Quantum Leap returns to the small screen on September 12th. The reboot of the 1989 sci-fi drama series about Dr. Sam Beckett leaping through time, trying to put right what once went wrong. This time, it will follow a new scientist (Dr. Ben Strong played by Raymond Lee) and his team as they restart the Quantum Leap program and begin their own journey. Since the new series is billed as a sequel to the original, many fans were hopeful that it would finally give Sam Beckett the happy ending he was denied in the original show. But Dr. Beckett himself, Scott Bakula, took to Twitter to set the record straight.
The original show began airing in March of 1989 and became a success due to its good-natured storytelling. It was anchored by the chemistry between Dean Stockwell and Scott Bakula, whose friendship was at the heart of every season. Since the infamous ending title card read “Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home,” fans have been left wondering what ever happened to the intrepid time traveler. Donald P. Bellisario, the shows creator, had been working for a number of years to bring the further adventures of Sam and Al back, first with a television movie on the SciFi Channel and then as a big screen feature-length film. Now that universe is finally returning and, even though Bellisario is involved in the new series, everyone has been pretty quiet on whether or not Bakula will be involved.
Scott Bakula posted a Twitter thread that explained his involvement in the new show. In short, he’s not involved at all. “I have no connection with the new show” he tweeted, which immediately dashed the hopes of long-time fans. Apparently, he was sent a script for the pilot of the new show, because the Sam Beckett character was initially included, but decided to pass on it. He went on to say “‘How could you do [Quantum Leap] without Sam?’(or Al, for that matter) Well, I guess we’re about to find out.” He did mention that it was a difficult decision to make and that he hopes for nothing but the best for the new team, but he will not be making an appearance.
This kind of cuts the new show off at the knees a bit. Fans were hopeful that the new series would pick up on some of the threads from the original show, especially considering Ernie Hudson’s returning character. The original announcement for the 2022 reboot told audiences that the new Quantum Leap project was being restarted to find out what happened to Sam. Since Dean Stockwell has passed away, it was clear that Al couldn’t be a part of the series but knowing that Sam won’t be either is a tough pill to swallow.
This is not to say that the new show won’t be able to stand on its own of course. Certain expectations come with sequel shows, and it’s good that Scott Bakula quelled those expectations before the show aired. While some legacy actors try to keep their returning roles a secret, Scott Bakula didn’t mince words over him not returning. His language makes it sound pretty definitive that he’s not looking to guest star on the show at any point. Perhaps if Quantum Leap does get a second season, the writers could reach out again to see if he has changed his mind.