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)
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. The pilot itself or its 20-minute-promo-cut for the Upfronts hasn’t surfaced so far.
The first draft of the script is dated February 26, 2016. As mentioned in this blog post regarding the script, there must have been 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: Lincoln
In the Opening Gambit of the first draft, Angus “Mac” MacGyver escapes from being a POW (prisoner of war) in Pakistan. It’s been five years since he was taken.
Following the opening credits, MacGyver returns to Portland and tries civilian life; moving back into his old bedroom at Grandpa Earl’s and helping out in the hardware store. One day, there’s a robbery. Or was it terrorism? The police and Mac’s friends think he’s just being paranoid.
We meet Lincoln a few days later, while MacGyver is attending a veteran support group meeting. In the script, Lincoln is described as being in his 40s who loves to listen to Duran Duran and is a bit paranoid. Lincoln reveals to Mac that he worked for the CIA, was removed from his position a while ago, and that his boss used to be Agent Croix (who had approached Mac while still being in the hospital).
He also tells Mac that he tried several times to rescue him without success – which surprises Mac, but doesn’t make him ask any further questions. We later learn that Lincoln has a daughter named Sipps who’s also an agent. They have a rather rocky relationship.
After realizing that Lincoln isn’t full-on crazy, Mac lets Lincoln help him investigate the case alongside Sipps while also involving his ex-girlfriend Mickey and best friend Gunner (who’s now dating Mickey).
Lincoln suggests that MacGyver’s flashbacks will get better if they manage to put the gunmen away. His plan is to break into the Portland Police Department to look at the evidence. MacGyver manages to get them in and grab the gun used in the robbery; impressing Lincoln with some of his MacGyverisms.
In the midst of the investigation, there’s a little plot twist for the audience; hinting at Lincoln knowing MacGyver’s father David (who died during Desert Storm). Later, Agent Croix reveals to MacGyver that Lincoln was fired after using illegal means to bring Mac home.
When Lincoln confesses to MacGyver that he was with David when he died, Mac doesn’t take the news well. He accuses Lincoln of being a lunatic and is disappointed that he was lied to why Lincoln was so intent on helping him.
While MacGyver ghosts them both, Lincoln keeps investigating with Sipps. It doesn’t take long for them to meet again in rather unfortunate circumstances: Mac found bombs planted inside and outside a mall and Mickey and Gunnar (plus many civilians and Army vets) are in danger. As you can imagine, Mac is very stressed.
Of course, the team saves the day – and even catch some of the villains. But MacGyver still has some unanswered questions about things that happened while he was a POW and who was behind it.
At the end of the script, MacGyver, Lincoln and Sipps join the new task force by Agent Croix; going on their first mission to save a little girl. Lincoln is also ready to repair the relationship with his daughter.
Script versus Trailer
Contrary to Gunner, Lincoln gets some spotlight in the Unaired Pilot Teaser Trailer shown at the Upfronts – mostly as the one with the funny quips who likes to hug. He’s in one of the Official Stills and in two of the “not-so-official” Stills by Production Designer John Mott – one of Mac and Lincoln in lab coats invading a laboratory undercover and one of the two sitting in a restaurant.
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 Lincolns part would have been on screen. While Lincoln was spotted several times in the teaser trailer, he didn’t appear in the “big showdown” scene. He also didn’t show up in any of the storyboard excerpts I’ve seen.
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, Lincoln is older and the boss mentioned is his sister. In the trailer, Mickey seems to be an algamation of two female characters (Mickey and Sipps) in the script.
It’s not clear if Lincoln was supposed to have a daughter in the version that was filmed, or if that was a character they would have brought in later. I guess they wanted the female character joining the missions to be a hacker and not another experienced, weapons-trained agent.
What about Jack?
While an Easter Egg at the end of the script hints at an OG character, none of the other characters bear any resemblance to any OG characters. Lincoln was a new character created by Colaizzo. This is probably the main reason why Jack Dalton in the Reboot doesn’t bear any resemblance to the OG character of the same name after the new Showrunner and EP Peter Lenkov took over.
Unlike for MacGyver, Colaizzo didn’t give any pointers to what actor he had envisioned for Lincoln while writing.
The age for Lincoln was probably changed after casting George Eads. Peter Lenkov then rewrote Lincoln into Jack; changing his backstory and using the name as another Easter Egg.
In the Reboot, Jack Wyatt Dalton (played again by George Eads) has similar characteristics as Lincoln. Considering that Lenkov had to reboot the Reboot and bring it back on track with a new cast, new crew and a new filming location within three or four months, he simply didn’t have the time to re-invent all of the characters.
It’s also possible that some traits were brought in by George Eads as “leftovers” from the Unaired Pilot. Both George Eads and Lucas Till said in Comic Con interviews back in 2016 that it had been difficult to switch into a new character while keeping the same name used in the Unaired Pilot.
Interestingly, Lenkov made Jack younger than George was and kept Lucas Till’s real age – probably to diminish the age difference between the two actors; going for the bromance rather than a father-son-relationship. (Which didn’t fully work if you look at the available MacGyver Reboot FanFiction out there.)
You can find all information about rebooted Jack Dalton here.
It’s not clear what the initial ideas for Lincoln had been and if they were similar to some of the storylines Jack had in the Reboot. It sure would have kept the tension high with Mickey being on missions with her ex-boyfriend and Lincoln having to work for his sister.
Lincoln isn’t fleshed out that much in the script, so there would have been endless possibilities for potential storylines regarding his family, his love-life and his former job.