Jack Bauer may still be fighting terrorism on the small screen in the eight series of Fox's 24 but that doesn't mean it's the only place we'll get to see him in action. Word of a 24 movie first surfaced quite a few years ago but nothing has come of it except for the TV movie 24: Redemption released prior to season 7.
However, now we get word from Variety that things are moving forward on the 24 movie front with a writer already hired in the form of Billy Ray. He's a fairly prolific action film writer who has written the likes of State of Play, Flightplan and Volcano, as well as both writing and directing Breach and Shattered Glass. Ray's pitch is to take Jack Bauer to Europe after having fought terrorism in America for eight seasons (of course Redemption took place in Africa). The pitch was reportedly a hit with Fox execs and the producers of the show.
The script is said to have come through the star of the series, Kiefer Sutherland, who is eager to turn the long-running TV series into a feature film franchise. Are we looking at a sort of Die Hard-style series of films to follow the TV show? After all, the idea of one guy having one bad day after another is very similar to John McClane's life.
If a 24 movie goes ahead, all of the creators and producers would be involved, including the show's creators Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, as well as Sutherland who serves as exec producer. Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment, which produces the show alongside Fox TV, would also be involved.
However, those of you already set to mark your calendars may want to hold up - we're being reminded that the 24 movie is, "still very much in the preliminary stages." It all depends on the fate of the show. Currently the show is in its eighth season but let it be noted it's NOT yet been renewed for a ninth season. Fox reportedly hasn't decided whether it's going to renew it or not and insiders are saying the studio is waiting on next week's ratings before it decides either way. I really hope it carries on for a couple more seasons since I'm such a huge fan of the show. However, people are speculating that the eighth season will be the show's last.
Having said that, if Fox decides not to do a ninth season they could very well decide to shop the show around at other networks (NBC sure needs a new drama now that the demise of Heroes is on the horizon). Would a new network affect the quality of the show? Well, if the same writers, actors and producers are involved then I don't see that it matters which channel you turn on to catch the latest episode, do you? Presumably if another network were to pick the show up then this feature film would be put on the backburner.
The big question about a 24 movie that springs to mind is how are they going to do it in real-time to keep in line with the format of the show? Along with the iconic lead character and strong writing, the real-time aspect is what makes the show stand out from others and keeps people watching. Each episode is exactly one-hour within the story's time frame (41-odd minutes for us if you take out the ads :P ) and each season is 24 hours in the life of Jack Bauer. Would the movie take place in real-time and just last two hours (or however long the runtime is), like Redemption? Or would the one movie take place within the space of one day? The latter seems the better idea to me.
With 24 being strong with international audiences as well as domestic ones, I think a big-screen outing for Jack Bauer to kick - or rather, torture - terrorist butt would do well. But as a lot of other sites have been asking: what can it do to be more than just another action movie featuring a cast we've gotten to know from a TV show? As a big fan I'll always take an opportunity to see Bauer do what he does best and would look forward to a feature film greatly.
Do you like the idea of a 24 movie on the big-screen or is it best left on TV? What sort of storyline would you like to see the movie follow? And do you want the show to continue on for more seasons or is eight plenty? Sound off in the comments below.
24: Day 8 continues on Monday February 15th at 9:00pm, on Fox.