Looking Back at Season Zero (V) – The Storyboard Part 1

Every time I dig through my stash of MacGyver-Reboot-related folders, I stumble over 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:

 

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

(Note: If there’s no link to the material I’m writing about, that means either the social media account has been set to private or been disabled or that the material has been deleted.)

 

What’s a Storyboard?
First, a short introduction into storyboards with the help of this nice article by Vyond. In short, a storyboard is a graphic representation of how your film material will unfold, shot by shot. It’s made up of a number of squares with illustrations or pictures representing each shot, with notes about what’s going on in the scene and what’s being said in the script during that shot. Think of it as sort of a comic book version of a script.

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

Storyboarding helps directors, producers and cinematographers to visualize the scenes and find potential problems before they occur. It might have an influence on location scouting and budget planning.

According to Wikipedia, the form of the storyboarding process used today was developed at Walt Disney Productions during the early 1930s.

The Unaired Pilot Storyboard
So far, I haven’t been able to find the Unaired MacGyver Pilot Script. (If you have it, feel free to share it with me *lol*.) But the available excerpts of the storyboard, along with the Teaser Trailer, should give us some pointers about the storyline.

The storyboard for the Unaired Pilot was created by Storyboard Artist Aaron Sowd. He made storyboards for movie projects like “Point Break” (2015) or “Fantastic Four” (2015) and for TV shows like “Fear the Walking Dead” (19 episodes so far), “Zoo” (1 episode) or “Scorpion” (1 episode).

Official Still of the Unaired Pilot (Ron P. Jaffe/CBS)

The Unaired Pilot Storyboard – The Kresson Building
In the excerpt from scenes 31-33, we see MacGyver (Lucas Till) enter the Kresson building. Apparently, Aaron already knew they would be filming in the empty office building on 5551 East Katella Blvd in Cypress (California) since he used photos of the real location in his storyboard. He also added additional information to the drawings, e.g. WS (for “Wide Shot” – if you’re interested in Storyboard Shorthand, you can find a PDF document here.)

The entry hall can be seen in the Unaired Pilot Teaser Trailer and also in one of the three Official Stills with Lucas Till. According to Jeremy Schonwald, it used to be a toy company’s headquarters and is mainly used as a filming location now.

BtS photo of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Jeremy Schonwald)

They put a “K” symbolizing the company’s logo onto the atrium floor. If you’re interested in this location (it’s a pretty impressive entry hall), you can find 171 pictures of the interior, including offices and bathrooms (and find the contact address to rent the property) here.

MacGyver entering the Kresson building (Screenshot of the Unaired Pilot Teaser Trailer)

The Unaired Pilot Storyboard – Meeting Niles
Inside Kresson, Mac checks in to meet with Niles Cardon. We don’t have much information about Niles – but looking through the available excerpts of the storyboard, he seems to turn out as a bad guy. According to archived cast lists, Niles was played by Sunil Malhotra.

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

Niles shows MacGyver his workplace while Mac secretly checks out the security protocol and the position of the cameras – probably to come back for another, not-so-friendly visit. Again, Aaron uses Storyboard Shorthand for more information (CU: Close-Up, OTS: Over the shoulder),

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

As you can see, Aaron often creates the same scene twice because usually, scenes of people walking and talking are filmed several times, using different camera positions and therefore different lighting. The storyboard also helps to plan about camera positions and distances in advance.

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

If the camera is positioned behind an actor, this means different use of lighting and the help of a Photo Double (additionally to the Stand-In), so it’s good to add it into the storyboard.

Mac noticing the office supplies might be important for a later scene, so with the help of the storyboard, the director can already plan how she/he wants to highlight the items (e.g. first being blurry before getting into focus, zooming out or zooming in).

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

In the Teaser Trailer, we can see MacGyver and Lincoln (George Eads) lift prints off Niles’ business card to open a secure area door. So it’s possible that during the first visit, Mac mentally filed away what he could need for entering that room with Lincoln on another day. It’s most likely the camera focused on the items during Mac’s first visit long enough so that the audience would have been able to recognize the items later; imagining in advance what Mac might use them for.

MacGyver preparing to take fingerprints (Screenshot of the Unaired Pilot Teaser Trailer)

While some storyboard artists work with color as well, Aaron uses black and white, but highlights items or people in grey. This scene probably revealse the door to the room MacGyver wants to enter on his own.

Unaired Pilot Storyboard (via Aaron Sowd)

 

(More Storyboard Info coming soon. You can also check the MacGyverOnline forum for more BtS photos, promo material and info about the Unaired Pilot.)

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Looking Back at Season Zero (IV) – The Unaired Pilot: BtS photos Part 2

Every time I dig through my stash of MacGyver-Reboot-related folders, I stumble over 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 Part 1 (about the Unaired Pilot’s Origins), you can read it here. If you want to read Part 2 (about the Unaired Pilot’s promo material), you can find it there. The post with the first part of BtS photos is to be found here.

BtS Photo of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Scott Klein)

(Note: If there’s no link to the photos I’m writing about, that means either the account has been set to private / been disabled or the photo/video has been deleted from social media.)

 

Hiding in Plain Sight
Of course, we were mostly interested in what “New MacGyver” would look like. Since we knew that Lucas Till had been sporting long hair before they started filming, there were different opinions if he would (or should) wear something similar to Original MacGyver’s mullet or not.

We never got to see a photo of Lucas on set while the filming process was still going on – although he had been in a short Twitter video uploaded by Hope Ayiyi, hiding in plain sight: While many assumed the guy at the podium was either Lucas or his look-alike-Stand-In, it turned out that Lucas had been sitting right next to it.

Lucas Till on set of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot (via Hope Hundredz) 

(I hadn’t realized before watching some of Lucas’ promo duties for X-Men: Apocalypse a few weeks later that he had still been sporting long hair during filming. All the other photos in this blog post have been found or uploaded online AFTER the Official Stills and the Teaser Trailer had been released.)

Lucas Till in the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Hope Ayiyi)

In a BtS photo (uploaded by Hope Ayiyi on the same day), you can see Lucas in character at the podium. This scene was also briefly featured in the Teaser Trailer. There had been some tweets on that day of Extras being cast as reporters, but they never provided any photos, holding up the no-photos-order for Pilot Season.

The Characters
Until a few weeks ago, I’ve never been able to find BtS photos of the other cast members in costume on set. We do have semi-official studio photos of the guys in costume, though – curtesy of Costume Designer Eileen Cox Baker and her website.

Lucas Till and George Eads as MacGyver and Lincoln (via Eileen Cox Baker)

There’s both Lucas and George as MacGyver and Lincoln (before his character’s transformation into Jack Dalton in the rebooted Pilot), but also one of Joshua Boone as Mac’s friend and roommate Hunter (before the character’s transformation into Wilt Bozer).

Joshua Boone as Hunter (via Eileen Cox Baker)

Interestingly, in both this studio photo and the official portrait used for promo at the LA screenings, Lucas Till keeps his long hair “hidden” in a ponytail, contrary to the Teaser Trailer and the Official Stills.

Also, Unaired Pilot MacGyver’s costume and stance reminds Original fans of “Comic MacGyver”, a drawing of MacGyver that had been released by Lee David Zlotoff’s before the MacGyver Comics came out (and is still used as an icon on Zlotoff’s social media accounts). The drawing resembles RDA’s MacGyver, contrary to the drawings done for the comics. It is possible that the Costume Designer had taken some inspiration from this early version.

Comic MacGyver vs. New MacGyver (via MacGyverOnline)

Sadly, I couldn’t find anything about the costumes for the female characters. Either someone else took care of their costumes or Eileen Cox Baker didn’t put them up on her website. There is also a photo of the Rebels (or the Mazari, according to the storyline description by SpoilerTV) in costume.

The Mazari (via Eileen Cox Baker)

The clothes look good, but the beards are not very convincing.

The Sets
We’ve seen some BtS photos of the locations used for the Teaser Trailer that was released just before the Upfronts in May 2016. A few weeks ago – when picking up the research again for Unaired Pilot stuff – I finally stumbled over the first “official” set photos, curtesy of Production Designer John Mott.

Mac’s Home; built on Location (via John Mott)

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. Interestingly, this home looks very different from the one used for the new pilot directed by James Wan (1×01: The Rising). MacGyver’s home used for the rebooted pilot is cluttered with stuff as well, but this one has more of an “antique” and old-fashioned feel to it; a bit like for Indiana Jones.

MacGyver’s home (via Meghan Lyvers)

It’s possible that MacGyver’s home had belonged to his father or grandfather. It doesn’t seem that plausible why MacGyver and Hunter (both in their mid-twenties) would live in such a place otherwise.

Meghan Lyvers had provided another photo of MacGyver’s home on Instagram back in April 2016. In the background, you can see the chemistry supplies that were also featured in one of the Official Stills.

Secret Lab; built on Location (via John Mott)

The other photo by John Mott is of MacGyver kept hostage in a secret lab. The container being held by the villain reminds me of the one used for the rebooted Pilot Episode. Judged by this photo and the parts of the storyboard I’ve seen, I’m assuming that there might have been a bio-weapon as well in the storyline for the Unaired Pilot.

Lucas on Location
There’s only a handful of photos of Lucas Till on location, but let’s take a look at them. There’s one of Lucas with Executive Producer James Wan, Producer Michael Clear and other crew members during a night shoot; provided by Adam Michna.

Jeanette Francis, Lucas Till, James Wan, Michael Clear, Adam Michna on set of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Adam Michna)

There’s another one of Lucas posing with Micahveli Shakur. (Since the complete cast and crew list is nowhere to be found, I don’t know what his job on set was.)

Lucas Till on set of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Micahveli Shakur)

Another BtS photo shows Lucas with his Stunt Double Peter Wallack. This scene was part of the Teaser Trailer as well, when MacGyver escapes from the Mazari’s hiding place.

Peter Wallack and Lucas Till on set of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Peter Wallack)

Another photo was taken during the scene filmed at the abandoned shopping mall (Hawthorne Plaza). It can be found in the gallery of Costume Designer Eileen Cox Baker’s IMDb site. Interestingly, it looks like the bad guy driving the car survived the explosive arrow that had been MacGyvered to stop him. (It had been one of the major complaints by Original MacGyver fans about the Teaser Trailer that it looked like New MacGyver had killed someone.)

Lucas Till in the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Eileen Cox Baker)

The End
Production wrapped on May 5, only two weeks before the CBS Upfronts. (The Upfronts are events where the networks announce their TV schedule for Fall and provide more info about their new TV shows to the press.)

For now, it looks that visual material of the Unaired Pilot is still kept under wraps. Let’s hope that people involved in this project will provide us with more photos and videos one day.

 

(You can also check the MacGyverOnline forum for more BtS photos, promo material and info about the Unaired Pilot or visit the MacGyverOnline Facebook page for photos.)

Looking Back at Season Zero (III) – The Unaired Pilot: BtS photos Part 1

Every time I dig through my stash of MacGyver-Reboot-related folders, I stumble over material about the Unaired MacGyver Reboot Pilot, filmed in Spring 2016. I have written about it before in various blog posts, but usually only a bit here and there. 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 Part 1 (about the Unaired Pilot’s Origins), you can read it here. If you want to read Part 2 (about the Unaired Pilot’s promo material), you can find it there.

Unaired MacGyver Pilot (2016) Production Office (via Jennica Schwarzman)

(Note: If there’s no link to the photos I’m writing about, that means either the account has been set to private / been disabled or the photo has been deleted from social media.)

 

Hunting for Treasure
The Unaired Pilot was filmed in April and May 2016. Because of the lack of info due to the secrecy surrounding most pilot projects plus the misinformation about the filming initially happening in Portland, we had missed practically the whole filming process.

BtS photo of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via MJ London)

It wasn’t until around mid-April that I found the first photos on Twitter – that were soon deleted again after bringing them over to the MacGyverOnline Reboot forums. (Note: It’s been clear that for several weeks, people involved in the production have been perusing the forums; making sure to delete the source material. The same is happening at the moment in the reboot-related threads over at Magnum Mania.)

BtS photo of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Kris Manning)

Of course, it’s a lot more difficult to find more material when filming is already over. Also, in my naivety I never took a screenshot of the IMDb page; assuming it would stay up as it’s own project once filming is done (regardless if the pilot would be picked up as a series or not). Instead, they transferred the page; adding the rebooted pilot cast and crew while deleting others. This made it tricky to sort out who had been involved in the Unaired Pilot project and who hadn’t and to find related social media accounts to check for more material.

BtS photo of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via MJ London)

The Locations
The first few pictures were provided by “MJ London” and showed a variety of different locations. The photos disappeared pretty fast and even the Twitter account soon wasn’t valid anymore. It’s possible the photos had been uploaded by Meg London-Boche (personal assistant to director David Von Ancken), but I guess we’ll never know.

BtS photo of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via MJ London)

The first photos provided us a look at the “bad guys” and at the new production logo – which was pretty well received by Original fans.

Meg London-Boche would later provide an “official” photo of the logo on her official social media accounts, confirming that filming had begun on March 30. (Both her Twitter and Instagram profile are set to private now, so I can’t provide you with the links to the pictures.)

Production Logo for the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Meg London-Boche)

Most of MJ London’s photos had been taken while filming the last few scenes for production in and around a cave near Griffith Park in LA; also known as the “Batman Cave”. One photo was taken while filming inside Hawthorne Plaza, an abandoned shopping mall. (FunFact: The pilot episode of Rush Hour with Justin Hires had also been filming there – I immediately recognized the location when watching the episode.)

The scene filmed in the shopping mall is prominently featured in the Teaser Trailer that was released at the CBS Upfronts in May 2016. We later got more photos of the overturned car via Clint Buckner and Natty D.

BtS photo of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via MJ London)

Although Hawthorne Plaza is locked up for the public, there are hundreds of photos on social media; uploaded by people who like to visit “abandoned places”. Some people also illegaly shoot material for music videos or film themselves exploring the location (often on a skateboard).

Some crew people provided photos while they were filming; e.g. hairstylist Kristine Tack (stating it was very dusty) or security guy Michael Alexander. If you look closely at Kristine Tack’s BtS photo, you can see Lucas Till (or his stunt double) standing on top of the stairs. She also revealed that they had actually set off the sprinkler system during one of the explosions.

BtS photo of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Kristine Tack)

Otherwise, I don’t know much about the locations used for filming. The only official location address provided was 2632 E. Washington Bl, Pasadena; adding the info that George Eads had been filming scenes there on April 8 (2016). The building residing there is the former St Luke’s Medical Center. Other shows and movies using this location include “Rush Hour 3”, “Kill Bill” or CBS shows like “CSI” and “Criminal Minds”.

BtS photo of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Clint Buckner)

Another location used – found with the help of Google – was an empty office building on 5551 East Katella Blvd in Cypress (California). The building can be seen in the Unaired Pilot Teaser Trailer and also in one of the Official Stills. According to Jeremy Schonwald, it used to be a toy company’s headquarters and is mainly used as a filming location now.

BtS photo of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Jeremy Schonwald)

For the Unaired Pilot, they put a “K” onto the atrium floor, probably symbolizing the company’s logo (it stands for “Kresson”). If you’re interested in this location, you can find 171 pictures of the interior including offices and bathrooms (and find the contact address to rent the property) here.

The Production Office
It was difficult to find anything on Pre- or Post-Production. We got a few production signs photos with the red logo on an almost neon yellow background. The shorthand direction signs spelled “MAC” (which was later changed to EYE for filming in Atlanta; probably because CBS uses an eye-sign for their logo).

Sript Title Page for the Unaired MacGyver Pilot 2016 (via Anita Kalathara)

Kristine Tack revealed what they used as “bathroom humour” in the production office bathroom.

Cast member Anita Kalathara provided a look at the yellow revision script title page – sadly, we don’t know anything about her role as “Neha” and if she was MacGyver’s friend or foe. Contrary to the rebooted Pilot Script (The Rising) written by Peter Lenkov that is circulating around, the script for the Unaired Pilot seems to be a well-hidden treasure.

 

(More in Part 4, coming soon. You can also check the MacGyverOnline forum for more BtS photos, promo material and info about the Unaired Pilot or visit the MacGyverOnline Facebook page for photos.)

Looking Back at Season Zero (II) – The Unaired Pilot: Promo

Every time I dig through my stash of MacGyver-Reboot-related folders, I stumble over material about the Unaired MacGyver Reboot Pilot, filmed in April/May 2016. I have written about it before, but it was usually a few bits and pieces here or there. 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 Part 1 (about the Unaired Pilot’s Origins), you can read it here.

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Unaired MacGyver Pilot Logo (via CBS)

Rebooting the Reboot
The Unaired Pilot was filmed in April/May 2016. Production wrapped on May 5, only two weeks before the CBS Upfronts – THE event for the networks to announce their TV schedule for Fall and to provide more info about the upcoming TV shows.

On the 13th of May, Variety confirmed that the Reboot had been picked up and ordered to Series by CBS – with Peter Lenkov as an Executive Producer. The Hollywood Reporter hinted that the script might be tossed out and stated that the secondary cast members were “unlikely to return”. Deadline added that 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.

Official Still of the Unaired Pilot (Ron P. Jaffe/CBS, via NY Times)

Of course, this was exciting, yet also concerning news. What had exactly happened, and was this project doomed now that they rearranged everyting, but still wanted the show to premiere in Fall? What would this mean for the quality of the show, if the showrunner had to not only find a new cast, but also a new crew and new locations in time to start filming in Summer? Why had CBS picked up the show for Fall if they didn’t like the pilot, the script or the cast in the first place? Did they care for MacGyver at all or only for the promise of making money with a well-known brand that had the potential to be turned into a franchise? And wasn’t Peter Lenkov already busy enough with Hawaii Five-0?

The move also left a bit of a bitter taste since it looked like the secondary cast members got the news at the same time as us – via the internet.

Official Still of the Unaired Pilot (Ron P. Jaffe/CBS)

Official Stills that were not meant to stay
Despite the Pilot Episode being scrapped and just days before the CBS Upfronts, we got the first Official Still of Lucas Till and George Eads in character on May 16 via NY Times. (The article itself was not about the Reboot per se, but about the nostalgia leading to resurrecting old TV shows.)

The reactions were mixed. Many felt that MacGyver looked too young, but were quite happy to see that both chemistry and physics still seemed to be an important part of the show. Others made fun of rebooted MacGyver’s hairdo; deeming him as one of the “Hanson Brothers”.

Social Media Header (via MacGyver On CBS)

On May 18, they released two new Official Stills just before the Upfronts. The tweet by Eric Goldman reveals that a lot of the talk revolved around MacGyver’s hair again:

MacGyver 2016 has no time for haircuts! He’s gotta make a thing out of a thing!

The third Still had rebooted MacGyver walking to his next mission. About the same time, CBS revealed the new social media pages for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; revealing another look at the pilot and the new logo. (Little did we know that only hours later, the Stills would be deleted; alongside all material on the social media pages.)

The logo – featuring an SAK forming the letter “v” in the show title – was very well received among the fans. Even 30 years after the original series, everyone associates the SAK with MacGyver, so the logo was pretty clever and easily recognizable.

Official Still of the Unaired Pilot (Ron P. Jaffe/CBS)

The description for the show provided by CBS read as follows:

A secret agent unlike any other, MacGyver escapes perilous situations with nothing but a paperclip, his trusty Swiss Army knife and his wit. A dynamic reimagining of the hit television series, this action-packed origin story follows the young MacGyver as he returns from war, a hero with an idealistic vision of saving the world. He and his late father’s best friend partner to form the clandestine Phoenix Foundation.
Using his scientific know-how and resourcefulness, MacGyver – alongside his intrepid team – undertakes missions to save lives and change the world.

CBS also revealed that the show was scheduled to air on Fridays, which had some fans worried since Friday used to be a “death slot” for years until CBS had managed to turn it around for them.

Presentation of the Unaired Pilot Promo Material at the CBS Upfronts 2016 (via Twitter)

The Teaser Trailer that disappeared
At the Upfront Events, usually both Art Work and Teaser Trailers for the new Fall shows are being released. This not only to tease the potential audience, but also to attract international buyers. Since we already knew that the Pilot Episode would be scrapped along with most of the cast, we were wondering if CBS would even dare to show a trailer.

The trailer soon hit social media accounts all around the world. To watch it, the fans had to do a bit of MacGyvering themselves since the trailer was geo-blocked outside the USA. It didn’t take long for other countries to post and revierw it as well, though. Let’s just say it wasn’t that well received – or the positive reviews got buried under the amount of negative comments and down-votes. Many Original fans found rebooted MacGyver too cocky or too violent and not very distinguishable from any other action show. And of course, the comments about his hair were never-ending.

Unaired Pilot Teaser Trailer Screenshots

Some of the fired cast members (e.g. Addison Timlin) were not happy either; tweeting statements like “I wish network television would quit firing me but putting me in their promotions anyway”.

In the Teaser Trailer, they created the tagline that they would later use for the rebooted Pilot Episode again: Mac is Back. The trailer clearly marked the show as a one-man-show like the Original, with MacGyver as the lead hero in the centre.

Unaired Pilot Teaser Trailer Screenshots

According to Deadline, a 20-minute-cut-down of the pilot episode had sparked a lot of interest among international buyers. Nonetheless, CBS declared the trailer soon 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.

The LA TV Screenings
A few days later, Peter Lenkov posted a photo on Instagram that showed a promo poster in form of a character portrait with Lucas Till. Interestingly, they used yet another font for what seemed like the new MacGyver logo, but the writing style was used for posters for other CBS shows as well. Since Lenkov was on holiday, he didn’t attend the event and neither did the (remaining) cast members.

Usually, there are cast photos and interviews being made at the LA TV Screenings, but with the imminent rebooting of the reboot, we didn’t get to enjoy any of that.

Promo Poster at the LA TV Screenings (via Peter Lenkov)

 

(More about the BtS photos of the Unaired Pilot in Part 3.)

Looking Back at Season Zero (I) – The Unaired Pilot: Origins

Every time I dig through my stash of MacGyver-Reboot-related folders, I stumble over material about the Unaired Pilot. So, since you’re not getting one of my usual Updates today, why shouldn’t I write a blog post about the Pilot Episode that – according to CBS, at least – shall not be spoken of?

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Unaired MacGyver Pilot Logo (via CBS)

I have written about the Unaired Pilot every now and then, but it was usually a few bits and pieces here or there. I’ll try 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 machines.

About that Unaired Pilot
The idea of rebooting MacGyver has been around for a while – not surprising, since MacGyver is a well-known name all around the world. The Original Show has sold very well overseas and is still aired on TV in many countries. There is actually a Pilot Episode for a spinoff series called Young MacGyver (filmed in 2003, starring Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki as MacGyver’s nephew Clay), but the show never went into production. You can head over to MacGyver Online for more information (including news items, photos and a cast list) about Young MacGyver.

Jared Padalecki in Young MacGyver (2003)

In October 2015, the Hollywood Reporter announced that MacGyver would be brought back as a TV Show for CBS. R. Scott Gemmill (NCIS: Los Angeles) was set to write the script with James Wan (who had been attached for a MacGyver movie in 2012) directing the pilot.

In February 2016, Deadline reported that CBS had ordered a pilot. Apparently not happy with the script they already had, CBS announced that the Pilot Episode would be written by Paul Downs Colaizzo. Only a few days later, Lionsgate announced that they had made a development deal with CBS for a MacGyver movie.

Title Page of the Unaired Pilot Script (via Paul Downs Colaizzo)

The character descriptions – released (or rather leaked) by SpoilerTV – sparked heated discussions among Original fans since they confirmed the rumours that the Reboot would be indeed a Reboot and not a Remake, and also some sort of a Prequel and not a Sequel.

Doing a sequel wouldn’t have been that difficult, especially since the Reboot was meant to be set in present time: In the Season Finale of the Original Show, MacGyver’s son Sam (Sean Angus Malloy or S.A.M.) of about 20 years is revealed. Because the series ended in 1992, MacGyver’s son would would have been about 45 years in 2016. Why not make S.A.M. having a son of his own – or maybe even a daughter? This would have quenched the public thirst for a female MacGyver and also would have opened the doors for several cast members of the original show coming back for cameos as their original character.

Unaired Pilot Character Description for Angus MacGyver (via SpoilerTV)

Also, MacGyver’s background story didn’t quite fit with the Original Show. Many commenters mentioned the story being a bit too similar to Arrow or Homeland and the storyline including the characters not being very original or exciting.

Further details were announced in March by the Hollywood Reporter: George Eads (CSI) would co-star in the show as a character named Lincoln; with David Von Ancken (Code Black) directing the pilot and James Wan (Saw) as Executive Producer. The Pilot was set to start filming by the end of March in Portland.

Unaired Pilot Character Description forLincoln (via SpoilerTV)

Finally, Deadline reported Lucas Till being cast as the new MacGyver with Brett Mahoney co-writing the script and Joshua Boone playing MacGyver’s best friend Gunner. A week later, Deadline revealed Addison Timlin (Californication) and Michelle Krusiec (Hawaii Five-0, General Hospital) as additional cast; the former playing a computer nerd with the latter portraying a secret agent.

Unaired Pilot Character Description for Gunner and Mickey (via SpoilerTV)

In April 2016, a few BtS pictures, tweets and short videos from the set finally emerged on social media – only to be deleted soon after fans had shared and discussed the “treasure” online. As it’s the usual procedure during Pilot Season, CBS tried very hard to keep the production under wraps. While we soon realized that the Pilot was being filmed in LA and not in Portland, there was still not a single BtS picture of Lucas Till (of course, everyone wondered what he would look like; especially what hairstyle rebooted MacGyver would be wearing).

Of course, trying to keep a production under wraps doesn’t stop the curiosity – and inquiring people combing through social media for more. A first glimpse of the new logo font (provided by the director’s assistant Meg London-Boche) and a picture of the pilot script title page kept the discussions going on for days. (I remember most fans of the Original Show liking the font.) A few set pics (e.g. shot in the abandoned Hawthorne Plaza Shopping Mall) promised some interesting action sequences.

BtS picture of the Unaired Pilot (via Meg London-Boche)

The Pilot Script review by Season Zero didn’t read very promising, but it’s difficult to judge a new TV show by a single script review of an episode that hasn’t been finished yet. On the 5th of May, Meg London-Boche tweeted about the pilot being finished. Little did we know back then that the Pilot would be scrapped and reshot, earning the title of being an Unaired Reboot Pilot that got rebooted.

Rebooting the Reboot
After that, the Waiting Game started – because as Young MacGyver had taught us: in Pilot Season, a filmed Pilot Episode doesn’t guarantee that the show will be picked up. On the 13th of May, an Instagram post by Peter Lenkov confused us quite a bit. Only a few hours later, Variety confirmed that the Reboot had indeed been picked up and ordered to Series by CBS – with Lenkov being added as an Executive Producer.

Peter Lenkov confirming the MacGyver Reboot being ordered to series at CBS

Surprisingly, the Hollywood Reporter hinted that the script might be tossed out and stated that the secondary cast members were “unlikely to return”. Deadline stated that 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.

While quite a bit surprising for us people not involved in the TV Show Industry, this isn’t so uncommon during Pilot Season. Sometimes, Pilot Episodes are redone with some cast members being “exchanged” (this happened e.g. with Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well with Charmed), but this seemed quite a surprising move and made us ask a lot of questions: Why ordering a pilot without a script in the first place? Why pick up a show if you don’t like the pilot? Do they care for MacGyver at all or only for the promise of making money with a well-known brand with the potential of turning it into a franchise? Isn’t Peter Lenkov already too 0busy with Hawaii Five-0?

BtS picture of the Unaired MacGyver Pilot (via Ralph Cartel). Who’s Hunter? And will we ever know?

Understandably, former cast members were not happy because some of them actually hadn’t known about this development until the press release.

On May 16, we got the first Official Still of Lucas Till and George Eads in character – despite the Pilot Episode being scrapped and just days before the CBS Upfronts. This was going to be interesting.

 

(More in Part 2, coming soon.)

Looking Back at Season 1 (XV) – The Pilot Script: Deleted Scenes (Part 1)

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.

Judging by social media pictures by cast and crew, we know this wasn’t the final version. There was a Production Draft from June 29 and several revisions (Blue, Pink, Yellow and Green) when they finally started the table read on July 8.

I’m taking a look at the only version of the Pilot Script that’s available to me at the moment – the Revised Network Draft from June 20 (2016).

 

Scene: Lake Como

This scene takes place at Lake Como, after MacGyver entered the villa and donned his camera glasses, right before he meets up with Patricia Thornton.

I think this is an interesting little snippet. Many viewers complained on social media that MacGyver came off as too cocky and James-Bond-like. And I think that was the main reason that many fans of the Original Show stopped watching. I think more scenes like this one could have helped preventing that.

Interestingly, this is a theme in most of the Reboot-FanFiction as well – MacGyver is not a ladies man; usually clueless when women flirt with him.

 

Scene: MacGyver running

This scene happens right after the Opening Credits.

There are no voice-overs in the finished scene. I don’t know if they ever made them and decided to take them out or not. They’re not necessary for the scene in my opinion. On the other hand, I never really felt the love and betrayal between MacGyver and Nikki. Maybe something like this would have helped.

 

Scene: MacGyver taking a shower

This scene happens after MacGyver’s run and talking with Bozer and before the shower scene.

This little snippet isn’t that important to the story, but it gives us a bit more insight into who MacGyver is. Also, the set of MacGyver’s house is really interesting. I would have liked to see more of it – especially since we saw Bozer’s room in Episode 1×08 (Corkscrew), but never got to see MacGyver’s room.

 

After the Flashback comes this little snippet:

I’m curious if this was written with another specific storyline in mind. It could also be some “leftovers” from the Unaired Pilot Script written by Paul Downs Colaizzo. The Unaired Pilot Script had MacGyver rescuing himself after being held prisoner for five years in Pakistan by the Mazzari, a terrorist group. It’s possible that Colaizzo’s script implied MacGyver being tortured.

If this was added by Lenkov, it could have been part of MacGyver’s childhood story; e.g. how his mother died. I’m thinking car accident – and the idea of MacGyver being with her when she died. But I guess this might have been too dark as a backstory – the most recent episodes proved again that the show is seen as light entertainment for a Friday evening.

About that MacGyver Reboot

Disclaimer: My original guest-post was first published on The MacGyver Project  on July 1, 2016. I made some minor changes (e.g. grammar or source corrections, additional pictures) before re-posting it on my own blog for safe-keeping.

Special Thanks to Nicholas Sweedo for inviting me to write a guest post about the MacGyver Reboot. I’m very honored because while I’ve been blogging for years, this is my first guest post ever! English is not my native language, so let’s start real quick before I get anxious…

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Why rebooting MacGyver?

The answer is pretty simple: MacGyver was a successful show, has an interesting and pretty unusual main hero and the potential to tell many more stories.

Also: MacGyver is a known “brand” with the potential for a modern franchise. Even people who have never seen a single episode know who MacGyver is and what he can do. The term finally made it into the OxfordDictionary last year and is used all the time on social media.

What has happened so far?

The idea of rebooting MacGyver has been around for a while now. There was a pilot for a spinoff series called “Young MacGyver” (starring Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki), but the show never went into production.

In October 2015, the Hollywood Reporter announced that MacGyver would be brought back as a tv show for CBS with R. Scott Gemmill (NCIS: Los Angeles) writing the script and James Wan (who had been attached for a MacGyver movie in 2012) directing the pilot.

In February 2016, Deadline reported CBS ordering a pilot. Apparently not happy with the script they already had, the pilot episode would be written by Paul Downs Colaizzo instead. Only a few days later, Lionsgate announced that they had made a development deal with CBS for a MacGyver movie.

Many fans were displeased by the idea of a reboot in the first place. Additionally, the leaked character descriptions by SpoilerTV sparked heated discussions – the article confirmed that the reboot would be a prequel, but MacGyver’s background story didn’t quite fit with the original show.

Further details were announced in March by the Hollywood Reporter: George Eads (CSI) would co-star in the show as a character named Lincoln; with David Von Ancken (Code Black) directing the pilot and James Wan (Saw) remaining as executive producer. The pilot was set to start filming by the end of the month in Portland. Finally, Deadline reported Lucas Till (X-Men) being cast as the new MacGyver with Brett Mahoney co-writing the script and Joshua Boone playing MacGyver’s best friend. A week later, Deadline revealed Addison Timlin (Californication) and Michelle Krusiec (Hawaii Five-0) as additional cast; the former playing a computer nerd with the latter portraying a secret agent.

In April, a few pictures, tweets and short videos from the set finally emerged on social media – only to be deleted soon after fans had shared and discussed the “treasure” online. It seemed that CBS tried very hard to keep the production under wraps. Many fans were frustrated; others were left wondering and anxious: What would become of the old show that so many people still loved and cherished? We soon realized that the pilot was being shot in LA instead of Portland, but not a single picture of Lucas Till in character ever surfaced.

Of course, this didn’t stop us fans from combing the internet on a quest for more. The less information, the more time we had to speculate in between the findings. A first glimpse of a new MacGyver logo and a picture of the pilot script title page kept the discussions going on for days. A few set pics made within the abandoned Hawthorne Mall and from an outside night shoot  promised some interesting action sequences. The pilot script review by Season Zero on the other hand didn’t read very promising.

On the 5th of May, David Von Ancken’s assistant tweeted about the pilot being finished.

Rebooting the Reboot

On the 13th of May, an instagram post by Peter Lenkov (Hawaii Five-0) confused the fandom quite a bit. Did this mean that we actually had the chance of getting a new MacGyver show after all these years? Thankfully, only a few hours later Variety reported that the reboot had indeed been picked up with Lenkov being added as an executive producer. James Wan soon welcomed Lenkov on Twitter. The Hollywood Reporter hinted that the script might be tossed out and the secondary cast members were “unlikely to return”, while Deadline stated that Lenkov would write a new script with the general premise of the series remaining the same. Deadline also confirmed that the entire supporting cast was not coming back. Understandably, former cast members were not happy and media outlets and fans similarly confused: Why ordering a pilot without a script in the first place? Why pick up a show if you don’t like the pilot; especially if you don’t know what you will get in the end if you toss out all supporting cast including the script and its script writer? What had they actually liked about the pilot? Did they care for MacGyver at all or only for the promise of some money of a well-known brand? On the other hand, Lucas Till staying as MacGyver could only mean that his take on the character must have made CBS very happy.

On May 16, we got the first still of Lucas in character. Cue the discussions online: The hair! (Oh no!) The set! (Mac and chemistry, yay!) The hair! (Oh no!).

The trailer of the unaired pilot episode that shall not be named

The CBS Upfronts on May 18 had many fans almost jumping up and down from excitement: Would CBS dare to show a trailer if the pilot was maybe/probably/eventually going to be redone? Only hours before, CBS had created official social media accounts with a new logo and a header that hinted at some action-packed adventures. New stills had also been posted on the official CBS page  (the pictures were later removed).

The trailer soon hit social media accounts all around the world. Let’s just say it wasn’t well received (or the positive reviews got buried under the amount of negative comments and down-votes). Comparisons were drawn to the Ghostbuster reboot (which had also suffered from severe backlash).

While some backlash is always to be expected with a reboot, this much hate probably surprised everyone involved. There was hate for Lucas Till (why not a female MacGyver instead?), his appearance (the hair! too young! he looks like one of the Hanson brothers!), his attitude (too cocky! that smirk!), the action scenes (MacGyver would never do that!), the MacGyverisms (not cool enough!), the trailer music (Inception BAAAAM! what the hell are those lyrics?) and so on… even media outlets joked that MacGyver himself couldn’t fix this “generic-looking pilot with a kid catching bad guys by tripping them with a garden hose”.

According to Deadline, a 20-minute-cut-down of the pilot episode had sparked much interest among international buyers. Nonetheless, CBS declared the trailer soon to “promo non grata” and erased all their former tweets, posts and stills concerning promo for the discarded pilot from their social media accounts.

Pre-production for the pilot episode 2.0

Several articles hinted what further changes might be made – for one, MacGyver would get a haircut and a “love interest that spans the season”. Peter Lenkov talked about his vision for the reboot in a video interview stating that they would rely on the original and the fans wouldn’t be disappointed. He also talked about his idea for the big bad for the first season. Entertainment Weekly revealed the CBS fall 2016 schedule: MacGyver would air on Fridays at 20pm. CBS set up a MacGyver Writers Twitter account with Lenkov promising live tweeting during the show. In June, Deadline announced Justin Hires (Rush Hour) as the first new cast member in the role of Wilt Bozer. Secretly, CBS updated the synopsis of the show: George Eads would now play the character of Jack Dalton.

Variety confirmed a fan’s suspicion (due to an instagram picture by Lenkov that was later deleted) that James Wan would direct the pilot episode. Lenkov also posted a few pictures of the first location scouting in Atlanta and a look at the production office. The premiere date was set for September 23 and finally, there was the first official promo video with Lucas Till as the new MacGyver.

Casting calls for crew members confirmed soon that the production was moving from LA to Atlanta .

What’s going on right now?

As for now, this is the synopsis on the CBS website:

A reimagining of the classic series, [MacGyver] is an action-adventure drama about 20-something Angus “Mac” MacGyver (Lucas Till) who creates a clandestine organization within the U.S. government where he uses his extraordinary talent for unconventional problem solving and vast scientific knowledge to save lives. Joining his team on high-risk missions around the globe is maverick former CIA agent Jack Dalton (George Eads). Under the aegis of the Department of External Services, MacGyver takes on the responsibility of saving the world, armed to the teeth with resourcefulness and little more than bubble gum and a paper Clip.

The pilot episode is called “The Rising” which is vague enough so Peter Lenkov can tease us further and fans can discuss about who or what will be rising (or not). Colossal Trailer Music recently announced that they would lend their music for the upcoming campaign.

At the moment, they’re still casting for extras; for example a young MacGyver, sexy bikini women, FBI agents and luxury cars. Shooting should start on July 10th in Atlanta. George Eads updated his Twitter account and Lucas Till set up an account on instagram. Interestingly, in one of the pictures Lucas is wearing a hat with the old logo of the unaired pilot that shall not be named. In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Lucas talked about why being the son of a chemist and an Army lieutenant colonel gives him a bit of an advantage taking on the character of MacGyver: “In the pilot, we have to say a lot of chemistry terms. [Producers] were like, ‘You sound like you really know what you’re talking about,'” Till said. “It’s because my mom does not stop talking about it.”


What is my opinion on this?

In general, I’m not a fan of reboots or remakes and I don’t like many of the modern tv shows and movies. In my opinion, they rely too much on CGI. As a girl of the 80s, MacGyver was my favorite tv show. Before I started my first rewatch of the original version (instead of the German dubbed version I had watched as a kid) I thought I had gotten over it after all these years, but boy was I wrong! It’s still one of my favorites, so when the reboot was announced, I was not happy. When I realized the reboot would be a prequel and RDA wouldn’t be a part of it, I got downright sour.

I didn’t really understand the concept of a prequel of an 80s show being set in modern times. But I’ll have to admit it: Over time, I grew curious. By April, I had turned into one of those “annoying” fans perusing the internet for every little bit of information. I posted whatever I found on the MacGyver Online Forums; which probably resulted in some people being advised (or “made”) to delete what they had revealed. Sorry about that, folks… well no, not really. (If you didn’t want us to find it, you shouldn’t have uploaded it to public accounts in the first place, ahem. It’s not like I’m some internet expert – all I did was using the search bar on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.)

On the first viewing, I kinda liked the trailer shown at the CBS Upfronts. But the more I thought about it, the more I started to dislike it. To me, the trailer looks like every other modern fast-paced action show and I wasn’t very happy with the character background stories to begin with. On the other hand, it’s not very easy to judge a pilot of 42 minutes by watching a trailer that’s not even 2 minutes long. I feel that Lucas is a nice guy and could pull it off. I liked George Eads as Nick Stokes in CSI, but I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to turn him into Jack Dalton – especially into a Jack Dalton being a former CIA Agent who’s 20 years older than MacGyver. Alas, I’ve never seen him outside of the show that made him famous. I’ve also never seen any movie or show with Lucas Till or Justin Hires in it, but I’m not convinced MacGyver really needs an ambitious roommate named Wilt Bozer. For now, Justin seems to fill the usual role for some comedic relief when needed.

At the moment, I can’t deny that I’m actually getting excited for this reboot. While I don’t think it will be better than the original, it might succeed in creating a new generation of MacGyver fans who will one day check out the original version. The MacGyver Hashtag is getting quite a buzz on social media lately, and who am I to complain if the reboot converts people all around the world into MacGyver fans and talking about it online? And let’s face it: If I was still in my twenties, I probably wouldn’t mind the casting of a young-looking actor like Lucas Till… I sure didn’t mind staring dreamily at RDA when I was a teenager (to be honest, I still don’t).

I do think a sequel would have been a better option, though. In the finale episode, MacGyver’s son of about 20 years is revealed. Because the series ended almost 25 years ago, he would be around 45 years today. Why not make S.A.M. having a son or even better: a daughter? This would have quenched the public thirst for a female MacGyver and also would have opened the doors for several cast members of the original show coming back for cameos as their original character. And who doesn’t want to see RDA aka MacGyver as a grandparent, teaching his grandkid some great MacGyverisms to get out of trouble?

For now, I’ll wait until the pilot episode before I continue criticizing too much. It would be nice to see opening gambits, but there were legible reasons why they stopped doing them in the original show. I’m still hoping for a character named Pete Thornton, Penny Parker or Murdoc, and also for a nod to the old opening credits and the theme song.

RDA stated several times that he’s not convinced about a modern version; joking about MacGyver just using his smartphone to get out of trouble by googling how-to-videos online. But I’m still hoping RDA pops up in a guest role. Even if he’s just playing a grumpy old guy selling fishing gear in a shop the next door.