24 will celebrate its 15th birthday in a few weeks, and Fox’s action thriller series has certainly existed in many forms in that time. The series, told in real time and starring Kiefer Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer, ran for eight proper seasons on Fox, on top of a TV movie (24: Redemption) and a one-season revival series (24: Live Another Day) in 2014. The franchise will return next year with a reboot called 24: Legacy.
Sutherland and Jack Bauer are not scheduled to be an on-screen part of 24: Legacy, as Corey Hawkins will play the lead in the new series, while Sutherland has a new network show of his own – ABC’s Designated Survivor, which stars the actor as a low-level cabinet member who becomes president of the United States after the rest of the line of succession is wiped out in a terrorist attack. The question remains as to whether we’ll ever see Sutherland as Jack Bauer again, and the actor addressed the issue in a new interview.
Speaking with Adweek this week on the occasion of the new show, Sutherland said that he would only ever bring back Jack Bauer for a movie. And while he’s an executive producer of 24: Legacy and occasionally consults with the creators, there are no plans for him to make an appearance as Bauer on that show. “I know never to say that.” Sutherland explained. “It doesn’t mean that we can’t make the [long-in-the-works 24] film… It’s a character that I love until the day I die.”
A 24 big-screen movie has long been rumored and even entered stages of development on more than one occasion; the 24: Live Another Day revival was created out of the ashes of one of the proposed movies. You’d think Jack Bauer would be a natural for an eventual big screen movie as, with the possible exception of Jason Bourne, he’s more of an iconic action-adventure character than any in a movie during the same era. Bourne, like Bauer, also had a successor project with a different actor called “Legacy.“
Of course, getting such a project together has proven to be difficult in the past and would likely only get harder as time goes on, as Sutherland — who turns 50 this year — gets older and the series’ heyday goes further into the past. One scenario is that since the two primary characters on 24 were usually Jack Bauer and whoever the president was that season, it might make sense, in the future, for Jack Bauer to actually become the president. But now Sutherland is playing the president on a whole other show, so that avenue could be closed off as well.
24: Legacy premieres on FOX on February 5th, 2017, immediately following Super Bowl LI. Designated Survivor debuts Wednesday on ABC.