This article is about the city. For the TV series, see Stargate: Atlantis.
"Atlantis is all that remains of the greatest race ever to inhabit the stars."

Atlantis, also called the Lost City of the Ancients and the City of the Ancestors, Atlantus in Ancient, is a City-ship built by the Ancients several million years ago, and has approximately the same internal space as found in Manhattan. The Ancients left our galaxy several million years ago for the Pegasus galaxy, taking Atlantis with them, and settling on a planet they named Lantea, which became their capital in the Galaxy, and from where they spread around the Galaxy.

Millions of years later, after the Lanteans—the name the Ancients came to be known by—submerged the city to protect it from their enemies, the Wraith, and returned to Earth through the Stargate. Their story, over time, inspired the Tau'ri myth of Atlantis.

As of 2009, Atlantis has returned to Earth. It is currently hardbound in the San Francisco bay with its cloak active to hide it from the public. The area is placed under naval quarantine to prevent ships from passing through the cloaking field.


Ancient use

"We know the Ancients on Earth were suffering from a plague. Uh, maybe some of them were trying to start over, seeding life in a new galaxy."
Daniel Jackson

Atlantis leaves Earth

Atlantis was originally located on Earth on the continent of Antarctica, which at the time was situated much closer to the planet's equator. When a Plague similar to the one created by the Ori spread through the Milky Way galaxy, Atlantis was launched from its home, bound for the Pegasus galaxy. A small outpost and a few Ancient individuals were left behind on Earth (most likely because they had the Plague). Atlantis was relocated to the planet Lantea. Once there the Ancients created a new Stargate Network and seeded the galaxy with life, just like they had once done in the Milky Way. Soon life began to flourish where once there was none. (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2") (SGA: "Rising")

Sometime later, during the war with the Wraith, several Wraith Hive ships destroyed all Ancient colonies until Atlantis was all that was left. Hive ships went to Atlantis and started the First siege of Atlantis. The Ancients managed to defeat the Wraith ships every time they came, but were impossibly outnumbered, so the Ancient Council decided to sink the city underwater for protection from weapons fire. Atlantis was attached to the ocean floor with a series of intricate clamps, the city shield holding back the ocean. Towards the end of the war with the Wraith, the Ancient Janus rescued Dr. Elizabeth Weir from a Puddle Jumper which had been shot down by the Wraith. This Jumper was a time machine, designed and build by Janus himself. It had accidentally transported Weir, Major John Sheppard and Dr. Radek Zelenka back in time, only Weir survived. During this time it was decided, by the Council, to abandon the city and return to Earth via the Stargate. (SGA: "The Defiant One", "Before I Sleep")

Unknown to the council however, Dr. Weir secretly stayed behind in stasis as part of a plan devised by Janus. She rotated the city's Zero Point Modules every 3.3 Thousand years so that when her expedition team rediscovered Atlantis in 10 000 years’ time, the shield would hopefully have enough power to continue to hold back the ocean so they wouldn't drown like they did in her timeline. Janus also programmed a failsafe mechanism into the city so that if power reached a critical level, the clamps holding the city to the ocean floor would release, and Atlantis would rise to the surface once more.

Under the Expedition

"They may reside here, Teyla, but they are not the Ancestors... No matter how much you wish them to be."

When the Atlantis expedition arrived, they started to explore the city until Dr. Rodney McKay discovered that the city's Zero Point Modules were nearly depleted and that Atlantis' shield would fail, causing a massive flood. After searching Athos for safe refuge due to the inevitable shield failure, the search team eventually brought the Athosians back after a Wraith culling occurred. When the team and refugees returned, Janus's Failsafe mechanism activated and Atlantis rose to the surface just as the shield finally ran out of power and failed. With Atlantis safe from the risk of flooding, the expedition continued to settle down and set up home for both themselves and the Athosian refugees. (SGA: "Rising")

Having learned of the existence of Earth, the Wraith sent three Hive ships to attack Atlantis. The Atlantis expedition was able to destroy the three ships, but the Wraith sent another twelve. Seeing no way of destroying them, the expedition used a cloak adapted from a Puddle Jumper, and a timed a Nuclear warhead to make it appear that the city had been destroyed. The Wraith fell for the ruse, causing them to fall into Civil War. The secret of Atlantis is now a top priority for the expedition members. (SGA: "The Siege, Part 1", "The Siege, Part 2", "The Siege, Part 3")


Atlantis is attacked by the Wraith

In 2006, SG-1—except for Teal'c—arrived in Atlantis on the Odyssey as a step in their war against the Ori. Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter and Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell took Dr. Rodney McKay on a mission to connect a Stargate to the Supergate back in the Milky Way, preventing its further use by the Ori. Meanwhile, Dr. Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran accessed the Atlantis database in the hope of discovering the location of the Sangraal, a weapon against the Ori designed by Merlin. However, the ascended Lantean Morgan Le Fay, who masqueraded as the database's holographic interface, was stopped by the Others before she could reveal it. (SG1: "The Pegasus Project")

Later in the same year, living Lanteans were discovered in the void between Pegasus and the Milky Way, who subsequently reclaimed the city and forced the expedition out. Shortly afterward, the Asurans attacked the city, killing the Lanteans and taking Major General Jack O'Neill and Richard Woolsey hostage. Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, Dr. Elizabeth Weir, Dr. Rodney McKay, Dr. Carson Beckett, Teyla Emmagan, and Ronon Dex launched a daring rescue mission, using the city's shield generators to emit a massive Anti-Replicator gun wave. The expedition was then able to reclaim Atlantis, keeping one of the Zero Point Modules installed by the Asurans and sending the other two back to Earth to help with the battle against the Ori. (SGA: "The Return, Part 1", "The Return, Part 2", "Echoes")


Atlantis arrives at M35-117.

In 2007, after a massive pre-emptive strike on Asuras by Earth's new battlecruiser, the Apollo, the Asurans launched a retaliatory attack on Atlantis. They sent a satellite housing a Stargate to Lantea, and after dialing in from Asuras, directed a powerful energy beam at Atlantis. Unable to evacuate by Stargate, and unable to fully dissipate the beam after submerging the city, the expedition used the Stardrive to leave Lantea. The recently discovered Mobile drilling platform, located on the ocean floor gave Atlantis the power boost it needed to lift off, as the expedition only had one Zero Point Module instead of the 3 which the city was designed to use. The shield had to be lowered so that more power could be diverted to the Stardrive for the crucial first few moments of flight. As the shield was being raised after this initial phase however the Asurans beam grazed the side of the main tower, causing serious damage to the power conduits. Because of this Atlantis dropped out of hyperspace prematurely and far from the new intended homeworld, with the city's single Zero Point Module nearly depleted, having only twenty four hours of energy left. With the aid of a replacement ZPM, stolen in a daring raid on Asuras, the city eventually settled on M35-117. (SGA: "First Strike", "Lifeline")

During the same year, the nine chevron address in the Atlantis database was discovered, and the Icarus Base was built in the Milky Way to research into dialing it. This later mounted, with the help of Eli Wallace, in the successful dialing of the Destiny days after Atlantis' return to Earth. (SGU: "Air, Part 1")

In 2008, the hybrid Michael Kenmore used a Puddle Jumper, in conjunction with a stolen IDC and a number of hybrids to infiltrate Atlantis. He combined Wraith and Ancient technology, and managed to create a force field with similar results as a Wraith stunner, disabling anyone who attempted to access the control tower. His goal was to capture Teyla Emmagan's son, Torren John Emmagan. Ronon Dex eventually escaped from his original capture, as he was in Stargate Operations when the stun field was established. However Michael was able to overpower and render Ronon unconscious. This distraction allowed Teyla to escape. Michael activated Atlantis' self-destruct in an attempt to draw Teyla out, but was unsuccessful. He then attempted to retreat with the DNA of Teyla's son that he had already taken vowing to clone him. In the meantime, Dr. Rodney McKay and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard planned to use a Puddle Jumper from the underwater Jumper bay, dial the Dial Home Device and to use the Unstable vortex to destroy Michael's Jumper, thus rendering the stun field inactive and restoring Atlantis to its natural power. The plan succeeded and Michael was forced to flee with Sheppard in chase. As they battled on the outside of one of Atlantis' towers, Michael was about to throw Sheppard over the side, but Teyla intervened and pushed Michael over the edge. His grip failing, Teyla kicked his hand from the ledge, finally killing him in the fall. (SGA: "The Prodigal")

Return to Earth

"Walter, you'd better get me the President. It looks like Atlantis is coming home."
Samantha Carter
Main article: Battle of the ZPM powered Hive Ship

Early in 2009, the Wraith Todd contacted Atlantis and told them that his underling had mutinied and managed to use several Zero Point Modules, acquired during the destruction of Asuras, to create a much more powerful Hive ship. He urged the expedition to attack it before it becomes a major threat to them. The Tau'ri sent the Daedalus to confront the Hive ship, but the ZPM-powered vessel proved itself an impressive opponent, crippling the Daedalus before making a sudden and inexplicable jump into hyperspace. The expedition later found out that the Hive ship was on its way to Earth.

Both the Apollo and the new Tau'ri spaceship, the Sun Tzu, failed to destroy the vessel before it reached Earth. Sheppard interrogated Todd for the location of more ZPMs, which Major Evan Lorne and his team were able to locate; Atlantis, now with her full complement of three ZPMs, was sent to its original home in a last-ditch effort to defend it. Dr. Carson Beckett flew the city until the city's hyperdrive failed at the edge of the Milky Way. Dr. Radek Zelenka proposed activating a highly experimental and potentially dangerous drive based on the same wormhole technology as the Stargate. With it, they could potentially reach Earth in seconds.


Atlantis returns to Earth.

When Atlantis arrived, it placed itself between the ZPM powered hive ship and Earth in order to buy Stargate Command more time. Atlantis took the brunt of the Hive ship's assault and launched a barrage of Drone weapons in retaliation. The sheer force of the Hive ship's weapons fire pushed the City-ship into Earth's atmosphere, placing severe strain on the shield. Quickly losing power, the only options were to either adjust Atlantis' course or keep firing at the enemy ship; Richard Woolsey chose to keep firing. The SGC eventually succeeded in destroying the Hive ship, but Atlantis was now forced to land on Earth, risking burning up during re-entry.

Everyone at Stargate Command waited for news with bated breath, but erupted into celebration when Atlantis lands successfully over water. The city was able to cloak just before their approach to San Francisco Bay, and the area in which they landed was placed under naval quarantine. (SGA: "Enemy at the Gate")

Return to Pegasus

Although the International Oversight Advisory were initially in favor of keeping Atlantis on Earth, Lt. General Jack O'Neill was able to arrange for him to be placed in official command of Atlantis so that he could order it to return to Pegasus after a six-month absence as power began to run out from the strain of keeping the cloak constantly active. Although the Stardrive suffered minor damage that forced them to drop out of hyperspace just on the outskirts of the Pegasus Galaxy, the city retained enough power to land on the more temperate equator of a cold planet on the outskirts of the galaxy, leaving them to cope with colder temperatures but otherwise back where they began. (SGA: "Legacy: Homecoming")

Alternate realities

Alternate timelines

  • In an alternate timeline, Atlantis had no failsafe mechanism and all Zero Point Modules were running simultaneously, so the city would sink if flooded. Dr. Elizabeth Weir, Major John Sheppard and Dr. Radek Zelenka get into a time-traveling Puddle Jumper, going back ten thousand years. After being attacked by two Wraith Darts, the Jumper crashed, and Weir was the only survivor. The Ancients of the time refused to let her go back to her future, since it would corrupt the timeline. Luckily, the time-machine's inventor, Janus, helped her by creating a failsafe and making sure the ZPMs ran the city one at a time to save some extra power. (SGA: "Before I Sleep")
  • In another alternate timeline, forty-eight thousand years into the future, M35-117 was a desert planet and its star is getting hotter. Atlantis was abandoned by humans all together. Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, accidentally there, wants to go back to his time. Guided by a hologram of Dr. Rodney McKay, he tries to get to the stasis chamber to wait for a solar flare that would not happen before seven hundred more years. But due to the aging sun, in five hundred years the planet will have become uninhabitable. So Sheppard used the city's solar panels to power the shield to protect the atmosphere. (SGA: "The Last Man")


Atlantis has a great deal of advanced technology in it, ranging from the Stargate and Puddle Jumpers, to Drone weapon, the Stardrive and the all-important shield.



The ZPM room

Atlantis's main energy supply are Zero Point Modules, which are stored in a special room. To gain access to all of the technology and features of Atlantis, three are needed, however in cases of emergency, one can perform the most important tasks. The city also possesses several solar-powered generators, however they don't provide much energy in proportion to the massive amounts required to operate any useful technology in the city. In one extreme instance, lightning strikes from a massive storm were used to briefly power the shield in order to save it from a tsunami. A more effective method of alternatively powering Atlantis comes in the form of a geological drilling station located on the sea floor of Lantea. This station was built by the Ancients and utilized by the Atlantis expedition when they left Lantea. (SGA: "The Eye", "First Strike")



Atlantis with its shield raised

The shield of Atlantis is a massive dome that completely encompassed the city when activated. It protects the city from anything ranging from orbital bombardment, to the weight of an entire ocean, to a tsunami, to Coronal mass ejections, to falling space debris. The shield can cover the city like a skin to prevent the ocean from crashing inside when the city is submerged, or to prevent air evacuation when traveling through space. Also, the shield can be expanded when necessary to protect nearly an entire planet, or contracted to save power. After some modifications made by Dr. Rodney McKay, the shield can also be used to cloak the city.



Atlantis in hyperspace

The Stardrive on Atlantis enables the city to travel to distant planets, or even galaxies, in only a few days and is incredibly powerful. It is designed to operate with 3 Zero Point Modules, but can be powered by 1 if the situation calls for it, and if other power sources are used as well, the Mobile drilling platform for example. The most power is used in getting Atlantis off the surface, after this a single ZPM is able to power the city and open a hyperspace window.


Gate Atlantis

The inactive Stargate of Atlantis

Atlantis' Stargate transports people and objects to other worlds. It also features a force field that prevents even subatomic particles from rematerializing, similar in function to the iris protecting Earth's Stargate only much more effective and seemingly impossible to breach. Also, unlike every other Stargate in the Pegasus Galaxy the Atlantis Gate is able to dial another galaxy due to a special crystal in its DHD. Atlantis' original Stargate was recently destroyed due to the use of the Attero device, which had the side-effect of destroying active Stargates. The destroyed gate was later replaced with a Stargate from the former intergalactic gate bridge network and retains both the ability to dial an intergalactic address and the ability to activate its shield, as they are not functions of the Stargate itself. (SGA: "Rising", "Home", "First Contact", "The Prodigal")

Wormhole drive

Main article: Wormhole drive

The Wormhole drive is an experimental drive that was designed by the Ancients but was abandoned due to how dangerous and unstable it was as well as the immense power requirements. The Atlantis expedition used this drive to reach Earth in mere seconds after its hyperdrive failed at the edge of the Milky Way. (SGA: "Enemy at the Gate")

Different aspects




Connected Technology

Commanding officers



  • It was revealed in a post on Joseph Mallozzi's blog that, in the shelved script for Stargate: Extinction, Atlantis' computer would contain a hidden Ancient program which would cause it to self-destruct if it were to leave the Pegasus galaxy. It would not be immediate, however, and would deactivate if Atlantis were to return within the allowed time. [3]


  1. Stargate Atlantis: Angelus
  2. The Siege, Part 1
  3. Joseph Mallozi's blog, May 25th

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