When “Prison Break” debuted on Fox in 2005, critics and viewers alike were captivated by the series about a man who had devised an elaborate plot to break his older brother out of prison a month before his scheduled execution, after being found guilty of the murder of the US vice president’s brother. For five seasons, structural engineer Michael Burrows (Wentworth Miller) and career criminal Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) worked together to prove Lincoln’s innocence and dodge a shadow organization known as The Company, led by high-ranking politicians.
While the first season saw the brothers escape prison, the second season followed them on the run. Season 3 found the brother’s roles reversed, with Lincoln burdened with freeing Michael from a prison in Panama. The fourth and supposed final season saw the brothers become more entangled with The Company as they were tasked with retrieving intel from within the organization.
While most fans thought they had seen the last of the characters — well, that is, not counting rewatching old episodes on streaming – an unexpected 2017 revival saw their return for a nine-episode fifth season, eight years after the last episode had aired on Fox. Although a sixth season was teased that same year, it never came to fruition — and likely never will, according to recent reports. Here’s why viewers shouldn’t expect to find themselves behind bars again anytime soon, if ever.
The main star has no interest in returning
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Wentworth Miller originated the lead role of Michael Scofield on “Prison Break” in 2005. Since then, he came out as gay in 2013, when he wrote an open letter to a Russian film festival addressing his reasons for declining their invitation (per CNN), due to the anti-LGBTQ+ stance of the Russian government. Since then, Miller has taken a firm stand against portraying straight characters, posting on Instagram in 2020 that he’ll never return to “Prison Break” for that reason, according to Newsweek. “Not bec of static on social media (although that has centered the issue),” he wrote, referencing online harassment he’d received. “I just don’t want to play straight characters. Their stories have been told (and told). So. No more Michael. If you were a fan of the show, hoping for additional seasons… I understand this is disappointing. I’m sorry.”
Miller — who moved on to portray Captain Cold on “The Flash” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” as well as appearing on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” — was supported by Dominic Purcell, who responded with a social media announcement of his own, posting a video on Twitter that backed up his friend and co-star. “So, that’s it, six isn’t gonna happen, and if it does happen it’s not gonna happen with myself or Wentworth because I’m loyal to Wentworth,” he said.
However, if you believe Miller’s decision was the death knell for a sixth season, think again. Fox Entertainment’s CEO stated in 2019 that no plans had been made to revive the show anyway. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean a sixth season is impossible, as the network hasn’t entirely ruled it out.
It’s possible the show could return someday
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Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier commented on the show’s future in 2019, saying (per Newsweek), “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.” So, even though main stars Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell publicly stated they never intend to return to “Prison Break,” there could be a glimmer of possibility — though presumably, a revival would have to focus on different characters, or be a full-on reboot.
In 2020, Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn was asked about the possibility of a new season. “We continue to talk about ’24’ and ‘Prison Break’ as potential spinoffs,” Thorn explained to Deadline. “There is nothing that is ready to announce on either front but … it has got to feel special and worthy of doing as opposed to just another season.”
In January 2022, Purcell also weighed in on a return on Instagram, posting a throwback cast image along with the caption, “It’s all I get on insta. #prisonbreak prison break prison break prison break.” He then added, “As for 6? It’s still mentioned in hushed tones in and around @foxtv and @disney ‘s corridors. It’s on the studios. My gut feeling is and always has been optimistic. Wentworth and I are very close. We chat. Life stuff.”
So, maybe another revival could happen someday, after all. For now, though, there are no plans underway.