Stargate is a science fiction media franchise owned by MGM that began in early 1994 with the feature film Stargate. The subsequent body of works detail an elaborate fictional universe where people from contemporary Earth interact with alien races possessing far superior technology. The franchise extends into three live-action TV series, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe, the animated series Stargate Infinity, video games such as Stargate Worlds, novels, comics, and other works.
Stargate productions centre on the premise of a "Stargate", a ring-shaped alien device that creates a wormhole enabling personal teleportation 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 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 however more often pre-industrial than scientifically advanced, and are almost invariably human. Together, this allows for stories predominated by human interaction in Earth-like environments, an unusual feature for a science fiction franchise.
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, they fled Earth, and the Stargate was buried and forgotten until modern times, when the United States acquired it following an archaeological dig. Rediscovering the function of the Stargate, the galaxy is begotten as a source of knowledge, as well as threats, and the attention of the Goa'uld is drawn once more to Earth.
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, the largest following exists for the three live-action series.
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 ancestor). The list below summarises these interlocking canons:
See main article: Stargate (film).
In 1994, the science fiction/action 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 theatrical version of the film begins with the unearthing of the Stargate in Giza in 1928. As of Present Day (i.e. 1994), the failing egyptologist Daniel Jackson (James Spader) helps to make the Stargate work again by deciphering the hieroglyphs on the cover stones of the Stargate, now housed at a military base in Creek Mountain, Colorado. A team led by Colonel Jack O'Neil (Kurt Russell) is ordered is to step through the Stargate and identify potential military threats on the other side. Jackson accompanies them to aid in translations to allow them to return home later. At their arrival, the team discovers a slave civilization serving an alien who is posing as the Egyptian god Ra (Jaye Davidson). He and his minion-gods have taken human form, commanding 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 and detonate a nuclear warhead on-board Ra's ship in orbit. 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.
Although the film was originally intended as the first of a trilogy of films, Emmerich and Devlin ultimately moved on to produce Independence Day, and it was not until 2006 that Devlin showed renewed interest in developing sequels. In the intervening time, copyright-holder MGM succeeded the film with the television series Stargate SG-1 without the input of Emmerich and Devlin. Stargate took in $16.7 million on its opening weekend, and received mixed reactions from critics; while it was panned by the likes of Roger Ebert, several positive reviews counterbalanced this leading to a score of 43% on Rotten Tomatoes.
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"  and that the McCay books were not correct. 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. The first movie already tapped into Egyptian mythology; the second one would have moved into other mythologies; and the third would tie together all mythologies. 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." .
See main article: 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. 
The series debuted on Showtime on July 27, 1997, and moved to the Sci-Fi Channel after its fifth season. It starred Richard Dean Anderson (as O'Neill) and Michael Shanks (as Jackson), alongside Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge and Don S. Davis playing the new characters Samantha Carter, Teal'c and George Hammond. The cast remained fairly regular for most of SG-1s 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.
MGM put an average of $1,400,000 into each episode of the show, and regards it as one of its most important franchises. It has won the Saturn Award for Best Syndicated Television Series on numerous occasions, and its cast has won similar awards for acting. More recently it has received acclaim for its visual effects, which increased in quality and realism as the show gained a larger budget.
The series begins one year after the original film in its internal chronology. It chronicles the activities of SG-1, the first exploratory team of the newly-formed Stargate Command, after an enemy attack through the Stargate alerts the United States Air Force that Ra was not the last of his species (contrary to the film).
Stargate SG-1 proved to be very popular. Each year from Seasons 5 to 8 the show was repeatedly expected to end, but ratings continued to be high, allowing the show to break records and enter its tenth and final season (surpassing The X-Files as the longest running United States science-fiction series). Guinness World Records recognized Stargate SG-1 as the longest currently running consecutive sci-fi series in 2006. The show is second only to the Doctor Who series, which holds the title for longest running sci-fi show overall.
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. Many fans were enraged at the news, even creating websites in reaction to exhibit their commitment to the series. Spokesmen for the production have said all options for the continuation of SG-1 are being considered, including complete digital broadcasting. Executive producer Robert C. Cooper told the fansite GateWorld exclusively that he was working to continue SG-1. 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. Stargate was taken off air in 2007, however 2 movies (Stargate: Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum) have been made that tie up loose ends.
See main article: Stargate Atlantis.
Stargate Atlantis began as a spin-off television series from Stargate SG-1 but was originally intended to succeed it following a second feature film. The second movie was planned for after the sixth season and, when SG-1 was renewed for another year, for after the seventh season. When SG-1 was renewed again for an eighth season, the intended film became the episode "Lost City", a two-part season finale, and the setting of Stargate Atlantis was moved to the Pegasus galaxy.  This allowed the two shows to exist side-by-side within the same fictional universe, and later on the two shows even began to be interconnected. The show is developed by most of the same people as SG-1, and is produced in the same studios.
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. The series' 5th season has recently begun airing on the Sci Fi Channel. Amanda Tapping left the show to concentrate on her other show Sanctuary. Robert Picardo replaced her, reprising his role as Richard Woolsey from both SG-1 and Atlantis.On August 21, 2008 its been reported by tv.com that Stargate Atlantis is coming to end . The SCI FI Channel have decided to end the spinoff series of Stargate SG-1 at the conclusion of its current fifth season in January.
The plot 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 or for the ones living on Atlantis, Lanteans. The finding of the city had been a plot arc for most of SG-1s 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" whom they must defend themselves against despite being vastly outnumbered.
The series 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. Atlantis proved to be equally as successful as SG-1, with Nielsen Ratings consistently in the regions of 1.9.
See main article: Stargate Universe.
Stargate Universe is the third Stargate series which is currently in development. The idea of Stargate Universe is that it is set on a ship that was part of an Ancient experiment that was set in motion probably millions of years ago, one that they never saw to fruition, but that we can. The experiment is to send a ship across the universe, and to send one ahead of it to seed the galaxies with Stargates, and that they would one day use the stargate's ninth chevron to gate to the ship.
Millions of years ago (before their conflict with the Wraith and even before they moved Atlantis to the Pegasus Galaxy), the show would reveal, the Ancients sent out two ships: an automated vessel to place Stargates throughout multiple galaxies in our universe, and a second ship to follow up and explore. A standard, 7-symbol gate address allows for travel within the same galaxy. Use of the Stargate's eighth chevron allows for travel to a different galaxy. And the ninth chevron will allow the team to reach this second Ancient ship, the Destiny .
The series was pitched to 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. The third Stargate series won't be set on Earth, or on a remote base, but on a ship that travels from galaxy to galaxy.
Following news of the cancellation of Atlantis, it was reported that SciFi Channel had ordered Universe to series, with a planned launch date of 2009. It has also been revealed that the show will attempt to broaden Stargate's usual viewer demographics by bringing in younger viewers as well as keeping its old fan base.
See main article: Stargate Infinity.
Stargate Infinity was an animated series spin-off from Stargate SG-1 intended for children aged 9 to 11. It ran from September 14, 2002 to June 2003 on the FOX Network. Even though the series was produced by MGM with DiC Entertainment, none of the writers and producers of Stargate SG-1 were involved with Infinity, and it is not considered official Stargate canon. The show was canceled after one season for its poor reception and ratings.
Set 30 to 40 years in the future, Infinity tells the story of a team of young recruits led by a veteran member of Stargate Command that are framed for a crime they did not commit. The team must travel from world to world trying to find a way to clear their name, while protecting a strange alien being discovered in the first episode, which is believed to hold the secret to mysteries surrounding the Stargates and the Ancient race that built them. Due to its cancellation, none of the major plot arcs of the series were concluded.
The series featured a strong moral and educational theme, purposely summarizing each episode with a distinct lesson for its young audience to learn. It focused primarily on the importance of working together and accepting differences in other cultures or people, whether they be aliens or members of one's own team.
See main article: Stargate: The Ark of Truth. 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.
See main article: Stargate: Continuum. 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. The movie was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 29, 2008. The Region 4 DVD was released on August 6, 2008 with the Region 2 DVD released on August 18, 2008; followed by possible TV broadcasts. The film is a time-travel adventure and is the second sequel to Stargate SG-1, after .
Executive producer Brad Wright has revealed that "Children Of The Gods", Stargate SG-1s pilot episode, is being 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.
A third direct-to-DVD film is to be filmed in 2009. Brad Wright stated this film would center on the Jack O'Neill character, and it is Wright's goal to reunite as many of the SG-1 cast as possible, depending on the cost of the film and actor availability. Wright has already started work by late July 2008. In October 2008 it was announced that Stargate Atlantis Executive Producer Carl Binder would be co-writing the movie with Wright. The film will be directed by Martin Wood. Amanda Tapping has stated that she will be appearing in the third SG-1 film and the first Atlantis movie, with both to film at the same time, in late spring or early summer of 2009. Claudia Black will not appear in the film.
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. The movie currently has a release date of sometime in 2009. More movies are expected to follow in the Atlantis series if the first movie is successful.
See main article: List of Stargate literature.
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. Short fiction has also been published in the official Stargate Magazine.
A series of books written by Bill McCay were published from 1996 to 1999 that were unofficial sequels to the film. 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. 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.
See main article: List of Stargate comics.
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.
See main article: List of Stargate audiobooks.
In February 2008 it was announced that Big Finish Productions would be releasing 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.
Charles Cohen, executive vice president of MGM Television, has voiced plans to develop further Stargate films and produce a third television series to be titled Stargate Universe (discounting Infinity as a Stargate television series), currently in a pre-production concept phase. 
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 ignore the 12 years of mythology created by SG-1 and Atlantis if they are produced.
In the meantime, Lionsgate remains the major rights holder to the original film; this was due to the fact that its predecessor, Live Entertainment, owned home video rights to the Carolco Pictures library and had also owned international distribution rights, although Carolco itself was on the brink of bankruptcy when they produced this film.
It was announced on 10 January 2008 that a series of original Audio Dramas would be produced by British company Big Finish Productions, who are famous for producing Audio Dramas for other (mostly British) Science Fiction franchises such as Doctor Who, 2000 AD, and The Tomorrow People. These have started being made available for purchase via download and also as a CD release. The plays take place in both the existing SG-1 and Atlantis continuities, and feature members of the original cast.
FAQ #5 summarises canonicity
. Sharon Gosling. Stargate Atlantis: The Official Companion Season 1. 2005. July. Titan Books. London. 1-84576-116-2. 10 - 14. Watergate.