The distance between an original piece of pop culture and its first reboot or remake is getting shorter and shorter. When it premieres after the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 5, 24: Legacy will revisit the world of 24 just two years after Jack Bauer had his last TV adventure (though, to be fair, that was a reboot of its own after the original run ended in 2010). But this time, it's already clear how Legacy will be different than the original version of 24: it has a whole new cast. That includes replacing Jack Bauer, the tough-on-terrorists protagonist from the original, with Eric Carter, a much younger ex-soldier who has been living in witness protection to ensure his safety after conducting a successful raid against a major terrorist group. While Bauer was a seasoned and paranoid agent, Carter is still brand-new to the unit.
Creator Evan Katz told Nerdist that Carter will be Bauer's polar opposite. "He’s not an intelligence officer, he’s not a CTU agent. This is really an origin story," Katz said. "He’s feeling his way through this journey ... a youthful idealist that we haven’t seen on this show. We meet him at the start of his journey with CTU and this season is going to turn him into an agent." CTU, of course, stands for Counter Terrorism Unit, the agency that battles the threats facing the world of 24.
Another big difference between the original series and this season is how much has changed in the world since 24 first premiered in late 2001, in the wake of the September 11 World Trade Center attacks. Eric Carter is a veteran from the wars started in response to that event, and the whole reason they're being targeted is because they killed a major Yemeni terrorist.
Corey Hawkins, who plays Eric, told Den of Geek that the CTU is recently revived in 24: Legacy, and that's fitting with the world's current climate. We're in the middle of another wave of fear of terror attacks, specifically radical Islamic terrorism, that culminated in Donald Trump issuing an executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days. Hopefully, part of the show's modernization will include addressing counterterrorism in a responsible way that doesn't increase anti-Muslim sentiments.
One thing we know for sure is that 24: Legacy is intended to be enjoyed by anyone, not just fans of the original series. "We’re very carefully making sure people don’t have to watch the original series to follow," Katz told Nerdist. That's a pretty big difference, because once 24's first season got started, it became one of the most intensely serialized on television. If you tuned into a random episode unsure of characters or relationships, you'd be pretty lost. But Feb. 5 is your chance to jump in, because 24: Legacy is starting over with a brand new slate.