Scott Bakula Looks Back on Quantum Leap 35 Years Later: “The Fans Cared”

Scott Bakula Looks Back on Quantum Leap 35 Years Later: “The Fans Cared”

Actor Scott Bakula has played plenty of iconic roles in his career, but few have had the cultural cachet as his starring role in the original run of the sci-fi series Quantum Leap in the early 1990s.

Bakula played Sam Beckett, a scientist who leaps through time and spends the rest of his life bouncing through different lives to set right things that have gone wrong. The show remains one of the most beloved in modern sci-fi history (you can stream the entire original series on Peacock now, and check SYFY’s schedule to catch it live on air), and its themes and execution remain relevant and timeless all these years later.

With the series’ 35th anniversary this month, Entertainment Tonight caught up with the 69-year-old actor to look back on the show’s legacy and what it still means to him. Bakula started his career working in theater, and said that experience helped inform all the different roles and skills he had the opportunity to channel during his various leaps over the show’s five-season run.

"I used so many elements of the theater during the years of Quantum Leap, every facet of my life. I played the piano. I played a bunch of sports, I played them there. I sang. We did all kinds of things. Danced,” he said. “We did a little bit of everything. I'm a firm believer that all of our experiences shape our lives, and they all came out in that particular show. And I was lucky for that to happen.”

For More on Quantum Leap:
Quantum Leap Season 2 Finale Makes Huge Callback to Biggest Moment From the Original Series
Original Quantum Leap Ending Explained: What Changed? Who's Still Lost?
How They Created The New Quantum Leap Headquarters in NBC Revival

Scott Bakula on Quantum Leap's Legacy

Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett and Dean Stockwell as Admiral Al Calavicci
Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett and Dean Stockwell as Admiral Al Calavicci

Photo: Getty Images

Bakula also thanked the fans for their support when the show was originally coming to an end, as they rallied to urge the studio and network to bring the series back and keep it going for another season. But even once the series ended — with Sam Beckett still lost in time, presumably still leaping to this day — he says that connection to the fans and their love for the series has never wavered.

"Our show was gonna go off the air, and in the old days there was a writing campaign and they flooded NBC. The fans cared and they expressed themselves,” he said. "They followed me around the planet. Sci-fi fans are remarkable. If you give them the right kind of product, they'll stay forever. I've been around them, they've been with me and all over the world. They show up where I am and they come to the theater. They support, and they've made great friendships amongst themselves.”

In addition to the original Quantum Leap series, NBC has a revival series that has aired two seasons (stream them both on Peacock) thus far. It picks up the action in the present day with a new leaper heading off into the time stream once the Quantum Leap project is reactivated. The new series also makes plenty of connections and mentions to the original series’ characters and plot lines, while still charting its own adventure along the way.

Catch the original Quantum Leap series as well as the current revival, both streaming now on Peacock!