Prison Break is back, as a nine-episode event series on Fox, and the previously thought-to-be-dead Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) is actually alive and entrenched in a new mystery with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. After receiving the first clues to Michael’s whereabouts from T-Bag (Robert Knepper) of all people, his brother Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) and Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies), Michael’s wife until he was presumed dead, must engineer the biggest escape ever, if they are going to be reunited.
While at WonderCon in Anaheim, Calif. to promote the return for the popular TV series, co-stars Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell, who are also producers on the series, sat down with Collider for this exclusive interview about why it made sense to revive Prison Break, what drew them both back in, missing the humor of Leonard Snart and Mick Rory (their Legends of Tomorrow characters) during the intense shoot, how different the weekly viewing experience will be for those who discovered the show on Netflix, reuniting with their co-stars, and whether they’d be up for another season. Be aware that there are some spoilers discussed.
When did you guys realize that this reboot was more than just crazy talk, and did you want to sign on as producers, from the beginning?
DOMINIC PURCELL: I didn’t specifically go for the producer credit. That just happened, indirectly. When Prison Break started, back in 2005, I had great confidence that it was going to do very, very well. I didn’t expect it to do what it’s doing, obviously, especially overseas. But once Wentworth showed interest and wanted to do it, as I did, I just knew that they would do it because of the success that it was on Netflix. From a commerce point of view, it made economical sense for them to revisit it. And you have that rabid fan base that hasn’t gone away.
Wentworth, were you more hesitant because your character had actually died?
WENTWORTH MILLER: I felt like we could only tell this story, if it’s worth telling. Although, we have established that characters do die on Prison Break and come back. But once Paul Scheuring, the man who created this entire universe, showed interest and got on board, I thought, “All right, we’ve got enough pieces in place here that I feel confident, moving forward.” Dominic and I were very serious about showing up, every day, and leaving our heart and soul on the stage. We told ourselves that we had to create something that would stand alongside what’s come before. This cannot be anti-climactic. It’s got to be as good as the original. Otherwise, we’re wasting our time.
When I spoke to Paul Scheuring, he said that he ultimately signed on to do this because he saw the beginning, middle and end for a story that was worth telling. Because he knew where he was going, did he clue you guys in on that? Did you know the endpoint of this story, from the beginning?
MILLER: No, in TV, they like to keep the scripts from you. I don’t know why that is. They send them to you, one at a time, so you have to make your choices, appropriate to that episode, and then you have to make that make sense, as the next episode comes in.
PURCELL: I think that’s because they haven’t written them. They have no idea what they’re doing!
MILLER: Paul had originally conceived the show as a limited series event, but that template didn’t really exist in 2005.
As actors, you guys had reunited for Legends of Tomorrow, but did it feel different to reunite for these characters and, at any point, did you wish you’d had the ice and fire guns because that would have made it so much easier to break out of prison?
PURCELL: That’s a great question!
MILLER: I was able to transition, fairly easily, from Michael to Leonard Snart to Michael. When we started shooting the Prison Break reboot and really got into the story, and it was a demanding shoot, for sure, I missed Mick and Snart’s humor. I thought to myself, “This is not the universe in which we can cut up. It’s not appropriate. We’ve gotta save that for Legends and The Flash.”
Mick Rory and Leonard Snart are like an old married couple with their banter.
PURCELL: That’s very, very true.
These episodes are certainly edge-of-your-seat episodes that keep you excited and anxious about what’s coming next.
PURCELL: It did that to me, too! I watched the premiere of it in Austin, a couple weeks back, and I was sitting there watching myself going, “Oh, god!” But by the end of it, I’d forgotten how ugly I was, and I’d started watching how great the show was. It finished, and I went straight into, “No! What happens next?!” It was a very surreal experience. But I won’t watch it until sometime next year, or in a couple of years.
MILLER: It’s going to be a very different experience for the fans who have come to Prison Break via Netflix because they now have to wait, week to week to week.
Michael has been alive this whole time, but hasn’t reached out before now. Do you think he would have, had he not felt he had to?
MILLER: Ooh, I can’t answer that without giving away things that I probably should not be giving away. I’ll just say that Sara and his brother and the son he’s never met are always on his mind. It’s the fuel in his tank.
Do you think Lincoln has always hoped that Michael was out there somewhere, or is he completely blind-sided by the fact that Michael is alive?
PURCELL: As far as Lincoln is concerned, Michael is dead. That was it. Once he discovers that Michael is alive, there was a sense of restoration and hope for him to get his brother back, and a brother that he would die for. Unbeknownst to him and subconsciously, Lincoln finds his rock and his compass.
Do you think Lincoln is, at all, resentful that T-Bag is the one that comes to him with the information that Michael is alive and still out there?
PURCELL: Yes! Of all people, it’s T-Bag. Lincoln and T-Bag hate each other, so yes, there’s resentment there.
Were there any particularly memorable moments, as you got to reunite with some of your former co-stars?
PURCELL: It was nice reuniting with Sarah [Wayne Callies]. She’s a beautiful woman. Reuniting with her and seeing how she’s grown was really special. She has a bunch of kids. Seeing Rob [Knepper] again was funny and great, and Rock [Dunbar]. It was great, all around, seeing all of them.
When you got back into these characters and you reunited with everyone else, did it make you want to continue this even further, into future seasons, or are you okay, if this is it again?
PURCELL: We’re open to the idea of the possibility of a Season 6, only if it’s honoring the legend of Prison Break, which is very hard to do.
Prison Break airs on Tuesday nights on Fox.