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Feature: Stargate SG-1: Season 9, Part 2
An impending invasion of Earth’s galaxy by the Ori is only one of the problems facing the SG-1 team as the ninth season continues to unfold…
What is it that attracts hostile alien races to Earth like moths to a flame? Throughout the first eight years of Stargate SG-1, the Goa’uld were determined to either take over or destroy the planet along with Humankind. They were finally defeated last season thanks to the diligence of the SG-1 team, but a new enemy, the Ori, has taken their place. With the help of their loyal missionaries, or Priors, these God-like beings have been busy touting Origin, which is their own religion, throughout their galaxy. Those who accept Origin and serve the Ori will one day be granted Ascension, or so they think. If, however, you reject the Ori it’s unlikely you will live long enough to regret it.
During the first half of SG-1’s ninth year, Colonel Cameron Mitchell and the SG-1 team managed to keep the Ori out of Earth’s galaxy, but could the tide be starting to turn? In the mid-season cliffhanger, The Fourth Horseman Part 1, Gerak (Lou Gossett Jr) the leader of the Free Jaffa nation, goes over to the dark side when he is transformed into a Prior and demands that his people bow to the will of the Ori. Meanwhile on Earth, SG-6 returns from an undercover mission to P2X-885 and unknowingly brings back with it an Ori plague that starts to spread over the entire planet.
“The Fourth Horseman was a result of an idea I’d pitched to Rob Cooper [executive producer] about following up the issue of how the Priors unleash a plague as punishment for not following the Ori,” explains writer/co-executive producer Damian Kindler. “I thought it’d be cool if Earth got hit by a plague, but that’s such a big story I figured we couldn’t do it. Of course, Rob being Rob said, ‘Sure we can,’ so that became the spine of the episode.
“Rob also had an agenda he wanted to fulfil involving Gerak and that character’s arc, which was that he was going to fall in with the Priors. Gerak’s story made the entire episode even trickier to write because there was a very specific logic to why the leader of a certain political movement of the Jaffa would want to sign up with the Ori. Rob and I spent a lot of time discussing that with Brad Wright [series co-creator/executive producer] as well as Joe Mallozzi and Paul Mullie [writers/executive producers] who wrote part two of the episode. We had detailed discussions about politics, ideology, religion, faith and fundamentalism all of which came into play and made for quite a deep and interesting two-parter.”
ontinues Paul Mullie: “A big challenge for us with The Fourth Horseman was dealing with the concept of a global pandemic. It’s really difficult to show that without a cast of thousands. We had plenty of stock footage and things of that nature to use in TV news reports which were shown in the background of scenes. We actually hired two or three local newscasters and filmed them giving these TV updates so it would feel like you were in the middle of an actual crisis. We were fortunate, too, to have Beau Bridges [General Hank Landry], who made those scenes all the more convincing.”
by Steven Eramo
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