On Stargate SG1 whenever they visit a new planet with the Stargate they usually see some civilisation by it and integrate and talk to them etc.

They always seem to come to the conclusion that the people that they met will be the same across the entire planet etc.

Why do they do that?

For example in an early SG1 episode 2 of the team members were sent to the antarctica Stargate and assumed they were on some "ice planet" and doomed to die there.

So my question in conclusion is the same as the title: Why do they always assume that the civilisation by the Stargate is the same on the whole planet?

  • 5
    I seem to recall an episode with a "cold war" type scenario, where there were two distinct civilizations. (Unable to do more research just at the moment.)
    – Ghotir
    Aug 25, 2016 at 14:11
  • 1
    Probably the same reason Star Wars uses "single biome planets" or Star Trek uses planets with a single civilization: it's a heck of a lot easier on the writers to produce it...
    – Ghotir
    Aug 25, 2016 at 14:12
  • @Ghotir in season one there was one planet with Land of light and land of dark or something, but still, that was one small part of the planet.
    – Naftali
    Aug 25, 2016 at 14:13
  • @Ghotir that could be New Ground in Season 3 episode 18. Bedrosia is at war with a rival continent, the Optricans, over their beliefs regarding the origin of human life on their world.
    – AidanO
    Aug 25, 2016 at 14:29
  • There's also the matter of transportation... changes later in the series as they get more ships, but unless there's a good taxi system on whatever planet they land on, whatever's closest to the gate is what they're going to deal with.
    – Radhil
    Aug 25, 2016 at 14:29

4 Answers 4


It's not an entirely reasonable assumption that the whole planet is like the people near the gate, but it's not an entirely unreasonable one, either.

Generally speaking, considering Stargates can be relocated rather easily at least for advanced technologies, they're placed at a location where they'd be useful.

So, if you found a Stargate in a glacier, it's a somewhat reasonable assumption that that's what the whole planet is like... otherwise, why not move it to a better location? I believe Carter only declared it an ice planet once she got to the surface and saw there was nothing but snow and ice as far as the eye can see, which means she's probably at least more open to thinking otherwise before that, like maybe there could have been an arctic-based civilization. In any event "ice planet" is, for their purposes while they're stranded and in need of help, pretty much the same as "completely ice-bound location on a planet with no signs of civilization".

When there are humans involved, usually they're brought there by the Goa'uld, and it's usually for some purpose. In such situations, they would both keep the culture more or less consistent (some may want to be worshiped in the Greek style*, or the Egyptian style, but generally they're not the type to say "hey, you worship me as you'd like" since that tends to open the door to "what if we DON'T worship you then?"), and probably keep them relatively close to the gate, as well... if your main purpose is mining, what use is having loads of people far from the mines who might want to launch an uprising? If you're breeding soldiers, you might want a higher population, but you'd still want them to be able to get to the Stargate if you're launching a ground assault through them.

And while there's a whole planet out of range of the Stargate... it's usually also out of the range of being of immediate interest to the SGC. I mean, a planet may have great farmland and a thriving culture on another continent, but if everywhere near the Stargate is frozen tundra and a small hunter-gatherer tribe, then they're likely not to find that other culture until they do a detailed survey, so that farmland isn't much use to them nor are they likely to make use of anybody but the hunter-gatherers as trading partners. When writing up their reports, they're probably going to focus more on the immediate gains, and so that'll tend them to describe the planets a little more reductively.

Of course, there are sometimes cases where there are multiple different cultures, like Jonas' people, or the ones who had a religious war over the Stargate, and in such cases thinking so simplistically can come back to haunt them.

(Atlantis has a similar excuse in that most of the planets are culled to small populations by the Wraith, and so they can't really build up a set of diverse cultures on any one planet.)

*- Not a euphemism.

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    Well for example the earth stargate was originally in egypt. If some people had even come to modern 1990's time and it was up in the middle of the desert in Egypt they would have never known of technologically more advanced US, or Europe, but just of the nomads and archeologists in the desert.
    – Naftali
    Aug 25, 2016 at 14:28
  • True, but Earth's something of an exception since almost every human culture comes from there. I'm sure they consider "uninhabited" or "low-tech inhabitant" planets as worthy of further extensive study when they have the resources but... even when they're operating starships, exhaustively surveying planets means spending a lot of time, effort, and risk, probably usually for nothing, when you could be looking at more planets where there's useful stuff right by the gate itself! That's where their resources are still best spent, rather than fully exploring every planet. Aug 25, 2016 at 14:34
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    @TheDoctor That happened in an Atlantis episode. The Stargate is on a prison island so the Wraith don't go after the more-advanced civilization.
    – Izkata
    Aug 25, 2016 at 18:30
  • What happened in an Atlantis episode? @Izkata
    – Naftali
    Aug 25, 2016 at 18:31
  • @TheDoctor Here
    – Izkata
    Aug 25, 2016 at 22:25

Besides @starpilotsix's answer:

Don't forget that in-universe all those planets were populated by transplanting one group of humans less than a few thousand years ago. They typically have populations in the thousands or millions, not billions, so they don't have varying cultures the same way Earth does, with billions of people co-evolving spread over a vast planet over tens of thousands of years with no cultural unifying force.

It is quite reasonable to assume some level of homogeneity.

  • Good point; we mostly see the feudal worlds (very few people), or the advanced-well-beyond-ourselves worlds (with the implicit assumption that a starfaring civilization will no longer have a "fragmented" homeworld). In the cases with civilizations relatively close to ours (e.g. no access to a stargate, industrial/modern technology...) we do in fact see that there are different nations on the same planet (though still only in single-digits - as if the Earth was formed of the British Empire, SSSR and the Third Reich for example).
    – Luaan
    Sep 5, 2016 at 13:58

The most compelling reason for a single culture planet is lack of diversity in the source material. On Earth, we have cultures that developed independently of one another and then intermingled to become what we know in modern times. The other human cultures in the Stargate universe don't appear to have evolved in the same way.

The episode Solitudes introduces the original gate in Antarctica while in the episode Demons, Jackson surmises that the Goa'uld used it to continue taking human populations after the rebellion against Ra.

Chicken vs Egg

If it's true that the Goa'uld were fairly active in human history up to a certain point, it raises some important questions.

One of the first questions is "Which came first, the Goa'uld or the religion?" Simply put, did the Goa'uld usurp the identities of existing Earth deities or did they create the religion based around themselves?

Everything we know about the Goa'uld indicates the former while only one System Lord (Sokar) was stated to have taken the identity of an existing figure from an Earth religion (Satan). Otherwise, the Goa'uld are known by the same name throughout their domain (Yu on Earth is Yu on the other side of the Galaxy, for example implying that Yu is his true name).

That implies that the Goa'uld created their religion rather than simply assimilating into an existing belief system.

Why is that important?

There are very few gods that transcend mythologies. Baal is not worshiped outside of the ancient near east, Yu is not worshiped outside of China, Ra is a strictly Egyptian god while Morrigan and Camulus are Celtic in origin.

This implies that the Goa'uld focused on specific regions at different times in human development rather than enslaving the entire planet. All of the slaves "owned" by a given Goa'uld had a common origin.

In order to maintain their hold on the human populations under their command, the Goa'uld would have had to stagnate the culture at some point. Even if the Goa'uld departed, cultural development takes generations and would be based on what came before it.


The Goa'uld moved homogeneous populations and actively encouraged the status quo while preventing any meaningful cultural development among their slaves. The result is entire planets that share a single culture.

Alternatively, it's a plot device used to examine specific aspects of our own nature/culture but that explanation is meta and I'm not sure it's what you were looking for.

The real question...

How did every human population in two galaxies speak English?

  • To answer your last question: It was explained in a director commentary that the reason for that was simply a time issue. You can't really take out 10 minutes of each episode to find common ground... though i suppose they could have done a montage media.giphy.com/media/3oz8xFAkMSb1RnZpNm/giphy.gif
    – Odin1806
    Apr 17, 2017 at 1:14
  • I understand the meta reason. I just don't think it was ever explained in universe
    – geewhiz
    Apr 17, 2017 at 1:15
  • No, it wasn't. Just like they never explained how the original MALP could track itself on a star chart map in the movie... or how they knew they should have it linked to galactic map just in case...
    – Odin1806
    Apr 17, 2017 at 1:18

Its my understanding that societies that have a functioning Stargate don't expand too far from it.

The Pegasus galaxy shows this the best whilst some towns were miles from the gate they still centred around it. Without cars/trains/planes it made the most sense to stay close to the gate and travel to a planet who's gate is near a resource you need.

There was the odd planet that did have people all over it but those tended to be planets whos gate was buried at some point or not used for trade.

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