We’ve heard the talks before, but now its official: 24 is coming back to your TV screens but without Jack Bauer. Kiefer Sutherland’s almost-legendary CTU agent spent eight seasons enthralling us with his “do anything to save the world” attitude (even if that involves cutting off a guy’s head with a hacksaw!), with Sutherland’s performance itself adding 7 Emmy nominations to 24‘s whopping total 73 Emmy nods.
The show, with it’s real-time format, and the iconic Jack Bauer leading it all, has thoroughly entered the pop culture zeitgeist so it was no big surprise when Fox decided to bring the crew back for a limited event series last year, or that this series, 24: Live Another Day, would go on to be a huge ratings and critical hit. That immediately kicked off talks of another series, although Sutherland had indicated that he was done with playing Bauer for now but that Fox should find another way to keep the show alive. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.
Coming Soon.net is reporting that Fox has ordered a pilot episode for 24: Legacy, for a potential new series in the franchise which will “revolve around a military hero’s return to the U.S. and the trouble that follows him back – compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil.”
24: Legacy won’t be a full remake/reboot as some had feared, but rather just an extension/continuation of the original show. It will feature an all-new cast of characters, but retain the same edge of your seat real-time format, complete with split screens and complex interweaving storylines, and with each episode representing one hour of an eventful day. Based on what Fox Television Group Chairman and CEO Dana Walden told the Television Critics Association (via /Film) though, it sounds like Legacy may follow Live Another Day‘s shorted 12-episode format, were 12-hour time jump occurred to facilitate a full day.
“We’re ordering a pilot set in the world of 24. We’ve thought about doing a sequel to this for a long time. After the final event series, we saw the real time format could work in a 12-hour format. [Original creators] Evan Katz and Manny Coto had a fantastic idea for a reboot. It’s very reminiscent of their original.”
Walden didn’t spill on exactly what that idea for a reboot was, but she was willing to dish up a few details on our new TV hero, so to speak.
“The pilot was just ordered so in terms of casting, we’ve had conversations with the producers but we’re not out to an actor. The lead is Eric Carter. He is clearly a significant focus of the show. There’s also a female co-lead who is a former head of CTU. It doesn’t feel like it is fully replicating the original in terms of how much Jack Bauer carried by himself, but it’s a very prominently featured lead.”
Eric Carter. So that’s the name of our new hero (I wonder if he’s mastered the whisper-shout yet?). Whoever they get to play the role, he certainly has a hell of a task ahead of him, with the legacy that Jack Bauer has left behind. Walden and co are aware of this, and also went on to explain just what they’re looking for in an actor for the role of Carter.
“The character was originally conceived as being a diverse actor. We wanted it to be as different from Jack Bauer as possible and that was the original thinking behind having this be a diverse lead. Whether that’s African-American or Latino actor, we’ve been really excited by some of the people we’ve been seeing throughout our internal process.”
Mary Lynn Rajskub, who played fan favourite tech guru Chloe O’Brien in several of the show’s seasons, including Live Another Day, has already indicated on Twitter that she will not be returning as Legacy will be introducing a whole new cast. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still keep some hope alive for seeing a familiar face or two popping up. Just not right away.
“Never say never, but right now not. There’s a time jump. This is a new organization. It’s a new CTU, a new cast of characters. It’s a completely different stories in terms of this special ops group we’re focusing on. It’s a very contemporary story about the potential to activate sleeper cells in the United States and radicalize Americans. There are nods in the pilot to prior CTU agents. There are a couple photos that will feel reminiscent of the original but no ongoing characters.”
Back when it was still just being rumoured, many had hoped that potential spinoff show could possibly have been built up around Yvonne Strahovski’s 24: Live Another Die central character, CIA Agent Kate Morgan, but Walden says that even though Strahovski was great in her role, it just did not work out like that.
“Because that’s just not the story that the executive producers came in to pitch us. We didn’t go to them to say we want to a reboot. They came to us to say, ‘We have a fantastic idea.’
I think so much of what was exciting to them is is seeing the 12 episode event miniseries, seeing that the real time you could jump a little bit and do it over 12 hours. That’s something we discussed for years and years which is: ‘It’s 24. It has to be 24 episodes.’ I don’t think any of us believes that a 24 episode arc in this day and age with this type of competition would be a smart way to go.
So seeing the 12 episodes, they came in to say, ‘Okay, we see that it lives successfully in that type of arc. Now we want to start from scratch.’ We really didn’t want to revisit characters we’ve already explored, but she did a fantastic job.”
At the moment there’s no ETA yet on when or if (though I doubt Fox would not put in a full series order unless they completely stuff up the pilot) we would actually see 24: Legacy hit our screens. The script is only now going out to actors for casting, so it’s probably going to be a while. As just about one of the biggest 24 fans you will ever meet though, I already have a giant booming yellow digital clock in my head counting down the seconds until then.
Last Updated: January 18, 2016