On Monday, September 19, the world returns to leaping with the premiere of NBC's Quantum Leap revival. Set in the present time (some 30 years after original series star Scott Bakula's Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished), the series focuses on a new team assembled to restart the project in the hopes of understanding the mysteries behind the machine… and the man who created it. Now, showrunners Steven Lilien & Bryan Wynbrandt and series star Raymond Lee offer viewers some background intel on what they can expect from the upcoming Quantum Leap revival during a recent interview with EW. "It was important to follow in their footsteps by continuing the legacy and introduce our audience to a new set of characters and new story while connecting the two worlds," Wynbrandt explained about the show's overall focus. Here's a look at some of the highlights:
Lee's Dr. Ben Seong is a world-renowned physicist and a man of faith who makes a literal leap of faith that finds him lost… and without his memory. Hudson's Herbert "Magic" Williams (Ernie Hudson) is a Vietnam veteran and the head of the Quantum Leap project. He uses his political and military know-how to keep the Pentagon at bay while his team works to rescue Ben. Caitlin Bassett's Addison is a project lead at Quantum Leap headquarters who operates state-of-the-art technology to communicate with an individual time traveling in the past, likely similar to how the original series saw Admiral Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell) communicate with Sam via hologram. Nanrisa Lee's Jenn is Quantum Leap's head of security, while Mason Alexander Park's Ian is the chief architect of Quantum Leap's A.I. program.
Lee on "Spiritual Scientist" Dr. Ben Seong's Approach to Time Travel: "He is compelled over and over again to make the right decision, even if his own life is at stake, so he is a much better person than I am in real life. He's something to strive for."
Lilien on Dr. Seong & Addison's (Caitlin Bassett) "Close Relationship": "Their [Ben & Addison] relationship runs deeper than just being a hologram. They have a close relationship."
Lilien on Importance of Connecting to Original Series via Herbert "Magic" Williams (Ernie Hudson): Hudson's character is an older version of the character from Season 3 episode "The Leap Home, Part II (Vietnam)" and represents not just a thread to the original series but also how Sam's leaps impacting those individuals years later. "Those are memorable episodes, so it wasn't hard to gravitate toward that world and find a character we always responded to."
Lilien on Ian Wright (Mason Alexander Park) & Jen Chou (Nanrisa Lee): Ian has "a philosophical and engaging point of view on both technology and humanity, which gives a cool depth to the core group," while Jen holds a cynical view of Ben and the reasons for his leaps.
Wynbrandt on Spending More Time Focusing on Quantum Leap Team: "This is a family that is being thrown into upheaval because someone they love and trust has done something unexpected by leaving without telling them. It has a huge ripple effect on all their relationships and lives."
Lilien on Having a "New Playground of History" to Play In: "There are so many incredible events to touch on from the last 30 years. To hear the music, to remind people what we were wearing and how we wore our hair and talked. It's exciting to tell this story right now, to look back and to bring it to a modern audience."
La Brea co-showrunners Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt are writing & executive producing the pilot, with Blindspot creator Martin Gero, original series creator/EP Don Bellisario, and EP/co-narrator Deborah Pratt. Helen Shaver (Station Eleven, Lovecraft Country, Orphan Black) had been tapped to executive produce and direct the pilot. While not currently attached to either reprise his role or produce in some way, Bakula has apparently had conversations about returning (Stockwell passed away in November 2021 at the age of 85). Universal Television (a division of Universal Studio Group) will produce the pilot alongside Lilien & Wynbrandt's I Have an Idea! Entertainment, Bellisario's Belisarius Productions, and Gero's Quinn's House Productions.