Jack O'Neill

Jack O'Neill
Jack O'Neill
Richard Dean Anderson as Jack O'Neill
First appearance "Stargate"
Last appearance "Incursion" (Universe)
Created by Roland Emmerich
and Dean Devlin
Portrayed by Kurt Russell (film)
Richard Dean Anderson (series)
Species Human

United States Air Force officer

Spouse(s) Sara O'Neill (wife film)/(ex-wife series)
Children Tyler O'Neil (son, in the movie)
Charlie O'Neill (son, deceased, in the series)

Jonathan J. "Jack" O'Neill is a fictional character in the Canadian-American military science fiction television series Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe, three science fiction shows about military teams exploring the galaxy via a network of alien transportation devices. Played by American actor Richard Dean Anderson, O'Neill was a main character in the first eight seasons of Stargate SG-1 (1997–2005). O'Neill had a recurring role in Stargate Atlantis for the first three seasons (2004–2007), and he also appeared in the 2008 direct-to-DVD SG-1 film Stargate: Continuum as a minor character. Anderson reduced his character's status in season six to spend more time with his family, eventually leaving the show after season eight, thereby removing himself from the status of main character.

Colonel Jack O'Neill (spelled Jack O'Neil in the film, and given as John O'Neill in one case,[1] and John J. O'Neill in another[2]) makes his first appearance, played by actor Kurt Russell, in the 1994 military science fiction film Stargate, written by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich. Colonel O'Neill has extensive experience in special operations, and he led the first team through the Stargate on a reconnaissance mission. After the creation of Stargate Command (SGC) in "Children of the Gods", the pilot episode of Stargate SG-1, he is given command of the primary SG team, SG-1, which consists of Daniel Jackson, Teal'c and Samantha "Sam" Carter. Promoted to brigadier general in season 8, O'Neill is chosen as the Commanding Officer of Stargate Command after George Hammond's promotion to the Department of Homeworld Security. At the start of season 9, O'Neill is again promoted, this time to the head of Homeworld Security, so that Richard Dean Anderson could leave the show to spend time with his family. Colonel O'Neill appears in most episodes of the first eight seasons of Stargate SG-1; however, he only appears in 4 episodes of season 9 and 10.


Character arc

Jack O'Neill is a United States Air Force colonel with experience in special operations before joining the Stargate Program.[3] He then joins a suicidal mission through the Stargate with a couple of airmen and Dr. Daniel Jackson who deciphers the Stargate. They are transported to another planet where O'Neill's standing order is to detonate a nuclear warhead near the Stargate at the sign of danger, but a young boy named Skaara gives him a renewed sense of life. After the defeat of Ra, O'Neill and his team return to Earth while Jackson remains on the planet.[4] He was married to Sarah O'Neill, but their marriage suffered when Jack sank into a deep depression after their son accidentally shot himself with O'Neill's pistol. Though they are still together when Jack is initially recruited for his first mission through the Stargate,[5] by the time he returned she had left him.[6]

O'Neill returns to the Stargate Program when the Goa'uld Apophis attacks Earth. He is given command of SG-1, which consists of Samantha Carter, Teal'c and Jackson.[7] Eventually O'Neill gets the Repository of the Ancients temporarily "downloaded" to his brain and becomes the first modern human to travel to another galaxy, the Asgard home galaxy.[8] A second download of the Ancients' knowledge into his brain during the season 7 finale, allows him to lead SG-1 to an Ancient outpost in Antarctica. O'Neill possesses the ATA gene, and thus is able to operate the Ancient control chair and save Earth from Anubis' fleet.[9] With the Ancient knowledge about to overwhelm his personality and kill him, he is placed into a stasis pod in the outpost until Thor of the Asgard is able to remove the knowledge and save his life. After that event, O'Neill is promoted to brigadier general and is given command of Stargate Command.[10] O'Neill is promoted again off-screen and becomes the new head of the Department of Homeworld Security with Major General Hank Landry taking his position as the new commander of Stargate Command.[11]

In the pilot of Stargate Atlantis, O'Neill convinces John Sheppard to join the Atlantis expedition to the Pegasus Galaxy.[12] He, along with Richard Woolsey, visits Atlantis to create a treaty between the humans of Earth and the Ancients.[13] O'Neill returns for a brief cameo, where he gets killed in an alternate timeline where Ba'al controls the Goa'uld Empire.[14] O'Neill reappears as a lieutenant general in Stargate Universe with Nicholas Rush, where he is recruiting Eli Wallace into the Icarus Project. After the attack on the Icarus Base, he contacts Carter from The Pentagon to talk about the ongoing situation. With help from the Ancient Communication Stones, Everett Young body swaps with Colonel David Telford to tell O'Neill about dire situation they are in.[15]

Conceptual history


Anderson at a dinner endorsed by the United States Air Force

John Symes approached Michael Greenburg and Richard Dean Anderson of MacGyver fame.[16] Although Anderson was never a real fan of the science fiction genre, he believed the original feature film to be a good vehicle for a series.[17] Anderson agreed to become involved with the project if his character was allowed significantly more comedic leeway than Kurt Russell's character in the feature film. He also requested Stargate SG-1 to be more of an ensemble show, so that he would not be carrying the plot alone as on MacGyver.[18] Anderson was part of the main cast from season 1 through 8 and played a recurring role in several episodes each season thereafter. He was influential in the development of O'Neill's character and personality from the beginning. While he praised the work done by Russell in the Stargate film, he said he couldn't be that serious all the time and worked with the writers and directors to give his O'Neill a more lighthearted tone while maintaining the sense of importance the role required. Besides, he joked that he would never be able to get his hair to stay like Russell's.[16] This "double personality" was also joked in the second season, when Jack introduced himself as: "It's "O'Neill," with two L's. There's another Colonel O'Neil with only one L, and he has no sense of humor at all."[19]


In season 6, Anderson chose to have a reduced role in the series so that he could spend more time with his young daughter.[20] When Anderson left the show as a main character in the eighth season, the producers were talking about ending the series. Instead, the series introduced two new characters in the ninth season, Ben Browder as Cameron Mitchell, the new SG-1 team leader, and Beau Bridges as Hank Landry, the new leader of Stargate Command. Anderson continued to appear in a recurring status on Stargate SG-1, albeit with less frequent appearances.[21] He returned for the second straight-to-DVD film, Stargate: Continuum in a brief cameo, and is expected to return for the third movie. Executive producer Brad Wright stressed the importance of O'Neill's presence in the Stargate universe even after the character went on hiatus during the last two seasons of SG-1 when Anderson took a leave from regular acting.[14]

Anderson has also had various guest appearances on the two spin off series' Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe. Stargate Universe actor Robert Carlyle has hinted that Anderson might become a recurring face on Stargate Universe, but said it would be difficult since the Destiny crew is several billion light-years from home. Anderson had several guest cameos scattered over the first season of Stargate Universe.[22] He is mainly seen in the Pentagon but later visits the Destiny after the revelations about Telford emerge. In total he appears in 6 episodes of Stargate Universe, the most of any main actor from Stargate SG-1.


For his portrayal of O'Neill, Richard Dean Anderson won a Saturn Award in the category "Best Genre TV Actor" in 1999, and was nominated in the same category in 1998 and 2000. From 2001 to 2005, Anderson was nominated for a Saturn Award in the category "Best Actor on Television" but never won.[23] Anderson was nominated in the category for "Best Male Performance in a 2008 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie, or Mini-Series" at the Constellation Awards in 2009 for his work in Stargate: Continuum (2008), where he reprised his role as O'Neill.[24]

He was presented with an award at the Air Force Association's 57th Annual Air Force Anniversary Dinner in Washington, D.C. on September 14, 2004 because of his role as star and executive producer of Stargate SG-1, a series which has portrayed the Air Force in a positive light since it first premiered.[25] It was presented by the then-Air Force Chief-of-Staff, General John P. Jumper.[26] Anderson was made an honorary Brigadier General.[27]



  1. ^ The Entity, season 4 - episode 20
  2. ^ Fragile Balance, season 7 - episode 3
  3. ^ "The Gamekeeper". Writ. Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright. Stargate SG-1. Showtime. No. 4, season 2.
  4. ^ Stargate. Writ. Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer (MGM) and Carolco.
  5. ^ Stargate [1994] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111282/
  6. ^ Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods [1997] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0234794/
  7. ^ "Children of the Gods". Writ. Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright. Stargate SG-1. Showtime. No. 1-2, season 1.
  8. ^ "The Fifth Race". David Warry-Smith, Writ. Robert C. Cooper. Stargate SG-1. Sky One. No. 15, season 2.
  9. ^ "Lost City". Martin Wood, Writ. Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper. Stargate SG-1. Sky One. No. 21-22, season 7.
  10. ^ "New Order". Andy Mikita, Writ. Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie. Stargate SG-1. Sci-Fi Channel. No. 1-2, season 8.
  11. ^ "Avalon". Andy Mikita, Writ. Robert C. Cooper. Stargate SG-1. Sci-Fi Channel. No. 1-2, season 9.
  12. ^ "Rising". Martin Wood, Writ. Robert C. Cooper & Brad Wright. Stargate Atlantis. Sci-Fi Channel. No. 1-2, season 1.
  13. ^ "The Return". Brad Turner, Writ. Martin Gero. Stargate Atlantis. Sci-Fi Channel. No. 10, season 3.
  14. ^ a b "Wright: Stargate movies need O'Neill". GateWorld. May 11, 2008. http://www.gateworld.net/news/2008/05/wright_stargate_movies_need_onei.shtml. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Air". Andy Mikita, Writ. Brad Wright & Robert C. Cooper. Stargate Universe. Sci-Fi Channel. No. 1-3, season 1.
  16. ^ a b Wright, Brad; Glassner, Jonathan; Greenburg, Michael; Anderson, Richard Dean; Shanks, Michael; Tapping, Amanda (2001). Stargate SG-1: Season 3 – Timeline To The Future – Part 1-3 (DVD). MGM Home Entertainment. 
  17. ^ Harwin, A.J (December 2, 1998). "'Stargate SG-1' teleports into second season of production". The Daily Bruin. http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/archives/id/14227/. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  18. ^ Eramo, Steven (July 2002). "Richard Dean Anderson – Mr Anderson – Colonel O'Neill". TV Zone (Special 46): 4–9. 
  19. ^ "Wikiquote: Stargate SG-1". http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Stargate_SG-1#2.9. 
  20. ^ Gibson 2003, p. 66, p. 117.
  21. ^ Rudolph, Ileane (August 18, 2006). "Richard Dean Anderson Marks SG-1s 200th". TV Guide. http://www.tvguide.com/news/richard-dean-anderson-39758.aspx. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  22. ^ French, Dan (November 29, 2009). "Anderson 'may recur on Stargate Universe". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/cult/a179640/anderson-may-recur-on-stargate-universe.html. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  23. ^ "Saturn Awards – Past Award Winners". Saturn Awards. http://www.saturnawards.org/past.html. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Constellation Awards". Stargate Archive.com. http://www.stargatearchive.com/journal/index.php/2009/04/stargate-nominated-in-2009-canadian-constellation-awards. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  25. ^ Haugsted, Linda (November 20, 2009). "Through the Wire". Multichannel News (Reed Elsevier Inc). http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA454258.html. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  26. ^ Thar, Doug (September 9, 2004). "Air Force to honor actor, producer". Air Force Link. Archived from the original on December 30, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071230065834/http://www.af.mil/pressreleases/release.asp?storyID=123008593. Retrieved October 11, 2009. 
  27. ^ Sokol, Anna. "A Day of Honors". http://www.rdanderson.com/archives/a4-10-01.htm. Retrieved 27 May 2011. 


  • Gibson, Thomasina (2003). Stargate SG-1: The Illustrated Companion Seasons 5 and 6. London: Titan Books. ISBN 978-1840236064. 

External links

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