For 8 seasons, a one off event series (Live Another Day), and a TV movie (Redemption), Kiefer Sutherland's iconic, CTU super agent, Jack Bauer compelled audiences with his tough but heartfelt temperament and characteristically questionable (but arguably effective) tactics in FOX's hit show 24. With Sutherland's alter ego last seen en route to a Russian prison and the show's network forging ahead with their upcoming reboot series 24: Legacy, the actor has discussed his thoughts regarding the franchise's Bauer-less future and the unresolved fate of his character.
24 pushed traditional narrative boundaries with the device of presenting their thriller plots within a real time format. Each hour-long episode represented an actual hour within a high-drama conflict taking place over the course of a single day. The original series ran between 2001 and 2010, returning for its 12-hour event season in 2014.
Creators Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow will revisit their differentiating narrative format for 24: Legacy, but have replaced their hero with a yet to be cast new protagonist, described by FOX as a Military hero, recently returned from deployment and seeking help from the CTU due to a threat to his life and a dangerous terrorist plot afoot. FOX CEO Dana Walden has recently discussed casting and confirmed that while Legacy will nod to original characters and events, the new series will feature an all new cast of 24 characters.
At a recent TIFF LIVE Q&A session Sutherland was given the opportunity to publicly weigh in on the reboot concept:
“I have said from the beginning that the real star of 24 is the idea, and I mean that wholeheartedly.”
In the clip unveiled by TVLine, the actor praised 24's writers for Bauer's long-game character arc over the nine epic seasons and said he expects "pretty extraordinary things" from Legacy. He joked about not accepting blame for his character's unresolved fate and went on to speculate about the sometime-discussed concept of a Bauer-based movie or at least possible future in-show cameo:
“I have no idea if the  movie will ever happen, or Jack Bauer might end up finding his way into an episode one day and clarifying all of that, or ending all of that,”
Unless Sutherland is keeping a secret Bauer appearance under his hat for the purpose of not revealing Legacy spoilers, fans hoping that the show's legendary hero would drop into the new series at some point may be disappointed. Despite the high stakes drama of 24's story lines and fast paced presentation, it is arguable that it was Sutherland's award-winning performance that was the show's greatest selling point. The creators displayed a penchant for truly torturing their lead character (both physically and emotionally) and Sutherland continually rose to the challenge, combining machine-like drive with moments of captivating vulnerability within the character. Whether this unique element is vital to 24's ongoing success or even possible to replicate is the question existing fans will be most concerned with.
Whoever is cast as the new lead has large boots to fill, the possibilities for new story lines and characters are pretty unrestricted by 24's themes and setting. It will be interesting to see how Legacy will develop the franchise and work with a new set of characters to explore.
We will continue to keep you posted with news of 24: Legacy as it develops.