At the beginning of "Children of the Gods", Apophis travels to Earth with his troops.

How did the Goa'uld know to return to Earth? How did they know that the desert gate had been dug up and was back in use?

  • Presumably you are referring to Apophis in CotG? Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 18:00
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    I'm talking about when the guards were playing cards in front of the stargate and Apophis comes through. To me it seems quite random.
    – Kairon156
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 18:07
  • I have no answer for this. I suspect it's been asked here before, though. Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 18:07

3 Answers 3


Simple answer for me so far: He didn't know (that Earth got liberated).

At some point between movie and series, Apophis obviously learns of Ra's defeat. Given the low technology level of the Abydonians, it's unlikely that this is the result of an uprising, and even then he most likely has enough hubris to ignore that potential.

I've always had the impression that none of the system lords considered Abydos to be worth having a permanent presence on. IIRC Ra returns to Abydos to gather collected ore only. But why did he return in person with a ship rather than using the stargate? Is it possible that this has been one of his last few worlds or something like that? So it could have been "that bit of ore or nothing at all" for him?

Either way, since Apophis is looking for a new queen (host), he's obviously trying to scoure all of Ra's former worlds for potential candidates as well. For some reason, they visit Earth before Abydos, yet they didn't expect it to be a "fallen colony" (I'd assume he would have been far more cautious then). Ra would have never allowed for any other system lord to know that he's lost Earth (as well?), considering it would have been a clear sign of weakness.

But even if he'd know, they could have tried it just out of curiosity: It's shown several times, that nothing bad happens, if you try to dial to a broken or somehow dismantled stargate. The process will just cancel, similar to a phone that's in use.

So just try all potential worlds, one after the other, if the connection works, look for candidates, and then pick the next one.

  • That's a lot of worlds. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 11:45
  • There were probably others, not seen on screen. ;)
    – Mario
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 13:18
  • Yes, that's my point. There are likely hundreds if not thousands if not tens of thousands. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 14:00
  • it does make sense that Ra wouldn't tell anyone he lost Earth so any new "Gods" taking his territory would see earth as just another world.
    – Kairon156
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 17:11

It's reasonably certain that Apophis would have spies in the employ of his fellow System-Lord Ra and would have become aware (either immediately or shortly afterwards) that he'd been killed by forces unknown. His own spies would have heard stories of the liberation of Abydos and a description of the liberators.

Having identified that Ra was actually dead, he correctly identified the Tau'ri as the culprits and then used his own Stargate (either from one of the worlds under his control or from the Stargate on his mothership) to send a small expeditionary force to Earth, expecting to proclaim himself ruler of what he would recall was a relatively uncivilised, but heavily populated planet.

O’Neill was still slightly behind the curve. “The Stargate can go other places?

“The aliens could have come from… anywhere.”
SG-1 - The Novel

Encountering unexpected resistance, Apophis made good his escape but not before he'd captured a hostage to interrogate.

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    How would Apophis have been able to do that?? Daniel had the boys guard the gate at all times, which is the reason he could ensure Jack that the attack on the Mountain had not come from Abydos. So Apophis could not have travelled to Abydos via Stargate. He could have sent a ship there, but then he could have taken slaves at the same time and would not have needed to gate to Abydos later (the attack during which Feretti got injured while the rest was looking at the cartouche / gate map). He immediately would have seized the naquadah mines on Abydos too, lerning that Ra was no longer in control.
    – BMWurm
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 18:31
  • Apophis could ring down to the gateroom. I'm pretty sure he would have also had his own Stargate on his ship.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 18:33
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    There may have been tactical reasons for not taking control of Abydos. Over-extending your forces into an enemy's territory sounds like a bad move
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 18:35
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    There is no indication that Apophis came to Earth to assert any kind of rule. Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 23:25
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit - Earth was well inside Ra's territory. It would have taken that long for news of his death to disseminate to his forces and even longer for Apophis to decide to risk an invasion by ship. On the other hand, if the locals proved amenable, he could gain an immediate advantage by asserting his claim over them using the stargate as a beachhead.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 23:33

The most logical answer for me would be that the Goa'uld did the same thing as the SGC reportedly did (Sam mentions it in a dialog with Hammond): regularly retry dialing gates that had been disconnected/buried. As Earth was the original human world it would probably be high on the retry bucket list.

  • I thought of this too, but at the time Apophis attacked the gate has been unburied for whole 52 years. That sounds like extremely low on a retry bucket list
    – NoxArt
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 16:00

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