Prison Break spoilers follow.
God bless Prison Break – never knowingly un-ridiculous, the revived FOX series wrapped its fifth season with a totally outrageous finale.
'Behind the Eyes' delivered two absurd plot twists and a happy ending for Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), but with fans still clamouring for more, was this really goodbye?
Here's everything you need to know about the show's potential future, following its brief but blissful comeback.
Prison Break season 6: Is it happening?
In January 2018, FOX officially confirmed that it was "developing a new iteration" of Prison Break. "It's in very early stages of development," said entertainment president Michael Thorn. "But we're really excited about it."
Speaking about the revival mini-series back in 2016, Sarah Wayne Callies (who plays Sara Tancredi) said: "This was pitched as, 'We're gonna do nine episodes, drop the mic and walk away' and I'm fine with that."
But, even back then, her co-star Miller was more open to the possibility of bringing Prison Break back again: "There's always room for more, in my mind," he said. "As long as it's a story that's worth telling, as long as it feels justified and cool and edgy.
"It has to be something that's not going to let the fans down, that's going to satisfy and surprise. I'm open to the conversation."
Speaking to Digital Spy later that year, he reiterated his position: "Depending on how [the revival's] received, and who's available, there could be another conversation about another bite of the apple."
With Michael and Sara's son Mike Jr (Christian Michael Cooper) now a key part of the series, Miller said: "I feel like there's more story there and now we're talking about multiple generations."
Dominic Purcell (Lincoln Burrows) was even more keen, insisting in April 2017 that he'd "do years" of the show, and "would love to do season six".
But then, a rock in the road – series creator Paul Scheuring said that despite "desire... from fans... and some of the actors", he saw the new revival as "a closed-ended story".
"Part of the problem with the original show was that we had to keep flapping our wings and keep extending," he argued. "I feel like the fans suffered for that, because as some point, you run out of narrative and you start making up stuff that's lesser quality."
This was the big problem, according to Scheuring: coming up with a story that would satisfy. "I couldn't tell you another story about this group of people," he said. "Maybe somebody else can, or by accident I'll somehow, possibly, dream up another prison escape that's new and fresh, but I would bet against it."
Scofield also echoed that sentiment.
"I don't make the show go on just because we want the show to go on," he told Entertainment Weekly in 2017.
"I have a fairly high standard to what the stories need to be, and it's a very hard show to come up with new stories for because it’s Prison Break and how many prisons can you break out? How do you make it not redundant?
"I felt this season [five] was different in that it was based upon the Odyssey. I felt like that was a strong narrative to do for nine episodes. To do again, I think we'd have to find an equally strong or even stronger narrative and I think that's very hard with Prison Break."
He added: "Never say never, but we're just not going to do it just to do it; it has to be great. I know that the actors are very keen on doing it, but at this very moment, I don't have an idea what it would be.
"It's possible it could come from other sources, but right now there's nothing in the old noggin."
However, by the time Paul Scheuring spoke at TV festival PaleyFest in March, his stance appeared to have softened.
"We as a group have to arrive at a story that we feel is worth telling. Creative integrity is really important and if we could arrive at a story that we felt was worthwhile… then it's possible.
"It all comes from Fox ultimately… another season wouldn't happen unless they felt it was within their interest."
Happily, FOX top dog Dana Walden stated that the network would "definitely consider doing more episodes" – which meant the ball was now back in Scheuring's court.
In August 2017, then-FOX entertainment boss David Madden confirmed, as of August 2017, there was "nothing" in the works for Prison Break. "If the producers have a thought about how to explore another iteration of it, we'd be excited to talk," he added.
Then, an early Christmas present on December 13: Dominic Purcell announced on Instagram that a sixth season was actually "in the works", with FOX officially confirming more episodes a little under a month later.
But disappointingly, the plans that were in motion appear to have stalled, the Prison Break writers room sharing a tweet back in August 2019 with the following message: "Hi, Prison Breakers! I'm just dropping in to share some bummer news. Nothing is ever dead (remember when Sara was decapitated?), but for now, the elusive season six is not in the cards. But we love you and are so grateful for all of you. #PrisonBreak"
Hi, Prison Breakers! I'm just dropping in to share some bummer news. Nothing is ever dead (remember when Sara was decapitated?), but for now, the elusive season 6 is not in the cards. But we love you and are so grateful for all of you. #PrisonBreakhttps://t.co/3Tw1MuRNqr
— Prison Break Writers (@PBWritersRoom) August 9, 2019
It was the account's first tweet since May 2018, which said: "PRISON BREAK is in early stages of development; we are focusing on getting the next iteration right."
— Prison Break Writers (@PBWritersRoom) May 14, 2018
"There's no plan right now to revive Prison Break or any of the other franchises, but when the creators come with a story that they think is the right time to tell, we are so ready to listen because those are some franchises of which I'm so proud and feel so fortunate that they’re in our stable," Collier said (via SlashFilm).
So it's not been ruled out, but it's also not top of Fox's priority list at the moment.
Prison Break season 6 episodes: What's the plot?
The latest season ended with Michael granted full immunity for the crimes he committed while under the thrall of rogue CIA agent Poseidon (Mark Feuerstein), leaving our hero free to play happy families with Sara and Mike Jr.
That said, co-showrunner Vaun Wilmott has confirmed that "ideas are percolating" for a sixth season, so what might the future hold for Michael and the gang, when Prison Break returns? Beyond, y'know, another prison break.
'Behind the Eyes' might contain a hint as the show's possible next step, with the director of the CIA (Ken Tremblett) offering Michael a job that would utilise his particular set of skills.
Michael turned the gig down – but might a change in circumstances force him to reconsider?
Interestingly, Scheuring's original ending for the recent mini-series suggested that Scofield would indeed struggle to settle down. "The idea was Michael comes back and he's apparently got a normal life, but with that comes a creeping paranoia that things can't stay good like this.
"Unfortunately, that's not on screen, but... hopefully the audience gets the subtext that life will never be normal for Michael Scofield."
"Michael's home, but I don't know if he's at peace," Wentworth Miller told The Hollywood Reporter about the season finale. "He's been living a nightmare, for years, and now he's back — back from the dead. He's reunited with his loved ones, but I think he would be haunted for a long time. I think there'd be paranoia, insomnia, anxiety ... maybe a lingering taste for darker things, illegal things. If there are new stories to tell, we could probably start there: with Michael's not-so-smooth re-entry into civilian life."
In March 2018, Scheuring hinted that season six would be "going back to the beginning... literally the very first frames" of Prison Break - possibly hinting at a prequel angle, or maybe a flashback twist that would change everything we thought we knew?
Miller, it turns out, also had his own ideas about where season six should go. In an Instagram post, he revealed a (rejected) pitch he sent to "the powers-that-be".
Miller - who is also a screenwriter - conceived of a totally meta take on Prison Break, where Michael and Lincoln were thrown into a specially-designed prison and made to relive their past adventures by 'Tag' - their psychotic long-lost brother.
But given that FOX apparently "weren't interested" in the pitch, we're guessing season six wouldn't include any of these elements when (or if) it makes it to the air.
Just don’t expect the show to come back unless there’s a very compelling reason for Miller to revisit the world.
"There's a zero percent chance of the show coming back if we don't have a top-notch story. Right now, we don't have that story. That's not to say we can't find it. But we're not going to make the show in perpetuity because we want to. We want it to be of very high value and high quality. Right now, the creative powers that be don't have that answer. So it may never come back. I'm not being coy. I hold the quality standard very high," Miller said (via The Hollywood Reporter)
"If we can't get something that doesn't in some way feel new and different, then we're not doing it. That's difficult when you have a very singular conceit like Prison Break. You have to get out of prison! So what prison is it now? So, it's tough. I would be open to it, but only if we can find a story that's going to knock your socks off."
Prison Break season 6 release date: When would it air?
In March 2018, Paul Scheuring announced that he'd completed the script for episode 6x01.
Then two months later, Fox's CEO Dana Walden confirmed that new episodes were still in the very early phases of development. "We're just focused on getting the next iteration right," Walden said. "I don't anticipate there would be any significant announcements for several months."
"It's definitely not something we want to do every season – we want to make it special," Walden previously said in 2017, explaining that the show is more likely to return intermittently, either for another mini-series or a one-off.
But then 2019 came and went, and we're nearing the end of 2020 having been told that fans shouldn't expect a new chapter anytime soon, so your guess is as good as ours.
And Wentworth Miller certainly doesn't think it's happening any time soon, posting the following on Instagram.
1. Your enthusiasm is appreciated. 2. I have no idea when (or if) there will be a new season. I'm not involved in that conversation. 3. TV shows take time. To produce, edit, air. For that reason... 4. It seems unlikely (to me) we'll get a season 6 in 2020. 5. I could be wrong. #frommyDMs #prisonbreak
A post shared by @ wentworthmiller on Jan 8, 2020 at 6:45am PST
"Your enthusiasm is appreciated. I have no idea when (or if) there will be a new season. I'm not involved in that conversation. TV shows take time. To produce, edit, air. For that reason... It seems unlikely (to me) we'll get a season 6 in 2020. 5. I could be wrong."
Prison Break season 6 cast: Who will star?
"If the right storyline comes along, I am sure the gang would be back to do it again," said Vaun Wilmott, implying that any main character still breathing at the end of the latest mini-series could be back.
So that includes...
• Wentworth Miller (Michael Scofield)
• Dominic Purcell (Lincoln Burrows)
• Sarah Wayne Callies (Sara Tancredi-Scofield)
• Rockmond Dunbar (C-Note)
• Robert Knepper (T-Bag)
• Amaury Nolasco (Sucre)
• Inbar Lavi (Sheba)
Mike Jr would also be part of any future iteration, while recurring character Ja (Rick Yune) is also a possibility.
Series original Kellerman (Paul Adelstein) was spectacularly killed off in the latest episodes, but that hasn't stop Adelstein from hinting that the hitman-turned-politician could still resurface in season six.
"I don't see it as his swan song," he said. "I mean, it's Prison Break. In all seriousness, how can you ever really know if you should believe what you see?"
He's not wrong – after all, both Michael and Sara have now successfully come back from the dead, so anything's possible.
One major character missing from the revival was ex-FBI special agent Alexander Mahone (William Fichtner), but could he have a part to play next season?
"Paul loves Bill Fichtner and I love Bill Fichtner," Robert Knepper said at 2016's San Diego Comic-Con. "He's a brilliant actor – but Paul honestly said to me, 'I don't know what to do with that character'.
"He didn't want to just bring everybody back, so that the audience go, 'Oh, look, it's Bill Fichtner again!' – he honestly thought, 'I'm not sure where to do that in the plot,' so if someday there's another chapter of this, maybe then Bill will be back."
Scheuring himself later tweeted that there was "somewhere between [a] 50-150 percent chance" that Mahone will be back for season six... so fingers crossed!
Scheuring couldn't find much room for fan-favourite character Fernando Sucre in the revival either – he played a major role in just one of the nine episodes. But that could also change next time round.
"All characters had to be organically within the series and he didn't really have a role other than being the sidekick running around in Yemen, which he really didn't have a skill set for," the writer explained.
"So I wish there could've been more Sucre. It would have been creatively disingenuous to include him more than that, but if there's another season, maybe there's way more Sucre."
Sounds good to us, papi.
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