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The Atlantis Expedition - Main characters
Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson)
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:
- Beware of the Nice Ones: Prefers peace and negotiation and genuinely values every life under her command, but that does not mean she can't be ruthless when crossed. As Kavanaugh discovered.
- Brainy Brunette: Has two Ph.D's and lovely brown ringlets
- Designated Parents: With Sheppard for pretty much everyone on Atlantis.
- Emotions vs. Stoicism: The stoicism to Sheppard's emotions, she's far more likely to analyze a problem logically and make the tough calls, while he relies on gut feelings and puts personal lives before the big picture.
- The Face: Not as much as expected given she's a diplomat but there are several occasions when she goes off-world to meet and negotiate with new groups. She's certainly the face of Atlantis in regards to communication with Earth, as the one who deals with Atlantis's superiors.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: Her favourite way to express disapproval - and sometimes amusement - at the rest of the teams antics.
- Iron Lady: Governs Atlantis with a poker face and rarely shows weakness to anyone, with the possible exception of Sheppard.
- Heroic Sacrifice: She stays behind on the Asuras to keep the replicators from attacking the others.
- She then returns, and does this a second time, banishing herself and her fellow replicants to the vacuum of space to protect Atlantis.
- The Kirk: Her role on Atlantis, particularly when mediating between McKay and Sheppard.
- Like an Old Married Couple: She and Sheppard develop this dynamic, thanks to their close friendship and the shared burden of leading Atlantis.
- Married to the Job: Her relationship with Simon ended due to her going to Atlantis and she's refuses any other possibilities of a relationship due to her responsibilities as leader. When all the expedition have to leave the city in Season 3, she pretty much shuts down and cuts herself off from her friends for weeks.
- Put on a Bus to Hell: Jettisoned herself into space, but as a replicant, she will never truly die and will instead float in along in suspended animation.
- Only Sane Man: What with having to deal with McKay's tantrums, Ronon's violent tendencies, Teyla and the Athosians tribal customs and Sheppard's near-death experiences.
- Plucky Girl: Not much of a fighter, but she's got guts.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Sheppard's Red. Generally in any situation, Sheppard will blast in, shoot someone and Weir will clear up the mess.
- Shipper on Deck: Retroactively revealed to be one for Teyla and Kanaan.
- Ship Tease: With Sheppard
- Straw Civilian: At first, but she grows out of it. She will usually receive open contempt from the military people she interacts with, until she proves her worth to them.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Comes across a reserved, soft-spoken diplomat but she's faced the Genii, Goa'uld, Asuran's and IOA, with nothing but her wits to prevent certain death.
- The Smart Girl: Has two doctorates, though she focuses on humanities (politics and languages) rather than sciences like McKay.
- The Stoic: The master of the poker face, which is pretty much essential to handle the problems and losses that come as part of leading Atlantis.
- Straight Man: To Sheppard and Mckay.
- Team Mom: She is the leader of Atlantis base, and often the voice of reason to Sheppard's more gun-ho attitude.
- Touched by Vorlons: Became part-Replicator.
- 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.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Self-applied.
- 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 sees 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.
- Will They or Won't They?: With Sheppard. They don't, at least, not that anyone knows of.
- Undying Loyalty: To Atlantis and it's inhabitants. An alternate Elizabeth sacrificed her life to preserve the city and make it safe for the future expedition and she eventually sacrifices herself to the replicators so the team can get away and save the city. On a more personal level to John, as seen when she absolutely refuses to let his superiors replace him and pulls out all her connections to keep him as a her second in command.
John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan)
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.
- Arch-Enemy: To Koyla of the Genii.
- 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.
- Badass in Distress: All the characters fall into plenty of trouble during the show but Sheppard seems to be the go-to guy for getting injured, tortured or held hostage, especially when Koyla's involved.
- Berserk Button: Threaten anyone on his team at your own risk. Harming Elizabeth is probably his biggest trigger, as she doesn't go out in the field much so he's extremely over-protective. When Koyla claims to have shot her Sheppard retaliates by killing over fifty Genii soldiers. Yeah. Do. Not. Hurt. Elizabeth
- Beware the Silly Ones: Most of the time Sheppard is all goofiness and wise-cracks but he has a dark side that can veer almost into sociopath territory. His killing spree mentioned above is brutal enough to horrify even Koyla.
- Boldly Coming: He's notorious for hooking up with and getting hit on by alien chicks. McKay nicknames him "Kirk" becomes of this.
- Although this is a bit of an informed attribute as, while he does frequently get hit on, he very rarely chooses to get involved with the women in question.
- 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.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Sheppard, when given the right motivation (mainly the safety of Atlantis), 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.
- Colonel Badass: After his promotion at the start of Season Two.
- 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).
- Deadpan Snarker: Being surrounded by insufferable genius and alien races means Sheppard often snarks his way through danger. Mckay is a frequent victim.
- Designated Parents: He and Elizabeth are this for the entire Atlantis expedition.
- Emotions vs. Stoicism: Emotions to Elizabeth's stoicism, as he goes by gut instincts and lets his feelings cloud his judgement especially when it comes to saving lives while Elizabeth remains more detached and is prepared to make sacrifices. This is established right from their first argument about launching a rescue mission.
- The Gadfly: Mostly towards Mckay and of course any Wraith, though he doesn't mind winding up higher-ups like Woolsey or Sumner.
- The Hero: The ace fighter pilot who can pilot practically anything, and leads his band of True Companions around the galaxy finding new worlds and saving people. Yeah, he's the Hero.
- 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. But he tries on plenty of other occasions to the point Mckay can't even remember how many suicide missions he's flown.
- Hidden Depths: Up to Eleven. He initially seems like your average gun-toting, charming flyboy, but is gradually revealed to be a math-whiz whose smart enough to join Mensa and almost as much of a dork as Rodney. His casual attitude also hides how seriously he takes his responsibility to Atlantis, the personal care he shoulders for every life under him and a much darker, ruthless side whenever his friends are in danger.
- Instant Expert: Has an incredibly good degree of control over Ancient Technology.
- The Kirk: Fulfills this role on his team, with McKay as the everlasting Spock, and Teyla and Ronon as the McCoys.
- Like an Old Married Couple: He and Weir develop into this as the series continues as co-leaders of Atlantis and their role as Designated Parents.
- Majorly Awesome: In the first season.
- Martyr Without a Cause:Sheppard: It's not like it's the first time. How many suicide missions have I flown?
McKay: I don't know. I lost count.
- Married to the Job: In the past his job was so secretive and he was so devoted to it that it led to his divorce. In present day he's more committed to Atlantis than any woman.
- Messy Hair: Try and find a scene where is hair isn't a mess. Just try.
- Military Maverick: His lax attitude has gotten him nearly court martialled more than once, and most of the other military commanders disapprove of his attitude.
- 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, a Wraith they (briefly) turned human. 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: Definitely, and 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.
- Number Two: An unusual example as he's The Hero and military leader of Atlantis, but is still second to Elizabeth who is overall commander of Atlantis despite being a civilian. He's not all that comfortable stepping up when she's not around though.
- 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.
- Team Dad: The leader of his team, and second in command at Atlantis. He has a generally laid back friendly personality, but will do anything to protect his people. He and Weir often act as parents of all of Atlantis.
- Rank Up: Goes from Major to Lieutenant Colonel between Season 1 and 2, much to his surprise given his military superior's disdain for him. It's revealed Elizabeth was actually the one who persuaded them to promote him, as they were trying to replace him with a higher-ranked officer but she wouldn't accept anyone else but John as her second in command.
- 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.
- Rebellious Spirit: For a military officer he's a total wildcard and has serious problems obeying orders. At the beginning of the series he seems to have given up following anyone and just baits authority figures. He settles in better on Atlantis as, despite a few conflicts, Elizabeth is a leader he actually respects and she establishes a very equal command dynamic with him and being cut off from earth also means his independent thinking is an advantage rather than issue.
- Red Herring Shirt: Was introduced this way in the SG-1 episode debuting Atlantis.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Weir's Blue. Much of the series involves her trying to hold back his more impulsive tendencies.
- Ship Tease: With Elizabeth.
- 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.
- Stepford Snarker: It's gradually revealed he uses snark to cover up his boatload of insecurities, guilt and self-loathing.
- Third Wheel: By the end of the series as the rest of his team, Rodney, Teyla and Ronon are all in relationships and Elizabeth has died.
- Will They or Won't They?: With Elizabeth. They don't, as she gets killed off before anything can happen.
- 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 a 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 the novels qualify as canon is very dubious.
- Undying Loyalty: He'll protect his team and friends right to his last breath. It's hard to count the number of his impossible rescue missions, he frequently sticks up for Ronon and Teyla against Earth personnel and flat-out refuses to co-operate with visiting Colonel Everett unless he keeps Elizabeth in the loop.
Dr. Meredith Rodney McKay (David Hewlett)
Atlantis' lead scientist. A brilliant astrophysicist, but also a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, an Insufferable Genius, and a Canadian.Associated tropes:
- 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.
- Ascended Extra: Started off as a one-shot character on SG-1. Then became a 2-shot character and had a sympathetic back-story grafted onto his Insufferable Genius persona. Then became a regular on Atlantis and a fully-realised character.
- Big Eater: Justified by his hypoglycemia. Or is his claim of having hypoglycemia just an excuse to eat more?
- Bio-Augmentation: He went through gene therapy in order to be able to use Ancient technology.
- Bizarre Taste in Food: He might be the only man alive who actually likes MREs. He's also allegedly deathly allergic to citrus.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: When you can do "difficult" at once and "impossible" in a few minutes, such minor flaws as being a neurotic Insufferable Genius Jerk with a Heart of Gold who has No Social Skills are easily forgiven.
- Character Development: Most likely undergoes more of this than any other character in the series. If not the entire franchise.
- Child Hater: He's hilariously uncomfortable around children, so naturally, they tend to adore him.
- Chivalrous Pervert: He might be often Distracted by the Sexy and openly joke about his long-standing lust for Carter, but he tends to be very nervous and Adorkable when actually pursuing women, such as Katie Brown and Jennifer Keller. This is also a sign of his character development as the original McKay from his first appearance in SG1 was obnoxious towards Carter (even claiming to have a thing for "dumb blondes") but by the second SG1 episode after he'd been given some redemption his response towards the idea that she didn't hate him was much more like the later McKay's reactions to women.
- Clueless Chick Magnet: Surprisingly often, usually with McKay being utterly oblivious until it's pointed out.
- 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.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Rodney cannot help but point out Bond Villain Stupidity wherever he sees it, belittling the various bad guys for their idiotic plans even when being held hostage and threatened with torture or execution.
- 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
2/3rds5/6th of 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 and shatter, causing a laceration that gets infected, forcing him to amputate his hand with a rusty saw, causing him to die from tetanus.
- Science Hero: As far as he's concerned, he's the resident Science Hero of the Pegasus Galaxy. And he's probably right.
- The Engineer: Rodney is much more a theoretical physicist than an engineer, but he becomes one when the situation demands it. Engineering was actually his second Doctorate.
- The Smart Guy: Along with Zelenka, he's the go-to-guy to fix up a tech solution to get the team out of some mess. He's well aware of it, and is more than willing to boast about it.
- The Spock: So much of.
- Spotting the Thread: In both "Home" and "Phantoms", McKay eventually notices that something is wrong with "reality" because both science and the laws of physics simply do not work that way.
- Undying Loyalty:
- 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 an averted timeline) developing a holographic AI companion of himself for Sheppard when a time travel accident sends Sheppard 48,000 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:
- Absolute Cleavage: Most of her civilian clothing is tight and V-necked.
- Action Girl: Manages to keep up with Proud Warrior Race guy Ronon. She's later promoted to Action Mom.
- Bare Your Midriff: All of her civilian clothes.
- Boobs of Steel: Her bust size is modestly larger than Weir, Carter, or Keller, and she can and will kick your ass.
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: In the beginning of the first season, her hair was a reddish-brown color, due to the actress's wigs. As the season went on, her hair color settled on a more natural brown.
- Mama Bear: Don't threaten her baby. She'll not only kick your ass, she'll make sure to throw you off a tower to your death.
- 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.
- Pregnant Hostage: Was kidnapped while pregnant.
- Proud Warrior Race Girl: Not an extreme example; much closer to Proud Hunter Race Girl.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Rachel Luttrell's pregnancy was written into the show.
- 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.
- Demoted to Extra: In season one, he was a crucial part of the team, but rarely had anything to do other than to be Sheppard's lieutenant. Season two saw him go rogue in an misguided and enyzme-addicted effort to prove himself to Sheppard.
- The Generic Guy: Other than being Sheppard's rookie lieutenant, there wasn't much backstory to make him stand out to the audience.
- Nice Guy: Was always friendly towards others, even people like Rodney.
- Perpetual Smiler: Not too much, but noticeable.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: A literal example in "Home", where this happens to him in the Lotus-Eater Machine.
- Uncertain Doom: The last we see of him, he's last seen fighting aboard a Wraith ship that explodes several minutes later. They Never Found the Body and the characters even note that they've survived similar situations several times in the past, but the fact he never shows up again does suggest against his survival.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Was something of a background character in Season one, despite being part of the main cast. In season 2 he was given a new exciting storyline... and then disappeared for half the season before returning in a two parter that ended with his death.
- 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.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: His return was left open since the team Never Found the Body. Unfortunately, the fact he never shows up for the rest of the series suggests he's likely to be dead after all.
Dr. Carson Beckett (Paul McGillion)
Atlantis' senior medical officer. Scottish. Has the ATA gene, but is afraid of using Ancient technology.Associated tropes:
- Badass Normal: He doesn't fight often, being a doctor. But when he does he fights for keeps.
- Back from the Dead: Subverted, sort of, it's complicated.
- Chick Magnet: Hoffan scientist Perna, Dr Porter and most notably, Lieutenant Cadman all take an interest in him.
- Cloning Blues: After his death, a clone of him is found in Michael’s lab, six months later with the exact memories and personality. It turns out that Michael cloned him to help with his research into the Hoffan drug and that he has been hoping for a rescue for almost two years. Learning that he’s not the ‘original’ causes him no end of confusion and grief.
- Expy: He's a simple, home-loving doctor who detests certain high-tech sci-fi gadgets with a passion and who always tries to find a humane solution over a military one. In Beckett's case, the technology he hates is powering Ancient weapons and spaceships as opposed to Star Trek transporters, but his connection to Dr. McCoy is even lampshaded in-universe.Sheppard: He's worse than Doctor McCoy.Teyla: Who?Sheppard: The TV character that Doctor Beckett plays in real life.
- The Heart: As Elizabeth says in her Eulogy he was a kind soul, and no one ever came to her with a complaint about him.
- Hospital Hottie: He's quite a handsome doctor, which has not gone unnoticed in-universe or out.
- The McCoy: 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 other losses. We see his coffin carried through the gate, with the main cast as his pallbearers.
- The Medic: The head of Medicine on the Atlantis base, he is frequently fixing up our heroes after their many scrapes with death.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: He was originally a recurring character but was given main cast status at the beginning of Series Two.
- 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:
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Once with Teal'c, and about 40 times with Sheppard and the rest of the team.
- Badass: Managed to avoid recapture by the Wraith for years after they turned him into a hunting target. For sport because he was somehow resistant to their feeding technique. Plus, he was a former member of the Satedan army before his initial capture.
- Badass Beard: The most physically competent of Sheppards team, and he has some pretty nice facial hair.
- Badass Family: According to Ronon, his grandfather taught him how to track and fight, 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 being sport-hunted by the Wraith. He's capable of fighting Wraith in hand-to-hand combat and winning.
- Berserk Button: Insulting Sateda or Satedan honour may make him angry, but the betrayal of friends is something he finds intolerable.
- The Big Guy: He is played by Jason Momoa, who is is 6'3'', and does most of the heavy hand to hand combat for the team.
- Celibate Hero: It's mentioned that he gets a lot'' of attention from the female base personnel on Atlantis, but the only woman he displays interest in is Keller, at least until she tells him she's interested in someone else. When Sheppard once asks him if he's interested in anyone, he admits it's too soon, despite having lost the woman he loved over seven years ago. He meets Amelia Banks when she comes round from a Wraith stunner nearly as fast as he does and then helps him kick Wraith ass in hand-to-hand combat. The finale gives the pair a Maybe Ever After.
- 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" reveals they were living as a married couple when he tells Sheppard that he wasn't married but was "close enough".
- Dreadlock Warrior: They became such a signature look that when Momoa cut them off in season 5, the producers made him wear a wig.
- Enemy Mine:
- Subverted in "Michael". Despite the eponymous character having lost his memories of being a Wraith, believing himself to be a amnesiac soldier, Ronon 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.
- Fantastic Racism: While no one in the Pegasus galaxy, save for the worshippers, like the Wraith, Ronon despises them, albeit for good reason. When the team encounters the seemingly innocent and benevolent Elia, Ronon is never anything but hostile towards her, insisting that she's a killer and a monster just like the rest of her species. Even a human, amnesiac Michael got nothing contempt at best and outright hatred at worst from Ronon, which leads them to particularly despise one another after Michael reverts. He manages to get this under control in later seasons, though, to the point of being willing to work with Todd without constantly trying to kill him.
- The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: He hunted his Wraith pursuers just as much as they hunted him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ronon may not have the best matters and is quick to say whatever is on his mind, but he's deeply loyal to Sheppard and is capable of showing a softer side.
- Knife Nut: Only three things are infinite: The universe, human stupidity, and Ronon's supply of hidden knives.Lt.Col. Sheppard: How many of those do you have?Ronon: How many do you need?
- Meaningful Name: "Ronon" is pronounced like "ronin"—the term for a masterless, wandering samurai. Given his backstory, his situation when he meets the Atlantis team, and his fondness for blades...
- Mr. Fanservice: Momoa won Hawaii's Model of the Year in 1999
- Multi-Ranged Master: There probably isn't a weapon type in existence that Ronon can't immediately pick up and use. He is shown as being a very competent wrestler/grappler as well.
- He does seem to have a bit of difficulty with the railguns on the Daedalus. Console-controlled weaponry doesn't seem to be his thing.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Satedan's were so good at combating the Wraith that they decided to wipe them out rather than continue culling them, just to be safe. They frequently have tribal style tattoos, and an intensely strict code of honour. Ronon frequently boasts about how good the Satedans are at fighting.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: His trademark energy pistol is shaped much like a revolver, and its energy cell is swapped out in a manner similar to break-action revolvers. He sticks with it despite the considerably greater volume of fire that the more standard issue Earth-made SMGs that the rest of the excursion teams prefer.
- It helps that it has variable output levels, ranging from stun to hilariously lethal. It is one of the only weapons that can kill one of Michael's super-hybrids with a single shot - they're otherwise capable of tanking an uncomfortably large amount of P90 fire before going down.
- 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 lover right in front of his eyes, before being forced to spend over seven years as a Runner.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Talking too much, for villains, tends to end with a mouthful of gun.
- Stun Gun: His pistol does have a stun setting, though he often needs to be reminded to use it. Ronon prefers to keep it set at the highest kill setting possible, particularly when dealing with Wraith.
- The Determinator: If he has to drive the Wraith to extinction all by himself, he has absolutely no problems with doing exactly that. Sometimes he has to be reminded that he's not alone any more and that he does have team mates who are willing to help him fight the Wraith.
- Trauma Conga Line: Was raised like everyone in the Pegasus galaxy under the constant threat of the Wraith. When he was in his twenties, his planet was overrun, his 'wife' was killed in front of his eyes, and he then spent the next 7 years being used as a Runner for the Wraith in mock hunts. During this time he was lead to believe his entire race had been destroyed. He later discovered that some had survived, but many of them had become drunks and mercenaries. Some of his closest friends had even allied themselves with the Wraith. Poor guy can't catch a break.
Dr. Jennifer Keller (Jewel Staite)
Replaced Beckett as chief medical officer for the last two seasons.Associated tropes:
- Hospital Hottie: becomes the new head of medical, and is played by the adorable Jewel Staite
- Improbable Age: She's named the head of the expedition's medical team at the ripe old age of twenty-six. She does mention in one episode that she was forced to sacrifice her childhood to do it and that she does have regrets about that.
- The Load: Freely acknowledges being this in "Missing", although by the end of the episode she manages to take a few levels in badass at least.
- Love Triangle: While Ronon and Rodney assume they're going to be in one and make a gentleman's agreement behind her back to let the best man win, it doesn't interfere with their personal relationship. Keller herself puts a stop to it a few episodes later as soon as she realises Ronon may be getting the wrong impression from her friendship, telling him she's interested in someone else. He immediately stops pursuing her, although it takes Rodney much longer to figure out he's won... not because he thinks Keller doesn't want him, but because - despite knowing that - he still has trouble asking her on a date until she tells him to just call his invitation a date.
- The Medic: Takes over as the head of medicine after Carson's death.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Season Five.
- Teen Genius: Supposedly how she got the head doctor's job so young.
Colonel Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping)Transplant from Stargate SG-1. Replaced Weir as head of the Atlantis Expedition for Season Four.Associated tropes:
- Action Girl: Though she doesn't get to show off her combat talents much anymore.
- Badass Bookworm: Carried over from SG-1. Carter's a genius and a Colonel Badass to boot.
- Hot Scientist: Which is why McKay has such a thing for her.
- The Kirk: Pulls this off sometimes, despite having an extremely hard science background like McKay
- Transplant: From SG-1.
Richard Woolsey (Robert Picardo)
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.For tropes applying to him in SG-1, see here.Associated tropes:
- Badass Boast"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.
- Cowardly Lion: When he was first introduced. He spent most of his time hiding in a corner, until he took a level in badass.
- Guile Hero: He's no fighter, but as his Badass Boast and what he follows it up with show, Woolsey's one hell of a negotiator.
- 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".
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Though he becomes one less and less during his time in command. His character arc basically spans from being an antagonist, to being merely less obstructive than any other bureucrat, to being annoying and nit-picky but generally benevolent towards the SGC and Atlantis Expedition.
- Pet the Dog: Even before being made leader of the Atlantis Expedition, he had a few moments to show that he is really more pleasant than any other IOA bureaucrat, such as leaving out certain details in his Atlantis reports so as to not harm the Carters Command excessively.
- Straight Man: Always straight-laced and straight faced, despite all the insanity he encounters in his job.
- 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.
- Transplant: Just like Rodney, he first appeared in a couple of Stargate SG-1 episodes.
The Atlantis Expedition - Recurring characters
Dr. Radek Zelenka (David Nykl)
Atlantis' number two scientist. Exists primarily to discover impending Wraith attacks and take abuse from McKay.Associated tropes:
- Adorkable: A grown man, but he has his moments of adorable awe and scientific gushing. Especially his Czech language description about how they brought up Atlantis to the surface and how happy he was to finally see the sun.
- 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.
- Bilingual Bonus: Speaks a lot of Czech.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: He says the following in Czech at one point: "Jesus, I can't work with these actors!"
- Catch Phrase: Well not exactly a catch phrase, but he does have a habit of storming away cursing in Czech when people irritate him.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: While under the influence of an amnesia virus (as was most everyone else), he successfully evaded the Marines and took one out to boot.
- Fake Guest Star: He's one of the most frequently appearing characters, and one of the few recurring faces to last over all five seasons, but Zelenka never makes it to the opening credits.
- Foil: Is often put in scenes with with McKay to make him appear both smarter, and crabbier. He's also very nervous about off world travel, which McKay often seems to be, but once Zelenka is around we realise that McKay is actually way more game for the action stuff than most of the scientists.
- Foreign Cuss Word: His swearing in Czech when he's annoyed and frustrated.
- Foreign Language Tirade: Has a habit of bursting into one of these when annoyed. Frequently accompanied by him throwing his hands up in the air and storming off.
- Genius Ditz: Can come off as a bit forgetful and comical and is often proven wrong my McKay. But then its easy to forget, he is the number 2 scientist on the whole base, as McKay's second in command.
- Grumpy Bear: Can give McKay a run for his money with his all too frequently heard grumbling.
- Homeless Pigeon Person: Is a major pigeon enthusiast, having raised pigeons back on Earth.
- The Klutz: He's not that big a klutz, but it is noticeable.
Major Evan Lorne (Kavan Smith)
Atlantis' military second in command. Joined the expedition in Season Two.Associated tropes:
- Deadpan Snarker: At times.
- Fake Guest Star: He's a common sight from season 2 on, but he stays a guest star for the entire series.
- Hero of Another Story: He first appeared in SG-1, then he popped up now and again afterwards.
- Hidden Depths: One episode reveals him to be a professional-quality landscape painter, though the fact all his landscapes are of highly classified alien facilities means it's doubtful he'll ever be allowed to sell them.
- Majorly Awesome: A major and a Badass.
- Mauve Shirt: Security personnel who managed to survive to the end of the series.
- Number Two: He's implied to be second-in-command of the military personnel, but he is not The Lancer.
- Sixth Ranger: Joins the expedition in season 2, becoming a regular face from then on.
- Transplant: First appeared in the SG-1 episode "Enemy Mine".
Colonel Steven Caldwell (Mitch Pileggi)Commander of USAF starship Daedalus. Not officially a member of the expedition, but definitely someone they can always depend on.Associated tropes:
- Bald of Awesome: Bald as a cue ball, but still a badass commander.
- Colonel Badass: A colonel and commander of the Cool Starship Daedalus.
- Devil in Plain Sight: See Driven To Villainy, below.
- Driven to Villainy: Thanks to the Goa'uld spy symbiote implanted in him against his will. He gets better after it's excised, though.
- Fake Guest Star: He appeared on a more or less regular basis in season 2, yet never made the leap to the opening credits.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Once that pesky Goa'uld's gone, anyway.
Colonel Abraham Ellis (Michael Beach)Commander of the Apollo another USAF starship and sister ship to the Daedalus.Associated tropes:
- Bald of Awesome: Sure he's an ass, but you can't deny he gets shit done.
- Colonel Badass: Dropping six planet-buster sized nukes on the Replicators certainly qualifies him as one.
- Hero of Another Story: Being the commanding officer of a 304-class battlecruiser means he's dealing with any problem that the IOA or Stargate Command needs him to.
- Jerk Ass: Not the nicest of the military leaders.
- Replacement Flat Character: Takes up the banner of the unlikable military leader after Colonel Caldwell gets his symbiote removed and loses most of his Jerk Ass qualities.
Chuck (Chuck Campbell)Canadian technician who works in the Atlantis Gate room.Associated tropes:
- Deadpan Snarker: Feels like Woolsey doesn't show him the respect he deserves and snarks about it.
Sergeant Bates (Dean Marshall)Atlantis' head of security in Season One. Later discharged and became an IOA agent.Associated tropes:
- Anti-Hero: He's not evil, just an ass.
- The Bus Came Back: He shows up again as an NID agent after being Put on a Bus in season 2.
- Fantastic Racism: Makes it very clear he doesn't like the Athosians.
- 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:
- Killed Off for Real: Killed when the Wraith destroyed the Ancient defense satellite he was on.
- Mission Control: In season 1, he served a similar role to that of Sergeant Harriman from SG-1.
- Sacrificial Lion: His death proves beyond a doubt how serious the threat from the Wraith really is.
- You Shall Not Pass: Tried using Ancient tech to stop the Wraith in their tracks, but he was only able to take out one ship out of three.
Dr. Kate Heightmeyer (Claire Rankin)Expedition psychologist. Killed Off for Real in Season Four.Associated tropes:
- All Psychology Is Freudian: Averted. She more often investigates stress and fear as being the root causes for peoples problems, rather than deep dark family pasts.
- All Therapists Are Muggles: 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:
- Anti-Villain: Averted. Despite what Michael is always saying, he was a monster even before the other Wraith rejected him, which he proved in his debut episode; Teyla was one of the only people who treated the human Michael with any kind of kindness, yet when Michael started reverting into a Wraith, he kidnapped her with the intent of feeding on her. His actions over the course of his other appearances destroy any sympathetic qualities Michael has, and in the end, he's driven by little more than spite.
- Ax-Crazy: Once he settles as a Hybrid, Michael is clearly a bloodthirsty monster who revels in killing his enemies.
- Big Bad: The closest that the show ever got to a singular main antagonist. He fills the role best in season 4.
- Disney Villain Death: After a brief fight, Teyla throws him off the highest tower in Atlantis towards the end of the final season.
- Evil Is Petty: Michael and Ronon always hated each other, but in "Enemy at the Gates", Michael is willing to take a moment (while the city is rigged to explode, no less) to behead an unconscious Ronon just for a trophy. Ironically, this wound up saving Michael's life, as Sheppard activating the Stargate before Michael could wound up killing the Hybrids Michael brought with him, and would have killed Michael as well if he hadn't stopped to try and kill Ronon.
- 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. Deciding to wipe out both races, on the other hand, is less reasonable.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: From run of the mill Wraith to genocidal lunatic and would-be galactic conqueror.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Well half ancient, half vampire bug. Millennia ago, the bugs they evolved from fed so heavily from the ancients that their DNA started to be incorporated into the eggs stem cells, creating the Hybrids that became the Wraith.
- Michael is constantly treating the Atlantis team like monsters because they turned him into a human without his consent. He goes on to convert thousands of humans into his Hybrid army without their consent.
- He claims to care for Teyla and her baby. As he proves at the end of "Enemy at the Gates", he's perfectly fine with leaving both of them to die out of raw spite.
- Killed Off for Real: Finally slain by Teyla in season 5.
- Never My Fault: Michael blames himself for exactly none of his own atrocities. To him, the Atlantis team is at fault for everything he does, due to using him as a genetic experiment. While they did set Michael on the path to what he became, in the end, it was Michael's own rage and obsession with revenge that resulted in the most horrific of his crimes.
- 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.
- He's also willing to commit the same acts he blames the Atlantis Expedition for (Such as subjecting people to gene therapies and experiments against their will), to other people, and on much wider scales to boot.
- 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.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Michael's endgame is to wipe out all Wraith as revenge for them rejecting him, and intends to end humanity in the Pegasus galaxy as well, either by killing them with the Hoffan drug or converting them into Hybrids to serve him. However you slice it, it's genocide.
- 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.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Calls the heroes out on their actions, repeatedly.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Not remotely sympathetic, but he counts. Being forcibly converted into a human (twice) and rejected by the Wraith turned Michael into an embittered psychotic hell bent on genocide and galactic domination.
"Todd" (Christopher Heyerdal)
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.
- Backhanded Compliment: Agrees that McKay is highly intelligent... for a human.
- Deadpan Snarker: If he wants to, he can be pretty snarky.Ronon: We're just gonna blow it up.Todd: (resigned) Naturally. ("The Last Man")
- 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...
- Friendly Enemy: Comes across as one to Sheppard and McKay when they're forced to team up.
- Handshake Refusal: Intentionally invoked this by offering his hand forward to Woolsey and causing everyone in the vicinity to immediately raise their weapons. Turns out he was just screwing with them.Todd: *Laughs* Just a bit of Wraith humour.
- Honor Before Reason: most of the time, he'll go to any lengths to keep his bargains, even against his own better judgement.
- Lovable Traitor: while he's inevitably going to turn on the Atlantis expedition at one point or another, his Affably Evil tendencies, sense of humour and Noble Demon leanings make him one of the most likeable characters in the cast.
- Meaningful Name: Todd is an old English name meaning 'fox' (as in, cunning as a fox), while 'Tod' is a Scottish nickname meaning 'clever or wily one'. Both fit him like a glove.
- Noble Demon: He's still a villain, but Todd is actually willing to work with humans, and once he makes a bargain with you, he tends to keep it. He also spends most of his introductory episode philosophising about the nature of being a Wraith, and how, like humans, they do have emotions and feelings. Really highlights the 'noble' part of the trope.
- Really 700 Years Old: It's revealed in "The Lost Tribe" that Todd is over 10,000 years old. Given the nature of Wraith society, the fact he's lasted that long makes this a rather impressive feat.
- 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?
- Worthy Opponent: Sees the Atlantis crew and Sheppard in particular as one.
Cowen (Colm Meaney)Associated tropes:
- Chronic Back Stabbing Disorder: You'd think the Atlantis team would've learned not to believe a word he says.
- Playing Both Sides: He tried pitting the Atlantis team against some rebels. It didn't end well.
Acastus Kolya (Robert Davi)Associated tropes:
- Arch-Enemy: To Sheppard.
- Badass Longcoat: When not in uniform.
- Showdown at High Noon: A version B with Sheppard. He Lost
- The Unfettered: Even his own strike team is put off by his actions.
Ladon Radim (Ryan Robbins)Associated tropes:
- The Chessmaster: Seems to be a requirement for Genii leaders.
- Heel–Face Turn: First time it was a ruse, second time seems to be genuine.
- Morality Pet: His sister.
- The Smart Guy: Of Kolyas team.