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Stargate Origins: Ellie Gall on playing action hero Catherine Langford

Contributed by
Feb 15, 2018

After seven years, the Stargate is open once again! MGM’s Stargate Command has dropped the first three episodes of Stargate Origins, the 10-part prequel series that features an unlikely lead: Catherine Langford. Fans of the original movie may recall that Catherine was present when the gate was discovered in 1928, and she also appeared as a much older woman in the present day to share what she had learned about it.

For this series, Ellie Gall is taking over the role of Catherine about 10 years after the events briefly glimpsed at the beginning of Stargate. Gall told SYFY WIRE that she formed her take on Catherine by asking a lot of questions about what her life was like after spending a decade studying the Stargate alongside her father. “For me, I really took more influence from the younger Catherine, even though she’s only in it like a minute,” said Gall. “My take on that was to find what role she had, what responsibilities she had, How did her father treat her? What’s their relationship like? What’s it like living in that time? That was the foundation that I built for Catherine, and then obviously, what I had with the script, and all the collaboration that comes after that. But that’s where I started, at the beginning.”

While Catherine and her father are initially ignorant about the gate’s true nature, circumstances will soon force her to go on an adventure to reclaim someone that was taken from her. And fans are going to find out very quickly that Catherine is her own action hero.

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“I think Catherine definitely doesn’t think through things in a way that processes danger,” explained Gall. “She always going into things head first, and she’s very brave and upright. She will just do something that might be completely insane and she won’t even think about it. I think you’ll see a bit more of that as the series goes on.”

Gall also noted that Catherine’s love for someone else drives her to save them, even though she also has grander ambitions. “She thinks beyond herself and wants to save the world,” said the actress. “She wants to make everything right. And I think as the series continues, without giving too much away, there are very clear motives that lead her in that direction to ‘fix things’ and make things right.“

At the start of the series, Catherine’s relationship with her father is a bit unconventional for its time, but it laid out the path for Catherine to seize her own destiny, both in this series and later in life. “It’s more like a partnership between the two of them,” noted Gall. “She’s not treated like a lot of women were at that time, where they were expected to be the housewife. It was never encouraged for her to lead a normal life for her time. He always encouraged her to be cultural and to do what she wanted to do. There’s a lot of respect there between the two of them, and it’s kind of all of that she has. There’s a very strong bond there.”

Catherine also forms an emotional bond with Philip Alexander’s Captain James Beal, a British officer stationed in Egypt. But as Gall told us, they don’t have a full blown romance: “They’re in a very early stage of the relationship. It’s not serious, this is kind of Catherine’s first crush. There really aren’t many young men in Egypt, so she’s very attracted to him and very charmed by him and his shyness. He’s a very sweet guy. And I think they compliment each other very nicely. As the show goes on, they’re a yin and yang match, which is really nice to see."

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Additionally, Gall hinted at a “dream team” that accompanies her quest, including someone who really doesn’t want to be there. “That was a lot of fun to play that dynamic of convincing someone to take risks that even you don’t really know that you’re taking,” recalled Gall. “To see how that plays out is very entertaining and I think where a lot of humor in the series comes from. There’s a couple characters that come in that I get to play around with and form connections with.”

As for Gall’s dream Stargate team up, she told us that she’d love to see Catherine meet Kurt Russell’s Jack O'Neil. “Maybe she could do a little something with him,” offered Gall. “That would be cool. I think she’d be fascinated by him. He’s a very complex character and very damaged, and she would definitely find that interesting.”

Intriguingly, Gall appeared to indicate that there may not be a need for Catherine’s story to continue for another season. However, that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t believe in making more Stargate Origins. “I’m not sure that her story needs to continue. It ends in a very nice spot. I think it ends in a very lovely place. And you’ve got more of Catherine in the series. If there’s another origin story, maybe it should be someone else’s, and we’ll see where they began. Because I do think that you can overdo a story and overdo a character. Everything is summed up nicely and neat.”

Finally, Gall shared these closing thoughts: “I’m so glad that we got to make something that hopefully fans will enjoy and love it as much as we did making it. I’m excited for the world to see it!”


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