Why Prison Break's Time Jump Was The Right Decision, According To Sarah Wayne Callies

sarah wayne callies in bed
(Image credit: Photo courtesy of Persona PR)

You thought you were done worrying about Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows' reluctance to spend their days busting out of jail cells, but next week ushers in the long-awaited fifth season of Fox's hit action drama Prison Break. It's been almost eight years since the show's feature-length finale, and the revival won't be picking things up right where they left off, as a full seven years will have passed within the show's universe. Star Sarah Wayne Callies spoke with CinemaBlend all about Prison Break's return, and she was quite enthused about the time jump, telling me this:

When they brought it up to me -- after I got over the initial shock of thinking it was a joke and that they couldn't possibly be serious and all of that -- I thought it was really really smart to start the story seven years later, rather than picking up 20 minutes after the last episode and having the fans go 'Why do they look so old all of a sudden?' That they let everybody have seven years to breathe and change and grieve and think they've healed to the extent that they can, I thought it was super smart.

Indeed, while nobody here is going to be "that person" who vocally observes that all of these actors are older now, I think we can all agree how silly it would have been for creator Paul Scheuring to conceive this new season taking place in the immediate aftermath of Michael's (supposed) death. I'm sure a winning story could have been drafted, of course, but without it being absolutely necessary, then it would just be asking fans to get distracted from the narrative. Granted, the central trio of Sarah Wayne Callies, Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell are all still in the prime of their lives, so perhaps a full seven years wouldn't have been necessary. In any case, that's just for the photogenic side of things.

When it comes to the emotional complexities of these characters, that's where the seven-year jump makes even more sense. Rather than watching an always mournful Sara having her and Michael's child and then mothering an infant, audiences pick back up with her at a point where she has reached full acceptance with Michael's death, and is happily married to another man, Jacob, who is played by Royal Pains' Mark Feuerstein. She has kept in touch with Linc over the years, of course, and has presumably stayed out of touch with T-Bag and the rest of the crew. And it's now, while Sara is in a state of presumed normalcy, that this twisty new tale begins and throws everything she thought she knew into question.

prison break sara linc

Sara having a new husband is definitely something that will sit strangely with longtime fans, and it's an angle that Sarah Wayne Callies also had some initial problems with, before considering how all that time could be used in a more constructive sense. As well as coming to the realization that Jacob isn't meant to actually replace Michael as her true love. Here's what else she told me:

And I will say that when Paul said, 'You re-married,' I said, 'No I haven't.' (Laughs) And it took me a while to get my head around it, because there's no question that Michael is the love of her life, and yet what started to make sense to me is that I think she's chosen to honor her dead husband's memory by trying to raise their son the way he would have wanted. And one of the things that Michael and Lincoln never had was a stable home, and instability resonated throughout the rest of their lives and set them off on a chaotic course of things.

It was quite enlightening to hear Sarah Wayne Callies describe just how different her upcoming Prison Break arc will be as compared to seasons past, when she also found herself in imprisoned dire straits. Now, Sara appears to be back to a life of good decision-making, and one in which another, younger Michael is the most important thing in her life. Again, that all gets dismantled as the season goes on, but it's nice that she managed to carve out some peace for as long as she did.

The wait is almost over, and Prison Break will return to its cuffed and shackled fanbase when the new season hits Fox on Tuesday, April 4, at 9:00 p.m. ET, and if you want to show off your memory skills, take our Prison Break quiz. You can also catch Sarah Wayne Callies on the USA sci-fi drama Colony, which will air its Season 2 finale on Thursday, April 6, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what else is breaking out of the shadows and hitting your TVs in the coming months, head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.