Why Emilie Ullerup Was Let Go From Sanctuary [Cinema Static]

by on November 1, 2009

in Entertainment

Emilie Ullerup

Every time I write something about Emilie Ullerup, I keep thinking this will be the last thing I have to say about the issue of Emilie Ullerup (Ashley Magnus) leaving Sanctuary.  Or more specifically, why Emilie Ullerup was released from the cast of Sanctuary.

From what I’m seeing, this development has taken people by surprise and is frustrating them.  Many are saying with Ashley gone, they are gone.

Ashley Magnus Death (played by Emilie Ellerup)

The writers played us along for more than an episode  of Sanctuary while Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) kept coming up with ideas that might have led to finding Ashley alive.

Kate Freelander (played by Agam Darshi) The Replacement

NO ONE seems to like Kate Freelander.  Kate Freelander is incredibly flat, dead panned and boring.  Her character traits are ambiguous while the writers play her off as greedy with sporadic moments of nice.  They’re taking the easy way out.  (Notice I’ve criticized the character, not the actor.)

On top of Kate Freelander being dislikable, it’s such a blatant and insulting swap out of female support characters that I’m surprised at how the writers went about it.

The Studio Spin On Why Ashley Died

Inevitably, viewer and fan outrage throughout the internet has been heard by the studio / creator (Damian Kindler) of the show and they have put together their response to the outrage and frustration that viewers are expressing about Ashley dying.

Please Don’t Insult Our Intelligence

The very first sentence in my source article printed, from Kindler, is this:

To be very honest about it, it was a decision we arrived at with our two major networks in the U.S. and Canada creatively, and we really felt it would have the deepest, most dramatic impact on the series and the characters…

He said it was a strong choice and then he back pedaled in the same quoted sentence later by saying that

people don’t necessarily have to die in sci-fi…

Then Kindler acknowledges that Freelander is not very likable and that’s by design and that by season’s end of Sanctuary, we will like her.

In an upcoming episode titled “Penance,” (Guest starring Michael Shanks [Stargate-SG1]) Freelander will have a shining moment.

Sure, if you say so, but we’re still pissed about Ashley, so forgive us we don’t swarm all over this premise right away.

Aaaand The Back Pedaling Continues

Kindler addresses the premise that once they know about a 3rd season for Sanctuary, there will definitely by an Ashley story that will take place that they’re developing.

Folks…  first you just said IF there’s a third season, but then you say you are developing an angle on Ashley for the 3rd season.  That doesn’t seem to make sense.  Did I not read that right, or are you confusing your tenses and excuses?  I’m just wondering out loud there.

You’ve dropped Emilie Ullerup for whatever reason you say, but I’ve never seen an actor dropped from a show that’s doing well, just because it’s a great dramatic event.  There has to be much more behind the scenes of why she was set free.

So Emilie is playing politically correct and taking the high road and the studios have tossed out the show creator, Damian Kindler to be the face man and take the brunt of the fan frustration.

Syfy did that to Ronald D. Moore when they split up the seasons of Battlestar Galactica.  Instead of stepping up and telling us the truth of the matter that was decided more than a year previous, they shoved Moore out there and made him spin it.

I think the fans have been heard.

I think the efforts that have just started to develop may just have an impact on what does happen, while Ashley Magnus is “mostly dead” in this ether zone of science fiction’s void of death that is not.

I think this public statement was a knee jerk reaction statement and now they may have to figure out how to sort it all out… and now afford this extra cast member they’ve brought in.

My Honest Position:

Last year, I hated Ashley in the beginning.  She was flat and predictable.  But Ashley did grow on me and her last episodes were incredible.  I felt like she carried the show because I’m having a hard time being pulled along by any emotion that isn’t happening when Amanda Tapping tries to force that accent she tosses out there.  (That’s not a bad thing, but it’s just not working for me.)

UPDATE 11/20/09: Emilie Ullerup Gets a New Role!

UPDATE 2/24/10:  Check out the guest opinion on Emilie Ullerup Was Fired For All The Wrong Reasons!

UPDATE 5/21/10: Check out what new upcoming movies Emilie Ullerup is in.

source for this tirade:  Sci Fi Wire,

Sanctuary: The Complete First Season on Amazon

{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol_R December 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm

From what I’ve read about Emilie Ullerup, she seems like a nice person in real life and handled being fired from Sanctuary like a class act. However, I was really happy that they wrote her out of Sanctuary. To me she was a really bad actress and even her final scenes on the show were flat, 1-dimensional, and boring. The only thing that saved them were the other actors, who I all considered good. The set up for Ashley being killed off was good but her acting was totally wooden.

Personally I liked Agam Darshi a lot and also her character of Kate Freelander. To me she’s a very good actress. While it was jarring for them to have killed off Ashley but I considered it a big plus not having to see her bad acting on screen.

I can only speculate but my guess is that when Sanctuary was a web series, the actors probably got paid very little and the roles weren’t very sought after. That’s my guess of why they probably hired Emilie Ullerup. When they redid the web series for the first 2 episodes on SyFy, they were sort of stuck with her.

I don’t have a problem with the actual character of Ashly and thought it was nice that Helen had a daughter. My issue was that Emilie Ullerup was such a bad actress. I’ll never understand why she was ever hired to start with. Everyone else in the web series was well cast except her. Even the small role of Will’s ex-girlfriend on the web series was played by Kandyse McClure who is a very good actress.

It’s just too bad in my opinion that they didn’t recast the role of Ashly when it went to the SyFy channel with a better actress because even though she was awful in the role by the end of the first season the viewers had gotten used to her character.

There were other casting issues on the show in my opinion. Abby, Will’s later girlfriend and Henry’s later girlfriend were in my opinion duds – both the characters and the actresses. With Ashly it seemed like they were initially trying to pair her with Will but the actors had no romantic chemistry and he seemed more like a father. With Kate, it seemed that they might consider pairing her with Henry or Will. Agam Darshi had chemistry with everyone in my opinion.

I really liked the series and it’s too bad that they cancelled it.

Edward Alan September 26, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Having just watched season 1 and first 3 of season 2 through again; but in one day, I am now sure why Ashley was canned.

She was a brilliant character and was coming too close too being another leading female role in the show. Fans were just starting to get too interested in her back story.

The producers needed to bring one very vital detail they had not added from the start. A regular person of colour. Therefore the decision came down to who do we get rid off to add colour.

They need someone who is not going to be too minor.
It can’t be Henry; the techy, or the Big Guy; the regular abnormal, It can’t be Amanda Tapping; the producer, nor can it be Will; our introduction to the show. The 5 have been introduced and they are all white. Therefore they needed to get rid of the one cast member that fit the criteria and who most fans were getting interested in; before she got too popular to loose.
Bye Bye Emilie Ullerup. And just to stop Will’s new girlfriend from stepping into Ashley’s shoes;(as another white abnormal) they kill her off too. Then Ta Da ! they could now have a regular person (of colour) in a supporting role just like Ashley’s was supposed to be. Producers could then avoid their Ethnic problems; I’m sure some few people; who like to watch out for that sort of thing, did Phone, E- or snail Mail; the 2 networks concerned; to put their complains in about Ethnic Discrimination in the show. That would have led to a panicked need for the producers to find a solution.

Well it’s all academic now but I’m sure all the fans who liked Ashley and hated Kate can be happy that the producers finally got round to doing their bit for POSITIVE DISCRIMINATION. The only real reason to get rid of an increasingly popular cast member: I don’t think anyone accepted they really felt ‘it would have the deepest, most dramatic impact on the series and the characters’ line they kept spouting. Talk about trying to put a dull steel brick called Kate into a 2″ bore chrome plated pipe that the perfectly sized Ashley Peg fit.

The reason that the cabal was destroyed is simple. After killing Ashley by their actions there could only ever be war with the Cabal to the destruction of either side. Bang goes the series it’ s not about tracking, helping or destroying dangerous abnormals any more it’s about revenge.

The writers did a very poor job with the cabal. There should have been several path crossing episodes to introduce them as the underground bad guys; with cast and viewers learning about their work, reach and resources over a couple of seasons. Then a cliff hanger season 3 or 4 end with Sanctuary and Cabal facing off, such as the big revelation at season 1 end is just short-sighted. It should never have been a season 1 ending.

A new enemy should have started appearing after that. Either gathering the remnants of the Cabal into itself. Attacking Cabal sites like the sanctuary would be doing and the two crossing paths. Or a group who ally with the sanctuary to destroy the Cabal forever; only to then turn on the Sanctuary. Possibly to take control of it; to harness the abnormal talents maybe for military or financial gain. Or they may wish to destroy it as their next step to destroy all abnormals and anyone who wants to use them or their talents. In each of these circumstances the team can be bouncing between stopping Cabal abnormal research falling into “New Evil Bad-Guys” hands and doing their own sanctuary workload.

Therefore We know Why no one has given a straight answer to why Emilie Ullerup was canned. They could hardly come out and state:-

“We have been forced by the networks to get rid of a cast member in order to replace them with someone of Colour or they won’t sign off on any new series.

Obviously this is not an easy decision; but because Emilie Ullerup’s character is starting to become more popular then we wanted her to be. We Producers have decided to replace Ashley; the upright and dependable strong character having lots of interesting back story to explore; with the coloured girl Kate; a new Con artist girl; a fairly common seedy past; who has worked with the sanctuary’s enemy; who’s actions helped get Ashley captured; sent the team into a trap, And she regards abnormals and their body parts as retail objects.
We hope you won’t notice this being too busy asking “When is Ashley coming back”. We pray you won’t notice the small reference to Druitt and Tesla destroying the Cabal off screen. We don’t need you saying; ” In less than 2 weeks Tesla and Druitt killed all the Cabal leaders with no apparent additional information unveiled about the Cabal.
Ashley’s Power Clones Died without talking. No one else was there to be taken. So why did Druitt simply not wipe out Cabal leaders in the more than 6 weeks they had before Ashley’s attack on the computer facility. (If I had been Druitt with his violent streak I would have slowly lowered Dana Whitcomb into a lava stream; or something similarly horribly painful and physically irreversible, until she released Ashley or indicated her location before they had full control)”

Bruce Simmons February 21, 2012 at 6:09 am

John, you might be getting your wish! I don’t think Syfy renewed SANCTUARY… check out my theories about that near the bottom of a Chris Heyerdahl piece I did at my new site: [ http://www.cinemastatic.org/2012/02/chris-heyerdahl-on-hell-on-wheels-true.html ]

John February 21, 2012 at 12:34 am

So, here’s the deal. I love sci-fi shows. enough to make that all i do in my free time, but, in a word, the production of sci-fi shows makes me feel like theres some giant conspiracy to piss off the fans. I cannot understand why networks think that getting people angry will do anything to help their shows, and so many good shows are ruined by this phenomenon.

Television is the only retail-ish industry where the customer (i.e. the viewers) is always wrong. Instead of putting on good tv that people enjoy and relate to, networks seem to be involved in this horrendous plot to get people emotionally attached to something, then rip their hearts out of their chests and crush them. Why?!?!

Honestly, though, my goal isnt to offend or dis anyone who worked on this show or decided to nix Ashley. All i want to say is that there are extremely few shows that i will watch 16 episodes straight (seriously, one day), which makes the first 15 episodes of this show among the best ever. The problem is that i will not be watching any more of this show. Good luck to all, hope your show fairs well, and perhaps i will watch again when/if Ashley comes back or I get extremely desperate.

Georgie January 21, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I still can’t get used to Kate, I still hate her scenes, because it is still so awful, the way she acts, I feel like fits in more with the atmosphere of a reality tv show than something like Sanctuary, it’s too garish, loud, with no depth.

I stopped watching completely, I can’t enjoy S4 if she will show up and ruin it.

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