Twentieth Century Fox and 20th Century Fox TV have hired a screenwriter to begin the process of tackling a big screen version of "24."

According to Variety, "Breach" and "Shattered Glass" writer-director Billy Ray sold the studios on a pitch that finds Jack Bauer headed to Europe, a pitch supported by series star Kiefer Sutherland.

The trade paper says that Sutherland, series creators Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow, longtime showrunner Howard Gordon and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment would all have a hand in producing the film.

But what does this mean for "24" as a FOX television series?

Many years ago, producers used to discuss the possibility of doing a "24" film during the show's Emmy-winning run, but it became clear that the logistical difficulties were too great. The recent party line has held that a "24" movie wouldn't get made until "24" finished its time on FOX.

The series ventured into longer form storytelling with 2008's "24: Redemption," which earned a handful of Emmy nominations, but was merely a small screen appetizer for the big screen feature in the future.

Is that time upon us? Certainly ratings and reviews for the current season have been slightly below-par. In addition, the network and the studio don't have a deal for a ninth season yet, nor does Sutherland. At the Television Critics Association press tour last month, all sides agreed that they'd be willing to do a ninth season if there was demand or the right story idea.

The trade paper also raises the possibility of FOX declining a ninth season, but 20th Century Fox TV taking the property to another network, broadcast or cable.

For now, that's all speculation. The part of this story that isn't speculation: Billy Ray is writing a script for a "24" movie. Anything beyond that? Blather.