Before joining Heroes, Robert Knepper was best known for his role as deranged inmate Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell on Prison Break. He’ll be known for the role again soon, as the character is making a leap to a brand new television series.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Knepper is hammering out a deal to reprise T-Bag for Breakout Kings, the new A&E fugitive-themed series from Prison Break producers Nick Santora and Mike Olmstead. Olmstead and Santora have reportedly gotten the official go ahead from 20th Century Fox, the studio responsible for both shows, and all that’s remaining is Knepper’s own official signature.
T-Bag went through quite the turbulent journey throughout Prison Break. A rapist and a sadist, Bagwell lost his hand during a prison escape, found himself back in jail in Panama, became the leader of the Panamanian prison, escaped that one, joined forces with a top secret government conspiracy and ultimately wound up back in the first prison, albeit a bit more melancholy than when he started. As Breakout Kings focuses on an unlikely alliance between the U.S. Marshals’ office and a handpicked group of convicts catching fugitives on the run, it’s hard to say which side of the line T-Bag will fall on: reformed convict seeking redemption, or the cold-blooded killer he can’t run away from.
As for Knepper himself, the resurrection of T-Bag might not be the biggest surprise in the world. When I spoke with the actor on Comic Book Resources earlier this year, he said that he had made peace with the fact that his days as T-Bag were over, but left the door open for his return:
I had a nice, peaceful walk when T-Bag finished. I was shooting at a prison out here and I was waiting for the van to take me back to base camp, and I said, “Eh, I’ll walk.” It was great. There wasn’t anyone around me. I just walked peacefully through this [prison] yard, which at one point was pretty crazy with a lot of inmates. But on this particular day, it was calm with a little wind blowing through. I wasn’t crying, I was just saying goodbye. We knew it was definitely the last episode. My last thought was, “I’m never going to play another guy in prison again.” Just as I got to the edge of the trailers out in the parking lot, I thought, “You know, I can’t really say that for sure. Maybe I will.” You never know. But once I walked out of those gates, I let T-Bag go.
Breakout Kings debuts on A&E in early 2011.