A Town Called Mercy — Series 7, Episod...

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We are a fan site completely unaffiliated with Ben Browder or his management. We created the website to augment our fan page on Facebook, Ben Browder News, as a place where you can read the reviews, opinions, and news published for the past few years as well as gain access to the other wonderful websites concerning the career of Ben Browder. The editors of Ben Browder News wish to thank our fellow fans for their talent and creativity and we hope we are adding to the accumulated information supporting Ben's amazing acting, writing, directing and producing career.

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