Representatives of the major television networks and production companies shared some surprising updates on several fan-favorite TV properties during the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, CA. During the Fox panel, the network's representatives dropped some big news for TV fans, such as confirmation of talks to bring back The X-Files and the renewal of Gotham and Empire.
Fox has also hinted that the espionage/drama/action series 24 could return in 2016, but without star Kiefer Sutherland.
"24" w/ out Kiefer Sutherland? Could happen. Pitch for new installment of "24" eyed for 2016 is Jack Bauer-free. Would be a one-off. #TCA15
— Cynthia Littleton (@Variety_Cynthia) January 17, 2015
While Fox's 12-episode run of 24: Live Another Day was considered largely unnecessary before proving that the condensed number of episodes translated into tighter storytelling and winning over critics with a satisfying finale. Fans may no longer care that talks of a 24 movie will likely remain hypothetical, given the show's ability to justify its return.
The news of a potentially Kiefer-less run of 24 prompts a couple of questions: Has Sutherland expressed no desire to reprise the role of Jack Bauer? Or does the description of this next return as a "one-off" mean that Fox is approaching the idea of opening up the 24 universe with a different main character as a trial run for a proper season 10 without Bauer?
There are no details at this point, so this news may partly be a way to gauge the public's response to such an idea. Still, 24's ticking clock format turned out to be much more effective in a shortened run of episodes, and with shared-universe properties all the rage right now, a "one-off" set in the 24 world could prove compelling.
A new lead character would be in order, and with the strong, somewhat revelatory performance from Yvonne Strahovski - a standout among the supporting cast of Live Another Day - a 24 sans Sutherland might just work.
Stay tuned for more details on the future of 24.