Lou Diamond Phillips, Ming-Na join Stargate Universe cast

SCI FI Channel announced the casting of Lou Diamond Phillips, Ming-Na, Elyse Levesque and Alaina Huffman in its new original series Stargate Universe, which began production last week in Vancouver, Canada.

They join the previously announced stars Robert Carlyle, Justin Louis, David Blue, Jamil Walker Smith and Brian J. Smith in the latest adventure of the Stargate franchise produced by MGM Television, which is expected to premiere with a two-hour movie in October.

The two-part premiere of SGU is being directed by Andy Mikita (Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1) and shot by Rohn Schmidt (The Shield, The Mist). Brad Wright and Robert Cooper (Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis) will serve as executive producers and writers on the new series.

Here's how SCI FI describes the new show: "SGU follows a band of soldiers, scientists and civilians who must fend for themselves as they are forced through a Stargate when their hidden base comes under attack. The desperate survivors emerge aboard an ancient ship, which is locked on an unknown course and unable to return to Earth. Faced with meeting the most basic needs of food, water and air, the group must unlock the secrets of the ship's Stargate to survive. The danger, adventure and hope they find on board the Destiny will reveal the heroes and villains among them."

Here's how SCI FI describes the cast:

Carlyle stars as Dr. Nicholas Rush, one of the most brilliant scientific minds, whose motives are not what they appear to be.

Phillips is Col. Telford, a proud lifelong military man, who puts his faith in the chain of command. Stubbornly confident, he's highly regarded by his superiors. He is the chosen leader of the ill-fated expedition.

Louis portrays Col. Everett Young, an experienced Stargate team leader. Married, with years of tough decisions under his belt, he has learned from life never to take anything for granted. He stays on top of his team so they stay alive.

Smith is Lt. Matthew Scott, a junior member of the Stargate team. Green and rough around the edges, he is thrust into the role of leader well before he's ready for the responsibility and must learn to command, earn respect through action and manage the diverse personalities aboard the ship.

Levesque stars as Chloe Armstrong, the daughter and aide of a U.S. senator. Politically savvy, but with a wild side, she is considering following in her father's footsteps until she finds herself trapped on the ship. As tensions rise, her character will be tested and her place among the group revealed.

Blue stars as Eli Wallace, a total slacker, who just happens to be an utter genius with anything he puts his mind to: mathematics, computers, video games. A lack of confidence has left him with an acerbic sense of humor.

Huffman portrays Master Sgt. Tamara Johansen. Unable to afford medical school, the strong-willed field medic saw the Air Force as the best option. Faced with the mounting pressure and a lack of in-depth experience, she will be forced to rise to the occasion as she treats the seriously wounded.

Smith portrays Master Sgt. Ronald Greer, a Marine with a temper you don't want to mess with. His past is mysterious, but it's clear something dark formed the hard shell around him.

Ming-Na is Camile Wray, a human resources executive with the international oversight committee that governs the Stargate program. Now the highest-ranking member of that division left stranded on the ship, she carries herself with a misguided sense of superiority over the other military and civilian survivors.

Stargate Universe will be distributed by MGM Worldwide Television Distribution.

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