Tom Cruise's latest big screen appearance as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, with Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, has become yet another critical/commercial success for the Mission: Impossible film series. Plans are currently in motion for Mission: Impossible 6 (official subtitle TBA) to start production as soon as Summer 2016, but first Cruise will return to a different movie franchise role: loner ex-military police officer Jack Reacher, based on the character created by author Lee Child.
Jack Reacher 2, as it's currently known, is being co-written and directed by the Oscar-winner Edward Zwick, who previously collaborated with Cruise on the historical action/drama The Last Samurai. The sequel doesn't have an official release date yet, but the latest reports on the project confirm that it will, in fact, be the next film Cruise works on.
THR is reporting that Paramount Pictures has finalized plans for the Jack Reacher film sequel to start production by November 2015, keeping it on pace to make a late 2016 release date (recalling how the first Jack Reacher arrived in December 2012). Cruise recently completed production on Mena, the true story-based 1980s drug crime/thriller directed by Doug Liman (who collaborated with Cruise on Edge of Tomorrow); Mena is scheduled to arrive in January 2017, so that will impact when Paramount decides to release the Jack Reacher followup in theaters.
Jack Reacher 2, as written by Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz (The Last Samurai) from an earlier script draft by Richard Wenk (The Equalizer), is based on Child's novel "Never Go Back", wherein the Reacher character gets tangled up in a mystery that involves the grown woman Susan Turner - a commanding officer at a Virginia military base - and teenager Samantha Dayton, who may or may not be Reacher's daughter. Child previously noted that his source book for the Reacher film sequel is "almost a three-hander in terms of audience appeal," since the storyline pairs Reacher with not just one, but two rather different female sidekicks.
Jack Reacher and Rogue Nation writer/director Christopher McQuarrie expressed his interest in having Jack Reacher 2 take place in a rural setting, back when we interviewed him around the release of Reacher's big screen debut. That isn't happening with the sequel, but it sounds like the film's story will explore a less complicated mystery than the first movie did (as McQuarrie said it would); instead, Jack Reacher 2 will combine pulpy thriller elements with what could be a rich study of the Reacher character (through his relationships with Susan and Samantha).
Some of Cruise's best genre movies released over the past decade (such as Edge of Tomorrow) have likewise combined solid character studies with their action/thriller story components, which bodes well for Cruise's second time portraying the Jack Reacher character (which is the rare non-Ethan Hunt role that Cruise will have played more than once, now). The first Jack Reacher was a comparatively modest box office success by Cruise's standards, but as that film's fanbase appears to have only grown since its initial release, there is reason to think Jack Reacher 2 can equal/surpass its predecessor's success.
We'll let you know when Jack Reacher 2 (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back?) gets an official release date.