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Over the past year, the Flatliners remake has been picking up steam. Some young and rising talent has joined the picture, a director is in place, and all the makings of a new life for the 90's sci-fi cult classic seem to be aligned. However, some new information has come to light which indicates that the Niels Arden Oplev directed film isn't what it seems to be, much like one of the characters that's recently been cast in the film. In fact, it's the reason that Kiefer Sutherland is returning for another round of medical mayhem, as he's reprising his character from the original film in what can now be referred to as a sequel.
UK publication Metro got to speak with Sutherland, and in their recent conversation the Designated Survivor actor revealed that while it's not totally spelled out, his character of med student Nelson Wright not only graduated, he's a teacher! Kiefer Sutherland clarified his role as follows:
I play a professor at the medical university. It is never stated, but it will probably be very clearly understood that I'm the same character I was in the original Flatliners but that I have changed my name and I've done some things to move on from the experiments that we were doing in the original film.
This new information is interesting, considering that this new film was being sold under the Flatliners name, with the express purpose of leading to a modern reboot. Should the title remain, it would be one of the most confusing decisions since 2011's The Thing ended up being a prequel to 1982's The Thing. Considering how that film turned out, they may want to change their name to Flatliners: The Awakening, or something less confusing, in the hopes of not confusing fans and newcomers alike.
To be completely honest, this development makes us a little less fearful for the Flatliners project, as a sequel would mean that Kiefer Sutherland isn't being brought back just to slyly nod at the original film. If used properly, Sutherland's presence could advance the story of medical students exploring what awaits on the other side of eternity. Rather than tread the same ground of Joel Schumacher's original film, there's a good chance that Sutherland's original character could lead to not only a deeper understanding of the phenomenon explored previously, but it could leave the door open for further appearances of the original Flatliners team.
In time, what was once seen as a reboot for today's kids could be a full fledged adventure between past and present Flatliners, though we'd assume that such a prospect would be left to decide after the potential success of this now sequel is fully evaluated. We'll have a bit of a wait though, as Flatliners aims to revive the brand on August 18, 2017. However, you can soon get a regular dose of Kiefer Sutherland, as his new show, Designated Survivor premieres on Wednesday, September 21st at 10 PM EST.