'24: Legacy': 10 Burning Questions for Fox's Reboot

8:30 AM 7/18/2016

by Josh Wigler

Can '24' survive without Jack Bauer? That's one of the major questions surrounding the show's upcoming return.

"Jack's back." Domestic terrorist Eddie Grant said these words with a big grin midway into the second episode of the second season of 24, right after Jack Bauer re-established his cover with Grant's group by presenting the severed head of a sworn enemy.

Of course, Bauer was still firmly on the right side of the law, if operating with some extreme moral flexibility... but that's all in a day's work, when the day involves foiling a plot to detonate a nuclear warhead on American soil. All the same, Grant's words rang true: there was absolutely no question that Bauer, and 24 as a show, was back in action.

Fifteen years after that 2002 episode, 24 will be back, but without Jack. Kiefer Sutherland's real-time rogue operative exited after the 2014 miniseries 24: Live Another Day, leaving the playing field wide open for an all-new hero. That's where 24: Legacy comes in. The rebooted version of Fox's fast-paced thriller sees new faces and new threats emerging, with the ticking clock counting down toward imminent disaster.

Before the midseason premiere, The Hollywood Reporter has ten questions about the return of 24.

  • 10. Who's About to Have the Worst Day Ever?

    The lead candidate on the board is Eric Carter, the new series lead played by Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton). A former army ranger, Eric is caught in the middle of a terrorist attack tied to his former work on the field. But he's not the only person bound for a rough one: Homeland veteran Miranda Otto stars as retired Counter Terrorist Unit director Rebecca Ingram, whose husband John Donovan (NYPD Blue and Sons of Anarchy's Jimmy Smits) is currently running for president. Historically, presidential candidates in 24 lore have had a rough track record, to put it mildly. Between Carter, Ingram and Donovan, expect a whole lot of headaches over the ensuing 24 hours.

  • 9. How Will the Day Pace Out?

    For the vast majority of the franchise, 24 has played out across 24 consecutive hours of one single awful day in Jack Bauer's life. But that hasn't been the case with every iteration of the show. Live Another Day, for instance, occurred over 12 hours, before a final time-jump in the last 15 minutes of the series. With a similarly shortened episode order, will 24: Legacy play out in one fast burst, or will Eric Carter have time for a few cat naps throughout the chaotic day?

  • 8. How Will '24' Impact the Apocalypse?

    Speaking of the new 24 protagonist, it's worth wondering how his involvement here will reverberate throughout another massively successful television franchise: The Walking Dead. Corey Hawkins appears in AMC's adaptation of the Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard comic books as Heath, an Alexandria scavenger featured in multiple issues of the comic. Can Hawkins perform double-duty and exist on both shows, or does his role on 24 mean the clock is ticking for Heath when Walking Dead returns?

  • 7. What's the Threat?

    Assassination attempts, nuclear bombs, weaponized viruses, malfunctioning power plants, top-level conspiracies, psychotic family members, resurrected friends turned enemies, more assassination attempts, drone warfare... that's the surface-level list of the threats Bauer faced down during his time on 24. What more can the show explore as it embarks on the Eric Carter era? Will the series return to its more personal roots, a la the David Palmer days of season one? Or will Legacy attempt to one-up the franchise's past dangers with an unprecedented threat against the world?

  • 6. When Will Jack Come Back?

    Really, it's the No. 1 question on everyone's mind. Bauer remains alive, if not well, within the 24 universe, last seen on a helicopter headed toward an unknown and unpleasant future in Russia. Could Jack return from incarceration for a surprise appearance in Legacy? It's not off the table, as Sutherland remains a producer with the franchise — but he's also committed to the lead role on ABC's Designated Survivor, complicating his schedule significantly. Then again, when it comes to Jack Bauer and complicated schedules, Sutherland's something of a pro.

  • 5. Where's Chloe?

    If Jack Bauer is the marquee character in 24 history, then his digital oracle Chloe O'Brian is second-billing. First appearing in season three as little more than a nuisance, Mary Lynn Rajskub's socially-challenged hacker became Bauer's right-hand in the subsequent seasons, risking life and limb to help Jack foil terrorist plots all along the way. Even if Bauer doesn't return for the relaunch, O'Brian is very much still out there, and the likeliest candidate for an encore appearance.

  • 4. Any Sign of the Soul Patch?

    Tony Almeida, former CTU director turned vengeful villain, stands out as the series' dark horse fan-favorite character. Outside of Bauer himself, nobody in the history of 24 has experienced a more tumultuous character arc. Actor Carlos Bernard's first appearance in season one as an altruistic agent is little more than a shadow of a memory in the face of his final season seven appearance, howling mad and hauled away by authorities after resorting to terrorist tactics to avenge his dead wife. In a bonus feature on the Live Another Day Blu-ray, Almeida was poised for a prison break, leaving one to wonder whether or not he could resurface in the reboot.

  • 3. Who Else Is Still Around?

    Bauer, O'Brian and Almeida are the big three in terms of 24 veterans still alive in the universe, but they're not the only ones. Yvonne Strahovski enjoyed a breakout role on Live Another Day as edgy agent Kate Morgan; could she return, perhaps as part of a Bauer breakout plot? How about James Heller, the ailing president played by William Devane, or Charles Logan, 24's answer to Lost's Benjamin Linus? (Not especially likely; Gregory Itzin's evil president was last seen suffering from probable permanent brain damage due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.) The world of 24 is vast, with plenty of surprise figures able to jump into the fray. Who knows? Maybe original Bauer nemesis Nina Myers has an equally evil twin. Dina Myers has a certain ring to it.

  • 2. Who Is the Mole?

    Speaking of Nina Myers, it's only a matter of time before 24: Legacy suffers from the same mole problem plaguing the show throughout its history. Every single season features a traitor of some sort, whether it's someone working within CTU against the American cause, or a friendly neighbor with a deadly secret. Looking at the roster of Legacy cast members, an immediate suspect stands out: current CTU director Keith Mullins, played by Teddy Sears. Mole patrol pro-tip: always keep an eye out on those buttoned-up CTU directors. Here's looking at you, Benjamin Bratt.

  • 1. Is '24' Bigger Than Jack Bauer?

    Who's the real star of this franchise: Kiefer Sutherland's rule-breaking renegade agent, or the real-time ticking-clock thrill ride with world-ending stakes? That's the question 24: Legacy will put to the test. Even if Bauer appears at some point down the line, this iteration of the show rests on the shoulders of a new guard of heroes and villains — and it's squarely on these individuals as to whether or not this franchise has legs without its star player.

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