Everyone's favorite real time action drama could be returning. That's right folks, 24 is back in discussions at Fox, with talks of potentially reviving the series for another installment. Oh, but there's a catch... and it's a pretty big one. Kiefer Sutherland, who played legendary Counter-Terrorism Agent Jack Bauer in the series, may not be returning.
Yeah, it's okay if you need to go back and reread that sentence again. The news shocked us, as well. Don't get too worked up though, as nothing has yet been laid in stone. According to an article by EW, it sounds like the conversation has really only just begun to take shape around the series' revival. The upside is that the studio and Sutherland are still very much in communication and appear to have no bad blood. The downside is they are very blunt at talking about the prospect of moving forward with out the pivotal actor. Take for example Fox Chairman and CEO Dana Walden's recent comments on the situation.
“We have discussed it with him. We talk to Kiefer all the time. He’s a great creative partner, potentially he won’t be in this installment. We’re not sure yet. We’re not that far along, but I know he supports us doing more 24.”
The prospect of 24 without Jack Bauer is potentially scarier for many fans than even the show's most pulse-pounding moments, but let's step back and look at Sutherland's devotion to the series thus far. The 48-year old actor has already devoted approximately 10 years of his life to the character and while we really can never get enough of his “at all costs”, we can certainly all agree he has put in his time. He appeared in all 192 episodes of 24 from its debut in 2001 until its final episode in 2010. He also came back to reprise the role in 2014 in the limited series 24: Live Another Day, which ran for 12 episodes just last year and let's not forget the one-off television movie 24: Redemption between Seasons 6 and 7. He's even appeared as Bauer on Saturday Night Live, a move he's likely to do again as the years wear on. I'd give it 5-10 years.
So really, in all fairness, we should have at least known something like this could eventually happen. It was only, what, a month ago that Sutherland delivered the ice-breaking comment on the series and his beloved character, saying he may officially be retiring from it as a whole.
“Me, I don’t see going back to it. We had set out to do 12 episodes [referring to 24: Redemption] to end the show and deal with some of the past history of the show. It was also an irresistible opportunity to go shoot in England. So for all of those reasons it made sense to do that last season.”
But all hope is not lost, as Fox pointed out. Walden added:
“First of all, we’re not talking about continuing the show without him. We’re talking about whether there’s one installment that he’s not in. I think if the storytelling is exciting enough, that real-time element that the show really owns–so many of the production aspects are so unique to that show–I do [think we could do it without him]. I think [it could be] great characters with that creative team. I look at everyone that’s surrounded Kiefer in the last installment and I think it could work.”
Ms. Walden went on to say the pitch for the potential new season does still leave room for Sutherland, if he so chooses to return. The pitch is only at its early origin stages and really could go either way, so Walden assures that Jack Bauer could easily show up very organically in the story.
Sutherland has been fairly busy as of late though. He recently voiced several characters in the popular 2014 video game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Next up for the actor is an appearance in the upcoming film John Henry Clayton, alongside Demi Moore and his father Donald. The next installment of 24 could be seen as early as 2016. Whether or not Jack Bauer will be a part of it is anybody's guess at the moment.