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'Quantum Leap' star Ernie Hudson wants to see Magic time travel 'or be the hologram'

He'd also love for Magic to meet up with other individuals who had their lives affected by Sam Beckett.

By Josh Weiss
Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 5

Ernie Hudson would like the chance to pull a Marty McFly and travel into the past. The guy has tackled malevolent spirits into submission, so the space-time continuum should be a piece of cake. In an interview with SYFY WIRE about his role in NBC's revival of Quantum Leap, the actor confirmed that while he might personally want Herbert "Magic" Williams to time travel, the character remains firmly in the present for the rest of the season. (The show is scheduled to return in early 2023.)

"But if we go past this first season, if that's possible, I'd love to see Magic either Leap or be the hologram that helps him through it at some point," he said, referring to the plight of Dr. Ben Seong (Raymond Lee), the latest physicist to follow in the footsteps of Scott Bakula's Dr. Samuel Beckett. "With Magic, I think there's a reason he became a careered military man ... There's a reason that he takes betrayals so personally. There’s a reason that he feels we cannot let Sam Beckett be out there. I think it has to do with his origin and I think to Leap back to get a sense of that would be amazing."

The appeal of Quantum Leap's overall concept (this idea of stepping into another person's shoes and potentially changing the course of history for the better) is that it offers up a fresh perspective on the complexities of human life. Our very existence can be summed up in one pluralized word: choices. Every choice we make ripples outward, not only affecting us as individuals, but everyone around us as well.

"We all have those things in our lives that we think we can make a difference," Hudson explained. "One of the things I'm hoping to see more of is…these aren't easy answers. You hop into a person and they're going through a crisis and we say, ‘Okay, the answer is: 'Just don't do that thing.’ But there's a lot of reasons why you should do that thing. We know from a distance that that is the right answer, but there's consequences to every choice. I'm hoping the Leaps will sometimes get a little bit more complicated … Life is really complicated and it would be interesting to see that."

Quantum Leap Season 1 Episode 6

Hudson went on to voice his hope that Magic will have an opportunity to meet other people whose lives were directly impacted by Sam Beckett. "As a fan, I'd love to see some of that happen," he added. Mr. Williams briefly appeared in an episode of the original series (1990's "The Leap Home Part II"), which focused on Sam leaping into Magic (played as a young man by Christopher Kirby) and attempting to save his older brother during the Vietnam War.

"He's an intuitive guy and when this happened, it's almost like a chunk out of his [memory went missing]," Hudson said. "These amazing things happened, but it’s very hard to take credit [for them], because he didn't know what had happened. And so, I thought, ‘Well, what is that like to come from where he comes from? To really commit?’ He worked his way up to being an admiral, he's really committed ... The writers, of course, have the ultimate say. I'm kind of discovering as we go along, but we have discussions and I don't see a lot of his personal life. Obviously, he's been married before and had other relationships."

The actor concludes: "It feels like the cost of this mission, this Quantum Leap, has kind of wreaked havoc on a personal level, which has led to a lot of problems in his life. It's very hard for him to let go … Obviously, the show is mostly about the Leap. But as you begin to see these people who are trying to keep this thing together, it hasn't been an easy thing for Magic. It continues to be a real challenge for him to admit that the only solid relationships he has are these people that he's working with. Certainly, he has relationships [within the government] to have that influence with the Pentagon, but these people are kind of his family — at least for right now."

The first eight episodes of NBC's Quantum Leap revival are now streaming on Peacock. The show will return for the latter half of its debut season Monday, Jan. 2.