Miranda Otto in 24: Legacy / Howard Gordon interview

When the final clock ticked away on 24: Live Another Day, I don’t think anybody believed that was the end of the 24 saga. Now the producers have created a new 24 series to begin a new day of real-time action with new characters in the world of CTU. Corey Hawkins plays Eric Carter, an Army Ranger on the run who turns to an old, retired CTU head (Miranda Otto), dragging her back into the fray too.

At an early screening of the first hour of 24: Legacy, we spoke with Howard Gordon, one of the original executive producers of 24. Some spoilers from the pilot follow, so if you don’t want to know about classic 24 characters who are referenced or what hour begins the day, here is your spoiler warning. 

After doing 24 for nine years, was this like doing the tenth season or starting a brand new show?

It was like doing the tenth and starting a brand new show. It was both. At every step, I would’ve bet that when we did season eight, the finale with Jack looking up at the sky and Chloe saying, “turn it off,” that you’d never see Jack Bauer again. It took three years to miss Jack enough to try to do Live Another Day. And then it was only after telling that story and really feeling very good in our own hearts that Jack as the center of the series had sort of ended, which isn’t to say that he can’t be in a movie or in some fashion in this new iteration. But Jack as the center of an ongoing 24, his story had really largely been told. Maybe not the end, but the ongoing story. So once we sort of reconciled ourselves with the fact that Jack wasn’t going to be in it, I think it freed our imaginations up to consider creating another character who could live in the real time format.

24 was so Jack Bauer and Kiefer Sutherland-centric, did it take that to make it possible to start with a new character?

I think it was the thing that actually kept us away from even trying for a long time, because Jack has such a strong shadow. In some ways, Eric Carter, Corey’s character, was born out of the sort of rib of Jack Bauer too. How do you create a character who’s significantly different from Jack but who at the end of the day has to operationally do a lot of the same things in the real-time format? He’s a lot younger than Jack was. Jack was a father of a teenager, a veteran CTU agent. Eric Carter’s a story. It’s very much an origin story. He’s in his mid-20s. He’s not a CTU agent so hopefully the show lives in a place that we get to grow up with this character.

Was Joel Surnow around to pass the baton?

Bob Cochran is here. Bob co-created with Joel. Joel’s giving his blessing from the 15th hole of some golf course. Kiefer’s as involved as he can be, very much blessing the project which is wonderful.

How so is that? How involved can be if he’s not in it anymore?

Kiefer’s not going to lend his name [to just anything.] He really had to read the script and think about it.

So he’s an involved producer.

Yeah, for sure.

Was it significant to start the day at noon?

Yes, because we’re only doing 12. Plus, by the time we get around to the nighttime, there’ll only be about eight hours of daylight. In the shooting schedule, nighttime rolls around.

So by eight o’clock?

Seven-ish.

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