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What are Evil Leapers on 'Quantum Leap'? That surprise twist explained
Old school Quantum Leap fans got a nice surprise - so what does it mean?
The original Quantum Leap ran for 97 episodes from 1989-1993, and though it’s best known for its one-off storytelling style, the show did build out some mysterious sci-fi canon along the way. Now one of the biggest mysteries, the Evil Leapers, are getting a mention in NBC’s revival series. So what do you need to know?
The Evil Leapers were name-dropped in the March 20, 2023 episode, “Ben, Interrupted,” of the new Quantum Leap series. It’s noted the team has found an old mission report where Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell) references nefarious rival leapers they encountered on a handful of missions, who were often working against Sam Beckett’s (Scott Bakula) mission of setting history right.
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In the modern series, they’re still not sure if Martinez (Walter Perez), the Leaper X who keeps popping up in some of Ben’s leaps, is actually “evil” per se — but this still marks the first time the new series has acknowledged the existence of the Evil Leapers.
Looking back to the original 1990s series, Sam first crossed paths with Alia (Renée Coleman), an Evil Leaper he eventually helps convince to turn away from the evil organization. She even had her own evil hologram to help along the way. Sam only encountered the Evil Leapers in three episodes, and when the show moved on to other stories we never really got any hard explanation for where (or when?) they came from or their end goal. If you want to go deep, you can rewatch the three classic Evil Leaper episodes on Peacock now: "Deliver Us From Evil," "Return of The Evil Leaper," and "Revenge of The Evil Leaper."
Where the Quantum Leap Project has their super computer Ziggy, the Evil Leapers had their own supercomputer named Lothos. Getting a bit deeper into fan theory, along with the original show’s series finale where it’s implied God or some higher power might be guiding Sam’s leaps, was the Devil or some evil force guiding the Evil Leapers? Like many of the original series’ mysteries, we never got any hard answers and the question remained open-ended.
So might the new Quantum Leap introduce Evil Leapers? Or even answer the question of what was up with the old school Evil Leapers? It’s possible! The reference is a big deal, and implies it’s a piece of canon they do want new fans to be aware of moving forward, and old fans to remember. If they do lean into that story, it could certainly provide a way to bridge the series’ stories even closer, especially if they connect it to Martinez’s mission.
New episodes of Quantum Leap air Mondays at 10 p.m. ET, and stream next-day on Peacock.