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By Matthew Belloni
“24” showrunner Howard Gordon has been with the real-time thriller from the beginning. Here he talks about Monday’s finale (which he wrote), his favorite season, and the plans for the “24” movie. (Warning: spoilers galore)…
THR: So Jack lives. I know you’ve got the movie planned, but how much did you seriously consider killing him in the finale?
Gordon: We certainly considered it. We considered killing him earlier (in the season) as an off-rhythm thing. But every time we went there and penciled it out, it didn’t feel satisfying. It felt frustrating or it felt
affected or something.
THR: What about killing other characters like Chloe or Kim Bauer?
Gordon: We have to save some people for the movie!
THR: Right. What’s the status update for that?
Gordon: Another draft is being written (by screenwriter Billy Ray). I don’t have a timetable. I think sooner rather than later is a good idea, but the people at Fox have their own timetable.
THR: Is the plan to bring back series regulars other than Jack?
Gordon: Right now, yes it is (the plan) but because it is a fluid (situation), I don’t know. It is still in the early stages.
THR: In your mind, where does Jack go when he takes off in that final scene?
Gordon: In my mind, Jack is cut free but again he is a nomad. He’s a man without a country. The very country that he has served and obviously sacrificed everything for has basically spit him out again and he is a fugitive. If you look at all of the (season) endings that we’ve had, to me it was important not to repeat ourselves. I don’t think Jack has ever actually left as a fugitive, wanted and unwelcome on his own shores.
THR: Where does he go? We know he can’t go to China.
Gordon: Can’t go to China, can’t go to Russia, and he probably can’t go to Africa either.
THR: You wrote the finale. Did you consult with series creators Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran?
Gordon: I talked to Bob just briefly and sort of told him, “Here’s what I am doing.” They said “Sure.”
THR: Bringing Gregory Itkin back for the final episodes was a nice bone to throw us fans. Is Season 5 with President Logan and his wife your favorite?
Gordon: Yeah it is, it really is. There is something about that season that, just everything was working, it fired on all cylinders. It’s funny because I always tell Dennis Haysbert (President Palmer) who didn’t want to participate when I told him (that Palmer would be assassinated in the first episode). I took him out to breakfast and basically begged him to do it, because he said he really had a problem with it because he thought it was putting something very distasteful on the air: the assassination of a black president. But the whole season really was motivated by that death, so even though he died ten minutes into the episode, the entire season kept on drawing from this tragedy that was so defined and so specific. Unfortunately
he was the sacrificial lamb for the emotional current of the entire season.
THR: Some of the other “24” producers have joined new shows like “The Event” and “Terra Nova” but you haven’t. Why?
Gordon: I’m taking a little bit of a break. I am working on a pilot based on this Israeli show called “POWs.” It’s a drama about POWs returning from Syria in the Israeli version, and ours has a little bit more of a twist, more of a political thriller twist to it. I’m writing it with (“24” producer) Alex Gansa.
THR: I thought it was interesting that Steven Spielberg hired “24” guys for “Terra Nova,” a futuristic show with dinosaurs.
Gordon: I don’t know him but I met Spielberg once and I heard from multiple sources that he is a tremendous “24” fan. To the point where he has not missed an episode.
THR: What’s been your proudest moment on the show?
Gordon: Finishing the show, trying to deliver an honest and satisfying ending. Because in a show that is about real time and a story that’s as dense and serialized as this, how you end it really is probably the
greatest trick of all. So this moment really had the most impact for me.
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