The Unaired MacGyver Reboot Pilot was filmed in 2016. I’m still trying to find new material for you – which is not easy. In this series of blog posts, I write about the first draft of the Unaired Pilot Script.
If you missed previous posts about the Unaired Pilot, here’s a quick overview:
- Part I (Origins)
- Part II (Promo Material)
- Part III (BtS Photos, Part 1)
- Part IV (BtS Photos, Part 2)
- Part V (Storyboard, Part 1)
- Part VI (Storyboard, Part 2)
- Part VII (Storyboard, Part 3)
- Part VIII (Storyboard, Part 4)
- Part IX (Official Stills)
- Part X (The Script, Part 1)
- Part XI (The Script, Part 2: Earl and David)
- Part XII (The Script, Part 3: Gunner / Hunter)
- Part XIII: (The Script, Part 4: Lincoln)
Don’t worry, I’m not done yet. It just takes a lot of time and effort. Sadly, the days never seem to have enough hours… and my blogging isn’t paid.
The Unaired Pilot Script
A short recap: The Unaired Pilot was filmed in April and May of 2016; based on a script written by Paul Downs Colaizzo and directed by David Von Ancken. I’ve never managed to find the pilot itself or its 20-minute-promo-cut for the Upfronts.
The first draft of the script is dated February 26, 2016. As mentioned in this blog post regarding the script, there were heavy rewrites between the first draft and the filming process. But in case the promo cut (or even the full episode) ever gets released, I will omit some of the most spoilery lines and plot twists. I don’t want to ruin your fun.
The Character: Mickey
In the Opening Gambit of the first draft, we meet Angus “Mac” MacGyver just before escaping a cave in Pakistan. It’s been five years since he was taken as POW (prisoner of war).
Following the opening credits, MacGyver returns to Portland after his hospital stay. We meet his best friends Mickey and Gunner at the airport. They’re all very happy to celebrate Mac’s return to civilian life. It’s not like he’s traumatized, right?
The scene switches pretty quickly to MacGyver’s old bedroom in Grandpa Earl‘s home. While Mickey had to go back to work, Gunner spends more time with Mac. Plot Twist: MacGyver realizes that Gunner and Mac’s former girlfriend Mickey are dating. Mac doesn’t think that’s all too great, but he doesn’t say anything.
Now that MacGyver moved back in with Grandpa Earl, he helps Earl out in the hardware store. After all, Mac has a lot of free time in between the veteran meetings and nothing else to do.
While MacGyver mentally sort of stayed a “free spirit”, both Mickey and Gunner have turned into “boring” adults with full schedules, a career and a desire to earn money. They never talk about what happened to him. They don’t have much time for him. Mac feels lost and out of place.
One day, there’s a robbery at Earl’s store. Or was it terrorism? Everyone thinks MacGyver’s a bit paranoid, being a POW and all. Nevertheless, Mac investigates the case with his “new” friends (Lincoln and Sipps) while also involving his “old” friends (Mickey and Gunner).
Although Gunner thinks the case should be handled by the authorities, he tries to help. He’s not happy about Mickey spending so much time with her ex-boyfriend, though. And he voices that unhappiness loud and clear on several occasions.
Mickey doesn’t understand what Gunner’s problem is. Yes, she’s bantering with Mac, but they’re like best friends, right? (In the script, Colaizzo makes sure that the audience knows about MacGyver and Mickey still having feelings for each other; preparing us for the drama that will inevitably arise in an upcoming episode.)
Generally, there’s not much character development for Mickey. Like Gunner, the character stays rather bland. But unlike for Gunner, there’s no big reveal or plot twist at the end. Maybe Colaizzo wanted to keep every possibility for development open. Mickey could have turned out to be a potential love-interest or the ex that betrays MacGyver (sounds familiar, right?).
Script versus Trailer
Mickey (played by Addison Timlin) doesn’t have much spotlight in the Unaired Pilot Teaser Trailer. Her name is never mentioned. She can be seen in two of the “not-so-official” Stills by Production Designer John Mott: One in presumably Mac’s home and one from behind in the homecoming ceremony crowd at the airport.
Teaser trailers can be deceiving, but it looks like Mickey was intended as a regular character. She serves as the hacker (or officially the computer analyst) on the team and is most likely an algamation of two female characters (Mickey and Sipps) in the script.
As mentioned before, the teaser trailer has barely any resemblance to the first draft script. Besides the Opening Gambit, there was nothing I recognized. Therefore, it’s difficult to estimate how big Mickey’s part would have been on screen. She didn’t show up in any of the storyboard excerpts I’ve seen.
The casting announcement by Deadline reads as follows:
Addison Timlin (Californication) has been cast as the female lead opposite Lucas Till in CBS’ drama pilot MacGyver. (…) Timlin will play Mickey, an app developer who’s aggressively progressive in her political views, with a soft spot for MacGyver.Deadline, March 2016
Just before the Upfronts, SpoilerTV had provided character descriptions. They might have been written for the Upfronts specifically (e.g. for the press kit).
In the character description by SpoilerTV, there’s barely any useful info. It reads like she was downgraded to a simple love interest – but from the trailer, we know that she will be part of the team and go on missions with MacGyver and Lincoln.
In the script, Mickey is part of the “big showdown” in the mall. But at the end, she will stay behind while the team is accompanied by Sipps, a trained agent and Lincoln’s daughter.
What about Nikki?
Judging by the Easter Eggs in the Unaired Pilot Script, we have to assume that writer Paul Downs Colaizzo had some knowledge about characters in the OG show. But there aren’t many similarities between Mickey and Nikki Carpenter. The few similarities were added by Showrunner and EP Peter Lenkov who had to rewrite the script once again.
In the Reboot, Nikki Carpenter is played by Tracy Spiridakos. There are some similarities between OG and rebooted Nikki Carpenter, but the ex-girlfriend betraying the male hero seems to be a thing in all the Lenkoverse shows. I’m assuming that Lenkov simply wanted to use her name as another Easter Egg.
There’s a hacker in most of the CBS drama shows, and Lenkov was pressed for time to get the rebooted Reboot going. But it seems that he went back to the first draft, because his creation of Riley Davis (played by Tristin Mays) is probably based on Sipps, not on Mickey.