A basic Replicator "bug".
|First appearance||"Nemesis" (2000)|
In the military science fiction series Stargate SG-1, the Replicators are antagonistic self-replicating machines that propagate by ingesting the metals that make up civilizations and use them to create either blocks that form the bug-like version or smaller cells that compose the human-form "Replicators". They were first mentioned indirectly in the season 3 episode "Fair Game", and first seen onscreen in "Nemesis". In the show, the Replicators are primarily the enemies of the Asgard race, however, they act like a plague against all life thus, in the series, Earth must also contend with them on several occasions. The Asurans in the spin-off series Stargate Atlantis might be related to those in Stargate SG-1 as they are essentially human-form "Replicators".
The Replicators first appear in the season 3 finale "Nemesis", following hints by Thor in "Fair Game" about an enemy worse than the Goa'uld in their home galaxy of Ida. SG-1 faces off against the Replicators who have infested Thor's mothership, the Beliskner, to prevent them from invading Earth. They destroy the deceleration drive on the Beliskner, causing it to burn up in Earth's atmosphere. In the following episode "Small Victories", a single surviving Replicator from the Beliskner infests a Russian submarine before being neutralized. At the same time, Samantha Carter helps Thor avert an imminent Replicator invasion of the Asgard homeworld, Halla. In the season 5 premiere "Enemies", SG-1 encounters the Replicators after being thrown to another galaxy by a supernova. The Replicators take over their Goa'uld mothership and head for the Milky Way; to prevent them from reaching their destination, SG-1 sabotages the mothership's engines so that it crashes into the planet Delmak upon exiting hyperspace.
The episode "Menace" reveals that the Replicators were created by the android Reese (played by Danielle Nicolet) as "toys" that she programmed to protect her when the others on her world attempted to shut her down. Stargate Atlantis later retroactively established that Reese was created by an Ancient scientist who was attempting to recreate their earlier nanite creations, known as the Asurans. As Reese's Replicators multiplied, they escaped her control and destroyed her civilization before moving on. After being brought back to the SGC, Reese creates more Replicators out of available materials, which overrun the base and are only stopped after Colonel Jack O'Neill shoots her. It is possible that shooting her was unnecessary though, as mentioned by Dr. Daniel Jackson after Reese's death in "Menace". Reese is handed over to the Asgard, who find within her a base command that allows them to summon all the Replicators. They intend to use the command to trap all the Replicators on Halla inside a time dilation field that would give them years to devise a more permanent solution. In "Unnatural Selection", Thor calls upon SG-1 to investigate when the time dilation device fails to activate. They find that the device has been reversed to accelerate the passage of time inside and that the surface of Halla has been completely converted into Replicator blocks. They also encounter the human-form Replicators (see below), the new faces of the Replicator threat. SG-1 is able to reactivate the time dilation field by appealing to the humanity of one of the human-forms, Fifth.
In the season 8 premiere "New Order", the Asgard have collapsed Halla's sun into a black hole trying to destroy the Replicators. However, the Replicators escape, led by a now-vengeful Fifth. Their invasion of the new Asgard homeworld Orilla is turned away after O'Neill (who previously had downloaded the knowledge of the Ancients into his mind again) uses the knowledge of the Ancients to create the Replicator disruptor. Fifth also creates a copy of Samantha Carter to serve as his consort and spy. Replicator Carter betrays Fifth, killing him, and takes over control of the Replicators in "Gemini", and oversees the full-scale invasion of the Milky Way in "Reckoning". She and her brethren are finally defeated using the Dakara superweapon. The Replicators return in Stargate: The Ark of Truth, where one is created by the Asgard computer core on the Earth ship Odyssey by IOA agent James Marrick. The IOA plans to use the Replicators as a weapon against the Ori; however the Replicator escapes and soon replicates, overrunning the ship. Facing off against the Replicator-controlled Marrick, Mitchell manages to find the kill-switch the IOA built into the Replicators, allowing Carter to deactivate them.
In the show, Standard Replicators are composed of modular blocks, comparable to individual computers, that come together to perform tasks. According to Thor, the blocks generate a "reactive modulating monopolar energy field" that allows them to self-assemble into various configurations. Each Replicator block contains two million "isolated keron pathways". All Replicators are interconnected via a subspace network. Replicator blocks can assemble into any form needed; the most commonly encountered shape is a small "bug" with four limbs and "wings" on its back. The bug can upgrade itself into a larger "queen" to facilitate replication. Large numbers of Replicators can form into starships, which are first seen in "New Order". In "Enemies", many Replicator bugs assemble into a larger structure to enhance the hyperdrive of a Goa'uld mothership. In Stargate: The Ark of Truth, the Replicators form a skeletal structure that implants into Marrick's body, to gain access to his mind. The Replicator structure continues to function even after Marrick's body is destroyed.
The main Replicator directives in the show are to multiply and to assimilate new technologies. Replicators utilize whatever materials are available; in "Small Victories", the Replicators created from a Russian submarine are made of steel and susceptible to rusting. Multiple blocks are required for replication, and the process requires a large amount of energy. Replicators are attracted to the most advanced technologies available, thus they ignore the relatively crude technology of the Earth ship Prometheus in "Unnatural Selection". Replicators adapt very quickly to new technologies and they are capable of enhancing technology they encounter beyond its original specifications. Replicators are impervious to all known handheld energy weapons, including zat'nik'tels and staff weapons. They can be shattered by projectile firearms, though given time and relative proximity to each other, the blocks will re-assemble. Replicator bugs produce a corrosive liquid ("Replicator spray") capable of dissolving through any known material but concrete and glass, including the nigh-invulnerable armor of Kull Warriors. In close quarters, they can produce an electrical discharge to kill their opponents. Replicator bugs are strong for their size; a single one held open the hydraulic blast doors of the SGC's gate room in "Reckoning".
In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Unnatural Selection", SG-1 encounters the human-form Replicators on the former Asgard world of Halla, who capture them and probe their minds to learn about Earth and the SGC. The human-form Replicators are claytronic in nature, derived from the technology of the android Reese's self-repair nanites. They are physically indistinguishable from humans and possess immense strength and resilience, lacking the traditional Replicators' vulnerability to firearms. They are capable of interfacing with the mind of a human by extending their hand into the victim's forehead. Human-form Replicators can restructure parts of themselves to form implements such as stabbing weapons, or disconnect portions from the whole. Neutronium is a crucial element in the construction of human-form Replicators. The original human-form Replicators depicted in "Unnatural Selection" are, in order of their creation:
- First, their leader, played by Ian Buchanan.
- Second, played by Kristina Copeland.
- Third, played by Tahmoh Penikett.
- Fourth, played by Rebecca Robbins.
- Fifth, played by Patrick Currie.
- Sixth, played by Shannon Powell.
At the end of "Unnatural Selection", all the human-form Replicators are trapped on Halla after SG-1 activates the time-dilation device. The only one of the original six Replicators who appears in subsequent episodes is Fifth, who escapes Halla in "New Order".
Another human-form Replicator also appears in "New Order", Eighth. He was played by James Bamford, the stunt-coordinator of Stargate Atlantis, which was shooting its pilot during "New Order"; the producers wanted to make Bamford feel as part of the family. Eighth is recovered, damaged and inactive, by Thor, as a means to tap into the Replicator network and determine the location of Fifth. Eighth activates and breaks free aboard Thor's ship, and is disintegrated by Jack O'Neill using the newly constructed Replicator Disruptor.
Played by Patrick Currie, Fifth is a human-form Replicator introduced in "Unnatural Selection". He is the fifth human-form to be created on the planet Halla, and unlike the others he lacks the programming flaws of the android Reese, on which the human-forms are based. This makes him more "human" than the other Replicators, who consider him "weak" as a result. After SG-1 is captured by the Replicators, Fifth becomes fascinated by them, especially Samantha Carter, and attempts to help them. Carter promises to take Fifth with them if he can give them access to the Asgard time dilation device that could trap the other Replicators. Fifth agrees, but Jack O'Neill believes he represents too great a danger and orders Carter to set the device's timer so that Fifth is left behind. Fifth is confronted by the other Replicators, and discovers SG-1's deception moments before the device activates.
Fifth returns in the season 8 episode "New Order", in which the Asgard have collapsed Halla's sun to destroy the Replicators once and for all. He is able to modify the time dilation device to escape, and heads for the new Asgard homeworld of Orilla. En route, he captures Samantha Carter and tortures her in revenge for exploiting his trust. He eventually relents when she appeals to his humanity again, and instead places her into an illusory world where he takes the place of Pete Shanahan, her boyfriend, and professes his love for her. The Replicators invade Orilla and Fifth confronts the rest of SG-1, who are armed with a Replicator Disruptor. Carter tells him that she would rather be dead than be trapped in her current state, and that if he truly loved her he would let her go. Thus, Fifth leaves her behind as he retreats from Orilla. However, at the end of the episode, he creates a Replicator duplicate of Carter to serve as his consort.
Fifth appears for the last time in "Gemini", conspiring with Replicator Carter to obtain data from the SGC that would immunize them from the Replicator Disruptor. Replicator Carter however never returned his feelings, believing him unfit to command the Replicators. She ultimately betrays him, taking the data for herself while manipulating him into being destroyed by the Disruptor.
Amanda Tapping played Replicator Carter (commonly referred to as RepliCarter by the producers, actors, fans and characters), was a human-form Replicator created in the image of the original Samantha "Sam" Carter. Thanks to information that Fifth had collected while holding the real Sam Carter in prison on board his ship, he was able to create an exact copy of her which he intended to make sure resembled the original Samantha "Sam" Carter with every aspect of her personality including the original Carter's character and memory intact.
She first appeared at the end of "New Order" as a newly created being.
But unlike the original who hated him and had even ended up betraying him, Fifth had simply designed Replicator Carter with the intention of her solely being devoted to him and perhaps even sharing his feelings, something the original Carter would never ever agree to do.
After triumphing in Replicator Carter's creation, Fifth, realizing that she still harbored all the emotions and feelings of the original Carter began training her in the hope that he could force her to become a completely separate entity while also serving as a loyal warrior who would also obey him without question.
To help make his goal a possible reality, Fifth then had Replicator Carter undergo a brutal training regime which usually involved her being subjected to various situations which saw her killing many of the original Carter's friends and colleagues, a process that was repeated over and over again.
Unfortunately, while Fifth's plans did come to fruition, they worked in the opposite way of what he had originally planned for as the strain of what she was doing eventually and permanently robbed Replicator Carter of any mercy, guilt or regret she might have felt which resulted in her becoming an unforgiving, psychotic, brutal and overall relentless killing machine with nothing but achieving power for herself while also conquering and gaining complete control over the galaxy on her mind.
She also grew to hate Fifth for his actions, seeing him as nothing more than a weakling which also resulted in her becoming a major adversary in the eighth season of the series, threatening the entire Milky Way galaxy and its people.
Fifth intended her to be a duplicate of the real Samantha Carter, but one who would return his affections. Replicator Carter seemingly defected from Fifth to the SGC in "Gemini". She claimed that she'd abandoned Fifth because she possessed the real Carter's memories and character.
However, she had actually been deceiving both the SGC and Fifth all along: from the former she developed a means to immunize herself from the Replicator Disruptor, and the latter she abandoned to be destroyed, having only pretended to love him.
And with Fifth dead, Replicator Carter took over the vacant position, gaining full leadership of the entire Replicator race.
Replicator Carter told her human counterpart that all humans desire power, and that the only difference between them was that she wasn't limited by her own fears.
In contrast to the original Carter, Replicator Carter was something of a ruthless being who lived only to kill those who stood in her way and to also cause endless destruction. And unlike the original Carter who was bound by duty, loyalty and principle, Replicator Carter had no such restrictions set in her programming and as such regularly let her ambitions run free.
In "Reckoning", Replicator Carter launched a full-scale invasion of the Milky Way and personally eliminated the last of the Goa'uld System Lords including Yu. She abducted Daniel Jackson and probed his mind to find the location of the Dakara superweapon, the only thing in the galaxy capable of stopping her and her brethren. She sent her massive Replicator-controlled Ha'tak fleet to Dakara to destroy the device, where they engaged the forces of Ba'al and the Jaffa Rebellion.
She also sent Replicators to attack Earth, where they overran much of Stargate Command. However, at a critical moment, Daniel Jackson was able to exploit his connection to the Replicator network and freeze all the Replicators.
Though Replicator Carter eventually broke their connection and stabbed Daniel through the heart, killing him, a fate that had previously befallen Lord Yu, Daniel's own actions bought enough time for the real Carter and Jacob/Selmak to finish calibrating the Dakara weapon and activate it.
The resulting energy wave broke Replicator Carter and all her brethren into their constituent parts, finally ending the threat of Replicator Carter and her race once and for all although her actions had life-changing consequences for the entire Milky Way galaxy and its people.
Because she had decided to move against the Goa'uld and kill them off in an attempt to gain territory for herself, the power struggle that ensued eventually demolished the majority of the Goa'uld's forces, weakening them.
And with the Replicators having been destroyed, many unoccupied vessels previously occupied by Goa'uld forces but now abandoned soon fell into the domains of groups such as the Free Jaffa Nation and also the Lucian Alliance.
- "Unnatural Selection" (Stargate SG-1)
- "Small Victories" (Stargate SG-1)
- "New Order" (Stargate SG-1)
- Stargate: The Ark of Truth
- "Enemies" (Stargate SG-1)
- "Nemesis" (Stargate SG-1)
- "Reckoning" (Stargate SG-1)
- "Gemini" (Stargate SG-1)
- Andy Mikita in the audio commentary for "New Order"
- Eighth's name is not mentioned in the episode, but appears in the ending credits
- Martin Wood and Amanda Tapping in the audio commentary for "Lifeline"
- "Replicators" at GateWorld Omnipedia.
- "Replicators" at StargateWiki (SG-1 Solutions).
- "Replicators" at Stargate Wikia.