Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the movie Stargate, they have been trying to activate the Stargate for the last 2 years but could never get the right sequence. After Dr. Daniel Jackson figures out the seventh symbol, they try to activate it. When they get past the sixth symbol, Catherine Langford says to him

this is as far as we have ever been able to get

There are only like 30 symbols on there. How come after two years someone didn't say "hey guys, we already know the first six symbols, why not just loop through all 30 symbols until we find the seventh symbol"?

share|improve this question
The gate requires a large amount of power, so brute-forcing each and every possible combination would have drained a lot of unnecessary power. (Though I suppose it would not use as much if it did not actually open.) – Synetech Dec 24 '11 at 16:23
up vote 10 down vote accepted

This question has been asked previously on the Stargate wiki site. The answer given was that there are actually 9 chevrons, so they may not have known 7 was the home symbol. So, given that there were 39 symbols, this would have made 40,000 dialling attempts...possible, but not so likely.

However, this argument is flawed. The eighth and ninth symbols were not introduced until much later in the SG1 series to overcome limitations of the 7 address system. The dialing computer itself only had 7 areas for the symbols, so clearly only working with the 7 address system. So I can only conclude that it was overlooked in the original film.

share|improve this answer
I agree. It makes no sense that the were unable to "get further" than the sixth chevron. If they only knew the first three or four symbols then they could spend an infeasible amount of time trying to brute force the rest of the address, but the gate would still at least have let them try. – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 15 '13 at 12:57

This is not a "canon" answer, but there are often consequences to entering the wrong password too many times. Websites often disable your account. More severely, some encryption systems make the data permanently unreadable.

Who knows how severe the consequences would be for a device like the Stargate?

share|improve this answer
Stargates are wont to explode. – Nick T Dec 26 '11 at 1:24

Let's think about it this way - they had a device for 2 years that they had to spend some time figuring out how to get it to work at all, and then spending time trying to figure out the right combination. For all they knew, it would have taken just 5 symbols to get the thing working. By the time Jackson got around to them, they may have only recently stumbled on the correct 6th symbol, and then would have to spend time analyzing their data.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.