Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher is a spectacularly underrated – and just plain spectacular – crime thriller, which adapted the world of author Lee Child back in 2012. The news that a sequel officially is moving forward will make fans rave, even though the delight has to come with a mild bit of pushback.
Let’s start with the good news. Variety reports that Paramount and Skydance have hired Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz to pen the screenplay for Jack Reacher 2, though there is a very good chance it will not be called that. The duo will be working off of the Lee Child novel Never Go Back, in which Tom Cruise’s character, Jack Reacher, travels to Virginia to finally meet Susan, a female military officer who has been helping him, via telephone, on previous engagements. Only, when he arrives, he walks into a mess of trouble – both personal and professional – as only Reacher can.
What’s the catch? Well, according to the reports, Ed Zwick is also being eyed to director Jack Reacher 2, which is a mild disappointment. Not that Zwick is a particularly bad filmmaker. He isn’t. But Christopher McQuarrie’s work on Jack Reacher is a major reason why that adaptation of Lee Child’s novel One Shot had real balls. McQuarrie just continued working with Cruise on Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, and it was my hope that he’d return to the Reacher franchise if and when a sequel was greenlit. I wonder why he isn’t making the movie?
Cruise has a history with Zwick, as the director helmed The Last Samurai back in 2003. Zwick’s a more serious, dramatic filmmaker, and he likely will be able to bring that heavy tone to Jack Reacher 2. The character, if you are unfamiliar, is a former military investigator who has renounced most of his earthly possessions and essentially wanders from town to town, uncovering troubles and working to solve them. He has an exceptional set of skills, but the Reacher in the book is a towering giant of a man – something Cruise is not. Still, the actor got to the heart of the character in Jack Reacher, and I’m thrilled he’s taking another stab at the character.
It’s an unusual choice, though, going with Never Go Back as the plot of the Jack Reacher sequel. In the chronology of Reacher books, Never doesn’t follow One Shot. In fact, while many of the early Reacher books told single-serving, one-off stories, Never Go Back builds on the actions of three previous novels in 61 Hours, Worth Dying For and A Wanted Man. Why not go with one of those stellar stories first? The Lee Child books give Paramount more than enough material to groom a franchise. And we all know that Cruise is ageless. Well, for now, it looks like Ed Zwick’s in line to direct Jack Reacher 2. Good news? Or, “Eh, good enough” news?
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.