I've been a casual fan of the Stargate series for a long time but not at a level to read or post to fan pages until now. But I have a nagging question, and I wonder if someone has the answer. I'm probably not the first person to ask this question, but I've done a few searches and I can't find anywhere this is answered.
As stated here:
And as developed in the plot of the original Stargate 1994 movie, they were only able to use the Stargate to dial to Abydos after Daniel Jackson recognized the point of origin symbol for Earth. Then, when they got to Abydos, as Daniel said in the movie, "I can't make it [the Stargate] work" to get back home to Earth without knowing the Abydos point of origin symbol. They were totally, absolutely stuck on Abydos until Daniel figured out the correct 7th symbol (which was a big plot point in the movie).
But were they really stuck?
A Stargate only has 39 symbols, as stated here:
Now the exact number of symbols wasn't established (as far as I could tell) in the original movie. (I believe it was mentioned in the TV episode "Torment of Tantalus", if not before then; but the TV series was a few years after the movie.) However, in the original movie one could see the symbols move around the ring as the gate was dialed, and from the size of the symbols, one could get an approximate count and tell that the number of symbols was in the range of thirty to fifty symbols. It wasn't hundreds or thousands of symbols.
So if they knew the six symbols for a destination address, and there were on the order of 40 possibilities for the 7th symbol, it seems that they could simply use trial and error, dialing up to 40 times until they found the 7th symbol that would make the dialing sequence work. Surely someone as smart as Daniel Jackson, who had figured out everything else about the dialing sequence, would realize they could use trial and error to get the 7th symbol.
What am I missing? Or did the writers just overlook that in the movie?