By the time the seventh season of the hit Fox drama 24 hits the airwaves this January, it will have been a year and a half since we last saw Jack Bauer. So, not only do fans get a brand new season in early 2009, they can also get a Bauer fix in November with the TV movie, 24: Exile, which is set between the sixth and seventh seasons. To kick off this panel, we were shown a clip from this new project. Here's a brief rundown of what we saw.
24: Exile Clip Description
- The clip starts out with a young African boy trying to elude these soldiers who essentially capture young boys and turn them into soldiers. Two older men are trying to help him escape but he's reluctant because the boy's guardian had just died trying to protect him.
- When the soldiers corner the boy and adults, Jack Bauer swings into action, much to the overwhelming delight of the crowd. A massive gunfight ensues and the clip ends with Jack turning around to see a young African boy with an automatic rifle squared on him. Jack tells him to put the gun down and the boy just stands there as the clip ends to thundering applause.
After the brief clip, the 24 panelists came out. There was executive producer/writer Brandon Braga, executive producer Carlos Coto, executive producer Manny Coto, director Jon Cassar, star Kiefer Sutherland, executive producer and showrunner Howard Gordon, returning star Carlos Bernard, executive producer Evan Katz and executive producer David Fury. After that the moderator asked a few questions about the show before opening it up to audience Q&A. Here are the details of the rest of the panel.
- Kiefer Sutherland said that despite the cloud over the show with the writers strike, this 24: Exile prequel, "provides a silver lining to give the writers an opportunity to take more time than we've ever been afforded in the history of the show." He also added that the Exile script is, "arguably, one of the best scripts we've ever had."
- New writer and executive producer Brandon Braga said, "this is the hardest show I've ever worked on and yet the greatest writing staff I've ever worked with. It's been a perfect combination of challenge and gratification."
- Carlos Bernard got a rousing round of applause for his return of his Tony Alameda to the show, after it was believed he was dead. Bernard said that, "there's been this amazing mix of talented people that come together to create this show. We all know that we're so lucky to be in this working together and we know that when this is done it's never going to happen again."
- Kiefer Sutherland added that Carlos, "is an amazing friend and an amazing actor, so for me it's a great pleasure. The real difficulty was for the writers to figure out a way of crafting that (his return) and I think they did an amazing job."
- Before it was opened up to the audience questions, Kiefer Sutherland added, "I hope you can come to expect what you enjoy about the show for the past six years. We're not trying to reinvent the show. Every year we try to take what you all have told us you have liked and loved about the show, on the Internet, through fan mail, through fan phone, but you're also amazingly articulate and smart about what you don't like. So we're trying, every year, to take out what you don't like and put in what you do like. For the writers, it's an unbelievable challenge. They're writing the equivalent of 12 feature films a year and with the real-time aspect, it's very easy to get backed into a corner.
- It was asked when Jack Bauer "takes a whiz," which brought about a lot of laughs. Kiefer replied that, "In all fairness, Jon (Cassar) and I shot a scene where Jack Bauer is going to raid an office and ran into the washroom in the lobby and came out 90 seconds later and happy. They cut it out, so we tried to address that. My stock answer is that every time the cut to the White House, Jack is in the bathroom. He's going to pee, he's having a drink and he's getting something to eat."
- Kiefer said that they haven't made his favorite episode yet but, "the stuff we did in Africa, the prequel, is certainly right up there. There are a couple of episodes in Season 7, really everything from (Episodes) 8 to 11, for various different reasons, that I'm very excited about." Carlos came back with, "I hate that answer. I'm going to answer your question, O.K. My favorite episode is the prequel."
- It was said, in regards to a 24 movie, that, "while the show is still on the air, there won't be a movie. We don't want to mess with a good thing. We're still optimistic that it will happen when our run on television has ended."
- When asked if Tony will have his "signature soul patch," Carlos Bernard replied, "That's none of your damn business," which got many laughs.
- One of the funniest parts of the Q&A was when someone named Cameron noted that Kiefer Sutherland said, "Dammit" a lot on the show, and wanted to know if they were scripted or ad-libbed. He also wanted Kiefer to say, "Dammit Cameron" for him, which he did enthusiastically and was hilarious. He then replied that, "The 'dammit' started because you can't swear on network television. I am limited in speech where I can exhibit true frustration, whether that was not being able to control my 16-year-old daughter, or if a nuclear bomb was about to go off. I started to realize this one word could handle all of it and the only reason why I have pulled back on the word is it was rumored that a drinking game had surfaced." When Cameron walked away after the question was answered, Kiefer yelled out, "Dammit, Cameron, don't walk away from me!" Hilarity.
- When Kiefer was asked what the coolest thing he's done on the show was, while he was thinking Carlos Bernard blurted out, "It hasn't been shot yet." Kiefer then replied, "As far as the coolest thing... probably chopping that guy's head off in Season 2."
- The last question of the panel was a doozy, as it was asked, "How do you get from downtown L.A. to Van Nuys in 10 minutes?" which brought on another wave of applause. Kiefer replied, "Pretty cool, huh?" He then said that, "For the most part, we've figured out ways to get around the traffic going around Los Angeles and we're just hoping that you all understand that our 24-hour day is a really light traffic day."
- After that Howard Gordon dropped some names on us, with new cast members that will be joining the 24 fray in Season 7. Among the names were Jon Voight, Cherry Jones as the first woman President, in the prequel, Robert Carlyle and Janeane Garofalo.
- As the moderator was about to wrap up, Kiefer Sutherland added some closing remarks. "I'd just like to say that we never really get this opportunity. This is the first time I've been down to this event and I have to tell you, you guys have been so gracious and kind and nice. 24 has been one of the greatest experiences in my life, absolutely the greatest exprience in my career and you guys are the reason I've been allowed to do it, so I can't thank you enough. Thank you for your patience and your unbelievable support. Thank you, thank you, thank you and you all rock."