quantum leap movie

“Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.”

That is, of course, the opening narration to Quantum Leap, which ran on NBC from 1989 through 1993 and starred Scott Bakula as the above-mentioned time traveler, Sam Beckett. But while the show has been over for decades (and featured one of the most infamous conclusions in TV history), series creator Donald Bellisario has written a Quantum Leap movie. Oh, boy.

The news broke at LA Comic Con (via Entertainment Weekly), where Bellisario and Bakula reunited on stage to discuss their classic science fiction series in front of an audience. When the subject turned to reboots, Bellisario dropped this little bombshell:

I just finished writing a Quantum Leap feature. I don’t know what’s going to happen with it, but I did write it.

If you want more details…well, get in line. Bellisario remained tight-lipped and there are a few different ways you can read this next comment:

I write things exactly the same way. I just start writing and I let them take me wherever it’s going to take me. I’m entertained the same way the audience is. So I just put Scott and Dean [Stockwell] in my head, kind of rebooted them, and went from there.

Is he saying he “rebooted them” by recreating them from scratch or is he saying that he rebooted them by thinking up new things for Scott Bakula’s Sam and Dean Stockwell’s Al to do? The latter can’t help but feel more likely. Imagine a Tron Legacy or Blade Runner 2049 scenario where a younger, hotter actor finds himself on an adventure in this familiar world, eventually stumbling on Sam Beckett and tying the new characters to the original series. And considering how the show ended, this could be a situation that actually begs for that kind of set-up!

Quantum Leap fluctuated between genres week-by-week, turning whimsical and silly as often as it got dark and introspective. Each time Sam Beckett found himself in a new body in a new time period was a chance for the show to reboot for an hour and experiment in a new genre. It was wonderful and allowed Quantum Leap to function as a series of standalone anthology adventures that had an excuse to play around with tone and style.

But then came that ending (spoilers for a show that has been over for 24 years). In the series finale, a title card revealed that Sam never returned home and chose to remain unstuck in time forever, using his unique situation to continue being a force for good in the universe. In other words, he’s out there, waiting to be rediscovered in a full-fledged Quantum Leap movie.

As someone who grew up devouring re-runs of Quantum Leap on the Sci-Fi Channel (long before that Syfy nonsense) and who has learned to love that controversial ending for its sheer nerve, I’m cautiously optimistic about the thought of a movie. I’d love to see this world again and meet these characters once more. The only hiccup, of course, is that someone has to foot the bill for Bellisario to make a movie based on a series that has only a niche following in 2017. And that’s a problem that only Sam Beckett, leaping into the body of a studio executive, could solve.

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