A 24 prequel TV series is in the works at FOX that would reportedly focus on Jack Bauer's origin story. As an action drama series starring Kiefer Sutherland, 24 changed the landscape of network television forever in 2001 with its real-time format. Each episode took place over 60 minutes as it followed Counter Terrorist Unit Agent Jack Bauer (Sutherland), who worked feverishly throughout the course of a full day, or 24 hours spanning over 24 episodes, to thwart everything from political assassinations to terrorist attacks.
With often-controversial storylines to attract viewership, the show ran for eight seasons (including a year break in 2008 that only featured a 2-hour TV movie) in its initial run from 2001 to 2010, and returned in 2014 with 24: Live Another Day, where the show's 24-hour frame was squeezed into 12 episodes. Not quite ready to let the series die, FOX revived 24 again in 2016 under the title 24: Legacy, starring Corey Hawkins in the top CTU agent role. Failing to attract a large enough audience, the series reboot was canceled after one season.
Nevertheless, the network appeared to want to find a way to bring back the real-time series back again in 2018, when FOX chairman Dana Walden revealed 24 executive producer Howard Gordon, as well as the series' creators, Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran, were working "possible" new version of the series but did not announce any firm plans. On Monday, however, reports surfaced that 24 may go in a different direction with news that a prequel series is in development. A source tells Deadline that a series that follows Bauer in his early years is being considered and is in development, as well as the idea of using the real-time format to have a legal thriller play out.
The courtroom idea, of course, isn't exactly new. In February, it was also reported that a female-led 24 legal thriller about an attorney trying to get her client off of death row was being considered. And while there's no indication yet as to whether the show will take the prequel route or go with the courtroom idea, the prequel notion is the best idea since it would have a sense of familiarity to longtime fans, by bringing back Jack Bauer - the character - even if Kiefer Sutherland doesn't return to the role. What's more, Bauer's history is intrinsically tied into his time at CTU, which would make for interesting television once again.
No matter which direction the series takes, it appears that Sutherland, for all intents and purposes, is completely out of the 24 mix. However, it didn't necessarily take the news of prequel series to seal the actor's fate, considering that Netflix has been eyeing the continuation of the White House drama Designated Survivor since it was cancelled in the spring. And while the series will likely never be the same to die-hard fans of Sutherland, at least they'll have the comfort knowing that somebody else is carrying the torch of the rough-and-tumble CTU agent.