The webseries Stargate Origins premiered February 2018 and featured the adventures of archaeologist Paul Langford and his daughter Catherine in 1939 as they discover a Stargate in Egypt and must prevent the Germans from using it. It's hard to believe that this webseries is continuing a story that initially began in 1994 with the film Stargate starring Kurt Russell and James Spader. When the film premiered, it received mixed reviews but developed a cult following over the years, eventually producing four television series, a line of books, comic books and video games. What is it about Stargate that left audiences wanting more? Was it the idea of space exploration? Was it the alien races that had ties to our ancient past? Perhaps it was seeing such acting greats as Richard Dean Anderson, Ben Browder, Jason Momoa, Robert Carlyle and Ming-Na Wen appear on a weekly basis.
You may consider yourself a fan of the franchise, but do you know everything there is to know about Stargate? There are some fun facts that will impress you and other facts that will make you want to watch the series again. Do you know what material the stargates are made out of? Raise your hand if you watched the short-lived Stargate: Infinity animated series! What Stargate character has an actual asteroid named after them in real life? Where is the actual Stargate Command located in Colorado? Catch up on all of the facts that you may have missed so that way you'll be prepared when the 25th anniversary of Stargate happens in 2019!
20 FIRST FILM TO HAVE A WEBSITE
Nowadays, every film has a presence on the internet. Some films will show behind the scenes content, others will give you exclusive trailers. The website for Cloverfield had a cryptic website in which you had to shake images with your mouse to turn them over and reveal content. There were also secretive online videos for the films Limitless and Timeless. So what were promotions for films like in 1994? Ask Stargate.
Believe it or not, Stargate was the first film to have an official website. Remember, we're talking about 1994. You weren't going to watch high definition red-band trailers for your movie on your iPhone at that time. The site had photos and written promos for the film and was set up by writer Dean Devlin.
19 JAMES SPADER DIDN'T LIKE THE SCRIPT
Not every single film an actor is going to do is going to be an artistic statement. Michael Caine won his second Oscar for The Cider House Rules, but wasn't present to pick up his first Oscar when he won for Hannah and Her Sisters because he was on location filming Jaws: The Revenge. He's never even seen the Jaws film he was in, but he did enjoy the house that he bought with the money from the movie.
James Spader, when first given the script to Stargate, read it and said he didn't particularly like what he read. So why did he make it? There are some stories that say he did the film for the pay check, others say that he decided to make the film after meeting with director Roland Emmerich.
18 JAYE DAVIDSON RETIRED FROM ACTING AFTER MAKING THE MOVIE
Jaye Davidson had no intention of acting. Initially discovered in a bar, Jaye was then cast in the drama The Crying Game, directed by Neil Jordan. When Jordan was tasked to direct Stargate, he asked Davidson to be the lead villain. In order to get out of the commitment, Jaye asked to be paid $1 million. Imagine the shock when the studio agreed to pay it!
Davidson found the costumes, memorizing lines and the production to be very difficult. After Stargate, Davidson officially retired from acting. Jaye did make an appearance in the 2009 short film The Borghilde Project, but besides that, rumor has it that Davidson is now working in the fashion industry.
17 AIR FORCE LOVES STARGATE SG-1
America might be launching Space Force, the sixth branch of the military in the near future. Until that happens, we have the fictional Stargate SG-1 to depend upon. The Stargate Program is overseen by the United States Air Force and the real life Air Force loves the show. Legit.
The USAF has felt the depiction of the Air Force on the show to be exemplary, and in real life Richard Dean Anderson, the actor that played Jack O'Neill, was awarded the rank of honorary Air Force Brigadier General. Two Air Force Chiefs of Staffs have also made appearances on the show.
16 THE FILM DIRECTOR DIDN'T LOVE TV SHOW
The Stargate movie launched the television show SG-1 that ran for 10 years and produced several spinoffs, but when the film premiered in 1994 it wasn't universally praised. In fact, Roger Ebert had Stargate on his list of most hated films of the year. The television show clearly had a level of popularity the 1994 film didn't have.
Roland Emmerich was the director of the 1994 Stargate movie, but unfortunately was not a fan of SG-1 as well as its spinoffs. The characters and show went in a different direction, and Emmerich even envisioned his original film as a part of a trilogy. Plans were put in place to reboot the entire franchise as a movie, but in 2016 Emmerich thought that the relaunch was probably not going to happen.
15 WHAT ARE STARGATES MADE OUT OF?
There are lots of great famous fictional metals. Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, is made from the Asgardian metal known as uru. Wolverine's claws are coated in a virtually indestructible substance called adamantium. What fantastic fictional metal is the Stargate built out of? It's the super-heavy mineral called Naquadah.
Naquadah is a quartz-like substance that can store energy and be used in weapons and conducting energy. The motherships of the Asgard race use Naquadah fusion reactors and liquid Naquadah powers Goa'uld staff weapons. Naquadah can even be found in the bloodstream of the Goa'uld. The name is derived from the Egyptian town of Naqada.
14 O'NEIL VS O'NEILL
The character Jack O'Neil was originated by Kurt Russel in the first Stargate movie. When Richard Dean Anderson joined the cast of Stargate SG-1, he wanted some changes to happen with the character before he signed on. One of the changes was very small: he wanted the last name of the character to be changed to O'Neill.
Anderson also wanted to see his version of O'Neill to be funnier than how he was portrayed in the movies. Russel's O'Neil followed orders, whereas Anderson's O'Neill was quite the maverick. After being the star of MacGyver for seven seasons, he also wanted Stargate SG-1 to be more of an ensemble show.
13 STARGATE EFFECT
The Stargate effect was a simple, yet elegant effect. Looking at the gate, it appeared to be a pool of blush water that had gentle ripples running throughout. However, when the Stargate first activates, a column of water defies gravity and shoots out, only to be pulled back in a few moments later. How did they do that with 1994 technology?
Although computer effects were used for the Stargate on the television spinoffs, for the film the column of water was created by shooting an air cannon in a tank of liquid. Although the effect for the television show was digital, the Stargate itself still had to physically move. Wear and tear made the gate malfunction IRL and the launch sequence became shorter with each season.
12 WHERE'S THE TIME TRAVEL?
It's always hilarious when movies are mistranslated into different titles. The 1997 film starring Jack Nicholson entitled As Good as it Gets was renamed Mr. Cat Poop for Chinese audiences. In Japan, the 1993 horror film Army of Darkness was renamed Captain Supermarket. We think Bruce Campbell would approve of the change. Groovy.
When Stargate was released in Mexico, the title was changed to The Gate of Time. For those that saw the movie, you know that the film involves travel through space but not back in time. When audiences saw the film, they were perplexed as to why time travel wasn't an element in the movie.
11 STARGATE INFINITY
What's this? An animated Stargate series? The show took place several decades into the future and focused on Gus Bonner, a member of the Stargate program who's framed for crimes he didn't commit. Bonner and his team must use the Stargates to find evidence to clear their names. Stargate Infinity aired for one season in 2002.
Unfortunately the writers and producers of Stargate franchise were not involved with Stargate Infinity; because of this, none of the episodes are considered to be in-canon. The show was criticized for its low budget and poor writing. Check out episodes of the show on YouTube and tell us if you dig its catchy opening theme song!
10 STARGATE: BROOM CLOSET
What if we told you the Stargate project actually existed? In Stargate SG-1, Stargate Command is located in Colorado at a location dubbed Area 52 in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. Is there a military base located in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex? Yes. Is there a Stargate Command at the actual Cheyenne Mountain complex? Yes again!
When people went on tours at the Cheyenne Mountain complex, they would ask the tour guides about where Stargate Command was located. In order to make fans happy, along the tour route is a door that actually has a sign marked Stargate Command on it! What's behind the door? Nothing spectacular... it's a broom closet.
The race known as the Wraith are over 100,000 years old. On Stargate: Atlantis, they menaced the planets in the Pegasus galaxy with their vampiric nature. They can drain a person's life force out of their body through an organ that's in the palm of their right hand. They are a hive-minded species (kind of like the Borg on Star Trek) and they're the most evil catfish-looking aliens you'll ever see.
Many of the Wraiths could be considered drones and function like worker bees taking commands from a queen. To further emphasize the Wraiths as being homogenous, most of the Wraith males were played by one actor: James Lafazanos. In turn, most of the female wraiths were played primarily by Andee Frizzell.
8 PLAY STARGATE AT HOME!
Crysis is a game by Electronic Arts that has enhanced soldiers fighting aliens... as well as North Koreans. Soldiers had increased strength and speed thanks to the nanosuits they wore, and the race of aliens called the Ceph used ice-based technologies. What made the game even more fun was a mod that incorporates elements from the Stargate franchise!
The StarCry mod for the game allowed players to enter the Cheyenne Mountain Complex and activate a working Stargate. Enemies attack you with staff weapons and you can fire back with a Zat'nik'tel. There are also plenty of references to Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and other science fiction greats.
7 STARGATE BOOKS
If you're a fan of the Stargate television shows, you may also be a fan of the books. Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis released a series of novels that featured the further adventures of Jack O'Neill and his Stargate team. Although these books were continuations of events in the television shows, there's a whole line of books specifically branching off of the movie.
Between 1995 and 1999, five books were written by Bill McCay entitled Rebellion, Retaliation, Retribution, Reconnaissance and Resistance. These books were written several years before SG-1 aired on television and had no intentions of connecting with the small screen's material.
6 NOT AN EFFECT
Although films have tons of computer effects, it's always great when practical effects are used. The explosions going off around Cobb and Ariadne at the Parisian cafe in Inception were done using air cannons. Even the rotating hallway scene with Joseph Gordon-Levitt involved a hallway constructed in a giant rotating cylinder to give the gravity-defying fight scene its beauty.
In Stargate: Continuum, there's a scene when a submarine emerges by breaking through a sheet of ice. That wasn't a special effect, folks -- that was the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Alexandria actually smashing through ice in the Beaufort Sea. We knew that the Air Force loved the Stargate series, but it looks like the Navy does as well!
5 LONGEST-RUNNING SCIENCE FICTION SHOW
Television shows get cancelled all the time, but there are also shows that have surprising longevity. The doctor drama ER lasted 15 seasons. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has been on the air since 2000 and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit first launched back in 1999. What about Stargate SG-1 and its longevity? Did it break any records?
For a brief time, it did. The show was the longest running science fiction program that aired consecutive episodes without halting. The show in its 10 year run produced 203 episodes, beating The X-Files by one episode. Dr. Who is the longest running show (over 800 episodes) but took periodic breaks. SG-1's record was beaten by Supernatural, which has been on the air since 2005.
4 EASTER EGGS
You might recognize Peter DeLuise for a number of things that he's done over the years. Perhaps you know him for playing Officer Doug Penhall from the 1987 series 21 Jump Street. You might also know him from being the son of famous actor Dom DeLuise. After years of acting, Peter DeLuise moved to directing and directed a number of episodes in the Stargate franchise.
DeLuise dropped a number of easter eggs into the episodes he directed. For example, he made a cameo in every episode that he directed. Also, he tried to incorporate the name "Penhall" (the name of the 21 Jump Street character) into the SG-1 and Atlantis episodes that he directed.
3 SG-1 VIDEO GAME
The Stargate franchise was immense. The most obvious elements are the television shows that were produced from the 1994 film, but how many fans also were readers of the books? Raise your hands if you played the video games as well? There were some failed attempts (Stargate Worlds and Stargate SG-1: The Alliance) but there was also the special Stargate SG-1: Unleashed.
The game involved a Jack O'Neill from an alternate timeline helping the Stargate team battle the Goa'uld Sekhmet. What made it so special was that the actors from the show participated in the video game. Jack O'Neill sounded like Richard Dean Anderson because it was really him! Don S. Davis was not a part of the game because he had passed away in 2008.
2 APOPHIS IN SPACE
There's a crater on the moon named after Indian film actor Shah Rukh Khan called Crater SR Khan. There's also a type of trapdoor spider named Aptostichus angelinajolieae named after, you guessed it, Angelina Jolie. Science fiction eventually makes its way to actual science, and a villain in Stargate actually menaced the Earth in real life.
The Torino scale is a system used to rate the probability of celestial objects colliding with the Earth. Asteroid 99942 had the highest rating on the Torino scale in 2004 when it was discovered there was a small but possible chance it would hit our planet in the near future. The official name of the asteroid was Apophis, named after the villain on SG-1!
1 NO AREA 51
The Air Force were big fans of the Stargate franchise. Not only did they provide technical support for the show, high-ranking members of the Air Force also appeared as extras. There's even a Stargate easter egg that you can find when you do a tour of the military base in Colorado.
There's one thing that the Air Force won't support on Stargate. Granted, the United States Military has bent over backwards for the Stargate series, including the usage of a nuclear submarine for a scene in Stargate: Continuum. However, rumor has it that the Air Force will not support or encourage the discussion of Area 51 on the show.