The quality is rough, but long-lost alternate ending footage for the classic sci-fi series Quantum Leap has suddenly surfaced online after 26 years. For five seasons, from 1989 to 1993, NBC played host to Quantum Leap, which told the tale of the brilliant Dr. Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) and his journey through history after a time travel experiment went awry. Guiding Sam on his travels was Al (Dean Stockwell), a friend and colleague from Sam's own time that appeared to him in the form of a hologram.
As passionate as Quantum Leap's fanbase was (and still is), and as much as critics loved it, the show was never a huge ratings hit. Quantum Leap came close to being canceled multiple times before it finally got the axe abruptly after season 5's finale had already been shot. This led producers to refashion what had been intended as a mere season finale into a permanent ending to the series, an ending which infamously revealed via onscreen text that Sam never returned home.
Of course, it was originally planned that Sam's meeting with a god-like bartender would indeed set up a sixth season of adventures, this time with Sam leaping through time as himself instead of taking the place of another person. Now, a long-lost alternate ending scene designed to set up Quantum Leap season 6 has stunned fans by surfacing online, thanks to a Redditor using the handle Leaper1953. The scene features Al and his wife Beth - following Sam going back in time to save their marriage in the now series finale - discussing Project Quantum Leap's continued search for its leader. The audio is quite rough, but enough is audible to confirm that this ending matches an alternate ending script that surfaced previously on the Quantum Leap fan site Al's Place. Watch the video below, then read the included script excerpt to fill in any inaudible dialogue.
Wherever he’s leaped, Sam’s still himself.
Because no one’s in the Waiting Room?
We’re starting a nano-second search in the morning but it will take months and by then, Sam will probably have leaped again.
Why months? It didn’t take you months to find him.
I made a lucky guess.
Luck, Admiral Calavicchi, had nothing to do with it. The two of you are so close, it makes me envious. (beat) You’ll find him.
How can you be so damn sure?
Beth looks to the photo in Al’s hands.
CLOSE ON THE PHOTO
of Sam and Al.
Because that’s what friends are for.
While it would certainly be nice to have a cleaner version of the above footage, the fact that it exists at all is a minor miracle. For one, it's clearly a rough cut of the scene as it was shot on set, and not exactly what they would've ended up using in the completed episode. As seen in the script above, the ending is meant to focus in on the picture Al's holding, which is shown to be of he and Sam, as Beth says her last line in voiceover. This would presumably lead into the Quantum Leap end credits. Before the above footage made its way online, the only confirmation fans had that this scene was even actually shot came early in 2018, when YouTuber Allison Pregler acquired some still images from the sequence on Ebay, then subsequently shared them.
Diehard Quantum Leap fans will recall that there was actually another alternate season 5 ending written, this one designed as a cliffhanger between seasons 5 and 6. It would've started out similarly to the scene above, but ended with Beth encouraging a worried Al to try and find Sam himself by leaping, even though he warns her there's a chance he might not return home either. Al then does so, and leaps into a woman in the far future, before letting out the series' trademark "oh boy" exclamation. Unfortunately, it's unclear if this more complex ending ever made it past the script stage.