I always found it funny how MacGruber - a Saturday Night Live character favorite played by Will Forte - got his own theatrically released movie in 2010 and the character he parodies, MacGyver (played by Richard Dean Anderson on the original series and Lucas Till on the CBS reboot), only had a few spin-off TV specials to his name.
Now, the bumbling special operative is also getting a TV series of his own - premiering exclusively on Peacock, on Thursday, December 16, 2021. In addition to some familiar faces, there are a surprising amount of Hollywood heavies joining the MacGruber cast, but let’s start with our returning lead.
Will Forte (MacGruber)
The character of MacGruber is the brainchild of The Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone, but was brought to life on SNL by Will Forte. The comedian would leave the sketch comedy series after eight years, in 2010, and create and star on his own post-apocalyptic sitcom, The Last Man on Earth, starting in 2015.
He has also leant his talents to movies, like the 2013 Oscar nominated drama Nebraska and the coming-of age comedy Booksmart in 2019, and leant his voice to movies like Scoob! (as Shaggy) or Netflix’s America: The Motion Picture cast as Abraham Lincoln. After the MacGruber series, Forte will share the screen with Grammy-winning rock band Foo Fighters in Studio 666 - a horror-comedy coming out February 2022.
Kristen Wiig (Vicki St. Elmo)
As MacGruber’s long-time friend and partner, Vicki St. Elmo (who also originated on SNL and was reprised in the 2010 movie), is Kristen Wiig. She would quickly evolve into one of the biggest names in comedy, especially after leading the Bridesmaids cast and writing its Oscar-nominated screenplay with her Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar co-star, Annie Mumolo.
Of course, after making her superhero movies debut in 2020 as Cheetah - one of the main villains of Wonder Woman 1984 - I think we can safely call her one of the biggest names in any genre these days. Wiig also has done a few voice acting roles recently, (including leading Fox’s Bless the Harts cast) and starred in Netflix’s epic holiday fantasy A Boy Called Christmas in 2021.
Ryan Phillippe (Lt. Dixon Piper)
Reprising his role from the MacGruber movie as Lt. Dixon Piper is one-time SNL host Ryan Phillippe. After debuting on One Life to Live, movies like teen slasher I Know What You Did Last Summer and the teen drama, Cruel Intentions, made him a movie star in the late 1990s.
After starring in more acclaimed hits in the 2000s, like the Best Picture Oscar winner Crash or Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers, he would redefine himself as TV star once more by assuming Mark Wahlberg’s role in USA’s series remake of Shooter and landing a recurring role on ABC’s hit crime drama, Big Sky. However, Phillippe still appears in films, such as the 2021 military thriller, One Shot, most recently.
Billy Zane (Enos Queeth)
As MacGruber’s arch nemesis, Enos Queeth, we have Billy Zane. This actor is no stranger to villainy, with his debut role in the Back to the Future cast as one of Biff’s goons, and playing Cal Hockley in the 1998 Best Picture Oscar winner, Titanic, just to name a few.
He also has a few comic book adaptations under his belt, as the lead of the 1996 film, The Phantom, and as himself in a fun cameo with The Boys cast for Amazon Prime. He will soon share the screen with several iconic horror movie actors in the thriller, Hellblazers, and is producing a Marlon Brando biopic called Waltzing with Brando in which he will play the iconic actor.
Sam Elliott (Perry)
An old MacGruber sketch starring Richard Dean Anderson revealed that MacGyver was MacGruber’s father. However, that has apparently been retconned for the new show, with Sam Elliott as his estranged old man, Perry.
In addition to a couple of Marvel movies (Hulk in 2003 and 2007’s Ghost Rider) the Academy Award nominee (for 2018’s A Star is Born) is known for starring in countless westerns - including 1993’s Tombstone and the FX series Justified - but, arguably, his best-known cowboy hat-clad character is The Stranger from The Big Lebowski in 1998. He recently put on another cowboy hat when joining the 1883 cast as Shea Brennan for the 19th century Yellowstone prequel.
Laurence Fishburne (General Barrett Fasoose)
Another MacGruber cast member with a powerful voice and an Oscar nomination (for What’s Love Got to Do with It) is Gen. Barrett Fasoose actor Laurence Fishburne. Like Sam Elliott, he has done his fair share of superhero movies (he played Perry White in the DCEU) and has played a cowboy (Cowboy Curtis on Pee-wee’s Playhouse) to great acclaim.
In addition to grounded, powerful dramas like Boyz n the Hood and various TV shows (he plays Pops on Black-ish, for instance), his most notable claim to fame is playing Morpheus in the original Matrix movies. While Yahya Abdul-Mateen II took over that role for The Matrix Resurrections, Fishburne will soon reunite with Keanu Reeves when he reprises the Bowery King in John Wick: Chapter 4.
Timothy V. Murray (Constantine Bach)
Reprising his role from the MacGruber movie as Constantine Bach is Timothy V. Murray, who typically appears in titles that the MacGruber series pokes fun at, like 24, Criminal Minds, Sons of Anarchy, or True Detective. He once played one of Ed Harris’ henchmen in 2007’s National Treasure: Book of Secrets before reuniting with the actor for the western Appaloosa in 2008, and then working with Disney again for its remake of The Lone Ranger in 2013. He, more recently, had recurring roles on the hit dramas Snowpiercer and S.W.A.T.
Joseph Lee Anderson (Major Harold Kernst)
As Major Harold Kernst, we have Joseph Lee Anderson, who is also known for a recurring role on S.W.A.T., among plenty of other crime procedurals. A good chunk of his career is historical dramas, such as American Soul (based on the life of Soul Train creator Don Cornelius), Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here (on which he appeared as Muhammed Ali), and the Oscar nominated Harriet (in which he played Harriet Tubman’s brother, Robert Ross). However, his biggest claim to fame in the category of playing real-life people is his role as Dwayne Johnson’s father, Rocky, on the NBC series, Young Rock.
Previously, Sin City cast member and Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke was cast as Billy Zane's villainous character. As cool as it is to see the Titanic star play a bad guy again, I would have been very curious to see Rourke in such a role. We shall see how Zane and the rest of the MacGruber cast handle their characters when the series premieres on Peacock.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.