Yahoo TV has an interview with executive producer Howard Gordon discussing his four television series – 24, Homeland, Tyrant, and the upcoming Legends. He made some interesting comments about the future of 24.
Switching to 24: Live Another Day, Jack Bauer fans have embraced his return. Were you at all concerned they wouldn’t?
Oh, completely, absolutely. The biggest fear was, is this going to be a nostalgia tour of a rock band that should have hung up their guitars a long time ago? I think it’s interesting, because I go to the critics, and some of the more generous critics made that the story, and I really, really think — I’m sensing, anyway — that people are really happy with the way this year turned out, and I think despite themselves, even among the naysayers, [they] are pretty surprised with how compelling this year’s story is turning out. It’s good; it’s really gratifying. It’s been challenging too, and [filming in] London was certainly a challenge as well. I think putting the band back together again turned out to be a really good thing, though.
We’re just a couple of weeks away from the season finale, does it feel like there’s a future for the 24 universe?
I think right now everyone is sufficiently exhausted from getting through this year at this level, that no one is willing right now to even ask the question. I think in a couple of weeks, when the dust settles, I really hope somebody takes it seriously, because I think it’s a special format. And I hate to use the word “format,” but I think a real-time thriller is something that is a very robust format. I think, whether or not it will be all about Jack Bauer… that’s the challenge — can you take a character and keep him fresh and engaged, and can this be a franchise that lives past Jack Bauer? That is a question I’m not sure anyone is willing to ask, let alone answer. But there may be something in between, as well. So I don’t know, but I think all options are on the table certainly, and I know that a lot of people behind the scenes are willing to consider it.
Very interesting response to that last question. Reading between the lines, it seems like this might be the end for series star Kiefer Sutherland. Notice how Howard Gordon is mostly talking up the “special” and “robust” real-time format itself and questioning whether another season can revolve around Jack Bauer?
Kiefer Sutherland told NPR in May “my instinct is yeah, this is it.” He also told USA Today “My bones are creaking. What am I going to do, Jack Bauer in a walker? So, yeah, this is it. For me, it’s done.”
The writers seemed to have prepared for this scenario by introducing the Kate Morgan character. She was established as Bauer’s equal in the very first episode and shares many of the same character traits, with fans and critics alike praising Yvonne Strahovski. She might very well be the future of this franchise if Kiefer decides he’s finished.
When asked about a potential Kate Morgan spinoff last month, series co-creator Robert Cochran responded “I think it’s a possibility. There are no specific plans right now, but that’s the kind of thing we’d consider.” Executive producer Howard Gordon added “The format itself is very sturdy and with the right story it can be compelling. So if a [Jack-free] story presented itself to us, we would be open to it.”
But Howard Gordon also said “there may be something in between” which sounds like Kiefer could possibly return in a more limited capacity – maybe as an occasional guest star or perhaps in a less physically demanding role.
Or FOX could offer Kiefer Sutherland a truckload of money and convince him to lead another season. Many fans are probably hoping for this outcome.
What do you think about all of this? Would you give a “24” spinoff a chance if it didn’t star Jack Bauer?