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‘Quantum Leap’: Showrunners Address Tuesday Finale And Possibility Of Season 3 For NBC Drama

SPOILER ALERT! This story contains plot points from Tuesday’s season finale of Quantum Leap on NBC.

The two-part finale of NBC‘s reboot of the popular 1990s sci-fi drama wrapped in a tidy and uplifting manner — meaning it could serve as a series finale if the drama doesn’t earn a third season pickup.

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Here, co-showrunners Martin Gero and Dean Georgaris talk about how long they’ve been planning that happens in the season 2 finale, along with why it was so important to feature a massive Butterfly Effect, and what fans could expect if the series makes it to season 3.

DEADLINE It feels like you’ve crafted this to potentially work as a series finale. Was that the plan?

DEAN GEORGARIS Interestingly, we actually didn’t craft it to be a series finale. The fact that Ben [Raymond Lee] and Addison [Caitlin Bassett] are in the same physical space can feel like a completion, of sorts, of the first part of their journey. But what we wanted to do for season two was to tell a really emotional story with this incredible cast that we had. And the way we did that was to split Ben and Addison up emotionally, to break them up. When we got the early renewal for season two, we knew we were not going to end it on a cliffhanger. We were going to end it on the first scene from season three, and we’re going to end it with the two characters together, but in a way that you never expected. And that sort of says to the audience, ‘look at all the great places we can go.’ So if it feels like a completion for audiences, that’s wonderful. It is a completion of part of the journey, but I think for us, it serves as the launch for the rest of the journey.

DEADLINE Quantum Leap is considered a bubble show. What’s it like to be sitting on the bubble?

GERO I mean, look, I’ve never been on a show that wasn’t on the bubble unless it’s picked up a week after it airs. The business is shifting constantly, and however many episodes we’ve done in our careers between us, it’s like, we just ride it out. That stuff is out of our control. What we can control is the show. What we can control is how the audience feels. We’re ready and raring to do more.

GEORGARIS The new reality we’re all getting used to is, it’s not just about one rating anymore. It’s not just about one number. There are multiple platforms. So the truth is, I think every showrunner and every show creator is living a bubble existence, for the most part. That just comes with it. And that’s fine. As Martin said, that’s really not our job. Our job is to entertain while we can.

DEADLINE When did you craft these finale scripts? Was it before or after the strike?

MARTIN GERO It was after the strike, but we had kind of built everything. We started breaking the show in December [of 2022], and one of the first things we do is always talk about what the finale is. So we had already written the first eight episodes and had outlines for nine and 10 [before they went out on strike]. So when the strike was over, it wasn’t so much of like, ‘okay, what are we going to do?’ It was just being able to complete this plan that we had put in place in late 2022.

DEADLINE So you didn’t feel like you wanted to change anything once the strike was over?

GERO No, we were so lucky. I mean, we really had a vision. It’s satisfying for you to say that this could feel like a finale in some ways because for us, every season should feel like a book in a series of novels you really like. We never want the show to feel like all middle. We want these seasons to have a beginning, middle, and an end. But to do that in a really satisfying way, you have to lay the foundation in those early episodes. So once we had kind of laid that foundation, obviously things have some jiggle room and you move ’em around and you lean toward strengths and weaknesses. But we always knew this was going to be the finale.

DEADLINE So there was no alternative episode that you explored or something else that you shot and you didn’t use?

GEORGARIS Nothing like that. We built a story that we knew we could tell in 13 episodes. We didn’t know how the strike would affect our order, but we knew we had a complete story and we were shockingly loyal to it.

DEADLINE You rely on a lot of exposition in your stories so people can follow. Has that always been job one for you guys?

GERO Yeah, we always want a low bar for entry for anyone. Wherever you want to start watching the show, we’re going to help you. And the great thing about Quantum Leap, even the old version and the new version, is that it is closed-end storytelling. It’s almost like an anthology TV show that happens to have a serialized aspect to it. Obviously, this new incarnation has a slightly more serialized version, but the leaps are the leaps. The leaps are just great episodes of television, and they’re wildly different week to week. And so we know that a good chunk of our audience watches every episode in order, but we also have a good chunk of the audience that is just like, ‘oh, yeah, right. Quantum Leap is on, I’ll drop in this week.’

DEADLINE Where do Addison and Ben end up?

GERO It’s pretty vague, but I think for us it’s kind of like Europe, World War II-ish.

DEADLINE Question about the Butterfly Effect we saw in the finale. Has there been one that big in previous episodes?

GERO This is a huge one, yeah.

GEORGARIS The two things that we’ve been saving up to do was doing the Butterfly Effect in a meaningful way, watching our characters we care about come back to life or to change. The other was we wanted Jeffrey, who had been our big bad of our season, Gideon [James Frain], to experience how powerful it is to be the leaper. In other words, young Jeffrey helps Ben save a life, and that changes Jeffrey. And that ultimately is the DNA of the show from the very beginning. It’s a show that’s fundamentally about hope, and it’s about the profound ripple effect of small acts of kindness. We want to see a character being moved by the fact that doing good for the world is a very satisfying thing.

DEADLINE Have you already pitched season three to NBC?

GERO We haven’t done a longform pitch. They know definitely what the shape is, and they signed off on our little epilogue moment with Ben and Addison, so they know where we’re going. But no, we haven’t done our big song and dance thing.

DEADLINE Do you have your song and dance ready to go?

GERO Oh, absolutely. We’ve been thinking about this since the strike was over and once we kind of finalized what the episode count was going to be, we started thinking and working on season three.

DEADLINE So if there was another season, will we see Ben and Addison traveling together?

GERO Yeah. We don’t want to get too far into it, but absolutely. That is the intended beginning.

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