Appropriately for Knight Rider, the majority of the cast were late to their SDCC panel due to bad traffic. As it kicked off at 11:45am, only showrunner Gary Scott Thompson and new series co-star Paul Campbell were present. They held the fort, cracking jokes with Mr. Thompson imitating the absent cast members.
The clip was unveiled and seemed to get a positive reception, with K.I.T.T.’s transformation scene greeted with a round of applause.
The TV movie garnered its share of criticism but, as has been heavily pointed out since the show went to series, new exec GST will be taking the show in a new direction. The characters will be more layered, the mythology will be deeper, and K.I.T.T. will have the trademark Turbo Boost!
Thompson went back and watched the entire first season of the original Knight Rider, and said that he wanted to create a new mythology that would be similar to the ’80s series. On the Original Series, Michael Knight was a man who had a new face, a new identity, and no option to go back to his normal life. In the new series, Mike Traceur is an Iraq war vet who participated in dangerous black ops missions during his time in the military. Not only will the series explore what happened to Mike while he was in Iraq, but his past is destined to come back to haunt him. Thompson stated that his goal was to put Traceur in the same difficult situation that Knight faced, which will eventually force him to assume the identity of Michael Knight. “There is something more to that,” Thompson said. “What he was doing, what he remembers and what he doesn’t remember.” This ties in with a scene screened from the first episode in which a beautiful and dangerous woman is surprised that Mike doesn’t remember her… just before she hits him.
Paul Campbell (Battlestar Galactica) plays Billy, who, according to the actor, is “the head tech for K.I.T.T. He makes sure he’s always on-line and up and running.” He’s also “kind of a social pariah. He crushes on anything in a skirt.”
Yancey Arias said his character, Alex Torres, “Gives out the missions at the beginning of the episode. He shows them how much is involved in making sure our country is safe. K.I.T.T. is too integral a piece of equipment and cannot be taken lightly. That’s a big challenge for Michael Knight; to not wreck such an expensive piece of equipment.” Which sounds kind of like the Michael-Devon dynamic at the beginning of the Original Series…
Smith Cho’s character is a linguist, and Thompson said, “In the first episode she speaks Spanish, Hebrew, Korean… she’s sort of our contact with the outside world if we need to speak to [anyone].” Campbell added that she, “Keeps [Billy] off balance. He’s madly in love with her. She’s very snide and also very charming.”
Justin Bruening was asked about changes between the show and February’s TV movie. “The biggest change is a visual one,” he said. “It’s more cleaned-up from the original pilot. They’ve added so many layers to my character. They’re filling in the blanks and making him a much deeper, more well rounded character. It makes a whole new mythology for the new fans and the older ones.”
Deanna Russo said her character is now, “beating up bad guys myself. The fight training has been the best part. My fight trainer calls me Annie Oakley, because I have such good aim.”
What every Knight Rider fan wanted a straight answer to was the question: will David Hasselhoff appear on the series, as he did in the pilot film? Thompson said he and Hasselhoff recently had breakfast together, and that he told him, “Look, if we use you, I want to use you in a way that’s story driven.” He said Hasselhoff agreed it should be “Something big. We both agreed there’s no reason to bring him back unless it’s something very specific. There is a possibility. It’s contingent upon schedules. We are openly speaking.”
Then it was K.I.T.T.’s turn: When asked if the William Daniels-voiced Knight 2000 might show up, Thompson replied, “Look, you’re probably probing my mind right now. I don’t see any reason why we can’t see the two K.I.T.T.s side by side.” And what about K.A.R.R.? Thompson said, “Hmm… What do you think? That would be a yes. There will be some version of that. That will go through in our mythology.”
Another fan addressed the issue of Turbo Boost: Would it carry over from the Original Series, and most importantly, would the car jump when it was used? Thompson said that indeed, Turbo Boost was back, and more so, “K.I.T.T.’s gonna jump. You’re gonna go, ‘Quit making the car jump already!'”
Fans around the world rejoice!