Three years ago (today), the real-time adventures of 24 came to close. Now, it appears that Jack Bauer could soon be returning to television screens once last time, in an all-new adventure.
Reportedly former 24 showrunner Howard Gordon has approached Fox with a plan to bring the series back for limited run. Though no deals have been officially made, Fox appears to be interested in bringing back the fan-favorite series, and Kiefer Sutherland is currently in talks to return. If (or when) the series does return to the air, however, it will be a completely new story, not a continuation.
In the 24 series finale, following the conclusion of a complicated plot involving Russian assassins, mobsters and terrorists - not to mention President Charles Logan - Jack Bauer's antics were finally a little too rogue, making him wanted by Russian and American forces. With no other option but to leave behind his life, again, Jack asked Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) to keep an eye on his daughter Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) as his enemies might use his family to lure him out of hiding. Chloe shut down a drone she was using to monitor Jack's activity on the ground during the climax of the season, and the clock ran down to 00:00:00.
In the years since the 24 finale aired, there have been talks about potentially reviving the series in the form of a movie, written by Billy Ray (State of Play). Originally, Fox was looking to begin production on a theatrical follow-up in spring 2012, but after budget issues relating to salary for the cast came up, production was put on hold, apparently indefinitely. And even if the series does return to air, it will be Gordon’s idea, not some version of the movie plot, which television audiences will see.
And though it doesn’t seem that difficult to bring Jack Bauer back from the established series finale, it does beg the question as to whether he would be brought back voluntarily, or if he's just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bauer isn't too different from Die Hard’s John McClane, so accidentally getting involved in some terrorist plot wouldn't be a stretch while he's on the run. However, the mention of a "limited" run does raise the issue of how the series' real-time format would work, if there are not twenty-four one-hour episodes comprising the season. Maybe we'll skip a few hours here and there?
Then again, as the joke now goes "If everybody did what Jack Bauer said, the show would be called '12.'"
With network television now more open to serialized series, like The Following, 24 could easily slide in to a midseason spot, which would allow for a longer run of episodes without the lengthy breaks that fall television series have to deal with. And with potential return of Heroes, as well as the success of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter, it’s clear that fans are still interested in revisiting their favorite series from the past. Whether or not 24’s return will be successful, however, is another question – but it’s doubtful that anyone would turn down the chance to see Jack Baur back in action one last time.
Update: Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Fox is looking to bring 24 back for a 13-episode run.
Keep an eye on Screen Rant for more updates on 24 season 9