The geeks are converging at Comic-Con 2007 right now, getting scoops from panels of directors, writers and producers, about upcoming genre projects. Other executives are also spilling the beans to various magazines about their show's upcoming '07-'08 seasons.
The highlights, so far:
-- Season 7 was going to involve Jack in South Africa, with a 12-hour gap in time to allow for Jack's return to the USA. This would have marked the first time 24 has broken its "real time" format, but the writers began to dislike this angle and, after the network showed concern at the budget implications, they dropped the idea.
-- Only the first script was written for the Africa-based idea, with Jack trying to find his place in the world by visiting a friend at a humanitarian project. He would then become embroiled in a coup, described as a "Black Hawk Down moment". Some of this aborted idea could be used for the customary "bridge episode" between season 6 and 7.
-- Jack Bauer will be a "freelancer" working in either New York City or Washington, D.C, although the latter is more likely. The show will continue to be filmed in Los Angeles.
-- Cherry Jones (Signs) will play the show's first female President, Allison Taylor; a character with a similar attitude to President David Palmer, who was elected by the people.
-- The seventh season will begin three years after the events of season 6, at 7:00 a.m, with Jack facing the U.S Senate over perceived crimes.
-- President Wayne Palmer and President Charles Logan are "probably not dead". Mary Lyn Rajskub will return as Chloe O'Brien. James Morrison (Bill Buchanan), Peter MacNicol (Tom Lennox) and Rena Sofer (Marilyn Bauer) will not be returning -- although, historically, it's not uncommon for absent cast to make surprise appearances later in the season...
-- There will be no Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU). The existing set may be redressed to become the Washington bureau of the FBI.
-- The writers are not sure if Josh Bauer is actually Jack's son, as suspected by fans. An idea did exist for Phillip Bauer to be revealed as Josh's father (not his grandfather), but it was rejected for being too twisted.
There was a panel with executive producers/writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. The following information was gleamed:
-- Harold Perinneau (Michael) will return for the show's fourth season, following his departure in the season 2 finale. It's not known if this means Walt (David Malcolm Kelly) will also return, following his cameo in the season 3 finale.
-- Season 4 will include a few more "flashforwards", like the one used in the season 3 finale. Indeed, one episode will focus entirely on Jack and Kate in the future!
-- We will learn how Ben fell into Rousseau's trap in season 2.
-- Nestor Carbonnel (Michael Alpert) may have limited screentime now, as the actor has been cast in the CBS series Cane.
-- Libby's entire history will be explained in season 4 and it will have a strong connection to DHARMA and the mysterious island.
-- Danielle Rousseau will finally get a flashback episode in either season 4 or 5.
-- The Comic-Con panel ended with a new DHARMA orientation film, called "Orchid Station". The same white-coated host appears, now calling himself "Edward Allawitz". See below: