Fox's long-running espionage franchise 24 has seen large success and accumulated a solid fan base over the years, helping it thrive through eight seasons and two reboots. However, following low ratings and lackluster reviews compared to previous seasons, the latest outing for the action series has been axed by Fox. But not to worry — it's not the last time the clock will restart.
The network has confirmed that, although it won't be moving forward with Eric Carter's (Corey Hawkins) storyline as seen in the reboot series 24: Legacy, there are still open discussions with producers Howard Gordon and Brian Grazer to keep the staple series going. There is the possibility of taking the anthology route that has become so prominent on TV as of late, with such acclaimed shows as #AmericanHorrorStory and True Detective proving hugely successful.
Although signs point toward no #24Legacy cast members returning to the fore of a future incarnation of the series, that does not mean there's no hope of seeing these characters again. It was believed the latest series would not see original cast members from previous seasons return to the franchise, yet fans rejoiced upon seeing the likes of former Counter Terrorism Unit director Tony Almeida once again.
With no plans currently set in place for the future of the franchise, it leaves only speculation as to what we can expect from an anthology event series. Let's take a look at some of the routes the show can choose and how they could work.
Chris Tanner's Life Post-24: Live Another Day
Though this might seem like an initial tough sell for Fox — seeing as John Boyega has become quite the sought-after actor — the reality is the star's schedule has become a lot lighter now that the majority of his future blockbuster roles are already in post-production, including Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Pacific Rim: Uprising. The role of #JohnBoyega as an American drone pilot wrongly accused of firing on British and US troops in Live Another Day was short and somewhat unresolved, as he (sort of) helped hero Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) learn of the terrorists' plans and how to stop them.
However, we never learn if Tanner is vindicated of the false accusations, leaving a wide-open plot hole to be filled and resolved in a future season. By focusing on Tanner, the series could delve into his backstory and put him smack dab into the middle of another terrorist attack that he will, this time, be prepared to defend.
If the show's writers still have Chris Tanner do prison time for the crimes he never committed, it would add a layer of mistrust and bitterness to the character that would drive his alienation from any government agencies trying to bring down new terrorist threats, very much the same way Bauer alienated himself from his agency countless times.
CTU Goes Global
One of the reasons the first 24 reboot Live Another Day felt so fresh was that it gave viewers London, a completely new setting for both Jack and the story. In not setting the story on US soil, the show's writers were able to connect its fictional threats to the real political atmosphere surrounding the characters. While it may be difficult to pitch setting a series about a potential terrorist attack in London or France, given the recent terror attacks, it might also be the perfect time to bring this series to such settings.
The 24 writers have always demonstrated a certain sensitivity when it comes to portraying serious events on screen, and by placing counterterrorist agents near the thick of such recent real-world events, viewers could be given the opportunity to look at how these attacks affect the nations in a way that the news media sometimes can't. The writers could create sympathy for the locals, as well as give the franchise the breath of fresh air it needs outside the US.
Cole Ortiz Post-Season 8
Easily one of the most underrated characters in the series, Freddie Prinze Jr.'s CTU director of field operations Cole Ortiz received practically nothing but bad news during his time on the show, despite helping Jack take down the terrorist threat in New York City. Engaged to the love of his life, CTU senior data analyst Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff), Cole later learns that his fiancée is a mole for the Russians and is helping the terrorists, and must also accept that Jack is a fugitive, having committing crimes against the state. Yep, if you're alive at the end of a season of 24, you better hope you're a primary character, because your life is awful if you're not.
With all this hardship Cole had to battle through in Season 8, it would be interesting to revisit the character years after the threat on New York and see what has become of his life. Has he found new love? Has he had any negative repercussions in his job since Jack's escape? Does he even still work for the CTU? In learning that he couldn't trust those closest to him, it would make it easier to see Ortiz lead a spinoff series, as his sense of alienation would mean he no longer plays by the rules and so must trust his gut in times of crisis.
Kim Bauer And Her Family
It feels like a lifetime since fans last saw Jack's daughter Kim in her brief appearance in the final season of the original series run, yet she's still been on our minds every time we think back and reminisce on the show. When last we saw her in Season 8, she'd had a daughter and was planning to move back to Los Angeles with Jack — before the day began and ended with Jack on the run from Russian and American authorities. While she is talked about in the first reboot Live Another Day, with the CIA mentioning she's had a son since we last saw her, Kim and her family did not make an appearance during the events of the day.
With Kim mostly having played the damsel in distress throughout the series, showing the occasional survival skill thanks to having a federal agent for a badass father gives her the opportunity to return to the fold in a more powerful capacity. After all, she worked for the CTU for a couple of seasons early on in the original series run, but left after seeing the death and destruction that surrounded her father and the job.
With a family now, one would think Kim Bauer would try to avoid the dangerous world of the CTU, but maybe the next season can focus on her not having a choice. Live Another Day ended with Jack turning himself into the Russians in exchange for Chloe O'Brian's (Mary Lynn Rajskub) freedom, and with the CIA making mention of the fact the agency has contact with Kim, it's not entirely impossible that she found out before the day was up where her father was.
Even with children in tow, the knowledge of her father's whereabouts could send Kim on a personal mission to free him. She could stumbles upon a terrorist threat along the way and end up saving innocent people and her father at the same time, becoming the badass her father would be so proud of.
President Tom Kirkman Meets Jack Bauer
Seriously, how awesome would it be to see both of Sutherland's series cross over for one epic showdown? Designated Survivor has already started on strong footing, thanks to a unique premise and very positive reviews. The ABC political drama has been renewed for a second season, and with the producers over at Fox looking to go the anthology route for the next entry in the 24 franchise, it's not out of the realm of possibility to see these two properties exist in the same world.
Maybe we could see part of a season dedicated to President Kirkman working hard with the Russians to free Jack from prison, or see Jack having already been freed and discovering a threat on Kirkman's life. Yes, it's far-fetched, but it could be a thrill ride that would earn more rave reviews from audiences than American Horror Story's meta-filled #Roanoke season.
Though fans of the franchise will be disappointed that Hawkins' protagonist Carter will no longer be the leading man to save the day — and we'll again have to wait patiently for the franchise to return to the small screen — we can at least remain positive that Fox has no intention of stopping this clock.
Do you think 24: Legacy deserved a second season? Do you think an anthology format could work for the franchise? Sound off in the comments below.