Mission: Impossible remains the blockbuster franchise that Tom Cruise is most famous for headlining, with the sixth installment currently in development. However, the actor will also continue to maintain his action star bonafides with such upcoming projects as Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy reboot and potentially an Edge of Tomorrow sequel – not to mention, this year’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The latter is arriving four years after Cruise made his screen debut as the eponymous character: a hard-edged former military policeman-turned loner first imagined by author Lee Child back in the late 1990s.
Never Go Back is based on Child’s novel of the same name – itself, published a year after the first Jack Reacher movie was released and (at least partly) designed with the understanding that it could serve as the basis for a Jack Reacher film sequel. The Never Go Back narrative, like other Jack Reacher stories, sees Reacher having to solve a mystery by using both his brains and fists. It also takes Cruise’s age (53 now, if you can believe it) into account, by incorporating a subplot in which Reacher must deal with the possibility that he is, in fact, a dad.
The Jack Reacher sequel was written by Richard Wenk (The Equalizer) and Cruise’s The Last Samurai collaborators, Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, with Zwick also directing (as he did on Last Samurai). Cobie Smulders costar in Never Go Back as Major Susan Turner, the new head of Reacher’s old military investigation unit – who finds herself accused of a crime that she didn’t commit and having to go on the run with Reacher, in order to clear her name.
Paramount Pictures has now unveiled a UK poster for Never Go Back that prominently features Smulders and Cruise – as you can see below.
Also in the mix here is a teenager (played by Heroes Reborn star Danika Yarosh) who shows up, claiming to be Reacher’s daughter… or, at least, that there’s a good chance that Reacher is, indeed, her biological father. Smulders, when interviewed by EW, noted that Susan and Jack have begun to form something of an intimate connection before they have to go on the run together in Never Go Back. However, once Yarosh’s character enters the equation, that dynamic between Susan and Jack changes accordingly:
“It’s an interesting dynamic between these two characters [Susan and Jack], who are so used to being alone and being in charge. Now they have to work together. Initially, that goes horribly wrong, and they have to reconfigure themselves. [Then Yarosh’s character] becomes a big part of the story. So now we’re in this weird family dynamic. My character did not ask to be saddled with this type of responsibility, and so there’s a constant clashing of ideas. At the same time, they’re all being hunted, all being chased.”
Yarosh’s character has thus far been left out of the official marketing material that Paramount has released for the Jack Reacher sequel. It’s not entirely surprising – as scenes of Reacher having to deal with the newfound responsibilities of (maybe) being a dad aren’t as easy a sell as, say, scenes that involve Cruise beating up bad guys and cracking wise in the film. On the other hand, the grounded style and character drama is part of what sets the Jack Reacher series apart from Cruise’s other action movies and franchises. So, leaving the daughter subplot out of the trailers causes Never Go Back to (arguably) come off as being more of a generic action/thriller than it might actually be. We’ll see if Paramount’s marketing strategy pays off at the box office though, when Never Go Back makes its way into theaters this fall.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back opens in U.S. theaters on October 21st, 2016.