Why the New ’24’ Spinospiff Won’t Be What Fans Expect

Source: FOX

Source: FOX

24 is returning, but Jack Bauer will not. After months of speculation, it’s finally official: Fox is moving forward with its latest spinoff of the hugely popular action drama series without original star Kiefer Sutherland.

Rumors of a potential follow-up to last summer’s spinoff miniseries, 24: Live Another Day, have been circulating since mid-January. While the possibility of another installment didn’t come as a huge surprise (the series finale of Live Another Day ended up drawing more viewers than the original 24’s official ending four years ago), it did raise some concerns from fans – especially since Sutherland had already made it clear that he didn’t plan on returning to the franchise.

At the time, Fox Chairman and CEO Dana Walden addressed the question of the actor’s participation by saying, “We’re not talking about continuing the show without [Sutherland]. We’re talking about whether there’s one installment that he’s not in.”

Unfortunately for viewers, it seems Sutherland hasn’t changed his mind since then. According to TVLine, executive producer Howard Gordon has confirmed both that Fox is developing another 24 event series and that it will revolve around a new twenty-something male terrorist hunter. More specific plot details haven’t been revealed, although the spinoff will reportedly continue to feature the show’s signature real-time element.

While the prospect of more 24 has been sparking excited buzz over the last several months, news of Sutherland’s departure will likely come as a huge disappointment to the series many loyal fans. Over the show’s nine-season run, it’s Sutherland’s spot-on portrayal of tortured super-agent Bauer that truly gave the series its heart and earned overwhelming critical acclaim. Given what a big impact the actor made as the character, one thing’s for sure: whoever is cast as the new lead will have a lot to live up to.

Still, all hope is not lost for those fervently wishing for Sutherland’s return. Per TVLine, there are no current plans for Sutherland’s Bauer to appear on the upcoming series, but it’s still very possible that the iconic character will pop up on the show on a guest-star basis.

Meanwhile, Sutherland isn’t the only original 24 cast member to skip out on the coming spinoff. Yvonne Strahovski’s Kate Morgan also won’t be included in the new limited series, although there’s a chance she will appear on a few episodes as well. Instead, the show will pair the new male lead with an older, more seasoned female agent character.

Audiences will have to stay tuned to find out who ends nabbing the roles and leading 24 into its new era. Whoever gets cast may be in it for the long haul. While Fox is currently planning the offshoot as a limited series, TVLine reports that the project could potentially be extended into a long-term property for the network, depending on how it performs.

Original 24 executive producers Manny Coto and Evan Katz will write the script for the coming spinoff. No official premiere date has been confirmed, although it will likely air sometime next year.

In the meantime, 24 fans can catch Sutherland elsewhere. The actor lent his voice to several characters in the video game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. He is also set to star alongside Demi Moore and Donald Sutherland in this year’s upcoming Western drama, Forsaken.

More from Entertainment Cheat Sheet: