An active Stargate, the main device used in the franchise.
|Films and television|
Stargate: The Ark of Truth
|Television series||Stargate SG-1|
|Animated series||Stargate Infinity|
|Role-playing||Stargate SG-1 Roleplaying Game|
|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, Carolco and Studio Canal, and became a 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. Stargate Universe was cancelled during its second season, leaving it on a cliffhanger. 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 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.
Several million years ago, an ancient race of advanced humanoid beings, now known as the Ancients, created a device capable of near-instantaneous transportation across the universe by means of a subspace wormhole. This device, which has been used by countless races since its creation, has more commonly become known as a "Stargate"— a name, discovered by Dr. Daniel Jackson, from hieroglyphics written by humans on Earth thousands of years ago. While various cultures have created their own name for the device, Stargate is among the most common used.
A Stargate itself is a device made out of a volatile mineral known as naquadah. It is between two Stargates that travel is possible. A stable wormhole in a Stargate is achieved by dialing the correct address in a mechanism named a DHD. In a DHD, an address of six symbols (representing constellations as seen from Earth for the Milky Way galaxy-style of gate) is imputed, plus a point of origin (a symbol unique to a particular Stargate that represents the location a person is dialing from), bringing the total up to seven symbols for an in-galaxy address. Eight symbols are required to establish a lock with a Stargate in another galaxy (such as the Pegasus galaxy). Nine symbols are required to dial Stargates that reside far across the universe - one notable destination is the gate aboard the Ancient spaceship Destiny, which was designed with the purpose of exploring the universe and Stargate networks established by the Seed ships that were launched prior. The Stargate contains nine chevrons spaced equally around its circumference. With each symbol that is locked, so is a chevron, making nine symbols the maximum number of symbols (or glyphs) that can be input. The design of the Stargates themselves tend to vary between galaxies. Three distinct designs are known; Stargates in the Milky Way galaxy, Pegasus galaxy, and that which resides on Destiny and are constructed by Seed ships. The varying designs of Stargates are largely the result of technological advancement; Destiny-style gates (the most primitive in design and function) were constructed first, followed by Milky-Way model gates, and lastly Pegasus-style gates.
Stargates play an extremely important role in each of the Stargate series. It is through these gates that races, mostly consisting of humanoid-like beings (particularly humans themselves), trade and explore. However, several races (such as the Goa'uld) often use the Stargate networks in far different, and deadlier, ways. Such races play an important role in the Stargate series, and are the driving force for the shows themselves.
The Tau'ri are the main protagonists in the Stargate series. "Tau'ri" is the term used by the inhabitants of the Milky Way to refer to Earth and human beings from Earth. The word means "first ones" or "those from the first world" in the Goa'uld language in the sense that human life in the Milky Way began on Earth. While it originally applied to all human beings in the galaxy, the term has come to apply specifically to the humans who currently live on Earth as the Stargate Program proceeded to explore the galaxy. In the Stargate universe, the Tau'ri are the predominant protagonists in the fight against galactic oppressors, fighting a multi-front war against several other major races. During the first six years of the series, the Tau'ri were largely limited to what they could achieve in the way of repelling enemy forces due to the "primitiveness" of the technology in their possession, as compared to that of the hostile races they faced - notably the Goa'uld. It wasn't until season six and beyond that the Tau'ri were truly beginning to emerge as a powerful force in the galaxy (SG1: "Children of the Gods", "Thor's Hammer", "Red Sky", "Unending").
Around Stargate SG-1's sixth season, as a result of six years of exploration and discovery, the Tau'ri became powerful and knowledgeable enough to construct their first battlecruiser, the Prometheus, which was the sole member of the BC-303-class. Despite being rather primitive in comparison to the spaceships of most other races, this ship represented a massive step in the Tau'ri's development. Prometheus served as the flagship of the Tau'ri fleet for several years and lived long enough to see the downfall of the Goa'uld. Through it's existence, it played critical roles in Earth's defense (such as in the Battle of Antarctica). However, as the Tau'ri became more advanced towards the eight season of Stargate SG-1, the Prometheus-class series of vessels became exceedingly obsolete. Therefore, a new class of ship was designed, the 304, also known as the Daedalus-class after the first ship of the class.
Since the 304's creation, six such vessels have been constructed, including the Daedalus, Odyssey, Korolev, Apollo, Sun Tzu, and George Hammond. These ships are one of the most advanced creations in the Tau'ri's possession. 304s are the ultimate culmination of everything the Stargate Program sought to achieve— the acquisition of technology capable of defending Earth from its enemies. These ships far rival the spaceships of most races in the Stargate universe and have ascended the Tau'ri to a place of major power in two galaxies (the Milky Way and Pegasus). These ships, and the Tau'ri themselves, became even more powerful in Stargate SG-1's series finale "Unending" after the demise of the Asgard — an extremely advanced race of humanoids, and perhaps the closest ally of Earth. In order to carry on their legacy after their subsequent demise, the Asgard gifted to the Tau'ri their complete history in an advanced computer core, which also contained the knowledge to construct advanced Asgard technology. 304s have appeared in all three series, but most notably in Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis. However, spaceships in the Stargate series largely only serve as plot devices to facilitate the progression of an episode, and very few episodes have taken place solely aboard spaceships, with the exception of Stargate Universe.
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