Jack's back on TV this summer on 24: Live Another Day, but that doesn't mean that he will never make it to the big screen.
Dexter alum Yvonne Strahovski joins 24: Live Another Day
"The script for the film is very different," Kiefer Sutherland said Monday at Fox's Television Critics Association winter previews of the show's aborted feature film plans. "The film is an ongoing situation. There's always an opportunity to do that. But [executive producer] Howard [Gordon] came up with an idea for a 12-episode run of this and it was the opportunity that presented to us first. It's a fantastic idea and it's something we're very excited about and something we're primarily focused on. If this ends up rebooting the show or causing a film to be made, so be it."
Slated to premiere Monday, May 5 with a two-hour opener, 24: Live Another Day will stick to the show's original format, covering 24 hours in real time, but it will skip several hours to accommodate the 12-episode order. "I hope we'll maintain the quality we had [with] 24 [episodes], but it was a marathon," Gordon said. "It was punishing. ... With 24 [episodes], you could never see the other side of the shore. Here, we can imagine the other side."
The event series, picking up four years later, will find Jack Bauer (Sutherland) how we left him in the series finale: a fugitive. Dexter and Chuck alum Yvonne Strahovski will play Kate Morgan, a CIA agent on the hunt for Jack in London. "In [the CIA's] minds, Jack is not quite Osama bin Laden, but is a fugitive to be captured," executive producer Manny Coto said. "When Jack re-enters the picture on his own terms, we will learn that he has a mission, whether that's a good mission or a dark mission ... we don't know, but the CIA is determined to catch him."
Coto quickly shot down parallels to Gordon's other political thriller Homeland. "The dynamic here resembles Carrie and Brody in no way at all. It's completely and utterly different," he said. "When the show airs, you'll see the dynamic between the CIA and Jack. ... If anything it's about Jack being a fugitive more than anything else."
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While he's on the lam, Jack, unfortunately, won't have his right-hand woman to count on — at least in the beginning. Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) will resurface as a radical Edward Snowden-type working against the government. "Jack and Chloe will be forced into some circumstance for what Jack's after — a secret," Coto teased.
Sutherland said the antagonistic dynamic between the one-time allies was a "great impetus to create something new with the show." "They are actually pitted against each other due to a set of circumstances. That's a dynamic Mary Lynn and I get to play that's very exciting," he said. "It will evolve over the course of the show. Any time an actor gets to play something as complex as a past loyalty that is potentially going to be betrayed, that's a lot of meat. It's a great opportunity for us."
Other returning players include Kim Raver as Audrey and William Devane as James Heller, who is now president and who, to the shock of producers, was not killed on the original series. "Sometimes we had to check Wikipedia," Coto quipped. "Wouldn't it be great if Heller was president? Turns out he lived."
Production on the 24: Live Another Day starts next month, and Sutherland says he's as anxious as he's ever been as he hopes not to sully 24's legacy. "I'm very nervous without putting ourselves out there. We made eight very strong years," he said. "There's always something in every year that we wish we did better, but I was very proud. To open that up again and make 12 episodes and not make them the best 12 we have ever made is frightening. ... Until we start shooting, everything is kind of intangible and up in the air. I'm about as anxious and wound up as I've been in a long time."
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And can 24 live on beyond Live Another Day and maybe that possible film? If it does, Jack might not be back. "When I said reboot, I never said I was a part of it," Sutherland joked. "When we started the show, I said that the star was 24 the concept. I still believe that very strongly. If an audience were to latch on to a younger character who was helping my character, that would certainly be an option."