FOX’s popular drama “Prison Break” ended its run in 2009. But seven years later, given the industry’s fascination with reboots, the series is back with the original cast. Show creator Paul Scheuring returns as well, working with executive producers Vaun Wilmott and Michael Horowitz to craft the nine-hour story. The cast and creatives appeared at a special premiere event at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills on Wednesday. The panel featured cast members Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, Robert Knepper, Rockmond Dunbar, Mark Feuerstein, Inbar Lavi, Augustus Prew and Paul Adelstein, and focused on why the reboot makes sense now.
Purcell recalled how the reboot got off the ground. “Wentworth and I started reminiscing about the good old days on ‘Prison Break,'” he said. “And [we] talked about the Netflix generation discovering shows there.”
Scheuring chimed in, “There’s no version of recreating the show without Dominic and Wentworth. We found tent pole points we could use to make a modern version of the show, then went to FOX.”
Asked how it felt to slip back into T-Bag’s fake hand, Knepper offered, “All of us felt like we wanted to create, not recreate. It felt like it was time to do it. Paul listened to us and gave us something new.”
Lavi is a new cast member who plays Sheba, a woman who helps Lincoln Burrows find his brother in the Middle East prison. Lavi said with a laugh, “I’m just the tour guide. Sheba is a Yemeni activist and freedom fighter.” Feuerstein is another newcomer to the show and he commented on playing Sarah’s (Sarah Wayne Callies) new husband, Jacob. “I may not be the most likable character,” he shared. “I’m going up against Michael for Sarah’s love.”
Prew is a new face in the prison, playing Michael Scofield’s cellmate. He couldn’t hide his delight when he realized his character was a part of the prison escape plan. “Michael and I going to break out of the prison together. What?!” he said.
Miller was tight-lipped when asked about how exactly Michael Scofield is alive. He hinted cryptically, “The Michael we knew died. The man we meet now is someone different. Michael’s always existed in the gray scale. There are lines he inches up to and crosses.”
Scheuring added, “I want Michael Scofield to feel like a mystery again, like he did in Season 1.” One holdover from the original series, Michael has new tattoos in the new episodes.
Finally, will this revival be the final chapter in the “Prison Break” story? Miller said, “These episodes feel like a satisfying way to fade to black. If they came up with something that stood up to what came before, I’d consider doing more.” His partner in crime, Purcell, said he’d do more: “If it paid homage to the ‘Prison Break’ legend.”
“Prison Break” returns April 4 to Fox.