Don’t call 24: Legacy a reboot.
That was the party line during the Fox series’ Comic-Con panel on Sunday afternoon, where the executive producers and cast revealed that the characters of 24: Legacy exist in the same universe as Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer.
24: Legacy follows a military hero’s (Corey Hawkins) return to the U.S. and the trouble that follows him back — compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil.
“It’s more of an expansion of the 24 universe,” executive producer Manny Coto said during the panel, moderated by EW’s Lynette Rice. “It’s not a reboot. Jack Bauer and Chloe [Mary Lynn Rajskub] are still out there. This is a new window into the 24 universe with a new perspective and a new character. You never know when those worlds may intersect.”
However, you probably shouldn’t expect those familiar faces to pop up immediately. “There may be an intersection with original characters down the line, but right now we’re committed to our audience growing a bond with our cast and getting to know them,” EP Evan Katz added. (The new cast also includes Jimmy Smits and Miranda Otto.)
The reason behind starting anew in the world of 24, as opposed to following Jack Bauer for another adventure, is that the producers felt they had exhausted the former CTU agent’s story. “The groundwork that started the series is that we all felt Jack Bauer told his story with Live Another Day,” EP Howard Gordon said. “Kiefer read the script after it was written and saw the pilot after it was shot and loved it.”
24: Legacy‘s hero, Hawkins’ Eric Carter, is also very different from Jack Bauer. “He really is a new hero for a new day,” Hawkins said. “He has his flaws. Over the course of the season, he’s going to be forced to make a lot of morally questionable choices in the same way Jack Bauer did, but the difference is he’s a soldier. The rules of engagement are different on the homeland. He’s going to be forced to reckon with that, and he struggles with that internally in protecting his home, his family, but also his responsibilities to his country.”
Though it’s a different hero, there are many similar aspects of the original in 24: Legacy, including the time clock, shooting styles, and the real-time storytelling aspect. Eric Cater may even get a “Damnit” in there for good measure. “He might,” Hawkins said with a laugh. “It’s a long day, so we’ll see.”
As for Jack Bauer’s fate, in 24: Live Another Day, the hero turned himself over to Russian agents in exchange for Chloe’s freedom — a story the producers do hope to tell someday, though it won’t be included in 24: Legacy. “Jack Bauer and Chloe and the other characters are all alive,” Coto said, at least letting slip that Bauer is in the land of the living. “All of us really want to finish that story. We love that character as well.” Added Katz: “He’s in Russia probably having a terrible time in prison.”
24: Legacy will debut Sunday, Feb. 5 after the Super Bowl on Fox.
Entertainment Weekly is on the scene at San Diego Comic-Con. Go inside with all our coverage, available here.