Kidnap his daughter, kill his wife, kill all of his girlfriends, and even kill the man himself — no matter what you do, there's no stopping Jack Bauer.
Unless you're FOX, that is. The network that brought Kiefer Sutherland back for an unexpected ninth season apparently wants to do more "24," with one big twist: No Jack Bauer.
I know. I know.
While there aren't any active plans for a "24: Live Another Day" follow-up, Deadline reports that the network and the show's producers are mulling the idea of "one installment without" Bauer.
"There is a point at which Jack Bauer could come in and fit organically into the story," says FOX's Dana Walden, and that sure sounds a whole lot like the route Universal took after Matt Damon left the "Bourne" franchise.
Jeremy Renner's "Bourne Legacy" has its merit, but there's no touching the original, so much so that Universal is delaying a "Legacy" sequel now that Damon and director Paul Greengrass are back on board for an all-new Jason Bourne story.
A Bauer-free "24" season feels like a "Bourne Legacy" situation — kind of a waste of time. Sutherland has said he's lukewarm on the idea of more "24," and who can blame him? As exhausting as those worst-days-ever are for Bauer, it's Sutherland who works tirelessly on set, shooting up the bad guys and biting out their throats.
He wants a break, while FOX wants more "24." The simple solution is another season of "24" without Bauer. But at this point, after nine seasons, the character of Jack has transcended the show's real-time format. He's the draw. He's the tortured, impossible-to-kill super-soldier who sacrifices everything in his personal life to maintain a greater global peace. People don't tune into "24" for the ticking clock. They tune in to see what Bauer will sacrifice next, who he'll sacrifice next, and which super-villain he'll defeat with a samurai sword next.
Once upon a time, FOX could've created another "24," applying the real-time element to an entirely different type of show, be it a detective drama, a restaurant comedy, even another counter-terrorism adventure. And they still can, technically — but if they think they can fill Bauer's absent shoes easily, then FOX does not know Jack.