Movies & TV Shows

Reacher’s Book Adaptation Order Might Cause A Big Problem

Amazon’s Reacher season 1 was a breakout success after mixed responses to adaptations of Lee Child’s books, but now it is giving itself a big problem.


Amazon’s Reacher adaptation is returning for season 2, but the adaptation could be creating a huge problem for itself. Reacher is based on the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child, which had previously been adapted into two movies starring Tom Cruise as Reacher. Lee Child has been working on the books for a long time, with book 1, Killing Floor, releasing in 1997 and new books still being written.


Because of the longevity of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, Reacher’s choice to adapt the books out of order risks posing an issue for the plot of the series. It was announced that Reacher season 2 will be adapting Bad Luck and Trouble, book 11 in the Jack Reacher series, which was released in 2007. Jumping forwards a decade in Lee Child’s Jack Reacher release order means that some of the events from the books won’t adapt as well to the screen, and the age of various actors won’t line up if they want to return to earlier books later in the Reacher series.

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Related: Jack Reacher Season 3 Can Prove The First Movie’s Biggest Mistake


How Old Is Jack Reacher In The Books

While some authors keep their protagonists perennially at a particular age to be able to continue to explore the same sorts of adventures, that is not true for Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books. Reacher has aged roughly in real-time in the books, with him being noted as 36 in 1997’s Killing Floor and 46 in 2007’s Bad Luck and Trouble. While some of Lee Child’s books serve as prequel and portray Reacher as young as 29, as the series has continued, the 2022 Jack Reacher novel No Plan B features a 61-year-old Reacher. Alan Ritchson himself is relatively close in age to Jack Reacher in Killing Floor as he was 39 at the time of Reacher season 1’s release.

Why Reacher’s Age Might Be An Issue For The Amazon Series

Reacher taking the books out of order isn’t unusual—Netflix’s breakout series The Lincoln Lawyer is similarly skipping around, adapting book 2 for season 1 and announcing they’ll adapt book 5 for season 2. However, Reacher is faced by particular problems because of the particular nature of the character and the narratives that his books explore. As Reacher ages in real-time, the progression of his life sees him approaching situations differently and having to deal with declining physical ability in later books.

An easy solution to this might seem to be to never return to earlier books and simply see an advanced timeline for Reacher as it rushes through a select grouping of the books. However, Alan Ritchson has expressed his desire to adapt every one of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books and originally said he wanted to do them in order. This suggests they’ll have to return to those earlier narratives and the plot will have to stray further from the original source material and Reacher will face problems when it comes to how Jack Reacher approaches instances of love and loss that take place in the earlier books.

Next: Reacher’s TV Show Can Have The Perfect Tom Cruise Cameo (Just Not Yet)

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