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We always hate saying goodbye to our favorite characters, and it was especially tough the last time we saw Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer save the day, even though we technically only spent about 10 days with the guy. We currently have our fingers crossed that the terrorist-deflecting hero will return for the upcoming spinoff, but if Sutherland had has his say for the character's fate, there would be no hope of ever seeing Bauer again. Here's how 24 showrunner Howard Gordon put it.
Kiefer actually wanted Jack Bauer to die, and we had many conversations about it... many of us, including his agent, tried to talk him out of it, but then there was an edict from very high up [within Fox] and Jack Bauer is still alive.
Oh, Kiefer Sutherland. As if anyone within Fox would allow the fate of such a money-making TV persona to be decided by anyone else, much less an actor wanting to do something for the sake of either the character or the art. Killing off the man who made 24 a primetime TV staple could never be anything but a business decision, I'd think. Certainly it's up to Sutherland to say whether or not he would return to the role at any point, but he probably doesn't have much say on Bauer's mortality.
It's not that surprising that Sutherland wanted his character to come a specific resolution, since it's such a big part of his life, and it's hard to resolve anything further than killing it off. Interestingly, though, Howard Gordon didn't mention to Variety at what point Sutherland was campaigning to get his super-badass six feet under. One would assume that it was either as Season 8 or the Live Another Day limited series were being put together, and not in the middle of Season 2 or anything.
And how in the hell do you kill of Jack Bauer anyway? He's escaped death so many times in the past, walking away from seemingly inescapable situations, that I can't feasibly imagine how 24 would legitimately and concretely kill him off. It would have to be something like him jumping in front of an airplane to save someone, or being shot into space for a suicide mission to destroy a renegade blackhole headed for Earth. Although, he was almost never seen eating, so maybe he would just suddenly starve to death one day.
Since he'll probably always be alive, Jack Bauer could definitely reappear on the small screen for 24: Legacy, something that he'd once been dead set against but then later reversed his adamance and said it was a possibility. That's basically the same thing Gordon said about it, too. Until that happens, though, we'll just have to get used to watching Corey Hawkins heading 24 while Sutherland enters the presidency for the ABC drama Designated Survivor.
24: Legacy will debut on Sunday, February 5, 2017, after which it will settle into a weekly Monday night schedule.