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If you're going to bring a reboot of the action-adventure MacGyver to modern audiences, many of whom grew up with Richard Dean Anderson's initial take on the brilliant engineer, then you'd damned sure better make the best version of it humanly possible. It sounds like CBS has that goal in mind, as the network will completely scrap the already filmed pilot that got the project ordered to series, and box office behemoth James Wan is being brought in to reshoot the series' first installment.
This is pretty huge for several reasons, but we'll start with the biggest of the bunch. James Wan, who now complements his horror film roots with giant blockbusters, is as big a name in the director field as anyone else right now, and he was actually in line to direct the pilot in the first place before scheduling problems surfaced and he had to drop out. The pilot that was eventually made came from frequent TV helmer David Von Ancken, and while it was solid enough to get the network on board, it's not hard to guess why the producers are willing to sweep it all under the rug to bring Wan in.
But that's not the only thing getting switched around for the updated pilot. According to THR, only stars Lucas Till (X-Men: Days of Future Past) and George Eads (CSI) are sticking around, with the rest of the original cast getting shooed away. Actor Justin Hires, who starred in the super-short-lived CBS drama Rush Hour, joined MacGyver's cast last week, and he's confirmed to still be involved with the new pilot. That's gotta be a pisser for everyone else, though.
It's somewhat strange that networks have gone the pilot route for this long without constantly choosing to reshoot those initial episodes. A lot of them are pretty terrible and feel slapped together, which presents an enormous disadvantage to shows that legitimately get better as the episodes go on, since the audiences they're trying to build have already tuned out. I'm not saying that was exactly the case with MacGyver, but I can't imagine that Wan is going to create an inferior version, so it's worth it.
In case you'd missed it when it was released for the network upfronts, here's the extended trailer for the MacGyver pilot that may now never see the light of day. (At least, without a ballpoint pen, a rubber band and a Ziploc bag.)
James Wan has been interested in getting behind a MacGyver project for a while now, though he'd originally envisioned it as a movie. But the director is probably too busy to take on other big screen projects in the near future, as he's already bringing Aquaman into the DC Cinematic Universe, along with other superhero fare. Not to mention all the celebrating he's currently doing thanks to The Conjuring 2 taking over theaters this past weekend and bringing in over $40 million. Nothing scary about that.
MacGyver is set to premiere on CBS on Fridays this fall. Unless that ends up changing, too.