The Stargate franchise ran for so long — more than 35 episodes produced over 14 years — that it’s no surprise to see crossovers with our other favorite science fiction shows. Actors need to work, right?
We’ve already done lists like this for actors from shows like Firefly, Supernatural, and the Star Trek franchise, as well as a list of Stargate actors who have turned up on the new Quantum Leap show. But today it’s another show’s turn — one that we consider sci-fi royalty, and one of the best scripted series ever produced: Babylon 5.
Created by J. Michael Straczynski, Babylon 5 was conceived as a 5-year novel for television, with a beginning, a middle, and a definitive ending. It ran for four seasons in U.S. syndication (1993-1997), then moved to the TNT cable network for its final year (1997-1998). TNT also gave B5 a series of TV movies, and briefly aired a spin-off series called Crusade (1999) before cutting it short at just a half-season.
While there aren’t any main cast members who appeared on each other’s shows, there are several familiar faces from B5 who later put up memorable guest appearances on Stargate SG-1. Can you name any of them before scrolling down?
Actress Tamlyn Tomita was a bright spot in the original B5 pilot movie, “The Gathering.” Lt. Commander Laurel Takashima was the station’s first officer, running the operations hub and supporting Commander Sinclair (Michael O’Hare).
When the show was given the green light to go to series, however, the actress passed on making the role permanent. She was replaced by Claudia Christian’s Commander Susan Ivanova (who would become a fan favorite in her own right).
On Stargate Tomita played Chinese Ambassador Shen, who made four appearances — twice near the end of SG-1‘s ninth season, and then twice on Stargate Atlantis. She was usually there as one of the hard-nosed members of the I.O.A., an international oversight body that supervised Stargate Command and its off-world activities. In her memorable last appearance Shen traveled to Atlantis, ostensibly to give Richard Woolsey (Robert Picardo) a performance review … though she was actually angling to get his job herself.
Tomita went on to a career in film and television that includes the likes of The Joy Luck Club, Eureka, Law & Order: LA, The Man in the High Castle, and Star Trek: Picard (as Starfleet Intelligence head Commander Oh). Next: Look for her in the new Netflix adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, premiering in February.
With his distinctive voice and chiseled look, the great Marshall Teague usually plays the square-jawed hero — but it’s often a complex character who lives with a deeper pain. On Stargate SG-1 that was the role of Colonel Cromwell, an old acquaintance whom Jack O’Neill is unhappy to see again when he shows up at Stargate Command.
As the story of “A Matter of Time” unfolds we learn that Cromwell once commanded a black-ops mission that went terribly wrong, resulting in Jack being left behind and captured by the enemy. When the new mission calls for him and Jack to detonate a shaped charge at the open wormhole, Cromwell sacrifices himself to save Jack’s life — and the planet.
Before his turn on SG-1 Teague appeared in an early episode of B5‘s first season, as Nelson Drake — a man looking for a new start, whose encounter with alien tech turns him into a living weapon. But fans of the show know him best for his recurring role as Ta’Lon, the Narn warrior and emissary. Ta’Lon appeared in five episodes over the show’s run, including a memorable return at the end of the series to replace G’Kar as the station’s Narn ambassador.
General William Hague was Earthforce’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a key ally to Captain John Sheridan and the Earthforce crew of Babylon 5. His role became all the more important when the new President, Morgan Clark, began taking actions that threatened to turn all of Earth’s territories into a police state.
As important as the character was to the unfolding Earthforce story, Foxworth appeared in just two episodes. After his agent accidentally double-booked him to play a similar role on Deep Space Nine, General Hague would be replaced by Major Ed Ryan — played by Bruce McGill, who himself had a deep connection to Stargate’s Richard Dean Anderson. McGill had played Mac’s close friend Jack Dalton on MacGyver.
Foxworth turned up on Stargate SG-1 as a guest star late in the sixth season. When a test flight of the Prometheus forces the ship to land on a populated world, Foxworth plays its leader — Chairman Ashwan of the Tagreans, who is tenuously holding on to his position in the face of an ambitious military.
Foxworth’s career spans more than 50 years and includes everything from Falcon Crest to Six Feet Under, and from Mod Squad to Johnny Quest. These days he is also voicing the character Ratchet in the Transformers movies.
Of course we all fell in love with actress Sarah Douglas as the beautiful and evil Ursa in Richard Donner’s Superman and Superman II. She also appeared in episodes of V: The Final Battle and Space: 1999, and was Queen Taramis in 1984’s Conan the Destroyer. When she showed up on Stargate SG-1 as an important new ally to Earth, we were filled with all kinds of … feelings.
Douglas played Garshaw (and her host, Yosuuf, of course), one of the leaders of the Tok’ra in the two-parter that introduced them. Along with Martouf (J.R. Bourne) it was Garshaw who helped SG-1 come to terms with the fact that the Tok’ra were a bona fide resistance movement, a fifth column inside the ranks of the Goa’uld. Instead of snakes who take control of a host body, the Tok’ra share their lives — symbiote and host — in a true symbiosis.
You might not have recognized Douglas on Babylon 5, where she appears under prosthetics — but her distinctive voice and razor-sharp performance certain shine through as the titular character in the episode “Deathwalker.” She plays Jha’dur, a member of the Dilgar who turns up on the station and is soon outed as a notorious war criminal. Jha’dur had experimented on her own people in developing weapons of mass destruction, which were then used against civilian populations.
Now emerging from hiding, Jha’dur offered to the highest bidder the fruits of her lifetime of scientific research — a serum that could grant virtual immortality. This made “Deathwalker” a real morality play, a piece of classic science fiction that showed the show’s characters for who they are.
Another memorable Earthforce officer from Babylon 5‘s first season is Captain Ellis Pierce, whose ship the Hyperion arrives at the station to take control of the recently discovered Great Machine — a powerful ancient technology on the surface of the planet B5 orbits.
Of course this led Ron Canada’s character to butt heads with Commander Sinclair, who thought that the Captain was saber rattling and looking to exploit a military resource discovered in neutral territory.
Canada’s Stargate character is Quartus, the chief hostage negotiator on P4M-328. After SG-1 gates into a museum exhibit and are mistaken for terrorists the team must play the bad guys, holding hostages long enough to get the Stargate working again and escape. Quartus negotiates with them by radio and eventually agrees to let them go, vowing that his people will never know that their world has been visited by people from another planet.
Ron Canada is one of those familiar faces who seems like he’s been in everything. His list of credits is impressive with more than 150 roles to date including The West Wing and Dallas, The Shield, Ugly Betty, The Orville, and more.
Although he never appeared on the B5 television series itself, Peter Woodward is the Techno-mage fans remember. His character Galen first showed up in the TV movie A Call to Arms, which set him up as a series regular on the short-lived spin-off Crusade. Galen is mysterious and a bit whimsical, mixing a sense of humor and knowledge of the deeper things of the universe with the demons he carries from his tragic past.
Woodward is a mesmerizing performer, an alum of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Royal Shakespeare Company and part of a family of actors. (His father Edward actually also played a Techno-mage, Alwyn, in the Crusade episode “The Long Road.”) In addition to writing, and theater and mini-series work, he has appeared in National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Fringe, Dracula, The Good Wife, and more.
His Stargate appearance came in the second season of Stargate Atlantis, where he played Otho — an ambitious chamberlain and genealogist of the royal family who live within an Ancient city ship not unlike Atlantis itself. The episode features palace intrigue, Ancient technology, and a murder conspiracy gone wrong. The episode isn’t exactly Shakespeare, but it was a whole lot of fun seeing Peter Woodward in the Pegasus Galaxy.
Yep, before he was Sam’s dad — retired Air Force General Jacob Carter — journeyman actor Carmen Argenziano played Londo Mollari’s long-time friend in the B5 episode “Knives.” After watching him on Stargate for seven seasons it’s a whole lot of fun to see him don that big hair (and bigger accent) and play a Centauri.
On Stargate we loved him as Jacob Carter, introduced in the show’s second season. Jacob reveals to his daughter that he is dying of cancer, but just two episodes later SG-1 meets the Tok’ra. Jacob gets a new lease on life when he agrees to become a host to Selmak, one of the oldest and wisest among the Tok’ra. He becomes a sort of de facto ambassador for Earth, returning again and again as one of the show’s most important and beloved supporting characters.
Before he was Jacob, though, the actor cut his sci-fi teeth on Babylon 5. Like his childhood friend Londo (Peter Jurasik) Urza Jaddo was a proud Centauri, who was now staring at the sunset of a once great empire. As the Centauri began to fracture Urza sided with the Emperor, who sought peace rather than warfare. This made him enemies, and upon his visit to Babylon 5 and his reunion with Londo he learned that his old friend had chosen the other side. It’s a stellar performance, with a heartbreaking ending.
Do you love both Babylon 5 and Stargate? Can you think of other actor crossovers we missed? Let’s hear it in the comments below! (To see the full list, check out IMDb.)