I’m still trying to find new material regarding the Unaired MacGyver Reboot Pilot; filmed in 2016. 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)
Don’t worry, there’s more to come – it just takes time. 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 you’ll never know. In case the promo cut or the full episode ever get released, I will omit some of the most spoilery lines and plot twists. I don’t want to ruin your fun.
The Character: Gunner / Hunter
In this blog post, I will focus on a character that seems to have two names. He was played by Joshua Boone; back then only known for a handful of guests spots.
In the script, the character is listed as “Gunner” – while on the BtS photo above, he’s listed as “Hunter”. IMDb uses both names; hinting towards a potential plot twist.
Just before the Upfronts, SpoilerTV had provided character descriptions. They differ from the script I’ve read, so I’m assuming they’re based on either a revised script or the final draft. They might have been written for the Upfronts; e.g. for the press kit.
In the character description by SpoilerTV, Gunner was sort of “downgraded” to a handy man. In the script, Gunner used to be a coast guard; knowing his way with guns and changing careers after being overlooked for promotions. He now works at Portlife Life Insurance, and boasts about being named the 16th best life insurance broker in Portland by Oregon Magazine.
We meet Gunner at the airport in Portland, when Angus MacGyver returns from his hospital stay after being rescued from being a POW (prisoner of war) for five years.
The scene switches pretty quickly to MacGyver’s room. Apparently, Grandpa Earl never cleared it out; and it seems to me that the only reason the script has Gunner joining Mac in “re-discovering” his home is to add the plot twist of MacGyver realizing that Gunner and Mac’s former girlfriend Mickey are dating.
MacGyver tries to go back to civilian life and helps Earl in the hardware store. One day, there’s a robbery. Or was it terrorism? Mac was a POW for five years, so everyone deems him paranoid. Nevertheless, Mac investigates the case with his new friends (e.g. Lincoln and Sipps) while also involving his old friends (e.g. Mickey and Gunner).
Gunner is worried about Mac spending so much time on a case that might be just a robbery gone wrong. Although Gunner thinks the case should be handled by the authorities, and that Mickey spends way too much time with her ex-boyfriend, he tries to help.
We get several scenes with Gunner acting as the jealous boyfriend. I’m sure Gunner was intended as a recurring characer, maybe even as the season finale villain. But if they also intended to keep the jealous boyfriend trope, this would have gotten old and boring pretty fast.
Interestingly, MacGyver never confronts Gunner about his behavior. And when he suspects Gunner on being involved with the robbery, it’s solved within the next few sentences. Generally, there’s not much character development until the showdown in the mall (a normal mall, not a deserted one like in the trailer), where Gunner gets to be a hero of his own; showing off some parcour skills.
Overall, the character stays rather bland until the plot twist at the end, which is an Easter Egg that might only be realized by fans of (or people in the know about) the original show. It’s not yet clear to me if the plot twist was dropped for the episode that was filmed or if it was changed into something less obvious.
Script versus Trailer
Gunner aka Hunter doesn’t have any spotlight in the Unaired Pilot trailer. His name is never mentioned. There’s only glimpses of him in two of the “not-so-official” Stills by Production Designer John Mott – one in presumably Mac’s home (see below) and one from behind in the homecoming ceremony crowd at the airport (see above).
Of course, teaser trailers can be deceiving. But it looks like Gunner was intended as a recurring character only, while Mickey was intended as a regular character; being an algamation of two female characters (Mickey and Sipps) in the script.
What about Bozer?
Judging by the Easter Eggs in the Unaired Pilot Script, we have to assume that writer Paul Downs Colaizzo has either watched the OG Pilot (or read the OG script) and/or done some research about OG characters. But while the Easter Egg at the end hints at an OG character, none of the other characters bear any resemblance to any OG characters.
In the Reboot, Wilt Bozer (played by Justin Hires) is MacGyver’s best childhood friend. You can find all information about his character here. I’m assuming that Showrunner and EP Peter Lenkov rewrote Gunner into Bozer; using the name as another Easter Egg.
Interestingly, they kept Gunner’s clothing style for Bozer despite being different characters with very different occupations and different career ambitions.
It’s possible that they simply didn’t have the time to re-invent all of the secondary and/or recurring characters; considering 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.
At the beginning of Season 1, Bozer is trying to make it as a film director in his free time while flipping burgers as a day job. In the middle of the season, he joins the Phoenix Foundation as a lab tech and later turns into a full agent going on missions.
It’s not clear if the initial idea for Gunner had been the same. It sure would have kept the tension high with Mickey being on missions with her ex-boyfriend. Overall, it could have led to a show with a lot of relationship drama – which Lenkov chose to avoid; focusing on the action and the bromance aspects of the show (at least in the first few seasons).