Ancient characters in Stargate

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In the Stargate fictional universe, the Ancients, also known as the Alterans and Lanteans, are the most advanced race known to have existed, having evolved millions of years prior to the present day and reaching their level of technology long before Human life evolved on Earth.

This is a list of the Ancient characters that have appeared in Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis.


Ona Grauer played Ayiana, the first living Ancient that modern-day humans encounter. She was left behind on the Ancient outpost in Antarctica between five and ten million years ago when her people took the city of Atlantis to the Pegasus Galaxy. She is seen in the opening of the Pilot episode of Stargate: Atlantis as the Ancients leave Earth for the Pegasus Galaxy. [1] Researchers unearth her in a block of ice millions of years later in "Frozen", naming her after the Cherokee word for "eternal bloom" (the character's true name is never revealed). Ayiana proves alive when they defrost her, and learns the English language within hours. SG-1 deduce that the Ancients are advanced humans who evolved (not necessarily on Earth) millions of years ago and spawned humans throughout the Milky Way as their second evolution. As Ayiana is a carrier of the disease that ravaged her people millions of years ago, Ayiana infects all of the researchers, SG-1 and Dr. Fraiser. Ayiana uses her abilities to heal them, but weakened from the process, dies back at the SGC.[2] It becomes known three years later that Ayiana's virus bears similarities to the biological weapon created by the Ori.[3]

Ganos Lal/Morgan le Fay[edit]

Sarah Strange played Ganos Lal, an ascended Ancient who gave rise to the Arthurian legend of Morgan le Fay. In the Stargate mythology, she was originally an inhabitant of the Ancient city of Atlantis, where a holographic learning program based on her image taught Lantean children about Ancient technology, history and science. When it became clear that the Ancients had been defeated by the Wraith, she fled back to Earth with the other surviving Ancients and secluded herself in meditation until her ascension. When fellow ascended Ancient Moros (Merlin, Myrddin) descended in order to construct a weapon to fight the Ori that could be used against the Ancients themselves, Morgan le Fay was assigned to watch him and, if necessary, prevent his completion of the weapon. Morgan eventually found the Sangraal and followed her orders to destroy the weapon. However, over the course of her assignment, she came to agree that Ori could some day become a threat to the Ancients themselves,[4] and so she hid Merlin in stasis, knowing that some day he might be needed to recreate the weapon. She then went about creating the legend of the Sangraal on the planet which would lead to Merlin, whose location was guarded with Ancient riddles and challenges for anyone who went looking for the original weapon.[5]

When SG-1 comes to Atlantis to search for Myrddin's weapon in "The Pegasus Project", Morgan le Fay decides to covertly help Daniel Jackson by posing as her own hologram. After a few minor slip-ups, Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran realized her identity and push her to reveal more information, but Morgan le Fay hesitates. The moment she attempts to give more information about Myrddin's weapon, her Ascended peers stop her in mid-sentence, "Merlin's weapon is not...".[4]

Morgan reappears to assist SG-1 in the Ori galaxy in The Ark of Truth. She heals Teal'c when he lies dying and appears before Daniel in the form of Merlin after he has been tortured by a Prior. After all he has seen and done, however, Daniel sees right through her disguise, which she drops. She says she has done everything to help them that she can (suggesting that even with the threat of Adria, the other Ancients are still reluctant to assist) and tells Daniel how to use the Ark to stop the Ori crusade once and for all. Morgan later gives Vala the sequence to activate the Ark, which successfully robs the Doci and all the Priors of their belief, reducing Adria's power to that of any other Ascended being. Now on even footing, Morgan engages Adria in battle, neutralizing her threat once and for all.[6]


Played by Matthew Walker, Moros, also known as Myrddin or Merlin, was the High Councilor of Atlantis during the days of the first siege of the city, and one of the most influential Ancients in the series. Although most of his backstory is revealed through story reconstruction, Myrddin appears several times before SG-1 finally meet him in person. Myrddin is introduced in the Atlantis episode "Before I Sleep", where an alternate Elizabeth Weir meets him as Moros when he was still living on Atlantis.[7] A visual record of him still remains in the Atlantis database.[4] Myrddin also appears as a Merlin hologram to SG-1, giving them information about his background and his motivations.[8][9] Moros is named after Moros from Greek legend, the personification of impending doom and destruction, while his name Merlin refers to the Arthurian legend. Matthew Walker was nominated for a Leo Award in 2007 for "Best Supporting Performance by a Male in a Dramatic Series" for this role.[10]

After the Wraith threat forced the Ancient inhabitants to return to Earth, Myrddin chose to seclude himself in meditation and learned to ascend.[4] When he became convinced that the ascended Ori had become a threat to the humans in the Milky Way and even the Ancients, he chose to become human again while retaining most of the knowledge and powers he had gained through his ascension. Myrddin entrusted his secrets to a small number of noblemen on Earth, among them King Arthur. During this time, Myrddin also carved a tablet with an Ancient cipher leading to Avalon, which set the events of seasons 9 and 10 of SG-1 in motion.[8] The weapon Myrddin sought to construct to defeat the Ori became known as the Sangraal, Blood Stone or Holy Grail. However, the Ancients did not support his research to design weapons that could eventually be used against them, and sent the ascended Ancient Morgan le Fay to watch him.[4] Myrddin therefore constructed a dimension-shifting device known as Arthur's Mantle to conceal his work from them.[11] In this device he hid the address of a planet where he supposedly hid the weapon, Camelot, and left more clues about the location of the Sangraal.[9]

On their search for the Sangraal, SG-1 finally find Myrddin in stasis in "The Quest" and awaken him. Myrddin attempts to build the Sangraal, but his body has deteriorated so much during the years of stasis that he transfers his consciousness into a modified Repository of Knowledge for Daniel Jackson to use to complete the task. Myrddin dies shortly after reconfiguring the device,[5] but his consciousness remains in Daniel Jackson, who is forced to partially Ascend to compensate. Merlin and Jackson then proceed to hatch a plot to complete the Sangraal. Shortly after Jackson deploys the Sangraal to the Ori home galaxy through a Supergate, a pre-programmed restoration that Merlin encoded into Jackson's DNA activated. This restored Jackson to a state before he looked into the repository, removing his Ascended knowledge and Prior powers, as well as destroying Merlin's consciousness.[12] Although glad to be back to normal, Jackson was saddened to realize that Merlin was gone for good.

Oma Desala[edit]

Played by Carla Boudreau in her first appearance and Mel Harris from her second appearance onward, Oma Desala ("Mother Nature") is an ascended being who goes against the ways of the Ancients. It is unclear if she is an Ancient herself, as the Ancients Orlin and Merlin give different accounts of knowing Oma.[13][14] Although Oma once made the great mistake of helping the fallen System Lord Anubis ascend,[15] she is still convinced of her responsibility to guide those beneath to the "Great Path" of enlightenment, even if this interferes in the lower planes of existence.[13] She and her followers walk a fine line between going against the wishes of the other Ancients and maintaining their rules enough to not bring down their wrath.[16] Oma therefore only guides individuals to the path, leaving the final decision to whether to travel the Great Path to them.[17]

When Oma was first met in a Buddhist-style temple, the caretaker of the temple referred to her as the Mother. The name Oma is reminiscent of two Tibetan words. The first, uma, is one of the core concepts of Buddhism that refers to the "Middle Way". The second word, ama, means "mother" in Tibetan.

SG-1 first encounter Oma Desala in a Buddhist-style temple on the planet Kheb in their search for Shifu, the young son of Apophis and Sha're. When a group of Jaffa attack the temple, Oma Desala protects SG-1 and the temple, initially pretending that the powers are Daniel's. Realizing the truth, Daniel decides to leave Shifu in Oma's care.[18] Over the course of the next year, she ages Shifu to a young boy and teaches him to suppress his evil Goa'uld genetic memory. Shifu is then sent to Earth for his final test (which is also a test for Daniel) and Daniel eventually ascends with her help, although she is not actually encountered during Shifu's visit.[19]

Over a year later, as Daniel Jackson lay dying from fatal radiation poisoning, Oma, having been deeply impressed with his progress thus far, appeared to him and offered him the chance to Ascend, which he eventually accepted.[17] At the end of season 6, Oma prevents Daniel from using his powers against Anubis, but helps Skaara and the entire Abydonian population to ascend after Anubis slaughtered them all.[16]

As Daniel broke the Ancients' rules, Oma is forced to de-ascend him and to take away his memories (his idea) and abandon him naked on a seemingly random planet (her idea).[20] However, it later appears that Oma did not completely strip away Jackson's memories, but in fact buried them deep in his subconscious.[21]

Oma Desala appears one final time to Daniel almost two years later in "Threads". Oma brings Daniel, who was killed another time, to an intermediate level between ascension and mortal existence and again attempts to convince him to ascend, which he resists, as he cannot abide by the rules of the Ancients who dominate the Ascended community. He is particularly infuriated when he learns that they allowed Anubis to keep some of his powers and allowed him to wreak havoc on the Milky Way just to teach Oma a lesson. Conversing with Daniel inspires Oma to sacrifice herself to enter into an eternal battle with Anubis to prevent him from doing further harm to the galaxy.[15]

According to Merlin, Oma focuses on the individual when she helps them out and while she has the best of intentions, so did the Ori when they started out.


Orlin, played by Sean Patrick Flanery, is an outcast Ancient. He was forced to remain on the dead planet Velona for breaking the rules of the Ancients by giving advanced technology to the planet's people, who immediately abused it. When SG-1 research the weapon in "Ascension", Orlin is immediately taken with Major Carter and leaves the planet with SG-1, concealed in an invisible form. He shows himself to Carter the next morning at her house, but no-one at the SGC believes Carter's story. Orlin later informs Carter of his backstory, and returns to his former human state in the hope of spending the rest of his life with her, giving up his powers as an ascended. When the NID eventually moves in on Carter's house weeks later, Orlin escapes through a Stargate that he has built in Carter's basement. Back at Velona, Orlin attempts to stop the Tau'ri research of the weapon and is shot by a member of SG-16. The Ancients believe him redeemed and re-ascend him, allowing him to prevent another catastrophe.[13]

Orlin returns in the form of a human child (played by Cameron Bright) in "The Fourth Horseman". He chose this form as it is able to retain a fraction of the knowledge of the Ancients. He tells the SGC of the feud between Ancients and Ori, false promises of ascension and Origin, and how the Ori gain power. He succeeds in developing a line of research into a cure for the Ori plague, but as his gambit with taking a child's form fails, he quickly loses his memory, suffers significant brain damage from holding on that long and is eventually interned in a mental institution on Earth.[22]

Minor characters[edit]

  • Amelius (played by Fabrice Grover) is an Ancient scientist in Stargate: The Ark of Truth. It is implied that he is the original inventor of the Stargate system, a schematic for a Stargate in his notebook and comments "I had the most amazing idea last night..." and the Ark of Truth. It is implied that Amelius (possibly with help from others) created the Ark in order to brainwash people into believing the truth, that is, that the Ori are not gods. He is stopped first by other Ancients.
  • The Aurora Captain (played by Bruce Dawson) is the captain of the Ancient warship Aurora during the last days of the war with the Wraith. As revealed in "Aurora", he and his crew lived in the ship's stasis pod for ten thousand years until a Wraith gained access to the virtual reality they were experiencing. The Captain activates the ship's self-destruct sequence and asks Sheppard and his team to keep the memory of the Aurora and its valiant crew alive.[23]
  • Chaya Sar (played by Leonor Varela), is an ascended Ancient living secluded on Proculus in the Pegasus Galaxy, where she poses as the human high priestess of Athar. Sheppard allows her to accompany them back to Atlantis in the hopes of using her planet as a sanctuary for refugees in "Sanctuary". Chaya learns about the spiritual beliefs of the peoples of Earth and eventually takes a liking to Major Sheppard. McKay's discovery of her true identity coincides with a Wraith attack on Proculus. Chaya Sar returns to her planet, using her powers to destroy the Wraith in orbit. She later tells Sheppard that after she first ascended, she used her powers to destroy attacking Wraith. The other Ancients punished her for intervening with the human plane of existence by ostracizing her and limiting her protection only to the inhabitants of Proculus.[24]
  • Helia (played by Megan Leitch) was the Captain of the Ancient warship Tria, during the last days of their war with the Wraith. Her name is based on Helia, daughter of the sun god Helios in Greek mythology. The Daedalus locates her ship thousands of years later in the episode "The Return", finding the crew still alive because of the relativistic effects of travelling at 99.9% the speed of light. After kicking the Atlantis expedition out of the city, she was killed in an attack by the Asurans.[25]
  • Hippaforalkus is an Ancient general after whom the Ancient warship Orion was originally named. Hippaforalkus's name is only mentioned in "Inferno".
  • Janus (played by Gildart Jackson) is an Ancient scientist who lived during the first siege of Atlantis by the Wraith 10,000 years ago. He is named to imply that he is the being after whom Janus, the two-faced Roman god that represented time and change was named. Against the orders of the Atlantean High Council, Janus created a time machine and integrated it into a Puddle Jumper. An alternate Elizabeth Weir, who accidentally travels back through time in "Before I Sleep", encounters Janus and asks for help, but the Atlantean Council is unwilling to risk damage to the timeline. Janus disobeys his superiors and helps Weir to remain behind in stasis so that she can aid her future self saving the city. Before he leaves with his fellow Ancients to Earth, he is hopeful to build another Puddle Jumper capable of time travel.[7] Such a Puddle Jumper is eventually found by SG-1 in the Milky Way galaxy in "It's Good to Be King""[26] and actually used in "Moebius."[27] Janus was also responsible for the creation of the Attero Device in his secret lab that was cleverly hidden in Atlantis. The device projects interference into subspace, rendering Wraith hyperspace unstable. Any Wraith ship entering hyperspace is ripped apart. He abandoned the project when he discovered a side effect: energy begins to build up in any gate open at the time of its use, and the buildup prevents any attempts at shutting the gate down. Once the buildup of energy reaches a critical level, the naquadah that makes up the gate explodes, causing massive devastation.[28]
  • Melia (played by Melia McClure) was a member of the Atlantean High Council during the first siege of Atlantis some ten millennia ago. She is first seen as a hologram in "Rising", describing the history of the Ancients in the Pegasus Galaxy.[1] In the episode "Before I Sleep", Melia explains the Wraith siege of Atlantis to an alternate version of Elizabeth Weir, who travelled back through time. While sympathetic to Weir and Janus, Melia agrees with the other members of the council to not send Dr. Weir back to her own time. Melia is last seen returning to Earth through the Stargate with her fellow Ancients.[7]
  • Trebal (played by Pascale Hutton) was the first officer of the Ancient warship Aurora during the last days of her people's war with the Wraith. As revealed in "Aurora", she and her crew lived in the ship's stasis pod for ten thousand years, where they experienced a virtual reality. She was eventually killed by an invading Wraith who assumed her identity to trick the ship's crew.[23]