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File:Stargate.jpg


"Stargate!

It's a crazy trip!

You can go quite far and you don't need a car

Or even a ship!"[1]
—The writers of Stargate SG 1, singing the theme tune

To most of the earth-bound humans in it, the Stargate Verse is indistinguishable from the universe in which we viewers live. It's present-day, there isn't a whole lot of Applied Phlebotinum that you'd notice, and human history has unfolded just the way you remember, so far as you know. About the only difference is that there's about 80 billion dollars in the US military budget that no one can adequately account for. Oh, wait.

In fact, human history unfolded in a radically different way than they teach in school. First, the pyramids were built by aliens.

Many millions of years ago, aliens that looked exactly like humans evolved elsewhere in the universe, advanced to a stunning level, and filled the galaxy with really nifty Imported Alien Phlebotinum before buggering off to a higher plane of existence. Some time later, a race of parasitic aliens called the Goa'uld invaded Earth, built pyramids, inspired (or assumed the personalities of) the various mythological gods, and created a human diaspora in order to serve them as slaves on other worlds, resulting in large populations of Homo sapiens throughout the galaxy.

Really, the defining element of the Stargate Verse is the Stargates: a Portal Network allowing instantaneous travel between the various worlds. Upon finding Earth's long-lost Stargate, the US Military promptly went out into the universe, and, mostly through pluck and determination, set out to completely rewrite the status quo, despite the fact that the rest of the galaxy is a lot more advanced.

Fortunately, we're really good at it. So, as of 2010, while to most of the people on Earth, it does not seem like anything interesting is going on, we actually have offworld colonies, two expeditions to distant galaxies, and five (intact) intergalactic starships (Daedalus, Apollo, Odyssey, George Hammond, and Sun-Tzu; two older intergalactic starships, Prometheus and Korolev, have been destroyed).

Works set in the Stargate Verse include:

The Stargate Verse is rare even in Science Fiction for having particularly cheap and easy interstellar (and later, intergalactic) travel.

The other defining element of the Stargate Verse is that there are a lot of Godlike Aliens, representing a wide range of concepts of God, degrees of Godlikeness, and degrees of friendliness.

Another relatively unusual feature of the Stargate Verse is the scarcity of aliens: aliens do indeed exist, and the universe is teeming with life, but the entire population of the universe seems to consist of no more than two dozen or so distinct races:

  • Humans, who -- thanks to the diaspora -- live everywhere in the Milky Way Galaxy. Those from Earth specifically are called the Tau'ri. Humans also inhabit the Pegasus Galaxy and the unnamed galaxy of the Ori due to being "seeded" through genetic engineering by the Ancients and Ori.
  • Goa'uld, a race of snakelike parasites who, until recently, ran most of the galaxy by pretending to be gods. Goa'uld require an individual of another race or species to host them in order to survive, and most Goa'uld take full control over their host. They steal technology, filling their "parasite" role in multiple ways. Oh, and their sarcophagus technology, which they can use to heal themselves (or to bring their corpses back to life). Unfortunately, this rejuvenation process is part of what makes them so evil (as revealed when Daniel becomes addicted to using a sarcophagus... and his personality mirrors that of a Goa'uld).
    • Some Goa'uld, however, decided that this system of involuntary symbiosis was evil. They call themselves Tok'ra, which means "Against Ra" (who was the Goa'uld emperor at the time). Tok'ra live in voluntary symbiosis with their humanoid hosts. Usually. Also, they don't use the sarcophagus technology.
  • Jaffa, a human-descended race genetically modified by the Goa'uld to serve as their soldiers and as organic life support systems for juvenile Goa'uld. After the fall of the Goa'uld, the Jaffa attempt to form a democratic, egalitarian society despite the fact that their history consists entirely of killing one another over their masters' territorial disputes. It turns out about as well as you'd imagine.
  • Nox, an ancient and super-advanced race of peaceful tree-huggers who keep to themselves. It is likely that many of Earth's various legends of "The Little People" or "The Fair Folk" are actually about the Nox.
  • Asgard, an ancient and super-advanced race with the classic "gray alien" appearance, who inspired the Norse gods, and occasionally bail our sorry backsides out when we get in over our heads (now supposedly extinct -- however, it was revealed in Stargate Atlantis episode "The Lost Tribe" that the Asgard SG-1 is familiar with aren't the only Asgard...). Unlike most such advanced species the Asgard have proved to be friendly, helpful (as much as they can) and all things considered actually decent and polite as well, capable of acknowledging humanity's flaws compared to themselves (and acknowledging where humanity can help them) without coming across as condescending and smugly superior. I'm looking at you, the Nox.
  • The Ancients, an ancient and super-advanced race who built the Stargates and Atlantis, then most died from a plague and others evolved into Energy Beings. Their society shakes down, so far as we know, into the "Alterans", the original parent race which built the gates, the "Lanteans", who moved to the Pegasus galaxy and did more or less the same thing, and the "Ori", their evil cousins, and final SG-1 Big Bad. Though we evolved separately, humans and ancients are more or less the same biological species, and most of the population of the Pegasus galaxy evolved similarly. They are also non-interfering to the extreme, to the point of seeming like total jerks.
  • Furlings, an ancient and super-advanced race (notice the pattern?) who have, as yet, not bothered to show up. (A lampshade is hung in the episode "Citizen Joe", wherein one of Joe's readers is annoyed that he keeps mentioning them even though they never actually appear.)
    • Although this may be because they are dead, since SG-1 did find a Furling colony once where they had created a paradise and lived in harmony with nature, until some plant that caused paranoia was introduced. The skeletons looked like short humans, although since they invited everyone to come join them, those skeletons might really have been human.
    • Also parodied, like many other things, in the episode 200, where the furlings finally appear - and their first on-screen action is having their planet blown up. It was just an Imagine Spot, though.
  • Unas, big, scary, humanoid and reptilian creatures, who were common hosts of the Goa'uld before they encountered humans. (While Unas are strong and durable, humans regenerate more readily and have nimbler hands for tool use.)
  • The Wraith, evil, powerful vampiric creatures. The result of unfortunate genetic crossover between humans and a really nasty life-sucking bug. All but defeated the Ancients in the Pegasus Galaxy.
  • The Replicators, self-replicating Lego bugs (who later evolve into "liquid metal" human-form androids) whose ultimate goal is to consume all other civilizations in the universe, which makes them a major threat to pretty much all of the above. A different kind of Replicators, the human-form Asurans, who were made by the Ancients, inhabit the Pegasus galaxy and are pretty much as hostile as the Milky Way Lego bugs. The Replicators in the Milky Way were created by an android named Reese, whose "father" was likely also an Ancient, and learned to produce human-forms after studying her dead body.
  • The Re'Tu are invisible creatures that seem to fill the role of "token insectoid life". As could be expected, they were attacked by the Goa'uld, who apparently developed (read: probably stole) a weapon that not only kills them, it also makes them visible. Most notable for genetically engineering a human being to act as a go-between when they decided to warn Earth about the Ritou Rebels, a group of Re'Tu who decided that they'd stop the Goa'uld by killing every life form in the galaxy that could possibly be used as a host. Unfortunately, the genetically engineered kid is genetically inferior to normal human beings, and has to become a host for a Tok'ra in order to survive.
  • One minor race, the Serrakin, who appeared in just two episodes so far (SG-1 season 6's "The Forsaken" and season 7's "Space Race"). They are a vaguely lizard-like humanoid race who live in harmony (and interbreed) with a Celtic-descended human culture, whom they liberated from the Goa'uld millenia ago. In the present day, they have a highly industrialized and corporate-dominated society, with advanced technology and interstellar travel. It is unknown exactly how widespread they are, but they have clearly managed to avoid attracting sufficient attention for any Goa'uld system lords to attempt to reconquer them.
    • Since they are humanoid aside from their skin, facial features and corrugated forehead, they may also count as Rubber Forehead Aliens.
  • Another minor race is the Re'ol, who were seen for but a few moments in a single episode. They can generate a chemical which, when injected into humans, causes them to see the Re'ol as a human being, or whatever the Re'ol wants to be seen as. The single Re'ol to appear onscreen used this to get SG-1 to help it escape the Goa'uld, since it was afraid to ask. When it is seen, it looks like a skeleton with leathery gray skin stretched over it, more or less.
    • Note that this is the only time one has apparently appeared on screen. They may be all but extinct, but given their biological advantages, there's no reason they can't pass for any other race.
  • The Unity, a race of crystalline energy beings who only appeared in one episode.
  • The A't'trr, a Hive Mind race of microbes who only appeared in one episode.
  • The otherwise unnamed (in the episode at least) "GIANT ALIENS!" from the SG-1 episode "Crystal Skull." Not to be confused with the Indiana Jones movie of the same name. Almost nothing is known about the "GIANT ALIENS!" except that they are enemies of the Go'auld and live out of phase with the rest of the universe. Note: "GIANT ALIENS!" must be said with a Dutch accent for proper effect. Apparently, they're officially called the Omeyocan, but not only does that not show up in the one episode they appear in, saying "GIANT ALIENS!" is far more amusing and descriptive.
  • Then there's the unnamed "foothold aliens," a mildly humanoid, technologically advanced race that briefly conquered Stargate Command using devices that let each of them take on the appearance of a captured human individual. They were only seen in one episode, but their captured devices were used again later. It's not clear what these guys actually look like, as they seem to constantly wear armour or environment suits... unless that's just their normal appearance.
    • For the record, the RPG calls them the Stragoth.
  • An unnamed race of aquatic humanoids Oannes, who had visited Earth during Babylonian times appeared in one episode.
  • Another unnamed race of gill-faced humanoids possessed of shapeshifting and teleportation powers appeared as protectors to a dislocated tribe of Native Americans in one episode.
  • The Oranians are another type of Aliens in Rubber Suits, who are also vaguely reptilian. The species is primarily represented by the unscrupulous businessmen Jup and Tanat. If they are any indication, Oranians seem to be fairly hapless and stupid. When Tenat finds out that he has been tricked into firing on his commanding officer and is about to die, he delivers the hilarious Kirkesque line "Damn you Cam Mitchelllll!"
  • The Nakai, who are hunting after the protagonists of Stargate Universe. They are vaguely humanoid, but with catfish-like faces, and glow neon-blue. They possess advanced starship technology and even devices that allow them to communicate with humans telepathically (although the only word they have said so far is "Surrender.") They appear to communicate to each other in the form of clicks and grunts.
  • Ursini, about 1.2m (4') tall vaguely humanoid (seems like a recurring theme with advanced Stargate Universe aliens) brown-skinned insect-like aliens with whom the crew of Destiny have first encountered on a derelict stargate seeding ship. They also possess advanced spaceships, stun guns and other pieces of advanced technology. Their language is as for now incomprehensible, though it remains to be seen whether they will learn English from Telford or not. They aren't particularly hostile, but the first contact didn't end on good terms due to difficulties communicating. They are probably waging a war with something else. As of "Deliverance," They're apparently extinct.
  • Berserker Drones, a type of mechanical drones that were created a long time ago with the unfortunately vague directions to "Destroy all alien technology." This backfired on their creators and got them destroyed, and they've been terrorizing their local galaxy ever since, specifically the Ursini. Most of the final episodes of SGU deal with Destiny's desperate attempts to avoid them.

Despite being one of the newer Scifi franchises (compared to, y'know, the other franchises that start with "Star") The Stargate Verse is the third longest science fiction franchise in terms of hours. No single Trek series has more episodes than Stargate: SG-1. It's a long way from either Doctor Who or Star Trek, but those have been around since The Sixties, whereas the Stargate movie was released in 1994.

Notable characteristics of the Stargate Verse include:

  • Artifact Collection Agency: The SGC fills this role, among others
  • Auto Doc: Sarcophagi.
  • Backed by the Pentagon- Which has resulted in Richard Dean Anderson (Jack O'Neill, two Ls) to be made an honorary Brigadier General.
  • The Battlestar: For bonus points, the human battlecruisers even bear a passing resemblance to the Battlestar Galactica, with a hangar bay mounted on each side of the main hull. The similarities end there, however. The Goa'uld ships instead look like flying pyramids, and the Asgard ships look vaguely like giant hammers or axes. Other ship designs vary widely.
  • Continuity Overlap
  • Character Overlap
  • City of Adventure
  • Cukoloris: To avoid CGI costs, the open gate is in many shots offscreen but its flickering light -- produced by a stagehand warping a flexible mirror -- illuminates the rest of the scene.
  • Fantastic Rank System: The Goa'uld have the rank of First Prime, which is comparable to a Real Life Field Marshal.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel
  • Genre Savvy: Unlike in many settings involving interplanetary travel and fantastical conflicts, almost all the protagonists in the Stargate Verse are people from the modern Western world who are well aware that their daily life resembles science fiction. It shows: every series has at least one Deadpan Snarker, characters frequently lampshade bizarre events, and the intended plan for any situation is usually Awesome Yet Practical (it rarely succeeds, but at least they try to be practical).
  • Mildly Military: All the television series set in the Stargate Verse include active duty military characters, and all have a very loose approach to orders and discipline, but that has relatively rare and minor repercussions for them. In Stargate Universe and Stargate Atlantis, that's because the expeditions were cut off from Earth and fending for themselves (at first, at least). In SG-1, it's because the titular team is the best in their respective areas and in some cases outside the military chain of command entirely, so their bosses have no choice but to put up with insubordination, making them Bunny Ears Lawyers.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: There are many examples of this trope in the verse - almost every category has an example: The Ori are Gods, The Ori Priors have Divine Protection, The Kull warriors are Made of diamond, the Black Knights are Made of air, Human-form replicators are The Blob, the Wraith, the first Unas and the Replicators have Regeneration, Anubis: Can only kill part of him, Ba'al and the Replicators have Multiple bodies and Apophis had Extreme luck during the first four seasons.

    Daniel Jackson, while not actually invulnerable in any reliable or definitive way, has managed to recover from death on a frightening number of occasions, arguably placing him in Resurrection. To the point where the fanon has him dying and recovering on an almost monthly basis.
  • Our Vampires Are Different
  • Plausible Deniability
  • Portal Network
  • Precursors
    • Neglectful Precursors, to be exact.
      • Just about all the subtropes live in one ancient race or another, actually.
  • Planet of Hats
  • Present Day
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: Taken to ridiculous extremes. If a Russian character or characters make an appearance in an episode, something bad is going to happen to them. No exceptions. Russians are basically the SGC's version of Redshirts.
    • 1 guess which country's space battle ship is destroyed.
      • Be fair: The Americans have lost more ships than the Russians so far. In fact, a Wake Up Call Boss in one of the later seasons of the show was a satellite that took down one of the American starships while proving impervious to counterattack. The first such ship lost by the Tau'ri.
  • Science Fiction
  • Space Is Noisy
  • Sterility Plague: The Asgard suffer from the fact that they have totally abandoned sexual reproduction in favor of cloning.
    • This is also how the Aschen conquer planets: by mixing sterility-inducing drugs into "miracle medicines". This winds up backfiring when (thanks to time shenanigans) SG-1 finds out and slips them a list of suggested Gate addresses. That start with a black hole and "get progressively darker after that".
  • Subculture (military)
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien
  • Super Doc: Any of the teams' doctors, most noticably Carson Beckett.
  • Super Weight:
    • Type 0: Scientists, Villagers
    • Type 1: SG-1, SG-3, most series regulars
    • Type 2: The Goa'uld, the Tok'ra
    • Type 3: The Wraith, The Tollan
    • Type 4: The Replicators
    • Type 5: The Ancients, The Ori, Anubis
  • Transplanted Humans

Notes

  1. Eventually, though, they did get a ship.
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