The rebooted Pilot Script for the MacGyver Reboot was written by Executive Producer Peter Lenkov. An earlier version of the script – the Revised Network Draft – has been floating around since October 2016.
There was a Production Draft from June 29 and several revisions (Blue, Pink, Yellow and Green) when they did the first table read on July 8.
I’m taking a look at the Revised Network Draft of the Pilot Script from June 20 (2016).
On July 19 in 2016, we got several pictures of a tank on set. A tank that soon got invaded by bikini-clad women in heels or boots while carrying weapons. Hmm. SkyDroneCinema called it a “hot hot day on set” while Lenkov asked the same question that fans have been asking on the MacGyver Online Forums and on the MacGyver Online Facebook Page: What does this have to do with MacGyver???
As more pictures turned up, we realized the scene also featured Ninjas. There had been a Casting Call by Central Casting Georgia looking for Ninjas on July 18, but seeing them together with gun-wielding “bikini babes” just made this even more surreal.
Pictures of the Ninjas posing with the bikini girls would have fit for movies along “MacGruber” or “Sharknado”, so of course we weren’t just puzzled about this, but also concerned – because the material we had gotten the days before looked so much different. It felt like the quality of the production had just dropped a notch.
Crew member Chris Payne Gilbert sure had fun filming this scene, as did George Ead’s Stand-In Mikey Leo and model Teresita Vicente (although she later deleted her Instagram picture stating she had been shooting Ninjas all day with a machine gun while wearing a bathing suit).
While some fans were as happy as Lucas Till and George Eads snagging Ninja-Shooting Bikini Babe India Batson for a picture, others were either confused or disappointed; stating that “Baywatch With Tanks” (thanks for this label, Miasma!) wasn’t the image the show should be going for.
We kept guessing at what this scene should be for days. Opening Gambit? Weird Dream Episode? Music Video for the Soundtrack? Promo Video for Comic Con San Diego? Maybe another production filming on the same studio lot and Lucas and George posing for fun during a break?
As it turned out, all the excitement and chatter was for nothing because the scene got cut in the end. If you’re lucky enough to have gotten a DVD copy (Season 1 has only been released in Australia and the UK so far), the scene made it onto the DVD Extras.
FunFact: A tiny shot of the scene actually had made it into one of the Official Trailers, so it must have been cut in the later stages of the editing process.
Looking at the script, this scene takes place after Patricia Thornton had recruited MacGyver back into DXS, stating his “vacation” was over.
So while MacGyver was healing (both physically and emotionally), Jack was working as a tech consultant on a movie set. Interestingly, the script never describes much of the movie besides having a young and good-looking starlet with a machine-gun, playing a character being a spy working undercover. I’m curious to know who actually came up with adding Ninjas to the “Baywatch with Tanks” concept.
I don’t think it was hinted at in the Pilot Episode that Mac and Jack didn’t stay in close contact after Lake Como. I’d think that Jack would have stayed at Mac’s side while being treated at the hospital, but it’s quite possible that Jack felt responsible for MacGyver’s girlfriend and valued team member Nikki getting killed and tried to deal with this guilt on his own.
In the version that aired, Mac and Jack are simply reunited without ever talking about the events at Lake Como. While I’m aware that the scene was probably cut for time, this just again made me think that it would have been nice to actually get a two-parter for the Pilot Episode or maybe an episode longer than the standard 40-and-something-minutes.
Scenes like this would definitely have helped to implement the friendship between these two and why they’re still working together. On the other hand, I’m totally fine about dropping the next scene:
The role of “Tiffany” was played by India Batson. I feel bad for her the scene got cut, but besides painting Jack as a bit of a ladies man, it doesn’t do much for moving the plot forwards.
Me being one of the “unlucky” ones without access to the DVD Extras, I can only speculate that the scene was cut for time. I don’t know much about filming budgets, but I’d say this was a rather expensive scene to let go of.
I’m fine with dropping it, though. I’s not really relevant to the plot and rather slows it down. It would have been nice to have Mac and Jack talking about the mission and their guillt, but it wasn’t necessary to do it here. Also, since Bozer is the one being interested in movies and being a director, it would have made much more sense to me if Bozer worked on movie sets (e.g. as an Extra or in catering) to earn some experience in the field. They could have worked that into an episode with MacGyver having an adventure outside of Phoenix like in the Original Show – e.g. there’s weird stuff going on at Bozer’s work place aka the film set he got a little job at; similar to “Cleo Rocks”.