Stargate is a military science fiction franchise, initially conceived by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. The first film in the franchise was simply titled Stargate. It was originally released on October 28, 1994 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Carolco, and became a worldwide hit grossing nearly $200 million (USD) worldwide. Three years later, Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner created a television series titled Stargate SG-1 as a sequel for the film.
In addition to film and television, the Stargate franchise has expanded into other media, including books, video games, and comic books. These supplements to the film and television series have resulted in significant development of the show's fictional universe and mythology. In 2008, the films Stargate: The Ark of Truth and Continuum were released direct-to-DVD, which in total grossed over $21 million in the United States. In 2002 the franchise's first animated series, Stargate Infinity, began airing, which holds no canonicity in the franchise despite its Stargate SG-1-inspired plot. In 2004, the TV series Stargate Atlantis was released as a spin off from Stargate SG-1 and a third series, Stargate Universe, premiered on October 2, 2009. However with low ratings throughout the majority of its run, Stargate Universe was cancelled during its second season, leaving it on a cliffhanger. Then on April 17th, Stargate producer Brad Wright announced that any plans for the continuation of Stargate have been cancelled and that he has officially packed his desk, ending 17 years of Stargate television production.
Stargate productions center on the premise of a "Stargate", a ring-shaped device that creates a wormhole enabling personal transportation to complementary devices located cosmic distances away. Under the control of the United States government, the Stargate discovered on Earth is kept a secret from the public. This allows for storylines to present no contradiction between depicted events and reality, an effect compounded by setting Stargate in the present day, and depicting Earth accurately, with any unrealistic technology originating solely from alien civilizations. These extraterrestrial civilizations are typically more pre-industrial than scientifically advanced, and are almost always human. Together, this allows for stories predominated by human interaction in Earth-like environments, an unusual feature for a science fiction franchise focused on exploration of other worlds.
In the story, this is explained as being the result of alien interference in Earth's distant past - the concept influenced by the theories of Erich von Däniken. Many ancient mythologies are shown to be the result of aliens who had visited Earth posing as gods by using their technology to give the impression of deific power. While some of these aliens had benign intentions, a race later known in Stargate SG-1 as the "Goa'uld" used Stargates to move slaves from Ancient Egypt to other habitable planets, simultaneously being responsible for the Egyptian religion and culture. Following a successful rebellion, the Goa'uld fled Earth, and the Stargate was buried and forgotten until modern times, when the United States acquired it following an archaeological dig. With the rediscovery of the function of the Stargate, the galaxy becomes a source of knowledge, as well as threats, and the attention of the Goa'uld is drawn once more to Earth.
In 1994, the military science fiction feature film Stargate was released; directed by Roland Emmerich and co-written by Dean Devlin. The film lays the foundation for all the Stargate productions that come after it, by explaining the notion, function, and history of the Stargate.
The theatrical version of the film begins with the unearthing of the Stargate in Giza in 1928. As of Present Day (i.e. 1994), the failing egyptologist Daniel Jackson (James Spader) helps to make the Stargate work again by deciphering the hieroglyphs on the cover stones of the Stargate, now housed at a military base in Creek Mountain, Colorado. A team led by Colonel Jack O'Neil (Kurt Russell) is ordered to step through the Stargate and identify potential military threats on the other side. Jackson accompanies them to aid in translations to allow them to return home later. At their arrival, the team discovers a slave civilization serving an alien who is posing as the Egyptian god Ra (Jaye Davidson). He and his minion-gods have taken human form, commanding the slaves with brute force. With the help of the locals, O'Neil's team is eventually able to instigate a slave rebellion, overwhelming Ra's forces. Ra escapes in his mothership, but O'Neil is able to teleport and detonate a nuclear warhead on-board Ra's ship in orbit. With Ra dead, the civilization can live in peace; O'Neil and his team return home through the Stargate, but Daniel Jackson stays on the planet with a young local woman named Sha're.
Cast and characters
- Kurt Russell (wiki) as Colonel Jack O'Neil, an Airman who suffers a period of suicidal depression after his son accidentally shot himself with his pistol. It was an important story for Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich that O'Neil had become suicidal and had left the military after his son's death. When he gets the mission from which he may never return, it is okay with him since it solves his problem with suicide, which in return makes him a dangerous person for the mission.
- James Spader (wiki) as Dr. Daniel Jackson, a professor who finds little acceptance of his theory that the Pyramids of Giza were much older than they were thought to be. James Spader was intrigued by the script because he found it "awful", but accepted the role that earned him money.
- Jaye Davidson (wiki) as Ra, a power-hungry alien being in the form of a young boy, who voyaged across the galaxy searching for a new host that could sustain his dying body.
- Erick Avari (wiki) as Kasuf, the local leader of the people living in a city near the Stargate, and the father of Sha'uri and Skaara.
- Alexis Cruz (wiki) as Skaara, the son of Kasuf and brother to Sha'uri. Skaara and his friends aid O'Neil and his airmen fight Ra.
- Mili Avital (wiki) as Sha'uri, the daughter of Kasuf. Kasuf offers Sha'uri to Daniel Jackson as a gift.
- John Diehl (wiki) as Lieutenant Colonel Charles Kawalsky, O'Neil's second-in-command on the mission through the Stargate.
- French Stewart (wiki) as Technical Sergeant Louis Ferretti, a member of O'Neil's team.
- Viveca Lindfors (wiki) as Dr. Catherine Langford, whose father gave her the amulet depicting the Eye of Ra during the excavation of the Stargate in Giza in 1928. Stargate was Viveca Lindfors' last film.
- Leon Rippy (wiki) as Major General W. O. West, the commanding officer of the facility housing the Stargate device.
- Richard Kind (wiki) as Dr. Gary Meyers, a doctor researching the Stargate.
- Rae Allen (wiki) as Dr. Barbara Shore, a doctor researching the Stargate.
- Derek Webster (wiki) as Senior Airman Brown, a member of O'Neil's team.
- Christopher John Fields as Staff Sergeant Freeman, a member of O'Neil's team.
- Jack Moore (wiki) as Senior Airman Reilly, a member of O'Neil's team.
- Steve Giannelli as Senior Airman Porro, a member of O'Neil's team.
- Djimon Honsou (wiki) as Horus Guard #1, a personal guard of Ra.
- Carlos Lauchu as Anubis Guard #1, a personal guard of Ra.
In 1997, Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright co-developed Stargate SG-1, a television series intended to continue the story laid down by the original film. Although new actors were cast, several roles from the film were reprised, including the main characters Daniel Jackson and Jack O'Neill (which was re-spelled to include an extra "L"). The Stargate Command setting was transferred from a fictional military facility located in Creek Mountain, to the Cheyenne Mountain military complex. Other variations and differences between the original film and SG-1 mostly concern the location of the planet Abydos, the alien Ra, the race of Ra's underlings (Jaffa), and Stargate travel.
The series debuted on Showtime on July 27, 1997, and moved to the Sci-Fi Channel after its fifth season. It starred Richard Dean Anderson (as O'Neill) and Michael Shanks (as Jackson), alongside Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge and Don S. Davis playing the new characters Samantha Carter, Teal'c and George Hammond. The cast remained fairly regular for most of SG-1's run, but experienced some changes. Michael Shanks left the show at the end of Season 5 and was replaced by Corin Nemec as Jonas Quinn. Shanks returned at the beginning of Season 7 and Nemec was written out. At the end of Season 7 Davis left the show and Anderson filled the gap he left in the story. Season 9 saw the departure of Anderson, but added new regulars Beau Bridges and Ben Browder. After a debut episode in Season 8, followed by appearances in eight episodes of Season 9, Claudia Black's popular reception earned her a position in the regular cast in Season 10.
Cast and characters
- Richard Dean Anderson (wiki) as Jonathan "Jack" O'Neill (seasons 1–8 main, seasons 9–10 recurring) – A United States Air Force Colonel and special operations veteran who led the original mission through the Stargate in Stargate (where he was played by Kurt Russell). He is coaxed out of retirement in the pilot episode and serves as the leader of the SG-1 team in the first seven seasons. He takes charge of Stargate Command (SGC) after his promotion to Brigadier General at the beginning of season 8. The series repeatedly alludes to romantic feelings between O'Neill and his second-in-command Carter, but the relationship is never shown as consummated outside of alternate reality scenarios. O'Neill is reassigned to Washington, D.C. before season 9 and receives a promotion to Major General. He appears in a recurring role in seasons 9 and 10 of Stargate SG-1, as well as in Stargate: Continuum and in seasons 1 and 3 of Stargate Atlantis. O'Neill appears as a Lieutenant General in multiple episodes of Stargate Universe.
- Michael Shanks (wiki) as Daniel Jackson (seasons 1–5 and 7–10 main, season 6 recurring) – A brilliant Egyptologist whose far-fetched theories about pyramids led to his participation in the original Stargate mission in the feature film (where he was played by James Spader). He joins the SG-1 team in the search of his kidnapped wife in the pilot episode, but his naïveté and curiosity regularly creates obstacles for the team. He gradually evolves from being an archaeologist and translator into the moral conscience for the team, and remains part of SG-1 until he ascends to a higher plane of existence at the end of season 5. Following his forceful de-ascension at the beginning of season 7, he rejoins SG-1 for the remainder of the series. The last three seasons show his flirty yet antagonistic relationship with Vala Mal Doran. Daniel also appears in both direct-to-DVD films, in seasons 1 and 5 of Stargate Atlantis, and in three Stargate Universe episodes.
- Amanda Tapping (wiki) as Samantha "Sam" Carter (seasons 1–10 main) – A brilliant young astrophysicist and United States Air Force Captain who joins SG-1 under the command of Col. O'Neill in the pilot episode. Following her promotion to Major in season 3, she is promoted to Lieutenant Colonel early in season 8 and assumes command of SG-1. The series repeatedly alludes to romantic feelings between Carter and O'Neill, but the relationship is never shown as consummated outside of alternate reality scenarios. Carter assists LtCol Cameron Mitchell in seasons 9 and 10. After her appearance in Stargate: The Ark of Truth, she is promoted to Colonel and becomes the new commander of the Atlantis expedition in season 4 of Stargate Atlantis before joining SG-1 again for Stargate: Continuum. Carter appears in all seasons of Stargate Atlantis and in the first episode of Stargate: Universe.
- Christopher Judge (wiki) as Teal'c (seasons 1–10 main) – A quiet and strong Jaffa alien who defects from his position as the First Prime of the Goa'uld Apophis. He joins SG-1 after the pilot episode in the hope to lead his race into freedom. Despite succeeding in this goal at the end of season 8, he remains a member of SG-1 until the end of the series. He also appears in both direct-to-DVD films and in season 4 of Stargate Atlantis.
- Don S. Davis (wiki) as George Hammond (seasons 1–7 main, seasons 8–10 recurring) – A United States Air Force Major General (later Lieutenant General) who commands Stargate Command in the first seven seasons. Besides recurring in seasons 8 through 10 of Stargate SG-1, he appears in season 1 of Stargate Atlantis. Davis died from a heart attack in June 2008, making his appearance in Stargate: Continuum his last.
- Corin Nemec (wiki) as Jonas Quinn (season 6 main, seasons 5 and 7 recurring) – A human alien and scientist from the country of Kelowna on the planet Langara. Daniel sacrifices his life (leading to his ascension) at the end of season 5 in an attempt to save Kelowna, but the following gleeful reaction of the Kelownan leaders causes Jonas to turn his back on Langara. Jonas is a fast learner and fills Daniel's empty spot on SG-1 in season 6. Following Daniel's return, Jonas returns to his planet and remains a recurring character in season 7.
- Ben Browder (wiki) as Cameron "Cam" Mitchell (seasons 9–10 main) – A United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who is assigned as the new commanding officer of SG-1 at the beginning of season 9. He struggles to reunite its former members under his command and commands SG-1 (with LtCol Carter's assistance) until the end of season 10. He is promoted to Colonel between his appearances in Stargate: The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum.
- Beau Bridges (wiki) as Henry "Hank" Landry (seasons 9–10 main) – A United States Air Force Major General and the commander of Stargate Command in seasons 9 and 10. He is the estranged father of the SGC's medical officer Carolyn Lam and appears in both direct-to-DVD films and in seasons 2 and 3 of Stargate Atlantis.
- Claudia Black (wiki) as Vala Mal Doran (season 10 main, seasons 8–9 recurring) – A con artist from an unnamed planet and a former human host to the Goa'uld Qetesh. Her first appearance in season 8's "Prometheus Unbound" is the beginning of her flirty yet antagonistic relationship with Daniel. In her recurring role in season 9, she and Daniel unintentionally set off the new Ori threat. She joins SG-1 after giving birth to the new leader of the Ori at the beginning of season 10, and appears in both direct-to-DVD films.
The Stargate Atlantis series follows the adventures of the "Atlantis expedition", a combination of military forces and civilian scientists that travel to the Pegasus galaxy in search of the Lost City of Atlantis, left behind by the most powerful race known to ever have lived, referred to as the Ancients, also known as Lanteans and Alterrans. The finding of the city had been a plot arc for most of SG-1's Season 7, and the Ancients themselves had been a long-running facet of the SG-1 setting. Arriving at the City, the expedition discover that the Pegasus galaxy is dominated by a terrible enemy known as the "Wraith", against whom they must defend themselves, despite being vastly outnumbered.
Stargate Atlantis was a spin-off television series from Stargate SG-1. A new feature film was originally intended to transition the two series after the sixth season of SG-1. Later, SG-1 was renewed for a seventh season, and the feature film was then planned to transition that season. Finally, when SG-1 was renewed for an eighth season, the intended film instead became the two-part season finale episode "Lost City", and the setting of Stargate Atlantis was moved to the Pegasus galaxy. This allowed the two shows to exist side-by-side within the same fictional universe, and later the two shows even become interconnected. Atlantis was developed by most of the same people and in the same studios as SG-1.
Atlantis debuted on the Sci-Fi Channel on July 16, 2004, starring Joe Flanigan and Torri Higginson in the lead roles, with Rainbow Sun Francks, David Hewlett, and Rachel Luttrell alongside. Hewlett and Higginson's characters had previously appeared in SG-1 (though Higginson inherited the role from actress Jessica Steen). In Atlantis' second season, Paul McGillion and Jason Momoa (replacing Francks) were added as regulars. At the end of the third season, Higginson and McGillion were removed as regulars, both serving recurring roles in the 4th season. Season 4 brought in Amanda Tapping, reprising her role as Samantha Carter from SG-1, and Jewel Staite in a recurring role. Tapping left the show for season five to concentrate on Sanctuary, and was replaced by Robert Picardo, who reprised his role as Richard Woolsey from both SG-1 and Atlantis. However, in late summer 2008 it was announced that SciFi would not renew Atlantis. The final episode aired on January 9, 2009.
Cast and characters
- Joe Flanigan (wiki) as John Sheppard (seasons 1–5 main): a United States Air Force Major recruited to the Atlantis Expedition due to his intuitive mastery over Ancient technology. He becomes the de facto commander of Atlantis' military contingent after the original mission commander Colonel Marshall Sumner is killed. His position is made official in season 2 after Atlantis re-establishes contact with Earth, and he is promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
- David Hewlett (wiki) as Rodney McKay (seasons 1–5 main): a brilliant scientist who is a member of Sheppard's team and the head of the Science and Research Departments on Atlantis. One of the foremost experts on Ancient technology, he was first introduced as a professional rival of Samantha Carter in the fifth season of Stargate SG-1.
- Rachel Luttrell (wiki) as Teyla Emmagan (seasons 1–5 main): the leader of the Athosians, a race of humans native to the Pegasus galaxy. She befriends Sheppard when he visits her homeworld and joins his team in order to fight the Wraith. She has the ability to sense the presence of the Wraith.
- Rainbow Sun Francks (wiki) as Aiden Ford (season 1 main, seasons 2, 5 recurring): a young First Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps, who is a member of Sheppard's team in season 1. In season 2, he becomes mentally unstable due to an overdose of Wraith feeding enzyme, and abandons Atlantis.
- Torri Higginson (wiki) as Elizabeth Weir (seasons 1–3 main, season 4 recurring): a diplomat and expert in international politics, who leads the initial Atlantis Expedition after briefly serving as the head of Stargate Command in Stargate SG-1. She is a main character in seasons 1-3; in the season 3 finale she is critically wounded by a Replicator attack. She is a recurring character in season 4, having been captured by the Replicators.
- Paul McGillion (wiki) as Carson Beckett (seasons 2–3 main, 1, 4–5 recurring): the Chief of Medicine of Atlantis in seasons 1-3. In the season 3 episode "Sunday", he is killed in an explosion caused by Ancient technology. A clone of him created by the rogue Wraith "Michael" appears as a recurring character in seasons 4 and 5.
- Jason Momoa (wiki) as Ronon Dex (seasons 2–5 main): a weapons specialist from the Pegasus planet Sateda. After his world fell to the Wraith, he was turned into a "runner" and hunted relentlessly for seven years. He joins Sheppard's team on Atlantis after Dr. Beckett removes his Wraith tracking device.
- Amanda Tapping (wiki) as Samantha "Sam" Carter (season 4 main, 1–3, 5 recurring): an astrophysicist and United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, who was a main character for the entire run of Stargate SG-1. In season 4, she is promoted to Colonel and given command of the Atlantis Expedition.
- Jewel Staite (wiki) as Jennifer Keller (seasons 5 main, seasons 3–4 recurring): the Chief of Medicine on Atlantis, who replaces Dr. Beckett in the third season finale. She is listed as a main character after Carson Beckett's death.
- Robert Picardo (wiki) as Richard Woolsey (season 5 main, seasons 3–4 recurring): a representative of the International Oversight Advisory, who first appeared as an agent of the NID in season 7 of Stargate SG-1. In season 5, he replaces Samantha Carter as commander of Atlantis.
Stargate Universe is the third live-action Stargate series, and premiered on October 2, 2009. The series was pitched to the Sci Fi Channel in the fall of 2007, just before the writer's strike—which put a hold on the project. "The pitch was received very well," according to Stargate Atlantis co-creator Brad Wright. Sci Fi Channel ordered Universe after announcing the cancellation of Stargate Atlantis. Syfy announced on December 16, 2010 that they would not pick the show up for a third season. However they might conclude the ongoing season.
The show is set on a ship that was part of an Ancient unresolved experiment that was set in motion millions of years ago, well before their conflict with the Wraith and before they moved Atlantis to the Pegasus Galaxy. The Ancients sent out multiple ships, many to place Stargates on planets throughout multiple galaxies in the universe, and a ship to follow up and explore. A standard, 7-symbol gate address allows for travel within the same galaxy. Use of the Stargate's eighth chevron allows for travel to a different galaxy. And the ninth chevron will allow the team to reach this second Ancient ship, the Destiny.
Cast and characters
- Robert Carlyle (wiki)] as Nicholas Rush – The "ship's brilliant Machiavellian scientist" whom producer Joseph Mallozzi had first mentioned in his blog in mid-November 2008 as Dr. David Rush. The ship's crew believe Rush to be losing his mind, but he does things for a reason. Carlyle explained in an interview that after the death of Rush's wife, Rush is driven by the opportunity to explore the galaxy. Mallozzi rectified casting reports in mid-December 2008 that Rush "is not the leader of the unplanned expedition. That honor falls to Colonel Everett Young. For now. But things could have a way of changing on board a ship manned by a disparate group with very different agendas...". Although a confirmed main character, Rush was not included in the initial casting character breakdowns. Wright and Cooper intended the character to be very different from any previous main characters in the Stargate franchise, "somebody who is not the hero, not the villain, and more of a very flawed and complex person". About a year before being cast, Scottish actor Robert Carlyle wanted to try something new in his career and approached television companies in Los Angeles. They offered him several parts, but Stargate Universe had the greatest appeal to him as "suddenly a drama [was] opening up in space, [and] in the past that was something that was slightly missing from the genre". He was aware of the success of the Stargate franchise and had seen "quite a bit of SG-1, plus a bunch of Atlantis". Carlyle accepted the role because of Wright and Cooper's take on the drama and direction of the show, and he is "more than prepared" to play the character for possibly many years. Carlyle keeps his Scottish accent for the role.
- Louis Ferreira (wiki) as Everett Young – Described in the initial character breakdown as a "handsome, capable, former SG team leader" in his 40s who holds the rank of Colonel. He is "like the Jack O'Neill of ten years ago" yet has sharper edges. At the beginning of Stargate Universe, he has been married for approximately five years and is the temporary commander of a secret off-world base. Young is Rush's nemesis on the ship.
- Brian J. Smith (wiki) as Matthew Scott – A 26 year old skilled and well-trained Airman and junior SGC member holding the rank of First Lieutenant. He is "mentally unprepared for the urgency of the situation" aboard the ship. He was named Jared Nash in the initial casting call. Before being cast, Brian J. Smith had been working as a stage actor in New York for a year and a half. Smith taped his Stargate Universe audition and was invited to a screen test in Los Angeles. He received the news of being cast a few days after the screen test. He prepared for the role by doing military research. He had not seen the Stargate TV series before being cast, but caught up with much of SG-1 afterwards.
- Elyse Levesque (wiki) as Chloe Armstrong – She is a "stunning and sexy" daughter of a US Senator, 23 years old, whose character is tested "after her father's tragic death and the dire circumstances of being trapped on a spaceship". Her father (played by Christopher McDonald) had political oversight over the Stargate project trying to dial the ninth chevron. Before the producers settled on the final name, the character was named Chloe Carpenter and Chloe Walker. Levesque's "wonderfully nuanced audition" convinced the producers to cast her, as she demonstrated an "impressive range in two very different [and] demanding scenes."
- David Blue (wiki) as Eli Wallace – Named Eli Hitchcock in the casting call, Eli Wallace is a "total slacker" in his early twenties and an "utter genius" in mathematics, computers and other fields. He is a social outcast with an "acerbic sense of humor", and lacks confidence in his intelligence. The character breakdown compares him to "Matt Damon's character from Good Will Hunting with a little Jack Black thrown in". He will be the main source of comic relief in the show. David Blue, a self-declared fan of the science fiction series, has seen all SG-1 and Atlantis episodes.
- Alaina Huffman (wiki) as Tamara Johansen – Named Tamara Jon in the character breakdown, she is an SGC medic in her mid-twenties with off-world experience and the rank of First Lieutenant. Friends call her "T.J." She finds herself the most medically experienced person aboard the ship after the death of the Icarus Base doctor in the pilot episode "Air" (according to co-creator Robert C. Cooper). She has a modest background, yet is "beautiful, tough, smart and capable", but also has a secretive past with another member of the Destiny's new crew. At the beginning of the series, she is overwhelmed by the lack of medical knowledge, experience, medicine, and supplies aboard the ship. Mallozzi considered Huffman's audition in December 2008 "so good that, quite frankly, we would've been crazy not to cast her".
- Jamil Walker Smith (wiki) as Ronald Greer – In early casting documents named Ron "Psycho" Stasiak, Ronald Greer is a "big, strong, silent" Marine with a mysterious past who lacks control over his temper in non-combat situations. The character breakdown compares him to Eric Bana's character "Hoot" in Black Hawk Down. His rank is Master Sergeant.
- Ming-Na (wiki) as Camile Wray – Camile Wray is the first openly gay character in the Stargate franchise. She is the IOA representative on Destiny and supports civilian leadership on the ship. Ming-Na was credited as a regular character in the first two episodes. She was downgraded to a recurring character from then on until the episode "Justice", in which she returned and continued as a regular character.