Over 20 years ago, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin’s Stargate expanded into television with Stargate SG-1, and its mythology was expanded even further in Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe. After a long hiatus, the franchise returned this week with Stargate Origins, a 10-episode prequel series directed by Mercedes Bryce Morgan. For this show, Morgan and her collaborators are putting the spotlight on Catherine Langford, a key supporting character from the original film who has recurred throughout the franchise. Catherine was in Giza when the gate was uncovered in 1928, and Origins indicates that she played a much bigger role than previously thought.
When SYFY WIRE spoke to Morgan earlier this week, the directer indicated that Catherine was chosen to be the lead of this series in part because she can tie multiple eras of the franchise together. “First of all, we wanted to tell a story with a female protagonist, because I think it’s really important that we see stories from lots of different characters,” explained Morgan. “And I think that is really timely and necessary right now. Another thing is because she’s someone who has a lot of connections to Stargate in her lifetime. So I wanted to look into her life when she was younger.”
Morgan also shared her memory about seeing the film when she was younger and the impression that it left on her. “When I watched Stargate for the first time, I thought that it was really interesting and original,” recalled Morgan. “And the fact that it combines mythology and sci-fi in a unique way. The best kind of sci-fi takes off of things that we already know and presents them in a new way. That’s what I didn’t expect from the franchise.”
Up to this point, Morgan has primarily been known for her genre shorts and films. But the thing that really helped her land this series was her dedication to the core premise of Stargate. “I was honored to be picked by MGM. And I was told that what they liked best about my pitch was that instead of trying to make [Stargate] into Star Wars or Star Trek, I really wanted to remain true to what the franchise was.”
Within the film and SG-1, it was apparent that Catherine hadn’t gone through the Stargate when she was younger. However, Morgan was adamant that not only is Stargate Origins “a bridge between the film and the series,” she also said that “it is maintaining continuity. The way that is explained is not something I can give up because of plot spoilers. But it does keep the continuity of the show ... we really wanted to remain true to the canon of the series because that is so important to people, and it’s important to me as well. It’s really filling in the gaps between them.”
Morgan also shared her reasons for casting Ellie Gall as Catherine, and why she believes that fans see Indiana Jones parallels in the series. “Ellie is just a very strong person, and she’s also very sweet at the same time. Because of that she’s just very likable and loving. As for Catherine, we see her acting irrational at times because she’s not perfect. And instead of making Catherine unlikable, with Ellie, I think that just makes her relatable.” She added that “there is definitely an Indiana Jones vibe to it. I think people say that because there’s Nazis involved in that time period and there’s comedy. And I think that’s what people really classify as Indiana Jones. And there’s a very adventurous aspect to it.”
Regarding the rest of the cast, Morgan had nothing but praise for her performers. But she singled out Shvan Aladdin’s Wasif as one of the standout characters. “I think that everyone holds their own in different ways. One of my personal favorite characters is Wasif, because we use him as comedic relief ... a lot. And he’s a new character created for the show. ... I think my favorite moments were just seeing the playful sarcastic banter between the characters. And those moments, where you know they’re in a serious situation, what gets you into it is their bickering. Any moments with our main hero characters are some of my favorite moments.”
Morgan was particularly mindful about not sharing any spoilers, and she couldn’t even directly answer whether Stargate Origins can continue beyond the initial 10 episodes. “That’s actually something I’m not able to answer at this time,” said Morgan. "I feel like the universe is so big, I definitely want to explore more characters in different ways. Specifically, I can’t say because that would give away where the universe goes. But if I could, I would.”
The first three episodes of Stargate Origins are currently streaming on Stargate Command.