When people ask me what shows turned me on to television in the first place, my go-to is and always will be: 24, Prison Break, and Lost. These are the pivotal franchises that made me fall in love with the box in my living room, and, well, the rest is history. Fast-forward so many years later, and two of the three are making major comebacks and I couldn’t be more excited.
Let’s start with 24. It debuted on Fox way back in 2001 and lasted for eight seasons and a TV movie. And then just last year, it resurfaced with star Kiefer Sutherland for limited event series 24: Live Another Day. Now, the network wants it to return again, but this time with an even bigger twist. In addition to forgoing the 24-episode format and skipping around some hours of one chaotic day, the newest incarnation of 24 bids farewell to Sutherland’s iconic hero Jack Bauer and introduces a new lead to save the day. That actor hasn’t been cast yet, but Fox says they are looking to fill the role with an African American actor.
Dubbed 24: Legacy, the tenth season in the ever-expanding counter-terrorism franchise serves as a reboot in that it doesn’t plan on incorporating familiar characters or settings. Jack and his right hand Chloe are off-limits this go-around. Here’s the official logline provided by Fox:
The pilot will feature an all-new cast of characters and retain the real-time, pulse-pounding, fast-paced format with split screens and complex interweaving storylines, with each episode representing one hour of an eventful day. The project 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.
“We wanted [the star] to be as different from Jack Bauer as possible, whether that’s an African American or a Latino actor,” elaborated Fox head Dana Walden at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. Co-head Gary Newman added, “As envisioned, the lead character would be diverse, so that will be our first effort in casting. As always, we’re going to cast the best actor we can find for the role. As you can imagine, bringing 24 back, we want to really try to create some distinction and make this feel different than Jack Bauer’s 24, so having a diverse actor in that lead role I think would be helpful in doing that.”
Another change coming to 24 is that the new hero will be sharing the day’s burden equally with a female co-lead. This female lead is a former head of CTU, and thus will serve as connective tissue to 24‘s past. Walden went on to briefly discuss Legacy‘s timely plot and how it plans on distancing itself from the 24 we know.
“It’s a new CTU, a new cast of characters,” she said. “It’s a completely different story in terms of the special ops groups that we’re focusing on. It’s a very contemporary feeling story about the potential to activate new sleeper cells in the United States and radicalizing Americans. It’s a whole new story. 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 [returning] characters.”
Howard Gordon, Brian Grazer, Manny Coto, and Evan Katz, executive producers who worked on all previous seasons, return to EP Legacy. The pilot is on track to film this winter.
Update (1/18): Kiefer Sutherland responded to 24: Legacy at a Q&A panel hosted by TIFF Live and he had nothing but kind words to say about the series reboot. “I have said from the beginning that the real star of 24 is the idea, and I mean that wholeheartedly,” he gushed. “I have every faith they’ll do something cool and clever.” Later, when a fan asked about getting closure on Jack Bauer (at the end of Live Another Day he surrendered himself to the Russians), Sutherland admitted he doesn’t know if that will ever happen. “I have no idea if the  movie will ever happen, or Jack Bauer might end up finding his way into an episode one day and clarifying all of that, or ending all of that.” He promised he’d pass the sentiment along to 24 EP Howard Gordon the next time they meet. Watch Sutherland talk 24 here; the clip is cued up and ready to go.
Jump after the break to learn more about Prison Break‘s return. READ MORE Fox: Jack Bauer is out in new ’24: Legacy’ & the brothers are back in ‘Prison Break’ revival