The series finale of Quantum Leap was bleak (to put it mildly), with the final title card confirming that Scott Bakula’s character, Sam Beckett, remained lost in time. However, one video claims a long-rumored alternate ending was actually real, one which would’ve made it possible for Sam to make that final leap home.
YouTuber Allison Pregler has released a video sharing what she says are negatives for an alternate ending to the fifth season of Quantum Leap. How did she get her hands on such a historical item? Pregler bought a bunch of Quantum Leap negatives on eBay.
“When I was looking at the film strips to try and guess what episodes or scenes they were, it took me a second to really grasp what I had. I thought it really looked like that alternate ending I’d read before, but no one knew it was filmed so I couldn’t believe it,” Pregler told io9. “I’m still having trouble believing it.”
Among the film strips were a series of images from photographer Fred Sabine showing Quantum Leap project observer Al Calavicci and his wife, Beth. The two of them look aged in the images, and they’re surrounded by framed photographs of them and their daughters—confirming that this is the timeline established in the series finale, “Mirror Image,” where Sam changed history so that Beth knew Al was alive during the Vietnam War and thus she waited for him instead of remarrying.
In the images, the two of them are poring over a photograph, which looks to be Sam Beckett himself. These negatives match a reported alternate ending script where Al and Beth discuss whether Al should leap so that he could find Sam, setting up a journey that could lead Sam home:
Beth: [The series finale bartender would] know where Sam was in the future.
Observer (Al): How do I ask him? As a hologram, he couldn’t hear me.
Beth: If he’s God, I think he’ll hear you.
Observer: Good. But without Sam in that bar, I can’t get there.
Beth: You could if you leaped.
The Observer looks slowly up to Beth, realizing she’s hit on the solution.
Observer: I might not come back.
Beth: You’ll come back. Anyone who came back from Vietnam can come back from anywhere.
Observer: Thirty five years and you still amaze me.
This looks to have been the set-up for season six, but after the series was canceled, a cliffhanger like that would’ve been weird for fans... and it definitely wouldn’t have had the same impact that final title card did. Still, this ending would’ve tied up a few loose ends left over from the series finale. For example, the original ending made fans wonder if Sam changing the timeline meant that he and Al had never met... also calling into question the future (and past) of Project Quantum Leap. But if this alternate ending was any indication, Sam and Al’s friendship was left intact.
We can’t confirm that these photos were from an alternate ending to Quantum Leap—io9 reached out to showrunner Donald Bellisario for comment, but haven’t heard back—and it’s certainly possible that the photo shoot could have been from something else in the series. However, I don’t remember any scenes where a reunited Al and Beth sat around in a Southwestern living room looking at photos of maybe-Sam Beckett. In any case, if there’s a chance that Sam would’ve been able to take that final leap home, I’ll take it.
“I think [Quantum Leap fans] really needed that kind of closure too. It’s a nice little add-on that makes that last title card not quite so sad, and really makes you think about what could have been,” Pregler said. “That’s quite fitting for Quantum Leap, a second chance to put right what once went wrong.”
You can watch Pregler’s full video below (the Quantum Leap information starts around 6:20) and let us know what you think in the comments.