Tom Cruise and Oscar-winning writer/director Christopher McQuarrie's previous collaborations include the action/thriller Jack Reacher, and they are currently working together on Mission: Impossible 5 (which started filming last month). However, according to author Lee Child - creator of the Reacher character - post-production on the fifth Mission: Impossible movie will prevent McQuarrie from being able to direct the Jack Reacher sequel.
Jack Reacher 2, as we'll call it for now, is going to be based on Child's novel "Never Go Back", which is the eighteenth Reacher book published by the author. The story follows Reacher (with Cruise reprising the role in the movie sequel) as he travels to Virginia to meet Major Susan Turner - a female MP he'd been romancing by phone in preceding books - only to be arrested upon his arrival (for a crime he doesn't recall committing), and discover that Susan may also be in trouble... though she's not the only one.
McQuarrie's original vision for the Jack Reacher sequel resembled a neo-western featuring the title character, but Child informed Empire that the reason that "Never Go Back" - which concludes a four-book arc - is being adapted instead is because "it's almost a three-hander in terms of audience appeal." That is, as Child pointed out, the story pairs Reacher with both a "woman sidekick" in Susan and the "strong" teenager Samantha Dayton - who Reacher may or may not have fathered. Thus, Jack Reacher 2 could have broader appeal than its predecessor, by featuring subplots that add some romantic tension and dad/daughter thematic substance to the mix.
Child also told Empire that a Jack Reacher 2 screenplay ought to be finished "pretty soon," though he didn't mention the name of the writer (or, possibly, writers) who is (or are, in the latter case) responsible. McQuarrie penned the script for Jack Reacher (based on Child's novel "One Shot"), but he was already knee-deep in pre-production on Mission: Impossible 5 by the time the Jack Reacher sequel began to properly move forward around the beginning of this year.
In addition, Child claimed that McQuarrie "physically can't" work on Jack Reacher 2 because of his M:I 5 duties, which suggests Paramount is targeting a 2015 production start date for the sequel (with a 2016 release in mind). Cruise's recent genre movies - Oblivion, Jack Reacher, and Edge of Tomorrow - have all had solid directors calling the shots (and turned out better for it), so we expect the trend to continue when it comes to McQuarrie's replacement on the Jack Reacher followup.
We'll bring your more information about Jack Reacher 2 (not the official title) when we have it.