The original leader of the Atlantis expedition. An experienced diplomat prior to getting involved with extraterrestrial stuff, she prefers negotiation and talks to confrontation. Was left behind on Asuras in Season Four, and was replaced by Colonel Carter.Associated tropes:
Transplant: First appeared in the SG-1 Season 7 two-part finale. It was known at the time that she would be moving to Atlantis, although it was not known that it would be a parallel spin-off instead of a sequel show.
The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Despite being a commander rather than royalty the trope certainly fits, as she deals with the pressure of being leader of Atlantis with incredible control throughout the series. She may feel terrified but she'll be damned if anyone see's it.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Sheppard: the two share the burden of command, confide worries to each other unbeknownst to the rest of The Team and when the other is in trouble their worry is noticably stronger compared to their other friends. The actors also deliberately played the characters from a romantic angle.
Originally picked because of his natural skill with Ancient technology. Known for having a bit of a problem with authority, but is a highly capable commander. Became Atlantis' ranking military officer and the leader of their main off-world team. Has a profoundly strong expression of the ATA gene.Associated tropes:
Ace Pilot: If it has wings, rotors, thrusters, anti-grav emitters, or any combination of the above, he can fly it.
Amicably Divorced: Sheppard and his ex-wife Nancy divorced due to the high risk of his job, but are on friendly enough terms that she uses her position at Homeland Security to pass along important information to him regarding an investigation of his.
The Atoner: Admits he constantly tortures himself for his past mistakes and shows a capacity for near suicidal self sacrifice. For more details see Broken Ace.
Badass: Mind-boggling quantities of it. In one (two-part) episode in Season 1, kills about seventy Genii troops on his own (though 55 of those ran into the Atlantis stargate's shield).
Dr. Beckett: (looking at a life-signs detector) These dots don't tell us much about who's who. How do we know which one's the Major?
Lt. Ford: He'll be the dot getting rid of the other dots.
Broken Ace: Attractive, charming, beloved by his team, MENSA accepted and the best Ancient pilot in two galaxies but also self hating, guilt ridden and secretly believes he deserves to be punished for every failure in his life.
Boldly Coming: He's notorious for hooking up with and getting hit on by alien chicks. McKay nicknames him "Kirk" becomes of this.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Sheppard, when given the right motivation, is a very accomplished pilot and soldier. He just prefers to goof off instead.
Brilliant, but Lazy: Sheppard is smart enough to join MENSA, but preferred not to join, and admits that he's "naturally lazy". He's also proved on multiple occasions that he does take his rank and position as Atlantis's military leader seriously.
Chronic Hero Syndrome: Overly eager to put his life on the line, whether its to save the city, his team, Elizabeth or strangers he's just met.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Knows exactly what sort of genre he's in and what roles everyone plays. Especially pronounced when the genre changes or a new subgenre is added.
Day in the Limelight: Despite being the main character, actually has a really awesome one of these, Doppelganger, in which he gets to play an evil energy being that looks exactly like himself (because the entity was first in Sheppard, and so took his appearance).
Heroic Sacrifice: Defied. Flies a cloaked jumper carrying a Genii nuke into one of the hives besieging Atlantis at the end of Season 1, planning to detonate it with him inside. The Daedalus shows up at that moment and beams Sheppard out before the jumper explodes.
Instant Expert: Has an incredibly good degree of control over Ancient Technology.
Married to the Job: His job was so secretive and he was so devoted to it that it led to his divorce.
The McCoy: Is this in relation to McKay in many disputes, with Weir taking his place as Kirk.
Mildly Military: His lax attitude has gotten him nearly court martialled more than once.
The Nicknamer: Has given names to no fewer than five Wraith. First there was Steve, on whom they tested the Hoffan drug, and who died as a result.. Then there was Bob, whom Sheppard and crew captured and interrogated prior to the Siege at the end of the first season, and who ended up shot to death by Sheppard when he wouldn't give up any good intel. Then there was Michael, who became the closest the series has to a Big Bad. Then there was Todd ("Guy I knew in college. Very pale."), the Noble Demon and Lovable Traitor who probably ended up helping the Atlantis expedition more than any other non-Atlantis character, with the possible exception of the Travellers. And finally there was Kenny, Todd's second-in-command.
Not Afraid to Die: Definately, and even hinted to be a Death Seeker. He's shown to be haunted by his past mistakes and whenever there's a suicide mission he's the first to volunteer.
Obfuscating Stupidity: His detractors tend to underestimate his easy-going personality, believing him to be completely undeserving of his rank and position. It usually comes back to bite them in the ass when Sheppard's sharp unconventional thinking give way to show how good he really is.
Rebel Prince: Was groomed to take over his father's business enterprise but chose to join the Air Force instead, passing the buck to his brother.
Shell-Shocked Veteran / Survivor Guilt: Whilst serving in Afghanistan, he watched best friends Mitch and Dex killed when their helicopter was hit by a RPG. He similarly failed to save downed pilot, Captain Holland, disobeying direct orders not to mount a rescue mission and getting himself shot down in the process, earning him a permanent black mark on his record.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Elizabeth or Teyla, depending on the episode. More frequently with Elizabeth later on, as Ronon appeared and Teyla eventually hooked up with someone else. (Although, he did hallucinate having dinner date with Teyla). Elizabeth was eventually captured, leaving Sheppard grief-stricken for the remainder of the show and ironically, the only long running cast member that was single at the end of the series. The semi-canon tie-in novels resolve his UST with Teyla, though whether they qualify as Canon is very dubious.
Always Someone Better: A few episode hints he might have a few shades of this towards Colonel Carter. In their first appearance (And most of his appearance on SG-1) she'd end up proving him wrong, and its implied that, along with massive UST for the colonel, Rodney is excessively aware she's better than him and desperately seeks to prove himself her equal, especially to her.
Cowardly Lion: The guy frets like clockwork about their impending doom when it happens, but somehow frequently ends up coming up with some of his best schemes to extricate everyone from the impending doom while in such a state.
Embarrassing First Name: Revealed about half way into the series once the team meets his sister. He prefers to go by his middle name, Rodney.
Insufferable Genius: A very strong trait of his when he's first introduced in SG-1. It becomes much less prominent once he's spent some time in Atlantis and he gets some character development.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he may be rude and condescending to those around him, the doesn't mean he won't give his life to save them.
Let's Get Dangerous: Rodney is a coward most of the time, but if you corner him, get him sufficiently angry, or especially threaten his friends, watch out.
Never Live It Down: In-universe. He once accidentally destroyed a solar system, and the rest of the team won't let him forget it. Luckily, it was uninhabited.
Perpetual Frowner: It's because his vast intellect causes Rodney's mind to jump to very worst possibility imaginable. Seeing a Half-Empty Glass on a table will make him wonder just when it'll roll off the table, shatter, causing a laceration that gets infected, forcing him to amputate his hand with a rusty saw, causing him to die from Tetanis.
There is very little that Rodney won't do for the team, if pushed. He once spends the last 25 years of his life (in a deleted timeline) developing a holographic companion for Sheppard when a time travel accident sends Sheppard 100,000 years into the future.
His alternate universe counterpart "Rod" is no slouch either, volunteering for a dangerous mission into another reality to save his Atlantis from destruction, before returning home via equally dangerous means because he "couldn't abandon his team".
Transplant: Appeared on SG-1 well before Atlantis.
Teyla Emmagan (Rachel Luttrell)
Leader of the Athosians. Joins Sheppard's team after Athos is destroyed in the pilot.Associated tropes:
Boobs of Steel: Her bust size is modestly larger than Weir, Carter, or Keller, and she will kick your ass.
Ms. Fanservice: In terms of an actual character, Teyla is given very little to do, and scenes of her sparring with either Ronon or Sheppard as a means of opening an episode became suspiciously frequent. She does get some screen time, but it is usually only to show her fighting. In terms of who she is as a person, we really learn very little.
The McCoy: Always, though sometimes has competition in this regard from the equally emotional Ronon, but she's far more compassionate and much less violent.
Pragmatic Hero: Usually, she is the voice of compassion on the team, but she has the potential for extreme ruthlessness, especially when her child or husband are threatened.
Shipper on Deck: Ships Elizabeth with a one-off character in the third-season episode Sunday, clearly with the goal of getting her to unwind a little.
Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Sheppard or Ronon, depending on the episode. She is close to both men; using Sheppard's name as her son's middle name (though, at that point, it's probably more just gratitude and enormous respect), and bonding with Ronon due to their shared history under the Wraith threat and status as the 'outsiders' of Atlantis. However neither relationship went anywhere, as she hooked up with Kanaan and became a mother.
Lt. Aiden Ford (Rainbow Sun Francks)
A member of Sheppard's team. Didn't get much Character Development in Season One; they didn't seem to know what to do with him. At the start of Season Two, became addicted to a Wraith enzyme and went rogue and was replaced by Ronon, a more colorful character with an interesting backstory. Was last seen in the Season Two mid-season two-parter; now everyone on the show talks like it's taken for granted they will never run into him again.Associated tropes:
Bus Crash: They gave us a huge hint that he might show up again but he never did.
Nice Guy: Was always friendly towards others, even people like Rodney.
What the Hell, Hero?: A non-verbal one in "The Eye", when Beckett's facial expressions makes it look like he doesn't believe Teyla's claim that she didn't kill Tyrus in "Underground", Ford gives him a Death Glare in response.
Sheppard: The TV character that Doctor Beckett plays in real life.
The McCoy: Oftentimes, and very much in the classical sense. Often tries so hard to help everyone that he has to be reasoned with or even physically restrained to preserve his own safety (very important, considering he's by far the most qualified medical doctor/surgeon in the entire galaxy, for quite a while).
Meaningful Funeral: The first one we actually see on the show, though Dr. Weir does refer to the people who already died on the show.
Patriotic Fervor: Wears the Scottish flag as his mission patch, despite Scotland being part of the UK. Noticeable, since English characters, such as Peter Grodin, wear the Union Flag and not the England Flag. This would imply that Beckett specifically asked for his patch to be this way.
You Look Familiar: Previously appeared in SG-1 as the Young Ernest Littlefield in "Torment of Tantalus".
Ronon Dex (Jason Momoa)
Satedan warrior. After the fall of his homeworld, the Wraith implanted him with a tracking device and hunted him for sport from planet to planet for years. Replaced Ford and became The Big Guy.Associated tropes:
Badass Family: According to Ronon, his grandfather taught him hand-to-hand combat, in addition to how to use a triple-barreled shotgun when he was just ten years old.
Badass Normal: Sheppard and McKay have the ATA gene. Teyla has the ability to sense and later sightjack the Wraith. What does Ronon have? A particle magnum, years of military service, and seven years of surviving Wraith attacks by himself.
Berserk Button: Go ahead, talk about Sateda, or better yet, insult his honor.
The Berserker: Ronon loves violence, to the point of it inducing the altered state associated with this trope.
Crusading Widower: Although flashbacks in "Sateda" imply he was in a relationship with Melena, the hospital worker who perished in an explosion during the fall of their homeworld. "Sunday" implies that she was his fiancee, as he tells Sheppard that he wasn't married, but "close enough".
Subverted in "Michael". Despite the eponymous character having lost his memories of being a Wraith, believing himself to be a amnesiac soldier, Ronan still remains completely hostile to Michael throughout the episode and repeatedly looks for even the slightest excuse to try to kill him.
Played straight in an alternate reality shown in "The Last Man", where Ronon and Todd become Back-to-Back Badasses, teaming up in order to destroy a Wraith hive and sacrificing themselves in the process.
Expy: He's a hot-headed version of Teal'c. There are several differences, however. Not only is Ronon's backstory very different, but the Jaffa were also a more conventional army than Ronon's old force is shown as being, and Teal'c was also more elegant, and disciplined. Ronon eats with his hands, and is generally more of a berserker.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Due to the fall of Sateda, the annihilation of his race at the hands of the Wraith and witnessing the death of his fiancee right in front of his eyes, before being forced to spend over seven years as a Runner.
A high-ranking IOA operative, who primarily performed reviews of both Stargate Command and Atlantis and made reports back to the IOA committee. Due to his being a bureaucrat and his job necessitating judging the actions of the main characters, he is not the most popular person in the Stargate program. Despite this, he is known as a fairly reasonable bureaucrat, and is willing to forgive some rule-bending if the results are satisfactory. Succeeds Carter as leader of the Altantis Expedition in Season Five.Associated tropes:
"I was Harvard Law Review. I was chief counsel of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Prior to that, I was an appellate advocate for Hartshorne & Slaughter, one of the most prestigious litigation boutiques in all New York City. Believe me, I can handle three tribal leaders with a stack of papyrus."
Badass Bureaucrat: Once he undergoes some loosening up, he uses his eminent skill in navigating bureaucracies for the betterment of the Atlantis expedition.
Break the Haughty: Continuing his arc from SG-1, as he learns to take himself less seriously and know when to bend the rules.
Butt Monkey: Nobody liked the fact that he replaced Carter, especially Sheppard. None of them made any effort to hide this from him either. For a while he was bordering on being The Woobie. Even Atlantis itself won't give the guy a break sometimes. There was a time the motion-sensing door of a conference room closed and decided to ignore his efforts to reopen it.
Character Development: Learns to bend the rules and become less of an Obstructive Bureaucrat during his time in command, continuing this character arc from SG1. The writers and producers referred to his arc as being one of redemption.
Heel-Face Turn: Beginning in SG1's Poorly Disguised Pilot for Atlantis, when he realizes what an absolute tit Kinsey is, and arguably reaching a head in Inquisition, when he goes into the field solo to defend the team.
Hidden Depths: Becomes more apparent over the course of his time in command, particularly in "The Shrine".
Straw Civilian: Eventually grows out of it, but it takes longer than for Weir. This probably has to do with the fact that he was cast as an antagonist on SG-1, so he needed to be given a redemptive arc.
Atlantis' number two scientist. Exists primarily to discover impending Wraith attacks and take abuse from McKay.Associated tropes:
Beleaguered Assistant: Is constantly put upon by Dr. McKay and often acting as his helper/second fiddle, despite the fact that he's still the 2nd top scientist in an organization full of Earth's best and brightest.
Jerkass: He must have written the book on being a jerkass.
Properly Paranoid: Immediately comes to the conclusion that Teyla was giving away their position to the Wraith. He actually was right, sort of. Turned out her father's pendant had been implanted with a tracking device.
The Stoic: To the point of being more grim than Ronon Dex!
Dr. Peter Grodin (Craig Veroni)
British scientist who runs the control tower. Killed Off for Real at the end of Season One.Associated tropes:
You Shall Not Pass: Tried using Ancient tech to stop the Wrath in their tracks, but he was only able to take out one ship out of three.
Wrong Genre Savvy: Doesn't seem to realize she's in a world where time travel, alternate realities and people being taken over by alien entities are a regular occurrence. No, clearly if someone is experiencing something weird, it's all in their head.
"Michael Kenmore" (Connor Trinneer)
First Wraith on whom the expedition tested their new gene therapy to turn him into a human. It worked. Partly.Associated tropes:
Evilutionary Biologist: Tried to kill almost everybody and turn the rest into an unstoppable army of destruction.
Freudian Excuse: He was betrayed by both humans and Wraith. No wonder he went completely crazy.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Was your run of the mill Wraith until Atlantis tampered with his genes (twice, without his consent). Pretty much turned your average Wraith into a savage Hybrid with a vision of genocidal vengeance and the pure hatred to pull it off. Big mistake, to be sure, but, as Beckett, Weir, and Sheppard point out, they had to try, considering that the Wraith possess every major advantage over Atlantis (with the possible exception of technology, since most of Atlantis' really high-tech goodies are either Ancient or Asgard).
Not So Different: Likes to think that the Wraith and Atlantis team are basically the same, and seems to say it at least once in every episode he appears in.
Then Let Me Be Evil: Was a Wraith who the protagonists forcibly converted into an amnesiac human. His introductory episode has the characters mistreating him for no clear reason, before he realizes that he's a Tomato in the Mirror and breaks out to return to his people... but they won't accept him either, since he's still partly human. He desperately returns to the protagonists and offers valuable aid, just begging them that they don't de-Wraithify him again. They do, and when he recovers, he's fed up of saying What the Hell, Hero?, and he snaps completely and becomes an Evilutionary Biologist.
Villainous Crush: For Teyla, possibly the only being ever who showed him compassion, once. This didn't stop him from trying to kill her a half-dozen times throughout the series and trying to harvest her child, however.
A Wraith scientist who was imprisoned alongside Sheppard and was made to feed on him. Different than other Wraith in that he actually keeps his end of the bargains and isn't particularly malicious towards the expedition, finding that they make useful temporary allies.Associated tropes:
Affably Evil: Well, depending on the definition of "evil", but nails the "affably" part pretty well.
Defector from Decadence: When the expedition came up with a way to remove the Wraith need to feed on humans, he was willing to try it. Didn't quite work out, though, mostly because he wasn't willing to do it on their schedule.
Enemy Mine: Isn't afraid to turn to the Atlantis crew if they have a mutual enemy, but often does it to suit his own interests...
Reliable Traitor: He will invariably screw Atlantis over the moment that the tide might turn in his favour. Pointed out by Sheppard when he explains that dealing with Todd feels like walking around with a live grenade in your pocket.
So What Do We Do Now?: In "First Contact", agrees that while the gene-therapy will mean they are free from their reliance on Humans as food, it's the end of a millennia of Wraith society and culture, particularly their self-image of themselves as the Superior Species.
Dr. Keller: It's for your benefit too. If you don't have to rely on human feeding, the war would be over.
Todd: Perhaps... But then what would we do? Who would we be?