Every time I dig through my stash of photos, I come across material about the Unaired MacGyver Reboot Pilot, filmed in Spring 2016. I’m trying to put all the necessary information together for interested readers – especially since many of you accidentally landed on my blog after looking for information about it by using search engines.
If you missed previous posts about the Unaired Pilot, here’s a quick overview:
- Part 1 (Origins)
- Part 2 (Promo Material)
- Part 3 (BtS photos, Part 1)
- Part 4 (BtS photos, Part 2)
- Part 5 (Storyboard, Part 1)
- Part 6 (Storyboard, Part 2)
- Part 7 (Storyboard, Part 3)
- Part 8 (Storyboard, Part 4)
Don’t worry, there’s more to come. Problem is that the days never seem to have enough hours…
Rebooting the Reboot
A short recap for fans who recently joined the fandom: 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. Production wrapped two weeks before the CBS Upfronts – the press event for networks to present their TV schedules and rookie shows.
On the 13th of May, Variety confirmed that the Reboot had been ordered to Series by CBS. The Hollywood Reporter stated that the script might be tossed out and that the secondary cast members were unlikely to return. Deadline added that newly-appointed Showrunner Peter Lenkov would write a new script with the general premise of the series remaining the same; confirming that the supporting cast was not coming back.
The Promo that disappeared
Just a few days before the CBS Upfronts, we got the first Official Still of Lucas Till and George Eads via NY Times; probably taken during a scene set in MacGyver’s home lab. It’s interesting to note that this photo was used for several articles for the premiere and sometimes still finds its way into online articles.
On May 18, CBS released two new Official Stills. One shows MacGyver doing a MacGyverism. The other one is also available on IMDb and has MacGyver in the lobby of the Kresson Building (presumably the “lair” of the bad guys). If you’re interested: The Kresson Building is not a stage set, but a real building with an impressive lobby; located on 5551 Katella Avenue in Cypress, California.
At the Upfronts, the networks traditionally release art work and teaser trailers or featurettes to attract the potential audience and international buyers. According to Deadline, a 20-minute-cut-down of the pilot episode had sparked a lot of interest. Nonetheless, CBS declared the trailer to “promo non grata” and erased all their former tweets, posts and Official Stills concerning promo for the discarded pilot from their social media accounts within a few days.
While the Official Stills are still used in newer articles, the pilot so far has never surfaced. Nevertheless, it has an IMDb-rating of 9.6 stars.
Hunting for Treasure
It’s still difficult to find material regarding the Unaired Pilot. I never got my hands on the final script used for filming, and the IMDb page had been wiped (it’s been re-added last year, but is still missing a lot of information regarding cast and crew). Many of the social media accounts have been locked private, closed down for good or deleted old photos.
Back in July 2018, when picking up the research for some more Unaired Pilot stuff to add to new blog posts during hiatus, I stumbled over the first “official” set photos, curtesy of Production Designer John Mott on his website.
One is of MacGyver’s home, built on location. We can see Mac’s friend and roommate Hunter (Joshua Boone), MacGyver and Mickey (Addison Timlin), plus an unknown character on the left. Sadly, that’s the only photo of this set; which looks very interesting.
The other Still is of MacGyver being kept hostage in an underground lab. Considering the parts of the storyboard I’ve seen, I’m assuming that the villain is holding a bio-weapon.
The Unofficial Official Stills
Last year, Set Designer John Mott uploaded 6 additional “Unofficial” Stills. One shows MacGyver locked in a cell. Judging by the handful of BtS photos and the teaser trailer, this is our hero during his years as a POW. While parts of the set might have been on stage, some of the scenes were filmed in the “Batman Cave” aka the Bronson Canyon near Griffith Park in LA.
Another one has Mac and Jack (sorry, Lincoln) sitting in a restaurant. I wasn’t able to find out the location, but fun fact: MacGyver is doing some “Fork Art” that is probably a thing that Lucas likes doing (as seen in Episode 1×08: Corkscrew or in a video taken during downtime between promo events in Monte Carlo back in 2017).
The other Stills via John Mott look like screenshots also seen in the Teaser Trailer. One scene is taken of Lincoln and Mac infiltrating a lab, the other one during MacGyver’s escape from the cave in Afghanistan. A third one has MacGyver in front of the press, probably talking about his rescue.
The scene was shot in a hangar, and we have seen a few BtS photos by Extras.
While Still Photographer Ron P. Jaffe does have a website with Stills of his work (e.g. CBS shows Code Black or NCIS), he hasn’t uploaded any Stills of the Unaired Pilot. But who knows. Maybe one day, someone else working on this pilot stumbles over some photos sitting on a computer or phone and posts them on the internet.