The following contains some minor spoilers for the series premiere of 24: Legacy.
"SHOOT HIM AGAIN!" On Saturday afternoon, the NYCC Main Stage auditorium filled with cheers and bloodthirsty hoots of delight, as the audience watched a terrorist getting pumped full of bullets. The 24: Legacy panel kicked off with a special screening of the first half-hour of the series premiere of the "requel", as new series lead Corey Hawkins termed it.
Though Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer is no longer the main face of the franchise, fans of the long-running Fox action thriller didn't seem to mind that much, as all of the show's hallmarks were there: the digital clock, the split-screen boxes, possible "moles" within CTU, torture scenes, and the pulse-pounding, high-body-count action scenes that thrilled viewers during the 2000s.
The big news of the panel that was met with rapturous applause was the announcement that Carlos Bernard would reprise his role as Tony Almeida, the alliance-shifting former CTU agent, and one of the original 24 cast members.
Bernard is not the only veteran of the original 24 pilot who would be returning to the show, as the director of that first pilot, Stephen Hopkins, also directed the pilot of 24: Legacy. There were additional nods to the original series, as one of the new CTU employees identifies herself as the cousin of Edgar Stiles, one of the many 24 characters who met a grisly end on the old show.
New cast members Jimmy Smits and Miranda Otto later talked about how exciting it was for them to stand in the back of the room and see the audience get "sucked into" the episode. Otto appreciated how vocal the Comic Con audience was.
In the press room, producers Manny Coto, Howard Gordon and Evan Katz explained that the Jack Bauer character had become very beaten down and that they had cut off a lot of options by having him lose everything.
Having a new lead character in Eric Carter (Hawkins) gave them the opportunity to make this new series an origin story for him, and have him start fresh.
Coto, who also produced Star Trek: Enterprise, then boldly likened 24: Legacy to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in that they were telling different stories in the same universe as the original show. The Fox publicists took the producers away before I could press him further on that analogy, but I caught up with Evan Katz later, and he clarified that it may be closer to the various CSI shows, where Legacy will be different from the original 24 because the characters are different: Eric Carter is a young & idealistic, while Bauer was a seasoned agent when his show started. Also, the times are different. The original show was "in the shadow of 9/11", and this show is in the shadow of new threats that are worrying people.
Katz said that the 12-episode season (similar to the 24: Live Another Day season from 2014) was more appropriate for the way viewers watch and stream television in the current age. Hawkins said that he liked how the lower episode count meant that there would be less "filler" and that it would be a tighter season.
24: Legacy will premiere on February 5, 2017, immediately following the Super Bowl.