Episode 1

Summary | Analysis | Notes | Characters | Questions | Production
Stargate Origins (101) - Episode 1

Ten years after discovering the Stargate, Professor Langford and his daughter Catherine face a foreboding threat when a Nazi officer arrives at the warehouse where they are studying the artifact.

EPISODE #101
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 02.15.18
WRITTEN BY: Mark Ilvedson & Justin Michael Terry
DIRECTED BY: Mercedes Bryce Morgan
STARRING:

Ellie Gall (Catherine Langford), Aylam Orian (Wilhelm Brücke), Philip Alexander (James Beal), Sarah Navratil (Eva Reinhardt), Derek Chariton (Heinrich), Justin Michael Terry (Gunter), Lincoln Hoppe (Stefan), Connor Trinneer (Professor Langford)

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The year is 1928, and a young girl follows behind her father as he arrives at an archaeological dig in Giza, Egypt. What his men have found is unlike any ancient artifact ever seen: a large, metallic-like ring is hoisted up out of the sand. On a table nearby, young Catherine finds a golden amulet bearing the symbol of the Eye of Ra, sun god in the ancient world.

A decade later, Professor Paul Langford and his daughter continue their study of the artifact — now erected in the center of a warehouse in Cairo. Catherine (who wears the Ra amulet every day) is a young woman, and informs her new beau — a British Captain named James Beal — that after years of study they only have theories about what the ring might be. They don’t even know what it is made of.

A nervous Beal meets the genteel Professor, and Catherine is pleased. But after James leaves that evening, she and her father clash. Their business partner Dietrich has sent a telegram informing them that he has failed to secure further funding for their work, and will not be returning to Cairo. Catherine has received a job offer to catalog artifacts at a local museum, and is frustrated when her father is less than pleased with the news that she will be leaving. They fight, and she storms off to her room.

Within minutes the flicker of lights indicates that a vehicle is approaching, and both emerge to find a German officer mugging it up in front of a film camera next to their artifact. As his three men seize the Langfords he introduces himself as Dr. Wilhelm Brücke, “Chief Occultist” to Adolf Hitler.

Brücke comes bearing his own artifacts, along with a theory about what the ring is — and what it can do. He speaks of ancient legends and Einstein-Rosen Bridges, suggesting to the Professor that the ring could be a doorway.

And he intends to open it.

ANALYSIS

  • Though the on-screen text places the events of this Origins story ten years after the discovery of the Stargate in 1928, it’s actually closer to 11 years later. Dietrich’s telegram in fact bears the postmark August 22, 1939 — putting these events only days before the outbreak of World War II on September 1.
  • Stargate Origins is the third on-screen appearance for Professor Paul Langford, the man whose archaeological dig uncovered the Stargate on the Giza Plateau in 1928 — but the first time that his first name is officially established as canon. He previously appeared in the opening scene of 1994’s Stargate feature film, and later in 1945 in SG-1‘s “The Torment of Tantalus.” Dr. Langford’s name was first given as “Paul” in Alderac’s Stargate SG-1 Role-Playing Game source book (2003).
  • “Episode 1” of Origins opens with the Giza dig in 1928, footage reused from the 1994 feature film. Professor Langford’s line “Catherine, come!” has been redubbed by actor Connor Trinneer, underscoring the fact that the Langfords are now very American. (In the film, the line “Katarina, come!” underscored actress Viveca Lindfors’ own Swedish accent. When Oregon-born Elizabeth Hoffman took over the role in the first season of Stargate SG-1, the accent was gone.)
  • Langford’s long-time business partner, Dietrich, addresses his telegram to the warehouse district in Cairo. The city is a logical place for the Stargate to have been taken after it was unearthed in 1928 — just 14 kilometers from the Giza Plateau.
  • The fact that the Langfords are strapped for cash and on the verge of shutting down their research would seem to prove that they have not yet made contact with the United States government. Once the significance of the gate as an alien-made transportation device becomes apparent — as well as the Nazi threat — it is likely that they will turn to the U.S. for help in securing the gate and transporting it across the ocean to American soil. It will be there that President Roosevelt will order new research in the 1940s, suspecting that the gate might be something that could be used as a weapon to aid in the war effort (“The Torment of Tantalus”).
  • There is some evidence in this opening episode that the Langfords may be Jewish. A menorah can be seen on the table in the sitting area where father and daughter argue, and another in front of the mirror in Catherine’s bedroom.
  • The woman behind the camera is Eva Reinhardt, described by production documents as a filmmaker and German propagandist dedicated to Hitler’s Reich.
  • The Nazi regime’s interest in the Stargate and its connection to the lore of the ancient Egyptian gods is based on real-world history. The Ahnenerbe (“ancestral heritage”) project in 1930s Germany sought to find archaeological proof of Aryan superiority, and soon was mixed up with Heinrich Himmler’s interest in the occult. (Movie buffs will recognize this as a central plot point in Raiders of the Lost Ark.) On Stargate Origins, Wilhelm Brücke identifies himself as an “Occultist.”
  • How does Brücke know so much? We know from numerous references on Stargate SG-1 that the Germans actually came into possession of the dial-home device from Giza many years before the Langfords found the Stargate. The D.H.D. was discovered by German archaeologists in 1906 (“Watergate,” “The Tomb”), and confiscated by the Russian army after World War II. That gives Brücke and his ilk more than three decades to study the device and determine its purpose — and its likely relationship to another artifact, the Stargate — before he shows up in the Langford’s warehouse.
  • Brücke indicates that he had a direct encounter with Dr. Langford’s partner, Dietrich, who went to Germany to try and secure new sources of funding for their research. The unofficial materials on the StargateCommand.co Web site suggest that Dietrich, who brought with him details and sketches of the Stargate, had been abducted and interrogated. In the episode Brücke does tell the Langfords that their colleague gave up their location … before meeting “a disastrous difference of opinion” in Berlin.
  • Aiding in this quest for knowledge is apparently a number of other relevant artifacts, which the Nazis acquired over the years on the black market. One of these is the parchment that Brücke shows Dr. Langford — covered in illustrations that eagle-eyed viewers will recognize as matching ancient paintings on a cave wall on Abydos (“Stargate” the Movie). This includes one drawing of people being marched through the Stargate.

    It’s not yet clear where this parchment came from, who created it, or how old it is. And it is not clear where Brücke came upon the record of a valid, 7-symbol Stargate address.

  • Brücke references a now famous theory by Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen — the “Einstein-Rosen Bridge” — which science fiction fans will recognize as first postulating the existence of wormholes. The real-world paper was first published in July 1935, under the title “The Particle Problem in the General Theory of Relativity.”
  • All this taken together, Brücke’s confidence (or arrogance) that he could walk into the Langford’s facility and successfully manage to power, dial, and walk through the Stargate to another planet — assuming that is his plan — is staggering.
  • Where is Catherine’s mother? According to the (non-canonical) official StargateCommand.co Web site, Mrs. Langford died of malaria on a trip to South America in 1927, leaving Paul to raise their daughter (then about age 9) by himself.

NOTES

  • Dr. Langford and his daughter make their home in the same warehouse facility where the Stargate and their research is housed. The facility is located in the warehouse district in Cairo, Egypt.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

  • Catherine LangfordCatherine Langford – Catherine has presumably been working alongside her father in Cairo, Egypt, as she came of age over the past decade (since the Stargate was unburied at Giza in 1928, when she was a child). She has made something of a name for herself in the archaeological community, particularly because of her innovative cataloging skills, and recently received a job offer to launch a career of her own at a local museum… much to the chagrin of her father.

    Catherine’s relationship with the Professor is close, but at time tense. She is obviously not fond of being told that she is stubborn and impulsive, like her mother. She also has another man in her life, having recently sparked a romantic relationship with a British officer, James Beal.

  • Paul LangfordPaul Langford – Professor Langford (whose first name is officially established here) has spent much of the last 11 years attempting to decipher the nature of the artifact that his expedition dug up on the Giza Plateau. Though an expert in Egyptology he doesn’t seem to know what to make of the Stargate; until Brücke arrives it hasn’t entered his mind that it might be a piece of advanced technology — a doorday to be opened.

    Langford is now at the end of his rope, his research having run out of funding and his business partner Dietrich cabling that he is not returning. Before Brücke showed up in the dead of night, Dr. Langford was facing a future where his daughter would take up another job and is research would have to be shut down.

  • James BealJames Beal – Captain Beal is an officer in the British military, stationed in Cairo, Egypt in 1939. Beal comes across as someone who is not timid but who likely hasn’t seen a lot of action, who likes Catherine very much but is instantly nervous when she makes flirtatious advances.
  • Wilhelm BrückeWilhelm Brücke – Dr. Wilhelm Brücke introduces himself as “Chief Occultist to the Führer,” Adolf Hitler. As a German officer he is likely a leader in the Ahnenerbe project, and has spent years scouring the black market all over the world for relics and information pertaining to the Stargate and alien contact with ancient Egypt. (This was likely prompted by Germany’s possession of the dial-home device, discovered in 1906.)

    Now, armed with intel about the gate and the knowledge that Paul Langford possesses it in Cairo, Brücke has arrived in force — evidently to seize the Stargate and attempt to use it for the gain of the Nazi Reich.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

  • Did Dietrich simply give up on the Stargate research because he was unsuccessful in securing new funding? Or did he learn something about Brücke and his quest while in Germany? What was his “disastrous” fate?
  • Where is Catherine’s mother? Her father compares Catherine to her … but she evidently is not a part of their lives in Cairo. Is she deceased, or are the Langfords estranged?
  • Where did Brücke locate the information and artifacts about gate travel? Did the same artist create both the parchment and the cave paintings on Abydos? Where on Earth could he have located a record of a Stargate address — perhaps even the one to Abydos itself?
  • Will Brücke be able to successfully activate the Stargate? How will he power it? And what will he do if his men establish a wormhole?

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • Click here for everything we knew about Stargate Origins prior to the series premiere, including the origination of the project and its announcement at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2017.
  • MGM premiered the first three episodes of Stargate Origins early as a Valentine’s Day present to Stargate Command All-Access subscribers on February 14, 2018.
  • Actor Justin Michael Terry plays Gunter, one of the German henchmen working for Dr. Brücke. Terry also co-wrote the screenplay for Stargate Origins.
  • 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 (see Episode 2). 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 (Episode 3).
  • “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)