Since it started with 24 and will soon continue in 2016 with The X-Files, Fox shows no signs of wanting to slow down with its new practice of reviving classic programming. So, it’s not surprising that after months of rumor, another one of the network’s most popular dramas is now confirmed to be making its way down the pipeline.
At its 2015 Television Critics Association conference, Fox confirmed to members of the press that a revival series of Prison Break is currently in development. Furthermore, the show’s original stars Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell are both lining up to reprise their roles as Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows, respectively.
Of course the first question on everyone’s mind is how can there even be a Prison Break revival when the show definitively killed off its lead character, Michael Scofield, in the direct to video movie finale, titled The Final Break? Well, the easy answer is that the network doesn’t really care; or, rather, as Fox head Gary Newman told reporters (hat tip /Film):
“Yes, [‘Prison Break’ creator Paul Scheuring] is going to be ignoring the straight to video show. [The revival] is past season four, several years past when the season ended. Paul had a very detailed, incredible story for why these characters become relevant again and why to bring them back. I think it’s going to be very exciting. This is just one of those shows, notwithstanding it being off the air 5 or 6 years, it generates buzz and enthusiasm especially online.”
The behind-the-scenes truth of the matter is that the Final Break DTV film was originally produced for the international market of the show that was interested in buying two more episodes of the series. Unfortunately, the series finale had already been wrapped by that point – which ends on a shot of Michael’s grave. So, the solution the writers at the time came up with was to show the events that lead to his death instead of opting to let the audience believe Michael died of his disorder. Knowing that, it’s not hard to imagine Fox’s willingness to wipe it from the show’s canon since it’s barely in it to begin with.
That said, Newman’s fellow Fox head Dana Walden added that the Prison Break revival probably won’t “completely” ignore the events of Final Break, adding that:
“[What Paul Scheuring] pitched was a very logical and believable in the world of Prison Break explanation of why our characters are alive and moving around the world.”
As for what lead to Fox’s ultimate decision to move forward with the show, apparently it has everything to do with Netflix:
#PrisonBreak’s success on Netflix helped get the revival off the ground. #TCA15
— Eric Goldman (@TheEricGoldman) August 6, 2015
Newman also provided the press with a rough timeline for production on the Prison Break revival:
“In terms of the timing, we’re going to be shooting that pilot in September and we have put it on a fast track to develop series episodes as well. We leave the possibility of possibly bringing this back as a series, but otherwise it’s an event series.”
Like The X-Files, rebooting Prison Break will mean a fresh chance to make the older episodes of the show financially viable via exclusive streaming deals that can be re-upped for a premium in advance of new episodes. If there’s a revival series coming, it will make whatever service that owns the exclusive streaming rights to the show a hot commodity (because it will be the only place new and old fans can catch-up on continuity before the premiere).
Stay tuned for more news on Prison Break as it develops.