Why the Jack Ryan Movie Series Kept Rebooting (Despite the Hits)

The Jack Ryan The movie franchise has always been a weird beast because despite its success, it kept hitting the reboot switch. Ryan is the creation of the late author Tom Clancy, the CIA analyst making his debut in the 1984 novel The Hunt for Red October. Ryan has come a long way in the book series since then, eventually becoming President of the United States.


Like his novel counterpart, Ryan made his first film appearance with a 1990 adaptation of The Hunt for Red October. This tense thriller was directed by Die Hard’s John McTiernan, who saw Ryan searching for a high-tech Soviet submarine. Alec Baldwin played Jack Ryan in the film, although Sean Connery as Captain of Red October was the actual main character. The film received both positive reviews and was a considerable success at the box office, quickly leading to sequel talks.

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Related: Without Remorse 2 Should Bring Harrison Ford Back As President Jack Ryan

When patriot games Arriving in 1992, Ryan underwent a major facelift. Baldwin was replaced at the helm by Harrison Ford, who was one of the biggest movie stars in the world at that time. Baldwin said a conflict with a play was the main reason for his exit patriot games, though he later claimed he was kicked out so Ford could take on the role instead. However, Ford is probably the actor that most viewers think of as Ryan. The character was designed by Clancy to be more of a regular man than the likes of james bond, though he can retaliate when forced to. Ford embodied these qualities perfectly for both patriot games and its 1994 follow-up Clear and present danger.


The Jack Ryan movies struggled to find the perfect Jack

Having two blockbuster films in a row seemed to confirm that the Jack Ryan movies would become Ford’s newest franchise, and once upon a time was set to return for an adaptation of Clancy’s The sum of All Fears. The actor eventually dropped out after issues with the script, with producers deciding to soft reboot with Ben Affleck instead. In fact, Affleck was working with Baldwin on wearing pearls when he was offered the gig, who advised him to take it. Whereas The sum of All Fears – which co-starred Morgan Freeman as Ryan’s mentor – was a comfortable hit, the series soon encountered more bumps in the road.

Franchise producer Mace Neufeld blamed later Affleck – who will return as Batman for Aquaman 2 – himself for the absence of a sequel, noting the failure of the actor’s “comedy” Gigli also blocked Jack Ryan movies. The character also had something of an image problem. By nature, Ryan is a character more comfortable behind a desk than out in the field getting his hands dirty – which isn’t necessarily a good ingredient for creating a long-running action franchise. The studio wanted a younger Ryan to appeal to younger audiences, and after rejecting an Affleck comeback, the only course was to reboot again.

The Thick headed movies – Legacy aside – benefited from the same main man, and although Bond has been played by many performers, audiences have a good idea of ​​what to expect from a 007 adventure. The same can’t really be said from Jack Ryan Movies, especially since Ford was the only performer to play the role more than once. The last movie – so far – was from 2014 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which starred Chris Pine and clumsily attempted to merge modern spy movie tropes into the saga. The film underperformed and the character currently lives at Amazon Jack Ryan series starring John Krasinski.

It seems that the biggest problem with the Jack Ryan The film franchise was its failure to strongly define the character for audiences. Baldwin and Ford came to the role from different angles – although the latter’s outings were direct sequels – while the boyish arrogance of Affleck’s take wasn’t very convincing. Ryan’s regular-man quality has become an issue for the show, so if he ever returns to the big screen, hopefully the movie can firmly imprint who the character is.

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Andrea G. Henderson