When you’re best known for pretty much one thing, you can rest assure fans of this one thing will not let it go. It can be a blessing or a curse if you are the actor trying to move on from it, but for Gigi Edgley, she not only embraces it, she wants more. The more she wants, as do fans, is as Chiana in the series Farscape.
GIGI EDGLEY HIT IT BIG EARLY
Perth, Australia-born Gigi Edgley didn’t have to wait long after her initial jump into movies and TV before she got her signature role. But Edgley’s introduction to acting came via jazz, ballet, and character dancing and while she had an affinity for dance, the acting bug caught her attention and she went on to Queensland University of Technology where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1998. She began her professional acting career soon after.
Edgley was seen in two Australian projects before Farscape, her first being on the 1998 mini-series The Day of the Roses, which told the story of the 1977 Granville bridge (near Sydney, Australia) train crash. The bridge collapsed, killing 83 and injuring 232 people. Edgley went from that to the Australian TV series Water Rats before Farscape came calling.
CHIANA ON FARSCAPE
Farscape was an Australian-American production that premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel and was produced by the Jim Henson Company. For those of you not familiar with the name or company, Jim Henson was the creator of Sesame Street and The Muppets. For the Farscape series, the Jim Henson Company was responsible for all the make-up and prosthetics, which included a three-and-a-half-hour daily sitting for Gigi Edgley to apply her blue Chiana make-up. The Jim Henson Company also created the animatronic puppets Rygel and Pilot, who were regulars of the show.
Gigi Edgley’s Chiana, or Pip as she was also known to her friend John Crichton, is a grey/blue-skinned species called Nebari. She is a thief and a con artist and has a “live on the edge” personality.
Edgley played Chiana perfectly and was immediately a fan favorite. It is easy to see why Gigi Edgley loves Farscape and Chiana as much as she does. It was an easy character to play, fit in with her real personality, and fans could relate. Her character got the nickname Pip from actor Ben Browder, which he first called Edgley herself. The name stuck and it made its way over to the series.
Farscape told the story of John Crichton (Browder), an astronaut testing an experimental spacecraft when it is sucked into a wormhole, propelling him to a distant part of the universe. He is then picked up by the crew of the Moya (which is a living ship), and their adventures begin.
Gigi Edgley’s first appearance as Chiana came during the middle of Farscape’s first season. Chiana escapes from Nebari custody and finds herself as a passenger on the Moya. Her presence was a major addition to the cast. Amazingly, Chiana was only going to appear in the one episode, but producers liked the way her character was developing, so they decided to keep her on for a few more. By the beginning of season two, her character was full-time. That was a big win for Edgley, one that would endear her to fans and create a long-lasting Farscape legacy.
For Gigi Edgley, things couldn’t have looked any brighter. She was now a regular on a TV series and the show was doing good. It was going to be a five-year run, allowing Edgley to truly dig into her part as Chiana.
She explained to SciFiBulletin how she never cared for sci-fi until Farscape rolled around, “I was never into sci-fi before Farscape, I was into the phantasmagorical – Neverending Story, Dark Crystal and Labyrinth kind of energy – but I was never a big sci-fi fan. For me, Farscape was a crazy family, lost in space, trying to do their best, but making a terrible mess of it. You could approach topics that you couldn’t do in real life because you were in space, and you could explore things deeper. To me, it seemed very raw and organic, quite a challenging show in many ways.” It obviously grew on Gigi Edgley and showed in her performance.
Unfortunately, the Sci-Fi channel abruptly canceled the show at the end of the fourth season. It caught not only the fans by surprise but Gigi Edgley as well. With many shows that get suddenly canceled, sometimes their stories are left hanging. This was the case for Farscape, as fans were left with a major cliffhanger at the end of season four and had no way of tying up the loose ends. But never say never.
THE PEACEKEEPER WARS
The number of fans wasn’t overwhelming, but they were passionate. Farscape had a very dedicated fan base and would not take no for an answer. They wanted more, they wanted answers, and immediately began pushing for them.
Thankfully, Brian Henson of the Jim Henson Company was just as passionate. He fought and finally got the Farscape rights. He turned this passion into Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, a mini-series that was written by series creator Rockne S. O’Bannon and David Kemper. Henson was on board as the series director.
This follow-up served as the series “season five” and brought all cast members back, including Gigi Edgley as Chiana. All storylines were cleared and while it was a satisfying ending to the series, it wasn’t enough for fans who still wanted more.
GIGI EDGLEY AFTER FARSCAPE
Farscape and then Peacekeeper Wars ended over 16 years ago for Gigi Edgley. Her resume since that time has not been full of big, international hits but she has been consistent.
Now 42-years-old much of Gigi Edgley’s post-Farscape career has revolved around Australian productions. She has been seen in The Secret Life of Us, Stingers, The Starter Wife, Rescue Special Ops, and Tricky Business. She was seen in Star Trek Continues a fan production brought back characters of the original series, played by unknowns. She was then seen in Feud: Bette and Joan, Uncharted Regions, Beast of the Water, and Diminuendo.
A FARSCAPE REVIVAL?
Talk of a return to Farscape has been going on for years. Henson himself has stated on numerous occasions, probably too many, just how much he’d love to see the show return. Within the past two years, talk has intensified, talk that even Gigi Edgley has heard.
In fact, at the recent Sci-Fi Ball, Gigi Edgley thought the announcement was imminent saying, “The whole time it was in the back of my head, but then it ended, nothing was said and I was ‘Nooooo!’ And that’s because I still love it. To be still working at comic cons 20 years later, people are so touched by both productions and there’s something so magical about the Henson Company.”
Even Henson himself thought the show should have been brought back and while his first thought was to just make it into a movie, he is now rethinking how much story he has left to tell. “The fan interest has been huge, but it’s a little harder to sell. BUT- I’ve been trying to make it as a movie for a long time and everybody is tired- ok I’m tired- of hearing me say that I really want to make a feature film of Farscape. I’m just coming off of making this movie [The Happytime Murders], and it really took all of my attention for 16 months. I’m reconsidering that, and it may be that the movie length is too short to tell the story. So that might mean, I may consider doing something on TV instead. Sort of exactly like what we’re doing in London right now with Dark Crystal.”
At present time, though, nothing has been officially announced. But you can be sure Gigi Edgley will come back if she’s asked.
GIGI EDGLEY AND THE FANCIES
For Gigi Edgley, her career lately in front of the camera has been less visible. It’s not because she isn’t looking for or getting work, it’s because she has another passion. Singing.
Edgley has been performing as the lead singer for her band The Fancies. She also sings with her brother Jake and they are presently on a Wanderland Tour. You can catch videos of Gigi Edgley singing both with The Fancies and her brother below.
It’s nice to see Gigi Edgley successful in her music career but let’s not beat around the bush here. Bring back Farscape!