The Jack Reacher film franchise is done, apparently. Author Lee Child’s popular series of books were adapted into a movie in 2012 by Mission: Impossible – Fallout filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie, who marked his triumphant return to directing 12 years after the Oscar-winning Usual Suspect screenwriter’s directorial debut The Way of the Gun. Despite some Jack Reacher superfans who were angry that Tom Cruise was too short to play the fictional character who doesn’t actually exist, the film was a modest hit for Paramount, grossing $218 million worldwide. A sequel was greenlit and hit theaters in 2016, but director Edward Zwick’s take on the character lacked the punch of McQuarrie’s (who was busy on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation), and the film ended up grossing $162 million worldwide.
So now, apparently, the franchise is going to television with a new actor. Child told BBC Radio that he just signed a deal last week to make a Jack Reacher streaming series, adding that the “fans were right” that Cruise was too short for the lead role:
“I really enjoyed working with Cruise. He’s a really, really nice guy. We had a lot of fun,” Child told the station. But ultimately the readers are right. The size of Reacher is really, really important and it’s a big component of who he is. The idea is that when Reacher walks into a room, you’re all a little nervous just for that first minute.
And Cruise, for all his talent, didn’t have that physicality. So what I’ve decided to do is – there won’t be any more movies with Tom Cruise. Instead we’re going to take it to Netflix or something like that. Long form streaming television, with a completely new actor. And I want all those readers who were upset about Tom Cruise to help me out – participate in choosing the right actor for the TV series. We’re rebooting and starting over and we’re going to try and find the perfect guy.”
Now I’m not a Jack Reacher superfan, but this is dumb. It’s one thing to say Jack Reacher maybe works better as a TV series, but to say the films didn’t work partially because Cruise was too short is a bunch of baloney. Cruise nailed the intimidating nature of Reacher, and McQuarrie’s first film remains a really swell hard-boiled thriller. I can’t say the same about the sequel, which felt like the kind of story you tackle three or four films into a franchise instead of directly after the inaugural installment, but Cruise’s casting was sound.
McQuarrie had subsequently maintained that if they made another Jack Reacher movie, the way to go would be R-rated, and I’m inclined to agree. It’s a bit of a bummer that won’t come to fruition—McQuarrie felt perfectly suited to that kind of material—but we got one McQuarrie/Cruise Jack Reacher movie, so that’s something to be thankful for. Moreover, the two just crafted an action masterpiece with Fallout, so they’re doing just fine.