jack bauer dead

Kiefer Sutherland‘s Jack Bauer walked (and continues to walk) a very fine line in American popular culture. The lead character of Fox’s 24 meant many things to many people and personal politics often played a huge role in how you viewed the behavior of one of television’s most brutal antiheroes. For some, he was the hero America needed in a post-9/11 world, a man who would stop at nothing to get the job done and did would no one else was willing to do. For others, he was a monster, a walking, shooting amalgamation of America’s most terrifying flaws. The politically diverse writing staff of the show ensured that both views were often supported, which meant that 24 caused its fair share of Thanksgiving family fights.

24 as we knew it is over, although the upcoming reboot 24: Legacy is on the way. Jack Bauer won’t be on the show (at least not yet), but if Sutherland had his way, he wouldn’t even be capable of showing up. He’d be dead.

Variety caught up with former 24 showrunner Howard Gordon, who revealed Sutherland insisted on his unstable government operative (who always managed to save the United States from annihilation within a 24-hour period) perish. However, the Powers That Be kept him alive:

Kiefer [Sutherland] actually wanted Jack Bauer to die, and we had many conversations about it… many of us, including his agent, tried to talk him out of it, but then there was an edict from very high up [within Fox] and Jack Bauer is still alive.

Spoilers for 24 follow (although the statute of limitations are surely up on this one by now, right?).

Jack Bauer managed to survive all eight seasons of 24, but the initial series concluded with him on the run as a fugitive from justice. In 2014, the show was revived as the miniseries 24: Live Another Day, which saw Jack returning to action to foil a terrorist plot in London. He survived that day as well, but at great cost. To ensure the safety of an ally, he willingly turned himself over to the Russian government (who wanted him for past crimes). The last time we saw Jack Bauer, he was on a helicopter and on his way to Russia to live out the rest of his days in an icy prison. In other words, a death would have been less cruel.

Still, Jack being alive means that the door is left open for him to return in 24: Legacy, should the producers decide that Corey Hawkins‘ Eric Carter (the new “government agent on the edge”) could use a little experienced back-up. After all, the return of Jack Bauer wouldn’t be the first time this show has inexplicably resurrected a long-gone character.

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