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'Quantum Leap' stars tease new heroes, adventures to come in NBC's time-warping revival
The modern-day reboot will start leaping onto our screens this fall.
Oh, boy! NBC showed off some initial footage from its upcoming reboot of Quantum Leap Monday, teasing an Earth-shattering debut for Dr. Ben Seong (Raymond Lee), a respected physicist who finds himself in the same predicament Scott Bakula's Dr. Samuel Beckett faced all those years ago.
He's a man lost in the past, jumping from body to body in an effort to get back home. The pilot episode thrusts Dr. Seong back to 1989, where he must work to prevent a terrible tragedy from taking place amid the San Francisco Earthquake that occurred that same year. Funnily enough, 1989 is the same year the original iteration of the iconic series first leapt onto the small screen. It's a nice little homage to original creator Don Bellisario and Deborah Platt (voice of the A.I. known as "Ziggy") — both of whom serve as executive producers on the modern-day revival.
"I really dug being in the ‘80s. It was really fun," Lee told SYFY WIRE during the NBCUniversal Upfront event, which included a sneak peek at the show's first trailer. "I’m somewhat a product of the ‘80s, so a lot of things were nostalgic to me. I think I would have been playing at something if we leapt even further back, but I kind of knew what that vibe was and it was really fun to wear a Members Only jacket. I owned it [in real life]."
Seong's temporal problem stems from him going "rogue," Lee teased. "My character has figured out how to use the Quantum Accelerator and how to use it for his own benefit. We don’t know why and that’s what we’re gonna find out as the series goes on. It’s also noted that he is a man of faith and we figure out how the faith plays into his choices and how he’s intrinsically tied to Addison as well."
Played by newcomer Caitlin Bassett, Addison is a Quantum Leap project head in charge of the technology that allows the team to keep in touch with anyone traveling through time. Bassett described her character as "ex-military, ex-intelligence," who is brought into the fold by seasoned QL member, Herbert "Magic" Williams (Ernie Hudson). "Now that things have gone a little sideways — or ‘a little caca’ to steal from the original series — her job is keeping this alive; taking care of Ben, figuring this out, trying to bring him home," the actress continued. "She’s on a mission ... she’s there to get our leader home. That’s her main goal."
While Seong and Addison are both new additions to the canon, "Magic" Williams, as played by Christopher Kirby, first appeared in a 1990 episode where Sam Beckett leapt into his body during the Vietnam War. Now, all these years later and played by Hudson, he's an integral part of the Quantum Leap experiment and uses his political know-how to keep the Pentagon from asking too many questions about Ben's disappearance. He's also a bit scarred from the experience of temporarily losing control of his body.
"He’s never quite recovered [from] what exactly happened," Hudson said. "It’s just sort of led him on a path to figure it out and to try to get this project back together and to get the funding and all that to make it happen and to bring on a great group of people to just explore what there is out there and how it can benefit us and the world. But he has a lot of issues — somebody takes over your body for a few days, you don’t come out exactly normal anymore. So he has his issues, which I’m very grateful for. I love [playing] people with issues. He gets to try to figure a lot of stuff out and [has] a lot of responsibility."
The cast also includes Nanrisa Lee (Bosch) as Jenn, head of QL security, and Mason Alexander Park (Cowboy Bebop) as Ian, the mastermind of the artificial intelligence program running the titular operation. La Brea vets Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt are co-showrunners and executive producers.
The new iteration of Quantum Leap premieres this fall, airing Monday nights on NBC (the season opener will follow the Season 22 premiere of The Voice). In the meantime, the original Quantum Leap series is airing Fridays this summer on SYFY as part of SYFY Rewind.
Additional reporting by Stephanie Gomulka.