“Jack Bauer cast a long shadow,” said 24: Legacy EP Howard Gordon about resurrecting the action TV franchise with a fresh leading man.

24: Legacy (Fox)

And in coming up with a new protagonist, Gordon said it was essential “to reverse engineer,” meaning creating one with different qualities “with the broadest possible strokes that distinguished him from Jack Bauer.” It’s a similar process that Gordon and his writers executed on Homeland in breaking Carrie Mathison, and solidifying that she’s completely distinct from Kiefer Sutherland’s Bauer. Creator/EP Evan Katz said that Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins), the new guy on 24: Legacy “has a youthful idealism that we haven’t seen in the show. Ultimately it’s his journey through CTU that turns him into an agent.”

Said Gordon: “It wasn’t about, ‘Let’s cast a black guy or a Hispanic guy,’ it was very much who is this character?” In 24: Legacy, Eric Carter has come from the battlefield, thrown into a world with gray areas unlike what he has experienced before.

FOX's '24: Legacy' Panel, TCA Winter Press Tour, Los Angeles, USA - 11 Jan 2017
Rex/Shutterstock

Gordon added: “The headline of the show is: What does it mean to be American? As a black soldier coming from war? As a high-powered woman who runs CTU (Miranda Otto’s Rebecca Ingram)? As a Hispanic candidate running for president (Jimmy Smits)? What does it mean to be an American?”

Said Hawkins: “In regards to diversity in the writers room, I remember we had long conversations about that, making sure our voice was in the writers room. We have black writers in the writers room, but more to the point, we have great writers in the writers room. We.went after writers who understood the vice but, at the same time, also knew how to write for this genre.”

The actor adds, “In terms of the race question, we are a diverse people and this show is really a reflection of that as it has always been.”

24: Legacy premieres after the Super Bowl on Fox on February 5 and will play out across 12 real-time episodes.

See a promo for 24: Legacy below: