In just under a month, the real-time format series 24 returns to Fox in the form of a reboot titled 24: Legacy starring Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton).
The new series follows military hero Eric Carter after he has returned home from a successful mission to terminate a major terrorist to find himself and his family are now being targeted. Carter turns to the only person he can trust, Counter Terrorist Unit Director Rebecca Ingram (Homeland’s Miranda Otto) who helped coordinate his mission overseas.
Executive Producers Evan Katz and Manny Coto, who both served as producers on the original series, recently dished on what was originally a brand new concept that later evolved into the reboot for 24.
“No one was actually asking us to bring 24,” Coto told EW. Originally the show’s concept had been developed as a thriller based on the team of Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden. Coto and Katz wanted to explore what would happen if one of those soldiers was forced into witness protection after he’s returned home to find himself now the target. “The more we talked about it, the more we realize this would be really energetic and alive if it were in real time,” Coto added.
The trailer for the series has managed to capture the same pulse-pounding feel and flavor as the original series, however. The series will flip the script in more ways that one. Instead of having the series follow an experienced field agent at home, Legacy will focus on the ex-army ranger Carter and his sort of crash course thrust into the day of a CTU Agent. Rather than having the Federal Agent/President dynamic like past seasons of 24, Legacy will instead be co-led by Carter and Ingram, the military hero and director of CTU. Coto offered up an explanation as to why the creative decision was made to switch up the dynamic:
“We have nine seasons of 24, so the challenge was not to do something completely new, but to do variations on what we’ve done and not go down the same road, because we’ve done everything. That’s why we don’t have a president this year. We have someone who is running for office and who is dealing with the challenges of that and it’s a different dynamic.”
But those aren’t the only changes to the series. In the wake of 9/11, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) became an answer to many American’s fears and gave them hope that someone was out there sacrificing it all to protect them. The series began with a relatively small threat of an assassination but later evolved into plots involving weapons of mass destruction and biological weapons. Legacy will attempt to scale things back a bit while at the same time upping the fear factor as it will tackle a much more relevant topic to today: homegrown terrorism. Katz explained homegrown terrorism “is very much what’s on people’s minds”.
Even though Legacy will attempt to stand out and on its own from the original series, it will still connect back to the original in a pretty major way as later in the season it will feature the return of the former head of CTU turned terrorist Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard). Coto stressed that new viewers won’t need to have seen the previous series, however, Tony’s troubled past will come into play:
“This is just a character who has a certain past we need to explicate. And Tony’s dark past comes back to haunt Rebecca in some way.”
The return of Almeida is very exciting for long-time fans of the original 24, especially considering the fate of his character was left hanging in the balance. Tony was last seen in prison on the special features for 24: Live Another Day in a short film pleading for his release from prison so that he could make up for his sins. The short film closed ominously as Tony looked through a pair of spyglasses (slipped to him by the DOJ), mapping his escape route out of prison. Chances are he’s out and involved one way or another with the threat in the new season. But Almeida isn’t the only character from the original series who’s fate is left in question. The last we saw Jack Bauer, the main character of all 9 seasons, he was being lifted off in a helicopter to go rot in a Russian prison. Not exactly the most satisfying finish for such an incredible character.
Sutherland has always been an advocate for the series continuing beyond the character of Jack Bauer. In fact, he was the first person to ever say that the real-time format was the real star of the show. While I completely agree with him, the one major problem with for 24: Legacy is that you can’t ask returning fans of 24 to invest in the new characters if you aren’t going to resolve the storylines of past characters, namely Jack Bauer. But so far the series does look promising. The return of Tony gives hope the series will eventually feature the return of Jack. Currently, Sutherland is tied up starring on ABC’s Designated Survivor so it won’t be happening during Legacy’s first 12-episode run. But that’s a good thing. If anything, Legacy should follow the same formula as The Force Awakens. First get your audience invested in the new characters and then start bringing back the original characters which will also hopefully include Chloe O’Brien played by Mary-Lynn Rajskub.
Long-time fans of the original series are in luck, however, as Carlos Bernard won’t be the only returning star from the original series. Jon Cassar, the director who polished the style and tone set in the first season and directed some of the series biggest and best episodes is currently listed at the helm of four episodes for Legacy.
The clock resets Sunday, February 5th after the Superbowl.