SDCC '08 - FOX's '24' Season 7 Panel

The upcoming ‘24’ prequel movie and its eagerly anticipated seventh season were hot topics of conversation during the hit FOX television show’s panel at the San Diego Comic-Con on July 25th.

The author of Titan Publishing’s series of ‘24’ companion guides [and Newsarama contributor] Tara Bennett was the moderator for the evening’s discussion.  To start off the panel, Bennett introduced the world premiere of six minutes of footage from the highly anticipated prequel for Season Seven, ’24: Exile’.

The footage featured Jack Bauer leading a group of African orphans down a busy city street.  He’s taking them to the American Embassy in hopes of keeping them from being forced to become soldiers.  After an emotional scene with a young man, some ‘24’-style action breaks out.

The climax of the scene was met with an enthusiastic “Ohhh!” from the capacity crowd in attendance.  Afterwards, Bennett welcomed the panel members to the stage.  The group included Howard Gordon (Executive Producer and Show Runner), Evan Katz (Executive Producer), David Fury (Executive Producer), Manny Coto (Executive Producer), Kiefer Sutherland (Executive Producer, ‘Jack Bauer’), Carlos Bernard (‘Tony Almeida’), Carlos Coto (Co-Executive Producer), Jon Cassar (Executive Producer), and Brannon Braga (Co-Executive Producer).

To start the panel, Gordon discussed how the two-hour prequel came to be, “It was supposed to be a ten-minute scene to bridge the gap between Season 6 and Season 7, and Dana asked if we could do a two-hour movie.  I said ‘no.’” When he brought the idea to the writing staff, none of them left the room, so he figured it was doable.

Bennett then introduced Carlos Bernard (who plays the formerly deceased Tony Almeida) by saying, “Aren’t you dead?”

Bernard smiled and nodded in response.

When asked what it was like to be back, Bernard quipped, “First of all, I have to work with these people, and it’s not easy.”  He then continued, “It’s been an amazing mixture of talented people who come together to create this show.”

Sutherland laughed and added, “My first scene back I got to shoot at him and tackle him.  I loved it.”

When asked why they brought Almeida back, Gordon said, “It very well could be a measure of our desperation that he’s coming back.  We’ve killed him four times.  But, we love his character.  We didn’t like the way he died.  He deserves better.  So we kill him again.”

Sutherland added, “One of the worst things about this show is working with phenomenal actors who eventually…depart.”

He continued, “But when Howard first brought it up that Carlos is coming back, my first response was ‘How?’  But it was just very clever (how they brought him back) so we went with it.”

Bennett asked for tidbits about Season 7.  Sutherland quickly responded, “Carlos is going to die.”

The floor was then open for questions.  An attendee asked when Jack Bauer finds time to pee.  Sutherland responded, “Whenever they cut to the White House, Jack is in the bathroom and he’s having a drink and getting something to eat.”

Other highlights included Sutherland thinking the coolest thing Jack Bauer has ever done is ‘Cutting that guy’s head off in Season 2.”  The producers agreeing that there probably wouldn’t be a ‘24’ feature film until the series concludes.  And, when asked if Almeida would be bringing back his trademark soul patch, Bernard responded, “That’s none of your business.”

Before the panel concluded, Sutherland thanked the fans in attendance for being so gracious and nice.  Sutherland then called ‘24’ the greatest experience of his professional career.

To finish off the panel, Bennett introduced the trailer for ’24: Exile’.  The two-minute piece featured the swearing in of the first female American president, Jack Bauer fighting to liberate the African orphans, and a ‘Coming This November’ tagline.

 

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