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Counting Down with "24" at Comic-Con

I've been very upfront about my feelings about 24's Day Six. So I was curious to see how the producers of 24 would address the, er, creative inconsistencies of the series' sixth season.

It was with a little trepidation that I arrived at the 24 panel at Comic-Con. No cast on hand (sorry, Chloe fans!) but the series' producers turned out in droves for this panel, including John Cassar, Evan Katz, David Fury, and Manny Coto.

What tidbits did the producers offer for Day Seven?

-No CTU. However when Season Seven starts, CTU has been disbanded by the government. Jack will be hauled before Senate committee to face crimes and dragged/pushed into something HUGE.

-The writers have been locked in a room for the last three months figuring out a course for Season Seven and confirmed the rumors that the writers went down a particular creative road (Africa), stopped, and then started over from scratch. They said that Season Seven is going places series hasn't gone before.

-Season Seven will take place in Washington, DC and not Los Angeles.

-Who else will get killed? "No characters left to eliminate, " joked David Fury.

-As previously reported, Broadway actress Cherry Jones has been cast as the series' first female president. Also returning: Mary Lynn Rajskub as Chloe (as if that weren't a given). Producers joked that they were "very close to signing Kiefer."

What else happened at the panel? The producers addressed the numerous complaints about Season Six, for one. Fury suggested "taking complainers about Season Six into the back room." Cassar felt that one of the finest moments in the series to date was Jack torturing his brother, Graem. But fear not: They've been very conscious of the criticism about Season Six.

The series' signature real time format will not be changing, but there will be some radical changes for next season, a la no CTU.

Think Tony Almeida's death was unsatisfying? "Keep watching." Wait, what? David Fury went on and admitted that " to say anything definitive either way would ruin the process." (Hmmm, but see below.)

What happened to the Logans? Fury says that it was deliberately left a little vague. The audience can assume that Martha went to prison for stabbing her villainous husband. Cassar joked that there's a spin-off possibility in seeing Martha Logan in prison: "Caged Martha."

As for the gap between Season Six and Seven, the producers haven't yet decided what the lag will be. Most likely, it's between 18 months and two years.

A prequel season has been discussed several times over by the producers, which would focus on Nina and Jack's affair, etc. Cassar says the possibility was raised as far back as Season Two. However, the "show lives and dies with who lives and dies." By setting a season in the past, you've removed all suspense from the series as the outcome is immediately clear.

Will we see Chase again? Producers aren't sure and right now there's no plans. "Chase won't be back," joked Fury, "but his hand will."

Producers admitted that they weren't too thrilled with how Season Six underutilized Kiefer and felt that the last third of the season was especially Jack-lite. And there was a different cliffhanger ending planned for the sixth season... one that involved the sudden reappearance of a certain Tony Almeida!

Will Jack be more physical next season? "It's hard to imagine him more physical, but he's on his own" next season. Hmmm.

Is Audrey coming back? "She's on a show," referring to Kim Raver's casting on NBC's new drama Lipstick Jungle. The audience then begged for Kim Bauer to never, ever return to the series. (I second that notion wholeheartedly.)

Is Josh Jack's son or not? "He's the cougar's son," joked Fury. Cassar said there was the possibility of Josh being Jack's son but they ultimately decided to leave it up to the audience to decide. In fact, one potential plot strand had Josh being Philip Bauer (James Cromwell)'s son! That twist was floating around the writers' room for about three weeks but was ultimately scrapped because, in Cassar's words, "it made us feel dirty."

How do the show's writers decide who lives or dies? Evan Katz says that they try to save deaths for when they are dramatically impactful. The nerve gas incident at CTU wouldn't have been as dramatic had someone (i.e. Edgar) not died. Cassar said that they started telling actors in advance if their characters were going to get killed off, but some actors were able to talk their way out of death for a while. Peter Weller, for example was meant to die no less than five times.

Cassar confirmed that there will be no 24 prequel mini-sode this year. But what about the long gestating 24 feature film? Cassar admitted that it was "very ambitious" to think that they could do the series and the feature at the same time and, as for when a 24 feature will finally get made, he said that when 24 finished on television, the movie will come out. Will the format of the film mirror the real-time structure of the series? Cassar joked that it will be "a 24-hour movie," but said that the first hour will not be in real time and the second hour will unfold in real-time.


Anonymous said…
Ehn. I skipped the 24 panel as I think it sucked last season and don't see how they can get it back on track next season. If there is no CTU, how is Chloe still in the mix? I don't think I can stomach another season of what's become a idiotic mix of plots being pulled out a hat at random. Later, 24.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the write up. I still like 24 and will watch it next year. I couldn't be at ComiCon so it's good to read about what they said.
We're going to have 24 Production Designer Joseph Hodges interview this week on our network.

Be sure to check out the archives of our 2GuysTalking: 24 Podcast for just how clearly last year wasn't up to par. I was one of the most positive people going into last year, desperately trying to cling to anything salvageable, but it's clear when our interview with Joseph starts off with an apology - something clearly went haywire last season, folks.

More soon!
Anonymous said…
No! Did I read the "Audrey part" correctly? They sort of left the answer in the middle, I guess. It could be a yes, it could be a no. However, the part of the audience DID upset me! How can they beg for her not to return? In my opinion, Audrey HAS to RETURN to the show, to season 7! I understand Mrs. Raver's busy in real life, expecting another child soon and so I don't think she'll ever return... but I do definitely hope she'll return whether that'll be in season 7, 8, or the movie!
Unknown said…
What they said about Kim Bauer is ridiculous! Bring her back! Sure the writers messed up her plots from time to time (i.e. the infamous cougar) but she was a great character and there is still a lot to learn about her. It was completely out of character the way she treated Jack at CTU in season 5 and that plot is not over yet. Elisha Cuthbert is a great actress and a great part of the show. She helps to humanize Jack and has a strong history with the show. I am losing all of my attatchmnet to this show as well because all the characters you learn to love end up dying or disappearing. Bringing back Kim would actually help to revitalize the show in my opinion. I honestly think the show needs to be about more people than Jack like it used to be and to stop turning into a James Bond-esque show, which it did not used to be (when it was better..i.e. seasons 1-3).

I whole-heartedly disagree with the negative comments regarding Kim Bauer and I think the sooner she returns, the better.
In addition to nearing the completion of our 2GuysTalking Harry Potter Book Report Podcast Series (a chapter-segmented, spoiler-less review of the most recent Harry Potter Book, “The Deathly Hallows”), we’ve also received a great link to an interview with Jon Cassar (who has directed 40% of the show’s episodes as well as producing since season two) via the “Your Video Store Shelf” Podcast.

Have you got a direct Email address we can reach you at? Send it to me when you get a chance: Thanks TeleVisionary!
Anonymous said…
I am finally catching up on the Comic-con entries and just have to say,

"The audience then begged for Kim Bauer to never, ever return to the series. (I second that notion wholeheartedly.)"

Ha!!! Brilliant. I love that audience.

I am slightly encouraged by the answers from the panel. Slightly.
Anonymous said…
HA, the part of Audrey contains a mistake, unless they really meant Kim Bauer, it should have been Kim RAVER!

So, assuming they were talking about Kim RAVER not returning to the show, I guess the audience made a huge mistake! It's BAD that they begged for her NOT to return because she should return! She's part of Jack's life and so is Jack of hers!

IF she doesn't return to the show then I hope that Jack doesn't end up with a new love interest, otherwise the whole "I love you with all my heart and I always will" thingy doesn't make sense! He loves Audrey, she loves him too! They both need each other! As much as I love it to see Jack happy, I think he should and can be happy with Audrey! Not another woman!

In season 6 you could clearly see that Audrey DID recognise Jack and DID feel better around him than around anyone else so ... And besides, it was SHE who went to China looking for him, wanting him back to the US soil and all... So...

Anyway, she has to return to the show really! It's, she MUST return to the show. Oh and Raver's acting is BRILlIANT! So I hope that the audience didn't had any comments on that as well?
Anonymous said…
Michelle, what on earth are you talking about? The article clearly says that Kim Raver is filming another show. The audience asked for Kim Bauer to never return. Two separate things. There was no mistake, so I have no idea what the hell you're talking about or smoking.
Unknown said…
Can you believe we finally got a "sorry' from someone in the upper echelon of 24!

Why couldn't they have simply said something like this at the ComiCon?

I'm super curious to know what all of you think, especially those of you that attended the ComiCon.

Check out more here:

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