An expedition team leaves Earth to find the Lost City of the Ancients deep within the Pegasus Galaxy, hoping to discover valuable new technology and possibly even living Ancients. What they find, however, is a city trapped under an ocean with its shield about to collapse and a deadly new enemy is lying in wait.
Several million years ago, the Ancients leave Earth in their great city-ship of Atlantis. Ayiana must remain behind for unknown reasons, and watches the great city slowly rise and disappear in the sky.
In Antarctica, millions of years later in 2004, a group of researchers and scientists are working in the Antarctic outpost. They are examining Ancient technology which includes an Ancient Drone weapon, and a Control chair. Dr. Carson Beckett is attempting to activate the chair as he has the Ancient Technology Activation gene (ATA), a special gene sequence that allows him to interface with Ancient technology. However, Beckett is unwilling to sit in the chair despite being the one to discover the secrets of ATA.
Dr. Elizabeth Weir, the leader of the proposed expedition to Atlantis talks to Dr. Meredith Rodney McKay, the Expedition's Chief Science Officer with Weir stating that they need as many people they have with ATA to sit in the chair so that they can learn more about its operation. However most people are afraid of it because it controls powerful weapons with Weir even admitting that she's afraid of the chair.
He has news about the address where the Ancients went after they left Earth. They recently discovered a seventh symbol, the point of origin Earth, but found that their address was incomplete.
There was an eighth symbol. Atlantis may be far, but it's not out of reach. It is possible to go there.
At the Base, McKay wants Beckett to sit in the chair one more time. Despite objections, McKay gets Beckett to sit down and asks him to try and imagine an image of their location in the Solar system. The chair activates but it also activates one of the drones that the research team is studying. The drone heads up and out of the base, and targets O'Neill's helicopter.
Before they get the warning from the base, though, the drone enters their visual range. Sheppard and O'Neill start to dodge the drone while Weir tells Beckett to concentrate turning off the drone before it hurts someone. He manages to do so, moments before the drone impacts the chopper.
Sheppard and O'Neill arrive at the base about seven minutes later. O'Neill leaves Sheppard with orders not to touch anything, while he goes to talk with Jackson, Weir, and McKay.
In a room, Jackson tells everyone about how the Ancients left in their flying city a few million years ago, to settle in the Pegasus Galaxy. McKay wonders if it may be possible that they are still there, and Jackson cites that that itself is reason enough to go.
O'Neill doesn't mind, but there is one problem. They need the nearly depleted Zero Point Module (ZPM) to power the gate, but O'Neill doesn't allow them to use it. However, the rest insist on using the ZPM since reaching another galaxy requires an enormous amount of energy which can only be supplied by a ZPM and they are fully aware of the mission's one-way nature.
At the same time, Sheppard runs into Beckett, who was recounting the events of the drone. Sheppard blames him for "firing that thing" but quickly forgives Beckett. Beckett then goes on to explain the ATA gene to Sheppard. In the process, Sheppard sits on the chair, regarding that the odds are against him having the gene.
However, the chair lights up immediately and Beckett rushes to get Weir. McKay asks Sheppard to do the same exercise of thinking about their location in the Solar system, and a map immediately appears above the chair with Sheppard stating, "Did I do that?". This leaves everyone, especially Weir stunned.
A while later, Weir talks to O'Neill about Sheppard with the two of them discussing Sheppard's own black mark with Weir even bringing O'Neill's own history although Jack mistakenly believes at first that Weir wants Daniel before telling her that he needs Daniel here.
Out in the helicopter, Sheppard is still confused about the Expedition and also about how he has an alien gene as well as the Stargate. O'Neill wants Sheppard to give him an answer by the time they reach McMurdo Air Force Base or else O'Neill doesn't even want him.
A bit later, all the members of the team are saying farewell to their loved ones. Some are able to disclose certain details about the mission, like Weir, but others have to fabricate stories.
At Stargate Command, the members of the expedition are getting ready for departure with the corridors to the Embarkation Room being full of Atlantis personnel and various supplies as final preparations are put in place.
While they wrap up, Weir makes a speech to everyone. If they achieve a wormhole, they go, and she offers them one last chance to withdraw their participation.
No-one responds and an Technician (Rising) begins dialing the gate.
As the eighth chevron locks, a stable wormhole forms with the expedition team responding with joy and applause.
The probe is sent through and a viable atmosphere is detected with McKay examining the room and stating that they're not getting out of this.
As such, O'Neill tells Weir that she has a go with Weir thanking O'Neill.
Just before Weir steps through, she looks at O'Neill who silently nods at her before Weir herself steps through the wormhole.
In the control room, Daniel wants to go but O'Neill refuses.
After receiving word that it's all clear, O'Neill tells the Expedition team to move out with the remaining military personnel getting ready to step through the Stargate.
Sheppard then stares at the wormhole for a second before he gathers his courage and steps through.
A large wormhole that goes up and down is then shown before it shows Sheppard emerging from the Stargate and arriving in the Atlantis control room.
The lights start to come on as soon as John Sheppard steps into the city.
As Sheppard glances around, more military personnel arrive in with the civilians soon arriving, McKay being the first ever citizen to set foot on Atlantis (after Elizabeth, of course).
Back on Earth, the remaining personnel step through the wormhole, bringing the various supplies with them as well.
As everyone looks around, Sheppard and McKay head up the steps to the main Operations room with all the lights coming in an instant, stunning everyone although there are no reports of any aliens whatsoever.
Once the last person has stepped through, Sumner informs Weir that everyone's here with Weir talking to O'Neill via a walkie-talkie and stating that Atlantis offers greetings from the Pegasus Galaxy. She then tells O'Neill that he may cut power to the gate. A bottle of champagne soon rolls through Atlantis' Stargate and then it deactivates.
As they explore the compound, lights and systems start to come online. Security teams are exploring the city, but have found no signs of aliens, Ancients or otherwise.
However, the teams discover a conference room, and a hangar with small spaceships.
At the same time, McKay discovers the control room, and the Lantean Dial Home Device. As they are powering up main systems, Sumner calls Weir down three levels, where they see the city stretched out before them, completely submerged several hundred feet beneath the ocean.
Lucky for them, a force field is holding back the water to prevent the collapse of the city. Beckett also found a room with a holographic recording by an Ancient, telling the history of Atlantis. About 10,000 years previously, a powerful enemy besieged Atlantis, which is why they sunk their city, and went through the Stargate back to Earth. The entire story of Atlantis is true, that it sank to the bottom of the ocean and was lost. They hypothesize that one of the Ancient Greeks would have probably have heard the story from an Ancient. A member of the expedition comes over to speak to Rodney. Just as Carson goes to activate the recording again, Rodney tells him to stop immediately. A problem has arisen with McKay telling everyone to stop what they're doing or else they're all dead.
The power levels in the city are dropping, and as soon as the last of three ZPMs fail, the entire city will become flooded. They compress the teams to smaller locations, and attempt to cut back on power. However, they will need to find more ZPMs if they want to survive, as their Naquadah generators cannot provide enough power on their own.
Sumner puts together an expedition team, which includes Sheppard, and they open the gate to the planet Athos. The first people they encounter are two Athosian children, Jinto and Wex, who are playing a game. At first perceiving them as a threat, the team later encounters Halling, who clears up the confusion, and takes them to Teyla Emmagan, leader of the tribe. On their way, one of the children briefly tells Sheppard about a creature called a Wraith, and his ignorance of their species surprises both children.
Teyla introduces herself, and Sumner introduces his team. She states that the Athosians do not trade with strangers, so Sheppard proposes that they get to know each other. He is quick to "break the ice," and Teyla invites them to share a cup of stout tea.
The next day, Sumner explains their proposition, but the Athosians fear that they may provoke the Wraith by entering the great city (a settlement across the lake). When Sumner shows ignorance of the Wraith, the first thing Teyla suggests is that they return to their world, as it best the Wraith never learn of their existence. Despite the warning, Sumner wants to explore the city, as there may be a ZPM there that the Athosians don't know or care about. However, Sheppard is afraid that these Wraith may be the great enemy spoken about in the Ancient history. Teyla feels that it is important Sheppard sees something, especially since they cannot return to their homeworld.
Back on Atlantis, the shield is in degrading condition, as another section of the city becomes flooded.
Teyla has taken Sheppard to some Athosian caves. There, Sheppard finds a necklace, which Teyla claims to have lost years ago. After putting it around her neck, Teyla begins to explain the Wraith history. They apparently sleep for periods of several hundred years, allowing the number of the humans to increase. They then return to cull them. Apparently, there are no species untouched by the Wraith. Also, there are some Athosians, like Teyla, who can sense the coming of the Wraith, which gives warning to the people.
At the Stargate, Ford is updating Sumner on their status, having finished transmitting to Atlantis. However, the Stargate suddenly becomes active, and three ships exit, heading for the city. Teyla senses the approach of these ships, remarking that the Wraith have come. They transport people to their ships, using some sort of beaming technology.
Sumner immediately orders them to open fire, but becomes distracted when he sees movement on the ground. Teyla soon informs them that these are mere illusions, and that they should focus on the ships. Sgt. Bates manages to take one ship down. However, both Sumner and Teyla are taken. The two remaining ships then head for the gate, and Ford memorizes the symbols on the dialing device. Sheppard goes to examine the downed wreckage, where he finds a Wraith hand. At the same time, Jinto arrives, scared, as he has lost his father.
Back on Atlantis, Dr. Peter Grodin is showing Weir the collapse of another part of the shield. McKay reports that shield failure is imminent, and that they have to evacuate immediately despite Weir's obvious reluctance. McKay, on the other hand insists that they can't wait any longer and that they need to go now.
However, as they dial the gate, Sheppard returns with the Athosian refugees. Weir tells Sheppard that they have to abandon the city, and Sheppard asks Jinto to gate an address for them.
However, as they are dialing, the entire city begins to rise.
Before they can react, Atlantis re-surfaces, solving their shield problem with Weir remarking that while she was hoping for another day, it looks like they got much more than that.
As Lt. Ford begins overseeing the organization of supplies, McKay updates Weir and Sheppard on what's going on. Their last ZPM has been depleted, but they can now use their Naquadah generators to provide power, as they no longer have an ocean to hold back.
However, they cannot raise their shield, which means that they may as well be target practice. But what Sheppard wants to know is where Sumner and the others were taken. McKay complains that there are hundreds of permutations of the six symbols provided with Sheppard interrupting, shocking McKay by telling him there's 720. Rodney complains that he knew that, he just didn't think Sheppard did. Sheppard tells him that all he has to do is find the permutation that they can lock onto.
Despite the technical problem to be solved, Weir asks for a word with Sheppard. She does not want him to carry out his rescue operation. She states that it's risky, especially since they know that the Wraith were powerful enough to destroy the Ancients. Also, their defensive condition puts them in more jeopardy, but Sheppard insists. Weir finally agrees, but says that she wants at least a remote chance of success before mounting a rescue.
On the Wraith ship, Teyla regains consciousness, presumably losing it before being beamed aboard. Sumner asks her if she can provide any intelligence on what to expect, but she has no idea what happens. They are discussing their predicament when a Wraith comes. Sumner attempts negotiation, but the Wraith does not hear a word past his first name. He then selects an Athosian, Toran, disregarding both Teyla's and Sumner's offer to take them in his place.
On Atlantis, they have managed to lock onto a gate address, but soon discover that the gate is in high orbit around a planet. They cannot walk through it, but McKay has an idea. He takes Sheppard to the hangar of ships, asking if he might be able to fly one.
Meanwhile, Beckett is examining the Wraith arm that Sheppard brought back. He tells Weir that the cells of the creature have an amazing ability to regenerate. Also, the former owner of the arm was "very, very old." The Wraith can't die from natural aging as long as the cells of the body are nourished, and they are near impossible to kill, a fact Weir does not like the sound of.
Sheppard has learned how to fly the Ancient ships, and also discovered that they have cloaking shields. Along with Ford and a few other soldiers, they prepare to leave. Ford reports that "Gateship One" is ready, but Sheppard overrules the name, favoring the name Puddle Jumper.
Not wanting to argue, McKay agrees with the name, and they dial the gate using the Jumper's DHD.
They arrive in orbit of the planet, where Sheppard immediately engages the ship's cloaking shield. Also, Sheppard discovers that the ship is controlled mainly by thought, and can access devices and a Heads up display just by thinking.
Sheppard then lands the Jumper, and lays down defenses. He also tells everyone not to engage the enemy.
On the surface, in the Wraith ship, the Wraith comes back for another person. This time, he takes Sumner. They go to a large room, where an aged corpse lays in a chair, which later turns out to be Toran. Soon after he arrives, a female Wraith comes, remarking that Sumner must feel hungry. She starts asking him questions, remarking that he has little fear. He asks why his people have been taken prisoner, and she responds that they trespassed on the Wraith's feeding ground, a term which shocks Sumner. The Wraith remarks that humans are their food, and starts asking about Sumner's home planet, coercing the answer out of him. She is amazed to learn about the population, remarking that their feeding ground has not been so rich for ten thousand years. After getting the information she needs, she begins to feed on Sumner, making him age rapidly.
At the same time, Ford and Sheppard have managed to get inside the ship. Using a life signs detector, they find their people, but soon figure out Sumner has been taken. Ford starts to lay down C-4 explosives, while Sheppard goes to look for the colonel. After wandering for a bit, he hears Sumner scream as the feeding process begins. Sheppard soon finds them, but sees Sumner as an aged man, the Wraith having fed on his life. Sheppard decides to shoot Sumner, to spare him from more pain.
Sheppard unfortunately gets stunned, and is brought to the mercy of this Wraith. However, before she can make any headway, Ford opens fire, and Sheppard orders the explosives to be set off. After killing the Wraith, they soon discover that they have awakened several other Wraith from hibernation. They manage to get out of the ship, and head back to the Jumper. However, several of the smaller Wraith Darts are deployed. The Jumper takes off under cloak, but they find the Stargate under the guard of several darts. It doesn't matter that they cannot see the Jumper, they can fire blindly as soon as the gate is active. Sheppard decloaks, and manages to draw the darts away from the gate. He also manages to use drones on the Jumper to destroy some of the ships, and dials the gate. After a few more tactics, they make it through the gate, with three darts in hot pursuit. As soon as they are through, Weir activates the shield, which destroys the pursuing darts and they find themselves in safety.
That night, all of the new inhabitants of Atlantis have a celebration of their new home. Weir opens the bottle of champagne for tribute, and Teyla remarks that they have also made a new ally, and with the help of the Athosians, they will make many more. Also, Weir asks Sheppard to put together his team, so they can get back to doing what they came to do: explore a new galaxy.
The camera then pans away to reveal Atlantis, the Lost City of the Ancients in all its glory as it rests on the surface of the ocean.
McKay: ...We need the Zed-P-M to power the Gate.
O'Neill: The what?
Jackson: The Zee-P-M. He's...he's Canadian.
O'Neill: (at McKay) I'm sorry.
McKay: The Zero Point Module, General. The ancient power source you recovered from Praclarush Taonas and that's now powering the outpost defenses. I've since determined it generates its enormous power from vacuum energy derived from a self-contained region of subspace time.
O'Neill: That was a waste of a perfectly good explanation.
(John confronts Carson about the weapon that nearly shot him and Jack O'Neill out of the sky on their way to the Antarctic outpost)
Sheppard: What the heck was that thing anyway?
Beckett: You mean the drone? The weapon the Ancients built to defend this outpost.
Sheppard: (clueless) The who?
Beckett: (glaring at John suspiciously) You do have security clearance to be down here?
Sheppard: Yeah, General O'Neill just gave it to me.
Beckett: So you don't even know about the Stargate?
Sheppard: (confused) The what?
O'Neill: This isn't a long trip, so I'll be as succinct as possible.
(There is a beat...Sheppard looks sideways at O'Neill)
Sheppard: That's pretty succinct.
O'Neill: Thank you.
(After Simon has watched a video diary that Weir had sent to him, explaining the whole thing to him, including that she is in another galaxy)
Simon: (picks up the phone and dials a number)
Recorded Voice: The number you have dialed is out of service range-
Simon: (hangs up) No kidding.
(After Sheppard has expressed his hesitance to join the Atlantis expedition)
O'Neill: Let me ask you something. (realizes that Sheppard has already put on his helmet, so he does the same) Why'd you become a pilot?
Sheppard: I think people who don't want to fly are crazy.
O'Neill: And I think people who don't want to go through the Stargate are equally as whacked. Now if you can't give me a yes before we've reached McMurdo, I don't even want you.
Sumner: Let me make myself clear, Major: You are not here by my choice.
Sheppard: I'm sure you'll warm up to me once you get to know me, sir.
Sumner: As long as you remember who's giving the orders.
Sheppard: That would be Doctor Weir, right?
(Watching the expedition depart)
Jackson: Jack, it's not too late for me to...
Jackson: I could just grab my...
Jackson: (quietly) —kit...
Weir: Alright, pick an address, start dialing.
(McKay pushes a single chevron button, and waits for it to 'encode')
McKay: Chevron one, encoded.
(McKay enters the rest of the gate address without comment in a speedy fashion)
Jinto: (to Sheppard) What planet do you came from? Can we go there?.
Sheppard: I'm afraid not. We come from a galaxy far, far away.
Teyla: We do not trade with strangers.
Sumner: Is that a fact?
Sheppard: Well, we'll just have to get to know each other a little better. I like Ferris wheels, college football, and anything that goes more than 200 miles an hour.
Ford: Sir, that's not going to mean anything to them.
Sheppard: I'm just trying to break the ice here, feel free to jump in at any time.
Jinto: (To Dr. Weir) I am Jinto.
Sheppard: She's pleased to meet you.
McKay: The last Zero Point Module is depleted, but limited power. Turned out that our generators aren't going to hold back an ocean. Life support systems are working but the planet's atmosphere's breathable—well, notwithstanding the inevitable allergens.
Weir: So now can our naqahdah generators supply enough power to the shield for defensive purposes?
McKay: Not even close.
Sheppard: On the surface without a shield? We're target practice.
McKay: I'm acutely aware of that, Major, but thank you for reinforcing it.
Ford: Gateship One, ready to go.
Sheppard: "Gateship One?" A little puddle-jumper like this?
Ford: It's a ship. It goes through the gate. Gateship One.
Sheppard: Oh, no no no. That's all wrong.
Ford: Doctor McKay thought it was cool.
Sheppard: Oh, okay. Well, it's official: You don't get to name anything. Ever. (into radio) Flight, this is... Puddle Jumper!
McKay: This is Flight, I thought we were going with Gateship? (Weir gives him a stern, questioning look)
Sheppard: Negative, Flight.
McKay: Stand by. (to Weir) It's a ship, it goes through the gate. I thought... Fine. Puddle Jumper, you are clear to go.
Sheppard: Roger that. Dial it up, lieutenant.
(Flying the Jumper)
Sheppard: Tell you what, Lieutenant, a lot of fighter pilots would kill to fly this thing. It's like it reads your mind. (Readouts suddenly appears over the HUD)
Ford: Did you do that?
Sheppard: I-I was just wondering where we go from here.
Ford: I'll take that as a yes. So how do we find them once we land?
Sheppard: Well I've been thinking about that too. (On the wall beside him, a panel opens to reveal a Life-signs detector. Sheppard tucks it into his vest.) Now I'm thinking about a nice turkey sandwich. (Ford and Sheppard look around expectantly. Nothing happens. Ford shrugs.)
Ford: Worth a try.
Ford: (smiling) So, we got ourselves a life-signs detector.
Sheppard: (looks aggravated) We can name it later.
Sumner: Go to hell.
Wraith Keeper: Earth first!
(Sheppard shoots Wraith in the hand, but they capture him)
Sheppard: How's the hand?
Wraith Keeper: (hand heals) Much better.
Sheppard: Sorry to hear that.
(Arriving back from a rescue mission)
Sheppard: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Atlantis. Please remain seated 'til the puddle jumper's come to a full and complete stop.
(After Weir reminds Sheppard of his status as Atlantis' military leader)
Sheppard: You do realize I could get us into all sorts of...trouble, right?
Teyla: (to Sheppard) You have earned both my friendship and that of my people. With our help, you will make many more friends.
Beckett: (watching) How come I never make friends like that?
McKay: You need to get out more.
Beckett: We're in another bloody galaxy. How much more out can ya get?
McKay: (suddenly looking suspiciously at his kebab) Is there lemon in this?! (He hurries off to find out)
- Joe Flanigan as Major John Sheppard
- Torri Higginson as Dr. Elizabeth Weir
- Rachel Luttrell as Teyla Emmagan
- Rainbow Sun Francks as Lt. Aiden Ford
- David Hewlett as Dr. Rodney McKay
- Richard Dean Anderson as Brigadier General Jack O'Neill
- Michael Shanks as Dr. Daniel Jackson
- Garwin Sanford as Simon Wallace
- Paul McGillion as Dr. Carson Beckett
- Andee Frizzell as Wraith Keeper
- Craig Veroni as Dr. Peter Grodin
- Christopher Heyerdahl as Halling
- Robert Patrick as Colonel Marshall Sumner
- Dean Marshall as Sgt. Bates
- Boyan Vukelic as Sgt. Stackhouse
- Reece Thompson as Jinto
- Stefano Colacitti as Toran
- Casey Dubois as Wex
- Melia McClure as Melia
- Dan Shea as MSgt. Sylvester Siler
- David Milchard as Technician
- Edmond Kato Wong as Atlantis Technician
- Bro Gilbert as Scientist
- Peter Grasso as Scientist
- James Lafazanos as Jimmy
- Dan Payne as Wraith warrior
- Ona Grauer as Cyla Urbanus
- Aaron Dudley as Male Ancient
- Mary Joan Buchanan as Carson Beckett's mother
- Lynda Riley as Brunette (Uncredited)
- Geoff Redknap as Old Marshall Sumner (Uncredited)
- Chris Ang as Athosian (Uncredited)
- Jon Johnson as Parker (Uncredited)
- Ari Solomon as Billick (Uncredited)
- Tony Baretta as Smitty (Uncredited)
- D. Harlan Cutshall as Marine (Uncredited)
- Chris Bradford as Marine (Uncredited)
- Andre Benjamin as Marine (Uncredited)
- Colin Decker as Marine (Uncredited)
- Craig Fraser as Marine (Uncredited)
- Bill Y.W. Butt as Doctor (Uncredited)
- Darren Hird as Antarctic outpost Guard (Uncredited)
- Sean Amsing as Athosian with Swiss Army knife (Uncredited)
- ? as Aiden Ford's grandfather
- ? as Aiden Ford's grandmother
- Stargate: Atlantis was originally conceived to be set on Earth, after Stargate SG-1 had ended its run and spawned the new series with a feature film. The film's story instead became the SG-1 Season 7 finale "Lost City, Part 1" and "Lost City, Part 2", which set the stage for the new show. Because SG-1 continued on to an eighth season, which ran simultaneously with the first year of Atlantis, the producers decided to instead set the new show in another galaxy, so that both shows could run simultaneously without their plots interfering with one another.
- The flying city ship of Atlantis has many parallels with Laputa from Gulliver's Travels. For example the Laputans were a very science focused society that discovered that Mars had two moons. The novel's publication predates the "official" discovery of Mars's two moons in real life by 150 years, much like the "Ancients" having technology futuristic by today's standards.
- Some of the portable light sources in the Antarctic outpost are reuses of the ultraviolet units from "Message in a Bottle".
- The lake on Athos appears to be the same one from the beginning of the Stargate SG-1 Season 2 episode "In the Line of Duty".
- When Major John Sheppard walks past the Stasis pod, you can see the glassy outside, the chamber never was deactivated because Colonel Jack O'Neill was beamed out of it.
- During Sheppard and O'Neill's conversation about Antarctica on the helicopter, O'Neill states that Antarctica is one of his least favorite continents, a reference to the time he almost froze to death in "Solitudes", the time he was exposed to the Ancient contagion in "Frozen", as well as the time that Ancient knowledge almost completely degraded his brain in "Lost City, Part 2".
- This episode indicates a number of countries involved in the Atlantis expedition through flag patches; Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Greece, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, and Zimbabwé.
- The uniforms are color coded to the department in which a particular person works. Yellow is medical, Blue is sciences, Red is leadership, and, introduced later, Black is military.
- This episode shares a few similar story concepts with the Stargate SG-1 pilot "Children of the Gods".
- The emergence of the Wraith started due to a reconnaissance mission, much like the emergence of Apophis and the Goa'uld on Abydos.
- The team was attacked by Wraith forces, while SG-1 and SG-2 were attacked by Apophis's Jaffa.
- The local inhabitants and team members were taken, similar to the predicament of Sha're, Skaara and Senior Airman Carol Weterings.
- The people taken by the alien forces went through a selection process of being fed on by Wraith, similar to SG-1's case, where Sha're and Skaara was selected to become hosts to Amaunet and Klorel respectively.
- An alien fighter was shot down by a man-portable rocket launcher. Sgt. Bates shot down a Wraith Dart, while Major Charles Kawalsky shot down a Death Glider.
- Dr. Rodney McKay was originally Dr. Benjamin Ingram, an African-Canadian scientist, until the production crew decided to bring back McKay with British-born Canadian actor David Hewlett who had previously played McKay on numerous episodes of Stargate SG-1 arriving on site the day after filming for the pilot had started.
- This episode, along with "Prisoners" and Stargate: Continuum, are the only times that Australia is mentioned.
- The production budget for the two episodes add up to approximately $5 million (US).
- The episode received a Nielsen rating of 3.2, the highest rating achieved on any Stargate: Atlantis episode.
- Teyla Emmagan's working name was "Mikala".
- A city left by a long-gone precursor civilization being lifted out of the ocean (on the last of the power upon detecting humans) has appeared for example in Macross: Do You Remember Love?.
- When Colonel Marshall Sumner enters the main room with the Wraith Keeper, the head of the animal on the table is the Mastadge from the original Stargate film that Dr. Daniel Jackson came across on Abydos.
- The single Wraith hand from the shot down Wraith Dart shows an extreme ability to survive and keep itself alive, but this is never brought up again. Dr. Carson Beckett stated that they'd be very hard to kill, just from an analysis of the hand. Later, they are shown to be surprisingly easy to kill, however, it may be that they weren't as nourished, due to the competition for food.
- Sheppard's line; "I'm sure you'll warm up to me once you get to know me, sir" to Sumner is similar to Captain Samantha Carter's "You know, you really will like me when you get to know me" line to Colonel Jack O'Neill in the SG-1 pilot episode "Children of the Gods".
- In several different alternate realities referred to or featured in "McKay and Mrs. Miller", "The Daedalus Variations" and "Vegas", the Tau'ri likewise discovered Atlantis and made contact with the Wraith at this time, though under different circumstances than portrayed here in some of them. For instance, John Sheppard was not a member of the Atlantis expedition in the alternate reality featured in "Vegas", meaning that the events of this episode would have proceeded differently though it is unclear to what extent. In contrast, in the alternate reality featured in the Stargate SG-1 episode "The Road Not Taken", Atlantis was never discovered.
- Joe Flanigan (John Sheppard), David Hewlett (Meredith Rodney McKay), Rachel Luttrell (Teyla Emmagan), Paul McGillion (Carson Beckett) and Christopher Heyerdahl (Halling / Todd) are the only actors to appear in both this episode and the series finale, "Enemy at the Gate".
- Robert Patrick (Colonel Marshall Sumner) is best known for playing T-1000 in Terminator 2 and John Doggett on The X-Files.
- Paul McGillion (Dr. Carson Beckett) previously played a young Ernest Littlefield in the Stargate SG-1 episode "The Torment of Tantalus".
- Christopher Heyerdahl (Halling) previously played Pallan in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Revisions". He is best known for playing John Druitt/Bigfoot on Sanctuary.
- Garwin Sanford (Simon Wallace) previously played Narim in the Stargate SG-1 episodes "Enigma", "Pretense" and "Between Two Fires".
- Craig Veroni (Dr. Peter Grodin) previously played Prometheus Weapons Officer in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Grace".
- Dan Payne (Wraith warrior) previously played Anubis' Ashrak in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Allegiance", Nirrti's Jaffa commander in episode "Metamorphosis", SSgt. Allan in the episode "Fragile Balance", Kull Warriors in several episodes and Vala Mal Doran in the episode "Prometheus Unbound".
- Sean Amsing (Athosian) previously played Tobay in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Children of the Gods" and "Full Circle". He is one of only three actors, along with Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks, to appear in the pilot for Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis.
- Scenes of Atlantis leaving Earth show it flying away from a snow covered Antarctica. Nevertheless, in "Frozen" it was stated that, when Ayiana was left on Earth, Antarctica wasn't frozen and the continent itself hadn't completely moved to Earth's South Pole.
- One of the gate symbols shown on a computer display when Dr. Daniel Jackson leads Dr. Elizabeth Weir and Dr. Rodney McKay into the tent for the location of Atlantis includes the point of origin of Abydos.
- The drone that assaults the helicopter blasts a hole in the top of the dome at the Antarctic outpost. When the helicopter lands around 7 minutes later, the glass on the dome is undamaged. When we next see the dome the hole is back again.
- When Brigadier General Jack O'Neill's helicopter makes an emergency landing because of the drone, tire tracks and footprints can be seen in the snow.
- When Jackson is explaining about the Ancients leaving Earth millions of years ago in their "flying city", O'Neill seems to have an issue with that, despite the fact that he had previously seen a flying city of Nox design in "The Nox".
- When Stargate Command dials Atlantis and the Stargate is shown, the joints between the Stargate prop sections can clearly be seen by mismatching patterns.
- The MALP is so back heavy that you can see the front tire lift off the grating of the gate ramp.
- When departing Stargate Command, Sgt. Bates is shown wearing the rank insignia of a Second Lieutenant, despite holding the rank of Sergeant.
- When Major John Sheppard goes through the Stargate on Earth he has his eyes shut and gun down, however when he comes out in Atlantis he has a cautious posture. According to gate physics this is not possible, he should come out as he went in.
- The flag patch of at least one of the Russian expedition participant is upside down.
- From his first appearance to his ordering Lt. Aiden Ford to assemble recon teams, Sumner wears a camouflage outfit, yet in the time it takes McKay to dial Athos (which only seems like a few minutes at the most) he has managed to change into a standard Atlantis grey uniform.
- On Athos, the Stargate's Dial Home Device appears to change locations. When they first arrived it was only a few meters away from the gate, but when the Wraith attacked it was much further away. Also the first time they dial in, it is clearly seen on the chevrons' symmetric positions that the gate in the ground is somewhat rotated, which is very unusual.
- The downed Dart on Athos is shown to be almost exclusively mechanical as opposed to the mostly organic technologies the Wraith use in future episodes.
- During the battle between the Puddle Jumper and the Wraith Darts around the Stargate in orbit of the planet, the wall of the Puddle Jumper behind Sheppard keeps changing between shots from a blank wall to having a white box with the SGA mission patch on it. This was due to later re-shoots to make Sheppard's character less calm like a veteran pilot would be and more emotional to amp up the action.
- When the Wraith Darts arrive at Athos, Ford reports to Sumner, he has a radio on his Tactical vest but motions like he has an ear piece, but doesn't.
- When Sheppard fires the first Drone weapon from the Puddle Jumper, there is a mistake in the CGI. One drone flies off, but there is no change in the number of drones still on the Jumper.
- Won Gemini for "Best Visual Effects" (Michelle Comens, Tom Brydon, Jose Burgos, John Gajdecki, Dan Mayer, Jinnie Pak, Wes Sargent and Bruce Woloshyn)
- Nominated Leo for "Dramatic Series: Best Production Design" (Bridget McGuire, Thom Wells, James Robbins, Peter Bodnarus, Mark Davidson, Robert Davidson)
- Nominated Primetime Emmy for "Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series" (Michelle Comens, John Gajdecki, Bruce Woloshyn, Jinnie Pak, Dan Mayer, Wes Sargent, Jose Burgos, Debora Dunphy and Chris Doll)
- Nominated VES Award for "Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series" (John Gajdecki, Bruce Woloshyn, Jinnie Pak and Tara Conley)
- French: Une nouvelle ère (A new era)
- Portuguese: Ascensão - Parte 1 (Ascension - Part 1)
- German: Aufbruch in eine neue Welt (Departure to a new World)
- Russian: Пробуждение (Awakening)
- Czech: Vynoření (Emerging)
- Hungarian: Felemelkedés (Rising)
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