24: Legacy showrunners Evan Katz and Manny Coto did a couple interviews regarding the finale. We’re working on summarizing the juicy bits — this post will be updated soon — but check the links at the bottom of all the interviews right now.
Original Time Jump Idea – Carter, Tony, and Rebecca teaming up to kill Bin-Khalid in Yemen
Manny Coto revealed that the final arc was originally going to take place overseas in Yemen.
Might as well say it because it’s fun to muse on, but we were going to end the season with Carter, and possibly Tony and Rebecca, going back to Yemen to take out Bin-Khalid. That was going to be the time jump. We didn’t have the full story worked out there, but Carter and Almeida were going to work together. Maybe Rebecca didn’t make it back, but that was the original plan for the last three episodes.
But this idea with the DNI seemed much more interesting to us; much more powerful and emotional. Whereas the other one was a giant action set piece, and having to reset a lot. This felt more interesting and touched on more current events and was suggested by the presidential campaign: whether we could target terrorists’ families. That seemed like too interesting a topic not to attack. And it allowed for Carter and Almeida to clash in a more interesting way. And it allowed Carter to see the other side of how elements of the government work.
Tony’s role was intentionally minimized:
But, again, we were very cognizant all the way through that this had to be just a series about these new characters. That’s why we waited to bring Tony in. It wouldn’t have been right to make him more integral to the ending than he is. It has to be about Carter and Rebecca and Donovan. – Evan Katz
A “pretty generic new character” was retrofitted to be Tony Almeida:
We knew when Carter was going to rescue the girl, he had to come up against some kind of opposition. Originally it was going to be pretty generic, a new character who was going to be called in and be the face of this team. Then the inspiration hit: Why not make it Almeida? He’s the perfect man to be hired for this. Once that clicked, it became perfect, to put Almeida up against Carter. – Manny Coto
Tony and Carter were originally going to team up:
The original idea was for them to end up working together in a fairly different ending. This is just the way 24 works is these stories just kind of evolve organically. When the final twist of learning that Simms had been conducting this illegal targeting of terrorists’ families, that we realized it would be great if he was also working with Almeida, because Almeida was doing covert work with Rebecca. That naturally put him in a position to clash, which I think, personally, is more interesting than just a buddy comedy. – Manny Coto
Rebecca probably broke Tony out in 24: Solitary; Tony’s redemption arc was saved for a possible second season:
We had done this little video in the Live Another Day DVD where he’s released by somebody, although we don’t know who. In our minds, it could have been Rebecca, because she needed him for stuff they didn’t want to get their hands dirty with. Almeida would have signed onto this in my mind to begin a slow coming back to the light — although he’s working in the dark to get there. It’s the first steps of a character’s journey out of darkness. We didn’t want to go all the way because, God willing, if there’s another season, there’s a lot of fun to be had with Tony, and telling the journey of a man who’s trying to come back to make some good in this world. – Manny Coto
Q: Can you commit to the idea that we’ve reached an end to Tony’s depths, at least as far as him killing innocent people in order to pursue vengeance? Would you ever make Tony quite that dark again?
A: Probably not, but you never know where the story takes us. But I would guess not. He’s been there. He’s trying to work his way out. We would give him another reason to live. Sidra (Moran Atias) was someone who was important to his life, and so is Rebecca. The idea is maybe next year, God willing, the reaction to Rebecca’s death could open up a pretty emotional place for him and how he reacts to that. – Manny Coto
Manny Coto wanted a happy ending for Live Another Day:
The season swims in a pretty dark place, but we thought it would be interesting to end in a happier place. That was the original conception for Live Another Day. I always wanted to end it on a happy note. But creatively, things went a different direction, with Bauer going to Russia. In this incarnation, I was bound and determined that that wasn’t going to happen, that Carter was going to find some happiness at the end of all of this. – Manny Coto
The idea for the finale came up while writing episode 10:
The story of the finale really started back in episode 10, when we revealed that the Director of National Intelligence engaged in a covert program to grab the families of terrorists. We knew this was going to be the last few episodes of the season, where we would resolve that issue and turn the season on its head. That’s where it was. When that idea hit, the final episode we realized was going to be about Eric Carter setting this right — and in doing so, he would try to get Rebecca back alive.
Rebecca’s death wasn’t planned until very late:
Right around the middle of the season, we had an inkling. We didn’t know for sure right up until the very end. It started to be a possibility because of where the Donovan (Jimmy Smits) and Rebecca storyline was going. – Manny Coto
Uncle Luis not showing up in the finale and potentially being in Season 2:
We have plans. We had plans that were replaced by better alternatives, but there’s a whole Uncle Luis saga in the recycle bin that we can pull in. – Evan Katz
Proud to not have any moles at CTU:
We were bound and determined not to have any moles at CTU. We achieved our goal. – Manny Coto
Showrunner is “so creatively pleased” with how the show turned out:
I think we’re hopeful [for a second season], but you never know. I wish the ratings were stronger. I’m just so creatively pleased with the way the show turned out and the reaction from the people who are watching the show. I think it would be a crime to not renew it and give it one more shot. But you never know. – Manny Coto
It’s certainly a possibility. I think we’ll find out somewhere around May, but we’re certainly hopeful. We have plenty of ideas of what a second season would look like. The studio and the network liked the show, they think it was a good show. We’ll just have to see. – Evan Katz
Potential 24: Legacy Season 2 Ideas
There are ideas that we’ve floated around. We all know where we want to take the next season. I could say pretty confidently that it would probably be Eric as a CTU agent, and my guess is it would be in a place that’s not necessarily the U.S. As a young agent, he’s stuck somewhere. He’s not getting the choicest assignments. It might be fun [to focus on] someone in some backwater CTU station who ends up stumbling on a larger plot that could bring down the country. My feeling for next season would be something where the country is at stake in a large way. It involves Jimmy Smits and the country and his presidency. It would hopefully go big, and be more along the lines of Live Another Day, and be larger than life and still explore relationships, like Eric and his wife. Are they still together? Are they not? – Manny Coto
COTO: Listen, we haven’t gotten far enough into season 2 to really tell you. All I would throw out is that there is a general feeling that 24 is best when it’s reflecting what’s going on in the world, but at the same time not doing a ripped-from-the-headlines story. There is a feeling of unease and unsettledness in the country: Is the government functioning the way it should be? Is the world going off a cliff? I think that would be something to really explore in season 2. I personally would lobby for larger stakes and literally the future of the country at stake, but taking advantage of this idea that there is something wrong with the government from the inside and that the world is reacting to this and Carter’s in the middle of it. There’s something there to be done, without getting into plot. Personally, a larger world crisis would be the way to go and would be really fascinating.
There’s definitely some cool ideas for season 2 on the table and where we’d like to go — a totally different direction from season 1 and finding Eric in a different place and definitely with a role for Tony Almeida, possibly even playing the same role for Eric that he played for Rebecca or even on Donovan. We definitely want to see Tony back. I, personally, would love to see Chloe, because it would be fun to start bringing these characters back in.
More original character returns planned for season 2:
That was always the plan: Let’s just get this season going and then slowly introduce people from the past, have Carter kind of meet these individuals one-by-one.
But aside from Tony, there are now other characters we’d love to [bring in]. Chloe [Mary Lynn Rajskub], we’d love to see again. There’s a lot of fun to be had with other characters. – Manny Coto
Tony will be back
John Donovan’s “soul is in play”
Obviously, this decision to stay in the race and go along with the cover-up opens up the door for this to become an issue further down the road in a potential season 2, right?
Certainly. I think that’s what’s interesting. He is gonna be able to do good and become president, but he has compromised himself. That’s going to come back in some way or another to hurt him. For us, Donovan’s soul is now in play. In the last act of episode 12, he told an outright lie to the FBI agent. So, he is taking a dark path and where he will end up going is something we’ll explore hopefully in season 2. – Manny Coto
Carter and Donovan’s Relationship
Carter has a relationship with John now. If John does become president, how will you play with that?
Coto: Certainly we set it up for a reason and we want there to definitely be a relationship between the two characters to develop further. But what the nature of that is, what that will look like in Season 2, we have yet to really establish. It really depends on what Season 2 becomes.