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The group stuck on destiny have a set of five devices created by the alien species the Ancients. These devices, known as communications stones, were made for instantaneous communication across interstellar, and even intergalactic, distances. They work by switching personalities between the person with the stone and someone with another stone. Colonel Young and Dr Rush have used the stones to communicate with Earth. The producers show the effect of the stones by showing us the person whose personality is in that location (this is along the same lines as the way we see the body of Sam Beckett instead of those of his hosts on the '90s TV show Quantum Leap). So when Colonel Young uses the stones he has switched personalities with Colonel Telford. Young is in Telford's body on Earth and Telford is in Young's on Destiny. While we typically see the actor whose personality is in that body everyone else sees the body itself. When Young sees his reflection in the window of a car it is Telford's body he sees.
Lou Diamond Phillips plays Colonel Telford, one of the military commanders at Icarus base in the pilot of the series. After the base is attacked he isn't seen but later turns up on Earth with little explanation. When the base was under attack we see Colonel Telford in a fighter craft about to lead a counter attack against the enemy. Since he was not trapped in the base he did not go through the Stargate to Destiny. Presumably he and the rest of the pilots were evacuated on the Hammond, the American starship circling the planet.Colonel Carter can be heard giving an order to, "Recall our fighters. Radio Colonel Telford, he's got two minutes to get his people aboard before we jump to hyperspace". Presumably this would have included Telford and the rest of the pilots of the Icarus base fighters.It's worth noting that this synopsis is only through the end of the pilot, "Air." To detail his story further would involve revealing significant spoilers for both seasons 1 and 2. As of the Season 2 break, Telford is on board the Destiny. However, shortly after this, he travels back to Earth using Eli's method of dialling the Gate inside of a star. After a solar flare is unleashed from the star at this exact moment, this results in a "time-loop", i.e. - there are two Destinies and two Telfords (one is back on Earth and one is on the second Destiny, because the arrival of a second Rush from the first Destiny warns them about the dangers of Eli's plan, and how it seemingly killed everybody on-board Destiny except Rush and Telford). Telford managed to gate back to Earth successfully, whilst Rush escaped the ship. In a later episode, the true fate of the rest of the first Destiny crew is explained.
The Ancient communication stones allow them to communicate by swapping consciousness between Destiny and Earth. When someone from Destiny uses one of the stones, the consciousness of someone on Earth inhabits their body on Destiny. Obviously this could be used to bring in more qualified personnel to help them with problems, such as fully licensed Medical Doctors like Jennifer Keller and Carson Beckett to help TJ with medical problems, or experts on Ancient technology like Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter, Rodney McKay, and Radek Zelenka to help Dr Rush fix the ship. While there is no in-story explanation as to why they don't do this, one explanation is that it would undermine the premise of Stargate Universe. The show is about a ragtag "unqualified" group who has to rise to the occasion. If they can swap in whatever skills they need this undermines some of the drama.
No. The backstory needed to understand the new show is provided in the pilot. The show doesn't, as of yet, involve any storylines from the previous series. A nodding familiarity with the premise of the original show, such as the existence of Stargates, could be helpful. Additionally, knowledge of the previous shows will likely allow a fuller enjoyment of the series.
In the episode "Darkness" Dr Rush explains that Destiny predates the development of ATA-based technology by the Ancients. In an early episode of Stargate Atlantis, Rodney McKay speculated that the ATA gene-based technology was developed specifically to prevent the Wraith from utilizing the Lanteans' own ships, weaponry, etc. against them and the launching of Destiny predates the Ancients' move to the Pegasus Galaxy and their war with the Wraith by about 3,000,000 Earth years.
Writer Joseph Mallozzi has confirmed that the pod/ship flying away belongs to the Sekkari, or as they were known until recently, the Blueberry Aliens.
In an early episode, Dr Rush explains that unmanned "seeder" ships were likely sent out before Destiny to plant gates on various worlds. They would also seem to have done some preliminary surveying since she is able to respond to onboard crises such as power failures by stopping near star systems with appropriate resources. In the episode Lost they explain that the seeder ships have only placed gates on worlds within a relatively narrow band anticipating Destiny's path through the galaxy. In the season two episode Awakening, the Destiny catches up with a damaged seeder ship and they see stargates being constructed.
The stargates seen on Stargate: SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis have galactic ranges, and are able to dial any other gate in their galaxy regardless of distance. The stargate on Destiny, and the ones on the planets she encounters, would seem to be different. The gates in the Milky Way and the Pegasus galaxy were subtly different from each other and it makes sense that the gates for Destiny, which were developed at a different time than the other gates, would be different as well. Apparently the gate on Destiny is only able to dial gates within a limited distance (similar in concept to the reimagined Battlestar Galactica's "Red Line"). In the episode Lost, it is shown that the planetbound gates are similarly limited in range. It should be noted, however, that the world bound gates lack a DHD and seem to operate independently of any external power source. Destiny has at least one handheld device which can be used to dial the gate from a planet. It could also be possible that, lacking a DHD, these stargates would not be included in the automatic update process to compensate for stellar (and galactic) drift, as mentioned in Stargate: SG1. This would explain the "in range" situation nicely, as stellar drift would not matter if you are in the vicinity of these seeded gates.
In the episode Air Pt3 three of the people who go to the desert planet, Franklin, Palmer, and Curtis, decide to gate to another world in an attempt to survive. Franklin is shot before he can go through the gate but Palmer and Curtis go through the gate. Eli is unable to make radio contact with them and since they never return they are left behind when Destiny jumps into FTL. Their fate is unknown but presumably they are still on whatever planet they gated to.
During the episode "Time", it was revealed that the entire crew was infected with a virus picked up from the ice planet but that the venom of an alien creature from the jungle planet they were on could cure the infection. The episode ended with Young and Greer having been killed by the creature and Scott sending a message back in time through a malfunctioning stargate. When the episode "Life" aired there was no mention of the infection, the time loops, or the jungle planet. Some viewers seemed to feel that the resolution of the issues in "Time" needed to be explicitly spelled out and detailed on screen. There was no second part to the episode "Time", and viewers were expected to assume from it's ending that the Destiny received Scott's message and T.J. successfully used the venom to cure the infection before it spread beyond control.On the Offical Stargate website there is a web episode that resolves the issues in "Time" It is Kino Diary 18 called
"New Kind of Crazy" which aired on November 19, 2009.
Near the start of the episode, Brody explains to Colonel Young that they altered the chair to greatly decrease the flow of information from the chair's memory banks into the user's brain, which was done to ensure that whoever sat in the chair didn't suffer the same effects that Franklin did.
In the season 1 box containing the first 10 episodes the pilot "Air" (episodes 1-3) was featured in an Extended Version. This long version can be bought in other countries, e.g. Germany, as well, but in a stand-alone version. The extensions in the new versions are nothing special (and no compelling reason to buy the DVDs or Blu Rays, though the Blu Ray release has a higher resolution than even the HD broadcast version), but they definitely make the pilot seem more round and fill in some gaps (the chat between Dr. Rush and O'Neill or the "mutiny" on the desert planet are really lacking in the TV Version). A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.
This is a common cause of confusion, explained at an early stage by Dr. Rush (although it isn't "directly" explained - it's simply meant to be one of those things that you pick up on: 'If I'm right, the Gate should begin to dial any moment').Simply put, the Stargate on-board Destiny only works when the ship is within range of a planet that also has a Stargate. This is due to the low levels of power that Destiny has after hundreds of thousands of years of floating adrift; if, however, the power levels were to be restored to their maximum, a wormhole could possibly be established to Earth. Unfortunately, we never have the chance to see this happen, so all we really know for certain is that the Stargate on-board Destiny is a very early version created by the Ancients and is able to connect with other, similar models when they are in-range.N:B - it is also worth noting that there was a functioning Stargate on-board a Wraith Hive Ship in the final episode of Stargate Atlantis (Enemy at the Gate), so SGU is "not" the first example of a Stargate being on-board a spaceship.Further to Dougal_95's noting of the stargate on the Wraith ship, it should also be noted that tthis is not the first instance of an operational stargate being found on a ship (Season 1, Episode 21 - Within The Serpent's Grasp).
The answer to both questions is "sort of". The producers realized part way through season two that the show's low rating might lead to it being cancelled and they planned the season two finale so that it could serve as either a season or a series finale. As such it doesn't fully resolve the storylines of SGU or answer all of the mysteries. The season two finale leaves series level plot points unresolved and ends in such a way that the story could have continued if the show had gone on. However, it doesn't end in the middle of the action, as the season one finale did. The finale was intended to be thematically and emotionally satisfying for viewers in case the show was cancelled.
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