Kiefer Sutherland made reasonably clear that 24 was behind him after FOX event series Live Another Day, a fact supported both by the franchise’s next Jack Bauer-free Legacy, and Sutherland’s own upcoming ABC drama. Now, producer Howard Gordon weights if they should have killed Jack Bauer off altogether, and what it might mean for a Legacy appearance.

Speaking with HitFix from the ATX Television Festival in Austin, executive producer Howard Gordon suggested that the 24 writing staff had originally thought to kill Jack Bauer with the end of 24: Live Another Day, but that “neither he nor any of the other writers could bring themselves to do it.”

And while Sutherland himself will executive produce the new 24: Legacy while working on his own ABC series Designated Survivor, the erstwhile Jack Bauer “hasn’t ruled out” a potential return under the proper circumstances. We wouldn’t count on it for Season 1, allowing both Legacy and Survivor time to stand apart, but it’s nice to know Sutherland remains open to the possibility.

In the meantime, so reads the 24: Legacy synopsis:

24: Legacy follows a military hero’s return to the U.S. and the trouble that follows him back — compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil. Told in real time with split screens, each episode will represent one hour of an eventful day.

In addition to Corey Hawkins in the lead role, the new series stars, Miranda Otto, Anna Diop, Teddy Sears, Jimmy Smits, Dan Bucatinsky, Coral Pena, Charlie Hofheimer. The premiere won’t arrive until 2017, but how long until Jack Bauer pops up again?

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