Back in the day, an unknown Jason Momoa played Ronon Dex in the show Stargate Atlantis. Here is some interesting trivia about the character!
The show Stargate Atlantis – one of many TV spin-offs from the 1994 movie – ran from 2004 to 2009 for 100 episodes. It was never quite as popular as SG-1, but it gained a large following. Movie-star Jason Momoa, then relatively unknown, played Ronon Dex, one of the show’s most memorable characters.
He was known for being a great warrior and playing it cool and was never really front and center of the team, but Ronon Dex’s back story goes deeper both on and off the screen.
It may have been Stargate Atlantis that gave Jason Momoa his big break, but it wasn’t the first time Momoa appeared onscreen. He was already showing off his torso in 1999, as recurring character Jason Ioane in 44 episodes of TV’s Baywatch.
As well as 2 or 3 lesser-known film roles, he also had 21 episodes of North Shore as Frankie Seau under his belt by the time SGA rolled around.
Ronon lived a turbulent life even before he was joined the crew in season 2. A native of Sateda, he lived with his grandfather, who suffered from a sci-fi equivalent of Alzheimer’s Disease called Second Childhood. He then joined the Satedan military where he was basically spec-ops. It was during his time with the military he met Melena, a woman he would later describe as having been “close enough” to a wife.
7 years before the Atlantis expedition, the race known as the Wraith attacked Sateda. Ronon and Melena stayed behind to fight the aliens off, which is when Melena was tragically killed in an explosion right in front of him. Ronon never truly recovered from this loss.
The Hunted Becomes The Hunter
Shortly after and perhaps due to the loss of Melena, Ronon was eventually captured by the Wraith. When they found him to be unnaturally strong and resilient for a human, they turned him into a Runner. A Runner was a slave who got a tracking device implanted in their back before being set loose to be hunted by the Wraith, for training purposes or just for fun.
But Ronon was so adept he survived this life for 7 longs years and took to hunting the pursuing Wraith back, constantly forced to adapt his survival and combat skills, making him twice as deadly as he was going in.
Ronon had a variety of unique weapons at his disposal he accumulated during his days as a soldier and his days as a runner. He carries a rare energy pistol, that runs on a power cell and is capable of stunning or killing an opponent.
He also carries a badass sword, made from the metal of a Wraith ship, with a hilt made from a Wraith mandible and wrapped in Wraith hair. Even the scabbard is fashioned from a Wraith leather coat. He also carries at least 4 hidden knives on his for emergencies, though some joke he appears to have an infinite supply of these spare knives sometimes.
Ronon Dex’s dreadlocks were an important part of the character’s distinctive look, and Momoa rocked those dreads hard throughout the show. What some might not know, is that midway through the show’s run, Momoa cut his dreads off.
After spending 9 hours getting them glued back on before the next shoot, the team resorted to a wig, which Momoa went on to wear for the rest of the show’s run.
After joining to Atlantis expedition, it was only a matter of time before Ronon Dex faced the Wraith again. In the season 3 episode ‘Sateda’, Ronon is captured and put to work as a Runner by the Wraith once again, after being identified and ratted out by some villagers on a planet Ronon once visited.
But with the help of his crew, the Wraith are defeated and Ronon gets his revenge in one of his most emotional episodes.
Almost Walked Away
As well as coming face-to-face with the Wraith once more, Ronon discovers he is not the sole survivor from his world, as over 300 Satedans managed to escape the Wraith and settle on other worlds. In the season 4 episode ‘Reunion’, Ronon meets up with 3 old friends from Sateda and seriously considers leaving the Atlantis expedition to join them.
He probably would have done, but these old friends turned out to be Wraith worshippers. In the end, Ronon gets all warm and fuzzy with the Stargate crew and declares his real friends are ‘right here’.
In the show’s finale – the final episode of season 5 at least, you never know these days – Ronon Dex is killed-in-action during an assault on a Wraith hive that’s entering Earth’s orbit. But the Wraith are then forced to revive their old enemy in order to interrogate him, and after bringing him back to life they never get round to finishing the job, as Ronon is rescued by Sheppard and the crew in the show’s climax.
Last we saw Ronan, he had safely returned to Earth with the rest of the crew, right next to the Golden Gate Bridge, although the Atlantis was a little worse for wear. The character’s ultimate fate remains to be seen.
Romance Is Dead
There was always a lot of speculation amongst the fans as to who Dr. Jennifer Keller, played by Jewel Staite, would end up with. A sign of the times perhaps. He wasn’t the only choice, but a lot of people shipped Keller with Ronon.
But Momoa resisted this idea, feeling his character was still too attached to Melena to get back in a serious relationship. Their relationship veered above friendship on a few occasions, but in the end, we never found out if those babies would’ve been born with dreadlocks.
SG-1 is and may always be the fan-favorite among the various incarnations of Stargate, but Atlantis is a comfortable 2nd. Along with SG-1, it is one of the few spin-offs to end up outranking the movie.
The fans just can’t get enough though, and we’ll probably be hearing from the Stargate franchise again soon enough. As one of the most popular Stargate characters across the board, we might not have seen the last of Jason Momona’s Ronon Dex.
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