Sam Beckett never made it home. That revelation in the final episode of the original Quantum Leap, which aired in 1993, has to be among the most disparaging endings of a beloved TV show. Our hero, played by Scott Bakula, will never reunite with his beloved wife. Instead, he continues leaping into other bodies, righting historical wrongs. While that may be a bummer for fans of the original series, it provides hope for fans of the reboot, which debuted earlier this year — even if Bakula says there isn’t any.
A few weeks ago, Bakula took to Twitter to explain his absence from the series. “I have no connection with the new show, either in front of the camera or behind it,” Bakula tweeted. And while he ends his thread with well-wishes — “I am crossing my fingers that this new cast and crew are lucky enough to tap into the magic that propelled the original Quantum Leap into the hearts and minds of generations past and present” — Bakula seemed certain that Sam’s leaping would never cross paths with that of Raymond Lee’s Dr. Ben Song.
However, the showrunner of the new series Martin Gero is not giving up. In a conversation with Collider, Gero said, “I will respectfully always ask him to do the show.” Gero wants to “completely respect his wishes, ” but also wants Bakula to know “our enthusiasm, our love, and our reverence for the old show.” And so, in Gero’s mind, Bakula’s decision is simply “a no right now.” In fact, Gero admitted that he has “a very, very good idea that [his producers] know about” for bringing Sam into the new series. Of course, Gero doesn’t let that idea slip yet, but he remains adamant that “it would be pretty amazing to have him back.”
If Sam were to return to the series, he would have to do so without his constant partner Al, played by the late Dean Stockwell. In the final episode, Sam saves Al’s first marriage in 1969 by preventing his wife Beth from remarrying after Al’s apparent death. The act changes Al’s life for the better, promising a changed dynamic for the pair. However, with Stockwell’s passing in 2021, the pair will never be together again in the same way.
For his part, Bakula has remained busy since leaving Quantum Leap. He starred in genre shows and movies such as Star Trek: Enterprise and the Clive Barker movie Lord of Illusions. He even managed a winking cameo in the film Source Code, in which Jake Gyllenhall’s character leaps into the body of another person to prevent a disaster (Bakula’s first words in his scene: “Oh boy”). More recently, Bakula completed a starring role on the procedural NCIS: New Orleans.
With such a long list of credits, Gero knows that Bakula has a lot on his plate. “I don’t know what that timeline looks like, or even if it’s possible,” Gero admitted. If only someone could temporarily take over someone in Bakula’s life and make it possible, Sam Beckett could get a happier ending.