Just over a year ago, Tom Cruise was headlining the film Jack Reacher: Oscar-winning writer/director Christopher McQuarrie's hard-boiled crime mystery/thriller, based on author Lee Child's Reacher novel One Shot. The movie earned a respectable $218 million worldwide ($80 million in the U.S.) in addition to solid reviews (like ours), but that wasn't enough for Paramount to give the green-light to a second installment... not right away, that is.
Cut to the present-day and now a Jack Reacher sequel is no longer an unlikely proposition; it now appears to be a matter of when it shall happen, not if, since both Cruise and McQuarrie currently have a lot of items on their plate.
Deadline is reporting that Paramount and Skydance Productions have fast-tracked development on a second Jack Reacher movie (featuring Cruise), with the project now in search of a screenwriter or two. McQuarrie wrote the original film, but he is hunkered down in pre-production on Mission: Impossible 5, which he and Cruise are on course to begin shooting in Europe by the first quarter of 2014 (in order to make a December 2015 release date).
Rumors persist that Cruise might attempt to finish one of the multiple in-development projects that he's attached to before he reprises his role as Ethan Hunt in M:I 5 - like the true-story sports car drama Go Like Hell, a recently-announced potential reunion for Cruise and Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski. However, unless the Jack Reacher sequel has progressed much further than is being reported, Cruise won't be returning to the eponymous character's dangerous world in the immediate future.
The basis for the Jack Reacher sequel is the Child novel Never Go Back, a book that was only just published in September 2013. Story-wise, this installment - the 18th full-blown Reacher novel authored by Child - follows our (anti-)hero, as the ex-military cop travels to Virginia to meet up with one Major Susan Turner, only to wind up being thwarted by thugs, arrested for a crime that he doesn't remember committing - and, to top it all off, to discover that he may've fathered a child some years ago.
When Screen Rant interviewed McQuarrie last year, he had something else in mind for a Jack Reacher sequel:
"What I’d like to do next is cut rural – go for one of those books that takes place in the badlands, out in the Dakotas, something like that, where the terrain reflects the character of the next movie... The next movie can begin with [Reacher] right there on page one walking in; there’s going to be less dialogue, and it’s going to be a tougher, grittier, sparser movie... And then, if we’re lucky, we’ll get to go to a third movie, and then you blow it open, you go to a big city..."
A Reacher novel like Worth Dying For (which takes place in rural Nebraska) sounds closer to McQuarrie's proposed vision for the movie sequel than Never Go Back does, though the latter has the advantage of having been published by Child after the first movie was released (i.e. from a studio perspective, it's a more bankable story to adapt). That said, this project is clearly just beginning to take a solid form, so it's best not to assume that anything is set in stone just yet.
Well, besides Cruise's return in the Jack Reacher sequel (assuming it actually goes into production).
We shall keep you posted on the status of the Jack Reacher franchise-to-be as more information is made available.