This morning I attended the Knight Rider Panel at Comic-Con 2008 in San Diego. The members of the panel showed up slowly throughout the scheduled hour, by no fault of their own. They had left L.A, with time to get here, but a big rig crashed in Oceanside, flipping over and bursting into flames.  The traffic backup was measured at 13 miles of bumper to bumper patience testing, so I was amazed anyone got there at all, and by the end of the panel everyonehad arrived.

The panel kicked off with Gary Scott Thompson and Paul Campbell (Billy from Battlestar Galactica) sitting in for everyone and they played a preview trailer for Knight Rider that had a strong cinematic feel to it and the audience reacted well to it.

If the trailer is any clue to how much Gary Scott Thompson has stepped up the show, we aren’t going to be disappointed.  As we’ve noted before, this reboot has nothing to do with the first 2-hour Knight Rider reboot that NBC aired last season so delete that from your memory reference banks all together.

Items of note:  Val Kilmer is back as the voice of KITT, the AI controlled super car, and it’s a good match.  It sounds good coming from the car.

The first clue to the nature of the re-reboot of the franchise is a scene where we watch Justin Bruening introducing himself as Michael Knight.

The fight choreography had the feel of a Bourne franchise fight scene.  (The cast has now been trained for fight scenes)

KITT has a complete transformation mode.  In a scene which the panel audience loved, Michael Knight jumps into the back of a black Ford F-150 which a few moments later, and after a whole bunch of body panels move around, reconfigures into the black Ford Mustang we all know. They touched on the fact that KITT has a battle mode (we didn’t see that), that we may be seeing an evil version of KITT, and the reintroduction of the turbo boost.  Yes, KITT will be jumping things again.  Thompson said that he’s read the media about the show and noticed that viewers missed the turbo boost.

Other points are that we’ll be seeing Thompson touch more on Michael’s military background.  They have a hi-tech “Batcave” of sorts for KITT that is just completely cool – and of course David Hasselhoff will more than likely NOT be seen in the show since Hasselfhoff has got a pretty busy schedule.

A side note: Thompson was asked about finalizing the character stories from Las Vegas.  The show was canceled at the close of last season on a cliff hanger.  He said he’d love to finish the story out to closure in some fashion, whether it be in a movie, webisode or what not, but bringing everyone together, like Josh Duhamel, what with their developing careers might be a tough one.

Knight Rider premieres on NBC this Fall.

UPDATE:  Earlier I had made the statement “Bruening is not playing David Hasselfhoff’s son, he’s playing the actual character from the original series.”  & “David Hasselhoff will more than likely NOT be seen in the show since Bruening is playing him

Some folk think I’m off on my extrapolations and I don’t blame them for it… it’s good to be curious about what is correct and what is not.  So I went back and rewatched the panel and here’s a collection of quotes from the panel that led me to make the previous statements:

  • There’s the preview clip where he introduces himself as Michael Knight.
  • Thompson said they’re “blowing up the mythology and making a new mythology“.
  • Michael knight is back, as you’ll see in the first episode.
  • Thompson addresses the preview by saying:

in the preview we just saw Justin say I’m Michael Knight,  in the 2 hour his name was Michael Traceur and obviously we’re doing something to take us back to the roots, the origins of this show.

I’ll let you folks be the judge on this one.