Stargate Origins: CatherineU.S. RELEASE DATE: 06.19.2018
WRITTEN BY: Mark Ilvedson & Justin Michael Terry
DIRECTED BY: Mercedes Bryce Morgan
Ellie Gall (Catherine Langford), Aylam Orian (Wilhelm Brücke), Philip Alexander (James Beal), Sarah Navratil (Eva Reinhardt), Lincoln Hoppe (Stefan), Justin Michael Terry (Gunter), Derek Chariton (Heinrich), Shvan Aladdin (Wasif), Salome Azizi (Aset), Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez (Serqet), Daniel Rashid (Kasuf), Tonatiuh Elizarraraz (Motawk), Esteban Cueto (Nubai), Ghadir Mounib (Renisenb), Catherine Salazar (Aset’s Child), Victoria Ortiz (Ra), Kelly Vint (American Agent), David Mellville (British Agent), Connor Trinneer (Professor Langford)
Stargate Origins: Catherine was originally released as a 10-part Web series (under the title Stargate Origins) on MGM’s official Stargate portal, Stargate Command. For GateWorld’s complete, episode-by-episode summaries, plot analysis, notes, and unanswered questions visit the Stargate Origins section of the site.
- An extended introduction comprised of close-up shots of Aset, prior to the “Stargate Origins” logo
- The spinning camera shot that ended each 10-minute webisode has been removed
- A revised score
- Updated visual effects
There are a few noteworthy changes in this “Feature Cut” of the 10-part Web series, including:
- Stargate Origins: Catherine was released worldwide as a digital download on June 19, 2018. To date it has not been released on physical media.
- Stargate Origins was first announced by MGM at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2017. It entered production that fall, and premiered the first three episodes to Stargate Command All-Access subscribers on February 14, 2018. The 10 webisodes were released over a three-week period.
- Justin Michael Terry co-wrote the screenplay for Stargate Origins. He also appears on screen as Gunter, one of the German henchmen working for Dr. Brücke.
- Origins‘ production design deliberately favors the 1994 Stargate feature film over the television series in some noticeable ways. Perhaps most obvious is the Stargate itself, which has a monochromatic look and smaller chevrons. When a chevron locks on a symbol, the sound effect also matches the movie. That’s also true of the gate’s visual effects, from the reverse-kawoosh to the white shimmer of the event horizon to the interstellar travel sequence.
- Origins‘ decision to lean into the feature film is also evident in Catherine’s first trip through the Stargate. The visuals of her touching the event horizon with her fingers, then plunging in her face and opening her eyes, were shot to match Daniel Jackson’s first experience with gate travel in the movie. The visual effects depicting the interstellar travel sequence also match the film.
There’s a bit of a visual inconsistency when Catherine plunges her face into the event horizon at the episode’s end: her hair goes from hanging down next to her face to, inside the event horizon, being pulled “forward.” It’s a result of the fact that the effect is filmed with the actress bending downward to put her face into a pool of water.
- “People are already familiar with Catherine and her father. In the movie, you see him as this 80-year old man. I think they just re-cast the movie. We cast him as younger because Connor [Trinneer] is a wonderful actor and everyone knows about him. There’s this wonderful dynamic. They work together not just as father and daughter but as friends. Like when Catherine has a guy over, her father doesn’t get upset or overreact.” (Director Mercedes Bryce Morgan, in an interview with Aced Magazine)
- While a new Stargate (more closely matching the movie gate) was constructed for Origins, the D.H.D. on Abydos should look pretty familiar. It’s actually the original prop from the filming of Stargate SG-1, on loan from the fan who purchased it at auction after the series’ conclusion.
- The original Web series has two post-credits scenes involving Heinrich, the German soldier left behind on Earth, played for comedic effect — both removed from the feature cut. After the credits in Episode 3, his hands and feet bound, Heinrich awakens to see the active Stargate after Catherine, James, and Wasif have gone through. He tries to get to the gate but falls over as the wormhole disengages.
After Episode 7, Back on earth Heinrich is searching through the Langfords’ books and research notes, growing increasingly frustrated with his total inability to understand any of it.
- Desert scenes on Abydos were shot in the Mojave Desert near Baker, California, with full-day shoots under the sun late in 2018.
“The first time we shot in the desert, it was 115 degrees,” director Mercedes Bryce Morgan said. “We were out of the car for an hour and it felt like 10 hours. So you’re walking through it and it feels like burning hot snowdrift. You get sand in your shoes and your foot’s burning. It felt like we were dying. When we came back again, it wasn’t so hot but we were blasted by a sandstorm. It felt like sandpaper rubbing all over you.
“The third time we came back, we walked out and we thought, my god, it’s not hot anymore and there’s no wind. But there were dune buggies everywhere, with tire track and footprints surrounding us. In the original Stargate, they tried to cover these footprints and tracks by blasting them with a jet engine. But that didn’t work. Then they tried giant fans and that didn’t work. So they finally got 50 PAs to sweep over the footprints. But we made it work, shooting in different directions and video effecting it all out. You never know what’s going to happen so you just work it out.” (Director Mercedes Bryce Morgan, in an interview with Aced Magazine)
- “Abydos is something that’s already been established, but we’re seeing a different part of the planet than we’ve seen in the past. So we were able to explore new parts of that world we haven’t seen before. In prep, we created a map of Abydos to show the places we’ve already seen and where geographically we can fit in.” (Director Mercedes Bryce Morgan, in an interview with Aced Magazine)
- “I love villains. They are always so much fun to play because there is so much more room to experiment with from an acting perspective. But to be honest, I didn’t see her [Aset] as a ‘villain.’ To me, she was a hero who ultimately had her people’s best interests at heart. I felt that she saw through the humans’ facade and their true intentions and used that knowledge to her advantage in pursuit of her ultimate goals. I think she is a great diplomat who never lost sight of the outcome she was striving for, despite having to make some hard choices along the way.
“… I didn’t think it was too hard to portray her many layers and complexities. If anything, the layers make her easier to portray and therefore bring to life. I wanted her to feel real more than anything. I wanted the audience to connect with her despite her being an ‘alien.’ So her layers ultimately helped bring out her humanity.” (“Aset” actress Salome Azizi, in an interview with Stargate Command)
- “Yes, I had nothing to do with Origins. While I respect MGM’s motive of keeping the franchise alive for their audience, the execution fell short of that goal. I’ll leave it at that.” (Stargate SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe co-creator Brad Wright, in a 2020 fan Q&A at The Companion)