Stargate Should Be A Massive Franchise, What Went Wrong

By Jacob VanGundy | Updated

In the late 1990s and 2000s Stargate was a major franchise that seemed like it was on track to be an enduring staple of the sci-fi genre in the same way that Star Trek rose to prominence in the 1960s before spinning off into numerous successful movies and shows.

Stargate Falling Into Obscurity?


On the back of Stargate SG-1’s success, I thought the franchise was being elevated from a cult classic franchise to a respected science fiction series that could possibly even compete with the titans of the genre.

Unfortunately, that goodwill has been consistently squandered, and now the series seems to be falling into obscurity. 

1994 Stargate Movie

Like many fans, my first exposure to the franchise was the 1994 movie Stargate which was far from a perfect first impression.

While the movie had great visual effects for the time and the connections between Egyptian mythology and science fiction were interesting the characters, plot, and dialogue feel flat. It felt like a series with great potential that wasn’t quite being realized. 

The general response was similarly mixed on Stargate which was a box office hit but failed to impress critics. Raking in over $196 million the movie, the movie broke previous records for movies released during October.

However, critics panned the movie’s cliche and predictable plot, with the movie receiving mostly negative reviews. It’s sitting at 54% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Stargate SG-1 Next Up

stargate sg-1

However, the movie’s financial success led to the creation of the TV series Stargate SG-1, which created and has maintained most of the franchise’s fandom.

SG-1 took the premise of the original movie and elevated it into a fantastic piece of genre television. As a fan of other genre shows of the era like The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, SG-1 stood out as one of the pillars of the rapidly growing nerd culture of the late 90s. 

Growing up in that era Stargate SG-1 felt omnipresent in nerdy circles, everyone I knew who liked science fiction was talking about the show. Characters like Richar Dean Anderson’s Jack O’Neill and Christopher Judge’s Teal’c were referenced with the same reverence and importance as Han Solo or Spock.

While it never had the market saturation of Star Trek and Star Wars it always felt like the series was headed in that direction. 

High Point Of The Franchise

jolene blalock christopher judge stargate sg-1

Unfortunately, while Stargate SG-1 had a phenomenal ten-season run, it turned out not to be the start of a media juggernaut, but the high point of a franchise that found itself in rapid decline.

The first spin-off to SG-1 was Stargate Atlantis, which failed to live up to the hype around SG-1 and never reached the highs of the first show, feeling like an inferior copy of the original.

The next iteration, Stargate Universe faired even worse, trying to create an edgier version of the universe, it not only failed to reach new audiences but its darker vibe lost most of the Stargate fandom that was left. 

Rumors Of More?

For most Stargate fans, SG-1 seemed like the start of something great, like the original Star Trek, setting up a potential universe for future iterations.

But the series never found its Next Generation, with every follow-up feeling further from the first series than the last.

The dreams of Stargate being the next Star Trek have passed, but there’s still a vocal fandom that wants to see the franchise return to its former glory. 

Since 2022, there have been rumors of Amazon rebooting the Stargate franchise, which is likely what the franchise needs: a fresh start.

Need Something Fresh


Just like SG-1 took the elements that worked from the original movie and made something new, Stargate needs a new vision that keeps the fun but smart combination of real-world mythology and science fiction.

Stargate still has a dedicated fan base, we just need something fresh but with the feel of SG-1 to rally behind.