Bosses at America’s Fox Network prevented Kiefer Sutherland from killing off his 24 character Jack Bauer.
The actor first starred as the counter terrorist officer when the TV show debuted in 2001, and has appeared as the iconic government agent in nine seasons, the most recent of which 24: Live Another Day aired in 2014.
The actor was determined to see his character killed at the end of 24: Live Another Day, according to writer Howard Gordon.
“Kiefer actually wanted Jack Bauer to die, and we had many conversations about it,” Howard tells the New York Post’s Page Six.
However, despite the 49-year-old star’s determination to rule out a return by getting the writers to kill Jack, he was prevented by executives at Fox, the U.S. network who own the rights to 24.
“Many of us, including his agent, tried to talk him out of it, but then there was an edict from very high up (within Fox) and Jack Bauer is still alive,” Howard adds. “We were ready to move on. We all felt that character’s story has been told.”
Instead of dying, at the end of 24: Live Another Day Jack’s fate was left undetermined after taking on Russian secret agents in London.
Despite not being allowed to dictate Jack’s demise, Kiefer has been vocal about not wanting to return for another series of 24.
“It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given as an actor,” he told the BBC last year (15). “It’s moving on without me, I want to do other things.”
He has however since changed his stance by indicating that he may be open to a return one day, telling U.S. daytime TV hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan, “I’ve learned enough over the last few years to not say never. We were never going to do a season nine when we finished after the eighth season.”
A new series of the show, without Kiefer, titled 24: Legacy, is scheduled to air next year (17).