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Oh Damn, It Looks Like That Quantum Leap Secret Ending Actually Happened

A photo negative from Quantum Leap’s supposed lost ending. Footage has now surfaced of the scene.
A photo negative from Quantum Leap’s supposed lost ending. Footage has now surfaced of the scene.
Image: Fred Sabine (Allison Pregler)

For years, the biggest mystery of Quantum Leap hasn’t been why Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) was never able to return home, but whether there was an alternate version of the final episode where he could have. Now, footage has surfaced that seems to confirm Quantum Leap’s secret lost ending, one that could’ve led to Sam making the final leap home.


Last year, YouTuber Allison Pregler released a video about some photo negatives she’d purchased from eBay, ones she claimed were from an alternate ending to the fifth and final season of Quantum Leap. The original series ended on a bleak title card declaring that Sam Beckett was never able to return home. But rumors have persisted for years of an alternate ending, one designed to set up season six, centering around Quantum Leap project observer Al Calavicci (Dean Stockwell) making a decision to launch a rescue mission to find Sam.


Now, a Reddit user has unveiled actual footage of that scene being filmed, which you can watch here. It was directed by James Whitmore Jr. (who filmed the series finale, “Mirror Image”) on March 3, 1993—two months before the show ended on May 5. It’s slightly different from the script that’s been circulating the internet for years, but tells the same story about Al and his wife Beth discussing plans to rescue Sam. It looks to take place in the timeline established in the series finale, where Sam changed history in a way that ensured Al and Beth would end up together.

A screenshot of what looks to be Quantum Leap’s secret lost ending.
A screenshot of what looks to be Quantum Leap’s secret lost ending.
Image: Leaper1953 (Reddit)

The footage is degraded and it’s hard to make out everything they say, but there are a couple of things I wanted to point out. First, there’s this moment where Al and Beth discuss where Sam has ended up, and Al mentions his plans to start a search for him (confirming that Sam didn’t change the timeline in a way that meant Project Quantum Leap had never existed, which was a fear fans had after the series finale):

Al: Well, wherever Sam has leaped… he’s still himself.

Beth: Because no one’s in the waiting room?

Al: Yeah, and we’re going to start a nano-second search in the morning. But that will take months, and by then he will have leaped again.


Then, there was this final moment between Beth and Al, where she assures him that he’ll find Sam:

Beth: You’ll find him.

Al: And what makes you so sure?

Beth: Because that’s what friends are for.

It’s unclear where the footage came from, or why it’s taken this long to surface, but we’re glad it finally has. We reached out to the Reddit user who shared it for comment, and we also tried to talk with showrunner Donald Bellisario about this supposed alternate ending, but haven’t gotten responses. Belliario did announce in 2015 that he’d written a Quantum Leap movie, but indicated it was more of a reboot of the original story than a continuation.


It’s unfortunate that Quantum Leap was cancelled so abruptly, so we weren’t able to reach the end of Sam Beckett’s journey. For all we know, he’s still out there somewhere, leaping all over the place. Giving the show a sixth season would’ve provided some much-needed closure for fans, instead of leaving him—and us—forever lost in time.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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So I know spoiler alert for things aged in the decades are an internet cliché now, but this article got me thinking:

Is quantum leap worth a binge?

I only ever caught it in syndication on scifi before/after Sg1 on weekdays and I gotta say that it was usually my cue to switch off. However, after rewatching Enterprise after 10 years of not touching it, I can finally forgive Scott Bakula and have considered giving it a go. And now it has an ending.