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'24' exclusive: Kiefer Sutherland calling it a day?

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24kiefer_dlGood news for terrorists everywhere: With just one more year left on Kiefer Sutherland’s 24 contract, there’s a very real possibility that Jack Bauer’s career as the world’s foremost savior may end next season. And while Sutherland says he’s undecided as to whether day 8 will be his last, he’s watching the clock in a way he never has before.

“I don’t think about [the end of 24] a lot, but I did this year for the

first time,” he confesses. “It was one of those weird moments where the

stage was unusually quiet; it was like a ghost town. I was looking

around [thinking] about all the work that went into building this thing

and it hit me: This will end one day, and I’m going to be sad about it.

“Whether season 8 is the end or not, I don’t know,” he continues. “I

love making the show, so I’m leaving my options open. And in all

fairness, I think the audience will dictate that more than anybody.”

In the meantime, perhaps even more critical than determining when Jack will pack it in is how.

“There are two obvious choices: Jack dies, or Jack finally has a happy

ending,” suggests executive producer Evan Katz. “It’s actually an

interesting discussion as to which would be more faithful to the show

and more rewarding for the audience. Because if we give him a happy

ending, part of the audience would be mad at us for doing what is easy.

And if we kill him, they would be mad at us for a different reason

altogether.”

There are also the bean counters at 20th Century Fox to consider; they’ll need Jack alive if there’s to be a 24 movie franchise (as many expect there will be). “Kiefer and I have always said, ‘Jack Bauer’s gotta die,'” says fellow EP and frequent director Jon Cassar. “But then the idea of a 24 movie came up and we went, ‘Oh, okay, maybe not.’

“I always joke that Jack dies and they discover he’s been the terminator the whole time,” Cassar adds with a laugh. “That’s why he never died [and] why he can’t stay in relationships. And then they take another Jack Bauer off the rack and send him out into the world. It makes a lot of sense, but I don’t think it’ll happen.”

What kind of ending do you envision for Jack? And how would you feel if 24 were to call it a day next year (at least on the small screen)? Sound off below!

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