A humbled Kiefer Sutherland gave his fans at Comic-Con a standing ovation Friday, thanking them for helping to make 24 “the greatest experience in my career.” Perhaps he should have asked for their patience because he and several of the 24 writers — all of whom participated in a panel at Comic-Con — are going to try it in the upcoming season: Carlos Bernard, aka the surly Tony Almeida, will come back to life. Again! “This will be a special situation,” explained Bernard, who joined Sutherland and the writers on the dais. “I have to say, this has been the funnest year yet on 24.”
“Perhaps it’s a measure of our desperation that he’s back,” admits executive producer Howard Gordon, who wouldn’t tease how they plan to revive Almeida — especially since we last saw him lying dead in Jack’s arms. “He’s died on the page four times.”
Gordon and the crew also gave fans a sneak peak of the two-hour movie that’ll serve as a prequel for the coming season: the movie, which will air in November, takes place in South Africa where Jack encounters child soldiers (in the clip, Jack gets caught in a firefight along a crowded street and comes face-to-face with a gun-toting youth). The physical and psychological consequences of torture also take center stage. “This is the best script we’ve ever had,” said Sutherland, who explained how the writers had a longer lead time to prepare because the 100-day writers strike ultimately delayed the show’s return to Fox. “We weren’t in a rush against some clock to get it on the air.”
As usual, the legions of fans brought levity to the paneldiscussion: one audience member wanted to know, for example, why wenever see Jack pee. “When we cut to the White House, just know thatJack is either in the bathroom, having a drink, or getting something toeat,” explained Sutherland.
Sutherland also explained they use real guns on the show — just notreal bullets — and that Jack’s excessive use of the word “dammit” camefrom the character’s need for an expletive “that expressed hisfrustration. That word could handle all of it.” He and the producersscaled back on its use, however, when they learned it became a drinkinggame for youths. And his favorite moment during the show’s multi-yearrun? “When I chopped that guy’s head off in season two,” admittedSutherland.
The producers used the panel to confirm several cast additions:Cherry Jones will play the first female president, Jon Voight plays agood (or maybe a bad) man, and Janeane Garofalo will come aboard topossibly spar with Chloe’s Mary Lynn Rajskub. Finally, Gordon said a 24 movie remains a possibility, though not until the series ends its run on Fox.