Reports that Prison Break is coming back to FOX emerged as far back as mid-2015, before those previously involved with the prison escape TV series (on both sides of the camera) confirmed a revival had entered development. While the Prison Break season 4 finale concluded with the “death” of series co-protagonist Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), it’s been reported for some time now the the character would return in the show’s revival alongside his brother, Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell).
The project is now official, as FOX has confirmed that Miller and Purcell will reprise their Prison Break roles in a forthcoming event series revival of the show. The event and/or mini-series model has quickly become the preferred template for networks to use when they revive a popular TV property (see 24: Live Another Day, Heroes Reborn and the upcoming The X-Files revival) – something that also makes sense, as the very term “event series” inherently promises that fans of these shows will get to see their favorite characters in at least one final complete storyline.
Prison Break creator Paul T. Scheuring will return as the showrunner and head writer on the event series too, while producers Neal Moritz, Marty Adelstein, and Dawn Olmsted are likewise coming back. There’s no mention in the related FOX press release of Sarah Wayne Callies also returning as Dr. Sara Tancredi, though additional details on the event series (including the official premiere date) have yet to be revealed – meaning, Callies may yet re-join her Prison Break costars, down the line.
Prison Break season 1 was based on a relatively simple premise – Michael seek to break his convicted brother out of prison – but that basic setup in time sustained the show for an additional three seasons. The question now is if the Prison Break event series will prove able to extend the TV show even further without “breaking” or losing what fans of the TV series found to be compelling about its storylines and execution in the process. Heres Reborn, after all, hasn’t exactly stuck the landing, when it comes to justifying it own existence – and judging by the middling critical reception and dwindling ratings, NBC was right to have gone ahead and made the call that once the Reborn finale airs, the Heroes property will be done until further notice.
Miller and Purcell, for their part, have continued to collaborate and demonstrate chemistry together in The CW’s DC TV universe, where they play the characters of Captain Cold and Heat Wave, respectively. The duo will appear next in the DC’s Legends of Tomorrow spinoff that launches next week (at the time of writing this), but it’s not clear what exactly the future holds for that CW/DC series – and thus, what effect it might have on Miller and Purcell’s availability in the future. On the other hand, that might only become an issue down the line, should both Legends of Tomorrow and the Prison Break event series do well enough for the networks behind them to want to keep both TV properties going.
During the 2016 Television Critics Association Tour, FOX Chairman/CEO Dana Walden addressed that very point, offering a rough timeline for when the Prison Break event series will begin production (h/t /Film):
“Right now we’re thinking nine [episodes]. We’re trying to carve out our production schedule. Wentworth and Dom are obviously in CW shows right now so we’re trying to work our production schedule around theirs. Hopefully we’re thinking late March.”
We’ll bring you more information on the Prison Break event series as it becomes available.