Quantum Leap Just Honored Stargate With A Surprising Callback

Robert Picardo appeared in Quantum Leap and was given the name Dr. Edwin Woolsey, echoing his character name of Richard Woolsey in Stargate.

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

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At this point, Robert Picardo is a genre legend due to his appearances in Star Trek: Voyager, Stargate SG-1, and now, most recently, the Quantum Leap reboot. He popped up on a recent episode of Quantum Leap, and when he did so, there was a special easter egg for Stargate fans. That’s because his character was named Dr. Edwin Woolsey, meaning that he shares a last name with Picardo’s Stargate character Richard Woolsey.

In this episode of Quantum Leap, “Live Die Repeat,” Stargate veteran Robert Picardo is at the center of a story that is one part Edge of Tomorrow and one part Oppenheimer. In the ep, a nuclear reactor explodes, and the main character Ben (played by Raymond Lee) keeps jumping into different bodies of those who were there for the giant explosion. At the center of all this is Picardo’s Woolsey character, an advocate of nuclear power that considers the reactor nothing less than his baby.

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Part of what Quantum Leap does so well with Robert Picardo is, frankly, what both Stargate and Star Trek did well with him, and that is to present a character whose cantankerousness hides a heart of gold. On Star Trek: Voyager, Picardo played an Emergency Medical Hologram with a very prickly bedside manner, but his quest to become more human (something that echoed earlier characters like Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation) helped him eventually become a fan favorite. And on Stargate SG-1, Picardo played something of a bureaucratic tyrant at first as he tried to keep Stargate Command in line, but he was eventually revealed to be a good friend and ally who (much like many of our friends in real life) just really, really loved following the rules.

Due to the nature of Quantum Leap, it’s unlikely fans will see Picardo’s character again, but in his other genre franchises like Star Trek and Stargate, the actor has found creative ways to pop up again. For example, while he mostly played the EMH in Star Trek: Voyager, he made an appearance as a version of that character in Star Trek: First Contact and even went on to portray the EMH’s creator in both Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and later episodes of Voyager. And on Stargate Atlantis (a spinoff of SG-1), Picardo reprised his Richard Woolsey character in an expanded role where he was now in charge of the ambitious Atlantis expedition.

We can only hope there is a creative way to revisit his Quantum Leap character because the Stargate Atlantis episodes really provided a solid arc for Woolsey. It’s rewarding for audiences to be able to chart a character’s slow but steady growth, and seeing dynamic characters mature onscreen like that helps to mirror our own growth as fans. With all that being said, our biggest hope is that Picardo pops up again in one of the seemingly countless Star Trek spinoffs so we can hear “please state the nature of your medical emergency” just one more time.