Does 24's Tony Almeida have a future? Well, he's not dead anymore

If you've been following Fox's 24 during the course of its incredibly turbulent, twisty-turvy seven seasons, you already know that things aren't always as they might seem. And before you write a character off as a corpse, you'd better witness the burial.

Speaking with actor Carlos Bernard exclusively on Tuesday about Tony Almeida and his return from the dead in the current season seven, he admitted he always knew Tony might not be ready to rest in peace. "I'm very tight with the writers and producers, and I knew that when they did away with Tony in season five, they'd left the door open to possibly bring him back," Bernard said. "I wasn't shocked when they called me to come back, but I was definitely surprised."

Before Bernard's recent return, 24's producers had approached him to make a brief appearance at the end of season six. "That idea just sort of fell by the wayside," Bernard said. "None of us were that crazy with how they were thinking about doing it. Then they started constructing season seven, and we were pretty thrilled with the way that turned out."

When Tony seemingly died in the arms of Jack Bauer in the fifth season, the character's loyal fanbase went into an uproar on fan sites such as "I wasn't aware of how vocal fans were getting on the Internet [at first]," Bernard admits. "[But] I was aware of it in terms of people coming up to me in the street and making their feelings known. It's flattering."

24 star Kiefer Sutherland has said that he plans to do the show for only a few more seasons, which leads some die-hard fans to speculate on the possibility of Bernard's taking over. "I don't know about that," Bernard said, laughing at the idea. "I think the show, in general, is going to go another year, and then that's going to be the end of it. I don't really see that happening."

Bernard has a few projects he's trying to get off the ground during the demanding 24 schedule, including the animated mobile comic 101 Ways to Die. "It's sort of a dark comic-book genre [project]," Bernard said. "I voice the main character in it. It's about a guy who's been in [the] Iraq war as a Special Ops assassin, and he comes back to the U.S. after being in a coma. As he's trying to piece his life together with his wife and kid, he starts being manipulated and used as an assassin while he's working as a night paramedic."

"We're thinking of taking it to a network Web site and then possibly turning it into a live-action show after that," Bernard said. 24 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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