A 24 prequel on the way?

So, last night I was perusing my Facebook feed, I happened across this news item from The Hollywood Reporter:

’24’ Prequel From Original Series Creators Eyed at Fox

Okay. You’ve got my attention.

Those of you who’ve been around here for a while know that I’m a huge fan of all things 24. I watched every episode of every season from the beginning, read all the spin-off novels and comics, hung on for even the craziest plot twists, double agents, double blinds, and double crosses through eight seasons (and a special TV movie) and then came running back when they announced and broadcast follow-ups like 24: Live Another Day and 24: Legacy.

The former left me wanting for more things Jack Bauer, while the latter succeeded in scratching an itch but offering only temporary relief. Though I was perfectly fine with focusing on a new set of characters in the 24 “universe,” I thought Legacy fell into too many of the same traps that plagued some seasons of the original show. That said, if the Powers That Be opted to revisit that setup in some future installment, I’d check it out.

In between Live Another Day and Legacy, a couple of buds and I were able to scratch said itch in our own fashion. James Swallow gave us Deadline, the first of two novels set between the series’ eighth season and LAD, and David Mack followed him with Rogue, set a couple of years after Jim’s book.

Then I had to go and screw up the whole formula by writing Trial By Fire, a prequel to the series itself and set in 1994. Whoops.

But hey! Prequel.

The idea of setting stories before the events of the original television series isn’t really a new notion. While the show was still in production, publisher Harper Collins gave us a total of eleven Jack Bauer literary adventures under the umbrella title 24: Declassified, and comics publisher IDW also had a couple of “prequel stories” during its run with the license. However, those efforts – as is the case with most novel and comics tie-ins – were charged with remaining faithful to the events of the series as shown onscreen. The people who do TV don’t always – or even ever – have to follow such “rules.”

The Hollywood Reporter‘s story is light on detail, but the involvement of the original show’s creators is a big plus for me. Of course, it also raises some questions: Is their intention to actually make a prequel, with a younger version of the character we already know, caught up in events set prior to those of the series? This would require it to be a “period piece” of sorts, set somewhere in the late 1980s-1990s timeframe.

(Wait. Hold up. Let’s just pause a moment to consider the impact of a statement like “Period piece, set in the late 1980s-1990s.” Damn, I’m getting old.)

On the other hand, maybe they’re thinking it’s a prequel but also a reboot, similar to what’s being (and been) done with the Jack Ryan character, or even James Bond. This approach would allow the series creators to free themselves of the show’s “canon” and set the show in the “present,” which of course would let them continue making use of current (and somewhat future-esque) technology within the storytelling framework. Besides, don’t we already know what a Jack Bauer/24 series set in the 1990s would be like?

We kid. We kid.

Now, while I’d likely at least give a reboot show a chance, I’m hoping they go the other route and do something that ties into the original 24 chronology. In fact, last night I started thinking about potential storylines that could serve both as a flashback/prequel and a way to resolve Jack Bauer’s arc, which left us hanging at the end of Live Another Day. Plus, I also want to see more Chloe O’Brian, and hey! Tony Almeida is still out there, somewhere.

Who knows that these guys will do?

(No, they won’t be using anything established in Trial By Fire or any other prequel novel or comic. The likelihood of something like that is hovering right on that decimal point between “0.0,” all right?)

Anyway, I’ll be keeping an eye on this to see what develops. Like Star Trek and certain other media properties and even though it may have stumbled every so often, I’m always up for more 24.

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