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The anticipated return of Quantum Leap has had fans of the original '90s series wondering how different this continuation of the mythology will be from the series that starred Scott Bakula as time traveler Dr. Sam Beckett and his hologram helper, Al (Dean Stockwell). At today's NBC virtual Television Critics Association press day for the series, showrunner Martin Gero (Blindspot) explained to reporters (including SYFY WIRE), that they knew that this series would be setup to fail if they tried to recast Sam or Al and reboot the concept from scratch.
"It made sense to be a continuation that honors the old show but also have a low bar for entry for new viewers," Gero explained about their creative reasoning. "We want all of the rabid fans to return and have it feel like Quantum Leap. But it’s an evolution." He did clarify that as the series gets deeper into Season 1, a lot of the back story of the original series will be folded into where the Quantum Leap project is now with Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) as the time traveler. "It will be done like having a different view of the past."
What this new series will do differently will be having stories set at the Quantum Leap headquarters with those monitoring Ben's leaps, what needs to be changed in time and trying to find out why Ben got into the machine when it wasn't ready yet. "Why Ben left is the big question for the season that we will answer," Gero promised. "And I think it's a satisfying and great."
Gero said the lab stories were a part of modernizing the series and adding a serialized aspect that was requested by the studio and network. "The idea was to be balanced in telling both stories but the series is mostly about Ben's leaps. As the season gets going, if there's a huge leap event we will see more of the HQ team, but they will only be 40 percent of any episode. It's primarily about the leaps."
One of the people back home is Magic Williams, played by Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters). It's a character that originated in the older series, introduced in "The Leap Home, Part II (Vietnam)" in Season 3. Gero said the carryover of the character to this new series came from the writers looking for potential connective tissue. "I don’t want to give too much away, but one of my favorite scenes of the series so far is between between Mason Alexander Park's character and Ernie where we find out about Magic’s back story. And having Ernie on this show is wonderful and he's phenomenal."
Quantum Leap premieres Sept. 19 on NBC, with the episode available the next day on Peacock.