The Airlocked! pilot is a one-hour film produced as a "proof of concept" for the series. Although it has never been aired and is treated as non-canon by production staff, elements of the pilot have found their way into the series.
Twenty-one Champions awaken on the Champion Excellence Program station, and are told by C.E.C.E. that they have been selected for a communal living experiment, which they can leave only if they succeed in murdering a fellow Champion and getting away with it. While all are reluctant, most of the Champions are visibly shaken when C.E.C.E. threatens to flood areas important to them with neurotoxin.
The following Friday morning, Shadow Hedgehog finds Jesse McCree dead in the zero-G room. An investigation and trial ensue, and Naho Saenoki is found to be the culprit and executed. The nineteen remaining Champions congregate in the holodeck, uncertain as to what the future holds.
- See also: Pilot/Pilot Champions
Differences between the pilot and the series
- Most obviously, all of the Champions in the pilot were replaced with new characters for the first season. Many of the pilot Champions would eventually be used in season 2 or in non-canon works such as Petuu: Contest of Champions, but some remain exclusive to the pilot.
- Also an obvious difference is the complete lack of Overseers in the pilot. Their roles are instead fulfilled by C.E.C.E.
- The version of the Champion Excellence Program station seen in the pilot has a different design, and lacks the teleporter seen in the series. It is unclear how, if at all, the Champions would have gained access to new floors.
- Characters are never seen to receive items from the Benefactors during the pilot.
- Characters in the pilot have individualized executions, akin to seasons 3 and 4. Strangely, this means nobody actually gets airlocked.