The reunion on Abydos is extended in the new version.
What Has Been Added?
Rather than dwelling on what the producers chose to remove from an episode fans have loved for over a decade, let’s look at a little of the new (and improved) material. There are new visual effects, matte paintings, extended scenes, and one full scene that was originally cut and is restored here. Here are just a few highlights:
For years we’ve dealt with a major Stargate inconsistency in the opening sequence: Apophis and his Jaffa come through the gate to Earth, grab a girl and shoot up the place, then turn around and go back through. “But wait,” you say! “Wormholes are one-way. How did Apophis redial the gate (off-screen), especially without access to the base dialing computer?” Maybe he possessed a device like the Nox woman Lya used in “Enigma,” or the future Cassandra in “1969.” Maybe the Jaffa physically turned the gate’s inner track, as we would see Teal’c do many times over the years (e.g. “Prisoners”). That’s all plausible — but since none of these were shown, it was a big, fat inconsistency.
This problem, as old as Stargate itself, has been fixed…ish. However he did it, now we see Apophis shouting an order (in Goa’uld), evidently ordering his men to redial the gate manually; then we hear the deliberate, off-screen sound of the gate redialing.
Restored is a scene showing a fallen female Jaffa, part of the attack on Stargate Command.
After the attack, the resident doctor shows General Hammond and O’Neill the body of a fallen Jaffa. What you didn’t know was that there was a second body on the table behind him — a female Jaffa, complete with stomach pouch. The scene was truncated when it was decided that Apophis would have only men as his soldiers, but the series later established that female Jaffa do serve as warriors, too (“Birthright”).
The team discusses the situation in a restored briefing room scene.
The full scene that has been restored takes place in the briefing room, after Jack and the team return from Abydos with Daniel. There is some valuable exposition that makes the plan to locate Chulak and to make use of the Stargate addresses from the Abydos Cartouche more explicit. The scene also has some nice character beats, expanding on Hammond’s hardness early in the series and Jack’s emerging relationship with Daniel.
One of the tricks of television production is ADR (automated dialogue replacement), or “looping,” in which an actor stands in front of a microphone and re-records certain lines of dialogue (usually due to poor sound conditions on the set). For the Final Cut, Michael Shanks (“Daniel Jackson”) and Amanda Tapping (“Samantha Carter”) were brought in to record new dialogue for one scene. But even more significantly, Christopher Judge (“Teal’c”) looped his entire performance. The difference is astounding, and the new version is vastly better (and not at all jarring). Teal’c now sounds more like the Teal’c of “Threshold,” and less like a chilled actor still trying to find his character’s voice.
Teal’c’s change of heart is now given a fuller explanation.
Last but not least, one of the recut’s strongest improvements to the story is in making Teal’c’s turn against the Goa’uld more natural. Shots of him witnessing the horrors perpetrated by Apophis linger and repeat, and after he helps the team and the refugees escape there is additional dialogue explaining why he did what he did. This is a most welcome change, as Teal’c’s part always felt rather small, and his true motivations for such a radical turn were never quite explained until the fifth season flashback episode, “Threshold.”
What fans are more likely to notice the first time through, though, are the cool new visual effects.
NEXT: What about the visual effects?