December 29, 1968
Admiral; formerly Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel
|Out of universe information|
Amanda Tapping, Christine Kennedy
- "Carter, you're one of this country's natural resources, if not national treasures."
- —Jack O'Neill
Dr. Samantha Carter, Ph.D is a human astrophysicist, engineer, and soldier who served as second-in-command, and later leader, of SG-1. Prior to joining the team, she was instrumental in assisting Daniel Jackson in bringing the Stargate Program into existence, and quickly accepted a post at the International Stargate Command to explore alien worlds across the galaxy. Considered Earth's leading expert on the stargate and a host of other technologies, her husband Jack O'Neill once emphatically proclaimed her brain to be a natural resource. After the Fall of Earth, she left her duties as an SG team member, and has served as captain of the MBP-305 Jupiter and commander of the human starfleet ever since.
By 2063, she had joined the Continuity Division of Alliance Intelligence, working on a top-secret project to send the SG-1 of 1999 back to their proper time. After much reflection, she had also married Narim, ambassador of the Tollan to Earth.
Carter is the daughter of General Jacob Carter (Air Force). She was born on December 29, 1968, although Orlin seemed to believe she was born in the month of May. She has a brother named Mark Carter, who is married and has two children, one of which is a certifiable genius like herself, Jason Carter. Her mother died when she was a teenager. She blamed her father who was supposed to go pick her up at the airport but didn't, forcing Mrs. Carter to take a taxi and have the accident that killed her. Eventually, Sam forgave her father, although Mark didn't until after many years of estrangement. Her service number is 366349.
She was exceptionally bright and went on to get a Ph.D. in astrophysics and join the Air Force. She worked at the Pentagon for two years, and logged over 100 hours in enemy space during the Persian Gulf War. She was assigned to work on the Stargate Project in 1992, two years before Dr. Daniel Jackson had the opportunity, and was a prominent member of investigating the sciences behind it and developing the Earth dialing program.
It is not known whether she was the leader or just an important member of the team that designed the dialing computer. Captain Carter believed she should have been part of the first team to go to Abydos with Colonel O'Neill and Dr. Jackson. The reason why she ended up not going was due to the urgency to complete the important first mission on time.
After serving a brief stint as commander of Atlantis, Carter returned to Earth to find the SG-1 team just as she had left it, and was gladly welcomed back as leader of the elite unit. The better part of the next year was spent fighting a resurgent Ori threat, culminating in the Battle of Earth, which was only barely won by the humans with the assistance of the Free Jaffa and Nox. The victory would prove costly at home, though, as it revealed the existence of aliens to the world, and the ISGC had no choice but to publicly admit the existence of the Stargate Program. Carter and SG-1 were called before the United Nations to explain the grave threats facing the planet, but ultimately, the backlash from the revelation was far less than had been feared, and life went on.
While Carter and Jack O'Neill's own personal feelings continued to bloom on the side, Sam led SG-1 through the last few months of the war with the Ori with valor and dedication. Even when Daniel was captured by an ascended Adria, they refused to give up, and eventually, at the Third Battle of Chulak, the Crusade was ended once and for all, and it looked as if the galaxy would finally be allowed to live in peace.
Only a few months after the end of the bloody Crusade, though, Earth was again threatened by Zanous Garrin's arrival on the galactic scene, a smuggler of the Lucian Alliance who seemed hellbent on annihilating the newly formed Alliance between Earth, the Tok'ra, Nox, Free Jaffa, and Hebridanian Federation. Carter again demonstrated her own skills as a leader and tactician, but time again their quarry was able to stay one step ahead of even humanity's most-brilliant mind. Not content to back down, though, Sam and SG-1 pressed on, assured that there had to be a way to defeat this new opponent before his forces could destroy everything they had fought so long and hard for.
In a long series of conflicts that saw the reemergence of the Aschen Confederation, the continued machinations of the Trust, and the establishment of Earth's first offworld colony, the ISGC's flagship team endured a long several months of frightening setbacks, but in the final few weeks of the year, all that changed; a new commander was appointed to the Program, civilian diplomat Danielle Talbot, and the Alliance prepared its forces for an all-out assault on Garrin's hidden base on the edge of the galaxy. Joining the fray in representation of Earth, and providing the nuclear force to obliterate their enemy for good, SG-1 was a pivotal part of the Battle of P9X-335, personally responsible for unmasking Garrin as an android in service to an unknown alien race and destroying his complex on the planet's surface.
Being at the battle itself, SG-1 also bore witness to the opening moves of the Der'kal Invasion, and barely escaped with their lives as the alien armada put its long-laid plans into action.
Service awards and decorations
Over the course of her military career, Samantha Carter has received a number of awards and decorations for her service in the United States Air Force.
- Air Medal
- Organizational Excellence Award
- Air Force Longevity Service Award With two oak leaf clusters.
- Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
- Air Force Training Ribbon
- Air Force Achievement Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
Throughout her years in the Stargate Program, Sam's romantic life has taken several interesting twists and turns. Several of the men she has been involved with to some degree are as follows:
- Captain Jonas Hanson
- Before she joined the Stargate Program, Sam was engaged to Hanson. When she discovered how controlling he could be, she broke off the engagement with him.
- A member of the Tok'ra, Martouf/Lantash had been the mate of Jolinar. Upon meeting host and symbiote, Sam could feel the residual emotions left behind by Jolinar. Over time, she herself grew to become very fond of Martouf.
- One of the Tollan that was rescued by Sam and SG-1. They grew close during their time together and remained so until his supposed death. She even gifted him with her cat.
- An Ancient who fell in love with her and followed her home to Earth, where he Descended in order to stay with her. He was forced to Ascend again when his presence became known and members of the NID sought to capture him for interrogation. Several years later, he returned to Earth to aide them in discovering a cure for the plague brought upon them by the Ori.
- Joe Faxon
- An Ambassador assigned to negotiate with the Aschen. He offered to buy Sam dinner and was very keenly interested in her. Upon discovering the Aschen's plans to destroy Earth, he forced her to leave him behind so that she could return through the Stargate and close the iris before a bomb could be sent through.
- In an alternate timeline, Sam and Joe were happily married to one another until she discovered that the Aschen had managed to sterilize nearly the entire population of Earth. Upon her revealing this to Joe, he revealed that he had known about the sterilization, had even agreed to it in return for the Aschen's protection extending to Earth.
- Pete Shanahan
- A cop from Denver that Sam's brother Mark set her up with. Early on in their relationship, he grew suspicious of her mysterious job and odd work hours and did a background check on her through the FBI. He even started following her and landed himself in the middle of a battle with Osiris. As a result, Sam received permission to reveal the Stargate Program to him. Several months later, he proposed to her, whom she accepted, but after the death of Jacob Carter, Sam ended the relationship.
- Jack O'Neill
- Perhaps her most interesting and most enduring relationship. For seven years, Jack was her commanding officer, but this did not stop feelings from developing between the two. These feelings were revealed in the midst of the Za'tarc crisis, but both chose not to act on them given their working relationship. Sometime after, Jack is stuck in a time loop and decides to enjoy himself, kissing her on his second to last trip through the loop, an incident she does not remember. One recurring incident was Jack inviting her to go fishing at his cabin, something she always turned down until shortly after the death of her father.
- In two different alternate timelines, Jack O'Neill and Sam Carter were engaged or married to one another. In a third alternate reality, where Sam was married to Joe Faxon, they were clearly estranged from one another given their difference of opinion concerning the Aschen Alliance. One reoccurring theme is the fact that Daniel seems to be oblivious to Jack and Sam's feelings for each other. On many occasions Teal'c has pointed out the fact that Sam seems to worry about Jack as much as he worries about her to Jack, but Daniel remains unknowing, and Jack doesn't express these feelings to Sam. Jack has also stopped her from stating her feelings to him when he was thought to be dying. It is thought that they are now seeing each other, as their relationship is no longer against regulations now that they are no longer in direct chain of command. This speculation is furthered by the portrait of Jack seen amongst Samantha's luggage as she unpacks upon her arrival in Atlantis. Additionally, during a conversation with Jennifer Keller, she cryptically mentions a "complicated" long-distance relationship with someone about to retire in D.C.
- Rodney McKay
- On first glance there is not much of a relationship, but listening to him gives the clear impression that at least he was-and is-very interested in Carter, the one person he considers brilliant and possibly smarter or at least wiser than he is. They even make out with each other - though this is only in a special alternate universe, namely that of McKay's subconscious mind. The Pegasus Project brings them closer together and Carter is responsible for introducing a second McKay, his sister Jeannie Miller, into the Stargate universe. The future, as both actors have hinted at, holds more in store for this (non-)couple as a team. They work closely together during Sam's time on Atlantis, as well as collaborating on the McKay/Carter Intergalactic Gate Bridge. On her arrival, McKay informs her that they won't be able to do anything about their "unrequited lust," as he is currently seeing Katie Brown. However, the thought had obviously never entered her mind. In an alternate universe, they had been married, but were currently divorced and not friendly; he was obviously deeply disturbed by news of that Sam's death. McKay is currently (and presumably will permanently be) involved with Jennifer Keller.
Another reoccurring theme with these men is that most of them have died. Hanson was killed off-world by a people he had manipulated into worshiping him as a god; Martouf was killed when, under Za'tarc programming, he attempted to kill the President, Lantash following him roughly a year later when he sacrificed himself to save SG-1; Narim is presumed dead along with the rest of his people, as is Joe Faxon; Orlin ascended once and died again after descending. Jack O'Neill and Rodney McKay seem to be the only ones who haven't yet died (though Jack has been 'officially dead' and brought back to life many times). These events have led to a long-standing joke about a "Black Widow Curse;" perhaps the fact that Sam never returns McKay's interest is what has ultimately spared his life.
It's not shown after her break up with Pete if she has other men in her life. But in producer Joseph Malozzi's mind : "Still, despite the lack of official confirmation, it was only natural that [she and O'Neill] should get together after the events of Threads and, in my mind, they have been together ever since." he stated in his blog. When Carter joined the Atlantis expedition she had a photo of O'Neill in a box of her belongings.
During her off hours, Sam likes to work on her motorcycle (sometimes helped by Master Sergeant Siler), work on her Naquadah generators, play chess with Cassie on Saturdays (when she is on Earth), and has lately discovered that she does, indeed, like fishing. She also talks to her plants.
Some evidence does seem to imply that she may be at least somewhat religious. For example, in 1997, she stated that she hadn't heard church bells for a long time and in 2001, when a brainwashed Teal'c asked her whether she believed in a god, she refused to give a straight answer. However, after being seriously wounded by an Ori soldier, she expressed a wish for something beyond her scientific views, stating: "I spent my entire life dedicated to science. Spent the last ten years, trying to convince people they believed in false gods. I don't feel like science is gonna help me. Right now, I'm just hoping somewhere one of those gods…"
- In an alternate reality Dr. Samantha Carter, Ph.D was a civilian doctor engaged to General Jack O'Neill. She met Daniel Jackson during a Goa'uld invasion of Earth and correctly determined he was from another reality. She committed suicide rather than surrender to Apophis' forces. Like her counterpart in our reality, she seems to be analytical and unflappable. She wore her hair long with a barrette.
- In an alternate reality Samantha Carter was a civilian doctor who discovered how to make the Stargate work. She was married to Jack O'Neill for a year when Apophis overthrew Earth. Jack was killed and his death had a huge effect on her. With Charles Kawalsky, she journeyed through the Quantum Mirror to our reality and met her counterpart. When entropic cascade failure occurred, due to two of the same person existing in one reality, the SGC decided the alternates of Samantha Carter and Charles Kawalsky had to return to their own reality. The Carters repair the device that allowed them to contact the Asgard in their reality. The Carter from this reality seems to be much more emotional than her counterpart in our reality, though they seem to be equal in the scientific realm. She also wore her hair long, but without a barrette. Though she is married to Jack O'Neill, she still refers to herself as Samantha Carter, rather than Samantha O'Neill.
- A version of Carter (it is unknown if her first name is the same) was briefly glimpsed by Daniel Jackson when he was attempting to find our reality on the Quantum Mirror. He thought this was our own reality, until he noticed Carter was still a Captain.
- In an alternate reality where Earth became an ally of the Aschen, Samantha Carter stayed faithful to her decision to support the alien race until she discovered the sinister actions behind the scenes. In the last ten years of her life, Carter eventually rose to the rank of Colonel before retiring from the Air Force, married Joe Faxon, Earth's Ambassador to the Aschen, and worked on several major projects (one of which included the transformation of Jupiter into a sun). When Carter and her husband were having difficulty conceiving a child, she along with Janet Fraiser began an investigation that led to the discovery of the Aschen's efforts to sterilize Earth's population through the anti-aging vaccine. The two women promptly told Teal'c, Daniel Jackson, and later, Jack O'Neill. The group soon formed a plan to send a message through the Stargate and back in time ten years previous, warning their past selves to avoid the mission that would have brought them into contact with the Aschen. But finding that they needed a GDO to make the plan work, Carter confessed what she had discovered to Joe, who then revealed that he had known about the sterilization all along (although not to such an enormous extent). Nevertheless, he obtained the GDO for them, but gave it up only after O'Neill gave his word that Carter would have no further part in what they were planning. Despite Joe's efforts, however, Carter turned away from her husband and rejoined her team in the plan's final execution. Even though the area around the Stargate was under heavy fire and O'Neill, Jackson, and Teal'c all lay dead around it, Carter ran to the Stargate to finish what they had begun. Picking up the message, she stumbled the last few feet to the Stargate and sent it through as she fell under the fire of the automated defense system.
- In an alternate reality created through interference with the timeline, Dr. Samantha Carter worked at the Department of Aerospace as a copy editor. Carter, Daniel Jackson, and Jack O'Neill traveled to Chulak to recruit Teal'c. They traveled back to ancient Egypt to fix the timeline. As Jack and she worked alone in the jumper, he told her that he found her sttractive, but she replied that she liked Daniel. A short while later, however, when thinking they were going to be killed she kissed him, saying that she had lied, and that she had only wanted to take her time to get to know him better. He then cut off her rambling explanation by kissing her again. When Daniel told them over the radio that it was safe to come outside, Jack replied that they would be a bit longer; they then kissed again, sparks flying from the broken machine in the background, and Sam remarking that she could "fix that".
- A version of Samantha Carter, specific rank unknown, came to our reality in an attempt to steal a ZPM and return it to her reality for the protection of her Earth. She had been married and has been on a honeymoon.
- In an alternate reality Samantha Carter was not part of SG-1 in January of 2006, but home for maternity leave. She had been involved with Martouf, but according to him, had moved on and was now with someone else, though he did not specifically say who it was.
- One Carter was still a Major and was married to McKay, until a divorce. She was killed during an experiment to protect Earth against the Ori the same time the Carter from our reality entered her timeline.
- Carter was trapped with SG-1 on the Odyssey in a Time dilation field while she tried to figure out a way to circumvent the ship's new Asgard upgrades, because the Ori were able to track them. It took her 50 years to figure out a way by sending Teal'c back in time. During the 50 years, she looked over all the Asgard upgrades and learned to play the cello. She was killed temporarily as the ship was destroyed, but her plan was successful and Teal'c traveled back in time to a few seconds before the Odyssey was destroyed. He prevented Carter from activating the time dilation field, and the Asgard systems were shut down, allowing the Odyssey to escape.
- In an alternate timeline, Michael Kenmore controlled the Pegasus galaxy. In an effort to stop his crusade, Carter took command of the Phoenix and attacked Michael's fleet several times using Guerilla warfare. However, luck ran out as Michael had leaked false information and Carter and her ship were led into an ambush. Losing shields, hyperdrive and weapons, Carter evacuated the crew, but the transporters went offline before Carter could escape. In a last ditch effort, she set the Phoenix on a collision course with the Hybrid controlled hive ships. All three hive ships were destroyed in the resulting explosion, as well as the Phoenix. Carter was killed, and as McKay put it, "another empty casket was buried".
- In an alternate timeline where Earth's Stargate was lost in the Arctic, she became an astronaut for NASA and Mission Commander of the Intrepid. During one of her missions in 2004, she risked her own life trying to save the rest of her crew. She was killed, but her body was never found. She was deemed a hero and her funeral ceremony was held on the front lawn of the White House.
- Replicator Carter
- Samantha Carter (robot)
- Sam drives a silver Volvo P1800 in 2001. In 2002, she was driving a silver Volvo S40.
- Sam's act of blowing up Vorash's sun in 2001 is referenced as one of her more fantastic acts.
Behind the scenes
- Samantha and Walter Harriman are the only two characters to appear in every season of Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe. (see: List of Appearances)
- Though she appears in fewer episodes of Stargate SG-1 than Teal'c, her starring role during Season 4 of Stargate Atlantis puts her total number of appearances at 219, more than that of any other character in the Stargate universe.
- Amanda Tapping stated in a December 2005 interview that the dog tags Carter wears throughout the series state she is Roman Catholic. In the same interview, Tapping stated that, in her mind at least, Carter is religious, but that she probably doesn't follow organized religion. However, the writing on her dog tags is not legible in any episode, so none of this is conclusive.