Stargate

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For the film, see Stargate (film). For the device itself, see Stargate (device). For other uses, see Stargate (disambiguation).
Stargate
Sg1stargatefront.jpg
An activated Stargate, the central object of the Stargate universe, here depicted in the SG-1 television series. The shimmering puddle in the centre of the Stargate is the event horizon of a wormhole that the characters would step through to travel to a different planet.
Creator Roland Emmerich
Dean Devlin
Original work Stargate (film)
Print publications
Books Literature
Comics Comics
Films and television
Films Stargate
Stargate: The Ark of Truth
Stargate: Continuum
Television series Stargate SG-1
Stargate Atlantis
Stargate Universe
Animated series Stargate Infinity
Games
Video games Stargate: Resistance

Stargate is an adventure 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 hit, grossing nearly $200 million (USD) worldwide.[1][2] Three years later, Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner created a television series titled Stargate SG-1 as a sequel to 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 Australia. In 2009, the original pilot was re-cut and released as a direct-to-DVD film. 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. A third series, Stargate Universe, premiered on October 2, 2009 and was cancelled during its second season, leaving it with an unresolved cliffhanger.[3] Then on April 17, 2011, Stargate producer Brad Wright announced that any plans for the continuation of the franchise had been cancelled indefinitely, ending 17 seasons (354 episodes) of Stargate television production.[4]

On May 29, 2014, Warner Brothers and MGM announced plans for a reboot trilogy. Roland Emmerich, who directed and co-wrote the original film with Dean Devlin, will direct and Devlin will produce.[5]

Premise[edit]

Stargate productions center on the premise of a "Stargate", a circular device 6.7 metres (22 ft) in diameter that creates a wormhole, enabling instantaneous transportation to another stargate located many light years away from the starting point. 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 dominated 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 past—the concept influenced by the ideas 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 by the humans of Egypt, 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.

Franchise releases[edit]

Due to multiple developers working separately and independently on the franchise over the years, the various Stargate productions are not entirely consistent with each other; and while no set of works forms an official canon,[6] the largest following exists for the three live-action series.[7] Through the work of various authors and developers, at least six separate story cycles can be discerned, some of which are continuations of the other ones (either endorsed or unendorsed by their predecessor).

Media releases[edit]

Film Release date Box office revenue Director
United States Foreign Total
Stargate[1] October 28, 1994 $71,565,669 $125,000,000 $196,565,669 Roland Emmerich
Stargate: The Ark of Truth[8] March 11, 2008 $8,963,914[9] $20,354,000 $29,317,914 Robert C. Cooper
Stargate: Continuum[9] July 29, 2008 $8,055,900 $17,872,384 $25,728,284 Martin Wood
Series Creator(s) Original Run Episodes Seasons
Debut End
Stargate SG-1[10] Wright, Glassner July 27, 1997 March 13, 2007 214 10
Stargate Atlantis[11] Wright, Cooper July 16, 2004 January 9, 2009 100 5
Stargate Universe[12] Wright, Cooper October 2, 2009 May 9, 2011 40 2
Animated Series Creator(s) Original Run Episodes Seasons
Debut End
Stargate Infinity[13] Lewald, Maliani September 14, 2002 March 24, 2003 26 1

Game releases[edit]

Main article: Stargate games

Stargate franchise timeline[edit]

Stargate Universe Stargate Atlantis Stargate: Continuum Stargate: The Ark of Truth Stargate SG-1 Stargate (film) Stargate Infinity Stargate Infinity


Stargate SG-1: Unleashed Stargate Resistance Stargate TCG Stargate (1995 video game)


  • Stargate franchise production/story timelines


Theatrical films[edit]

Stargate[edit]

Main article: Stargate (film)

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 film begins with the unearthing of the Stargate in Giza in 1928. In a present day (i.e. 1994) military base in Creek Mountain, Colorado, discredited Egyptologist Daniel Jackson (James Spader) enables use of the Stargate when he recognizes that symbols on the cover stones of the Stargate are asterisms used in a three dimensional coordinate system. 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 operate the other Stargate with his knowledge of the coordinate system. The team discovers a slave civilization serving an alien who is posing as the Egyptian god Ra (Jaye Davidson). Ra and his minions have taken human form, dominating 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 a nuclear warhead on-board Ra's ship in orbit and detonate it. 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'uri.

Other releases and future development [edit]

After Bill McCay had written a series of five novels continuing the story the original creators had envisioned, and despite the success of the Stargate television series, Dean Devlin stated in 2006 that "he has struck a production deal with MGM and is developing the long-delayed sequel feature films that will pick up the story from the 1994 original"[15] According to Devlin, two movie sequels would have picked up the story from the 1994 original, but not the mythology of the SG-1 and Atlantis series, with the original stars Kurt Russell and James Spader. Devlin regretted giving MGM control over the franchise.[15] The first movie already tapped into Egyptian mythology; the second one would have moved into other mythologies; and the third would tie all the mythologies together.[16] Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis producer Brad Wright said in 2002 that "Devlin can wish to do a sequel to Stargate all he wants. MGM owns the rights, and I doubt very much that they'll ask him to do it. He knows better."[17]

Plans for producing two sequels of the original film were announced by the original film's creator Dean Devlin at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con. He has said he is currently in talks with MGM to produce four films and he would like two of them to be the final two films in his envisioned Stargate trilogy. In an interview with Sci Fi Wire, Devlin says that should the sequels be made, he hopes to enlist Kurt Russell and James Spader in the two sequels. Both Russell and Spader have expressed interest, Devlin revealed. "They've always said they wanted to do it. The irony is actually because it was 12 years ago that we made Stargate, [and] part two was actually supposed to take place about 12 years later. We were just going to kind of age them up as actors. So it actually works out really nicely." These sequels would bypass the 12 years of mythology created by SG-1 and Atlantis if they are produced.[15]

Dean Devlin has spoken out again on July 4, 2011 stating that he hasn't given up on the idea of sequels to his 1994 feature film. He talked about the idea again in a new interview with Collider. Devlin actually wrote it as a trilogy of movies, but was never able to do parts two and three. His hope is, now that the series is starting to wind down, that perhaps it will be time to actually get to do parts two and three.

Devlin has said "I think it'll change a little bit from our original idea since so many years have passed," he said. "We wanted to explore the idea of how the Stargates were built originally, and where else in the universe they exist, and why they exist — and where else they exist on Earth. We had really planned out, as a trilogy of films, to allow this mythology to grow bigger and bigger." "[18] It was announced that MGM and Warner Bros. are partnering with both Emmerich and Devlin for a reboot of Stargate as a trilogy with Emmerich directing and Devlin producing.[19]

Television[edit]

SG-1[edit]

Main article: Stargate SG-1
The original starring cast of Stargate SG-1.

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.[20][21]

The series debuted on Showtime on July 27, 1997, and moved to the Sci-Fi Channel after its fifth season.[22] It starred Richard Dean Anderson (as O'Neill) and Michael Shanks (as Jackson), alongside Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge and Don S. Davis respectively 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.[23]

MGM put an average of $1,400,000 into each episode of the show, and regards it as one of its most important franchises.[24] SG-1 was taken off air in 2007; however, two direct-to-DVD movies entitled The Ark of Truth & Continuum were made to tie up loose ends.

In June 2009, "Children of the Gods", Stargate SG-1's pilot episode, was re-cut into a Stargate SG-1 direct-to-DVD movie with brand new visual effects and scenes not previously included in the television version.[25]

Atlantis[edit]

Main article: Stargate Atlantis

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 Alterans. 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.[26] 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.

Universe[edit]

The main cast of Universe. The series has a much larger main cast than previous Stargate shows.
Main article: Stargate Universe

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.[27] The final episode aired May 9, 2011.

After the events of Stargate Atlantis, research into the Stargate's 9th and final chevron[28] leads to an expedition being stranded several billion light years from earth on board an Ancient ship called "Destiny" which has been traveling through the universe unmanned for millions of years. The show follows the crew as they struggle to survive on board Destiny with no apparent way home. The show was intended to have a darker tone than its predecessors and delve more into the humanity of the characters and their relationships with each other.

The Ark of Truth & Continuum[edit]

Stargate: The Ark of Truth is a direct-to-DVD movie written and directed by Robert C. Cooper. The film is the conclusion of Stargate SG-1's Ori arc, and picks up after the SG-1 series finale, but takes place before the fourth season of Stargate Atlantis. The Ark of Truth was released as a Region 1 DVD release on March 11, 2008. Sky One has broadcast the film on March 24, 2008, to be followed by the Region 2 DVD release on April 28, 2008, with the Region 4 DVD release on April 9, 2008.[29]

Stargate: Continuum is a direct-to-DVD movie written by Brad Wright and directed by Martin Wood. Some scenes for this movie were already shot at the end of March 2007, but the original start date was set for May 22 at Vancouver's Bridge Studios. The production budget was $7 million.[30] The movie was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on July 29, 2008. The Region 4 DVD was released on August 6, 2008 with the Region 2 DVD released on August 18, 2008;[31] followed by possible TV broadcasts.[32] The film is a time-travel adventure and is the second sequel to Stargate SG-1, after Stargate: The Ark of Truth.

Future feature film projects[edit]

In April 2009, MGM confirmed a third SG-1 new film that Brad Wright had first announced in May 2008.[33][34] Wright will co-write the film with former Stargate Atlantis executive producer Carl Binder.[35] Martin Wood will serve as director.[36] According to Wright, the film would center on the Jack O'Neill character and will reunite as many of the SG-1 cast as possible, depending on the cost of the film and actor availability.[33] Michael Shanks (Daniel Jackson) has confirmed his and Richard Dean Anderson's participation.[37] Amanda Tapping confirmed her appearance in the third SG-1 film and the first Atlantis movie.[38] According to Wright, the character of Vala Mal Doran will not appear in the film.[36] The working title for the film, Stargate: Revolution was revealed by Joseph Mallozzi in his blog.[39]

According to Sci-Fi and Joseph Mallozzi, a Stargate Atlantis two hour direct-to-DVD movie has been given the go ahead after the series was cancelled at the end of its fifth season. More movies are expected to follow in the Atlantis series if the first movie is successful.[40] The rumored working title for the film is Stargate Extinction. By May 2009 the script for the film was finished.[41]

On April 17, 2011, Stargate writer and executive producer Brad Wright announced that the SGU movie is not going to happen. He also confirmed that the proposed Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis movies have been permanently shelved, along with another movie idea he had been trying to get a greenlight on which would have involved cast members of all three series.[4] Still, Wright did not rule out future Stargate films, saying; "It's a franchise. Stargate is not over. Somebody smart from MGM is going to figure it out, and something will happen."[42]

In May 2014, MGM announced a re-imagined version of the original 1994 film to be produced as a trilogy with Warner Bros. Pictures. Emmerich will direct and Devlin will produce.[43]

Infinity[edit]

The Complete Series cover art
Main article: Stargate Infinity

Stargate Infinity is an American animated science fiction television series created by Eric Lewald and Michael Maliani as a spin off from its sister show, Stargate SG-1. The story arc in Infinity is set 30 years into the future and follows Gus Bonner and his team. Bonner's team was created after he was framed for a crime he did not commit. He escaped from Stargate Command (SGC) after the hostile alien race Tlak'kahn attacked the SGC to find the chrysalis. Together with his team he escapes through the Stargate with the chrysalis. From that point forward they go from planet to planet until they find the evidence to clear their names while learning about the unique cultures in the galaxy, so that they can one day return to Earth.[44] The story arc was never resolved because of low viewership ratings, the show was cancelled in 2003.[citation needed]

Stargate Infinity premiered in September 2002 as part of 4Kids Entertainment’s FOX BOX Saturday morning line-up on FOX and went off the air in June 2003. Due to its lack of popularity the show is almost completely unrecognized. The series was cancelled before any of its story arcs could be resolved. The show was of low budget, which was constantly noted by the media.[45][46] DIC Entertainment released a 4-episode DVD on October 7, 2003 in Region 1. MGM Home Entertainment released a five disc season box set on August 13, 2007 in region 2.[45] Shout! Factory, a company known for releasing cult animated series, acquired the rights to the show and released the entire series to DVD on May 13, 2008 in Region 1.[46] As of 2009, there is yet to come a release of Stargate Infinity package in Region 4, namely Oceania and Latin America.[47]

The writers and producers of Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe and the main canon of the Stargate franchise were not involved with Infinity, and neither MGM, the production teams nor the fans of Stargate consider Infinity to be an official part of the Stargate universe. According to Stargate SG-1 co-creator Brad Wright, the animated series should not be considered official Stargate canon. Commenting on it, he stated, "I don't have a problem with it. I'm just not involved."[48]

Reception[edit]

Stargate took in $16.7 million on its opening weekend,[49] and received mixed reactions from critics; while it was panned by the likes of Roger Ebert,[50] several positive reviews counterbalanced this leading to a score of 46% on Rotten Tomatoes.[51] Although the film was originally intended as the first of a trilogy of films,[15] Emmerich and Devlin ultimately moved on to produce Independence Day, and it was not until 2006 that Devlin showed renewed interest in developing sequels.[16] In the intervening time, copyright-holder MGM succeeded the film with the television series Stargate SG-1 without the input of Emmerich and Devlin.

Fans (called "Gaters") posing as SG teams at Dragon Con in 2008

Stargate SG-1 has won the Saturn Award for Best Syndicated Television Series on numerous occasions, and its cast has won similar awards for acting.[52] More recently it has received acclaim for its visual effects, which increased in quality and realism as the show gained a larger budget.[53] On August 21, 2006, the Sci Fi Channel announced that it would not be renewing Stargate SG-1 for an eleventh season after a series of poor performances in the Nielsen ratings.[54] Many fans were enraged at the news, even creating websites in reaction to exhibit their commitment to the series.[55] Spokesmen for the production have said all options for the continuation of SG-1 are being considered, including complete digital broadcasting.[56] Executive producer Robert C. Cooper told the fansite GateWorld exclusively that he was working to continue SG-1.[57] Currently, no network or company has ordered new episodes of SG-1, so the show is on hold until a new buyer can be found. However, SciFi has attempted to block other networks from taking up the show, citing its original exclusive contract with MGM.[58] Stargate Atlantis has won several awards for its actors, visual effects and directors, including a WorldFest Platinum Award for David Winning's direction of an early Season 1 episode.[59] Atlantis proved to be equally as successful as SG-1, with Nielsen ratings and viewership. The Stargate franchise in 2009 won a Constellation Award in the category of Outstanding Canadian Contribution to Science Fiction Film or Television in 2008.[60]

The average viewership to Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis was around 10 million a week worldwide. According to Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis co-creator Brad Wright, the show is very popular in Great Britain, Germany, France and Australia, but with a steadily declining viewership in homeland Canada. It was estimated that around 30 million Stargate DVDs were sold worldwide in 2006.[61]

The DVD release of Stargate: The Ark of Truth in the US earned MGM/Fox US $1.59 million in rentals in the first week after the release, and another US $1.38 million in rentals in the second week. In its third week it earned US $1.19 million in rentals totaling US $4.16 million . The DVD has also earned US $9.0 million in sales.[8] Stargate: Continuum would go on to gross over $8 million United States dollars in the United States.[9] The film sparked mostly positive reviews with movie critics.[62][63][64] A third Stargate SG-1 movie was planned to follow Continuum but the third movie was put on hold with any other future Stargate movies; the film would have centered around the character of Jack O'Neill.[65]

Literature[edit]

There are three series of novels based on the Stargate franchise, one based on the original Stargate film and two based in the Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis television shows. A series of books written by Bill McCay were published from 1995 to 1999 that were unofficial sequels to the film.[66] These were produced by consulting the original notes made by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, in an attempt to envision where the film "would have gone". Neither party has commented on whether McCay's interpretation was correct. Despite the fact that he attempted to remain close to the original vision, the subsequent television series Stargate SG-1 (which began under an entirely independent development) developed the story along different lines, making no attempt to reconcile the plot lines of the books. This marked the first major branching of the franchise.

Later, from 1999 to 2001, ROC published four novels based in Stargate SG-1 written by Ashley McConnell.[67] In 2004, UK-based Fandemonium Press started a new series of licensed tie-in novels based on Stargate SG-1. Due to the conflict with ROC's license, these books were available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK, but not in the US. Fandemonium books became available in the US in 2006. The official Stargate Magazine, produced by Titan Publishing, began publishing short stories written by Fandemonium authors in their 8th issue. The stories alternate between both SG-1 and Atlantis.[68]

A series of comic books, based on Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, began to be published by Avatar Press in 2003. Five have been published to date, with stories by James Anthony and artwork by Jorge Correa.[69] In February 2008 it was announced that Big Finish Productions would release officially-licensed audiobooks featuring members of the cast reading new stories. The first two stories, available on CD and digital download, are Gift of the Gods read by Michael Shanks and A Necessary Evil read by Torri Higginson.[70]

References[edit]

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