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Lieutenant General Jonathan J. “Jack” O’Neill, USAF 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 universe 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, and John J. O’Neill in another) 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.