With three series in production over the course of an amazing 14 years, it’s no surprise that Stargate ended up a family affair. Many actors meet their future spouse on set, or share other family ties with fellow actors. And every now and again they might even end up on screen together in the same project.
That’s especially the case with Stargate SG-1. As a cornerstone of the Vancouver film and TV scene, it seems like just about every working actor in the city had some kind of connection with the series at one point or another. Then in 2004 the show launched its first spin-off with Stargate Atlantis, followed by Stargate Universe in 2009, expanding even further into Canada’s film and television talent pool.
Of course, in most cases actors’ family lives behind the scenes aren’t something that the audience is ever aware of. So we’re here to spill Stargate’s family secrets! Here are all the actors we could think of from the franchise who are related in real life.
Who did we miss? Post it in the comments below!
MICHAEL AND VAITIARE
In 1997 Michael Shanks and Vaitiare Bandera were cast to take over the romance that started in the original Stargate feature film — Daniel Jackson and his Abydonian princess bride, Sha’re. Bandera had actually auditioned for the same role in the movie, but lost out to Israeli actress Mili Avital.
The two met on the set of the SG-1 pilot movie, “Children of the Gods,” which called for a bit of on-screen romance before Sha’re is abducted by the Goa’uld. She’s ultimately forced to become host to Apophis’ queen. Daniel’s quest to rescue Sha’re provided his character with his initial motivation, and ensured that Bandera would make multiple return appearances.
Meanwhile the two actors hit it off, and began dating. While (as far as we know) they never married, they did have a child together … and that’s kind of related, right? When Bandera made her return in Season Two’s “Secrets,” she really was pregnant with Shanks’ child. Tatiana Shanks would be born a few months later.
CHRIS AND GIA
Season Six of SG-1 brought actor Christopher Judge the opportunity to put down his staff weapon and write an episode — the mind-bending dream episode “The Changeling.” Teal’c moves in and out of two different realities, one where he is the mighty Teal’c of Chulak and another where he is a human firefighter.
Both seem entirely real to him while he’s there … but eventually the mirror shatters and Teal’c realizes that both of them were fiction. His mind created both worlds as he lay dying following an ambush of the rebel Jaffa leaders. Teal’c used a single symbiote to keep both him and Bra’tac alive for more than three days.
Since Chris wrote the episode, it’s fitting that he was able to cast his real-life girlfriend, actress and model Gia Patton, in a minor role. The two reportedly had met on set the previous year, and they were married a few years after Stargate SG-1 ended. Gia plays the nurse who finds Teal’c in a hospital room in the midst of an episode of cognitive dissonance, and asks him if he’s OK.
CHRIS AND JEFF
Speaking of Christopher Judge, his future wife isn’t the only family member to make an appearance on Stargate. “Sacrifices” introduced the character of Aron, a Jaffa in the service of Moloc who has allied himself with the Hak’tyl resistance movement. When Teal’c and Ishta (played by Jolene Blalock) barely escape an enemy attack with their lives, they find themselves on the run with Aron … and uncertain whether he can be trusted, or if he was the one who sold them out.
Aron ultimately proves himself by rescuing Teal’c, and he went on to appear in four more episodes. He’s played by actor Jeff Judge — Chris’s younger brother — in his only screen credit.
To illustrate just how small a world the Vancouver film scene is: Jeff is married to Jenny Durance, sister of actress Erica Durance. Before Erica hit it big as Smallville‘s Lois Lane she appeared on Stargate opposite Chris in the eighth-season episode “Affinity,” playing Teal’c’s neighbor and love interest Krista. (Later she would also star with Michael Shanks in the Canadian medical drama Saving Hope.)
TWO HEWLETTS ARE BETTER THAN ONE
One time that Stargate Atlantis hit screen chemistry gold was in casting the role of Jeannie Miller, a young mom and brilliant scientist whose solution to a complex math proof draws the attention of the Stargate program. It turns out that Jeannie is Rodney McKay’s sister … and the two don’t have the closest relationship. They’re forced to come to terms in “McKay and Mrs. Miller,” when Jeannie is whisked away to the Pegasus Galaxy to help solve Atlantis’s interdimensional gate bridge problem.
Writer and actress Kate Hewlett was clearly perfect for this important role, as the real-life sister of David Hewlett. Back in the first season McKay had a line scripted where he mentioned his brother, but David asked that it be changed to give McKay a sister instead. There were no plans to ever cast his real-life sister on Atlantis, until writer Martin Gero saw her in a stage production and decided she was perfect for the show.
On screen, Kate and David have the instant magic of real-life siblings — complete with a personal shorthand, trust, and the freedom to tease each other mercilessly! That translates to the McKays when Jeannie reveals Rodney’s real first name, “Meredith,” to his friends.
Kate Hewlett returned for three more episodes, including the absolutely heart-breaking story “The Shrine,” where Jeannie returns to Atlantis because her brother is suffering from the rapid onset of an Alzheimer’s-like disease.
The great Dom DeLuise and his wife Carol Arthur built an acting and comedy dynasty in their own home, and that family came to play a huge role in the Stargate franchise. Dom DeLuise is a legend thanks to his long career working with the likes of Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, Burt Reynolds, and animator Don Bluth. His oldest son, Peter, appeared on 21 Jump Street and SeaQuest before joining Stargate SG-1 as a regular director, writer, and producer.
In 1999 Peter DeLuise would have the opportunity to direct his famous father when Dom guest starred as the invisible alien friend Urgo. (That handsome young officer Urgo momentarily transforms into is Peter: “Can you resist this?”) Peter also inserted himself, Hitchcock style, into several other episodes he directed.
Of course, Peter’s dad wasn’t the only DeLuise to appear on Stargate …
That comedy dynasty gave Stargate SG-1 more than just a great director. Younger brother Michael DeLuise appeared in the fifth-season episode “Wormhole X-Treme!” as the actor playing the Jack O’Neill spoof character Colonel Danning: “As a matter of fact, it does say ‘Colonel’ on my uniform!” And yep, that’s his brother Peter playing the Wormhole X-Treme! director. (When Michael couldn’t return for the 200th episode’s revival of the fake show, Peter played the equally handsome actor who had been cast as his replacement on the show.)
And there was one more DeLuise brother still to join the show. After Samantha Carter lost multiple love interests and earned the nickname of “black widow” among fans, in the seventh season actress Amanda Tapping asked producers for “a boyfriend who doesn’t die!” David DeLuise would be cast as Pete Shanahan, a Colorado detective who nearly gets himself incinerated by the Goa’uld Osiris after stalking Sam to try and figure out what she really does for a living.
Sam and Pete ultimately weren’t meant to be, but the year-long storyline brought David DeLuise back for a total of four episodes.
RACHEL AND LOYD
For five seasons Stargate Atlantis actress Rachel Luttrell played the Athosian warrior Teyla Emmagan, a bantos rod-wielding fighter who joins John Sheppard’s team in order to protect her people (and the rest of the galaxy) from the Wraith. Thanks to her physical prowess and background in dance, Luttrell often did a lot of hand-to-hand combat and other physical work on the show.
Her real-life husband is stuntman and cinematographer Loyd Bateman, who also worked on the Stargate franchise. He was a Jaffa in “The Warrior,” “Allegiance,” and “Orpheus”; a Honduran rebel in “Evolution,” and an uncredited technical sergeant throughout SG-1‘s eighth season. He also did stunt work on The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum, and worked on a handful of Atlantis episodes too.
One of those gave the husband and wife a chance to spar on screen. In Season Four’s “Missing” Teyla and Dr. Keller visit the new Athosian homeworld, only to find that her people have been abducted. They encounter the brutal space biker gang called the Bola Kai, and one of the bad guys that Teyla takes down is played by Bateman. The actress later reflected on how surreal the fight felt, given that at the time she was pregnant with their first child: “There we were trying to pull that off,” she said, “knowing what was actually transpiring for us on a personal level, which was very interesting.”
MR. AND MRS. ANCIENT
Stargate Atlantis opens with a sweeping shot of the city of Atlantis, which rose from the surface of Antarctica and departed Earth several million years ago. For one fleeting shot, free of any dialogue, viewers get to see a pair of living Ancients in all their glory and at the height of their power.
SG-1 fans will recognize the female Ancient as actress Ona Grauer, who played the same character back in the sixth-season episode “Frozen.” Nicknamed “Ayiana” by the people who thawed her from the ice, she is a woman who is millions of years old, who looks just like us, and who has incredible healing powers. Unfortunately she’s also carrying the plague that nearly wiped out the Ancients, and SG-1 and the Antarctic scientists quickly fall ill.
That probably explains this gravely serious look from the Ancient man, who was played by Grauer’s then husband Aaron Dudley. He’s getting ready to head to the Pegasus Galaxy … but Ayiana must be left behind. Fortunately for Grauer it wasn’t her last time on Stargate: she’d be cast as Colonel Young’s wife Emily on Stargate Universe.
MICHAEL AND LEXA
In 2001 Michael Shanks guest-starred in an episode of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, another up-and-coming sci-fi show that filmed in Vancouver. It was there that he met actress Lexa Doig, who co-starred on the show as the ship’s avatar. The episode “Star-Crossed” saw Rommie falling for a fellow ship’s avatar, only to be betrayed.
Shanks and Doig ran in the same circles in Vancouver, and in 2003 they were married. Lexa was around the Stargate scene for years, and socialized with the cast and crew, and so she was a known quantity when the casting call went out for a new recurring character. In Season Nine she won the role of Dr. Carolyn Lam, the new chief medical officer at Stargate Command and the daughter of new base commander Hank Landry (Beau Bridges).
Lexa appeared in 11 episodes over the course of SG-1‘s final two seasons. The husband and wife duo have since appeared on screen together several more times, including the miniseries Unspeakable and the Netflix series Virgin River.
THE BROTHERS GEORGE
Season Nine’s “Babylon” introduced a new take on the Jaffa in the form of the Sodan — a lost tribe of legendary warriors who have avoided falling into servitude of the Goa’uld for five millennia. Unfortunately SG-1’s first contact doesn’t go well: Colonel Mitchell and the Sodan Volnek are both critically injured in a firefight, and while Volnek is taken back to Earth Mitchell ends up recovering with the Sodan.
Mitchell would eventually be trained by Volnek’s brother, Jolan — whom he ends up having to fight to the death.
To play the Sodan brothers the show cast a pair of real-life brothers in actors Jason and Jarvis George. Each of them would also return for one more episode, though not together. Jason George was back just three episodes later, as the honorable Sodan help SG-1 lure an Ori Prior into a trap. Jarvis George’s Volnek doesn’t fare so well when we see him again in “Arthur’s Mantle”: in retaliation against the Sodan a Prior transforms him into a zombi-fied killer, using him to all but wipe out his own people.
Ironically, despite being cast to play on-screen brothers Jason and Jarvis only share a single scene together — and it’s after Volnek has been shot and is presumed dead.
There’s one more DeLuise to include in the dynasty. The SG-1 Season Four episode “The Other Side” brought the team to the planet Euronda, where a desperate people offered Earth their advanced technologies in exchange for help in turning the tide of their world war. Eventually the team figures out that the Eurondans started the war in an attempt at genocide, and their leader Alar (Rene Auberjonois) is a modern-day Hitler.
Playing the role of Alar’s second-in-command Farrell is actress Anne Marie Loder, who later married director Peter DeLuise in 2002. The two had first met on the set of the Canadian TV series Higher Ground, where Anne Marie had a recurring role and Peter directed four episodes. They also appeared on screen together in an episode of Andromeda, playing an over-the-top married couple.
ADORABLE ARE THE ORI
Stargate SG-1 executive producer Robert C. Cooper took on writing duties for the tenth season premiere, “Flesh and Blood,” which saw the birth of Vala’s daughter Adria. The child was immaculately conceived by the Ori while Vala was living in their home galaxy, and now she began rapidly aging — in order to serve as the fully-grown leader of the Ori invasion force.
Before Firefly actress Morena Baccarin stepped in to portray the adult Adria, multiple child actors played her during her rapid growth. Sci-fi fans will recognize actress Jodelle Ferland, who played Adria at age 7; she went on to play Harmony on Stargate Atlantis, and later played Five on the series Dark Matter.
But our family relation here is actually little Emma Cooper, who played Adria at age 4. The child actor who was originally cast for this scene got cold feet on the day of shooting, and so Robert Cooper invited his own young daughter to step in the next day. Today it’s still her one and only screen credit.
Do you know of any other on-screen family ties on Stargate SG-1, Atlantis, or Universe? Post it below! Which of these did you already know about, and which ones were news to you?