Author Lee Child talks the JACK REACHER sequel

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JACK REACHER

I rather enjoyed director Chris McQuarrie’s Jack Reacher for the no-frills, old school action movie that it was (so did Noelle), despite the fact that the script expected us to believe that part-time human speed bump Tom Cruise is apparently as physically imposing as the giant man-mountain that author Lee Child envisioned in his series of novels from which the movie is adapted. But hard to swallow physical stats aside, Cruise owned the role as the ex-Military Police drifter turned ass-kicking good Samaritan, and I was eagerly looking forward to what McQuarrie and Cruise could do with the character next.

However, there’s been some talk around the watercoolers of Tinsel Town that McQuarrie would in fact not be returning to helm a sequel. And now Child, speaking to Empire, has confirmed that the director will just be too busy putting the finishing touches on another Tom Cruise project that he’s helming and which you may have heard of.

“McQuarrie is going to be in post-production on Mission: Impossible 5. He just physically can’t do it. It’s going to be a new backroom crew, which I think is good. I thought the McQuarrie movie was fantastic, but let’s see someone else’s take on it.”

And that different take will apparently be skipping quite far ahead on the Jack Reacher timeline. The first movie was actually an adaptation of the 9th Jack Reacher novel, “One Shot”, but that doesn’t mean that they’re looking at the 10th novel for the sequel. Or even the 11th… Or 12th… They will in fact be adapting the 18th novel, “Never Go Back”, as the next film sequel. For those that are familiar with the Jack Reacher series of novels, you would know that this is an especially odd choice of source material, as it’s actually the last part of a four-book story arc. Not having the established characters and story beats of the preceding three books may hold some problems, but according to Child, those problems would be there no matter which book they chose.

“Any of these books, you look at them and say ‘we could do that’, but then you look at it and go, ‘well, how are we going to do it? They’re all very difficult.’”

JACK REACHER

So what was it about “Never Go Back” that attracted the eyes of the producers? In the novel, Reacher returns to his former army unit’s HQ to meet with Major Susan Turner, the unit’s current unit commander and with whom he’s been flirting with on the phone, only to discover that she has been relieved of her duty under dodgy circumstances, and that he may be forced to re-enlist under even dodgier ones. What’s more, the whole situation may have something to do with a young girl , Samantha Dayton, who just may or may not be Reacher’s daughter. And according to Child, it’s that mish-mash of elements, but most importantly the addition of the young female character, that actually drew the studios to the novel.

“[The character of Samantha] was a thing that convinced them about which book to make for the next movie. It’s almost a three-hander in terms of audience appeal – you’ve got Reacher, you’ve got the woman sidekick (Major Susan Turner), and then you’ve got this strong teenage girl character which they were very interested in.”

Rosamund Pike’s lawyer Helen Rodin played made for a decent foil to Cruise’s Reacher in the first film, so having him once again pair up with another good female character certainly wouldn’t hurt. Years of grinding my teeth to powder at bad buddy movies has left me with a general wariness of teenage sidekicks though, but with the right writer and director (damn it, Shane Black! Why’d you already have to be so busy?!) it can be made to work.

And for the Jack Reacher book fans out there, Child had an extra special surprise as he’s revealed that despite the 19th book in the series just hitting shelves a few weeks ago, he’s already got a title (but not much more) for his 20th novel, and it’s about as perfect a title for a story about a badass protagonist as you can find. It’s simply called “Make me”.

JACK REACHER

Last Updated: September 19, 2014

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I enjoyed the movie too. It probably helps that I’ve never read any of the books.

    • Sgt. M

      You are missing out, if you’re a reader that is.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        I am, just a very slow one 😉 I’ve been reading Steven Erikson’s Malazan series for about a year now, got to book 9 this weekend. Difficult to fit in all the reading I’d like with my gaming, movies & TV.

  • Sgt. M

    Most of the Jack Reacher books have a woman that plays a big role in them. I find choosing this book out of all of them a bit weird though. One shot worked well as it is the best book to get you into the series. Personally I would have chosen differently for a sequel. Also Josh Brolin would have made a much better Jack Reacher in terms of appearance

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