Supernatural’s Jared Padalecki could have starred in a MacGyver spinoff series titled Young MacGyver, but it didn’t go as planned.
Before he rose to fame with his role as Sam Winchester in The CW’s Supernatural, Jared Padalecki could have starred in a MacGyver spinoff series – here’s what happened. Jared Padalecki is now best known for his role in Supernatural, alongside Jensen Ackles, but the road to that was a bit long. His first role arrived in 2000 when he was cast as Dean Forester in Gilmore Girls, where he was part of the main cast in seasons 2 and 3 and a recurring guest star in seasons 1, 4, and 5.
After that, Padalecki appeared in various TV movies, most notably Disney Channel’s A Ring of Endless Light, and made the jump to the big screen though in a minor and uncredited role in Cheaper By The Dozen in 2003, where he played a bully. Padalecki’s brief appearance in this comedy was possible thanks to his friend Tom Welling, who played Charlie Baker, and director Shawn Levy, who wanted someone larger than Charlie to pick on him. Padalecki had actually auditioned to play Charlie Baker, but there was a change of plans as he got involved in another project that ultimately didn’t happen: a young MacGyver TV show.
MacGyver was an action-adventure TV show that aired on NBC from 1985 to 1992 and followed Angus MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson), a secret agent with remarkable resourcefulness to solve almost any problem that crossed his way using mundane materials at hand. MacGyver gained a loyal following, which allowed him to star in two TV movies: MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis and MacGyver: Trail to Doomsday. A reboot series of the same name premiered on CBS in 2016 now with Lucas Till as the title agent who continued to surprise the audience with his creative solutions to everything. But before Till took over Anderson’s iconic role, a spin-off series titled Young MacGyver was planned, with Jared Padalecki playing the lead role, who contrary to what the title might suggest, wasn’t a young version of Angus MacGyver.
Young MacGyver would have followed Clay MacGyver, Angus’ nephew who quits school and joins the Phoenix Foundation, a shadowy government organization set up to protect the country and to which Angus belonged, but he finds it difficult to follow in the steps of his famous uncle. In his first mission, Clay would have been sent to Africa to stop an anti-American terrorist group financed with blood diamonds. In an effort to keep both MacGyvers separate, Angus would have only appeared in a picture on the agency’s wall, leaving the spotlight to Clay. A pilot episode was filmed, with Stephen Herek (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) as director, but it didn’t catch the attention of The WB and it wasn’t picked up, and that was the end of Young MacGyver.
Although Clay MacGyver would have been Padalecki’s first big TV role, it wasn’t that big of a loss for him. In 2004, he appeared in the comedy New York Minute, had a minor role in the thriller Flight of the Phoenix, and starred in the 2005 remake of House of Wax. That same year, he landed the role of Sam Winchester in Supernatural, his biggest and most popular role to date which he wouldn’t have been able to get had Young MacGyver been picked up and gone into production. In the end, it all worked out for the best not only for Jared Padalecki but also MacGyver, which had a better run with its reboot series than it probably would have had with a spin-off series without the original MacGyver.