Fans lined up around four corners at Comic-Con International in San Diego for a chance to get behind the scenes of the hit FOX television show, "24." With 30-minutes to go before the panel started, seating was already estimated to be at capacity and the line for entry was cut off.
Producer Manny Coto jokingly introduced himself as Kiefer Sutherland and decided to "blame season 6 on co-writer/Executive Producer David Fury." As the panel began to a completely packed house, fans eagerly lined up to begin the Q&A session to ask questions from past episodes and pick the brains of writers to find out detail of the seventh season.
Before the questions even started, Coto told the crowd, "We're allowed to tell you three things: One – no CTU! Two – CTU has been disbanded by the government. Three – Jack Bauer is hauled in front of the Senate and forced to attest to his crimes. From there, he'll be dragged into something new.
Further details included the location for once would not be in Los Angles, but instead Washington DC, evoking great applause from the crowd. Actress Cherry Jones will play the role of the new the President of the United States and Mary Lynn Bradshaw will return as Chloe. AJ Pierce may or may not appear in the next season, due to scheduling difficulties. Also they announced that there are no plans to bring back the character Chase this season.
From there the panel allowed fans to pick the brains of the panelists. Most answers from the clever writers had fans laughing before getting to the answers.
Referring to an older woman from the previous season, a fan asked, "What about the cougar?" Evan said, "The cougar asked for too much money."
The entire panel had fun with the criticism that season 6 has received, joking along the whole time with statements like, "This season will be better!" The other popular answer was, "Keep watching!"
Is Tony still alive?
"Tony is alive and well in our hearts, and in New Jersey."
What is the gap between Day 6 and Day 7?
"Honestly, we don't know, but it's generally between a year and 18 months."
Have you ever thought about a prequel season?
"It has been thought of, but there's a problem with that. Our show lives and dies by who lives and dies. So without that added sense of suspense it's not as enjoyable.
How do you get downtown in two minutes?
"If we told you, everybody would do it! You need to know the right side streets!"
What is Jack's theme of season 7, as other seasons have had themes for Jack, including redemption and revenge?
"Great question, but we don't know yet. Jack's struggle is to get to season 8!"
How do you balance the big stuff with mini-stories that sometimes seem more fun?
"Those things are kind of spitballed and we come up for obstacles for him to overcome. We also have to stall characters, so that's why we come up with those scenarios."
What's in store for Audrey?
"She's doing another show, so it's up in the air."
Is the kid Jack's son or not?
"What do you think? The reveal wouldn't that be that big of a surprise because fans thought he was anyway, so we decided to let that go."
Apparently, in a behind the scenes scenario, the producers got better at telling the actors that they were going to die. Actors were also finding out that they were being killed off from other actors on the set! Some actors were planned to only stay fro a short time but things change as the season goes on. Peter Weller ended up talking himself out of getting killed and extended his term from five episodes to the rest of the season.
What is your involvement in the 24 the movie?
"We were very ambitious to think we can handle it. But we will have to handle the show, or the movie. Maybe after it's over on television they will make a movie."
Where can you purchase the amazing Jack Bauer PDA?
This question evoked a huge laugh from the crowd, but lead into a discussion about Homeland Security, which can do most of what they do on "24," but "just not as fast as Chloe."
How do you plan on adapting the "24" format to a movie?
"It'll be a 24-hour movie. Still working on it."
What about Jack and women?
"Jack is difficult to be in a relationship, seeing as how during the day he's kind of busy."
Who gave Jack the magic bag, or man purse?
"Only Jack can look cool with one of those. It was created by writers for plot points, but Kiefer turned a backpack into the cool magic bag."
Were there any plot twists that you'd like to change?
"We would have stayed with Jack's brother and father a little longer and explored that triangle."
The writers then talked about what was almost a season 6 cliffhanger that will be on the DVD. In the scene, Jack's standing on the cliff looking at the rocks, and out of the shadows walks Tony Alameda and says, "There's a lot to talk about Jack, come on."
There will be no cut scenes on the DVD, but there will be behind-the-scenes features.
Is there room to improv in the script, or do you write the word "dammit" that many times?
"It's mostly from Kiefer. He found out once that fans play a drinking game where they drink every time he says 'dammit.' He once had a scene where he said it five times in a row and came off the set saying, 'They'll have fun with that one!'"
Do you listen to fan feedback?
"Yes, but by the time we get feedback it's usually too late."
After that, the packed crowd clapped and thanked the panelists for the show, which "24" fans obviously felt was worth the 30-minute wait.
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