Here’s every live-action Jack Reacher adaptation, including the Tom Cruise movies and Amazon’s TV series, ranked. The character of Jack Reacher first appeared in author Lee Child’s novel The Killing Floor, which was published in 1997. Reacher is a hulking ex-military policeman who wanders America and often gets into trouble. Childs claims the personality of Reacher was inspired by going in the opposite direction of fictional detective characters that were popular at the time, who were often cynical or addicted to various substances. Reacher, in contrast, is noble and kind, but conversely has little issue with taking the law into his own, giant hands.
The Jack Reacher books have been running since the ’90s, and their popularity made an adaptation inevitable. Finding an actor to fill Reacher’s shoes was always going to be an issue since his description reads like Dolph Lundgren, and few movie stars are built that way. That was one reason Tom Cruise’s casting for 2012’s Jack Reacher was controversial with readers, who felt he was utterly wrong for the part. Childs himself defended the choice, stating Reacher’s size in the books was almost a metaphor for his being an unstoppable force, a quality that Cruise brought out in other ways.